Did your LOs do preschool? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 10-24-2008, 05:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DD will be 3 in December, so this is something I've been thinking about. We are totally down with unschooling but since all the kids we know are starting preschool I've just been toying around with the idea myself. What have been your experiences?

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#2 of 13 Old 10-24-2008, 05:26 PM
 
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I thought about doing it when things were tough after DS2 was born. I'm a die-hard, 2nd generation unschooler, but when everyone else was doing it, it sounded attractive. Then I found out what preschool actually entailed - namely only a few hours 3 days a week early in the morning - and changed my mind. I didn't want to suddenly have to get up, get out of the house to schlep both boys off to preschool only to have a couple of hours with just the baby. Didn't seem at all worth it. Not to mention any behavior problems my son would likely have (he doesn't take direction well) and dealing with that plus school clothes, snacks, losing jackets and hats and mittens, talking to teachers, arguing about getting up in the morning and staying up late. ugh!

I like my unschooling life much better. It's three in the afternoon. I've eaten once. I'm still in pajamas. The boys are playing Lego. I'm going to clean today and we're going to paint pumpkins in a bit for Aleks' pumpkin patch room. Earlier they played video games, bakugan, with cars, and we hung up golden snitches we made the other day. Papa will be home in a bit to make us dinner. Then he'll go out and I'll wash the sheets. woot.

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#3 of 13 Old 10-25-2008, 02:19 AM
 
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I felt no temptation to send DS to preschool despite the fact that many of his "buddies" were heading there. In fact, I remembering feeling quite liberated by the fact that we opted out. And by the time the "other kids" started kindergarten, it barely made a blip on our radar. I felt if we were truly following an unschooling path, then preschool seemed a rather antithetical choice. Indeed, this was the time when unschooling started to feel 'official' and as such, very exciting and fun and easy. Wouldn't have missed it for the world.

As for DS, he never registered that he was any different because he didn't attend preschool with other children he knew. He always sort of accepted that each family does what they do and this is what we do. We did have a small, relaxed h/s group at that time that we attended once per week... mom's took turns hosting, etc., which I imagine was helpful but in general, we've never been huge joiners and haven't taken participation in any h/s coops or such. We just wake up, and live our days. DS has never had interest is going to school. DS is very much a "follow the beat of his own drum" kind of guy and I know that school would be ill-fitting for him as AnnaKiss was mentioning of her DS. When I explained to DS about school and what it's about, he was clear about this as well, "Mom, I feel really lucky that you and Dad decided to homeschool!"

DS doesn't have a huge group of friends, but a few close ones he loves to pieces. Of the 7 or so I can think of off the top of my head, 5 attend school, 2 h/s in a more formal fashion. They discuss the differences very little and school (whether you do it or not) has never been a huge issue for any of the kids... because they're to busy playing to care to discuss it.

The best in whatever you decide.

Em

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#4 of 13 Old 10-25-2008, 03:33 AM
 
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My ds went to preschool from just turned two till just turned 4 for 2 mornings a week coz his friends were going. He loved it, but then when I decided to unschool I decided to pull the pin on it. For one, I didn't want to then have to transition him "out of the system" with potential dramas (school here starts on your 5th birthday) and he'd gain more awareness of heading off to school the older he got - and all the build up with ready for school stuff and the "teaching" they would start to do when he was about 4.5 (up until then, it was completely free play which I was totally happy with).

So, as a compromise, since I liked a playing environment for the kids, we joined up to a parents co-operative which we just go to once a week and it fills the need for different activities, messy play, meeting friends and I get to meet other mums etc. We will be leaving at the end of the year though (end of school year here in December for summer holidays) since ds has pretty much outgrown it agewise as he will be over 5.5 and the oldest by a year as it is.

I guess, I'l look at what it is that you want to get out of the preschool environment that you can't provide for him elsewhere.

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#5 of 13 Old 10-25-2008, 08:49 PM
 
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I think the benefits of preschool really depend on the preschool itself. The one my kids went to was very unstructured. It was one room with a maximum of 10 kids and it was filled with toys, craft materials, paint easels... They did a brief circle time, but if the child chose not to participate that was fine. They were free to do whatever activity they wanted. If they wanted to spend the whole morning at teh sand box, that was great. It gave me a break from them and them a break from me. Some preschools, though, are very 'academic'. They really focus on kindergarten readiness, early literacy skills, etc.
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#6 of 13 Old 10-26-2008, 12:38 AM
 
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Nope. Pretty soon, everyone will be going to public school, too. We're not going to do that, either.
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#7 of 13 Old 10-26-2008, 01:21 AM
 
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I was temped since there was a 'tiny tots' program at the park down the street. But when I saw how the children were treated, I decided against it. I didn't want them to be introduced to 'time outs' and adults who view children's natural behaviors as 'naughty' if they decide not to follow their 'schedule'.

I also didn't want my kids to make friends with other preschool children who would most likely go on to school. I wouldn't want my children to feel they were 'missing out'.
Instead we joined a few local homeschool groups that I found were very unschooling friendly. I also started a group for young homelearners/ unschoolers, and now we have a great circle of friends.

Good luck to you, whatever you decide.
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#8 of 13 Old 10-26-2008, 10:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scoobymummy View Post
I think the benefits of preschool really depend on the preschool itself. The one my kids went to was very unstructured. It was one room with a maximum of 10 kids and it was filled with toys, craft materials, paint easels... They did a brief circle time, but if the child chose not to participate that was fine. They were free to do whatever activity they wanted. If they wanted to spend the whole morning at teh sand box, that was great. It gave me a break from them and them a break from me.
I've been feeling conflicted about this issue, too. Ultimately we decided to do it with our 2 year old; our preschool is very much like the one described above. The reason I decided to go for it is that I have spent very little time around small children - I'm an only child who barely did any babysitting and didn't have cousins around very often, etc. So I needed ideas, basically, for how to engage my little guy. And, honestly, for some time off (2 hours a week! woo!) and some mama camraderie. It's really more for me than him, but as he's seeming to enjoy it I don't feel so bad. If he hated it or there was anything truly negative about the experience I would stop, but I'm learning some good stuff and he's basically playing with a lot of cool new stuff.

Chessa , mama to Silas T (6/06) , wife to Chad . Welcome August Emerson! 2/8/10
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#9 of 13 Old 10-27-2008, 10:40 PM
 
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wrong with preschool. Hsers don't choose to send their kids to full time school, but still do lots of group activities. A nice, cheery, homey, unstructured preschool can be great fun for kids. I know a big thing for me is that dd could paint all morning if she wanted to, something that was difficult to engineer at home (OK - I admit it - I REALLY hate cleaning up paint). My kids loved it, made good friends that they kept until we moved and it was very positive for them. I know the two hour break was a big draw for me. Preschoolers are very intense and tiring and it's not a weakness to need the occassional break from them.
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#10 of 13 Old 10-28-2008, 01:15 AM
 
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My older dd went to preschool for three years and it was so great for her and our family that I NEVER imagined homeschooling.

Now that we are homeschooling, I experimented with preschool for my younger dd, and still don't rule it out entirely; but the program we tried didn't work (it was a mixed-age group and she was significantly older than the other kids). We're on the waiting list for my older dd's preschool, but honestly we're in a pretty good groove around here I don't think we'll do it even if she has a spot.

I agree that preschoolers are so intense and exhausting, I think we all need to find ways to get a break! A gentle, play-based preschool can be one way to get this if you can find the right program that works for your child and your family. I think of it more as child-care than actually "school."

good luck!
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#11 of 13 Old 10-28-2008, 01:56 AM
 
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I think the decision is up to you, what works for you and your child, the preschools available and has nothing to do with whether you homeschool or not. I would do the preschool we did the last year all over again. I gained free time, mama camraderie and learned lessons from teachers, other parents, other kids that were invaluable. We were also in a play based, outdoor centric preschool, so that also had a lot to do with it. Even now, with homeschooling, we utilize group classes that sometimes don't involve me-my son loves a little freedom once in awhile and I think it is good for both of us.
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#12 of 13 Old 11-24-2008, 11:00 PM
 
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Our 3 year old goes to preschool two mornings a week, two hours each time. It is unstructured and play- and art-based, not at all academic, and he really loves it. He talks about it all the time, but he tends to call it "his class" instead of his school. I think its because his brother takes classes sometimes and they both say they homeschool.

Why is he there? To be perfectly honest, part of the reason is so his 6 year old brother and I get a little break. We get a little bit of downtime to play an uninterrupted game of yahtzee or sit on the couch together reading our own respective books.

Our 3 yr old is a very chatty extrovert who wants a lot of friends and stimuli. We all do plenty of that too as part of our non-schooling lives, almost daily, but I admit the downtime for me and my oldest son is nice. I do think the other moms think we're weird since my 6 yr old comes with me (of course) to drop his brother off and pick him up. A few have asked why he isn't in school and I've simply said "he doesn't go to school." Those women haven't said much to me since. Whatever.

The only part i don't like is having to be somewhere at a certain time but it is really super close to where we live. Oh, and although it is cheap we're really needing to pinch pennies these days, so there is that aspect too. I don't think we'll do it next year but for now its going ok.
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#13 of 13 Old 11-25-2008, 04:10 AM
 
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I'm struggling with this too--my DD is almost 4, all her friends go to school, there's even a preschool on site where we live, and she's become obsessed with school school school. Here I am, the mom who always intended to unschool, and my DD's play revolves primarily around...pretending to go to school. She's been begging me to go lately, and I think has started to see it as a forbidden fruit. Sigh...

I did find a preschool that is all outdoors, where they play in the forest whether it's rain or shine (just like in this month's Mothering!!) I'm breaking down and am probably going to send her there one morning per week.
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