The Key Word in Homepreschool is “Home”
Posted by homeschoolmentormom on February 1, 2010
I’ve been trolling the internet this weekend, looking to see what’s “out there” in the realm of homepreschool. I’ve seen many colorful and creative blogs, with pictures of beautiful children. I’ve seen pictures of “homeschool rooms” that look just like public schools–rooms with desks or tables lining the walls and rows and rows of bookshelves filled with books, art supplies, puzzles, games, and other “educational” toys and materials. I’ve seen blog after blog depicting tiny tots busily completing their “school work”. I’ve seen a pattern.
Isn’t it ironic? Preschools and elementary schools work hard to try to make their schools as home-like as possible…while many homepreschoolers/homeschoolers work hard to make their homes look and function like schools.
Don’t get me wrong. If you have the space in your home for a school room–you are truly blessed! If you have the money to spend on shelves full of “educational” toys and games–how wonderful! But don’t make the mistake of thinking that those things will make your homeschool successful…and don’t think that if you DON’T have them, your homeschool is doomed to failure.
I’ve homeschooled for 17 years now, and we’ve never had a dedicated “school room”. (Well, we had an office we called the “school room”-and some school did get done in there-but we’ve never had a room just for homeschool stuff.) We do “school” all around the house. During Bible, music, and story-time, we sit on the couch in the living room (or on the floor.) For art, games, and manipulatives we sit in the breakfast nook. When my children begin doing “seatwork” or written school work in Kindergarten or First grade, we did it in the breakfast nook as well (our china buffet has been repurposed to hold books, paper, and art supplies.) Some days my older children need quiet, and so they retreat into the office or even into their bedrooms to finish their work.
We store our games, puzzles and manipulatives in bookshelves or in the hall closet. Art supplies have been kept in the garage, utility room, kitchen cabinets, or in roll-out carts (in the kitchen.) And books–books line the walls of the hallways, spilling over into baskets here and there—and into the kid’s rooms, too. There usually isn’t a room in the house without books in it–not even the bathrooms.
Most of our books, educational toys and manipulatives come from yard sales or thrift stores. Some I earned as a Discovery Toys Representative, but most of our “educational” games were homemade. And my children haven’t suffered a bit.
((All this fits well with my philosophy that learning is a lifestyle, and that “school” is always in session. I will say that I would love to have a “school room”, but I think it’d be more of a library/craft room—a place for the boys to leave out their messy projects–models, sculpting and the like. Knowing us, I think we’d still do most of our “school” at the kitchen table.))
I’ve always believed that homeschool/homepreschools should be “home-y”; filled with light, plants and animals (if possible), and of course, love. All those fancy extras are wonderful to have, but they are not necessary; you can homepreschool/homeschool successfully without them. In fact, looking back, I think we’ve gotten the most use out of our “homemade” toys and learning materials.
Another way I see homepreschoolers/homeschoolers emulating the public schools is in the area of curriculum. We are always comparing ourselves and our homeschools to the public school’s standards. Most parents of preschoolers have fallen for the public school’s push for early academics, even though the issue has been studied (in depth) and proven to be misguided. (See tab The 4 R’s tab on “Readiness”.)
Homepreschoolers/homeschoolers should not hold the public schools up as our standard. They are failing the children of America. They overlook the most important things our children should be learning about—a personal relationship with our Lord, Jesus Christ; moral and character training, and life skills. Why would we want to copy them?
The simplest way to put it is this: Don’t bring the “school” into your home. Not their strict schedules, not their emphasis on early academics, and not their educational standards. The key word in homepreschool is “home.”
© 2010 Susan Lemons all rights reserved.