Thursday, August 24, 2017

The School Decision

It's that time of year, when schools are starting back up (or have started back, weeks ago), school supplies take over Target, and my street starts clogging up with parents picking up and dropping off (Traffic is definitely the downside of living so close to a school.  The upside?  Being super close to a playground.  You'd think we'd also be a priority for snow plowing but that never happens, despite the daily line-up of cars.)

I've gotten asked many many time in the past year (and longer) where we are sending Luke to school.  If we are sending him to preschool.

Nowhere.  We aren't.

I'm the only one of my sister's to have gone to preschool (and that was only so I would talk more).  Preschool was definitely optional 30 years ago.  I hear that's no longer really the case (I mean, legally it is).  That preschool is the new kindergarten and kindergarten is more what 1st grade was for us.  Matt thinks he went to preschool (He's not sure...he asked if I would have memories of it and I proudly told him I did go and I do have memories.  He should know better than to question my memory.).

My kindergarten teacher sister says she can tell a difference between the kids who come in having gone to preschool and those who didn't.  That the vast majority go.  I know that, since almost all my Mom friends send their kids.  I have one friend and one sister who don't.  I'm not alone, just in the minority.

I know the whole school decision is a pretty personal one, one that is different for every family, every kid.  Kid learn differently, anyone who has ever been to school knows that. I have friends that homeschool, ones that do private school, ones that do public.  There's no right answer for everyone.

I spent my grade school years between private (Catholic) school (4 years), private (Lutheran) preschool (1 year) and being homeschooled (5 years).  Luke will be going to a private (Catholic) school next year (before we even brought him home from the hospital our Pastor was asking if we were ready to register him).  It wasn't even a conscience decision as to where we'd send Luke.  We've known forever.  Besides being our Parish school we have numerous connections. (short list: Matt, all his siblings, his parents, and 3 of my sisters went there.  My Mom taught at the school and was on the parish staff.  My aunt is on the parish staff.  Matt's sister teaches there.  (I think) 26 of Luke's cousins have/are/will go there.  AND Matt and I met and worked there.)

And just like where he'll go to grade school wasn't really a choice, not sending him to preschool wasn't much of a choice.

A LOT of this has to do with my resistance to being on a schedule.  It's really hard to overemphasize how much I DON'T want to be on a school schedule.  And being out of the house before 8 every morning is only part of it!  I already feel like next summer is over since school starts so dang early and we lose most of August as summer. I almost get itchy at the thought of following a school calendar for the next...forever years.

(If you don't have kids and aren't a teacher or in school, take ALL your vacations during the school year!  Even just May and late August when the weather is close to summer anyways!  It makes a huge difference in crowds and, sometimes, prices!)

It's the main reason homeschool is so attractive to me (because it's certainly not coming up with lesson plans...that is exactly the reason we aren't homeschooling even thought I LOVED it, myself.)

Anyways, so Luke isn't going to preschool because of the schedule thing but also because it's cheaper not to send him and, largely, because I'm not ready to give up my baby yet.  The idea of him being away from me and with someone else, even just a few mornings a week...I can't take it.  (I may have some issues to work through in the next 12 months...).  I'm not ready for our lazy, quiet days to be over.  Those precious few stay at home years, and we'll never fully get them back since, even with a new baby, we'll still be rushing out the door in the morning to get Luke to school.  And I can almost guarantee it'll be a rush, in the mornings.  (It's not our best time.)

Part of this may come from being an only child, of not having anywhere else here with me.  But also, because he's an only child, I can spend more time working with him.  I plan to do a homeschool preschool and have started researching, thinking about what I want him to be able to do by next August, what he needs to be able to do.  I plan to start after Labor Day (when all schools should start, in my opinion).

We've also started babysitting a (3 year old) cousin one full day a week which I think will help with social skills, namely, sharing.  And Luke is often with other cousins the one morning a week I work.  On top of playdates and other family activities.  For an only child who doesn't go to school, he does have a decent amount of interaction with other kids (even if he is related to most of them...but 45 cousins...he has options).

So, Luke isn't going to preschool.  I can't say that will be our choice for all future kids, there are a lot of factors to consider (for starters: we will already be following a school schedule by then!).  I don't like thinking about sending him off next year but I know by then he'll definitely be anxious to go, hopefully academically ready (or, ready enough).  And a lot could (and will) change in the next year!  Maybe we'll get those twins and then I'll be regretting this no preschool thing....

Do you/will you send your kids to preschool?  How do you decide what grade school they will go to?  We may have our decisions made but I am always curious about others AND, more importantly, why!  Tell me!

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