I originally published this post on July 13, 2012. Our daughter will be five this fall, but my thoughts on preschool are largely the same. Because of when our daughter’s birthday falls, she won’t be starting kindergarten for one more year. While we considered a nature based preschool for next year, we ultimately decided the best thing for our family is for her to stay home again this year. We will take advantage of our church’s program for children, story time at the library, play dates with friends, outdoor excursions, etc.

Our daughter turns three this fall, so I’ve been getting the preschool question lately.  About half of all three and four year olds are enrolled in some type of classroom so it’s a natural question to ask. And the answer is no, we’re not planning on sending her to preschool.

And we’re not even doing a formal “preschool at home.” I agree with Carletta Sanders when she says, “I’ve finally relaxed and embraced the truth about preschool – preschoolers can learn everything they need to know in the school of life.”

So we talk about colors as we sort the laundry. And we count as we pick up the toys. And we read tons and tons of books together. And we search Pinterest for some fun and simple projects. And we play. We do lots of learning through play. We go to the grocery store, church, the park and friend’s houses.

Some people have expressed concern about us not sending our child to preschool. I’ve also heard parents talk about feeling guilty for not sending their kids, wondering if their kids are missing out on something vital to their future.

When I hear people talk about preschool, I hear two major reasons for sending them: academic and social readiness for kindergarten. Before I tell you my thoughts on each, let me be clear that these are my opinions on what is best for our family. I do not know you, your kids or your situation so I will not pretend to know what’s best for you and your family. Sharing my thoughts on preschool, I have two audiences in mind: those looking for encouragement because they feel alone not sending their kids to preschool and those interested in reasons why others’ kids are not sent to preschool.

Academic

Children learn two of the most difficult tasks during their first two years of life: walking and talking. And most kids do this with little formal help. Instead, they are supported and cheered on by their parents. Through simply playing, our daughter has learned the ABCs, her colors, and how to count. Therefore I believe that, barring any unforeseen complications, my daughter can learn anything she needs to know on the academic front without a formal preschool setting.

Social

Many people recognize that children can learn at home. But what about proper socialization: learning to share, take turns, stand in line, sit still, etc? I think proper socialization is much more than being able to interact well with peer groups. Outside of school, people do not spend time working, playing or living with others who are all the same age. I want my daughter to learn how to interact well with people of all ages and I think our family can accomplish this more easily outside of a preschool setting.

To take it one step further, three and four year olds aren’t necessarily the people I want my daughter to learn the majority of her social skills from. After all, they’re still learning themselves and have a tendency to spread their bad habits around. Sometimes my daughter comes home from the church nursery with a new bad habit. And I’m sure she has instilled some bad habits into other children. While I certainly want her to interact with kids her age, my husband and I want to be the ones who spend the most time with her and have the most influence on her at this tender age.

The Bottom Line

Since I already stay at home and believe our daughter can excel both academically and socially without preschool, we’ve decided that sending her to preschool just doesn’t make sense for our family situation. And, as a wonderful bonus, it saves us money that we can put toward experiences as a family.

What are your thoughts about preschool?

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