View Full Version : To preschool, or not to preschool?

06-28-2011, 06:50 PM
So, for a little background info: ds5 just finished 2 years at a really great preschool program, and loved it once he got used to it. He started just under age 4 at a different (but also good) program that did not fit our needs, and he cried EVERY morning when I dropped him off. This lasted the whole time he was at the initial program (about 2.5 months) and then a few weeks into the new program. It just about killed me. It was the first time he had been separated from me for any length of time (without being with family), and I stuck it out because I thought I had to in order to prepare him for the separation of Kindergarten. Enter homeschooling, and that need is no longer there. Ultimately he loved preschool, but is very clear that he wants to hs now.

His brother is supposed to be starting preschool in the Fall, and he is already saying he does not want to go. It is a really fantastic program, and we love the teachers and the approach, but I am getting cold feet because I am afraid he will also have a hard time with the separation. Am I just a weanie? Does anyone have an opinion on whether preschool makes sense since we are planning to hs anyway? One advantage I can think of for my oldest is that now he will do classes without me (like gymnastics, for example) which he did not want to do before. In hindsight, though, I am not sure. Ugh. I hate being indecisive.

Sorry, this got long...

06-28-2011, 07:21 PM
We never preschooled.

I'm of the mind that if my kid is saying no we probably won't do it, and if they were crying when I left, well, I probably wouldn't have left. I think they all come to the things they should in their own time and pushing them probably won't make a difference, when they are ready they are ready and if they aren't they just aren't. I don't think you can prepare for separation really.

06-28-2011, 07:57 PM
I'm trying to make the same decision for my ds3. The preschool is wonderful--dd went there and learned so much. It would be two mornings per week, and this would free me up for two mornings to teach dd6 without distraction. The difference in my situation is he wants to go. What's holding me back is the cost and the added pressure of getting everyone out the door, then picking him up, and the 15-minute drive each way (total of an hour in the car for dd and me on those days), and not having those mornings free for other activities that could come up. So I'm no help. I think if he didn't want to go, I wouldn't do it.

Stella M
06-28-2011, 08:06 PM
If a child loves preschool and really wants to go, sure.
If a child doesn't love the idea of preschool and doesn't want to go and you're going to h/s anyway, why bother with the stress?

If a child has separation anxiety, enforced separation at preschool won't 'cure' it. And you can always wait till a child is a little older - more mature and comfortable - to introduce classes etc 'on their own'.

Just my 2c worth :)

06-28-2011, 09:08 PM
I'm with Melissa. I really don't see any need for preschool. I didn't use it for any of my kids. dd7 has always been totally cool with "drop off" activities, dd5 is a little less sure, dd3 is totally fine. Has nothing to do with preschool, and everything to do with the child. forced separation isn't going to make it any easier...time, maturity, and a healthy attachment to mom/dad will be what ultimately helps a child feel comfortable with drop-off activities.

they're going to learn regardless of if they're at preschool or not...

06-28-2011, 09:09 PM
I'll just add that everyone I know who has the situation where the younger kid is in preschool (even great preschools) hates the time commitment of getting them to and fro and feels it messes up their whole day. Like Laina fears.

If he's just three, then you could still send him the year after for preK if he wanted it or you felt like it was needed, right?

06-29-2011, 02:25 AM
Oh dear this is tricky. My eldest ds went to a fabulous preschool, it was great for him (that was before hs ever entered my mind).

We had decided to hs but the pressure was on me to send dd to preschool (MIL's say no more) so send her I did. She screamed and screamed and screamed and even right at the end of the year was never very happy about going, although the crying had at least ceased......it was not a good time for any of us really and as new homeschooling parent I was feeling lost and uncertain and didn't do what I should have done....pulled her from that damn preschool.

I can finally say that I have gotten over loads of mummy guilt for that whole sordid affair...gee I hope she doesn't end up in therapy over it lol! It took me a long time to not break down every time preschool was mentioned though. And this was more because I listened to others instead of my gut.....never again will I make that mistake.

She did take a while to participate in things with our hs kids, but now (she turns 7 in a week) pretty much joins in everything happily :-)

So after that long winded ramble I have decided to not even put my youngest ds on the wait list. They won't contact me to offer me a place and then I won't even have to consider it. We have plenty of little kids around for him, plus he has siblings to play with all the time.

I never wanted my younger kids to feel that they missed out on something that the oldest got to experience, but he also got to experience school and there's no way my younger two will 'trying that out'.

Oh the things we do when we aren't feeling confident hey.

So just. Because your eldest went along doesn't mean the others have to follow.

06-29-2011, 02:40 AM
With regard to preschool (and life in general), I went with what was right for us. My son never went to preschool - he stayed home with me, and we just had a good time. We played games, especially Candyland (how he learned his colors), number games, visited the library, read loads of picture books, went to local museums, the playground, played quite a bit of hide-and-seek, and more. We really enjoyed this and it was right for us.

You will figure out what's right for you and your children too. :)

06-29-2011, 08:30 AM
My daughter never went to preschool. She was very attached to me (and still is), but we still found opportunities for her to learn to "separate" from me. The first was Sunday School. I would stay with her in the classroom at first, then I would leave for longer and longer stretches until she felt comfortable enough to be dropped off. She also was in a tumbling class where the parents sat on bleachers off to the side, which was reassuring to her. She now separates for Sunday School and swimming lessons without any problems. Her Sunday School teacher keeps expressing amazement at how much she has "bloomed."

I really tried not to push her to separate when I felt she wasn't ready. I think it has payed off in her confidence and comfort in being in the care of other adults now when necessary.

06-29-2011, 11:03 AM
Thank you so much to everyone for your thoughts. It feels like I've gone through this process several times since my kids were born as I realize that what feels best to us is not necessarily what everyone else is doing. It has been a little out of my comfort range since I do not have a lot of support within my family. I think I worry because I tend to be a bit of an introvert, but ironically so is my oldest son, who hung out with the teachers for 2 solid years at preschool and did not make any same-age friends and still prefers older kids and his brothers to anyone else. I think I will see how he is feeling at the end of summer. If he still really hates the idea I just won't make him go. Not sure if dh is on board with this idea, but it would save us money and simplify my weeks considerably.

06-29-2011, 03:24 PM
Eh. That sums up my feelings on preschool.

We tried it this winter and he went December and January and by the end of January, I was just done. He screamed at dropoff and it got to where he didn't even want to get ready those mornings. Dropoff was at 9:30 and those mornings were painful!

He ended up being sick a lot, which meant we were pretty much all sick a lot. He went maybe 6 or 7 days in 2 months, and I had to pay for an extra month because we didn't give 30 days notice. :mad:

We were discussing homeschooling anyway, but we thought preschool would provide some opportunity for him to socialize. But he missed so many days (and all of the birthday parties, because he was sick), he didn't really make any friends anyway.

Oh, but we did get to go to the parent-teacher conference where the teacher told me he talked a lot... to them. I'm not surprised because he does prefer talking to older people. *shrug*

06-29-2011, 03:53 PM
I think you have to do what is best for your family and really only you can make that decision. If you think it would be good for you to send him to preschool then do it, if not don't do it. I used to be one of the mama's who was so upset over my kid crying because I left him (he has went to PDO for about 2 years now 1 day a week for 3-4 hours) but after a while he got used to going and me leaving and fell in love with his teachers. No (or at least very few) children that age are going to want to go to school and be away from their mom... just the way it is and I personally don't feel that at that age they have the capacity to make those decisions. You as a parent knows what is best for your child and I say go with whatever you think that is.

I have gotten over his crying and not wanting me to leave (he doesn't do it at "school" aka PDO anymore, but does still do it for the babysitter 2x per month) because 1. I realize that it helps me be a better mother and 2. for the date nights it is needed for the relationship between me and my husband and 3. I have personal goals and things that I want to achieve and having him in PDO for those few hours help me do that while still being a stay at home mom.

As to if it matters in relation to HSing... no I don't really think it does! If it fits best with what your family needs right now then send him even though you intend to HS later. If not keep him at home :)