Type those two words in and search. I got about 210,000 results and no, I didn't click on all of them.
Just about every big curriculum provider is now selling a preschool program of some kind or another. Some of them will even sell toy kits, so you can be sure you're playing with *just the right* kind of toy that will engage your preschooler's mind.
Really, I don't think there's anything wrong with the kits. One set I saw from My Father's World has a replacement part warranty that I thought was pretty astounding. If only I could start all over without our million and three halfway broken made-in-China toys and get all my stuff in one BIG box, carefully preselected from people who know what works and lasts (Hint: Not from Wal-Mart!). I think that's the premise of the Discovery Toys company... sure, you pay a LOT of money for their items, but they really stand behind them and want you to be happy with your purchase. Boy, you'd better be after looking at your husband's face when he sees the invoice.
But I have to think about the philosophy behind this marketing expansion. Maybe these companies are doing it because EVERYONE ELSE is, and the parents are going to plunk their money down on something anyway... and it might as well be their stuff. I mean, their stuff is good stuff, right? And some of these packages, if I didn't have this thing called a "library card" or a "book in my house," would certainly be worth the money.
Oh, boy, I look at some of this stuff and think it might be worth the money anyway.
But we're on kids #5 and 6, looking in a few years to college expenses. Can I really justify $600 in pop-up books and educational toys? Guess not. Siiigh. It's kind of like looking at fashion clothes, when you know they won't fit your giant size 29 body. I mean, it looks great in the catalog, though.
Why aren't these companies offering a "you're done with homeschooling/ young adulthood" pack? Why wouldn't that work? I'd submit to you it's because Mom and Dad have lived with the kid who USED to be that precious preschooler... the kid they USED to think was somewhat moldable... Well, now they realize that there is only so much you can do with the old tabula rasa idea there.
Well, I don't agree with the old tabula rasa idea. At all. Though I think nurture can accomplish much, I also think that children can and do come through all sorts of circumstances and are ok. Even if they don't get the super preschool pack and even if Mom and Dad never read to them at all. It's that "grace of God" idea that gets me through the day when I know that yet again, I've failed as a mom. I've said things I shouldn't have. Argued with my children. NOT argued when I should have.
Hey, there are circumstances out there a lot worse than ours! And most kids are ok. Nope, I'm not excusing your bad parenting (or mine! but you can't see mine!), but most of us are ok.
Back to topic.
The preschool kits: Are we trying to "educate" our children way too young? Are we working too hard to make play "work" or log it as "school?" Or maybe sometimes we homeschoolers even work too hard at making work into fun when every now and then, you just plain old have to do the math.
Maybe the kits are just a lot of fun. And they're packaged in cool boxes and bags. Some of them come with cuddly animals and mascots or movies that go with the books. Some of them, I'm just thinking would be fun to have, but it would help me justify my purchase if it were "educational."