Tuesday, August 9, 2011

uh-oh, oh-no preschool

There's been a lot of thinking, praying, and discussing over here.  Lydia, a precious 3 years old, is signed up for preschool at the local community nursery school.  Several of her friends are signed up as well and we've been looking forward to it all summer long. 

The perks of preschool - more time with my boys and social interaction for my daughter - have looked so good for so long.

But now the perks of keeping her home are starting to weigh heavier.  And before anyone begins to think I'm being very sentimental let me say flat out that the $70 a month fee is a huge reason we're considering homeschooled preschool.  It also greatly helps that I can teach her many of the things she'd learn at nursery school:  weather, calendars, standing in a line.  I'll just need to be more intentional about those things.  We already do counting, writing, reading, singing, cooking, and we have some good playdate groups in the area. 

Many friends on Facebook brought up some good points about preschool - there's someone else teaching your child, oldest children (like Lydia) have to learn to share and can't be bossy, there's structured time, and it allows for mom to have some more focused time with the younger kids.  All of those points are really valid, I think.

Many other friends discussed how keeping their kids at home for one or two more years was such a beautiful experience for the entire family.  They spoke from experience of children who didn't go to preschool and still flourish in kindergarten.  This was really reassuring to hear and helped our family come to the conclusion that Lydia will stay home for at least one more year.

Since making this decision I've started a list of things to spend her tuition money on, though most of it will go to bills.  Yet there is now some room in the budget for trips to the the zoo and a local children's museum.  We now have gas money to visit her great grandparents.  I will also be purchasing Catholic Icing's Catholic ABC's Preschool Curriculum Book and An Alphabet of Catholic Saints book.  I'd also like to get some more craft supplies, and a few teaching tools.

I also have hopes of using part of the the money to hire a babysitter so Travis and I can go to Adoration together twice a month.

I'm excited about this next year, but I keep telling myself to not get too worked up about it all.  I think the key is to be very, very low key about it.  Right?  I mean, we don't really even need a curriculum but I'm getting one just in case Lydia and I want a little more structure.  And because I'm pathetic with crafts and Catholic Icing is not.  Lydia loves crafts, the girl deserves some good crafts.  I'm really not even gonna think of this as homeschool because, well-known secret, I have never wanted to homeschool.  So this is just some more time for Lydia to be a little girl, having fun, hanging out, and maybe learning a few things along the way.

I am shamelessly looking for validation on this.

20 comments:

  1. I nearly panicked when I saw that your 3-year-old was going to pre-school. I immediately started to google preschools in my area. $70/month is much more affordable than where we live!

    In response to your post though, I never considered preschool for my 3-year-old. He turned 3 in June. I am a stay at home mom. He has an 18-month old sister to play with all day. We try to get out a lot, whether it is to go pick up bananas, play at chick-fil-a, run around the mall, visit family, etc. I will try to put him in preschool at 4 years old. But we are already living paycheck to paycheck and there is not a chance we could afford it now! It will be a financial stretch next year, but probably more enjoyable for all of us! Also, I think they benefit at 4 years old from the experience. From what I heard, the MOM is the one who benefits most when the child is 3. They get a break for a couple hours ;) So - if I could afford it, I would do it!!!!

    Good luck!

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  2. Thank you, Lisa! Your comment made me smile - I think if we lived close to one another we'd be good friends. :)

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  3. Mom and dad know best. You don't have to rationalize your decisions to anyone. Although it is nice to hear others opinions and utilize them to make a more educated decision of your own. I think you are doing the right thing if you think you are doing the right thing.

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  4. I think you, Lydia, and the boys will enjoy this year together! Even though Lucas is only 2, I just picked up some calendar and weather teaching supplies in the dollar section at Target. I've also been browsing these two websites for ideas: www.handsonhomeschooling.com and www.letteroftheweek.com. We'll get regular playdates going again this fall too! I don't think you'll regret this decision at all. : )

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  5. Bonnie, You made a good decision- preschool is good, can be great, but it is not necessary. You are Lydia's first and best teacher. Also, as far as learning not to be bossy, etc as benefits of preschool- those things can be learned by regularly playing with other children, especially slightly older children. Your children have so many years to go to school ahead of them. But, only a few years to be at home full time with Mommy!
    And like you said, not spending money on preschool is great, too.
    Hey, you can use your extra time to have playdates with us. (since my preschoolers will be at home, too)

    Grete

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  6. I have twins and when they were 3 they had special education needs. They went to a special preschool 3 mornings per week. They were also supposed to ride a bus, but I said no way to that. So I dropped off and picked up. The program gave me good ideas to do at home, and it gave the twins kids to play with besides each other. We had been in the birth to 3 program so it felt like a good transition. There were times I mourned that they weren't home more and that they had special needs. Now they are going to be seniors in high school and after the summer I will miss them again. Time is precious and they grow up so fast! Enjoying Lydia at home sounds great to me!

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  7. Marie and Grete - I'm hoping to have playdates with the likes of you!

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  8. Teri - I appreciate your perspective! Thank you for sharing!

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  9. For what it's worth I think you made the BEST choice :)

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  10. I didn't even know 3 year olds went to preschool. Does that make me crazy? That age is so great because they start really taking ownership over their inquisitiveness. You will do more than an adequate job helping Lydia acquire those pre-preschool skills. :)

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  11. We just signed Joan up on a waiting list for a preschool (2 half days a week) at the family center in town. The only reason we're doing it is because it's a free program funded through grants. We would not be spending money on a preschool at this point, because like you said - I can prep Joan for Kindergarten (if she ends up going to a "real" school) here at home. But I'm hoping the preschool in town will help Joan with her own first child tendencies.

    I wish we lived close because I bet Joan and Lydia would be good friends. She likes holy little girls...

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  12. Whoops. I forgot about the validation.

    I think your choice is a good one. And for the right reasons. We'd be doing the same thing if it weren't for free stuff.

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  13. Avery attended Preschool because 1) it was free; and 2) because it was conveniently in her daycare. Our daycare was one of the grant programs that was cut with the state, so she won't have Preschool next year. I'm totally confident that she won't turn into a cloud of dust because she didn't get to go to preschool.

    Also, I think you've done what's best for your family, and don't take this the wrong way, but I feel you're defending yourself on this post. You should NEVER have to defend yourself for these kinds of choices because it is best for YOUR family.

    You're awesome. :)

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  14. We did the same thing with our daughter (who starts kindergarten this fall). Our son will be 3 in November, so he could go to preschool, but we're waiting until next year as well. You're not alone! :)

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  15. Lish - Thanks for that. I think you're right about me defending myself a little bit. I've been really hurt by the judgement of other moms so maybe I am always on the defensive a little bit. I'm glad you said this because it's something for me to really consider and pray about - and hopefully be free from! (meaning fear of judgement)

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  16. If it makes you feel any better, my daughter just turned 5 and I am not sending her anywhere for another year. I will probably start "officially" homeschooling her next year, but for now, with three kids, I feel like neither of us needs the frustration and stress of trying to homeschool (okay, I'll admit I'm scared of the stress it will put on me). She has learned all sorts of preschool/kindergarten things by herself. She enjoys looking at books, coloring, writing her letters, and learning her numbers without the structure of school. It takes the stress off me and I personally think she has learned everything a lot faster on her own at her own pace than if I were trying to make her do schoolwork every day. I think we put way too much emphasis on preschool. Why can't our children learn everything they need to know from us in our own home?

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  17. YES YES YES!!!!!! Consider this your validation!!!! You will not regret keeping her home a little longer!

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  18. I agree with the second comment - no need to rationalize to anyone. However, it's great to get feedback to broaden your perspective.
    A friend recently told me that when considering to home school her preschool-age child, she started to look for other home schooling parents and realized that many see themselves as martyrs for the cause of home schooling, limiting their view of home school and public school. That being said, I think it's also very important to point out that sometimes, a good education can cost more money. In fact, you will need to account for home schooling materials in your budget if it is your plan.
    Although my siblings and I were treated to an expensive private school for pre-school through kindergarten, my parents offset the costs by sending us to public school from 1st grade on (and saving / loans / etc). The reason? They believed that these first few years are just as important as the others, and wanted to give to us a good foundation. They didn't have much money, but ate the cost regardless. My point is that a good education when a child is young can provide them with the foundation for a good education the rest of their life. However, the $70 / month school may not be the ‘best’ for the money. If you were to learn a progressive model for education, you could not only save yourself the monthly costs for Lydia, but for the boys as well. For instance, the Montessori Method, when taught in an official Montessori school, can cost from $3,000 - $20,000 / year (depending on where you live / the quality of the instruction). However, purchasing the instructional books and a few materials at a time, you could save yourself $3,000 / year x 2 years (min) x 3 kids = $18,000 on a good education!! Compared to nursery school, the cost is $3,780 for the same period/number of kids, but with vast differences in quality of education.
    So, don’t sell yourself short. A good education on the offset can prepare a child for a lifetime of good education. If you do home school, do it well. Give it 100%, remain open to the possibilities. There is something to gain from each path of education, but you’re the parent and no matter where your kids go for their education, it is primarily your responsibility.

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  19. The most important thing is to pray about it and do what is best for you and your children. When I married I automatically assumed that I'd homeschool but Brian and I felt called to something else so Bella has been in Catholic school since age 4 and Andrew starts this year. John-Paul may actually start school preschool at 3. Each child is different and each year could be different. (We may be homeschooling in another year or two, depending on what we feel God is calling us to do at the time :-)

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  20. YAHOO! Let the party start!!!! Mommy and only daughter are going to have TOO much fun. What a great bonding experience to have after a rocky last year with Mr. James. :-)

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