Stop Telling Me Not to Do Preschool


Have you ever heard a homeschool mom ask what curriculum she should use for preschool?
That question is usually followed by a chorus of well-meaning, seasoned homeschool moms advocating to let the child play, don’t use a curriculum, don’t make everything about learning, don’t start school too early, don’t push them so hard, just wait, just go outside, just make it fun! 


Whenever I hear this exchange it frustrates me.  The poor young homeschool mom did not even get an answer to her question.  She asked for some resources and everyone told her to just play and not worry about formal learning.

Well, don’t tell me not to do preschool.  Don’t tell me not to have a plan, to create ideas, and to use a curriculum.  I need and want a preschool curriculum and I don’t enjoy homeschooling without it. 

With my 4-year-old preschooler I spend about 15 minutes on a short math lesson with manipulatives (with Right Start Math) and about 15 minutes on a reading lesson with cursive handwriting practice on our small whiteboard (with Logic of English Foundations).  We then spend about 20 minutes reading a stack of books through a booklist that I created just for our PreK year using ideas from Sonlight, Veritas Press, Memoria Press, and Heart of Dakota (as well as recommendations from friends).  I actually have things planned out, written down, and stacked neatly in a shelf in our school room.

Little Bee looks forward to our preschool time every single day.  She crawls up in my lap with her snack while I read to her.  She looks at the pictures, asks questions, points out words she knows and we just talk and snuggle.  We then work side by side on math and reading and she can see the progress she’s made and she knows she’s close to reading words, being able to write them on her own, and do simple math.  She is so excited about our learning time!

Without having a curriculum that I follow and use I would let my little preschooler fall through the cracks in our homeschool schedule.  I would not spend the amount of time dedicated solely to her as I do now.  I would be too tired to look up learning games and find Pinterest-inspired learning projects for her.  I would miss all the fun learning moments we have together.

No, I don’t think you need a curriculum for preschool.  But I like having one.  It gives me the security of knowing that I spent quality time with my preschooler and she’s so proud of her progress.  I love knowing that I have activities and books that are only for her.  There’s nothing wrong with needing a little help in the planning and organization department.

So, if a mom asks for preschool advice I gladly give them some curriculum ideas but I also mention that preschool takes about 45 minutes at our house and never any more.  We fill the rest of our time with free play, outdoor time, art projects, and extra reading time.  Preschool is such a fun time and the structure is needed to make sure our time is never neglected.

I also have a structured time with my 2 1/2 year old, Ladybug.  It’s not quite preschool but I do use some curriculum (Flowering Baby and ABC Jesus Loves Me) for ideas.  Ladybug loves our time together and asks to do school every day.  Soon she’ll be moving into the things Bee used during her 3 year old preschool year and reading through the giant pile of books that I have waiting for that year.  Both of my little girls have some quality time with me during our school day.

So please don’t tell me to skip the curriculum or stop doing a formal preschool time!  It’s our favorite part of the day!  And I absolutely LOVE reading through all the precious picture books that are part of our preschool year.

Further Reading

Hip Homeschool Moms


15 thoughts on “Stop Telling Me Not to Do Preschool

  1. AND all the structured, type A, organized mothers of preschoolers just gave you a standing ovation!!!!!! 🙂 The days where I would put myself down for being so structured are still fresh in my mind. Now, I don't apologize for it, I count it as a gift to be used and shared.

  2. Thank you! I need and enjoy the structure! I have to PLAN my fun or it just doesn't happen because I feel overwhelmed and disorganized! 🙂 It's ok to need and want structure. I like my organized self – usually…..

  3. I noticed that some of those moms asking for advice are trying to push their children into grade school too early. Many of these mom's insist that their child is somehow ahead of the rest of the children and ready for seatwork. I cringe when I see a mom asking about programs that are really meant for kindergarten or 1st graders or posters saying their kid should be able to do this or that because it's easy and their child used it at the age of 3. A structured plan is never unreasonable as long as it is developmentally appropriate. But when today's trend is to intentionally advance children to stay competitive, "let them play" isn't exactly bad advice either especially since many of us did just that and our kids are fine. Some moms that are new to this really don't know that is an option.

  4. If you're using a program and it's working for you, I don't know why anyone would tell you NOT to use it. However, a lot of times, new homeschoolers are asking about programs for preschoolers because they think they HAVE TO use one. I'm one of the well meaning moms that gives a list of resources that I've used for preschool, but also reiterate that it's not necessary. I know as a new hoemschooler, I was often overwhelmed by all the curriculum available and what I was "supposed to do" vs. what ended up working for us. My hope is that every homeschooler can find the program (or not) that works best for them.

  5. While that's true, so many people act like you are going over board that you have a plan and a structured preschool time. If I didn't have the plan I wouldn't get to the many projects and read alouds that we have. From my post, I have a short structured one-on-one time with my preschooler. I'm not advocating that children should be pushed into formal academics. I am just tired of being made to feel guilty because I enjoy having a scheduled time for my preschooler.
    I always tell people what I use and why I use it. But I always tell them that the best curriculum choice for them is the one that gets done and works for their family.
    My post is not about formal academics – it's about having a pre-planned preschool time.

  6. You shouldn't feel guilty because you aren't taking their advice. That suggestion won't go away for those who ask what to do about preschool. Do you think they feel guilty for choosing only play because you suggest and use curriculum? And it is possible that those seasoned moms do know what they are talking about because they are years away from it and miss those sweet days? None of them would want you to miss out on that and would say you are wrong to use a plan that works for you and your kids are having fun. You need to look at the heart of that suggestion but also acknowledge it isn't for you. I think you are taking it too personally if you feel guilt just by reading their suggestions. I know that some moms need permission to do nothing and that can free them up to come up with a simple plan rather than a day of seatwork. I'm sure your suggestions are a great help to them.

  7. I'm not taking anything personally. I'm simply stating that there is more than one way to do preschool. I like having planned activities with my kids. Some moms function that way. I never posted anything about judging others for doing it differently. I never tell anyone that they have to use a curriculum or homeschool a certain way. In that same light, they should not tell me what I should or should not be doing. Homeschooling is a wonderful freedom of choice and I'm just blogging about my choice. Others choose differently and I did not write any criticism of their choices.
    I've never planned a day of seat work for my kids. We spend about 45 minutes reading together and then I have other planned activities. And I've never suggested that others should do the same. My suggestion was that when a mom is wanting to use a curriculum and is asking for advice, then it is ok to tell them what you use or say that you use a curriculum. My comment was for those moms who ask that specific question.

  8. Lexi, just found this post of yours and I am clapping!!! Wonderful advice, imo, and I AM a seasoned homeschool mom. I have two teens and a 4 year old. Without a plan, my 4 year old just doesn't have the same quality time and I'm certainly not against instilling good habits at this age. Anyway, loved the post.

  9. Thank you! I do have to have a plan for my little people or they get lost in our busy days. I want to make sure that I have ideas for meaningful activities for them. And preschool stuff can be fun!

  10. I love this, Lexi. I feel the same way! I wanted to have a guide for my boys’ preschool years as well – something that would help me to be able to provide a fun learning experience for them and to create lots of memories. I wanted to be intentional about learning. But that didn’t mean that I expected them to sit still or have a pencil in their hands all day long.

    I wasn’t able to find anything like that when my boys were younger – and that’s why I ended up having to create my own preschool curriculum which is filled with hands-on activities for little learners. 🙂

    1. This is so true! I really need a plan to follow for preschool – something hands on and fun. So I used planned out curriculum or made my own themed plans. We had so much fun exploring and painting and creating. I loved doing a formal preschool time with my kids and they loved it too!

  11. This article just popped up on my Pinterest and I’m so glad it did. I’m planning on homeschooling, and my oldest is turning 3 next week. We are being bombarded with literature from all the local preschools almost daily, and my dh’s relatives are very concerned about homeschooling being a bad idea and our kids getting behind. So I feel like it’s time to start something This coming school year, and I’m really excited about it, but I can’t seem to find any support outside of Pinterest. Our church’s homeschool group doesn’t start until age 6, so I joined an internet forum for homeschoolers and asked about 3 year old preschool. The response I got was exactly what you said, they told me to just let him play and not do anything formal this early. But I want to! We already have a very structured day, we have a routine we follow every day and I was excited to add a small chunk of preschool stuff into our morning play time. I was excited about all the planning and coordinating and things I was going to get to do, I love that type of thing. I was really discouraged after I joined that internet forum, I didn’t even really feel welcome there because apparently my kid is too young so we don’t count as a homeschool family yet, I guess. But I’m going to press on forward and keep doing research and I am going to make a formal plan for him this year. And I think it’s going to be a lot of fun! He loves learning and I think it will be quality time with him, just like you described. Thank you for the encouragement!

    1. I’m so sorry you met with such discouraging comments! I’ve been there too! I had a very structured day when my kids were little because it helped me stay sane and get some things done around the house. And my kids enjoyed knowing what to expect during each day. We added some structured preschool and structured learning time and my kids LOVED it. I have no regrets. You know your kids best and if they would enjoy some structured learning time try adding it in to your day. I hope you enjoy your preschool time! And best of luck on your homeschool adventures!

    1. It’s true, a lot of what we do as parents such as playing with our kids and teaching them manners and life skills are really just a simple form of homeschooling them or doing preschool activities with them. I feel like homeschooling is really an extension of involved parenting. When I started trying to be a little more structured in our preschool day I felt like a lot of other moms were telling me to just let them play and step back. Instead I tried to plan a few intentional activities into our day as our “preschool” time and we all had fun and my kids learned a lot. So, while my preschool time did not look anything like what my kids would be doing if they attended a preschool – I still enjoyed doing some structured things and being intentional with our time. Preschool is such a fun time! I miss my kids all being little like that!

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