Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My thoughts on Pre-School and Supplemental Schooling

So are you going to do pre-school?
 I pretty much avoid this subject in conversations with people because I have some pretty strong opinions about it.  But since this is my blog, I'm going to speak my mind.
I know that I'm probably standing alone here, but I haven't, nor do I ever, intend to send my children to a Pre-school.  That is why I'm home.  Not because it's so much fun to be home (cause most days it's hard.  Really hard.  It's hard to stay home and not have adult interaction and to feel like your doing nothing all day but cleaning up messes you didn't make.)  Not because I can't find a job (I had one.  A good one.  That I quit to be at home with my children.)  And not because we don't need the money.  (We do. We almost never eat out, go out, or buy "extras" of anything.  We have to save up to go to the zoo, movies or anything that isn't in our budget of mortgage, food or bills.)
 I stay at home so that I can have as much influence on my children as possible before they HAVE to go into the world and deal with people.  Their early years are the most impressionable.  I want my children to learn how to act, behave and interact with other people from me, not from other children or other adults.  I feel that my children get all the "social-ness" they need before they are school-age from church ( in our CHURCH, kids go to Nursery, when they are 18 months old for 2 hours. They interact with , play with, and learn with other kids who are 18 months to 3 years.  Then when they turn 3 they go to Primary where they are with other kids their age.)  My children also have cousins whom they see on a regular basis and I get together with friends on occasion who have kids their ages.  We also go to the park and other places where kids frequent.  There are also children in the neighborhood and  they interact with one another.  Before they are 5 (school age) I feel this is enough.  I think a lot of how social you are has to do with your personality.  Lilly is super social and she had less social interaction before school than her brother Max, who is very shy has had.

I found an interesting ARTICLE here about how children learn Social skills.   This is a quote I found in that article:
While Children learn crucial skills through play with other children, they also learn a great deal through play with their parents.  Children whose parents frequently play with them have more advanced social skills and get along better with peers.
I  realize that children need to be with peers their own age which is why I won't do home school.  If I was a social enough person to provide adequate activities with other home schooled families I might consider it.  But I'm not a social person at all and so they go to school. 
I have nothing against people who send their children to Pre-school.  Everyone's situation is unique, as are their children.  We do an "unstructured" preschool at home.  From the time my children were about 4 months old we have read to them every night (with few exceptions) before bed.  They've come to expect it and look forward to it.   It's not seen as a chore but quite the opposite.   They love it and we love it.  I found a great article on reading to children HERE.
With both kids, we've bought them a work book like the one pictured below or something similar.   The KUMON series is good too. One that  teaches them numbers, shapes ,writing the alphabet, and other basic things they should know.  We do at least 2 pages every night and once again, it's part of the bedtime routine and they love doing it and it's not a chore or something that is dreaded.  I want to make learning fun.

We have also bought this series of work books and really like them:

Lilly has done the first grade one and is just starting this one.  We do 2 pages every night (on the nights she doesn't have school homework, which is weekends and holidays) and we work on them all through the summer.  It helps Supplement what might have been missed in Public School and reinforces what she already did learn and keeps it fresh in her mind.  It doesn't take long, maybe 10 or 15 minutes a day.  It makes a huge difference doing this and reading before bed.
Lilly was reading at an almost 4th grade reading level before first grade was over and Max who is 3 can recognize and write all upper and lower case letters  and knows the sounds they make.  He is also starting to recognizing some SIGHT WORDS and even knows how to spell quite a few.  He's just starting to learn the sounds of blended consonants.
There are a ton of really good web sites where you can print out worksheets for any grade on just about any subject.  Click HERE for a good one of just google search what you are looking for.
For pre school and earlier grades This web site is awesome.
So in answer to the question.  Yes, we do Pre-school, just at home.

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