Recently, I’ve heard a lot of people promoting the idea of enrolling in a public charter school for Preschool (Transitional Kindergarten) and Kindergarten so that a family can get funds for classes and supplies. But exactly what kind of classes and supplies do you need for kids under “school age”? When we first started homeschooling it was because we wanted to do things differently than the public schools. It wasn’t that I thought I could do school better at home. And we didn’t start off as unschoolers. Especially for Pre-K and K, I thought my sons just weren’t just ready for a classroom situation yet and wanted to hold off on academics. I’d read about delayed academics and thought it was a good fit for my sons. They were active and inquisitive and really didn’t seem to look like they were ready to sit still and learn to read and write yet. I had already started to look into homeschooling and I knew preschool wasn’t required in California. I knew that kids were just as ready for school if they played freely and were read to instead of going to preschool, so we held off on that. Then I found out that Kindergarten is also not mandatory. My sons were perfectly happy not going to school so far. They were reading and writing, playing games, going places and learning every day. Why would I send them away to learn?
So my husband and I decided that we would use Kindergarten as a test kind of year. We would make and keep all the records required of us as a private school, but not file as one since Kindergarten isn’t mandatory. If it was working, then we’d file the following year when our oldest entered first grade.
It worked very well and we’ve continued for the last 11 years!
So what do you need to homeschool Pre-K and Kindergarten? Here’s a list.
- A public library.
- An internet connection and a way to print things.
- A car to get places, or a bus pass and time.
- Food. Lots of it.
- Happy and loving parents.
You don’t need a curriculum. Everything your child needs to learn in Kindergarten is available online for free. They need to play, explore, create and have a loving parent around to help them find things.
They also don’t need classes. They may want to explore something like scouts, though. And the city’s parks and recreation classes are pretty cheap for experiencing some new thing and socializing with other kids. The park is a great place for finding friends and cooperative play. Local homeschool groups on Facebook are great for finding friends to go to the park with!
If you live near a museum, zoo, or regional/national park, it’s a great investment (if you can) to get a family membership. If you can’t swing the cost, watch Facebook groups for free days and group tickets. Or put together a field trip/tour yourself and invite your local group.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that you really don’t want to be distracted by what a third party (school) is going to tell you that you NEED to do to give your child a good start. Take your child’s education into your own hands, especially for Pre-K and Kindergarten. Give it a try on your own first, when your kids really do just want to be with you.
Take this time to learn about education, read books, go to conventions, talk with veteran homeschoolers, follow blogs. There’s so much more out there than the public school route. If you find later on that your kids would like to take outside classes or buy science kits and curriculum you just can’t afford on your own, then by all means, use the public charters! That’s what public education should be, something to boost people up so that all kids can have access to education supplies. But don’t let the system tell you that your 4 or 5 year old needs to be in several classes, learning to read and write formally, and studying math and science through a step by step curriculum to succeed in this world. They don’t. They need you showing them what it means to be a human. They need you to read to them whenever they want and to introduce them to new stories, places, and experiences. They need you to ask them questions and listen to them talk. They need you to answer their questions and show them how you find the answers. They need to see the wonder that you express when you find something interesting. All of that is free and unregulated. Try it!