Last Thursday my husband and I embarked on a new phase of parenting: Kindergarten orientation and registration. It's been five years since my son has been born and this coming fall he'll start educational phase of life. It should be simple, shouldn't it? Sending a child to school seems like an easy decision to make, one that's not filled with second guessing or too much anxiety. What I'm beginning to learn is that it can be an easy decision, and perhaps it really should be; but in a day and age where there are so many options and so many opinions it can drive a person insane.My core group of friends have children who are either homeschooled or attend a local charter school. When my son was an infant and young toddler I was certain that we would homeschool him. I liked the ability to set our own schedule, to monitor what my child would be learning and to control the social settings he would experience. As my son aged, it soon became apparent that he and I are so much alike that homeschooling him could be disastrous for our relationship. I also began to realize that like me, he is incredibly social, thriving in a social setting where there are other children and adults he can interact with. Like me, he also is competitive; heck, it's how I get him to clean up! We race each other to see who can clean up the fastest. Since he started attending preschool he has really blossomed into this mature little boy because he's excelled by being in a classroom setting. Then there's the charter school option; initially I was set on sending my children to the same charter school that my friends send their children to. The school places a high emphasis on academic learning with its curriculum being set in "classical education." These children are bright. They are learning how to learn in a very vigorous educational setting. While it works for my friends and their children, the more I learned about the school, the more turned off I became. I feel that kids should be allowed to be kids. I'm not saying that I'm dumbing down my children by wanting them to have a typical elementary education. What I'm saying is that I want for my children to experience the holiday parties, the arts, and the physical education that a public school has to offer. Plus, I really do believe that my children have the rest of their lives to be a grown up; it will definitely be a longer time than being a child. I want right now, for their most difficult decision to be whether they should play with Legos or wooden blocks. Without second guessing my decision, and after discussing it with my husband, we are sending our children (starting with my son) to the public school in our town. Without comparing my child's educational experience with another or worrying about whether or not he'll learn enough to function successfully in life, I will "go with the flow" so to speak. I will be involved in his education; it starts at home with my husband and me. As a parent you must be involved in your child's education. You cannot solely rely on your child's teachers to do it all. That's what we're doing: sending our son to public school next fall. If it completely fails, we can always go a different route. Nothing is set in stone.
Good for you for keeping an open mind and choosing the. Best option for your son!
I’d also very strongly assumed that I’d homeschool my own children, but now that I have one (and another on the way) the very idea is overwhelming to me. Fortunately, as a SAHM I can still give them many of the benefits of home school while sending them to public school since I can volunteer there during the day, and strongly reinforce at home (I have degrees related to education and research). It’s a bit of a relief to know that I don’t have to do it all myself! Parents are expected to do enough on their own when historically people have had huge local networks for support and community.
That’s a wonderful, grounded perspective!
I think you have a wonderful outlook and approach. It can be so stressful if you let it, but being flexible is important. It makes sense to research you options, and figure out what works best for your child. And that could change, for me it is something I re-evaluate each year. I agree education begins at home with the parents and it is not only up to the teachers.
We have people encouraging us to homeschool our oldest, who reads on about a 5th grade level at 5 years old. She’s never been to school. I work with her trying to get her to sit still long enough to do a worksheet, but she’s hard to pin down. I hope that in doing so she won’t have such a rough transition to school where she has to be quiet. We can’t afford magnet/charter/private schools, they cost about half our income PER MONTH just for kindergarten.
I know I couldn’t homeschool her myself, she takes everything badly that I do. I really wish I could, but she’s just not happy with me. She’d probably do well with daddy, but he works outside the home, so that’s not happening :-) We could probably do it if school ends up being a massive failure. As it is it sounds ridiculous what kids have to do in school now just to add numbers together. It might be worth the massive fights not to have to put up with the craziness at school..
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