Sunday, January 18, 2009

Here we go again

Though it's totally against my educational beliefs, I've started exploring preschool for Dan again. This is one of those issues where we have to carefully examine our motives before committing our most valuable assets - time and money. Right now, my motivation seems to be that Dan and I need a break from each other. Whether that's a good motivation, who knows?

He's been a bear lately, with lots of tantrums and defiance. But in the past few days, he's had a language explosion and become a bit more bearable. Of course, my assessments of him are often more generous between Friday night and Tuesday, I've noticed. I work all weekend and this past weekend, he spent the night at Nana and PopPop's house. He's nearly speaking in full sentences, having somewhat coherent conversations and making connections that he couldn't have made, or at least expressed, a week ago. For example, Jim and Danny were reading Family Circus in the comics this evening. Danny pointed out that the mom had a vacuum and some other cleaning supplies. Jim asked him, "What do you think she was doing in there?" He replied, "Clean." I can't wait to hear what he has to say about Baby Ona.

All the things he can do at the preschools I've investigated are things we can give him at home. I'm not big on preschools where the main goal is to prepare children for indoctrination, I mean, traditional school. The two programs that I have looked into use some combination of learning through free-play approaches that encourage child-led development, like Waldorf or Reggio Emilio, We could pay up to $200 a month for a two-day program in a home-like setting. But it begs the question ... why would I pay that much to mimic the home environment? Is it the social aspect I think he's missing? Most young children parallel play in large groups, not really interacting with other children. Danny does have play dates of varying sizes throughout the week, from one on one to up to 16 kids of varying ages at church. How will this integrate into our plans to home school? I can't see putting him in preschool and then taking him out when he's too old for a program. Just how do you explain that to a five year old? "Honey, you're too old for the schools we can afford because the government steals our money to fund schools we would never dream of sending you to." Maybe that could be his first civics lesson.

As much as Danny and I may need a break from each other, he'll need me more once Baby Ona gets here. Maybe we can get on a waiting list and revisit the issue in the fall. Besides, I can't very well put him in preschool now ... he curses randomly and asks for beer whenever Jim is drinking root beer or ginger ale or he sees a commercial during football games.

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