If there’s anything that the past two weeks have taught me, it is that sometimes the best plan is no plan.
For the past few months, we (read: I) have been gearing up to homeschool The Little Empress. This is a decision that we have been kicking around for quite awhile now. The cost of preschool in this area is staggering, hovering at just about $180 per month for a 2 day a week, 3 hour a day class at the cheaper preschools and shooting well over $300 for the same at higher-end preschools.
We got lucky and a grant allowed us to enroll TLE in a speech-therapy preschool at the same center she just graduated from. Same center, different program with a speech therapist that she’s already familiar with. This was such welcome news!
The catch is that the speech therapy preschool is only 12 weeks long. Rather than continue to hem and haw about whether or not to put her in another preschool program, we decided to just go for it. So while she is technically attending an outside preschool, we are still home educating. Thus: quasi-homeschoolers.
The past several months have been filled with me researching different preschool curriculum and methodologies, reading up on preschool and homeschool blogs, everything. After TLE graduated, I had a gameplan in place that I was sure… sure! … would help ease the transition.
So… what was that saying about the best laid plans? Yeah. You can probably guess how long it took me to realize that sticking to the plan wasn’t in the, well, plan.
So here I am, about week and a half in to it. Despite giving myself conniptions over the fact that I hadn’t printed all the printables that I’d downloaded nor have we completed any of the laid down lesson plans (thankfully written by someone else and not myself!) or any of the zillion and a half things I had “planned”, I finally realized something very important: TLE is learning and not through the structured things I’d planned. No, she’s learning organically, as we move through the day. Counting in sequence as I doled out cupcake liners. (She’s counted up to 15 — correctly — much to my astonishment!!) Naming colors as she threw them around in her ball pit. Playing with her alphabet toy on the refrigerator and singing along to the songs. Drawing on paper and telling us stories about the drawings.
Well, I’ll be damned.
I joined a local homeschooling group and attended a park playdate today. As I watched the kids and spoke with their moms about homeschooling, one thing struck me about all of them: the trust that their parents had in the children to learn.
I’m slowly beginning to think that part of the “problem” is an assumption that kids dislike learning. Not helping the matter is media aimed at kids where other kids are shown hating school. Yet kids are programmed to learn, primed to do so at a young age. And given the right opportunities, the right encouragement, they do learn. Boy do they learn!!
With that in mind, I’m backing off of the hard and fast curriculum. Other homeschoolers who have homeschooled preschoolers have given the same advice: let her learn through play. Play is how preschoolers learn best and it should be encouraged.
While I’m not completely giving up on the homeschool curriculum I downloaded (I’ll review it later) I can say that relaxing my plans and just letting her explore while I support her, seems to be the best course for now.