I was homeschooled from first through sixth grade. I loved it, and I believe it gave me a lot of advantages for when I did enter public school. So I've always thought I'd homeschool as well, at least during the younger years. I know I'm in the minority, so I've been bracing myself for the lash back from educators and parents who would question my decision. I figured kindergarten age is either 5 or 6, so I had a good half of a decade after having my first child before I had to be ready for this debate.
I had no idea preschool would even be an issue. I guess I thought it was optional, and really, not necessary. Kindergarten is when school starts--I mean, real school, right?
So here I am with a two year old and an infant and everyone around me is putting their kids in a preschool or mother's-day-out program of some sort. And, I hate to admit this, but I panicked. I had never thought of preschool. I didn't think I had to. Since I was a stay-at-home mom, I thought I didn't need a mother's-day-out program, right? Why would I need to pay for preschool? I was staying home so I didn't have to pay someone else to raise my child.
All of the sudden the line got fuzzy, and I didn't know right from wrong (for my family). So, I told my husband all of the sides of the debate and what everyone else was saying, and I asked him to pray. I told him I'd be praying and would figure out where God's leading us, then come to him and see where he felt God was leading us (big decisions like this work best when we figure out God's direction on our own, then come together to find that we're both hearing the same thing from God--we come to a decision in very different ways: my hubby spends very little time on the issue, takes a little time to pray and listen, and comes back with his answer. I, on the other hand, have to hash everything out logically, consult with people I admire, pray, listen, make pro/con lists, etc., etc., until I come to my final decision. I find it rather amusing that we both always come to the same decision but in completely opposite ways).
Needless to say, when my friends (WAHMs, SAHMs, former elementary teachers, etc.) all started enrolling their children, I thought, "Uh oh. I've been missing something." So, for a little while now I've been researching and hashing out the pros and cons of preschool and trying to determine what's best for my children (Please note, I strongly believe this is a personal choice and something that needs to be decided on a case-by-case basis. I am in no way trying to determine if preschool is right for everyone. It's a personal decision just for my family).
Anyway, as I'm hashing it out in my mind, I thought I'd give you a peek into my own thought process and invite you to weigh in with your own experiences/thoughts.
Reasons I'd Send My Daughter to Preschool:
1. It'd give me more time to work (which is a little trickier to find this year because A is napping for half as long as she used to--so my work time has been cut in half).
2. It'd give me more quality time with my infant who's had to share me from day one.
3. It'd introduce my daughter to structure and teach her how to operate within structure.
4. It'd provide more opportunities for her to interact with other children and socialize.
5. It'd prepare her for kindergarten.
6. Everyone else is doing it.
Reasons I Wouldn't Send My Daughter to Preschool:
1. I want to raise my daughter--I don't want to pay someone else to do it.
2. She's got the rest of her life to be in school.
3. I can teach/train her at home so she's not missing out on any opportunities educationally or socially (we've got plenty of options to keep her around other kids and involved in extra curriculars).
4. I don't want to miss anything.
5. Children are influenced by the people they're around, and a big chunk of that influence would now be coming from outside sources.
6. I can always make my schedule work so that I can still work at home. It'd just be different, and different is okay.
7. I'd be doing it because everyone else is doing it.
There's my pro/con list so far. I've talked to quite a few people from all sides about the subject. And I've done a bit of praying. Now it's time for sorting. I need to sort all my thoughts, sift, stir, and sift some more and figure out where God's direction is in all of this. Why do I have to make this such a process all the time? If only I could be at peace with a decision I make after a few minutes of listening to God (like my husband). Well, I know why. I feel the need to have myself completely prepared to quiet the voices in my head when doubt, worry or fear start to come up after I've made the decision.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject. What's most important for you? I'd say my number-one reasons on both lists are really the root of my problem. When I can figure which one is more important, I'll have my answer. I'll keep you posted.
**Be sure to "like" Editor Joy on FB (use the link in the righthand column) if you haven't already done so!