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 child to ask questions, discover, explore, test ideas,
make decisions, consider consequences. Play games, visit museums,
build with blocks, cut, glue and color. Plan play-overs with
friends and join in your local support group park days
and field trips.
Read to your child often, tell stories and encourage him to tell you stories. Sing the alphabet
song and if your child shows an interest, point out the sounds letters make. Early math and science
skills can be gained by counting, observing shapes, measuring, identifying patterns, 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
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 suffered 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 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 or 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
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 and they would most likely be exposed to that type of
material and prepared for a traditional kindergarten classroom, but by keeping your child at
home, you are able to tailor their education to their specific interests, and you will recognize
when your child is 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
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, 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 they are
ready to separate from you? Are you being pressured by a school,
a teacher, a 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
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 2nd 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 web page.
If I homeschool my child through kindergarten, will 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, 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.
We are continuously compiling a list of links to help the parents of preschoolers. Please visit our
Preschool Resource Page now!