Sending my Kindergartner to School (Instead of Homeschooling)
This was a surprising change for me. I was fully expecting to home school my kids until 7th or 8th grade and then consider sending them to high school. But today, my oldest just took her first steps into a public school building to start kindergarten. I’m more nervous than she is. But probably not for the reasons you would think–and that’s why she’s going to school this year.
What I Love About Home Schooling
I love teaching small children. The curriculum isn’t difficult and you can focus more on skill building and learning by doing. When they are learning at home, they are here with me all of the time. I know these years are flying by. I am one of those weird moms that wants to hold onto them. Not everyone is thrilled with staying home with their kids all day, and not everyone even has that choice. But I do. And The last two years of teaching them here has been great.
Home schooling has allowed me to decide where they need to work more and watch them grow as little individuals. More than that, I have control over how fast she goes and what we spend our time learning.
Every Student is Different–Stay Flexible
All of last year I watched a kid who wanted to go to school so badly. She constantly talked about what it would be like. She was embarrassed to tell people she did school at home. When people would ask her what grade she was in, she would say she didn’t go to school (we worked on that). Even though she was learning reading, math, art and more, she wanted to go to “real school” (I have all but banned that term in my house now).
She did great at home, but she absolutely loves being around kids all of the time. Even though she had a lot of friends we saw several times a week (at the Y or at sports), most of the kids her age were heading off to school. We would have needed to join some kind of co-op or homeschooling group this year to make sure she still got the regular interaction with friends her age.
Over the summer I started thinking about whether or not I was holding her back. She loves structure and thrives in learning environments. As much as I wanted to keep her home, I also wanted her to spread her wings. I would have needed to be a lot more structured with her school this year, and that would have been hard with the boys–who I still want to do more playing and exploring throughout their day.
I’ve always said schooling shouldn’t necessarily be the same for every student. Home schooling can be the best option, but so can sending a kid to school. I think giving her a chance to try kindergarten will help her experience a part of the world she thought she was missing out on at home. I don’t know what our plans are for next year or any other year.
It was literally a thought overnight that made me reconsider my plans. My husband was more excited about sending her to school than I thought he would be. As a teacher, he gets his pick of elementary schools in his district, so I’m confident in the school she’s at. We did look at private and Christian schools in the area, but they are pretty pricey and not something we wanted to swing right now.
Early Education at Home
Even though we did kindergarten last year, we put her in again this year to make sure she’s 18 when she graduates. So much of the material is going to be familiar to her, but she is the kind of student that will still learn and grow, not get bored.
I trust her as a kid. She’s really responsible. Early on, I worried about how much she wanted to please other people. But she’s shown she’s strong enough to make good decisions on her own. I don’t know how I’ll feel about the boys when they are that age. I don’t want to send a kid to school when I think they will be pressured to go with the crowd and follow the ideas of other kids. We talk about right and wrong a lot here–making good decisions even if no one else is.
I’m glad I kept her home until now. I feel like full days are a lot for a young kid. She still took a nap every day this summer and plays a lot. I want them to be kids, exploring and learning through play. I want them to stay with me for those early years where they are still developing their understanding of the world.
I’ve posted before that Pre-K and Kindergarten are easy to do at home. I’m still keeping the boys home this year. We will be doing pre-K with the 2-year-old and the first year of kindergarten with the 4-year-old.