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Is PreK really Needed?


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I have been looking options over for this and just wondered what the Hive thinks. Is it really needed if your child isn't pushing for school? I am stressing over this one because I feel I failed my older two and don't want to repeat the same mistakes.

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Nope, definitely not. Talk, read books, play games, enjoy each other's (and siblings') company. Kids that age learn best through play anyway. Really, they do. And any PreK-type instruction will probably come naturally to you, and happen anyway - you will count, make silly rhymes, notice things outdoors, etc.

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Thank you. You just relieved my stress. That is what we do now. I just do things with my younger two as they are interested. For example, my 4 yr old is really into learning to write his name right now. I really didn't want to push him or my almost 3yr old.

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No. It isn't unless.... The studies that have been done to try to justify universal preschool have shown that if a child is in an home that lacks toys and books that they do benefit significantly from attending preschool. The studies did not find any benefit to kids from more typical homes. Limit tv, read to your child and let him play, and be imaginative. It is a much better use of a child's time.

 

Having said all that, if you are homeschooling older siblings, it is probably a good idea to have some "school work" for your pe-k student. We have Melissa & Doug letter and spelling puzzles, mazes, blocks, and such for the youngest. About once every other week she wants to join us at the table for school. Otherwise she does art and gets stories and lots of time to play and help around the house. I have RS A around and once a week or so, I read the next lesson and present it to her informally. I figure if she is counting everything in the house that it is a good time to stick some early math concepts in her little head.

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:iagree: I never did a formal PreK with my younger dc. My older 3 dc were enrolled in a Christian PreK program. No what? I cannot see any significant differences btwn the dc who were in a PreK program and those who just played, were read to, etc. The only thing would be if your dc really WANTED to do real "schoolwork", KWIM? My dd2 knows our school routine. At 9am I call all the school-aged dc to the table for school. There is dd2 saying, "Schooltime!" and hopping up to the table with a piece of paper and pencil in hand! It is soooo cute. She will draw, color and play with Lauri puzzles and toys, pattern blocks, Unifix cubes, etc. while everyone else does their work. Occasionally she'll "help" an older sibling with his/her work. :D

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If your child isn't asking for school, don't do it. You certainly wouldn't want to sour him/her on schooling. I agree with what has been said - an environment rich in language, toys which encourage imagination and exploration, and the example you show (reading, teaching your other kids, etc) will have such a great effect on your child's development and attitude toward learning.

 

There is a real social pressure out there to start schooling early. I picked up a free education magazine at the library, thinking it would have some fun summer activities in it. It was almost entirely on how to get your preschooler into the best private school kindergarten!!:confused1: I am not saying private school, preschool, or pro-active parents are bad. I was just shocked!

 

Have fun with them!

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I agree with these ladies completely. We made cookies, playdough, read stories & nursery rhymes, did crafts from library books and went on "field trips" to the zoo, to musuems, library reading hours, pick your own farms, etc. The only "schooling" we do were mazes and dot to dot to improve pencil skills and OPGTR when they wanted to learn to read. I started teaching letters before kindergarden, but could have easily waited until kindergarten.

 

I do some workbooks with with my younger son, but only because he wanted time to have school with mommy too.

 

Jill

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I spent the most amount of time with my oldest, and then my second oldest doing pre-school type activities. Due to time constraints, I haven't spent much time with children #3 & #4 doing pre-K type stuff. The amazing thing is that they've picked up on a lot of what they need to know by interacting with their brothers. For example, I never taught them their colors or numbers, yet they learned them relatively easily. It's a great benefit to have older siblings!

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The one thing I would recommend that has worked really well for us is to sit a pre-Ker down each day for a few minutes of "school." It doesn't matter what it is - coloring, practicing their name, reading a book and asking a question about it. Just to do something to get them used to having a set time in their day where you are going to require their attention. Start with about one minute and work up to about an hour over the course of the entire year. This makes the transition to K SO easy.

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I have a pre-K who will be five in early November. For her I am going to do some light schoolwork, because

 

A. She's already writing on her own and I'm concerned she'll establish bad habits.

 

B. She's the typical little sister- wants to do lots of school like big brother

 

C. She's old for pre-K...some parents would do K with her now but I know that would not be healthy for her.

 

D. She's already reading- I'd like to lay some very simple foundational skills to pave the way for when she's ready for a formal program (probably 100EZ)

 

So while it depends on the situation, I would normally agree, that just having a rich home life, is enough. I know I have not done any formal schooling with my younger one yet, except Developing the Early Learner (at her request) and she is really smart. She's also happy and well adjusted...

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I started working off and on with mine because I wanted to make sure school would go off smoothly when it was time--so he didn't feel like I was switching the rules on him midstream! But that's the only real purpose for it in my mind.

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I agree completely that preschool is not necessary if a child lives in a learning rich environment. One thing that we do here is to frequently do a unit study that everyone can enjoy, including the preschoolers. They love learning together. For example, we are about to receive our mail order caterpillars. We will all (5 dc from 14 to 2) learn about caterpillars and butterflies together. Of course each child will be learning about it on their own level but we are all doing it together. This gets my littles and often my big kids excited about learning.

 

Good luck to you.

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I'm really having to refrain from diving headlong into schooling my 4 yo. She's very interested, but I don't want to make it too rigid for her. I agree w. the other posters that the formal learning process can wait.

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I don't even find kinder necessary, so definitely not pre-k. I'm not against preschool at all; my oldest went for two years, her sister for one. But it's not needed at all, and I hate to see 'academics' push aside more important things (that is, I hate to see worksheets replace concrete learning).

 

My two were never *required* to do anything in kinder when we began hs'ing, and very little in first grade. They had no trouble making the transition to required school work.

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I'll bring up the other side... and say, "it depends".

 

Many children pick up things like colors, shapes, letters, sounds, etc from a rich environment. For many children, it's enough to read, talk, read some more. However, there are some kids for whom that isn't enough.

 

For those kids, I think having a well-planned pre-school learning plan can be very beneficial. I have a special needs learner; he doesn't pick up those skills unless specifically instructed. So for kids like him - I have seen amazing growth and tremendous benefit for him. He also loves feeling like a big kid and "doing school". That said, preK is about 1/2 hour a day (not including read alouds).

 

Just because you have a plan, doesn't mean it's burdensome seatwork. ;)

 

I invite you to visit my son's preK learning tools to see what he is using to learn. Many of the materials he is NOT ready for... but Kumon, and HWT preK are HUGE hits here.

 

Best wishes,

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I don't think it's necessary, but at times it's fun. DD goes through periods where she wants to do school, so we bust out the workbooks, memory work, etc. Usually lasts a few weeks, then we slack off again. I only go for any structure at this age because DD wants to. I'm perfectly content to have a ten-minute conversation about how spiders move and catch bugs, or what 'hoarse' means and what vocal cords are. (Both from this morning), let DD paint, let her play play dough, toss her outside and get her on her bike or exploring the yard, etc., and reading aloud to her.

 

Right now we're on a down cycle; with the weather heating up we'll probably bust out the books again in a week or two.

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Outside of beginning reading & math at 3.5 (at dd's request), we played all day, used FIAR, Story S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-R-S, and did crafts, lapbooks, nature study, went to the zoo & museums often, cooked, learned our phone number, address, days of the week, months of the year, seasons, and other stuff until 1st grade. Wait a minute! We did the same in 1st grade too, but through a more formal study of world geography, but also added in PLL for English.

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Pre-K definitely does not have to look like "school" (unless that's what the child wants!). My main goals were to work on fine motor skills/hand strength through lots of crafts/playdough so writing would be easier when we started K, and to work on attention span by gradually lengthening read-alouds. This translated to tons of time doing art activities and reading, which looked nothing like school, but laid an incredible foundation for a successful K year.

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I *LOVED* my kids preK years. We had so much fun! We were at the library at least once a week, sometimes twice a week. I kept out art supplies where they could easily reach them. I had a couple of open shelves, the beginning of my homeschooling I suppose, with lots of books, games and activities. I also had different types of paper, crayons, pencils, pens, and markers for them to explore and experiment. But I didn't have any kind of schedule or a set of goals. We just enjoyed ourselves. I should mention I hadn't even heard about homeschooling at that point though.

 

Then the real school years hit and those are some of my most unhappy memories. I forced my poor son to do stuff because of his AGE and didn't take into account his ABILITY. He was such an unhappy little 5 - 6 year old boy. Oh if I could go back and do it over again!

 

Children are different. My youngest daughter was ready for sit-down school work at the age of 5 though it was short bursts and could handle 30 - 45 min. sessions at age 6. My son, OTOH, really wasn't ready for formal work until age 9. Isn't hindsight a beautiful thing? :)

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Absolutely not. The push for pre-K came from studies that showed that wealthier children from homes with educated parents were more prepared for school, because they grew up in environments rich with language, art, music, and personal attention, while poorer children, who were often in substandard childcare arrangements while their parents worked, were not as prepared. So Head Start was supposed to level the playing field by giving the poorer children a more positive environment, educationally, that was supposed to mimic what the wealthy children were already getting at home.

 

Then, of course, everything sort of ballooned as the wealthy people (who were ALREADY giving the kids what they needed) freaked out and decided that it was essential that their kids get the perfect preschool education or else they'd be doomed to educational failure. And it all went downhill from there. But a fancy preschool curriculum isn't the least bit important, so long as someone is talking to and playing with the child, doing little craft projects now and then, singing a few songs, reading books to them. And it's not even like you have to do this 24/7: they need plenty of alone time to play and exercise their imaginations, too!

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No. The only reason I am using a PreK curriculum is b/c *I* need the structure. My ds4 wants "school", lately we've photocopied dd7's math for him to do his alongside her. I need it to provide a day to day schedule that will move him forward in concepts. I just need it...for a lot more reasons. I know others say not to do anything but read and stuff but he wants to do more- he wants to be like his big sister. He wants his own time with me, and I can do that. With a program, I don't have to "figure out what to do" each day. I can present new learning experiences to him and we can explore them together.

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For pre-K, we did the Rod and Staff books and Singapore Early bird maths. We read a lot and that was our pre-K for my twins. My 9 year old did Calvert for pre-K with me and my eldest went to school for that.

 

Elmery(with J12, C9, R7, L7)

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For those kids, I think having a well-planned pre-school learning plan can be very beneficial. I have a special needs learner; he doesn't pick up those skills unless specifically instructed. So for kids like him - I have seen amazing growth and tremendous benefit for him. He also loves feeling like a big kid and "doing school". That said, preK is about 1/2 hour a day (not including read alouds).

 

Just because you have a plan, doesn't mean it's burdensome seatwork. ;)

 

I invite you to visit my son's preK learning tools to see what he is using to learn. Many of the materials he is NOT ready for... but Kumon, and HWT preK are HUGE hits here.

 

Best wishes,

:iagree: Had to agree with this one. So many hands on fun ways to learn. We made numbers out of speghetti yesterday. She loved it.

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I taught my pre-k'ers with age appropriate materials, just as I taught them when they turned 8 years old or 12 years old. We used Before Five in a Row and Five in a Row, plus Bible, Awana, and poetry memorization. We also did the customary zoo trips, library visits, children's museum, lots of arts and crafts, tons of read alouds, parks and rec classes, And plenty of hours to just play. :)

 

So no, I didn't do anything that looked like an actual preschool. We simply learned and played together, same as we do each year.

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Many children pick up things like colors, shapes, letters, sounds, etc from a rich environment. For many children, it's enough to read, talk, read some more. However, there are some kids for whom that isn't enough.

 

For those kids, I think having a well-planned pre-school learning plan can be very beneficial. I have a special needs learner; he doesn't pick up those skills unless specifically instructed.

 

Very true. Depending on the need, "school" (beginning with some physical therapy) could start shortly after birth!

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I have to agree with Darcy on this one. It really does depend. I didn't do any formal pre-k with my daughter, and she learned colors, shapes etc without any concious effort on our part.

 

My son, however, is one year before his required K reporting begins, and he has only just learned his colors because I figured I better sit down and teach him. It didn't take long at all - I just had to go over it and play games a couple of times, and he stopped calling green "orange" etc. Same thing with the alphabet. He seems to do a lot of learning through osmosis ;) But there are also some things that need to be covered, and a pre-k program is nice to use as a checklist to see if your child is on track, or to give you some ideas of fun things to do.

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I'm with Jessica- I need the structure so I'll be buying a pre-k curriculum. I didn't need it with my oldest because he had a lot of time with just me and it was easy to do learning activities together. I need the structure with ds who will be 4 just to give me something concrete to do with him where I know he will get mommy time all to himself. I read to him and he joins in with big brother's stuff, but I just want to make sure he gets some alone time with mom too.

Beth

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So for ya'll who do use a structured preK, and I am thinking with my crew and knowing me, I am going to need the structure, what would you use? I don't want just workbooks.I want arts and crafts, songs, stories, basic academics mixed in, all bits and pieces, open and go NO planning for me. I would prefer secular and not cost $400.

 

I have looked at Calvert but read reviews that they spend loads of time on colors and shapes, then rush through numbers and letters at the end.

 

I realize this has been asked repeatedly, probably by me!

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So for ya'll who do use a structured preK, and I am thinking with my crew and knowing me, I am going to need the structure, what would you use? I don't want just workbooks.I want arts and crafts, songs, stories, basic academics mixed in, all bits and pieces, open and go NO planning for me. I would prefer secular and not cost $400.

 

I have looked at Calvert but read reviews that they spend loads of time on colors and shapes, then rush through numbers and letters at the end.

 

I realize this has been asked repeatedly, probably by me!

 

Winter Promise has I'm Ready to Learn, which has crafts and songs. No stories, but you can add your own.

 

I think Horizons PreK has songs and activities if you buy the TM and resource pack.

 

Some people use MFW K as a PreK program.

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I admit they were not homeschooled for PreK but went to a Montessori school. There were expectations on them they really weren't ready to meet. In truth, the first year I homeschooled them I had the same mentality so if they were home I would have done it to them too. Even simple expectations, like drawing and counting "skills" can be stressful when they become an expectation for a given young age.

 

It took me years to lighten up. My son learned all this and more almost on his own, with just the exposure I offered when it was natural. He knew numbers, letters, sounds, etc. Ironically, he learned to color well just last year at 7 when his 2-year-old little sister suddenly colored in the lines and without holes in her coloring. Nothing like that kind of pressure to motivate a kid, huh? He colors as well as any average boy his age now. Imagine that. I'm glad I assumed he wouldn't go into adulthood not knowing how to color.

 

I also didn't jump through hoops for "enriching" activities. I just shared life with him. I had the occasional guilt and thought about doing more but then I'd procrastinate and the feeling would pass. ;)

 

The end result? His confidence academically is far stronger at his age than his sisters' confidence had been, and advanced, though that could just be natural ability. He's just as eager to complain about school time but isn't any less likely to do it.

 

My 3-year-old is not doing any PreK this year or next, other than things she loves and keeps her busy, like puzzles and coloring. She loves coloring but, unlike her brother at that age who couldn't color, she can't seem to learn the names of her colors and certainly doesn't know her numbers. Somehow I think she'll know her colors before she graduates though so I'll refrain from flash cards. :001_wub:

 

When you think about it, academics were far higher 60 years ago when kids didn't even go to kindergarten, let alone pushed into PreK. Maybe there's a pattern.

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It's funny--when people say PreK or no PreK, they can mean totally different things. Even if they mean program (like Horizons Prek) or no program, it still needs to be defined.

 

I am going back to teaching preschool next fall (brick and mortar). Can I honestly say it's a necessary part of children's lives? Well, sort of. On one hand, when you define preschool curriculum as learning to write by teaching each letter's formation thru drill, learning math with just rote counting, etc--then no, I don't think so. Yet even that content can be taught in an appropriate way. But if you define it as offering a rich environment in which a predetermined skill set is taught, using whatever is developmentally appropriate to that child, then ok. Can it be done at home? Sure. Can it be done in a very relaxed way? Absolutely. Can it be left to the environment, and simply be based on daily life? If your daily life includes paying attention to your child, reading, offering new experiences, and that sort of stuff, well SURE!

 

When I teach preschool, I am aware that I was taught that the curriculum

1. Is what actually happens, not what I plan

2. Is both obvious and hidden

3. Should be based on what the child needs, as determined by close

observation. Those "needs lists" can be arbitrary--so be careful.

4. Varies from child to child

 

It's more the way it's taught than what is taught that determines if preschool is appropriate. But is it necessary? I really don't think so.

 

Again, if you define preschool as a time of teaching the very beginning academic skills (and there's debate about what constitutes those skills, even!), it could be appropriate, but it may not be necessary, as those skills can be taught later without detriment for most kids.

 

Oh dear, I don't think I'm making sense.

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My 4 year old gets read to, alot! From quality children's literature, and he also sits in on many of the books I read to ds6 for school. He spends a lot of time outdoors. He does alot of artsy type stuff: cutting, glueing, coloring. I also play games with him a few times a week: memory, candy land, etc...he learned counting, colors, shapes and all the letter sounds simply through osmosis of reading, playing, and talking to him. :001_smile:

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Is it really needed? I would say absolutely not!

 

My 2 kids both go to a Montessori School 2 mornings a week where they don't push the kids in academics. I don't do it because I think they "need" it, but because I love it and so do they :)

 

On a side note, I am glad they get to do crafts at school because I hate crafts!

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I think the earlier we teach them to love learning the better. I feel what you do during those preschool and pre-k years depends greatly on the child, though. My dd attended a 3 day a week, half day pre-k, and really enjoyed it while learning a lot.

 

I started homeschooling her in 3rd grade when our ds was 2. He started asking to do school then. He really wanted to do so because he saw his big sister doing it. I thought since he was an active boy he would need hands-on, really spiced up learning, but none of that was interesting to him. I picked up a couple of workbooks in the grocery store and he LOVED them. I can't keep enough workbooks for him. We took a break for Christmas and told him when we would start back doing school, and he said "Let's never stop again!". We read books from the library (fiction and non-fiction). We did A Beka K4 phonics (because it was designed for early reading). He is reading short vowel words and now the 2 vowel rule. We did Bob Jones K math because he is strongly mathematical. We are all ready moving into 1st grade level work.

 

Because he wanted to do it and was ready, I would have done him a disservice not to go ahead. I feel like it's going to take pressure off during the years we "have" to homeschool because he's all ready ahead.

 

Hope this helps,

Amy of GA

11yo dd

5yo ds

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  • 1 month later...
Outside of beginning reading & math at 3.5 (at dd's request), we played all day, used FIAR, Story S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-R-S, and did crafts, lapbooks, nature study, went to the zoo & museums often, cooked, learned our phone number, address, days of the week, months of the year, seasons, and other stuff until 1st grade. Wait a minute! We did the same in 1st grade too, but through a more formal study of world geography, but also added in PLL for English.

 

2nd this is exactly what we did this past year. DS 4 DD 2

 

http://theboughfamily.blogspot.com/

 

We are doing much the same for the next six months with the addition of more bible. My son loves bible stories! If anyone is interested in that avenue, we are using BOZ the Green Bear Next Door for my DDwhich is a wonderful video/workbook series where you can download curriculum guides online. My DS requires more intensive bible time and I found a wonderful Sunday school program that is easily adapted to homeschool by

 

http://www.discipleland.com/index.phtml?ckc=0

 

This curriculum has some simple activity pages, sticker pages, and crafts. My husband and I spend a Sunday afternoon preparing craft projects for the this next month and can't wait to get started.

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on the flip side of things, it is more necessary for the older child (6) than for the actual preschooler that the preschooler do some kind of school. otherwise my 6yo feels it is unfair that he is the only one having to do school! things are much better now for my 6yo now that my preschooler in interested in doing reading, math and her beginning logic workbook. he is much more willing to do his own work now that he sees that his preschooler sibling has work to do as well (and she loves it)

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I thought I would share you my experience with my eldest when he was 4.

 

Here is my story. . When my son was 4, he was not interested in doing anything "school stuff". I bought work books and thought he'll enjoy them, but he never did. So finally, I stopped doing it because every time I take out the alphabet flash cards and work books he started crying. I didn't do much after that but I read to him a lot. That he actually enjoyed. When he turned 5, I enrolled him to a kindergarten school and I thought he'll be ready, boy I was wrong!!!. Every morning he would cry and beg me to stay at home. So after 3 mos, I pulled him out of school. Everyone was not happy about that decision including my husband. They thought I give up easy but deep in my heart I know that my son was not simply ready. So the remaining of that year was spent in reading to him and we would go outside and play, we would walk in the park and listen to every sound we hear. He enjoyed that part very much. Then out of the blue one day before he turned 6, he said I want to learn how to read. I was so happy!!! I took out my Explode the Code Set, Bob Books and Phonics Pathways. It took him less than a month to learn his letters and sounds. We would do 10 min a day of reading and before he turned 7, he was reading really well. Not a cry or complain from then on. And now, he's eight, I would never think that this child never liked school. Now,he always has a book to read, way ahead in Math, loves to learn science, curious about everything.

 

What is my advice, and what do I believe... that kids learns when they are ready. They don't need to be pushed. All they need is a happy childhood with a lot of play time. Trust me, as long as you have books in your house, that a child can open up and look at, as long as you let them play so they can see and hear and imagine and of course as long as you read to them all the time, Preschool is not necessary. Preschool is just a title, if your child is playing, being read to and happy, he is in preschool. Just relax, and enjoy your kid and enjoy his childhood. Everything will be fine.:001_smile:

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IMO, I don't think a formal program is needed...the learning just happens with reading, etc., and older sibs. I think you may find that your preschoolers may want their own workbooks and such once they see their older siblings have them. That is what happened with each of my kids. :) This past year, my 4 yo had to have his own book for each "subject," just like his sisters. And he really did the work, too. He loves Singapore Math (he started with the Early Bird series) and ETC. But we didn't start with those programs...his first "curriculum" items were just workbooks from B&N or Borders.

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Kind of funny...as soon as I clicked "submit" on my message above, my ds (5 at the end of Aug), the one I was talking about regarding wanting to do what his sister did, came to me with his Singapore 1A book and said "you don't even have to tell me what to do on this page...I figured it out" -- and he did! :001_smile: Now he is off to get his science book...

 

See, even if you don't have a structured program, they pick it up. :001_smile:

 

Good luck! Enjoy!

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I don't think it's necessary either. Especially as a child with older siblings, they'll pick an amazing amount of stuff up just being around!

 

Sylvia's not going to end up attending preschool (it's just a short church MDO program that Becca went to - 2 days a week). Becca really went more for fun than any academic reason, so I'm not overly concerned with what Sylvia is going to "learn" at home with us. We read a lot and she has an inexpensive preschool workbook for when she wants to do a worksheet. She'll get to do crafts for science and history right along with Becca.

 

My goals for her over the next 2 years are simple. I want her to learn to read and write her letters and numbers. But that's a 2 year goal, and I'm not in a rush at all. :001_smile: If she's interested in anything I will certainly facilitate her, but I'm not pushing her for anything. I had the same approach with Becca - she was interested in learning to read and write - I simply facilitated her.

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