[In my state, compulsory school attendance begins at age 5, with kindergarten (unless a kindergarten waiver is submitted). You can research your own state’s laws through the HSLDA’s website, here.]
My daughter is 3 years old. In the past 5-6 months, I have noticed a lengthening of her attention span and an eagerness to learn academic subjects (writing, phonics). I knew I would do preschool at home, so I began researching options. I quickly found that the approach highly depends on the goals of the parent. Do I want my kid to regurgitate facts? read or write at an early age? learn exclusively through play? study through “unit” plans?
Well… this is what I want for my child in the next two years:
I want her to spend as much time outdoors as possible, so that she can practice her developing gross motor skills. I want her to hang from the swing set, learn to swing herself, run around the yard, try to climb a tree, find rocks shaped like houses and triangles and hearts, lay in the grass and look at the clouds.
I want her to enjoy “school,” whatever it happens to look like for us. If she isn’t enjoying it, if it is just a chore to her, then it is wrong.
I want her to have some structure and rules around schooling, such as days and times when we will “do school,” working in a particular order and in a particular way. Doing things the right way (working page by page in a workbook, tracing letters in order left to right) is enjoyable. Kids don’t need to partake in reckless abandon in order to have fun.
I want her to practice and develop her fine motor skills for pencil-holding, page-turning, coloring with precision.
That’s it. If she comes out of the next two years writing or reading or doing any arithmetic, that would be great. If not? That’s alright, too. There are benefits to delaying formal schooling that resonate with me.