Our sweet Autumn Grace started Pre-K today. I guess it might be more accurate to say we all started Pre-K today. After several years of thinking, praying, and researching preschool and pre-Kindergarten options and curriculum, we decided to use this Pre-K year as an experiment in homeschooling.
I never imagined myself a homeschooling parent. I grew up in public school and considered myself pretty well-educated. I had incredible teachers, a well-rounded education, always felt adequately challenged, but never felt incredibly stressed out. Art and music were always a part of my education, and my teachers always went above and beyond to make sure I was challenged and equipped to use the brain I was given. I liked that my schools weren’t 99% people that looked just like me. In fact, in my youngest grades, there were times when I was a racial minority. And that made me SUCH a better person.
So I always thought I would send my kids to public school. It was a no-brainer. Public schools are for everyone. It’s about more than the book education … it’s about the societal education. It’s about learning how to live with and work with other people. Even if public schools aren’t the most rigorous, I held a strong belief that they were the best education.
But then I had Autumn Grace. A fiercely independent, vastly creative, amazingly intelligent, incredibly sensitive child, whose brain never stops working. As she got older, and we began to learn more about our education options in the place we lived in Atlanta, we realized that there wasn’t an option that would give her the education we thought was so important. A creative education, tailored to her specific needs, in a diverse community. After we tried (& ended rather quickly) a preschool experiment with her at the age of two, we knew better than ever before that she is not your average kid. So we began researching homeschooling. I talked to other parents of homeschoolers. I read about homeschooling. I fell in love with the idea of homeschooling. We had basically decided we would homeschool.
And then we moved. We moved to a town where the school system is consistently one of the best in the state of Massachusetts. A town where there families have a choice between six elementary schools, all with very different curricula. We get to CHOOSE a school for our kids. We have incredible options. There are two that are totally right up our creative, very-little-pressure, loosey-goosey alley. But you know what? There’s no state-sponsored Pre-K. And although we did explore a few Pre-K programs that didn’t cost a total arm & leg, there weren’t any options that would allow me to take both girls at the same time. So we stuck with our decision to homeschool – at least for Pre-K. We decided this would be our trial year. We’ll use this year to experiment with whether or not I can be a dedicated homeschooling parent. Can the girls can learn from me? Or would they be better off learning from someone else? A year to experiment with a curriculum that seems like a perfect fit for our family – is it one that is sustainable for future years too?
I had originally planned to start after Labor Day, but when A’s best bud started Pre-K yesterday, she begged to start our “Homeschool Pre-K”…and when your kid begs to start learning … well … you start teaching. So we jumped in to our curriculum last night. And this morning, we started our day with a regular homeschool routine. We start with a Bible story – today was Creation – and then we move on to a page or two in our workbook, and then lots of story time. The curriculum is setup to only take 20-90 minutes of your day … we blew through today’s stuff as well as most of the stuff for the rest of the week. I knew this kid was smart … but man … she is ready to learn. All in all, today was a roaring success – and I can’t wait to see how the rest of the year pans out.