Monday, October 10, 2011

learning at home

I found myself in a discussion the other day about whether or not I was planning on putting my (almost) 3-year-old in preschool any time soon. Eek. I have thought about it before, when someone asked if I considered using some kind of drop in care for errands or appointments I had, and I said no. Now, thinking about "preschool" in the terms of starting a somewhat formal education routine seems a little more serious.

I'm scared to take her. There, that is one reason I don't plan on it, right there. I am scared of my little angel being any kind of victim. I can't imagine getting a call or finding out that she had been hit, bitten or bullied by some child. I mean, I don't expect her to live in a bubble. She plays a lot with my two nephews who are the same age as her, and they all take their turns fighting over toys, being too rough, and just being the crazy little kids they all are. But, those are our family members. We know their parents are nearby, and I can easily step in and offer the loving correction they would offer my child in the same situation. But a stranger's kid? I know I am not the only one who feels that way. Will this person discipline their child? Will they even find out their child did something to mine? Besides that, I just don't know what kind of kids she will be around. At the preschool age, there are some kids out there who just plain misbehave. Of course I don't hold it against a kid, but I don't want my impressionable little baby to pick up any habits, new words I might not like, and I don't want her to develop her own way of expressing herself based off of the impressions of a child I do not know. I know my nephews, and my friend's kids, and I get to watch and see how she learns in social situations, and teach her what is appropriate and what isn't even if I can't control what my family or friend's children do. I'm there. Or another adult I know is.

Why does she need preschool when her mother is at home to teach her? What can a preschool teacher teach her that I can't? People argue that socialization of children is important and that the main place it happens is in the school system. I have heard this same argument again and again when talking about my wish to eventually homeschool my children. Well, I'm sorry, but I don't buy it. How does sticking my child in a room with a bunch of other kids, fighting for personal attention, competing for academic success, navigating their way through all the other morals, lessons and oftentimes sheer GARBAGE that other children bring from their families, all into one place, equal socialization? I think the best way to view socialization is in terms of teaching them to function in a healthy way, out in the world. There are many places and ways to do this. Teaching citizenship isn't exclusive to the school yard or the classroom, and it certainly doesn't require the leadership of a teacher, however qualified to teach academic fundamentals, to take responsibility for such an important part of my child's personal development.

My bottom line: I simply do not feel right in my heart about having any of my children leading themselves through the complicated world out there, at least while they are so young. A 7-year-old, my 7-year-old, is young, impressionable beyond measure, and her innocence is being whittled away by things I cannot control, which I understand will be the case sometimes. But with her out there, alone, without me even trailing a few steps behind while she explores the world for herself, she will encounter things that will shape her views and I may not even know about them. That is terrifying to me. Really, I could cry. Just seeing some of the things my 7-year-old has gone through in these first few years of school has taken a toll on me, and her.

So while some people might raise their eyebrows at the controlling mother, or flip their hair at the foolish idealist, I say, these are my kids. I'm not putting them in danger, I'm not crippling them. I think about every decision for them, and while I always listen to feedback from valued sources, I, ultimately, know what works best for my kids and my family.

Just look at these faces!

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree with this. We struggled so hard with sending our son to school. We wanted to homeschool for those reasons. They are so young and impressionable at this age and we wanted to be the ones that taught them who they were not some school system. Unfortuanatly we decided it was not possible for us to homeschool at this time and had to send them to school. They love the school and we are a part of every possible thing and keep in touch with everyone at the school just so that we know what is going on. Its your children and you know what is best for them!! following you from MBC and would love the follow back at