Much is uncertain, my friend, and we are all making our way as we go. It’s as if the light is just a little too dim to see right beyond our next step. Whether your plans are changing due to health concerns or finances, you may be considering preschool at home rather than sending your little one off for K4 next year.
If you’re making this decision, you are in good company! Millions of Americans are pivoting in how they plan to educate their children next year.
If you’re facing this new normal and are wavering over your next step, I want to encourage you that providing a full, rich, developmentally appropriate, and joyful preschool at home is likely a lot less stressful than you think it will be. I want to offer you just a few simple suggestions for making that next step empowering rather than overwhelming:
1. Take a deep breath, Mama.
While you aren’t quite sure what you’ll be doing just yet, I want to let you know what you won’t be doing. You won’t be destroying your child’s future or shortchanging him in the least by providing schooling at home. You will most certainly have some amazing, idyllic days in your preschool, but you’ll also have some stressful ones that leave you feeling like a failure. Recognize that there is an ebb and flow in homeschooling just as there has been in parenting. You’ll have many more good days than bad, and you can do this. You need not be a teacher or have a college education. The only requirement is that you care and love, and we already know you do that.
2. Go with what you know.
There are literally hundreds of homeschool preschool programs available, and it’s extremely easy to get overwhelmed. We can have a “grass is greener” mentality that leaves us comparing or questioning our decisions. (If you’re a Christian, I encourage you first and foremost to pray through this decision. God hasn’t provided you with this opportunity to just abandon you. He will give you peace and a path. Trust Him.) Ask your friends or any experienced home educator what program she’s using. A personal review from someone you trust will mean the world. Go with whichever program brings you a sense of peace, seems complete, and you believe will work well for you. Then . . .
3. Keep your eyes on your own lane.
If you need to, stay off Instagram and blogosphere rabbit holes that are always offering a better way or a new thing. Trust your judgment, sweet friend. If you chose the program and it seems wholesome and complete, then I can promise you that it’s more than sufficient for preschool.
4. Remember that this is pre-school.
I’ll go ahead and say it—you don’t have to have a preschool program. Your child doesn’t have to know letter sounds, how to write his name, or the days of the week before beginning kindergarten (at home or in a school). These little sponges absorb more than we can imagine without any effort from us. While you may desire to use a program in order to give a bit more structure and focus to your day (which is a good thing!), don’t feel pressured to adopt a formal program and do it every day. You’re the mama, and you know your child, your family, and your season best. If you decide to simply go for a walk each day, read good quality books, and spend time singing songs and playing imaginatively, you’ll be creating a beautiful and complete preschool experience.
Making the decisions to homeschool can be a frightening thing, even for K4. I have been there and fully understand the apprehension and anxieties that can be at play. But know that you won’t be in this alone. There are millions of homeschoolers walking alongside you, and pretty soon, likely millions more. You’ve brought your sweet toddler this far—teaching him to speak, walk, use the toilet, and feed himself. Teaching at home is the next, natural step.
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