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#1 of 18 Old 04-12-2002, 05:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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just curious...
to all parents who currently homeschool/unschool their child/children:
did you send them to a preschool (1/2 day, full day, few times a week, every day, whatever)?
if so, what is your philosophy on that? and what was your experience? your child's experience?
if not, why not?
just weighing up my options right now...
thanks!
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#2 of 18 Old 04-12-2002, 07:13 PM
 
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No, I didn't send my kids to preschool. I really thought about it when my oldest child turned 3. She had many delays and I wondered if a good preschool would be helpful in remediating her delays. I did a great deal of research about the kinds of activities that were best for her (and for early education in general) and then checked out 15 preschools in my city. I was very surprised to find out that most of the preschools did not spend time doing the things that were best for child developement.

Most of the preschools I found seemed truly detrimental to positive child development and education. They spent time on activities that are totally inappropriate for early learning -- such as forced accedmics, watching TV, computer games etc. For a child who is developing normally, such activities are misplaced and a waste of time. For a child with developmental issues such activities are can be truly damaging. I was very surprised to find that I knew more by reading about brain development and early childhood education by reading a few books from the library than the folks running these preschools.

Two of the preschools I checked into had very nice programs. Both were operated by private schools (one was a Waldorf school, the other an open school). The children spent time gardening, playing, cooking, and, in one school, caring for animals. Both of these schools costs $350 a month part time. One thing that struck me as I was considering our options is how much the programs that I like resembled a home.

Two excellant books you can most likely get from your library:

Miseducation: Preschoolers at Risk by David Elkind

Your Child's Growing Mind by Jane Healy

Neither of these books are about homeschooling. Elkind describes what to look for in a preschool. These are great reading what ever you decide to do about preschool.

BTW, my older DD is 5 1/2 and is totally caught up!

I think that if parents want/need to be away from their children, the kids should be some place wonderful, but that if a parent can be with the child, there isn't any reason for preschool.
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#3 of 18 Old 04-12-2002, 10:15 PM
 
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i didnt want to send my kids to preschool. to me its babysitting and not much else. they learn more sharing your life in the "real"wrold than they ever will in an artificial school environment. i dont think they need to learn to socialize by spending a lot of time with kids their own age....where else in life would u do that? they learn to socialize by being with kids of all different ages, and adults too!
Earthymama - rabid unschooler
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#4 of 18 Old 04-13-2002, 09:42 AM
 
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When we were in the "thinking about it" stage, dd wanted to go to the preschool that her best friend was attending. I made arrangements for her to go once a week, then felt completely conflicted about it. Wished I hadn't done it, and became more sure that we would homeschool. I was beside myself worrying about what I'd do if she liked preschool and wanted to go to kindergarten with the rest of the kids. The first time she went to the preschool, she had lots of fun playing with her friend and everything. The second week her friend was not there, and she had a bad experience. Later that week she said, "I don't want to go to school anymore." So that was the last of that. YIPEE!

One good thing about the experience was it solidified my decision about homeschooling. I thought I had years to decide, but realized you kind of have to steer one way or the other starting at about age 3. Not that you can't change your mind, but you know what I mean.

So now whenever anyone asks about preschool or kindergarten, my daughter proudly proclaims, "We're homeschoolers!" And sometimes she adds, "I quit school." My daughter, the preschool dropout.

Moral of the story: If you know you are going to homeschool, I would not go down the preschool road.
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#5 of 18 Old 04-13-2002, 01:06 PM
 
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we did one year of preschool (2 mornings/week age 3-1/2 to 4-1/2) because I needed a break at that age! (let's be honest, here). it was also necessary because i was experiencing a difficult pregnancy and couldn't really be there for dd. we started a second year of preschool (age 4-1/2), but dd found it so boring the 2nd time that we started home school a year earlier than planned.

I did find a preschool that was in line with my beliefs(no TV, only fruit and home-made muffins or sunflower seeds for snacks, non-academic Waldorf-like) AND the teacher had homeschooled one of her own kids so she was very supportive.

preschool isn't necessary for anyone - just 30 years ago very few kids went - but that doesn't mean it isn't ever a good option.
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#6 of 18 Old 08-04-2002, 06:20 PM
 
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We went to a parent/child playgroup pre-school experience at a Waldorf School. I liked it because I was able to stay with my child. The Waldorf philosophy for early childhood is based on replicating the home environment and learning life and family skills. It was a nice experience, but I can do that at home on my own schedule.
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#7 of 18 Old 08-05-2002, 02:52 PM
 
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I am sending my son to preschool 2 mornings a week and I am unschooling him. I found a preschool that just allows the kids to play...no academics. He does well with it. There are not many kids around here for him to play with and I think it's been good for him.
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#8 of 18 Old 08-05-2002, 11:12 PM
 
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: I am a child care center director and my husband is a lead teacher in the preschool
program. Certainly not all programs are alike, and there all also many different kinds of playgroups
and parent cooperatives to choose from. Our program is play-based, the focus is on getting along with
others and increasing self reliance. There is a lot of free play, time for music and movement, book sharing,
and outside play. We feel there's something magical in having children together in small groups with their peers.
They learn quite a bit from each other as well as from their parents and us...
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#9 of 18 Old 08-07-2002, 06:12 AM
 
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Myy dd will be 4 soon and ALL of her friends and cousins will be heading off to preschool in the fall. So far I have decided this isn't something I want her to do. It's frustrating because I can see too many pros and cons on the issue.

On the pro side for us there is the fact that she is VERY social and LOVES groups of people. It would be fun for her and give her some time away from me which we could probably both use. She is also a child who likes routine (most of the time) and we don't really have many of those in our lives. Plus I feel like they can do more things there that I just don't have the energy or rescources to do at home things like messy art projects, team games (red rover and stuff), and learning to follow directions without me nagging her.

On the other hand she is very 'enthusiastic' and 'voiciferous' (ie: loud) and I would hate to see her shushed so much that she though less of herself. She is one of those kids who tries hard to please and I would hate to see that become her motivation to do things (at home I try to let her achievment be it's own reward). On a selfish note I know that she would really like preschool and I don't want to get her involved in something and have her be disappointed when I take her out and don't let her go to kindergarten. Personally I think that 'socialization' of a preschooler with other kids that age is downright crazy. It's like the blind leading the blind I like her to be able to spend her days with a larger age range. I guess the biggest reason though is financial though. I don't think we could afford the cost of preschool even if we really wanted to.

I guess it is a personal choice really and you have to go with your gut and how you think your kid will feel.

Katie
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#10 of 18 Old 08-07-2002, 12:42 PM
 
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My oldest just turned five, but, no, we did not send him to preschool. Nor will we send our youngest, age 2 and 1/2, either.

I used to "teach" preschool and for me, this was the largest determining factor in not sending our kids to preschool-- even before we had decided to homeschool. Also, LLL was a wonderful support for my keeping my children at home. We use their book "Creative Playtime" for art project ideas often

Dh and I consciously chose to keep our children at home with me from the beginning and homeschooling seemed like a natural growth out of that.

We did playgroups, gymnastics, clay classes, etc. al on our own time. This way, depending on everyone's health and mood, we could decide what worked best for us at the time.

And to be honest with you... we have had such a wonderful time! I love this age ( I love them all, actually), they are so inquisitive and imaginitive. Wouldn't want to miss a moment of it
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#11 of 18 Old 08-07-2002, 01:29 PM
 
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I posted before that I am sending my son two mornings a week to a preschool even though we are home schooling (unschooling). I need to add another reason why I am sending him to preeschool 2 mornings...We live in a neighborhood in an apt. where I can not send him out to play with out me (we are moving next summer). He tells me he wants to play without me right there. Sure we go to the park, library, etc., but I am still right there with him. Until we move, preschool gives him the time to play without mom which is what he is asking for. Once we move to where he can explore and learn without me practically on top of him, I don't see the need to send him. He can't even go out in our back yard...the one time he did that, he got beat up! I am just trying to work the best way I can with my child's needs...
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#12 of 18 Old 08-07-2002, 06:54 PM
 
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I will not send my daughter to preschool because I worked in a preschool and know what happens after we drop our kiddies off - the center I worked in is part of a "chain" type corporation, they have centers all over the country. The preschool "teacher" at ours spent her entire day on the telephone. This was not looked down upon by management, in fact this teacher eared several state and chain wide awards for her good work. Children with special dietary needs were either ignored or given peanut butter toast for meals - one mother sent her daughter with her own meal in a tupperware because she didn't want her daughter to eat the center's nutritionally inadequate meals. I was instructed to throw it away and tell the little girl not to tell her mommy. This preschool is supposed to be one of the best chain type centers in the country, and I have heard stories similar to my own from all over. My theory is, don't leave your child somewhere - you never know what goes on after you leave. Schools have ways of making everything look great if parents happen to drop in, but most of the time things are "seedy" behind the seams.
Sorry so long just wanted to share!
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#13 of 18 Old 08-07-2002, 07:12 PM
 
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I just wanted to reply to the last post about preschools. While I believe your accounts of your particular preschool, this was not the common occurence at the one that I worked at. Teachers never talked on the phone, children were fed their own food, if requested and stories, art projects and games were played-- it was a very gentle, loving atmosphere.

While I certainly am not advocating preschool over homeschool. All are different. My reasons for not sending mine to preschool were because I believe preschool to be a way to make the mother question herself and her abilities to parent her child. Also, I realized that I was perfectly capable of doing all of those things on my own.

Isadore, I feel for your situation, I really do. We were in a very similar one when my son was younger. Would it be possible for you to co-op with one or two other families and have your own playdates/preschool? "Creative Playtime" has wonderful ideas for moms to use for outings, crafts, games, etc. It could be as structured or unstructured as you or your child desire and allow your child to spend some time playing with others.

Also, my goodness... your ds was beaten up? My heart breaks for you. I cannot imagine this. What is wrong with kids??? Forget it, I know the answer Well, I will be thinking of you and hoping your situation improves quickly
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#14 of 18 Old 08-07-2002, 09:15 PM
 
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isadore,

I don't think that you should have to defend your decision to send your child to preschool. It sounds like you are very in touch with him and his needs and that this is the best option, at least for now.

One wonderful homeschooling mom I know said that if schools operated more like preschools (hands on, open ended, short hours, etc.), then she would most likely send her kids to school!

The important thing is that what you are doing is working for you son -- nothing else matters.
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#15 of 18 Old 08-07-2002, 10:29 PM
 
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Thanks for the kind words and understanding about my situation. My son went to the preschool 2 mornings last year and really did enjoy it. The preschool he goes to is in our church (Unitarian Universalist) and actually his preschool room is the same as his Sunday school room. Our Rev. who knows my son well has her office 2 doors down from his room. All this gives me comfort.

I guess I just need to go with what works for us now...but as a homeschooler and a true believer in unschooling I feel like I need to defend and justify my decision...I don't know anyone else in my area who homeschools, but I have really started looking...

glad2bemama~ the kids that beat up my son were 3 and 6 (my son was 3 at the time) Its was horrible...I was only feet away...these kids "jumped" him. And their mother did nothing...she was right there! It took me almost 4 hours to calm him down...he was hysterical! (sigh)

Holly
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#16 of 18 Old 08-09-2002, 09:36 PM
 
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Isadore, Wow! I am so very sorry for your ds and you. What is wrong with that mother? Ooooh, that makes me mad...

On another note, I am glad that you have found a good set-up for your son at your church. Sounds like he really enjoys it

I hope that you are able to make some connections with other homeschoolers in your area that share your philosophies and I hope that you never have a run-in like that one again
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#17 of 18 Old 08-10-2002, 05:20 PM
 
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<<but as a homeschooler and a true believer in unschooling I feel like I need to defend and justify my decision>>

Holly, the whole point of unschooling is to let the child led and for learning to be delight driven. Many (may be even most) homeschooled and unschooled children participate in organized activities, from art classes to sports to private music lessons. I don't see how your son's social time is any different than my kids taking a pottery class.

May be it would help if you called it something other than "preschool". I don't really like the term "preschool" anyway. In other cultures this same sort of experience is called other things, like nursery school or play group.
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#18 of 18 Old 08-10-2002, 10:22 PM
 
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WE sent dd to preschool this past year because I thought it may be more appropriate for her than kinder. She started kinder in the fall last year about four months before her fifth birthday. I really felt she was ready to be with the other kids and she was very eager to start school. By Feb. she was becoming very, well, miserable. She seemed to go from a cheery enthusiastic kid to an overtired cranky little girl. She was doing 2 full days a week and in march the school was transitioning them to 3 full days per week. I had planned to enroll her in the 2 half days per week preschool and pull fher from kinder. After being in preschool though she seemed to do just fine with kinder, I think she was just to overloaded with the academics and having the free time to just play at preschool was exactly what she needed. The preschool was excellent, there was an instructor who was fantastic and each day there was a different parent volunteer (mandatory) so I had the oppurtunity to be the mommy helper at least once a month, and parents were allowed to stay at will, very open door. I think another important factor was that being a 5yrold amongst 3, 4 and 5 year olds gave her a chance to be the "big girl", smart girl ect, whereas in kinder she was amongst the very youngest of the group. On the minus side, when I was mommy helper I was enjoying a very wonderful chat with the instructor while the kids were playing freely and the 3 year olds tried to lock one of the other kids into the toy oven. By the time we realized what had happened the little guy was pretty shaken. Little kids aren't always angels are they.

Despite all of the good things, we will not be sending our soon to be 3 year old to preschool this year. If she asks me to go when she is 4 or 5 then I wouldn't deny her, but right now she is still my baby and I think she should be at home with mama.

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