Yesterday, Lacey pointed out that a lot of times, us moms only put the happy, successful parts of our lives on the internet. We’re not willing to allow people to see the yucky, imperfect parts. She challenged us to reveal something not-so-great about ourselves. Well, there are tons of not-so-great things about this Linker chick…
One of the things that’s not-so-great about me is that, even though I feel that I am called first and foremost right now to be a good mother to my kids, I have no idea how to get education started for my children on my own. Right now, I would venture to say that it’s a trend amongst large (and some smaller!) Christian families to homeschool. I think a Christian homeschooling family is a beautiful thing, and some of the most well-rounded children/people I have ever met come from that background. To be able to choose a curriculum that you know is God-honoring, and to be able to focus on actual education and not just passing standardized tests, and to be the primary teacher of your kids…well it is beautiful! However, it is something that I currently don’t want to do. I have a desire to have a big family and to be at home with my children while they are little, but I don’t have a desire to homeschool. And it’s probably because I’m selfish. Homeschooling sounds like a whole lot of stress and responsibility…and I’m not sure if I can handle that or want to handle that!
SO, whether or not my motives for not homeschooling are good, we have already began the process of letting our children, or at least our oldest child, receive some education outside of the home. I did not think we would be able to send Ava to any type of school until next fall, when she would be old enough for our state’s free Voluntary Pre-K program. We simply cannot afford any extra expenses right now, including tuition for preschool! But, I am incredibly blessed with parents who also believe that organized preschool has a lot of merits, and they volunteered to pay if we got Ava into a good preschool program.
As soon as I realized that this was an option, I knew exactly what preschool I wanted Ava to go to. My friend, Amanda, had been singing the praises of her son, Layton’s preschool ever since I met them. Not only is it held in and sponsored by a Methodist church nearby, but it is unashamedly Christian and oriented as a ministry. The teachers are not just babysitters; they are actively involved with the children and their learning. AND they offer a variety of different length programs, including a two day a week, half day program which is exactly what I wanted for Ava. I toured the preschool and met Ava’s future teacher, Miss Donna, and loved what I saw…although I was sold before I ever went! If you’re looking for a new, state-of-the-art preschool building, this one is certainly not for you, but if you’re looking for a place where your child is going to be loved and taught on a real and personal level, this is the place! So I put Ava on the waiting list. And we waited.
And it was looking like we weren’t going to get in. And I started to wonder if I should have put Ava on some other waiting lists around town. But I didn’t really want for her to go anywhere else, so I decided not to worry about it. And then, two weeks before the program started in the fall…we found out Ava was in! (I think her getting in had more to do with our friendship with Amanda than whether or not they really had an opening…thanks, Amanda!)
And let me just say, we all love preschool! Ava loves it! Josh and I love it! And I would venture to say, since two mornings a week Izzy gets me all to himself, Izzy loves it, too! A lot of my love for preschool has to do with Ava’s incredible teacher. She’s been teaching for 30 years, and it is definitely her “thing”! When I pick Ava up, I can expect, without having to ask, a full report on how well Ava’s doing emotionally, socially, and academically. Miss Donna believes in kids having as many hands-on learning experiences as possible, and she’s not afraid to let the kids get dirty. Her classroom has everything from a home living center to computers to pets! Ava has a tendency to be really shy, and sometimes get upset, when we leave her with a large group of children, but we have very, very few problems with that at preschool, and I really think that a lot of that has to do with how Miss Donna engages her as soon as she walks in the door.
And the learning, I can’t go on enough about how much learning Ava has done at preschool! I managed to teach her A, B, and C at home, and I could not seem to get beyond that point! I just did not know how to make learning the basics of grammar fun, which is essential for a preschooler. Now, Ava reads and writes lots of letters AND numbers, and she is constantly surprising me with new knowledge.
(These are the letters/numbers Ava has been working on this week. Can you tell what they are???)
I’ve also found that teaching at home comes a lot more easily to me now that a foundation of knowledge is being built for Ava at preschool. I can now just piggy-back on to whatever she is learning at school instead of having to come up with things from scratch.
So, all that goes to say, I have found I need some help when it comes to educating my children, and I feel so blessed that we have been placed in a position to where Ava can start her education at such a great preschool. I’m sure there will be many, many more education posts in the future, as each of our children and their academic needs will be completely different!
(Here is Izzy, sporting his Sissy’s backpack and some of her outerwear, informing me he was all ready to go to school! You still have some time at home with me, buddy! Not pictured: his feet were bare!)
I do want to put one of my many disclaimers here…Please do not feel that you will be judged by me regardless of what route you take to educate your children. Every family is different, and you choose what is best for your family! Homeschooling, private, and public schooling all have merits, and it is beautiful that we live in a country where are allowed to pick what is best.
And, for good measure, here’s another disclaimer…Even though I don’t want to right now, I could end up homeschooling someday. And it’s perfectly fine to say “I told you so” if that ever happens.