I went on another site and posted to a forum on parenting pre-schoolers about the difficulty my DS (almost 4 y.o.) is having with his big sister starting kindergarten this year, and how to help ease the transition without spoiling him (letting discipline things slide or giving him an amount of attention that is unrealistic to keep up). I want him to be able to entertain himself for a while - not all day, just long enough to let me get things done.
I "home preschooled" my daughter, and I'm comfortable with that decision for my son. We do workbooks occasionally, I read to them a lot, but I think kids need unstructured play time and time to use their imaginations and be a kid. I don't use the T.V. as a babysitter, and I'd say most weeks they get less than 1 hr. of television.
So obviously my DS is not an only child, and gets some socialization playing with his sister. We also attend a church where he has Bible class with other kids his age twice a week. Other than that, we live out in the country, and the drive time/gas money issue prevents a lot of running around. I do plan to start taking him to a Mother's Morning Out once a week in a nearby town once it starts in a couple of weeks.
People on that board acted like I was depriving my child horribly by not giving him more social stimulation than that, and seriously criticized the stated priorities of my family. They were all, without exception, recommending I enroll him in pre-school ASAP and basically implying that I was a selfish, bad mom for not doing whatever I could, no matter how inconvenient or financially unreasonable, to get him there. So I am feeling a little touchy about the whole pre-school thing right now.
But how much social interaction does a kid that age NEED? I grew up in the country when our school district did not even HAVE pre-K, as did my sister and brother, and I don't feel that 5 years spent without gymnastics, soccer, and pre-school harmed us in any long term way, and in fact had a lot of other benefits.
Are there any studies about how much socialization kids need with children their own age?
I feel like it will do my son much more good to have me to himself for a few months during the main part of the day (I have a baby due in December), instead of just pawning him off on someone else, and having him spend nearly 1 1/2 hrs daily in the car (because driving around in the car is very intellectually and social stimulating).