A new kind of preschool

In round about the end of 2009,  our tidy little finances came smashing all apart.

It didn’t take much, adjusting to less income, a minor catastrophe, unexpected large expenses, adjustments and other things that are part of life, still husband and I  looked at our decimated pocketbook.

Post car purchase, post minor home mess, we decided to redo the budget.  Things had changed, and we needed to clean up our act a little.  We needed to tighten up.  And we have been in this process since early December, and are still in it, slowly lurching toward what should be a more careful way of placing our dollars.

At the time this all transpired, I was perched on the precipice of putting our 4 year-old into a preschool that would cost about 70 more per month than her existing school.  The teacher was/is amazing.  The class small in a large room with kids she knows.

I knew that it wasn’t plausible to hold on to this.  We had to rebuild savings, and she had been in preschool since 3, the last 6 months before Kinder, we would be together at home.  It was hard to let go, I has already filled out the forms partially, toured the class.  Watched her interact with the other kids.

I decided that it would be fun (and wise) to “homeschool” preschool.  Might I mention here that I never, ever set out to home-school.  I just thought that was something other folks did, not us, for whatever reason.

But then, thinking being, I am a teacher, 6 months of home school preschool before she goes into big kindergarten might actually do my heart some good.

I smiled as I thought of what it would look like.  We are already fairly regular with swimming lessons.   I have watched with amazement as she learns things I can’t do in the pool… jumping in like gadzooks all under the water swimming, what a smile she brings.  She practices her printing on her own volition just for fun, she enjoys her water colors, play doh, computer games…the only thing she might miss is the other kids.

And being line leader, which she is very into.

But with friends over on 3 out of 5 days a week, how much social interaction could she be missing?

When I considered, “Okay so what will this “home school preschool look like?  What will we do to be intentional?”  I decided that first off, it had to be FUN.  So, we would do DANCE PARTY! at least once a week.

I printed off something for some play place that she can go to for free, and we went to a museum that the library offers passes to for free, and I realized, I should start a little notebook of sorts to keep this stuff together. Then some recipes we could cook up…

All this took about 2 seconds and cost me nothing.

And the next thing I did was to do up a little schedule of what her week typically looks like.  Which was something I have held in my head for a plenty long time, but never wrote out.

Then I made a list of all the stuff that we tend to do together.  Library, swim lessons, reading together, cooking together, numbers, letters, computer games, park etc.

And some stuff I would like to do more, like visit the cool pet store in town, memorize some stuff, sing some songs, go to the zoo and museums that we have access to through free passes the library makes available.

When I was done I had about 2 pages of stuff, and I looked at that and thought “this is awesome!”

I love our new schedule.  We do a little Spanish, she plays with her legos some, we have a dance party, we might do some printing practice… and honestly it is almost identical to how things were without preschool, only now I feel like I have a reason to sit down and hold her hand sometimes while she practices her letters (to make sure she gets the letters right).  And did I mention?  It is good for my heart.

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Here she is copying dad, arranging corks for a trivet.  Who needs pants when you can just wear a coat and rubber boots?

Today, I had spilled some brown sugar on the counter.  Her eyes were on it in a second.  And she wanted it.  I was doing dishwasher stuff which was blocking her access.  My instant response was “no you can’t have the sugar, off with ye!” (read:  still paying major dental expenses) But then, I stopped that.

I closed the dishwasher, and I put the brown sugar on my finger and held it close to her mouth and said “Azucar!” and gave it to her.  She repeated the word, and while it was a very, very small thing, by all the huge amount of language learning theory I still have stuck in my limbic brain, the learning doesn’t get much better than that.  We did it about 5 times till all (less than 1/2 teaspoon) the sugar was gone and then she said “I love you, mom”

We made a good choice.  I cannot speak to what others look for in a preschool, I know their brains are ready for academic learning, and I would say that we do a good amount of that.  She is getting words by sight now.

But for now, we are enjoying DANCE PARTY! too.

And here is some photography she has done.  Unique perspective of 4 year old.

I deleted many, as I think alot of the process of taking pictures for her was just snapping the shutter and feeling very important.  She tended to take pictures of equally furniture and people, and many closeups, like the quilt.  I thought it was cute how she took a picture of her sticker chart.  So this is Addy’s view of our world, a lot of it up our nose.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Zhenya says:

    We did not have Abby attend pre-school either and I do not regret it. We did a lot of the same things you mentioned, I only wish I was more intentional like you are trying to be. Abby started to attend full time K at 5 and is currently excelling in school. I do not think she missed out on much. I am really glad I had that time with her before the time came to have her be away from me for a big chunk of the day.
    Enjoy!

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