I also posted this in the homeschooling forum, but I am interested in biased opinions from both sides of the educational spectrum! :) I feel torn between sending him to kindergarten and homeschooling! Please share your experiences and advice.
I have 2 children, DS 4.5, DD 1.5- both have never been cared for outside of home or family. I am the primary care provider, as SAHM, and DH is easing his way into more alone time with the kids. I feel I am mostly in survival mode- just trying to keep housework, meals, and hygiene under control most of the day, and have little energy to plan lessons or enforce routines. We have plenty of educational materials of varying styles, as well as tons of art/craft supplies and a fully stocked music room (full drum kit, guitars, bass, amps, microphone, keyboard). There's plenty to learn from here, but there's really not much routine or curriculum happening at this time. I feel my energy is more geared toward keeping DD safe when DS is doing more mature things, or trying to occupy her so I can give DS some attention. Our attempts at "school time" are either great success or complete failure, depending on the day. DS has a hard time focussing when there's not 100% one on one attention on him, and I have a hard time giving him that. DS has been occasionally skipping naps (usually both kids nap together), so we get a little more time when DD is napping on those days.
When DH and DS hang out alone, there is so much positive learning and teaching going on- even though the time is primarily evening and weekend due to DH's job. DS is quite sharp for his age, but I don't try to label him gifted or anything. He is very much interested and talented in music, art, sports, writing, having books read to him (chapter books and picture books), and mostly self-taught. He is not in any lessons or organized sports. We offer advice, tips and demonstrations when he asks, but unsolicited help falls on deaf ears. The boy is very much determined to just do things his way. He is also extremely fashion conscious, and dresses unlike most kids his age and has long hair that is generally in disarray. He seems quite different from the average school kid.
So, my fear about sending him to school is that the demand for daily structure/conformity will create behavioral issues and take away from his education in general. His disinterest in mainstream culture might make him strong and cool, or cast out and teased. I can't quite tell if he'll thrive in a setting where his peers set the example for behavior expectations and structured learning. I know that he doesn't always listen or care for what I have to say, with the exception of answering his questions and reading from books he chooses. I wonder if having a non-parental teacher will be better for him. Is it worth giving school a go, or should we even bother?
On the other hand, my fear about homeschooling is that he'll not reach his intellectual potential due to my limited education (I didn't finish HS), and my limited energy from caring for both kids all day. I long for the break that sending him to school may offer, but to what end? How can I care for myself and my children in such an intense closeness all day every day for so many more years? We get tired of each other! But he never can seem to get any quality special time with me either! It's such a crazy dynamic, and I wonder if we'll ever find our groove. I know with DD being so young, it will be hard for a little longer. I suspect by age 3, she'll be much more manageable and can participate better in our learning and focussed activities.
I just need a little reassurance and advice from those of you who have BTDT. I am also interested in stories from unschooling families, not just curriculum based. Thanks in advance, everyone. I learn so much from this forum!
Also- we have no additional room in the budget for any tuition school, so Montessori and Waldorf are not really options.