I’m sure every mother will say or think a variation of this as her children grow, but I can’t believe I already have to think about what Mr. C is going to do for Kindergarten. C.S. Lewis says that this is an indication that we are made for eternity–why else would we be so surprised that our children are growing up when that is the way life always has been? But I am surprised that here I am making decisions about my firstborn baby’s education.
I used to think that there wasn’t any decision to be made–we don’t have the money for private school, so we’d just send them to the public school for which we’ve been zoned, which in our case is actually a pretty good elementary school for our state. I used to teach in the public school system, and I knew some great teachers there, so I knew it wouldn’t be too bad if we were somehow able to get him in a good class. However, the numbers of parents (and many of them parents I really respect) turning to homeschooling made me think twice. In addition, I was already really enjoying teaching Mr. C preschool skills at home, and I at least have an education background, even if it’s not elementary education. I was torn, partly because I had planned to go back to work once all my kids were in school. If I stayed home instead of working, would we be ok financially?
I prayed about this decision for a long time. I had my friends and family pray about it for me. I talked it out with Greg, my mother, friends, and acquaintances. I put Mr. C in a Parents’ Day Out program two days a week to see how he’d do in the classroom environment and to prepare him for public education just in case. I noted how much can be taught through homeschooling that can’t be addressed in a limited public school classroom.
Finally, the decision came down to my child and parts of his personality that were beginning to emerge. I began to notice how much Mr. C is influenced by his friends at a young age, younger than what is developmentally normal. I decided that it would be better for him not to be surrounded by his peers quite so much at this time. I believe the best place for him this next year will be at home with his family, learning from me. I don’t plan to isolate him from friends–far from it! I hope he will have close friends at church, sports teams that we will join, Awana, and through our small group. In addition, we plan to join a co-op on Mondays called Classical Conversations, about which I’ve become very excited! I hope he will learn to be a good friend; I just want his family to have more influence on him and be a little more important to him than his friends.
That huge decision has been made for the next year at least. Now for my curriculum decisions…