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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I haven't decided whether or not to homeschool/unschool yet, I'm still researching all of my options. In the meanwhile, our church has a really great 'preschool' program that I know DS would love. It would actually only be two days a week for 3 hours each time, so I see it more as a fun activity than a formal attempt at education. He knows a lot of the kids that go or will be going, and it's a very creative, laid-back atmosphere. He's so social, he just loves to be with groups of kids his age, so I think it would be perfect for him. We attend a regular playgroup, and he takes swim lessons, but I think this would give him a more stimulating environment.<br>
I've heard people talking about 'de-schooling', but would that be an issue with a 4 year old who went on such a limited basis?<br>
TIA<br>
Steph
 

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Yes, de-schooling would be an issue because unschooling is a mindset more than anything else. If you and he are in the mode of thinking of learning as schooling, then you both need to de-school in order to be able to look at learning outside of the "schooling" mindset. You might want to look at some of the unschooling threads, and read some books by John Holt, to get a better idea of what unschooling and de-schooling mean.<br><br>
Now on the other hand, if you plan to homeschool/school-at-home, then it is possible that sending him to preschool won't make much difference. I do know that in the long run it will shape how he views learning, school, and life, so you will want to examine how you feel about these things.
 

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Well, my DD is in nursery school this year and we are planning on hs'ing her. The school that she is at is exactly what I wish all school could be. If it were, the idea of sending her to some school would be far less depressing. Anyway, she is there for 2.75 hours twice a week, and I see it as a nice complement to what we already do. She has made a new friend and plays chase with her when they're outside for outdoor playtime.<br><br>
To be honest, my DD marches to her own drummer so what we end up doing regarding unschooling/school-at-home or whatever, will largely be determined by her. I'm open to working with her in whatever way suits her best. Right now, the school she is at is very open-ended and offers the kids a lot of choices about how they spend their time. They can't do *anything* they want or go *wherever* they want at any given time, but that's not any different than at home. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"><br><br>
I really struggled with the idea of enrolling DD in this school. "Should" you send your child to preschool? No - I don't think any one really "needs" to. But for us, this offered a fun activity for her that we didn't otherwise have. I wasn't sure how it would go but now I am happy with our decision.<br><br>
It is radically different from any other kind of schooling DD would get in this area (public OR private) from kindergarten on, so while this works for us for now, we will be hs'ing the rest of the time. A friend and I are trying to establish a hs'ing preschool co-op right now, and I hope to have that going by the time next fall rolls around. It's not been easy - seems like everyone in this area is going to school. Sigh...
 

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I struggled with the same thing a few weeks ago, and I decided to pull her out before it started, and am glad I did. We haven't decided on a method yet either. I have John Holt's book to read.
 

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I think about this a lot too, our newly 4 year old dd goes to a childcare program that is truly wonderful. I want to homeschool, and have planned to since she was born, but have the conflict of needing more than one income in order for our family to make it, and she goes to the children's center three full days a week. Some times it breaks my heart, and I feel so defeated. For now I am comforted by the fact that she is in a fabulous environment, and I feel that her "teachers" and the whole philosophy there actually enrich our lives. It is not a "preschool" in that it is not academically based. Lots of the children go on to Waldorf or some other alternative learning.<br><br>
My biggest concern with the "preschool" to homeschool transition has to do with the money part of it. If we need to have her in childcare 3 days a week in order to barely scrape by financially, what will we do when she's too old to go to the children's center? A lot of parents I know find themselves sending their children to public school, or even to the spendy Waldorf school only because they can't afford to be at home with their children.<br><br>
I am also concerned with the social aspect of the transition. I don't believe that she is necessarily any better off for having spent all this time in a group of children and teachers (nor do I feel she is worse off) but I do know that she will be very accustomed to it at the end of 3 years there. How will it be for her to not continue on with that dynamic?<br><br>
For myself, I just keep doing what I have to do and keeping my fingers crossed in the meanwhile. I don't know if we will be able to swing hs'ing, but I truly hope so. If we can do it, I know that we will need to do it in a way that involves other families and children, both so that we are able to still work outside the home, and so that she gets some of the group dynamic that she is involved in now.<br><br>
I have always felt it is a bittersweet, mixed blessing that she has had a hard time adjusting to being gone from us during the day. As much as I want her to be happy there (which she is, in the moment) it makes me feel better about our future as hs'ers that she would always rather be at home with me. Most of my friends children ask repeatedly when they "get to" go to school, and are almost always excited about it. I'm glad that she's not like that, I think it would be much harder to hold the vision of hs'ing if she were always wanting to go to school now.
 

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I put my ds in a great co-op preschool when he was 3, I loved the classroom, the playground, the teacher, the co-op. It was 2 days a week for 2 hours. I was considering homeschooling at the time but hadn't even talked to dh about it. He loved it in September, but wouldn't let me leave him in October, by Thanksgiving we pulled him out. It has been a year since that experience and ds still talks about quitting preschool and how much he didn't like it and how he is never going to preschool again. I did explore with the teacher the few classes that seemed like the turning point to me and it turned out that ds was put in time out for returning a hit (both boys were in time out) We do not use punishment at all in our house and I think that ds was very offended and embarrassed by the whole thing. It bothered him so deeply that he couldn't stay in that environment and get anything out of it. My ds is very strong willed, spirited, sensitive, and smart. Dh and I are beginning to see that he probably won't fit into a classroom environment where is just one of 15 or 30 kids that has to be dealt with by one or two adults. Personally, I wouldn't do it, if you know you are going to homeschool. I never dreamed that being separated from the class for hitting (something I previously thought was an acceptable way to handle the situation) would be so damaging to my ds. Just my 2 cents worth.
 

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My immediate thought was how will you handle your child's disappointment if preschool is fun and he wants to continue with school? If you are 110% sure that you will not allow your child to go to school of some sort, I think it is a little mean to let him go to preschool. If he didn't like it, you wouldn't have a problem but what will you do if he loves it?<br>
On the other hand, if you are open to the idea of putting him into school - if you (before preschool starts) research your options (public, private, alternative) and find at least one that you would be ok with him attending, then I would definitely put him in preschool. You say he is very social and you think he would love it. I am torn - if he would love it, put him in. But I worry that he would be sad when it ended and his friends go on to school and he doesn't get to.<br>
If there is an alternative school where you could be very involved (my daughter's small multi-age requires 60 parent hours but most of us do much, much more), maybe that would be a way for your very social child to be involved in school (IF he does end up liking school and wants to continue) while you are very involved in his education - both at school and at home.<br>
Just my thirteen cents....<br>
Kirsten
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks everyone for the thoughtful responses! You've all given me a lot to think about.<br>
Threre are a handful of private schools on our list to consider, and only one of them is looking promising so far. School fit really well with my personality (I would still take university classes if I had the time <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">) , not so well with my husbands, so we are just kind of waiting it out to see what will best fit DS.<br>
I hadn't thought of him being unhappy about leaving and his friends going on to school, though. That's a good point Kirsten. If we were with a homeschool group, he would still get some of that comraderie I suppose.<br>
Monica, that's one of my worries, too. How will he be influenced by a teachers discipline style? But I don't think you should be too hard on yourself about what happened, kids have bad experiences on the playground, in the doctor's office, at the beach. I think it's just one of his unique experiences.<br>
Thanks so much for your responses!<br>
Steph
 

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we unschool my dd, and i worried about this too, as the insidious tv (and books, to be fair to myself) have given my 2 1/2 yr old son the idea that he is big and wants to go to preschool. we're on the second month now (btw, it is also twice a week, a few hours a day, just down the road) and it is mixed, but mostly he seems to like it a lot. he has never cried going there or clung (surprisingly, 'cause he's a little clingy). i've made it clear if he decides he doesn't want to, he won't have to (but god help me, i do get a lot done when it's just me and the baby! i would miss it, lol, even tho' it wasn't my idea.)<br><br>
so, that's how i'm doing it. i'm not really open to the idea of public school; i'm not a fan of compulsory education. but if he decides he likes an organized regular association with other kids beyond the preschool years, i will just have to find him some 'after school' classes and activities. (our waldorf school & montessoris are way too far, way too pricey, & not particularly my thing either, tho' i'd certainly prefer them to public school, if i had no choice! but luckily, we do.)<br><br>
ps i'm not much into our local little rigid homeschool groups, but we have a regular weekly eclectic/unschool get-together the boys look forward to. there, they can see the same faces and play with their friends. you might want to look into that. good luck!<br><br>
suse
 

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As a mom of kids in public school, I can say that I agree with the advice you got from Kirsten. The pressure to send a child to pre-school is large, but the pressure to send him to elementary school is even larger, especially if he loves the group environment and wants to keep enjoying it.
 

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I struggled with this issue, too. My dd is 4 1/2 and has never been to preschool. She doesn't want to go- we have a lot of playdates and a few classes. She's very artistic and we do a lot of art at home and playing outside so I've decided to keep her home where she's happy.<br><br>
Relatives and friends and even strangers are constantly telling me to put her in preschool.
 

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Our ds turns 4 in December, and we've already had to answer the preschool question a few times. We go to a Gymboree class and have playdates and such, so he is around other children, and he is happy enough with what we are doing at home, so I don't see the need for it. And I agree that it might be hard for him to see his friends go off to school after preschool, when he is not. Good luck with your decision.
 

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We did. Planned to homeschool, yet sent the children to preschool. Figured that in 1st grade & up the kiddos are supposed to do academics, that's for home, and that in preschool they're supposed to be socialized.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/privateeyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="private eyes"><br><br>
Mainly thought that way because aside from the playground, we didn't have them in any organized socializing situation, and I'm not so into the whole playgroup/playdate thing ...<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/privateeyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="private eyes"><br><br>
Well ... with a waffling-on-homeschooling DH, and children in a preschool situation, which is actually a controlled play situation ... there's almost no turning back. The children think school is just the place to be, and DH is right in the program with them.<br><br>
And I'm left with my little stack of homeschool books, curriculum materials, Web links, and email hs group connections ... feeling wistful.<br><br>
Sooooo ... if you're committed to homeschooling, don't do it. IMO. It's too seductive once it starts, for the children and for whatever doubts you may have (like my DH had/has) ...
 

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Very timely thread for me.<br><br>
I'm considering doing the "preschool" thing for my dds who are 4 yrs and 2 1/2 yrs. Hear me out and tell me what you think...<br><br>
It's a program with the local Unitarian Church. There are several moms who I know through Le Leche League who take their kids there. It's not at all structured---basically an opportunity for playtime. The moms are encouraged to stay the whole time if they want to...which I would do.<br><br>
I am passionately committed to un/homeschooling---mostly un. It's taken me a LONG time to even consider what I mentioned above. But my dds are quite social and would enjoy getting to know new friends and having regular playtimes---with me there.
 

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sparklemom - I have heard wonderful things about that place too! (probably from the same people <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> ) And although I am still unsure what we will be doing for school - if I had the $ I would love something like that for Ethan.<br><br>
The funny thing is that Ethan doesn't even really know what school is....he dosen't have any little friends that go to preschool and talk about it around him (some of his playmates go, but it never comes up when they are playing KWIM) and knowing how he is I *know* he would not go for something that ment I was not with him......we shall see where this all leads. I keep telling myself that I have plenty of time to decide - and we are having fun learning about life and the world around us everyday! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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sparklemom, this sounds like a fun time for your and your child, however, with all due respect, if this preschool is simply a time for moms and tots to get together for playtime, then what are they charging you for? I would think the church would allow some moms from the church to use the building for a minimum cost. Is there a teacher involved that needs to be paid? If so, no matter how un-structured the preschool is, the "school" mindset will be well established in the children. If you are truely commited to un-schooling, I would suggest you find activities that encourage an un-schooling mindset in your children. Going to school every day, or 3 times a week, will not be conducive to laying a foundation for a life of learning outside of instuitutions.<br><br>
If you are passionately committed to un/homeschooling then start now! It isn't really something that one does only with school age children, it is a complete lifestyle. So all the things you are commited to doing when your children reach school age....do now! Little ones love to visit museums and quickly understand that these are important places where they need to have quiet voices and be respectful. Take them to pumpkin patch farms, apple orchards, leaf picking, beaches, and hiking trails. If you feel the need for group socialization, find a homeschool group that you can participate in, start your own playgroup with other families that are like minded, or involve your kids in a sport, or group lessons of something they are interested in. IMO this is a much better use of time and money than paying for supervised play time.<br><br>
I hope I haven't offended anyone. I do understand the pressure to send children to school at an early age, yet I feel strongly that even if you do plan to send them to school, do it later rather than eariler. If you plan to homeschool, you will only make it harder on yourself and your child by conditioning them to think that home is only a subsitute for "real school."
 

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graceoc and barbara,<br><br>
thanks so much for your thoughtful responses. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br>
i absolutely agree with you which might seem unlikely in reflection of my previous post.<br>
i would never have even for a second considered the place if i weren't allowed to stay the entire time with my dc and there was little/no directive 'teaching' going on.<br>
i'm going to continue creating new activities and groups of my own and start digging even deeper to find already established ones.<br><br>
thank you again so much!
 

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i can only reiterate that sammy seems to like some out-of-the-house time that doesn't involve me hovering over him trying to keep him out of trouble, with the baby always reaching for and grabbing his stuff. we love museums, and international markets, and festivals, and i do get one-on-one time with him, but he still wanted to go to preschool. he is very proud & feels very 'big'. i am not rushing him in the least, but if it is his desire to master some milestones, and being independant enough to spend time at preschool without mama attached at the hip makes him feel 'big', who am i to argue? (he already knows that we don't do 'regular' school, for he sees his big sister schooling herself every day. a little wistfulness about riding the schoolbus will not negate the entire unschooling experience, imho.)<br><br>
it's only for a few hours, and i have a hard time imagining any kid of mine jonesing for more school time (not play-with-other-kids time), all day, every day.<br><br>
when i think of the pressure many homeschooling moms have to have ALL their kids with them ALL of the time, & how few of us want to be in each others faces 100% of the time, grownups OR kids (babies excepted <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">), i get frustrated.<br><br>
it's not all-or-nothing... to me unschooling = freedom, and that includes sam's freedom to do some painting and play and go on nature walks at preschool if he wants to. i just don't see public school as this addictive drug he's going to get dependant on from playing a little, in a place he wants to be.<br><br>
no, i am not being 'by-the-book' here about it, but it's about what's right for us, and we're enjoying ourselves at the moment. i don't have to please the unschooling gods (or the homeschooling worksheet ones, or the public school homework enforcers, etc.)<br><br>
i'd just argue that whoever is in this position ought to search their own hearts for the right answer; you'll know what's best for your own kids more than anybody on a message board (me included.) asking them is a start!<br><br>
suse
 
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