Do you have a young child at home and want to homeschool for preschool or kindergarten?
You’ve come to the right place.
Families are able to support their youngsters’ learning at home in any manner without filing any paperwork with school or government officials.
If your child is younger than “school age,” which is defined in New Hampshire law as six years old by September 30 of the current school year (RSA 193:1), then you are not required, and should not, file a homeschool notification yet.
Preschool and kindergarten are optional in New Hampshire. Some families choose to utilize private and local public programs, but there is no legal requirement to enroll anywhere until your child is of “school age.”
Only once your child is six years old by September 30 of the current school year will you need to file a home education notification. Refer to the information found on our Where to Begin page to get started.
In the meantime…
Pre-Homeschooling Young Learners
Children are naturally curious. Therefore, the preschool and kindergarten years are all about encouraging our youngest learners to love learning and that is best done through play, according to multiple studies.
- NAEYC How Play Connects to Learning
- Vince Gowmon - The Right Brain Develops First: Why Play is the Foundation for Academic Learning
- Research Outreach - Learning Through Play: New Perspectives on Early Years Development
- Peter Gray, Ph.D. - How Early Academic Training Retards Intellectual Development
- Laura Grace Weldon - Math Instruction versus Natural Math: Benezet's Example
- Sanjoy Mahajan, University of Cambridge - Is It Time for a Science Counterpart of the Benezet-Berman Mathematics Teaching Experiment of the 1930s?
- Learning Through Play - The Scientific Case for Learning Through Play
It is easy to incorporate learning into everyday living. Read together, encourage imaginary and unstructured play, do puzzles, play games, have them help with age-appropriate household tasks, get them outside to explore their surroundings and nature, and incorporate movement for gross and fine motor skills. Also, you may integrate letter and number awareness to foster early reading and math skills -- pointing out letters on signs while grocery shopping, emphasizing counting when doing regular activities such as putting away silverware or getting out snacks, sounding out familiar words with their starting letters, etc. Social skills such as sharing, taking turns, and other interactive opportunities are also important in early childhood. Playing games is a great way to incorporate these elements.
If your youngster is naturally inclined to books and workbooks, that’s fine! Follow his/her lead without pushing academics at this point.
Even if your youngster is advanced in more traditional academic ways, they still need their childhood respected and protected. They are still little and may not have the behavior and self-regulation skills that match their abilities, so give them the time and space to do “little kid” things like explore in the woods, make quirky macaroni crafts, and have creative, unstructured play.
Libraries are a great community resource for children of all ages. They often host events and activities such as story times to encourage group opportunities.
Our society is in a rush to push academics that snuff out childhood and children’s natural curiosity. The trick is to be supportive while not being pushy. There is plenty of time to introduce books, workbooks, and more formal academics later when the child is older.
In fact, research shows that rushing academics at these young ages does not lead to future success and may be detrimental. Some studies indicate that the short-term benefits of the federal Head Start program fade away and participating children have greater academic struggles later on.
Just as children learn to crawl, walk, and talk at different ages, they will also be ready for more structured learning at different times in their life. Homeschooling, even during these early years, allows for subjects to be introduced and explored when it is the right time for each child as you, the parents, decide. Home education is a customized learning plan so follow your child’s lead about what they are ready to learn and how.
Enjoy these early years! They are young only once, so treasure this time with them.
We also recommend connecting with experienced homeschooling families. Not only can they be guides or mentors to you in the early years, it is important to build connections for you and your children. Although many of the resources on the GSHE website are intended for families with “school-aged” children, many local support groups extend to families with younger children.
Free to Learn by Peter Gray
How Children Learn by John Holt
How Children Fail by John Holt
The Brave Learner by Julie Bogart
How Children Acquire Academic Skills Without Formal Instruction by Peter Gray
The Call of the Wild & Free by Ainsley Arment
A Year of Playing Skillfully by Kathy H Lee and Lesli M Richards