When It Comes to School, What's Normal for a Preschooler?

I've had the delight of speaking to several MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) groups this year, and inevitably some sweet younger-than-I-am mom will grab me after the meeting and tell me about her first year or so of homeschooling her little ones. I love that! To me, the best part of speaking is getting to hear your hearts and help you troubleshoot.

The moms I've been meeting have one thing in common: they are worried they aren't doing enough school with their preschoolers.

I know that you're excited to start homeschooling, and I know you want to give your little ones a strong academic foundation, too. But can I ask you to trust me when I tell you something you might not want to hear?

They're little. Really little. So little, they will learn the alphabet by singing a song a couple of times, their colors by knowing which shirt is their red one and which shoes are blue, and their numbers by counting how many carrot sticks you put on their plate.

When they're too little, it will take them weeks or months to learn these things, but when they're ready, they'll learn them in a heartbeat. It won't even feel like work. I promise. Trust me?

Workbooks are fun, but as my friend Ashley and I were recently enjoying a quiet lunch (no kids, and we have 13 between us!) and talking about sweet young moms who are newly homeschooling, she said, "I really only give my preschoolers workbooks because it gives them something to do." Ashley doesn't rely on them to teach her preschoolers anything magnificent because she has learned from experience, as have I, that the vast majority of what they need to learn before kindergarten will come through living and experiencing life together with you.

So read to them. Talk to them. Go places with them, explore your yard or a local park, watch worthwhile videos about nature and life, then read, talk, sing, rinse, and repeat.

You are a good mom! Relax.