Ah, yes. I knew they had to come. All those well-intentioned questions about preschool. They have begun.
I mean, Caroline is almost two and a half. It’s panic time, people! She’s getting behind even though she speaks in ten word sentences! She knows her letters, colors, numbers, shapes, can identify various birds by name, and already knows more science than most kindergartners.
(David’s dad asked if we sit around teaching her all day because she knows so much. Believe me, we don’t!)
She helps with all kinds of things around the house and LOVES IT – putting laundry down the chute, wiping floors, cleaning the bathroom, dusting the wood floors, using the FlyLady dusters to dust, putting laundry away, setting the table, emptying the dishwasher, mowing the lawn (don’t freak – we have a reel mower), sorting the recycling, washing the car, etc.
She LOVES to help around the house and we talk all the time while we do it. That’s why she could wake up in the morning about a month ago, hear the printer in the office and proclaim loudly, “I need to get out and get that paper from the printer!” (Another one of her very favorite jobs.)
She loves adults, gets excited about babies, is comfortable around other children her own size, and is fascinated by older girls. The only thing that puts her off a bit is older boys and that is just fine with me!
(The one major negative? She is majorly scared of the vacuum cleaner.)
We recently had someone give us a polite sort-of-hard-sell about a preschool in our area. I listened politely and asked a few questions. I knew the person meant well, but I just didn’t feel up to actually debating the whole topic of preschool and I knew the person was just trying to be helpful.
So, yes, we are starting to get the preschool question. And, honestly, the only time I think about sending Caroline to preschool is when I’m either very tired or have a lot of work to do. But at this point I’m quite sure preschool would not be the best thing for her. We continue to operate from our default mode of thinking which is that we will homeschool unless God shows us differently.
I was interested to see that Barbara Curtis at MommyLife is doing a series about doing preschool at home. She has 12 (!) children and was a Montessori teacher. She has three parts to the series so far (which are now only in the Wayback Machine).
Barbara also put up a related post called Is homeschool for everyone? She made this excellent point:
Last week I mentioned a mother who sought my advice because her second grader was beginning to struggle at school. When I met with the homeschooling moms on Tuesday, there was another mom who came with tears in her eyes because her second grade son (Catholic School) was floundering. The teachers suggested ADHD and she had already taken him to a clinical psychologist. He was obviously headed on the path to medication.
Mothers!!!! Please, know that when your child does not conform to school model that doesn’t necessarily mean that there is something wrong with your child. It just means that the way we educate kids in this country is very cookie-cutter. Children are expected to behave and conform in a certain way. Any deviance from the expectation becomes an inconvenience and the reaction is to fix the problem with summer school, specialists and/or drugs. The option that is never recommended is to remove the child from school and to educate him or her at home to remove the pressure and give them a better chance to succeed.
I have lots of strong opinions about education but I don’t usually air them here. But the idea of expecting children to conform in a classroom setting is a real hot button for me. My time spent teaching gave me the background to think about these topics and my views have really changed since I left the classroom. I’m sure I’ll write more about these topics in the days ahead. In the meantime, enjoy Barbara’s articles. 🙂