The past three weeks of life at my house have been full of newness: learning to nurse a newborn all over again, adjusting to life with three little girls and sending my oldest baby off to preschool.
But wait? Wasn’t it around last year this time that I wrote that I didn’t think preschool was necessary? Well, yes, that’s right. And I still don’t think it’s necessary for everyone.
But, for some families–and for some children–I think it’s a good idea. But the decision to send 4-year-old Little Girl to preschool three mornings per week (for a total of 9 hours weekly) was not an easy one.
For starters, I’ve wanted to homeschool since Little Girl was born. It’s something that–for the most part–my husband and I have agreed upon. I even gathered a list of free and affordable preschool homeschooling resources.
But my plans to work with my daughter on preschool skills at home haven’t been uber successful. During her 3rd year of life, I was super overwhelmed with adjusting to life with two very small children, and I was battling PPD. When Toddler Girl was barely a year old, I found myself pregnant again. Fatigue and nausea followed.
Oh, Little Girl picked up her shapes and colors and how to count and many of her letters, but, still, I didn’t take that intentional time with her every day that she needed. And even though she picked up a lot of the academic preschool skills, she still seemed to be lacking in social skills.* Little Girl thrives in very structured environments, and I realized I wasn’t providing that structure for her.
*I do not think that schooling outside of the home is necessary for teaching “social skills.” However, some children have issues/personality traits that may require a more structured atmosphere–at least for a time.
Then, in April, our entire family spent almost a month passing the horrible, no-good norovirus back and forth. After my husband spent a week at home with us all, he looked at me one day and said: “Little Girl needs preschool.”
At first, my heart fell. Did this mean I was a failure as a mother? Would this be the end of all my plans to homeschool? (Notice I said my plans and not God’s plans.) Did this mean I was just “giving my daughter up” for someone else to raise?
I know for those of you who send your children to school–whether it be private, Christian, public, etc.–this internal struggle may sound petty. Perhaps those of you who homeschool can relate–or perhaps you are shaking your head right now.
But here’s the thing I had to realize. My husband was right. First of all, he is my authority. I don’t always do the best job of respecting that. I struggle with it every day. But God has placed him as my head–for a reason.
Second of all, when we had children, we both said that when it came time for them to attend school, we would seek the Lord about each individual child. What are that child’s needs? What schooling scenario best fits that child’s personality? And, ultimately, where has God called us to send that child?
Whereas some parents may feel the Lord has called ALL to homeschool, we do not feel that way. My husband attended public schools. I attended Christian schools. My husband currently teaches at a community charter school (much like a private school but with no tuition). We see HUGE advantages in homeschooling. We don’t believe that when it comes to schooling there is one “cookie cutter” fit for everyone.
If the Lord mandated that everyone only school one certain way, what would that say to the single mother who can neither afford Christian school nor provide the at-home time her children need to homeschool? Public school may be her only option.* This is just one example. I’m obviously not a single mother, but my point is that we must consider that each and every family is unique.
And so, this year, Little Girl has started preschool. We were blessed to find a super tiny, Christian school with a strong biblical curriculum. So far, Little Girl has come home talking more about the Fruit of the Spirit and how it’s proper to use “inside voices” than reciting her letters and days of the week. But, honestly, I prefer it that way.
On the two mornings Little Girl is not in school, I am working with her on the skills she is learning there as well as loosely following the free, online homeschool curriculum: ABC Jesus Loves Me.
Where will she attend kindergarten next year? For now, that’s a matter of prayer. I’m hoping for a local university-model school (half homeschool and half Christian school), but I’ll have to see what the Lord lays on my husband’s heart.
Will we ever homeschool? Will we send all our children to preschool?
I don’t know at this point. I do not think every child needs to attend preschool, but I have had several friends who have sent their children to preschool before starting homeschooling in kindergarten or first grade. I believe we will take it year-by-year and child-by-child…and seek the Lord for what is the best fit for each of our girls in any given stage of their lives.
If you’re looking for a preschool curriculum you can do with your kids at home, I highly recommend Intentional by Grace’s Fruit of the Spirit Curriculum for toddlers and young pre-schoolers. This printable resources combines teaching biblical truths with early learning skills!
Did you send your child to preschool? If so, what led you to that decision?
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