Frequently Asked Questions for Preschool

 

Can I homeschool a preschool age child?

Yes you can. Preschool programs are not mandatory, so you do not need permission to keep your young child at home. If you choose to keep your preschool age child at home rather than sending him or her to daycare or preschool, you could consider yourself a homeschooler. Consider joining a local support group to meet other homeschoolers and make friends. If you need help finding local groups, check with your CHN Local Contact. CHN hosts several email lists where you can ask questions and make friends.

What should preschool age children learn?

The most important thing you can do with your preschool age children is spend time with them. Enjoy one another’s company and play together. Learning will come naturally. Encourage your children to ask questions, discover, explore, test ideas, make decisions, and consider consequences. Play games, visit museums, build with blocks, cut, glue, and color. Plan play-dates with friends and join in your local support group park days and field trips.

Read to your children often, tell stories, and encourage them to tell you stories. Sing the alphabet song and if your children show an interest, point out the sounds letters make. Early math and science skills can be gained by counting, observing shapes, measuring, identifying patterns, and/or grouping similar objects. You could visit the zoo, take a hike, build a tall tower, or mix colors of paint.

You can find tons of project ideas on the web, including a list of CHN preschool resources, and your local support group can help you connect with other homeschoolers and activities in your area. If you need help finding local groups, check with your CHN Local Contact.

I am not certain I want to homeschool my child. Should I still consider homeschooling him for preschool?

There is no institution or teacher, no matter how wonderful, who will ever love and care for your child as much as you do. Parents feel an instinctive urge to stay home with their young children, but our society pressures us to ignore that urge and place the child with strangers. Recent research shows that children in a preschool environment suffer a negative impact on their socialization. Things like bullying, separation anxiety, and peer pressure exist in all institutional school settings, including preschool. You CAN provide your child with a stimulating learning environment at home that will prepare him/her for whatever decision your family makes for school, and by keeping the child at home with you, you avoid the negative social aspects while providing him/her with plenty of social opportunities. Within the homeschool community, you can find the support and resources to keep your young child at home with you for preschool.

I have multiple young children. How can I balance the needs of my baby and still homeschool my preschoolers?

A preschool child does not need to follow a strict schedule and curriculum. When you homeschool, you are free to work with your child when it works in YOUR schedule. For example, you might read to your preschooler while the baby is nursing, or play a game with your preschooler while the baby is sleeping. When you are busy with the baby, you can place games, books, and toys out for your older child to explore. You may find that the baby can be included in some activities or you may find that having an occasional mother’s helper gives you more one-on-one time to spend with your preschooler. The key is to set reasonable expectations for yourself and your child, and to rest assured that even a day spent doing nothing but building with blocks is a day well spent.

Is there research that shows that children who attend preschool outside the home will do better in school?

No research has ever shown that children who attend a preschool have an advantage over children who learn at home. Common sense tells us that a child who is read to often, who is exposed to the alphabet, counting, sorting, and reasoning as a preschooler will be better prepared to learn reading and math than one who has never been exposed to those things. You could enroll your child in a preschool that would most likely be expose him/her to that type of material and prepare him/her for a traditional kindergarten classroom. But, by keeping your children at home, you are able to tailor their education to their specific interests, and you will recognize when your children are grasping a concept and ready to move ahead to the next level. You will also avoid the negative social impact that research has proven institutional settings have on young children.

My child attends preschool and suffers separation anxiety. How long will this last and is it normal?

Separation anxiety is normal. Every child has a natural instinct to stay close to those who protect and nurture him/her, and every parent has a natural instinct to keep the child close. The question is, should you ignore that natural instinct and push your child away? Children mature at different ages. Some will be ready to spend time away from their parents at a very early age, others will need to stay close well into their elementary years. If your child is upset or if you are uncomfortable, ask yourself why either of you need to feel this way. Could you find a way to stay home with your child until he/she is ready to separate from you? Are you being pressured by a school, teacher, or relative to separate before the two of you are ready, and why do you think that person’s opinion is more valid than your gut instinct? A homeschool support group or CHN Local Contact can help you find the support and resources you need to make a decision that is comfortable for both you and your child.

What is Universal Preschool?

The term Universal Preschool is used in the California Legislature to define publicly funded preschool. If Universal Preschool is initiated in California, preschools would be similar to kindergarten, available through your public school system and free.

A very different definition of Universal Preschool is posted on the Universal Preschool website. Their definition states that universal preschool is really “an unheralded worldwide community of loving, functional parents who nurture and teach their young children at home, sometimes with the occasional and thoughtful use of private and co-op preschool programs in their community.” The web site provides links to articles and news stories that explain the dangers inherent in a publicly funded universal preschool program, and it offers information and resources to assist families who choose to homeschool their preschoolers outside of a traditional institution.

CHN is opposed to the Universal Preschool legislation and is working to educate the community about the benefits of keeping preschoolers at home. Please email CHN if you have any questions pertaining to preschool!

Is kindergarten mandatory?

Kindergarten is not mandatory in California. Children who turn 6 years old by December 2 must enroll that year in a public school or one of the alternatives to public school. Once your child approaches school age, you can read about your different legal alternatives on the CHN Legal Options page.

If I homeschool my child through kindergarten, will s/he still be able to attend elementary school?

Yes, you may homeschool your child and choose to enroll in a traditional school at any time.

For homeschooled students entering elementary through junior high school, a school will usually ask for the child’s cumulative file. A cumulative file generally includes a student identification record including parents names, addresses, phone numbers, and schools attended. It also includes report cards, attendance records, and information on special evaluations and needs. For homeschooled students entering high school, a school will usually require a transcript. A transcript would include coursework completed, credits earned, and grades, if given.

For more information on keeping school records for your homeschooler, click here.

Happy child with painted handsWe are continuously compiling a list of links to help the parents of preschoolers. Please visit our Preschool Resource Page now!

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