One of my instagram followers kindly asked if I would share my thoughts on pre-kindergarten. Although I am no expert on the subject I will share my experience.
Rowan is a shy kid. He in no way wants to stand out in a crowd or be noticed by others. He has a very sensitive little soul. So sensitive that he even gets hurt when we are teasing him while are playing around at home. It pained me to see how easily embarrassed he got, so I thought about skipping pre-k to avoid this type of situation. But with Rowan being my first I was eager to explore this new venture "the school thing" so we put him in 2 partial days and we agreed if he shut down that we would pull him out and wait until the following year. He was very timid and cautious that first few weeks. But he slowly found how much he loved learning. Everything he learned stuck with him! And excited him! He was loving seeing new kids and watching them, and soon he felt part of the group. It was the first time he really seemed proud of himself.
The following year we opted for 3 full days. What a difference it made! He was reaching out to people that he didn't know and even making some friends outside of the classroom. Being around boys who really loved to seek thrill and adventure on the playground opened him up to an entire world he had been tip-toeing around! It was so exciting to see him shed his cautious skin and get a little rambunctious.
This year he eased his way into 5 full days of kindergarten without a shred of worry. I think it was harder on me than him. He was thriving in confidence and really reached out and expanded his small little boundaries. Since he was in pre-k 2 years prior, he felt very confident in a classroom setting. He was bold when he knew answers and didn't shy away from class participation. He even got honored many times for helping his classmates. This shy kid was reaching out to people and leading by example. He was so proud that he could help kids in class. It made me so relieved to see him approaching other kids instead of sitting around and waiting for someone to be-friend him.
Now I am not saying that any parenting choice is right or wrong. We all have to decide what is best for our family, but for us having Rowan in a school setting with kids his own age and a teacher who wasn't partial to anyone really made him come out of his shell! He completely had the hang of the lunch room and doing things on his own, for himself, instead of depending so much on me. I know his confidence would have come at some point, but being in class really helped jump start it!
Now I am COMPLETELY a believer in letting them stay little! And sending him off to school so young may seem like a contradiction, but we just make up for it when he comes home. We let him be wild and adventure. Life is complicated and hard and trying to fit in at the age of 6 is a new task, and I am so grateful that we helped him transition with such ease. Kids need to learn, their hearts and minds want to know new things and dream - I knew I couldn't help with that at home so we put him in the care of someone who was passionate about helping him grow in that way! I really believe his confidence in how things done in the classroom is what helped him thrive this year when learning things like reading - if he hadn't been confident he may have shied away from participating and he may not have been able to focus on the tasks he was given. I know he certainly wouldn't have felt comfortable with the other kids if he hadn't been in a class setting before this year.
I am a firm believer in school systems. I just know I can't give him what he needs at home. I want to give him the best opportunities to set him up for what he wants to do when he is older. He may not go to college and I have no problem with that, but if he chooses that he does want to do something along those lines than I want him to have everything he needs to do it the right way and have all the tools he needs. Teachers are not in it for the money, trust me, I have many good friends who teach! They do it because they are passionate about igniting the kids that come into their classroom! I want Rowan to be ignited and find something that drives his passion and helps grow it!
If you choose to homeschool that is great! I just know I personally don't have the knowledge or means to give my kids the best opportunities out of their future. I want them to thrive in every setting they are faced with! And so far (and especially this year) all I have seen Rowan do is thrive!!! And I have no doubts that pre-school is what helped him gain the confidence to take this year on with ease.