I have started and restarted this post a bazillion times in my head. I know I’m going to go on and on because I tend to overexplain things, but…oh well. Some people have been curious as to why we homeschool Chicken for kindergarten.
Here ya go, in no particular order:
1. It works for the kids’ sleep schedule. Their usual wake-up time and the baby’s naptime would be interrupted for the school schedule. Yes, we could tweak that by getting everyone to bed earlier, but when we made this decision my husband was commuting over an hour to work. He left the house as early as 5:00 a.m. and got home at 6:30. An earlier bedtime meant the kids wouldn’t see their dad most weekdays. Not ideal.
(His work schedule has changed now- glory!- but was a factor when we made our decision. The nap thing would still be an issue.)
2. My kids like playing together, and I think playing is important at this stage. So they do that for most of their day, and they do it pretty well. I don’t do much entertaining or helping them come up with games or whatever. They have their favorite toys and games and play “pretend” a lot.
3. The educational content that is necessary for kindergarteners is pretty minimal and can be taught in a pretty short amount of time. Social content (like learning to function well in a group) and enrichment (art, music, etc)- that’s a different story. But academics, when homeschooling? We can cover that pretty efficiently. (For us it’s just a few hours per week.) That leaves the rest of those hours wide open for whatever we want to do with them.
4. Homeschooling suits her personality. She’s pretty shy and more on the introverted side of things. That’s fine with me- it’s just how she’s wired right now. That meant that preschool, three mornings a week, was a lot for her last year. She went regularly but it came at a cost to her (and all of us, to some extent) in terms of nervous energy and a little anxiety. She felt “shy” with classmates through the end of the school year.
Homeschooling lets us keep pushing her to step out and gain confidence in this, but without the big jump that full day kindergarten would have been. It feels more like letting her wade into the pool, rather than the big old toss in there all at once.
Here are two things that do not concern me about homeschooling:
1. Being at home all day with my kids. We’re already used to being at home. I’m coming up on six years as a SAHM, so it’s not new territory. Old hat. I know how to do this.
2. Socialization. Bleh. Who cares? If you can find me one weirdo kid out there who proves that homeschoolers are unsocialized and generally unacceptable, I’m sure I can find a billion other 5 year olds that also do weird things, just in a classroom setting. Because they’re five. That’s what they do.
I just don’t think the “socialization” concern holds much weight because, when I look around, I think all kids are little weirdos in different ways and classrooms don’t make or break that.
The bottom line is that it works for our family. I feel much more excited about homeschooling than sending her to school all day. The driving back and forth for pickups to kindergarten and preschool was enough to make me feel batty from the get-go. Homeschooling feels simpler to me, and I enjoy keeping it simple.
Also, we never could have known it, but September started a big upheaval in our family with Monkey’s seizures and the discovery of a brain tumor (I first wrote about that here). I’m really, really thankful that we were home this year for all of that. I know (know know know) that school causes Chicken some anxiety. I’m glad we didn’t have that on top of everything else. And having her home let me keep a good sense of how she was doing with everything that was going on with her brother. (Still does.)
Disclaimer: I really don’t give two hoots what educational choice other people make. I don’t think homeschooling is right for everyone, nor do I think public school is. Or unschooling. Or a little private school yurt in the woods. This works for us. I like it. If the idea makes your skin crawl, you probably shouldn’t do it.
But for us- It makes sense. So we do it, for now. We don’t know what we’ll do next year.
(I say all that… but just don’t let your public school weirdo contaminate my untainted homeschool prodigy.)