Vanilla Ice Cream Or More Thoughts on Preschool….

We were all set to make a final decision on preschool a few days ago.  If you socialize with me away from here it’s all I’ve been talking about for weeks – who does it, is it necessary, what on Earth am I going to do?

Thanks to a change in our childcare situation this fall we thought we were all in line to buck the system and not do preschool.  We’d do some classes and activities and some extra stuff next summer and be fine and then I ask the four year old what he wanted to do….

“I want to go to Pre-School!”

I was a little surprised.  But, I told him, you’ll have to go every day, every morning, on and on and there he sat resolute that he wanted to go and spend more time with his friends.  He’s a social little creature and spends a lot of time at home lamenting the lack of people to play with so it’s not totally surprising that he’d jump at the chance to see his “best friend” Lucy more often.  So there it was, we’re keeping our enrollment in preschool in place because in the end the last four years of “follow the child” would be pointless if we didn’t follow his cues now.  We’ll give it a try and see what comes of it – we don’t deem it crucial to future success so if it’s too much we’ll stop.  It’ll be two and a half hours a day, five days a week during the regular school year and it seems odd that we’re here and it seems a little odd that we’re not going other routes…. I think.

I know a lot of great people who’ve gone the non-traditional route, so many it seems that homeschooling is the traditional route and what we’re doing seems a little odd.  But what if that’s okay?  What if my son is one of those kids who likes going to school, regular ol’ brick and mortar school.  I know I did, my husband did and we seemed to escape with our creative and critical thinking juices intact.  But nowadays it’s so en vogue to do the opposite it feels like I’m subtly being told that … well… maybe my kid just isn’t that special, maybe he isn’t that unique.

Not that I’m actually hearing that talk from anyone I actually know – none of my real life friends who do alternative schooling have ever suggested that, it’s just this feeling I get.  When you’re looking at being a public school kid when all these other options are so popular – private religious, specialty Montessori or Waldorf and five thousand ways to home-school – it kind of makes those public school kids look a little simple, like if they were naturally more creative, more pious, or more intelligent these other options would be calling our names, but because we’re not we get the vanilla ice cream of educational choices.

Honestly, I’m not sure where this is all going and it’s definitely not to accuse anyone using alternative education of being elitist, it’s just me trying to figure out our place in the grand scheme of things.

I know, as we start to dip our toes in this new current, what I believe and expect a public school education to be.  I think I’m realistic in my expectations of where it succeeds and fails.  I really look at a public school education as the foundation of a building, and that it’s up to me as a parent to oversee the rest of the construction – walls of morality, turrets of critical thinking, and spires of creativity.

I guess one good thing about vanilla ice cream is that in the end it’s all about the toppings anyways….

9 thoughts on “Vanilla Ice Cream Or More Thoughts on Preschool….

  1. Sometimes I wonder how I would have turned out had I been homeschooled, and I honestly think that my schooling (private & secular prek-8, public 9-12) strengthened my faith in ways that homeschooling never would have. If preschool were free here, I would seriously consider sending Cecilia, because I think she would love it and do really well. But it's many thousands of dollars we don't have, so it's not an option!

    I think that as long as you're keeping an eye on things and reevaluating when you need to, you'll be fine 🙂


  2. Yes, to throw it out there – thanks to the daycare we've used for the last three years he got automatically enrolled in a free program they offer. If we'd have to pay on top of everything we wouldn't do it at all…. but it's free, it's short days and he really wants to have more kids to play with on a regular basis now.


  3. Cost is the deciding factor for us as well. It's not really on our radar at all because of cost but if we could afford it or had access to a free program, we would certainly consider it. I know Lucia would love the social interaction too.


  4. I think this is great!

    No school is perfect so there will be bumps but I bet you'll be really happy with your choice and Henry will thrive. Our public school kid loves his teachers, his bus, his classroom, – all of it!


  5. I wouldn't worry a whit about sending your kid to public school. It isn't like you are giving him up for adoption to the school system. You can still teach him as many things as you want outside of school, and as long as you make sure your values are instilled in him (which I am sure you do), you won't have to worry about him socially, either, if you monitor his behavior. I went to public school my entire life. I had a great time, had lots of friends, made top grades, went to college…the works. Maybe it isn't for every kid, but it isn't anything to turn your nose up at either, you know? My son goes to public school and seems just fine. I DO sort of wish he had more ambition and drive, but that is him and his personality, not the school's fault.


  6. “I know a lot of great people who've gone the non-traditional route, so many it seems that homeschooling is the traditional route and what we're doing seems a little odd.

    YEP! Now that we see what Afon is like as an older child (special needs, special challenges), it's just not possible for me to homeschool at ALL. I'm not equipped! If he could communicate, I don't know what he'd say, but I don't think he'd be devastated to go to school!

    The reason the idea of public school is kind of stigma for me and my child is, I think, wholly dependent on the area; in our county in Florida, there are huge disciplinary problems among the students and a lack of adult authority and it can even be dangerous. But that's more of a problem getting up into middle school or high school, so we'll take it as it comes!


  7. Janie sometimes I stop myself and remember to do the math…. even factoring in sleep the school system “gets him” 2 months out of the year, and I get 6 months (the other four are time for sleeping). I can still do a lot and direct him a lot with that time. =)


  8. I do think I luck out – our school district isn't perfect, but it's a nice combination of small, but engaged. We're not big city large, but we're not such a small town that we won't get exposed to a relatively narrow world view either (thank goodness for college towns in Iowa).

    Definitely take it as it comes for the older grades… who knows how he'll develop or what the district will look like by then!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s