Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Preschool Predicament

There's this strange thing that's been happening now that Eli is approaching preschool age. Everyone lately has been asking me, "Where is Eli going to preschool?"
"Ummm....I don't know." I hesitantly reply. Because here's the thing. I wasn't planning on putting Eli in preschool. At all.

I can hear you gasping from here.

Here's the thing that gets me. It's not like the question is, "Are you putting Eli in preschool?" It's always "WHERE is Eli going for preschool?" Like it's unheard of to not put your kid in preschool. Like your kid won't stand a chance in school if he didn't experience the socializing and kick-started education that comes only within the preschool realm.

But I am not sold on preschool. Especially when people are paying $65 A MONTH -- which I am reassuringly told is super cheap? I won't even pay $8 a month for Netflix, guys.

Despite my strong convictions against preschool, I naturally started getting paranoid about the life decisions I was making on behalf of Eli. I started thinking, Eli's so behind! He doesn't even know the alphabet! He will never be ready for Kindergarten! I'm failing as a mother! He needs the best education possible! Will Child Protective Services show up if Eli's not enrolled in Preschool?!? Because I have this feeling we are already on their watch list ever since Carson went to church looking like this (black eye, bruised forehead, burned hand. All separate incidences).

So much to worry about.

To ease my worries and my guilt, I started a little something called "Mommy School." Which I later realized should be renamed to "Eli School," but "Mommy School" already stuck so that's what we are going with. Every Monday I have been introducing Eli to a new letter. We color the letter and stick it up on the fridge. Then all week long we find that letter every time we read books together. Sometimes I may throw in a craft. Sometimes we may do an activity. But my goal is to have some kind of school time with Eli every day for about 30 minutes (give or take depending on his attention span) -- focusing on one letter of the alphabet each week.

So far it's worked like a charm! The first week, Eli had a hard time finding the "A"s all day on Monday, but by Tuesday he found them right away. By Friday he was searching all around the house for "A"s on decorations, on our clothes, or on cereal boxes. It was so fun to see him learn and to know that I had taught him!

I ventured into crafting for "A" week. We made an airplane. Eli loved it, and I love my time with him during "Mommy School."

Now if I can only figure out how to get him to pay me the $65/month tuition these other preschool teachers are getting...

Are you a preschool advocate? What is the draw? Why should I preschool? And at age 3? I'm not completely closed off to preschool. I'm just mostly opposed to the price. Tell me everything you know.


Eric and Justine said...

I think its great that you have started to do educational activities with Eli. Sounds like he is loving it! Honestly $65 is the cheapest that I have heard of. and why I will put Tayvia is pre school one day is so she can start to learn how to behave in a school setting, social experience, and it will give me a break. I would say if you are hesitant just put him in next year. I don't know that much about them but have you heard of joy school where the moms take turns teaching?

The Stevens Family said...

I can't say preschool is worth it unless the teacher is amazing. We are on the 2nd week with Dawson going, (he's 5 next week) and we are already thinking of pulling him out because he can't even remember the letters. Now if my mother were still teaching.. she was only $50/mo and I watched her teach autistic and down syndrome children in the midst of children without disabilities. Not one child went away not knowing their alphabet (even the ones with disabilities). That is a teacher worth paying for. My mother will say that each child is different, but if a child's own mother has the time, they are the best teacher. I think you are amazing and don't feel judged because a mother's time with her own children is priceless even though it may be challenging sometimes.

Kim said...

I loved doing preschool with other moms and taking my turn once every four or five weeks. It was a break for me to have my preschooler gone and it was a break for the child as he/she got to play with other children. I never wanted to pay to put a child in preschool and that was my solution. Of course, there was you--the only one of my five children who didn't go to any preschool ever. And look how you turned out. Pretty awesome! If you have the time to do mommy school and if Eli cooperates, I say go for it. Looks like Eli's having fun and learning while he's at it.

LC said...

I love you and mommy school. If we didn't live 1,000 miles away I would do a joy school type thing with you.

jill said...

Opinions? Me? About education? Yes. Oh heavens, yes. But do I think everyone should agree with me? No. Oh heavens, no.

None of my kids went to preschool. Why? Because of a few things, one of which was my mom telling me how she had my little sister in preschool for two years and if she had it to do over again, she wouldn't have sent her at all. Personal preference here. My sister loved her teacher, but she needed time with my mom more than time with her peers. She still does. It's just who she is.

I believe that I only get my child for a short time. In that time with me, what do I want him to know most of all? Only you as the parent can decide what you want him to know most and what is the best course to take to get there. I can't tell you. I'm not you and my children aren't your children.

I have a friend who raves about preschool and a sister-in-law who sent her son and they love it! There are many people who do.

But just because they do, should you? Just because I don't, should you?

Personal preference.

When I was little preschool was called nursery school. I kind of laugh a little when I see all these preschools gunning and advertising as a great start for college prep.


They are 3! They are 4! Lands, people relax. Let them be kids. They'll have to be waking up to alarm clocks and commuter trains and office politics soon enough. What is the need to hurry them there right now?

Americans (totally my perspective here) are in such a hurry to get somewhere they miss where they are and forget to make the memories that will carry them through the rough waters ahead.

So, my question (to everything) is why? Why do you want to put them in preschool or dance or underwater basket weaving? Why? For what purpose? Why?

Seriously - why?

And then why again?

And who are these experts that say so and who said they could say so?
And who said they were qualified to say so? And who qualified them? Why?

Is he going to "miss out"?

One of my favorite quotes about this ever: From the post, "On Relaxed Homeschooling" from Sarah at 'Amongst Lovely Things':

"I don't worry about "getting it all in" or "leaving gaps" in my children's education. Public and private schools don't "get it all in", and certainly every person I've ever met has gaps in their education. The goal of education is not to fill a child's head with facts, dates, and tidbits of history. The goal of education is to inspire the child to love learning, and to give him the tools to do so. Then they are set for a lifetime of learning- this is of far more worth than anything one can learn from a textbook."

Do what feels right for you and him. You are his mother. You know him best. Whatever you choose, you "cannot go amiss". Your heart is in the right place. It will all be well.

I mean, look at how awesome you are with this Mommy School!! Keep it up, Sarah. You don't give yourself the credit the rest of everyone we know mutually lavish on you so deservedly.

Ainscough Family said...

I put makayla in preschool when she was 4, and i hated paying for it but she loved getting to play with other kids and feeling like a "big girl" going to school by herself. HOWEVER, this year i heard of joy school..where you find a few other kids and the moms take turns teaching each week, etc. BEST THING EVER! it's free, and you still get the same "preschool" type setting. I can't wait until Ashlyn turns 3 next year to jump in on the whole joy school thing!