Two small disclaimers here: First, don't expect your child to work with a good attitude if you are not working with them. A child who has to do chores while mom is talking on the phone or watching a television show becomes bitter... even at a young age. Second, be very careful before you set up an allowance. Children should be taught that certain chores are done because you live and function in a house and they will not get monetary rewards for every job. Small rewards that are given for extra effort or a great attitude are fine, but shouldn't be predictable.

Third, studying the subject of respect and obedience should be part of their "curriculum" each day. Without this lesson, the first two points are almost impossible. A child who is not obedient will not be a blessing to be around, so mom and dad will not enjoy building a relationship. The other siblings will be frustrated and resentful if the preschooler is out of control. There are so many books and articles on discipline that I wouldn't attempt in this article to tell you exactly how to be teaching these lessons. But you do need to have a preschooler who obeys the first time (at least most of the time J), and is being trained to treat mom, dad, sisters and brothers with respect. A naughty preschooler can ruin everyone's day in a hurry, but a delightful preschooler will add joy and laughter to the entire day.

Children have years of education with books, writing, rules and grades. My hope is to encourage you to use the preschool years as a stepping-stone of character... not academics. If you have a bright child who is dying to learn to read, then go ahead and teach a little each day. But don't get so caught up in the study of reading and arithmetic that you lose this precious time of growth and development. Applying "Preschool 101" now will make your homeschool experience so much better down the road.

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Tori is privileged to be married to J Rollins and together they homeschool their four children. Tori and J live in the Imperial Valley of California and are active members of Western Avenue Baptist Church. Besides caring for her family, Tori also teaches piano lessons and enjoys scrapbooking.

This article was originally published in the Jul/Aug '05 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine. For more information, visit http://HomeSchoolEnrichment.com. To request a free sample copy, visit http://homeschoolenrichment.com/magazine/request-sample-issue.html