I went to my first homeschooling meetup today, a playgroup for preschool age homeschoolers. There were about half a dozen families at this event, and they were all lovely. Rio had a blast with the kids, and the moms were very welcoming toward me.

Curiously, the dominant topic of conversation among the moms in this group was how to choose the best preschool for your child.

I was the only one there who was not looking for a preschool, and when I mentioned I was starting a preschool program in my home, two of them immediately asked if I had openings. Now that I think about it, the majority of homeschoolers I know have gone to preschool. But I somehow hadn’t thought about it, and I certainly had not realized how common it is.

There are plenty of good reasons to send your kids to preschool even if you plan to homeschool them through the elementary grades: preschools tend to be part-time, high on parent involvement and low on structure. Preschool age kids tend to be going through a period of differentiation from the mother where its best for all involved for them to spend some time apart. And they tend to be very interested in kids their own age, and not picky in choosing playmates. It’s a great time for lots of free play with a big group of peers and that’s just what many preschools offer.