As many of you know, I am currently homeschooling our 3 year old daughter. She'll be 4 next month and would start Pre-K in the Fall with the rest of the 4 year olds in our area. Thus far her homeschooling has been more because she wants to. She loves to learn and is very bright (of course I think so, she's my kiddo!). We started last year when she turned 3. I found a very easy online curriculum this mother came up with. I tailored it to suit our needs and it's been working out beautifully. We implemented nearly everything she suggested and kept our lessons to about 15-60 minutes each day, depending on Haylei's attention span for the day and the subject we were learning. I've really enjoyed being the one to help her learn.
However, I've been preparing her for what I call "real school" but I really mean public school. I'll tell her it's time for a break and we need to potty and get a snack. I remind her that in "real school" they do this too. When she's acting out and wanting to do things her way, I remind her that in "real school" she must listen to the teacher to understand what she's trying to instruct her. She responds well to this. But today, when I was cleaning up the kitchen she told me, "Mommy, I don't want to go to school. I want to stay with you all day. I don't want you to leave me..." That broke my heart. Now I'm struggling with the reasons for homeschooling her. Is it for selfish reasons or is it for her own well-being? That is the question...
I'm not really keen on the idea of sending her to a school where random people can walk in and try to steal urine from the bathroom to pass a drug test. The school she is supposed to be attending is smack dab in the middle of a drug-infested neighborhood and I don't really feel like it would be a conducive environment for learning. I'd be worried all the time. (again, I see way too many "I"s in that paragraph...)
I'm a product of public school. I attended public school and graduated High School with a 3.5 grade point average. We had the occasional bomb threats that were popular in the 90's and the hall fights among teenage bullies. Let's not forget the bus rides home! Drugs being passed from older students to younger naive students, the ever popular "mooning" of the car behind the bus (which happened to be my dad one time and he pulled the bus over...thankfully I'd been picked up early by my mom!), and the M80 firecrackers that went off when the substitute driver was try to drive, very unsuccessfully I might add.
The other problem I have about public school is the number of children each teacher is assigned to teach. How in the world can one woman or man teach 30 children? What if one child is lagging behind? What if one child is excelling? Does the teacher spend more time with the one lagging behind, while the one who is excelling is left to fend for themselves? Some of my friends who have their children in public school not only work all day but then come home to encounter of fun-filled 3 and 4 hours of homework. Really??? 3-4 hours! You'd almost be better off homeschooling them in the morning and finish up in the afternoon. Then focus on fun things to do with the children or attack that mountain of dirty laundry. Just a thought...
And last but definitely not least, is my concern for my daughter's association. Granted, we cannot allow our children to live in a bubble, but wouldn't you agree that we need to look out for them? I do believe children need to know what is going on around us in the world. I think shielding them can result in naivety which can result in serious problems. Most (but not all) of the kids in our school district go to school because they have no where else to go. Their mothers have no morals and most don't have fathers in the picture. Do I send my daughter to be a good influence among these poor little children or worry she'll succumb to the pressure of their bad behavior and start acting like them?
I don't know. I keep praying for the right answer.
I thought we had an answer in a new Charter school in our area. However, it looks like the school might be a ways off right now. Then I looked into an online public homeschooling option. At first it looked promising, but I've been hearing negative feedback recently. A few weeks ago I ran across a blog talking about Charlotte Mason's philosophy of homeschooling. I asked my homeschooling friend about it and she's reading up on it too. I really like her philosophy of hands on learning. We've learned Haylei loves this kind of teaching. She thrives on craft projects, nature walks and simply learning. She loves books and can't wait to read her first book "all by herself"... I've been doing some research myself and the Charlotte Mason homeschooling seems very intensive.
Building our own curriculum that suites the needs of Haylei is priority for me. I want her to love to learn.
My husband is very against public school since he feels like they fill the children with facts instead of teaching them how to learn.
I'm leaning towards Pre-K homeschool for now...we'll see what next year brings...