When my son turned one year old, I decided to set up homeschool in our house in order to start preparing him for learning. I purchased all different kinds of learning materials and even had a lesson plan of subjects for each day. My son and I loved this time together. He was learning new things and I was bonding with him at the same time. People would always comment on how “in-tune” his was with life at such a young age.
When he turned three years old, I enrolled him in a Pre-K program to give him more “structure” to his learning. I always questioned if I was offering him the “right resources he needed to get a good start and if I was capable of being a teacher. By enrolling my son into a structured program caused my husband and I to “back off” quite a bit from what we were doing for him at home. We began to get into the mindset of letting the school be his primary teacher. As a disclaimer, his Pre-K program is super fabulous and we couldn’t ask for anything more at this point, BUT the lack of home involvement and structure has started to play out in his behavior at school.
When our son was primarily home schooled, he seemed to have more focus to the tasks at hand. I believe that the focus came from the one-on-one attention he was getting from Mom and Dad. In a structured school setting, there may not always be the opportunity for that dedicated one-on-one time. As parents we must actively participate with our child when the come home from school with one-on-one time doing homework and projects. This will not only help out his school teacher but create an environment at home for focus as well.
We, personally, have re-thought and re-structured the way we do things at home. Active participation is still very relevant in our child’s life. The concept of homeschooling can still be done while a child is in an outside learning environment. Our plan consists of reviewing our son’s work from school, piggybacking additional resources at home to amplify his learning, using household chores to reinforce learning to follow instructions, and spending one-one-one time EACH day focusing on us as a family.
We put our plan into action last week and I have that old feeling back from when he was home schooled. I can see the joy in his eyes when we work together to get a project done, or read a story, or accomplish a task. When he sees that education is important to us, then it will be second nature to him.
It is so easy to let go of that when you enroll your child into a program where you “think” he is getting better that you can give. Structure programs do a GREAT job but do not replace what parents can do.
If you are a homeschooling parent or have a child enrolled in a Pre-K program, what is your opinion of parent’s participation?