Why Homeschool Preschool?

Homeschooling the Preschool Years

This post originally appeared in 2011; given the current pubic school situation, I thought it was worthwhile to draw attention to it again.

Years ago, when my youngest child was three, I felt he was ready for preschool. Certainly not all three year olds are ready for any type of school; but he liked the idea of school, didn't resist preschool-style learning, and seemed eager and "do school." Yet I didn't send him off for a part-day somewhere away from home; instead, we did preschool at home. I did the same with my first born...and I never regretted it. (Not even once!) In fact, those homeschool preschool days are something we look back on with fondness.

Why did I do it? Well, for one thing, it was just plain fun to see my kids grow excited about learning - and I loved that they did this without developing the notion that only an official teacher was worth listening to or that they had to be separated from their family in order to learn. I also felt that, especially in those tender years, I wanted to help shape and mold my children with morals and views of the world that my husband and I felt were right and true.

Was I worried about socialization? Not even a little bit. First of all, my kids played with the neighborhood kids at our home and at the park playground. We sometimes went to play groups, too. Second, I don't think sticking kids into a group of other kids their own age is much of a life skill. In real life, we socialize with people of all ages. That said, even if you don't feel homeschool is what you want for most of your child's school career, there's much to be said for homeschooling them during the preschool and kindergarten years.

My main reason for doing homeschool preschool was this: What better way to infuse a love of learning than to pop your child onto the safety and love of your lap while he gains knowledge about the world?

LinkFor those who are concerned that preschool at home may hurt children, consider that many studies find this simply isn't true. A Stanford University study that looked specifically at preschools and the children attending them concluded: "We find that attendance in preschool centers, even for short periods of time each week, hinders the rate at which young children develop social skills and display the motivation to engage classroom tasks, as reported by their kindergarten teachers."

The C.D. Howe Institute, examining the issue for Canada, discovered that children who attended preschool away from home were more likely to be anxious and hyperactive, that they had worse social skills than children who didn't attend preschool, and were more likely to be disobedient and have other behavior problems.

The University of Cambridge, looking at early education in the U.K., cites a number of studies that show pushing academics at an early age is at best pointless and at worst harmful.

These are just the beginning of studies that show preschool outside the home contributes to weaker family life, less time spent outside, and less sleep for children.

On the other hand, homeschool preschool is an excellent choice for children who are eager to learn, but are young enough that a playful, laid back approach that develops a true love of learning is desired. And the funny thing is, most moms already homeschool their preschoolers. Think about it: Have you read your child a picture book? Pointed to an object or animal and said what it is? Picked up an item and named it's color? Named an object's shape? This is all preschool learning.

More on Homeschool Preschool

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10 Ways to Save on Homeschool Supplies

How We Homechool on a Shoestring Budget 

The 7 Wonders of the World Projects 

Free Art History Curriculum 


  1. I never knew those stats, but I have done homeschool preschool with my children from the time they were three, we do arts and crafts, field trips, and just fun things every day!

  2. I am taking a very casual approach to preschool for my 3 year old son (my oldest). He would rather play or color than have structured learning so I am attempting to incorporate "games" that teach and he is responding well. I'm excited about any tips you have to share!

  3. Shari, that's exactly how I'm doing it, too. In fact, I think it's vital to follow your child in this area. At this tender age, we certainly don't want them to associate learning with something negative.

    Mindi, that's great!

  4. I actually homeschool my 8 and 7 year olds, so naturally I homeschool preschool. :) It is fun. My 4 year old is loving learning how to write her letters by finger painting them or gluing scrap paper to the letter that I've drawn for her. I find it best to just think like a kid! I am always open for new ideas and tips, so I'm looking forward to your posts. With my older two.... curriculum, curriculum, curriculum. LOL I'm just too nervous to tackle getting them through school with no guidance. But I love that I can pick and choose what curriculum works for them, so we use a mixture.

  5. I think my oldest might have done better had we homeschooled preschool, although he really lovedschool. My second child I don't think fits the studies, but also each child/person is different anyway.

  6. Did you read my mind or what?!

    Seriously, I was thinking of asking you about this topic. I know I'm teaching my little girl already--she can count sometimes (when she wants to or is highly motivated), knows bunches of words, knows most of her colors and shapes, etc., etc., but I feel like there's more I can be doing.

    Of course, I caught her saying a 10+ word sentence the other day... kind of blew my mind! I want to teach her to read before kindergarten, and I know I need to start soon, and get into the swing of things since my little guy is apt to have learning difficulties (it's one of the common things with the genetic condition he has.) :/ Which is all the more reason to work with him early--maybe we can circumvent any future learning problems with a head-start.

    Looking forward to the future posts!!!

  7. Great, Liberty! I would just caution you a little about the reading. By all means, attempt to teach her before K, but as I have learned the hard way, the time when reading "clicks" for kids varies a GREAT deal. A few click at 4, but most are older. My own daughter has known her phonics since before she could talk. Then she learned the sounds two or more letters make. But only just now, at 6, has reading *really* clicked for her.

  8. Hi Kristina, this is such an important topic and I am so glad you posted about it. Children need their parents... the longer children stay around their parents more secure and confident they are. At their own pace they begin doing things on their own. It's so sad that at 4 weeks old babies are put in day cares to be cared for ALL DAY LONG by complete strangers. I know sometimes the MOM and DAD work BUT I have seen situations where although one parent stays home they put the child in day care because that is just what everybody does. :(

    As for homeschooling your preschooler... I believe we should just do life and forget the classroom concept. School can be very restraining. There are so many ways that children learn their shapes, colors, numbers and letters without ever having to recite them or do worksheets or silly songs (nothing wrong with none of these).

    I homeschool all my children and until they ask to learn to read or ask me to "do school" I don't begin any school work. My children usually begin phonics at 5.5-6 years old and in 6 months they are reading. My son who is 6.5 y.o. began his Kindergarden phonics program last December and he is finishing 2nd grade phonics. He is an independent reader and can read books like Jake Maddox and Hank the Cowdog. He is also starting 2nd grade Singapore math.

    For his preschool, we did lots of play time outside, lots of good and healthy food, we read tons of books and anything else they could want. He learned his numbers, colors and everything else without us realizing he was doing it.

    I know 3 languages fluently and I would like to suggest that learning anything is like learning a language. The more you immerse yourself in it and everything that has to do with it the easier it is. It becomes second nature to you. Think how you learned how to speak when you were a toddler. You heard English all day long, people interacted with you. You went from being a listener to understanding but not being able to respond... after a few more months you began saying words... with everything else I believe that is how it works too.

    Parents need to RELAX and enjoy their kids instead of worrying so much about what they are learning and how fast and who is keeping up with whom. :)

    BTW, my 20 mo. old baby can hold a pencil, crayon and pen and scribble and color. She saw the others doing it and wanted to do the same. My other daughter when she was barely 3 y.o. could use scissors like a pro. Children want to naturally learn... we need to let them be free to do so.

    My $0.02. :)