Let me confess, after being homeschooled from preschool to graduation, I never ever though I would homeschool my own children. Never. Ever. I did NOT want to.
But the more and more The Hubby and I talked about it the more and more it seemed like the best fit for our little family.
For the record, my lack of interest in homeschooling my own children had very little to do with my own education, other than I saw how hard it was. But I also know how amazing it was. I feel so incredibly blessed to have had such a patient, gracious, and loving mother who gave me and my siblings everything she had. Thanks, Mom!
Why We Are Homeschooling Preschool?
This is a bit of a loaded question, but I’m going to give you the whole story.
Last year Jude was in a preschool program through our city. It was basic and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was disappointed for a lot of reasons. He never said he “liked” school and he had been so thrilled at the beginning of the year. It wasn’t until about the last month that he would go into his classroom willingly. About two months before the end of the year the main teacher left the school for personal reasons. We were told there would be field trips, and there never were. We were promised a holiday performance and the main teacher got sick so the secondary teacher canceled the whole thing. We never got any feed back or how we could be helping Jude learn more at home to reinforce what he was working on in school. The teachers always seemed stressed out and overwhelmed.
Now, I’ve worked with young kids. I taught many camps, sewing, and dance classes. I babysat and nannied for years. I know it’s hard. So hard. I hated it some days. But come on! You can’t let the kids see that.
Honestly, the last straw wasn’t any of that. It was something that the teacher probably doesn’t even remember and some of you might think is silly, and I might get some backlash for this but I’m going to tell you anyway.
One day, near the end of the school year, Jude asked to wear his Batman costume to school. It wasn’t Halloween, but I am of the mindset that kids can wear pretty much whatever they like. They need to figure out who they are and how the world works and one of the things they need to figure out is how to dress themselves. So, I told him he had to wear shorts and a t-shirt under his costume incase he got hot. He was fine with that and off he went.
When I picked him up from school he wasn’t wearing his costume. I asked him if he had gotten hot and taken it off. Mind you, he wore that costume while running around outside at a party in 80° weather and refused to take it off, so I was surprised he wasn’t wearing it anymore. When he told me the teacher made him take it off I pressed him for more. He said it was because it was scary to the other kids. Now, I could understand if the mask was scary and he was asked to take that off. I get that, but he was asked to take the whole suit off. How could a basic black polyester suit with deflated muscles be scary. Come on. That was my braking point. If there had been more than two classes after that I would have pulled him right then and there.
I want to raise my children with freedom. I want them to be able to explore, create, express, and learn what they are interested in. I’m unconventional with my education philosophy. I blame my mom, in a good way. I think the best thing for kids to do is play. Be outside. Figure it out. If they want to sit down and learn to read, great! But if they don’t, who cares?
Even before the Batman incident, I had my doubts about sending my kids to school. While I didn’t think homeschooling was right for our family, deep down I knew I would probably not be able to find a school I was happy with. Maybe I’m too picky, but it’s the truth. So, here we are, at the beginning of a road I swore I would never be traveling. Let’s do this!
I wanted to give you guys my plan, or what I’ve got so far, just in case anyone else might be on the same sort of path as I am.
When I was a kid, we participated in lots of co-ops. And I loved them! It was a great social time and a time to learn from some moms who weren’t my own. So, when I was approached by one of the other moms from Jude’s preschool program (who had a worse experience than we did) about putting together a homeschool preschool co-op for this year, I was so thrilled. The idea was really just what I was looking for, and I didn’t even know it.
Our plan is to meet three days a week and mostly let the kids play, but have some slightly structured learning time. We intend to take a field trip once a week and hopefully be outside as much as possible. We will be doing crafts, reading books and story time, making food, etc… Basically preschool type stuff, but with a very small group and nothing will be forced. If a kid doesn’t want to join in, they don’t have to. We want to encourage creative and exploratory play.
Since we are doing this co-op three days a week and I’m still going to be working part time and blogging in my “spare” time, I’m going to take our two non-co-op days easy. I have a few preschool level activity books that we can work on if Jude is interested. I also have an ABC project that I want to work on throughout the year (more about that later).
I intend to run errands and do house work on the days we have off from co-op, so it’s really going to be a see how it goes sort of deal. However, I do want to make sure we do a few thing everyday.
- Chores – I want both of my kids to start doing daily chores. I haven’t worked out what those should be yet, but I’m going to try to get that going as much as possible. There is a great list of age appropriate chores here. I want my kids to learn to be helpful, this is one way to teach that. I’m also thinking of starting an allowance system, does anyone have advice on teaching money management to little kids?
- Storytime – Read 2-3 books together. I love reading and I know it is because my mom read to me and my sister so much. I have so many memories of siting with her reading aloud to us. I want to give this to my children.
- Bible Reading and Thankfulness – We have been rather inconsistent about reading the Bible to our kids. We have a great kid’s Bible stories book, but it’s still a bit over Avi’s head and Jude is just now starting to pay attention long enough to get through a full story. I want to start reading a story per day. And I want to have conversations about thankfulness. I want to ask my kids daily, what they are thankful for. This might be toy dinosaurs or popsicles, but that’s a start!