So many ppl have been asking me if I'm going to send Aidan to kindergarten because he will turn 5 on 8/3. And each time they ask, I reply that I'm not sure b/c I'm really not sure. I'm been wondering about this for a while now and there are so many thoughts swimming in my head about this. But the more I think about it, the more confused I am - and here's why:
I've been waffling between sending the kids to school or trying my hand at homeschooling for a while. And I have friends on both sides who are strongly believe in what they've chosen for their kids, which helps me to see some of both perspectives. And this is what I've gathered:
Pros: Individualized attention; each kid can learn at their own pace; you can focus more on character because they will be with you more; less exposure to undesirable influences and teachings; flexibility in schedule; can incorporate religion; safe environment (at least more controlled)
Cons: You have to be organized, it's a lot of work; there can be oodles of paperwork and tests to show progress to the state; having young babies around makes it tougher; possible lack in social interactions (that depends on the mom); mom might feel indequate to teach certain subjects; loneliness if no one else by you is homeschooling; paying school tax for a school system I'm not using (that's the frugal side of me talking)
Other considerations: I've heard that if there is a good homeschool co-op nearby, there will be lots of social interaction (ie sports clubs, outings, etc) and lots of support. If I were to actually homeschool, I think having a co-op nearby would almost be a pre-req!
Pros: Teacher proficient in their subject(s) teaching my child; lots of social interaction; if regular school - exposure to different ethnicities, religions, etc; kids hopefully being a light at school; understanding of our culturel positive peer pressure from good friends
Cons: Being taught things I don't agree with; possibly safety issues (ie Columbine); regular school issues - bullying, teasing, etc; bad education; falling through the cracks
Other considerations: There is also alternative schools, such as Christian schoosl and charter schools but some of them aren't much better in terms of safety and teasing, which is bound to happen when you group kids together. Then there are the financial concerns - since we would love to have another, 4 kids in school will be very expensive...and that's not even counting in the cost of college!
But the questions I really have to ask myself after all this are: why am I choosing the route I am choosing? If homeschool, am I choosing it out of fear? If regular school, am I choosing it because it's easier day-to-day? What if there are no co-ops? Am I trusting God in my decision? The fact remains that public/private school these days are just not what they were when I went to school. Back in the 80s, there were no metal detectors and drugs weren't as rampant as they are today. Also, I feel that kids are being exposed to certain topics like sex and abortion earlier and earlier and I question the wisdom in that. And certain social topics I would really rather cover myself instead of having to correct what's been said at school. Also, with the reports of American schools lagging behind in academics and the solutions that have been set in place that don't seem to do the job, I'm even questioning what kind of education they will receive on the academic end. No doubt there are still great teachers out there (which make all the difference) and I thank all my teacher friends that are still out there (you are sooo needed!), but there are also the bad ones that can make you dislike a subject your entire life. (Though my teaching math might do that to the kids...hehe). Plus, each kid is soo different that it might be possible to choose homeschool for one kid and public/private for another...or would that even happen? That then gets even more complicated. I guess it all boils down to lots of prayer, asking God to show me what is best for the kids...which means spending more time with Him. I should do that more anyways. ;)
Back to Aidan...we sent him to preschool this year b/c after we moved to PA, I had a hard time finding boys his age for him to play with that were not in school. We went to playgrounds, malls, bookstores and libraries. And he really, really wanted some boys to play with. So, we were blessed to have found a Montessori nearby and enrolled him right away. Overall, he had a good time there but was teased a bit for wearing glasses and being different looking. That made him really sad and made me really annoyed. Plus, we had done a lot with Aidan and he was already reading some when he started preschool and they were just covering the basics of how to recognize numbers and letters. And since he was a bit bored and very active, he got in trouble a little. But don't get me wrong, he did learn how to color well and he now knows more of what it means to be a friend, which are important skills. Anyhow, I'm glad I have one more year to think and pray about this because we've decided to wait one more year before making a decision and if he were to go to school, I'd rather wait til he was 6. We'll see what happens, though. Either way, I know that God has a plan for him. :)
Anyone with any thoughts on this?