The transition from winter to spring has brought more then new scenery this year. Amongst the most significant changes, I learned we’ll have a brand new baby in addition to homeschooling. But a new baby isn’t the biggest transition on my daughters mind. She’s been giving a lot of thought to school these days…as in public school. Understandably so; several of her friends will be waiting for the big yellow bus this fall. Others are in kindergarten already. Her inquisitive mind has been sorting out what we will do this fall and what everyone else is doing.
I’ll be honest, I felt devastated and defeated that she was contemplating public school. Of course, no more devastated then she’s feeling about the news of a baby. She prefers the idea of being an only child. I didn’t think we’d be having conversations about public school this soon. I have always planned I’d give her the option of public school eventually. But how could this come up already? We’ve only just started!
During my first trimester I was simply too tired to even begin to think of how to make our transition away from kindergarten a success – from her viewpoint and mine. Who knew I’d even be having to think about it at all. I was satisfied with the fact we had completed our pre-k goals before the need for afternoon naps completely took control of me. In fact, the path of least resistance (sending her to public school) was looking pretty good for a while.
Thankfully, enough energy eventually started to trickle my way to facilitate more serious though on the issue. How we handle this fall will likely have a big impact on how she views our decision to educate at home. I’m sharing our transition with you with the hopes that our experiences will be helpful and encouraging to you in your journey. I truly never foresaw not doing kindergarten as a huddle we would need to cross. So here are few things which we will be thinking about as we transition away from the American standard of public kindergarten:
- It’s time to look at childcare with a new perspective. Working parents can homeschool but our challenges may be a little different from those parents who aren’t working outside of the home. For example, routine childcare may be needed. All the children at our daycare go to public school. This means our kiddo would be left with the littler ones one or two days each week. Probably not the best move for her social development or the development of a positive homeschool experience. While we could just keep doing what we are doing, it may not be helpful in supporting our goals. Time to think outside of the box for childcare.
- Less is more. This was my number one lesson learned from our pre-k experience. I will post more on this later. I have chosen simplistic curriculum for this year. Our focus will be on developing a strong relationship and a love for learning not academic achievements.
- We will be participating in an enrichment co-op. I have had many homeschool veterans point me towards using co-ops. And I plan to heed to their lived-and-learned advice. Using our homeschool association as a resource, I was able to find co-ops which had “open-house” opportunities. We really enjoyed the opportunity to visit and participate in local co-ops this spring to find a good fit for us. My daughter is very excited about participating in the co-op we chose for this fall. I’m looking forward this experience as well!
Why am I telling you about what I plan to do- why does this matter to you? Because I have chatted with quite a few moms (and even a dad or two) who have found them selves trying to make a last minute decision about kindergarten. Should they do public school? Should they homeschool? What about cyber school? Is their child ready for kindergarten yet? Should their child be moved directly into 1st grade? One mom told me the school district recommended she homeschool if she wasn’t willing to move her daughter directly into 1st grade. She was shocked at their recommendation and unsure if she was really cut-out for the challenge. She needed to explore options- and quickly. Our situations may vary but we are all just trying to do what’s best. I knew two years ago that I wanted to homeschool my children. So finding myself stopping to consider if public school was a better option this spring was a real surprise. I’m not alone in having this experience- many parents find themselves weighing out what option will be the best. If that is you, I hope the find the encouragement and support you need.
My daughter enjoyed our pre-k experiences at home. However, she assumes the next step is kindergarten – as in public kindergarten. And while we’ve talked about kindergarten at home she can’t help but to be curious about what her peers are doing. I can’t blame her. After all, curiosity is the catalyst of learning. It makes us ask better questions, find more meaningful answers and maybe even live a more purpose filled life.
May this school year be filled with curiosity for us all. Here’s to lots of learning!