Thursday, July 16

More on Preschool

I remember when we contemplated preschool for Annaliese when she was a toddler. The city we lived in offered it for free and I believed that it would offer her an opportunity to learn to play with other kids, learn to listen and follow instructions, give me time alone with her younger siblings, and teach her some basic pre-kindergarten skills. Those are probably a lot of the same reasons so many parents choose to enroll their children in preschool. While I don't remember what the reasoning was behind us not sending her, I see the folly of my initial thinking today - that I needed to send her to be trained.

In studying the Biblical requirements set before parents, I've noticed that the weight of a child's education and training repeatedly falls on the parent. I'm not anti-public or private school. I see the deep need that they are attempting to fill and I have a lot of good friends who are a blessing to those institutions. If you read the scriptures though, you will see that the rabbis, leaders, and teachers of the law weren't held responsible or instructed on educating the children. The parents were.

Whatever educational choices your family makes, it is the parent who will be held accountable for the content of their lessons, the things emphasized and taught, and the spiritual environment we place our children in and all the lovely habits we allow to be rubbed into our children. This goes for both home and public schooling.

In studying early child development over the years, I've learned that boys and girls brains develop differently and at different rates. For instance, boys acquire the ability to have impulse control a lot later than girls and from a young age girls are able to absorb more information at once. This is why boys typically get into more trouble in school and why parents may feel incapable of training them at home. It is also why little girls can chit-chat with their friends and still rattle off the lesson at the end of the day. Studying early childhood development at the most basic level is so beneficial and eye-opening in parenting.

Another thing I've learned is that the ages between two and six are some of the most impressionable ages of a child. They are both like little sponges and wet cement, soaking everything in and solidifying it in their brains. This isn't my opinion, it is all in the way God has designed our children. This is also why consistency in parenting is so important.

Why? I believe God wanted those first years spent with parents to be an impressionable time, giving our children a solid basis and foundation for life. That is why He tells us to instruct our children throughout every part of the day and every activity of the day. What goes into a toddler and preschool aged child stays there. This is a great time for memorizing scripture and teaching values because they stick.

I think there is a deep level of deception that says we as parents are somehow incapable of providing what our children need and sends us searching for someone else to carry the burden of responsibility. Not that we are intentionally shirking our responsibility but we feel obligated to do the right thing and best thing for our child. It's a noble deception.

This same kind of deception that tells us that our children need to learn about God in children's church and be entertained in order to acquire a reverence for God. I love our children's pastor and his family and am thankful for them, but he knows and I know that Sean and I are responsible for teaching my children about God and he supports us in that.

Are preschool inherently evil? No. I worked in a state funded Head Start program as a nurse before Sean and I married. I loved working with the children and I can say with assurance that every teacher there was dedicated and excellent and loved the children. Is preschool the best choice?

For more information and support in choosing the best for your family check out:
Preschoolers and Peace
Raising Girls
Home Grown Kids
Is Preschool Good for Social Skills?
Dr. Laura's Opinion
Let's Not Institutionalize 3, 4, and 5 Year Olds

Blessings,
Hannah

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your posts come at some of the most amazing times!

I have decided to homeschool my children. We are starting K for our oldest this year at home and are just enjoying spending time at home with our preschooler. They both went to preschool for about a year, but we pulled them out for many reasons. Anyway, yesterday I found out that my preschooler's best friend is starting preschool this fall. I have been going back and forth with thoughts, "they could play together in the mornings at school while the oldest and I do school at home which would give us the one on one time while I learn how this whole homeschooling thing works" "will my preschooler fall behind since it was this same preschool that my taught my oldest her letters so well--am I up to that task." The doubts go on and on as I have been filing all of the state paperwork for homeschooling for the first time and as we have started to see how truely "odd" this makes us to our friends who are starting their same age children in preschool and school. Even though my husband and I both feel led by God to teach our children at home, we also feel very alone in our endeavor as this is so different from most of the people we know .

SO you can imagine how wonderful it was to come on here tonight and read your last two posts. Thank you so much for being a Titus 2 woman for me!

Betsy
Norfolk, VA

Anonymous said...

Hi Hannah,

In my opinion we have to be careful to not burden the conscience of others by being too dogmatic about the descission to homeschool. A lost sinner should not think that to become a christian necessarily means to become a homeschooler. Although parents have the ultimate responsibility for their children's education they can delegate that authority to teachers more capable then themselves in subjects for which they lack expertise. Clearly the bible teaches parents primary responsibility with regard to their children's education primarily focuses on the word of God and the ways of God not necessarily on physics, biology or geometry.

Thank you for letting me share and God keep blessing you and your beautiful family richly! =) You have a most beautiful blog!

~Lora

Andrea said...

Hannah,
I think preschool can have its purpose, and a very good purpose at that. I put my fourth child in preschool last year with a lot of reservation and was pleased to see not only did he "survive" but "thrive".
It was the first time I had ever used preschool for any of my children since we homeschooled.
You touched a bit on this, but I think the overarching theme is that we, as parents, as Christian parents, should seek the LORD as to how we educate our children. Using preschool without careful thought and prayer is probably not the best choice. Using preschool as supplication to our already teaching and training our children at home could be a good choice for some families.
Just some thoughts and another perspective.

Hannah said...

Hi Lora, I knew this would be another not-so-popular post but with so much out there for the cause of sending two and three year olds out of the family home, I think the opposite argument needed to be put out there.

There is actually a large population of non-religious folk who homeschool so I don't see home education as tied to Christianity. For me though, the decision to homeschool fits fine with my faith.

My aim isn't to burden the conscience but to stimulate it.

We have very close friends who choose preschool and this doesn't mean I am anti-their-family because we've made different choices.

I see that I can support their decision but still give the Biblical and developmental reasons for our decision.

Aren't we responsible for what world view our children are given on the subjects of physics, geometry or biology?

Thanks,
Hannah

Hannah said...

Hi Andrea, we have friends whose child has greatly benefited from preschool too. I don't however believe this is the norm but I respect your decision and opinion. I just think there is too many voices out there telling us as parents to outsource our children if we can't control their behaviour, or telling us that we don't have the necessary skills to teach them.
Blessings
Hannah

Michelle said...

I really needed this post today, and I can in no way put into words how much it has helped me. I so appreciate you and your insight. Thank you.

Sincerely,
Michelle

Tonya said...

Hi Hannah

I read you blog from time to time and happen to be inspired by your stance on homeschool. I in NO WAY feel like you put out there that in order to be a better mother or christian we have to make certain choices. However, I do feel, for someone like me who never dreamed of homeschooling her children (being raised in public school system myself) that it is refreshing to see positive thinking and results.
In speaking with a lot of my friends about the topic of "homeschool vs public school" (and all of my friend chose public school) I have noticed that they all seem keenly aware of the battles they face with exposure to all types of home life at such and early age. It IS our responsibility to show our children how to model Christ. I think this is a hot topic, and one that people can get easily offended over. However, to my way of thinking, we all need to follow our own convictions, and not let someone elses choices make us feel inferior. Women tend to be very defensive when another is working in a way very different from theirs, but we forget one thing so often.... As women of Christ, we are really ALL ON THE SAME SIDE. Christ calls us to work in the same way, ESPECIALLY when raising our children!
Thank you for being willing to put yourself out there and challenge others, in spite of the challenges you get put back on you.

Tonya said...

ALSO, I wanted to add, that last night, I couldnt help but think back to how a couple of my friends graduated college with teaching degrees and started teaching at the high school we graduated at the following year! If they can teach (15-18 year olds at 23 years of age) goodness, I can teach a 3 & 4 year old at 29!

Karen@CitySeed said...

Hannah,

I really appreciated your post and those resources. I feel just the way you do, and I agree--the viewpoint does need to be put out there.

For most of the Christian church, I don't really feel that the biggest threat to their families is an overburdened conscience. Their families are threatened by competing worldviews, and a lack of intentionality, among many, many other things.

I do believe that there are some cases where God truly might lead a family to use preschool. However, for our family, I feel strongly that the principal, if not the precept, found in Scripture is that parents are responsible for the training of their children in every way.

Karen said...

Christian or not we as parents have to make the decisions as to how we want our children to be schooled. Homeschoolers are being more and more accepted by colleges these days. Whatever the choice is that you make is best for your children. We homeschooled for a few years and then shifted to public school for the middle school and high school years and I know that was God's plan for us. It is good to hear what you are doing with your children. I like what you do.

Craig and Bethany said...

Your post reminds me of the book, Family Driven Faith. It is by Voddie Baucham. He proposes that the best children's ministries are devoted to equipping and supporting parents.

Thanks for blogging. I love stopping by. :)

Kristi_runwatch said...

really enjoyed this- thanks. I do very casual homeschool preschool (ie: lots of books and crafts!) with my 3 year old daughter. I was very intimidated to think about homeschooling, but a very wise woman in our church who raised 8 children and homeschooled them all for different lengths of time was so encouraging - "what do you learn at preschool? Colors, numbers, letters... do the laundry with her and have her sort clothes, count coins and chocolate chips, discuss colors - you can do this!" It was the encouragement I needed! :)