We Are Saying No to Preschool
It was during a coffee break with friends when I first heard how prevalent attending preschool was these days. Someone had mentioned signups for the upcoming school year were fast approaching, and the atmosphere in the room suddenly became excited and intense.
“Oh, I'm so looking forward to having both kids in school!”
“Thank goodness, Callie will be in all-day pre-K this year because, last year, when she was 3, it was only a half day!”
“I can enjoy the house being in order again!”
Someone asked me where my daughter would be going, and I said she didn't turn 3 until after September 1 (the rule in our state), so she was still too young for preschool. My friends gave me a sympathetic look, and, as a consolation, reminded me to enjoy my last year because they really do miss having them home. Honest.
To be honest, the idea of my daughter going to preschool had never crossed my mind. Actually, when she was born, I was thrilled her birthday meant she would be home with me until she was almost 6-years-old and that I would be able to squeeze out an extra year of having her all to myself.
Since I never went to preschool, I naively assumed only the kids whose parents needed to work attended, as it was a cheaper option than daycare. It never occurred to me that parents started their kids on the academic track early just because. Not that there is no reason for preschool — I understand the benefits — but I assumed I could fulfill them myself.
We work on our letters and numbers daily, as well as sight words. We sing songs, play, and learn to clean up after ourselves. My daughter attends group-setting extracurricular activities with other preschool-aged kids to keep her social development on track. I just haven't seen the need to send her off to school where she will be taught the same things I'm able to do at home — where I can watch her learn right in front of my eyes.
I mean, these are the things I'm qualified to teach her, you know, the alphabet. I have to send her to state-mandated school for kindergarten and beyond because the education she would receive from me if I homeschooled her would be pathetic. “Yes, we are skipping math this year because it's awful and boring.” Not exactly a great life lesson.
While, admittedly, it would be easier for me to be a work-at-home parent with only one child at home instead of having to pull all-nighters for the ability to grab some kid-free hours to work in silence, I don't see myself changing my mind down the road. Preschool was never in my parenting plan, and that's OK. For some parents, they remember that preschool enhanced their lives and prepared them for kindergarten, and they want to give their kids the same opportunity. It's all in how you were raised and in what you're comfortable with.
We're saying no to preschool right now. Thanks, anyway.