It's March and, as a parent of a preschooler, that means we should already be enrolled and have our plans set for the 2011-2012 school year. Except for one thing...
...We aren't doing preschool.
I'll be honest and say that I really gave it some good thought, not because I thought Beanie needed to learn and socialize away from home but because, with my PPD, I wondered if I was going to be able to give her what she needed. It seems there is so much pressure put on children (and parents) and at younger and younger ages. I met a mom whose son had just turned one and friends were asking if she'd thought about where he'd go to preschool. A friend told me that when they moved here others told her they needed to start preschool at 2 1/2 because kindergarten was so competitive. Kindergarten? Competitive? Surely five year olds aren't all about competition at school. Is it the parents? The public school system? I don't know.
We've decided to home preschool Beanie for sure. We lean toward an unschooling approach to preschool learning and I just don't really see what she needs to know that Glenn or I can't teach her. We can socialize through our playgroups and through classes at through parks and recreation and the like. There's other factors like the fact that many preschools are church based (something weren't not interested in) and the fact that any preschool except for a co-op is probably cost-prohibitive for us right now (and, really, if we're doing a co-op why not just be at home?).
I'm excited that our AP moms group is working to put together a co-op of its own. I don't know how it will all pan out, but I have high hopes because there are quite a few of us who are interested and a lot of good ideas floating around. I think that it really could provide a bit of needed structure to our learning. I also think it will be nice for Beanie to learn from other moms and for her to be interacting with the same group of kids on a consistent basis. I'm really excited and it makes me feel even better about our decision not to send her to preschool.
While we're in limbo with the moms group co-op I'd like to add some structure to what we're learning about. Do structure and unschooling go together at all? Whatever. It's not about the labels. Basically, I'd like to set aside some time a few days a week to sit down for "learning time." We can play it by ear and see where we go with it. Right now my idea is to rotate through days about letters, numbers/math, science and arts & crafts. Not all of these have to be sit down activities of course. We learn about numbers when we're at the grocery store or when we're baking. We talk about science when we discuss weather and bugs. She's really been into drawing and painting lately, something she didn't hold much interest in before. I feel like we've deforested a rain forest with all the paper she's gone though, but what's a mom of a three year old to do?
I'm excited about where this next year of learning will take us. So far, our plan is to go to public school for K-12, but we'll see where we end up with that, too.
Do you homeschool/unschool/etc? What are your favorite resources?