Or maybe it isn’t. Because before we even start thinking kindergarten, we have to think preschool, registration for which happens the February before, which means if we want Nora to go to preschool next year, we have to starting looking and decide in four months. Wow. She was just a baby…and now she’s a preschooler?
However that happened, we’re now starting to think about preschool. Do we want to do it or don’t we? If we want to do it, for how many days per week? There’s so many things that come into play, it’s a little bit overwhelming…especially because we have to make a decision now for our future selves and who knows where we’ll be next fall. On one hand, I think she could really enjoy preschool. She loves “doing art” and singing songs and dancing around. She enjoys seeing other kids. I’m also tempted to fall in to the trap of: “think of all the things I could get done with two toddler-free mornings each week!” On the other hand, I’m also not sure how preschool would fit into our budget. I’d have to really work during those hours for us to be able to afford it. And a bigger question: how does the
possibility probability of homeschooling play into the decision to put Nora in preschool?
Yes, I said home school. We’re thinking about homeschooling. Actually, I’m more than just thinking about it…I’ve pretty much decided that we’ll at least do it for kindergarten and first grade…maybe longer depending upon how it goes.
There are several reasons I’m thinking about homeschooling. A big one being that I, personally, did not do well in a traditional school setting. Yes, I rock at standardized tests and am an intelligent person, but I often found myself bored or without motivation in the classroom. To the degree that I would often not go, which is very unfortunate. One semester, for example, I failed my AP literature class because of attendance (and probably some failure to turn in assignments), yet I still scored a 5 on that same AP test (with no additional studying) and got college credit for the class. I know that if school had been structured differently from the get go, I could have taken away so much more than I already did. I saw this difference first hand when I worked for Bard College’s Master of Arts in Teaching Program. Working there changed a lot of the preconceived notions I had about schooling, just from hearing the faculty speak and spending time in our charter schools. Which leads to reason number two for not sending Nora to public school: I have seen evidence of the better alternative and I don’t want her to have second best when it comes to education.
As if those weren’t reason enough to consider home school (since it’s very unlikely we could afford private), I recently learned that the cut off for kindergarten is September 1, with few to no exceptions made. Nora’s birthday is September 6. There is no way I would be willing to wait until she is nearly 6 years old to start kindergarten. I don’t want to waste a year, and I’ve seen research (like this) showing that kids put into kindergarten late are ad a distinct disadvantage over the course of tehir schooling. I’d much rather Nora be the youngest than the oldest. The kindergarten cut-off, then, may very well “seal the deal” for at least the first year or two.
And so, part of me is wondering why not just do “homeschool preschool”? I mean, after all, reading books, singing, planning outings and crafts cannot possibly be that hard. And I do know all my colors, shapes, and numbers, I promise. So that’s what we’re going to do this year.I’m starting slow just one morning of planned, themed activities per week on top of our other two weekly events (Reading Group and Music & Dance Group), plus all of our normal activities that are educational as well. So far we’ve done two weeks centered around leaves.We checked out books about fall and leaves from the library. We went on a leaf hunt and made leaf artwork.We peeled and crushed fall colored crayons to make melted wax leaves.All the while, talking about colors and letters, and shapes, and numbers, and what happens when wax gets hot? “It melts.”
I started reading You Are Your Child’s First Teacher and I’m already getting excited about planning our next theme day. We’re planning on getting together with a three year old boy and his mama for some “lessons” too. I’m thinking this is going to be a lot of fun…and if I can pull off one day per week this year, why not two next year? Baby steps, right up to planning a week’s worth of kindergarten fun.