Thursday, August 16, 2012

My Decision to Homeschool Alan (At least for Preschool)

When I was pregnant with Anna, I wanted to put Alan in Preschool this fall. I was so determined to have my three year old in a structured school enviroment that I even spoke with the Prechool Director at my work and asked her to waive the birthday cut-off for him. The cut-off date was August 27 but class didn't start until after Alan's birthday anyways. She gave me the okay and I started the paperwork process.

After having Anna, I started thinking about the preschool I had registered for Alan to be in. They required him to be fully potty trained, which he was not yet so I would have to work on that. They also took the kids swimming in the gym's pool once a week. While this may sound awesome at face value, upon thinking about it my anxiety level rose. Alan would be swimming in a deep pool with other preschoolers and only having the teachers and the life guards to watch him?

Oh. my. word...

Now I by no means doubt these people's ability of watching my child, I work with these people and trust them completely. I simply am a worry wort and can only imagine what would happen while my child was swimming there without me. That's the key, you see? Without ME. Even though he may be a little fishie, Alan is by no means swim trained. He has also never gone swimming without me before. With me coming from a swimming background, this scared me quite a bit actually. The more I thought about it to, the worse I got.
I just couldn't. let him go this year. He wasn't ready...

Being the perfectionist parent that I am, I felt quite a bit bad about this. Like maybe I could have done more to prepare him? In reality, I did everything I could and it was no one's fault that he wasn't ready yet. Afterall, I was pregnant and sick most of the time. The fact that I just took care of Alan was enough. I need to learn to stop beating myself up over things I can't control. After coming to this realization and deciding to still attempt to teach him the preschool basics, I started researching natural schooling techniques. I wanted to teach him things but not overload him with learning, causing him to shut down mentally. I went to a year of college for education and my favorite class was childhood development, so I was determined to figure out the right way to prepare my son for adulthood. That's when I found unschooling.

A range of educational philosophies and practices centered on allowing children to learn through their natural life experiences, including play, game play, household responsibilities, work experience, and social interaction, rather than through a more traditional school curriculum.

I mentioned unschooling earlier in my blog with my Attachment and Natural Parenting post. I have been reading up on unschooling so much, just to make sure that its the right thing for my son. I come from a teaching background. My mother and aunt are teachers, my best friend Jenelle is in her last year of school for education, and I went to school for teaching as well. Currently, I teach art and dance at the YMCA and work in their daycare, which is pretty curriculum based. So unschooling seems so abnormal for me. But after looking at all the statistics and research plus meditating on it and discussing it with Lon, we have decided to keep Alan home from preschool this fall and have me homeschool him with the unschool philosophy. I will be staying home mostly with the kids so I will be the one mainly in charge of this. I plan on allowing him to "teach himself" with the various letter and number games we have, keeping him invovled in my everyday activities and housework, and reading to him on a daily basis.

I am very confident that Alan will embrace this unschool philosophy and he will learn a lot from it. As of now, I plan on only keeping him home from school this year. But who knows, if I really like it and he learns a ton from it, I may keep him home til Kindergarten! :D Shhhhh, don't tell my mom lol!

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