“My Story… ” Monday: G. — Reactions to Skipping Preschool

(You can catch up on G‘s story right here: A Third Baby, Fighting Panic, Connecticut to Oklahoma, You’ve Got the Job, The Birth Story, 95 Degrees, She struggles to breathe, I struggle to walk., The Liquid Diet, Not Enough Oxygen, Getting Out of There, Let’s Party!, Fitting Our Lives into a Minivan, Finding a Home, Remarkably Unremarkable, The Fever and the Screaming, One Answer Leads to More Questions, Her Kidneys, You’re STILL Nursing?, Fearless at 14 Months, Youngest Child Syndrome, My Clone, Preschool?, Preschool, part deux )

Well, it’s funny. There are three main reactions I’ve received, thus-far, and they come from three distinct “groups”, if you will:

 

The “we haven’t had to make that choice yet” parents.

 

These are the moms and dads who have babies and toddlers who are two and under. Most of them have a vague idea what they think they might do preschool-wise, but they haven’t yet had to make the call. Because I sent my first two children to school at a young age, our decision with G. surprises them but, since they haven’t been in our shoes, most just nod along and say, “oh, okay, that makes sense, I guess.”

 

The “we have a three-year-old too!” parents.

 

These are the parents who don’t like my plan. Why? Well, because, so far at least, they have all made a different choice from us. In story hour, gymnastics, and church, the only three-year-olds we see are also enrolled in preschool. When the parents hear that G. is not? Well, they ask questions.

 

No one has been mean or critical to me, really. Skeptical, perhaps. Some raised eyebrows. LOTS of curiosity.  It doesn’t offend me. I think it’s natural to question why someone– especially someone who appears to have raised two happy, thriving older children– has made a different choice.

 

If I’ve felt the need to defend myself at all, though, it is with the other three-year-old parents.

 

The “experience has made me wise” parents.

 

This final group has been a surprising delight to me. While those in the second group seem to often be just starting out on the preschool journey (though they often have other, younger children), these parents in the final group tend to have children older than my own. Often, they have three or more children, total. If they still have a preschooler in their home, he or she is typically the youngest child.

 

I squirmed a bit when I shared what we’re doing with G. with a mommy I know who has five children– all of whom have gone through our local preschool. Still, I held my head high and clearly articulated, “The thing is– G. just doesn’t really have any special needs. She does story hour, Moms’ ministry, gymnastics…” This other mom interrupted me, “she’s busy– she’s doing great. That’s awesome. Are you having fun having her around?”

And that was that. Our choice to hold off on preschool with G. has not ONCE been criticized thus-far by the “been-there, done-that” experienced parents… even those who have chosen a three-year-old program for all of their chidren.

 

*****

So, there you go. Are there exceptions to those groups? Why, sure. Exceptions define the rule, right? ;)

 

For what it’s worth, I will say that I’m getting more and more comfortable articulating what we’re doing. I no longer worry what others might think (at least not much), and I’m growing in confidence about the progress we’re making together.

 

Do I define myself as a “homeschooler”? No, not really. She’s only three. But I’m definitely having a good time doing her “school” at home.

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4 comments to “My Story… ” Monday: G. — Reactions to Skipping Preschool

  • Marci

    I’m a homeschooler and I get so many varied reactions. From those who think I’m judging them for putting their kids in school (I don’t), those who think I need to get a job so I can “get out of the house”, those who think I’ll eventually “get over” it and put my kids in school, those who want to homeschool but are afraid, and of course those who do and are supportive. It’s interesting…you never really know what people are going to say. I absolutely LOVE the choice that we’ve made for our family and I wouldn’t have it any other way. One does need to get a “thick skin” after a while or go crazy with all the “advice”… ;-)

    • Oh, I’ve no doubt that you’re required to grow a thick skin. Why on earth people feel the need to constantly judge and categorize people based on all these individual choices is beyond me. In my experience, the common denominator of parents who are “dropping the ball” isn’t how they “do school” or feed their children… it’s that they’re not fully committed to doing what’s best for their family.

  • I’ve got three boys (all much older than than yours). My oldest just happens to have Down Syndrome and qualified for the special ed preschool program. So he attended preschool. My younger two (typically developing, well, the older of those two is gifted) stayed home with me until they were old enough to start kindergarten. Personally, I prefer having the kids home when they are little. I worked when my oldest was little so really didn’t have the at-home preschool time during the day with him. For stay at home moms, I really see no need for preschool (unless they have special needs and are receiving therapy during their preschool hours) — take the time to be with your little ones while you can.

    • Mostly, I think it’s so important to realize that in very few facets of life is there truly a “one size fits all” plan. Children, families, needs, facilities, etc. all vary SO much that I think it’s impossible to suggest that there’s one good answer for all children. Some little ones really, really do benefit from 3yo preschool, I think. Others? Thrive at home. I’m just so happy that we’ve found a routine that’s working for our family in this season. :) (And I really do like having her home– she’s a delight!)

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