Last year I embarked on the journey of a lifetime, well, my lifetime anyway! I took on the responsibility to educate my (then) 4-year-old daughter for preschool. For me, the decision was a no-brainer. When my daughter turned two years of age, I remember many of the mothers in my inner circle debating the preschool question. When and where are you going to send your child to preschool? Back then I was hesitant to tell them the truth, that I planned on not enrolling my child in preschool but to, in fact, homeschool her.
I could feel the social pressure kicking in even when my child was two! I was resolute in my decision to wait to start schooling my child until she turned four. I wanted her first years to revolve around exploring the world and playing, yes, just playing! Of course, she learned the ABC’s and numbers, but there was no strict structure involved.
When my daughter turned four years old I started homeschooling her for preschool two days a week. I had (and still do have) unconditional support from my spouse. We knew that I would be homeschooling our children before we were even parents. I decided to homeschool only two days a week versus some of the other preschool programs that school three or even five days a week. I felt completely comfortable with committing to a two-day a week schedule.
In addition to the two days we did homeschool, her schedule also involved having a Spanish tutor come to our house for one hour every other week. Also, I had my daughter enrolled in an art class, as well as, attending a library preschool story hour one day a week. The schedule I set up worked out swimmingly. She took right to it. The fact that I started out schooling only two days a week allowed me the breathing room I needed to adjust to our new lifestyle. I should also mention that when I started to homeschool my 4-year-old, I also had a 1-year-old daughter. I schooled my 4-year-old during my youngest daughter’s nap time.
The preschool school year was a major success. So much so, that I kept the two-day a week schooling schedule throughout the summer. I felt strongly that she worked so hard on what she learned in preschool and adjusted so nicely to the schedule that it would behoove us to keep with it until she would start a five-day a week schedule in September for Kindergarten. I can attest that continuing to homeschool my daughter for two days a week has put her on the fast track for reading. At the end of her first month of Kindergarten she completed the Hooked on Phonics Kindergarten reading program and is now reading at a first grade level. I believe her progress can be credited to not taking a respite from schooling.
Over the summer I prepared lessons, researched curriculum and worried, worried, worried how I could pull this off. How could I homeschool her for Kindergarten now that my youngest daughter was napping only once a day? Could I handle doing this five days a week? The answer was and is – YES! The first day of Kindergarten was tough, very tough. My youngest daughter’s attitude made the morning homeschool session a total challenge. It was completely unfamiliar to her, and she didn’t like it.
Day 2, Day 3, Day 4 and so on, were a dream. My youngest daughter happily got on board with our morning routine, and my now five-year-old was thriving. I could see her successes in reading, writing and math each and every day. The month of September was one of the best months of my life. It was such a joy to spend so much quality time with both of my girls, as a family, experiencing this journey together.
So, why did we decide to homeschool? Are we going to do it forever? What about the socialization? Those are three questions people ask me most frequently when I disclose that we are a homeschooling family. We decided to homeschool for many reasons. To begin, I love my children, and I love spending time with them. What could be a better reason than that?
I also want education to be paramount in my children’s lives. I feel there are too many distractions in public school, and I do not want my children exposed to those distractions. I want them to focus on their studies and to develop a love of learning, not to memorize facts, but to understand the meaning behind things.
I feel that children are very impressionable and their innocence can be compromised when exposed to bad manners and bad language. Homeschooling my children allows them to learn at their own pace. I believe in learning through the five senses. If my girls went to public school, then there is a chance that learning by using their five senses may not be their assigned teachers’ style of teaching. Each child is unique, and I want to teach my children in the ways that they learn best, not what is best for the group. I also believe that children learn best in one-on-one situations. The public schools in my area have some classes with 27 students. That statistic is staggering. It is not good enough for me to potentially have my child slip through any cracks.
Finally, what about socialization? I feel this question is completely out dated. My daughters socialize with other children in our neighborhood, children in their library story hour, their art class. They are always socializing.
They are also learning Spanish as a second language. The fact that we homeschool affords them the opportunity to get tutored from a native Chilean woman. Something that they would not get in our public schools, especially at the young age of 5 and 2 years old. Socialization is not even the slightest concern for our family. If we did send our children to public school, I would want them to focus on education, not on socializing with so-and-so.
I think there is too much socialization in public school. Bullying is a major issue that we do not encounter in our homeschool environment. I cannot say if my girls went to public school that bullying would be an issue, or not, for them, but I am grateful that it’s something that we don’t have to deal with.
Are we going to homeschool forever? The best answer I can give you is that we will evaluate the situation at the end of each year. Is the decision to homeschool our girls the best decision for our family? As long as the answer is yes, then I hope that we can continue to homeschool. My girls are the sun and the moon to me. I am blissfully happy that we are on this journey together. I would not have it any other way!
This is an original post for World Moms Blog. Courtney can be found spending time with and homeschooling her two little girls at her site, Table of Four.
Photo credit for all 3 photos to Courtney Cappallo.