Two and a half years ago I shared some thoughts that I had on public school vs private Christian school vs homeschool and at the time all three were very possible options. Raeca turns five this fall so I thought I’d do a bit of an update.
In the last year or so we have ruled out public school (the main reason being the fact that our town only has one public elementary school and it is so overcrowded, the downside to living in such a growing community), and I didn’t like the idea of our kids probably not having any friends they know in their class from year to year (most communities around here only have one or two kindergarten classes while the one in our town has eight).
We made the decision last fall to enroll Raeca in the same semi-private Christian school that Jared and I went to (him from K-12 and me from 5-12), but to be honest my heart still lies with homeschooling.
First of all, a few reasons we are choosing to send Rae to kindergarten:
* she already knows about half of the kids that will be in her class (including one of her cousins)
* it will give me some time to spend one-on-one with Ephraim (and sometimes he needs a break from her telling him what to do)
* she is excited about it
* and honestly, the biggest one for me: my mother-in-law is the EA/TA in the kindergarten room and I think that will be such a neat experience for Rae
Also, as a teacher (and one that has subbed in a few kindergarten rooms), I feel like I’m not going to be going into the school year delusional about what she will (or won’t learn). Children come into kindergarten as such a variety of levels they obviously need to start from the beginning. Raeca already knows most of her letter sounds and can read a number of basic words (a, I, cat, dog, that, the, said, he, she, eat, cake, go, nose, etc), she can do some basic math, has good scissor skills . . . I know she will learn stuff in kindergarten but I’m not expecting a whole lot of improvement in the academic area.
That all being said, I am still very much drawn to homeschooling. A number of families in our area homeschool and they are all families I really admire.
A few homeschooling pros for me:
* we can spend our mornings doing work and our afternoons can be free for whatever we want (the problem with regular school is that the teacher has to work as slow as the slowest child, often leaving the children that are already done to just sit and wait, or else giving the slowest child homework all the time)
* I can make sure she gets an enriched education, with one child to teach (two down the road when Ephraim is older), we can go more in-depth than you can with 20+ students in a classroom
* flexibility, we can change up the order we do things, pause for a week, or even learn while travelling!
* more time to devote to developing their character (I’ve been struggling lately with the idea of sending young kids to public school so they can be a witness, often at that age children aren’t much of a witness to their peers and usually give in to peer pressure instead of making a stand against it)
* to help them develop a love for learning, I love that we can study topics that they are interested in, when they are interested in them
* slower days, I love the idea of taking our time to learn throughout the morning instead of needing to be up at a certain time to catch the bus and get them out the door (we are not late risers here, the kids are always up by 7:30, so I’m not worried about this swinging to the extreme where it would be a problem)
* more time focused on the Bible and working on particular traits, I love that if there is an area my kids are struggling with we can spend more time working on them than we could if they were in school all day
* I can teach throughout the summer, I really love the Charlotte Mason method and one area included are nature studies, and here in Saskatchewan spring, summer and fall are the best times to get out and see and observe nature
* I get to learn too 🙂 the best way to learn something is to teach it!
Those are honestly just some of the reasons.
I should also mention, we did send Rae to preschool this year (two afternoons for two hours a week). Since Jared and I were both able to go along and be helpers it was interesting to see her in that environment, she didn’t really thrive like we thought she would. Every morning when it’s a preschool day she tells me she doesn’t want to go, though by lunch time she always changes her mind. It’s definitely been an interesting experience and makes me lean towards homeschooling even more.
That all being said, the plan is to send Raeca to kindergarten next fall, she will be going every other day so on her off days I plan on teaching her at home. I’ve been doing this on a very informal level so far, mainly we’ve been focusing on letters and reading (we are almost halfway through Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons) and once preschool is over for the year I hope to start teaching her a little more formally (with an actual plan).
I’d love to hear from you, do you or will you homeschool in the future?
Any other schooling thoughts?