preschool oh preschool

I have learned about myself that I tend to over-prepare, and specifically to over-research. I over-researched all things pregnancy and newborn, then when Z finally arrived in all his glory, I started over-reserching all things toddler and discipline. I've read more pregnancy books, birth books, parenting books, discipline books, child phychology books, ect then I care to admit. And now that Zeke is firmly a toddler (his tone of voice as he says "no" is proof enough) I am getting ready to over-prepare for preschool.

Josh and I decided after much much talking (more talking then he really wanted to devote to the subject, to be honest) to keep Zeke out of any preschool-type program until he turns 3. This is good news and bad news. The good? As excited as I am to start that amazing journey,
three is probably a much more appropriate age for any child, and especially for my child. Not to mention my family, since by the time Zeke turns 3, Mal will be a firm toddler himself and my life will be a lot simpler (I will take a toddler over a baby any day).

The bad? That gives me a litle over a YEAR to overprepare...and this is a subject I could really really overprepare in.

You see, I still havent decided what to do about preschool. Do I put him in a normal commercial program? Do I put him in a co-op? Do I homeschool during the preschool years or even try to start my own in-home co-op with a few like-minded moms? The last possibility honestly begins to sound the best to me but also the most dangerous for overpreparing.

And of course there's the fact that homeschooling is a touchy subject in my mind. I kind of want to do it. No, I really want to do it. I start to delve into the waters of montessori, and waldorf, and I get really really excited. I could create a really really kick-ass school program using all my favorite bits of each. I love the rythmic nature of Waldorf, for example, I love the idea of working with the seasons, I love the festivals, I think Nature tables are a gorgeous idea. I love that the philosophy include so much art, music, storytelling ect. But Anthroposophy is creepy. Im not going to remove all of Zeke's black crayons, and no I wont teach him about gnomes. I like the lesson books that the kids write themselves, but organizationally I dont like the idea of focusing on one subject for weeks at a time before moving on to the next (math for a month for example). And I like the independance and respect given to the children in Montessori. Let them choose their subjects and interests, great idea. And instead of giving your kid a play kitchen, or even one of those little E Z Bake ovens, just let them cook. Instead of giving them fake plastic tools, give them a real set and let them build something. I like that. I think they take it too far at times though. It would be easy to just slide by with the minimum effort in Montessori. Also they tend to demonize fantasy play. Zekey cooks with me, he's got scrambled eggs down pat. But he also has his play kitchen. Fantasy is important.

Both programs also put a lot of emphasis on their hatred of plastic as well. I get it. Plastic is cheap and its ugly. Plastic toys are often loud, obnoxious, noise-making things. I agree that natural-made toys; "real" tool sets, play silks, wood cars and trains, ect are more beautiful, longer lasting, more cherished, not as annoying. But you know what? Plastic is cheap and abudantful. And while I can commit to buying my kids less but higher quality things I'm not about to go around telling everyone else to. So yes, there will be much plastic around here. And I dont even mind honestly. Zekey's Step2 kitchen is rad.

But anyways, getting off subject as usual. Just think of the possibilities of homeschooling! I could teach my kids to write without the ridiculous stick and ball method (palmer script is my mortal enemy). I could teach them to read using real literature, not those horrible textbooks carefully segmented by reading level. I know for a fact I could do a hell of a lot better than the school system when it comes to incorperating art, music, know all the things that feed the soul and get cut first from a budget. We would learn gardening, we would learn sewing, crochetting, painting, woodwork...

We would spend serious time on religion, and not just our own, which I could easily find for my kids in any christian private school. No, I could teach my kids Budha's eight-fold path, the teachings of Confuscious, greek and norse mythology along with our own beliefs...I could use real school time making sure my kids understand that in every religion is merit. The liberating submission to the will of Alah in Islam, the attainment of purity in Buddism, the atonement and songs of praise to Yaweh in Judaism...

Getting off subject again, but see, the deeper I delve into this, the more I start to get really really overwhelmed. The idea of schooling my children is BIG. How do you fit it all in? And I would want to fit it ALL in. Homeschooling is a lot of work, a lot of long days with my kids, a lot of responsibility. At the end of the day they might get a half-assed education. There are also the questions of socialization and independance, which is offered by school in amounts that cannot be replicated at home, no matter how hard you try.

I am torn on the idea of homeschooling. If I truly want to do it and if I DO want to do it, for how long. At the very most I'd say till 6th grade or so.

BUT homeschooling pre-school. Now there's an idea with a lot less stress to it. Maybe I could talk 1 or 2 other families into joining me 1 or 2 days a week, or for occasional feild trips. I have confidence to teach preschool that I just plain dont for "real" school. It would give me a taste for homeschooling, if its too much for me, if its not enough for my kids. It would give Zeke the extra years at home, which I cant undervalue, but provide him with some organized learning.

So here I sit. Overpreparing already. Researching preschool lesson plans, and following
homeschooling blogs, and reading up on Montessori and Waldorf and the best methods
to teach penmenship (die palmer die!) even though this stuff is years is coming.


Llama Wanderings said...

This is my plan for homeschool:

Keep us all updated on your decision/joys of preschool! :D

Anonymous said...

Homepreschool is a ton of fun! I have lots of information about homepreschool/homeschooling on my blog,

A-trox said...

Montessori ROCKS! But maybe that is just my bias having spent 6 years in the program (as did my brother and sister). I am not sure about "demonizing fantasy play" or at least I have no recolection of it ever being frowned upon. A combination of the two programs and creating a co-op like home school deal sounds like a really neat idea. I know there is some kind of home schoolish program that runs out of an old school house on five mile road. I've heard a lot of good things about the families and moms (and dads) teaching there.

Melissa aka Equidae said...

I admit I love the idea of homeschooling myself but life you am afraid to do it apart for the fact that i dont know if it is actually legal to do it in malta (dont know anyone who does it) but i came to a good conclusion after much thinking about it. I will send my son to school & do informal homeschooling as well at his own pace and on what he is interested. I will cultivate his love for gardening and the beauty of nature by giving him a piece of land to care for. i will teach him history by visiting all the cultural heritage on our island which is alot! i will teach him the science of food, healthy habits , measuring etc in cooking and so on.... i think it will be a great combination. as for preschool we start kids at 3 but between now 1 and 3 you cna take him to playgroups once a week with the mums present for 2 hrs and i am doing that as i love it and i alraedy see its good things :) in GReg

Domrese Family Blog said...

Dan and I are in deep discussion about Kindergarten. As you know I did homeschool preschool from the age of 2-4. I LOVED it! I continue to educate them at home, it's my job. However, the socialization they get at their current preschool (2 days a week for 3 hours)?? Priceless. Listening to someone else give directions? Worth knowing they can do that!

Homeschooling does take a ton of work. It virtually rules your life, at least it did mine. Keep us posted on your journey!

Rachel said...

I agree, toddlers are definitely better than babies :-)

I had a real comment to leave, but apparently it's totally gone...

If you guys start up a coop preschool, I'd love to send Kalli! (Assuming my husband will agree to it)