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Mrs. Patmore
11-13-2015, 10:39 AM
I'm the mother of a three year old whom I will homeschool officially, I suppose, starting in 2017, but I am drawn to this community and to homeschooling resources in general, not only to prepare for homeschooling, but because I am not really sure that age five is the time to start everything, while doing nothing before. Perhaps it is, but it seems a bit arbitrary. We do things at home that would be classed as unschooling, or ordinary play-based learning and reading enjoyable books aloud.

Because most of the three year olds I know are in preschool (and have been in what was once called daycare, but is now called preschool, since infancy), I feel already that I am doing something different from most, and seeking pre-homeschooling friends and my place in a larger homeschooling or pre-homeschooling community.

I am already finding this community to be helpful in addressing my planning questions (for 2017 and beyond), but I also have topics concerning life and learning right now that I would enjoy discussing. Would a pre-homeschooling category be possible?

alexsmom
11-13-2015, 11:02 AM
Oh wow! I hadnt ever noticed there wasnt a separate little row on the bookshelf for preschoolers.
If I have ponderings for my 3 year old, I just put them in with the regular unfiltered topics.

Theres so much debate and hair splitting about whether youre really a homeschooler until your (oldest) starts Kindergarten. I was always a philosophical homeschooler - I knew I would homeschool my kids if at all possible, from when DH and I decided to make a family. And there are accidental homeschoolers - who had no thought of homeschooling until circumstances were such that they came to the conclusion it was their best option. And the Refugee Homeschoolers, who dont seem to want to homeschool at all, are only doing it because PS isnt an option.

I think philosophical homeschoolers (pre-homies?) are in sort of a nebulous state - not in the full fledged, doing schoolwork every day, turning in reports to government officials, taking tests sort of stage.... but way more interested in their kids educations than someone just biding their time until the neighborhood kindergarten starts up.

I like the preschool age discussions here. :) Just stick them in wherever you feel like. Recently we had the Gross Motor Skills thread from TFZ, and I was asking about my little one learning to read. O dont even know where those two threads are categorized.

muddylilly
11-13-2015, 11:11 AM
ETA: LOL! simultaneous posting :)


Good point Mrs. Patmore! And welcome to our little club :)

I think you'll find we have a solid group of "pre-homeschool preschool", lovingly (in all seriousness) referred to a "posers" by Alexsmom......or how ever you might phrase that. Lol!!

I agree, I always thought of sending a pre-school-aged-child out for the day, as daycare too. What I did, what you're doing, and what others here do, is what I would have called parenting! However, I certainly can see the value of looking for the community now.....especially because you've made the decision to homeschool. Good for you :)

Maybe the powers that be could grant your wish??? Try sending a PM to Topsy?

Maybe Alexsmom and TFZ can chime in here too!

alexsmom
11-13-2015, 11:19 AM
Just try to stop me from chiming in! I gave up caffeine, I uses SHS to wake me up in the morning and get me going!

ejsmom
11-13-2015, 11:49 AM
Mrs. Patmoore, welcome aboard! In PA, you don't have to do anything with your child for "school" - no requirements at all, no reporting to the state, until your child is 8 years old. So, you can unschool, do interest-led, and play-based learning for 5 more years if you like. You will have to officially declare your intent to homeschool (with a list of learning objectives by subject) to your school district the school year your child turns 8. I wouldn't worry about that until you reach that stage. Enjoy your freedom now and set the stage for creating a curious eager learner.

I've been involved with a number of real life secular/inclusive homeschool groups in PA and most are very welcoming to those with preschoolers. PA has a lot of homeschoolers. Depending upon where you are located, you shouldn't have a whole lot of trouble finding others to share your journey IRL, too.

inmom
11-13-2015, 12:06 PM
Actually, Farrar had a very excellent blog post on homeschooling preschoolers, which you can find here (https://farrarwilliams.wordpress.com/2015/10/26/im-so-glad-we-preschool-homeschooled/) .

CrazyMom
11-13-2015, 02:02 PM
Mrs. Patmore...don't be shy with questions or topics of conversation. Even if we don't have a special pre-school section, I'm sure they'd be welcome on the Elementary Homeschool thread, Homeschool issues, etc. (and if we do get one, I'm sure they could be moved there...so don't hold back!)

The amount of stuff a 3 year year old is intrinsically learning is pretty staggering. Think of them as little foreigners...they're learning a whole language in just a few years. Could we do that? Oh hells no. LOL. They're learning a whole culture. They're also like people going through massive physical therapy....they're working hard constantly to wire their brains to their muscles! They're doing fine motor work, coordinating their movements, developing hand eye coordination, balance...it's like a full day of physical therapy every day. They're developing and refining the brain wiring for each of their senses. What they hear, see, taste, touch, smell....is all new. It's being cataloged and cross referenced, comparisons are being made..neural pathways are being laid in.

They're learning about reading social cues, emotion, cause and effect, relationship cues, citizenship, manners.

People who are three have a full time job.....just being three:)

I think the best things you can do...as far as pre-homeschooling goes at that age....is to give them as much diverse stimulation as possible to lay in those brain maps. Also, provide an environment that is sensory rich and full of physical challenges to refine their motor pathways. Providing Love is way important, too. Trust, security, encouragement, and a predictable warm caretaker... lay the foundation for confidence, joy in learning, and self esteem.

If you want a powerful computer....First, you have to load a powerful operating system.

Create the best operating system possible by loading that brain full of reference points. Play music. Read out loud constantly. Talk to your kiddo about everything. Use challenging vocabulary. Touch everything and discuss it. Experiment with new tastes and textures. Play with color, 3D building, imagination play. Fill your day with physical activity, art, expression, sound, words, people. Play instruments, watch experiments, go to hands-on kid's museums. Talk about letters and numbers. Count things. Measure things. Make predictions, review results. Ask questions about the story you're reading, make observations. Goldie Locks, what are you thinking? You can't eat someone else's breakfast without their permission, that's rude! Do you think the bears are going to eat her? Should they? Do you want them to? Do you think she should try to fix the chair? What would you use to fix a chair?

Everything is exploratory....don't correct, maintain the enthusiasm. If something lights a fire, pour gasoline on it:)

Three is SUCH a cool age.

Discover, Discover, Discover!

Laugh, hug, kiss, race, imagine, play...

Stimulate, explore, and ENJOY! .

Load up the most powerful operating system ever:)

TFZ
11-13-2015, 02:28 PM
Yay more preschool homies! Everyone is pretty cool about preschool being homeschool here. I like that it's like a practice round. The more I think about it, the more I'd like to make next year a practice round, too. In FL we have to report (or join an umbrella) the year of first grade, so I've got a little time to think about it. Or not think about it, lol. I agree that school starts too early. Standards written for 2nd grade being shoved down kindergarteners throats... But that's another rant.

Is there a preschool group in the group pages? Or maybe we could do a pre-k/k group?

TFZ
11-13-2015, 02:53 PM
http://www.secularhomeschool.com/group/132/

Here we go :)
There was a preschool group, but no posts since 2013. I'll have one or another in prek or k for the next six years or so, lol.

muddylilly
11-13-2015, 03:05 PM
Can I join TFZ??? I pre-homeschooled preschool! They are 12 and 14 now.....but I can kind of be another "CrazyMom" type figure!!! ;) You know, a success story!! Lol!

TFZ
11-13-2015, 03:18 PM
Open group :) Join at your own risk!

Mrs. Patmore
11-15-2015, 08:20 AM
Mrs. Patmoore, welcome aboard! In PA, you don't have to do anything with your child for "school" - no requirements at all, no reporting to the state, until your child is 8 years old.

Thanks for this information! I am surprised, because when I looked at a map on another website of states as they varied by strictness towards homeschoolers, PA rated as among the most strict. Can you tell me, even if it is not required, do any homeschoolers submit reports of any kind, or develop any kind of relationship with the local school system, before their kids are eight? It seems like a silly question, I know, since it's not required.

Mrs. Patmore
11-15-2015, 08:32 AM
Also, provide an environment that is sensory rich and full of physical challenges to refine their motor pathways.



Forgive my condensing your post - which I wholly agree with - to reflect my one area of shortcoming. Neither my husband nor I is athletic, and I was just wondering the other day, whether I should care in any way that my daughter won't do much at the playground (no swings, balance beam only while holding hands, no climbing challenges, and only a few slides). I tend to say, "You can do it!" and encourage her, but she isn't interested, and I must admit that I am not the best at coaching her through the more complex climbing structures ("Put your feet...uh...there, I think."). If she plays ball at all, it is rare. She can and does, however, walk outdoors with me, getting basic physical exercise. Should I put athleticism and gross motor skills in the "worry" category, or just chalk it up to kids having different interests? My daughter has an exceptional vocabulary, and her critical and logical thinking are first rate. She knows facts about animals (one of our family interests) that our adult friends don't know, and has great questions and comments when we read together. Thus, I tend to say, "Okay, so she's not a jock. I will live."

Mrs. Patmore
11-15-2015, 08:32 AM
I do appreciate all the welcoming responses, and plan to head over to the revived pre-homeschool forum. I've also bookmarked the blog.

alexsmom
11-15-2015, 10:13 AM
Regarding motor skills vs athleticism... we brainstormed this list for TFZ:
http://www.secularhomeschool.com/homeschooling-issues/17446-gross-motor.html

Gross motor skills are how your whole body moves along. Its not sports so much as balance, coordination, that sort of thing. Our favorite at the house is still the obstacle course - no special tools or purchases required. Walk on a line in the kitchen linoleum, hop with both feet together to the front entry, wheelbarrow crawl for a ways, throw small stuffed animals into a plastic bin, crawl through a small dog agility tunnel, then crash into a beanbag. Just make it up based on what you want to practice, and what she finds fun.

Fine motor skill work is the stuff she does with her hands, that you need to build dexterity and endurance. Scissor work, beading, pencil grip (coloring, tongs, etc - you can start showing her and encouraging her to use proper tripod pencil grip - break crayons in half so she has to use them between her fingers) - that sort of thing. Loom weaving things, sticker books, anything that has her using her hands in precise ways.

Your daughter may just not be interested in the whole playgroundy thing - thats fine. But I would work with her to make sure she has the skills needed for it. Until we started working on these skills in therapy, I had no idea they were even lacking. (Not suggesting your daughter needs OT - but I dont think parents have common awareness of these things until theyre pointed out. Our kids run around just fine, it doesnt occur that they have gaps or weaknesses which they compensate for.)

ejsmom
11-15-2015, 01:01 PM
Thanks for this information! I am surprised, because when I looked at a map on another website of states as they varied by strictness towards homeschoolers, PA rated as among the most strict. Can you tell me, even if it is not required, do any homeschoolers submit reports of any kind, or develop any kind of relationship with the local school system, before their kids are eight? It seems like a silly question, I know, since it's not required.

Those I know who have a situation where the school district is aware of an under 8, non-reporting homeschooler are where there is an older sibling that IS reporting. The schools have legal requirements by the state on what they must do with objectives, affidavits, intentions to homeschool, and reports from homeschool evaluators. If you turn something in to them early they would probably throw it out - because the state has no rule on what to do with it. Or, in a worst case scenario, in a school district that is not homeschool friendly you may create a problem you don't want. I have had zero problems with our school, they have been great and supportive, however, I keep interaction to a minimum and give them what the law requires - nothing more.

Yes, PA is the 2nd most regulated state for homeschooling, with only NY having more laws, regulations, and restrictions. But one thing I can say about PA is that the reporting requirements are strict, but you can teach what you want - as long as you cover the required subjects. What you choose, and how you cover the requirements - you do have freedom there. That is very open to interpretation. PA seems to be a haven for teachers that commit sexual abuse, and the pressure to perform test scores is rampant. There are more and more homeschoolers every year.

My child had a lot of motor issues as a youngster. Playgrounds only held his attention for short periods of time (all the loud and rowdy kids kept him on edge), so we made the most of being in PA - we started hiking. There are many state and county parks and nature preserves in our area, and most areas of PA, really. (As messed up as this state is in many ways, it IS beautiful, and close to so many great places for field trips.) Hiking helps with stamina and balance and is still nature studies. Like your DD, my DS loved animals at that age, and it expanded to all of nature. Being in the woods and being by the creek/lake/river was (and is) such a huge part of his education and, well, life now, really.

Here is a link to a PA homeschooling info site that has it all -
AskPauline.com - Home Page (http://askpauline.com/)

If you are located in a rural area you may have to travel to find your tribe. The metro areas like Pittsburgh, Philly, Allentown have a LOT of homeschoolers. You'll have no trouble finding a group in those areas. The outlying suburbs have groups, too. The one we take part in has families from 5 or 6 counties, and we all travel - some an hour - to meet in the middle once or twice a week. It's absolutely worth it.

TFZ
11-15-2015, 02:06 PM
Thanks for linking that AM. That sounds just like my DS4. He would rather look at a dead beetle for an hour than run around the playground. I get the feeling that motor skills are one of those things - if there's not a problem, you don't ever think about it. So some of the advice is - hey just let him be a kid! But him being a kid means meticulously examining the dirt instead of rolling in it. However, he has really been interested in the classes - which also serves some of the socialization purposes and wears him out enough to sleep through the night, lol.

firefly77
11-15-2015, 04:38 PM
Welcome! I hope you find what you are looking for in the preschool section! I researched and obsessed over homeschooling for about two years before my oldest started kindergarten and found everything I needed from the regular forum and also by the search feature on this site. It was really helpful to hear from parents who had already been through these years and it helped me figure out my curricular options and other basic homeschool stuff, like what all the curriculum abbreviations mean (seems silly now, but in the beginning it was really confusing). I'm glad I spent so much time reading up on my options now - I was able to start "official" homeschool this year (sort of) feeling like I know what I'm doing, and this site contributed heavily to my feeling prepared! Good luck!

Mrs. Patmore
11-17-2015, 08:04 PM
Those I know who have a situation where the school district is aware of an under 8, non-reporting homeschooler are where there is an older sibling that IS reporting. The schools have legal requirements by the state on what they must do with objectives, affidavits, intentions to homeschool, and reports from homeschool evaluators. If you turn something in to them early they would probably throw it out...


Thank you! That link is really helpful.

We belong to Tyler Arboretum and can use our membership at two other places within driving distance, too, but "hiking" only happens to a limited degree. My daughter always manages to find stationary activities involving her imagination. We do at least have to walk to the places where the stationary activities will happen, of course.

Mrs. Patmore
11-17-2015, 08:08 PM
Regarding motor skills vs athleticism... we brainstormed this list for TFZ:
http://www.secularhomeschool.com/homeschooling-issues/17446-gross-motor.html



Thank you! It is definitely gross motor that is seemingly behind the curve. Fine motor is good. You have some great ideas. I could definitely start making this stuff more fun. I wonder why we stopped having the pretend "movement" classes (based on a real movement class we took); that was awesome. I could probably get some throwing action happening, too, if I made a storyline for it...the only potential trouble being that she likes everything to be her own idea.

ejsmom
11-17-2015, 08:30 PM
We were at Tyler Arboretum with our homeschool group last May - the kids loved the tree houses! They had fun but were more impressed overall by Longwood Gardens. I know your child is young for hiking now, but just getting her out in nature/parks does inspire the imagination - which is great! That's exactly what you want to do for the next 3-5 years: nurture curiosity and imagination.

When we first started homeschool we just went to our local park a few times a week to watch the creek, the birds, the squirrels, and I took paper and crayons for bark rubbing and drawing pictures, a small bag to collect acorns, leaves, and interesting stones.

If you are in the Philly suburbs, you shouldn't have any trouble finding a group. And there is so much to do as your child gets older! DS loves the zoo, the aquarium in Camden (and Baltimore), the art museum (and many of the smaller ones in Philadelphia - around the Liberty Bell and historic sites), and his favorite is the Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. We didn't really start to do museums until age 8 or so, but that's what worked best for my kid. I know others have kids who can do fine earlier. Oddly, my kid was not into the Franklin Institute, and I thought he'd love it. He found it too crowded and not worth the hassle of getting there. Maybe we'll try again someday. You have a lot of resources close by, you'll be fine.

TFZ
11-18-2015, 02:14 AM
If we were still in Philly I'd be at the Please Touch Museum every day. We have a smaller one down here (maybe 1/6 the size), and we've been there nearly every week for the last two months. I miss living somewhere with history and real culture! SW Florida - everything here is basically from 1990 or later.

ejsmom
11-18-2015, 11:49 AM
If we were still in Philly I'd be at the Please Touch Museum every day. We have a smaller one down here (maybe 1/6 the size), and we've been there nearly every week for the last two months. I miss living somewhere with history and real culture! SW Florida - everything here is basically from 1990 or later.

TFZ, about the middle of January I'd trade history, culture, and fall to be in your shoes. Short gray days where the temps don't get out of the teens with below zero wind chills and yet more snow and ice - ugh! You can always plan a trip in the fall and experience history and culture, but to avoid winter in PA? Worth it!

TFZ
11-18-2015, 01:53 PM
Cant have it all, can we? I'd trade you right now for a break from this heat. Still waiting for our first cold snap. 78 when I woke up this morning. Yuck.

alexsmom
11-18-2015, 02:14 PM
*Basking happily in the chill we have been having... only getting up to mid 70s, more like high 60s.*

Next month we can start going to the desert. Oh, happiness!!

LaurieC
11-18-2015, 04:46 PM
High in the 60's! You are having a heat wave. We were in the mid 40s today, but we digress. i have a pre-homeschooler too.We read, play chase (his favorite, but now restricted to outside)do crafts, look at the alphabet 9not much interest there), work numbers (he understands up to 5) and go to the library story time for preschoolers. We have multiple therapies in a week, so I don't schedule much though I did make a general outline for those days I draw a blank. Other than that, we play. Preschool is a babysitter if you need it. We don't, not that we plan to ever send him to school, but we push our kids too fast. I appreciate the Charlotte mason approach. just let them play until they are 6 or 7. They will learn so much just being with you.

Mrs. Patmore
11-19-2015, 08:40 PM
I miss living somewhere with history and real culture! SW Florida - everything here is basically from 1990 or later.

Hey, that means no lead paint! I se it crumbling all over the city and beyond.:sad:

TFZ
11-19-2015, 08:46 PM
Lol the bright side :) Ask me again in January. I'll love it here then.
Also I'm totally stalking this thread. I love when pre-homeschooling pops to the top. It's such a nice way to put it. On another group someone called it "fauxschooling" and just thought she was so funny. I don't get annoyed by much online, but that pissed me off. So, ya know, ahhhhhh back to my peaceful place.