From the HSLDA E-lert Service:


2/17/2011 4:46:59 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru the Early Years Newsletter

HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru the Early Years Newsletter
February 2011 -- Keeping Preschool in Perspective

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Dear Friends,

I didn't go to kindergarten, nor did I have the benefit of a preschool
program, yet I might be perceived by some to be a well-adjusted,
academically adequate, productive person. As recently as 20 years ago,
kindergarten was a half-day program in most areas, with an emphasis on
school readiness. If there was an afternoon component (usually to save
bus mileage in rural areas), it consisted of nap time, snack time, and
play-based learning. Preschool was optional, primarily for those "of
means," and met usually a few half-days a week.

Fast-forward to today: Lowered compulsory school attendance ages in
some states and the common use of standardized testing for even the
youngest children are among the catalysts for increased academic
expectations for the pre-kindergarten child, often causing anxiety and
pressure for both parents and preschoolers. Renee and Mike Mosiman,
authors of "The Smarter Preschooler: Unlocking Your Child's
Intellectual Potential" (2009, Brighter Insights Press), found that "in some cities,
the competition to get into the best preschool is so fierce that
admission requirements include testing, interviews, and stellar
recommendations." (Reminds me of the selective college admission

The Mosimans continue, "Some parents even pay thousands of dollars for
preschool consultants to help their child get a coveted spot. For some
preschools, long waiting lists are not uncommon." (Mosiman, pp. 2-3)
These waiting lists include a considerable number of children who are
yet to be born, with parents anxious to get their children on the fast
track to the best schools!

Lest you think the Mosimans eschew early learning, let me assure you
that they "believe it is your responsibility as a parent to unlock
your preschooler's intellectual potential," but they "urge you to
create an intellectually stimulating environment, not an
intellectually demanding one." (Mosiman, p. 3)

In an intellectually stimulating environment, described in detail in
their book, parents aren't as concerned with racing to the next
milestone as they are cultivating their child's talents, strengthening
his or her weaknesses, and providing experiences--"hooks" on which to
"hang" their future learning.

Five foundational abilities fostered in the preschool years release
the child's learning ability: independence, order, self-control,
concentration, and service. In "Mommy, Teach Me!"
Montessori-teacher-turned-homeschool-mom (of 12) Barbara Curtis shares
activities, tips, and techniques to help your preschooler develop
these abilities and to thrive at home.

Mary Kay Smith, editor of "The Virginia Home Educator," recently
shared a comforting and freeing perspective on preschool in her fall
2010 editorial :

"In our house it is clear that all men are not created equal. In fact,
the self-evident truths suggest very strongly otherwise. This was
driven home to my youngest daughter and me as we watched her physics
professor lecture on computer memory. We like the professor a great
deal and have learned a lot in this course, but it is quite obvious
that his mind and our minds are nowhere near equal."

"Recently we listened in awe as he discussed flip-flop semiconductor
memory and explained his logical NOR gate circuit chart. But we just
couldn't help it. As he went over the chart--and rapidly over our
heads--the two of us looked at the diagram and discussed how we'd
color it in."

"We won't be applying for a science scholarship."

Your children aren't equal either. That realization might make you
panic a bit at first, but in the end it should be liberating. There
are two things about your preschool children I'd like to say clearly:
The first is that it is important to give your children the freedom to
be the people God made them to be. Yes, you need to expose them to
every subject, but, just as you can't--and shouldn't want or expect
to--turn willow trees into oaks, you can't force your artistic
children to become mathematical geniuses (or the other way around).

The second thing is that we're dealing with preschool here. You don't
have to start with all the information your children will ever need to
know in life. It is important to remember that "pre" means "before."
Preschool children are not in school yet. This is the time to play
with your kids, read to them, take them on field trips, and teach them
skills at home. You don't need a curriculum in order to teach
colors--go for walks in your garden and point them out. You don't need
a curriculum in order to teach counting--take your kids grocery
shopping and count the items in your cart. You don't need a curriculum
in order to teach measuring--bake cookies together. You don't need a
curriculum in order to teach matching--sort socks from the clean
laundry. You don't need a curriculum in order to teach shapes--hunt
for shapes through the rooms in your house.

What you need instead is a guide--ideas for activities, resources, and
skills that will help prepare your children for kindergarten. After
all, one of the wonderful benefits of homeschooling is flexibility and
the chance to tailor your program to your own children. So relax and
just enjoy your kids. You can be assured that they are going to pick
up the skills they need. Remember that these skills are like potty
training: by the time your children get to college, no one will care
how old they were when they mastered them!

Wishing you a day of curiosity and wonder with a child,



Mary Kay Smith has homeschooled her three children from preschool to
college. She is the editor of "The Virginia Home Educator," and she
writes and directs educational and biblical children's programs
locally and internationally. This excerpt appeared as the Letter from
the Editor in the fall 2010 issue of "The Virginia Home Educator," . Used with permission.


"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."
III John 4 (KJV)

"You Can Homeschool thru the Early Years!" (article and brochure)

"The Virginia Home Educator, Preschool Edition," Vol 16, Issue 4

"The Smarter Preschooler: Unlocking Your Child's Intellectual
Potential" by Renee and Mike Mosiman

Preschool Resources

"Typical Course of Study for Preschool"--World Book

"What to Do with Your Preschooler" by Vicki Bentley

"Mommy, Teach Me!" by Barbara Curtis

"Slow and Steady, Get Me Ready" by June Oberlander

"What Your Preschooler Really Needs" by Susan Lemons

"What Your Child Needs to Know When" by Robin Sampson
-> Who's knocking on your door?

When a social service worker arrives at your door, tension can run
high. Wouldn't it be nice to get your lawyer on the phone,
providing you with immediate step-by-step guidance?

More reasons to join HSLDA...

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