Preschool Homeschool: Why I Ditched the Alphabet

If you are mom to a preschooler and are eager to homeschool you probably do it. I know I do it. I’m pretty sure we all do it. We scour the internet (mostly Pinterest), looking for cute alphabet and themed activities to get our little learners off to a jump start. We may plan a week around the letter B, going on bug hunts, putting bug stickers on a letter B and making all kinds of bug crafts. If you are like me, you even order a curriculum complete with everything you need to teach your toddler or preschooler well.

I know the research. It talks about the importance of delaying structure, of letting children learn at their own pace, of not pushing too hard. Suddenly it all clicked. I was loving this academic side of learning, but it wasn’t how Samuel learned best. His mind is not quite so systematic. He likes things in smaller chunks, and while toilet paper spiders might be cute, he would much rather develop his fine motor and creative skills not being so confined at craft time. (I still might make a spider beside him, and he might want to follow suit, but halfway through he might abandon the spider and decide his tube would make a much better excavator – and that’s OK.) Samuel is excited about learning letters, but at his own pace, not through systematically learning a new symbol and sound every week.

Everything was becoming stressful for both of us and it was clear that Samuel was academically bored . . . so I ditched the alphabet and the structure, and the amount of learning going on exploded! Don’t get me wrong. I’m still being very intentional about learning. We have one time block every day when brother is napping. It’s still our special one-on-one “homeschool” time, but he chooses what we do. Some days we play outside or cook together In the kitchen, other days we read books and find YouTube videos about topics that are particularly interesting. Still other days we play games or work on art projects, play with alphabet magnets or even do work book pages. I make sure he has all sorts of things available to stretch his mind and open his world.

I was initially having a hard time writing this blog so I talked to the camera. That seemed to work a lot better. You can watch the video to find out more and check out the links below for more info on the importance of waiting to do more structured school with your kids. If you already think this type of approach is right for you and your little one but are afraid of what others will say, try it for a month, and keep some of the great resources below handy to share so you can show them the importance of starting slow.

School starting age: the evidence (an article posted by the University of Cambridge)

Research finds no advantage in learning to read from age five (article posted by the University of Otago)

Children Teach Themselves to Read (article published in Psychology Today)

The Benefits of Delayed Primary School Enrollment (a research report published by Wellsley College)

Better Late Than Early (a book by Raymond S. Moore. – contains a lot of research)

The Dangers of Early Schooling (a paper by Raymond Moore)

What do you think? What articles and information have you found to be helpful as you choose your homeschool methods and tactics?

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