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When to Start Homeschooling

Homeschooling Expert Advice from Isabel Shaw

Q: My son is going to be three years old this March. My desire is to homeschool him, instead of sending him to preschool. What can I do at home? Is it too soon? Can you send me info?

A: Let's see. Is your son walking? Is he able to communicate with you and tell you what he wants? Is he able to interact with his world in a joyful manner? If the answer to those questions is yes, then you are already homeschooling! I am often puzzled by the assumption that "learning" is something that has to be done in a specified place at a specified time. With the help of loving parents, babies and toddlers make incredible strides in their development. Language, reasoning, cause and effect — it's really amazing. With the right environment, children want to learn all the time! Then the child gets sent to school and what happens? Often, they lose that sense of wonderment and joy that accompanies new discoveries and mastering new things on their own. The more they are forced to learn, the more they begin to dislike learning. Grades are the motivating factor, not the desire to truly understand how something works or why things are the way they are.

I used a quote in a homeschooling article: "Education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire." Yes, you can send your son to preschool and beyond. He can be made to memorize lots of facts and figures. But is this true education? Has he learned to love learning?

Read How Children Learn or anything else by John Holt. Visit our homeschool page and read some of the articles there. Relax! You've done a great job with your son up to now. Let him be a kid, exploring, building, and having fun. In a short time, you and he will discover what he's good at, and what he loves to do. And when that happens, you won't be able to hold him back! That is true learning.

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Isabel Shaw is a freelance writer and homeschooling mom of 15 years. She and her husband Ray homeschool their two daughters, Jessica and Amanda. Besides being a contributor to, Shaw has written for Home Education Magazine, The Link, Homeschooling Horizons Magazine, The Homeschool Gazette, and other publications.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


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