Saturday, March 21, 2009

Preschool?

I hope that this topic strikes a cord with most of you mom's whether you have a newborn or almost three/four year old.

My oldest knows all of his letters, numbers, colors, and shapes. When I think of sending him to preschool I am afraid that he will be board out of his mind. But, as I think most of us have heard, preschool is not just prep for Kindergarten concepts but it is about SOCIALIZATION.

My Thoughts and Concerns:

*Preschool is expensive!

*Most of my friends that have sent their 3/4 year olds to preschool complain about their kids picking up bad habits/words/behavior. The scary fact that there is great moral decay in our day and age.

*If I don't send my son to a "formal" preschool will he be socially paralyzed when it comes time for school?

*Do I have another option? I feel like if I don't send him to some type of preschool we are depriving him of what today's society tells us is a new "necessity."

Some Conclusions and Findings:

*My husband and I have read some very encouraging articles that support the fact that "non formal" schooling does not hinder socialization but actually encourages it.

*JOY SCHOOL: Joy School is a preschool where parents form a neighborhood group (usually three to seven families) and receive the materials needed (music CDs, stories, lesson plans, visual aids, etc.) to conduct a twice a week do-it-yourself preschool -- rotating from home to home, with each mother taking her turn as teacher.


SO LETS HEAR FROM YOU...
*How do you encourage education and learning in your home? Can it be encouraged too much?
*What are your thoughts on schooling? Public, Private, Charter, or Home?
*Do you have any stories or experiences that confirm or contradict the socialization aspect of preschool?

30 comments:

Spring said...

Below is an excerpt from a talk written by Ezra Taft Benson, a president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The whole talk is very good and you can find it at here...
http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=c2ccaeca0ea6b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1

“It is a fundamental truth that the responsibilities of motherhood cannot be successfully delegated. No, not to day-care centers, not to schools, not to nurseries, not to babysitters.
We become enamored with men’s theories such as the idea of preschool training outside the home for young children. Not only does this put added pressure on the budget, but it places young children in an environment away from mother’s influence….
It is mother’s influence during the crucial formative years that forms a child’s basic character.
Home is the place where a child learns faith, feels love, and thereby learns from mother’s loving example to choose righteousness.
How vital are mother’s influence and teaching in the home—and how apparent when neglected!...
One of the most stirring success stories in scripture is told in the Book of Mormon of Lamanite women who taught their sons the gospel in the home. These two thousand young men were taught faith in God at their mothers’ knees. Later, they exhibited great faith and courage when they went to war.
Their leader, Helaman, said of them, “Yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.” (Alma 56:47.)
There is the key—“they had been taught by their mothers”!” –end of quote

When I read this I felt that what he was saying was true and I have tried to follow his council with my own children. I have experienced much joy from teaching my kids both secular and spiritual things.

Forward With Fun and Faith said...

Spring - Thank you so much for those inspiring words! What an answer to my unuttered prayers on this topic! Beautiful! =*0)

Erin said...

I love that quote! I think kids in our church have a really good way to be introduced to a social setting in nursery/playgroups anyway. There are other ways to be social besides preschool. I am not in any hurry to send them to school. They just grow up so fast anyway. The joy school that you mentioned sounds really interesting to me!

And I never went to pre-school. I was really just fine in kindergarten, except that i didn't really know some of the stuff the other kids did (I had a working mom). And I turned out normal. At least I think so. :)

Tannie Datwyler said...

What a fabulous topic Courtney.

First; I encourage education in my home by having a learning time period (preferably every day, but let's be real, that doesn't always happen) and by reading a lot. Claire too knows her letters, shapes, colors, and numbers. I feel good about myself when I teach her. I think the only danger in this is that when she gets to kindergarten she will be bored out of her mind, and teachers (understandably so) tend to focus more on the kids who are behind than the advanced learners. I would rather have her be ahead than behind though.

As a former public school teacher I am against private and charter schools as a whole. Though I know that there are circumstances and children that do better with one of those. So I am not against those choices, just against the idea that private and charter schools are trying to be "the death of public education." Make sense? WHOLE other topic. I don't think I would homeschool my kids - I'd like them to be in the world (but not of it). Again, I'm a school teacher so I could do it myself, but I'd like to send them to public school.

As for preschool. . . the jury is still out. I like the idea of a Joy School. I also think that Erin is right - there are tons of ways for kids to socialize without going to preschool. On the other hand, Claire will be nearly 6 by the time she goes to kindergarten and I can only assume that I will have another little one by then. As horrible as it sounds, it might be a bit easier to juggle if I had a few hours break while she is at preschool a couple times a week. I'm not trying to use preschool as a daycare, but I am thinking realisticly. Make sense?

Jared and Delia said...

I am so excited about this topic.

It is something that I have mulled over back and forth for almost two years! My oldest is four and will not go to kindergarten until he is four months shy of six. I love the comment that Spring shared. The foundation for learning must start in the home with us mothers. That is key. I think they are going to be in school for the rest of their childhood. If we CAN allow them to stay home, I say do it. Now on the other hand, I KNOW that I can only teach him so much at home. I am a supporter of Pre-K. I will be sending my son to preschool for 4 and 5 year old children in the Fall. He will go for just a few days a week and a couple of hours at a time. I think it will help him slowly step into the academic world and get consistent social interaction that I know will be good for him, but he will also get plenty of time to be home and time with Mommy. Before Pre-K...unless you need them to go, I say keep them and let them be little. With the way education is now, they can't stay little for very long. The expectations are higher and earlier than when we were in Kindergarten.

As for private versus chartered and so forth I don't have much of an opinion. For preschool I think you should just choose the method of teaching you like best. We are lucky to have gotten our son into our University's preschool who teach children through play and not drills and flashcards. This is my preferred method for a group setting. I can teach him numbers and letters and such at home at his own pace so he won't feel pressured to compete or meet some guideline some Preschool administrator has set.

Those are my thoughts anyway. You have to do what is best for you.

Jared and Delia said...

I should add that these are my thought so far. Obviously this is all new to us and we have yet to go to preschool for another six months.

Tannie Datwyler said...

Delia, I like what you said about easing your child into the academic world. Preschool is a great way for that since they only go a few times a week for a few hours. It might be a bit of a shock for some kids to go right to kindergarten 5 days a week for half a day. That's something to think about even if you are inclined to keep a kid out of preschool.

You'll have to let us know how it goes with your little one. Your are closer than I am with that. My baby girl is several years off.

I agree about group setting and play being good for preschool kids (as opposed to rigorous learning with flash cards etc. . .). You are so right, I can teach all the pre-k stuff at home. I just like the idea of getting them used to the academic world and interactions in group settings without mom there.

Jared and Delia said...

I'm glad you got where I was going with my comment and that you clarified it even more. I was just thinking about how I was unsure of how well I articulated my thoughts.

I wanted to add that, I personally think holding back a little and making sure you make time for learning in a fun atmosphere at home is crucial. If they associate learning and especially reading with enjoyment and as something fulfilling that can establish a healthy attitude toward school that will last for life and can be key to their academic success. Not doing this and putting them into a rigorous academic environment before they are ready can set them up to believe school is too hard, frustrating and maybe "not for them" down the road. Which is also why I am inclined to wait to let children enter kindergarten until closer to six if possible. This is what I believe anyway. I have yet to put personal experience under my belt. I still think and pray about this often.

Thanks for posting about this Courtney. Everyone else's comments have really solidified some of my ideas about this and also brought new thoughts to consider.

Jared and Delia said...

Excuse me for making public my thought process but I wonder if I am doing this:

"We become enamored with men’s theories such as the idea of preschool training outside the home for young children. " - Ezra Taft Benson

Hmmmm...

Megan said...

Okay, I'm a little bit different situation than the rest of you. I am still a student and trying to get things figured out in that arena. Unfortunately, due to school, my son will start attending the two year old and younger lab at the university come fall. I'm not a huge fan of this, but necessity dictates it. I am a fan of preschool, however, I think it's better if started a little older, like 4 to 5, and like Delia said, for easing kids into the transition of going to school. When it comes to the charter, public, vs. private discussion, I don't care for private schools. However, I think charter schools are a necessary evil because they tend to be able to have more free choice when it comes to how things are taught in the school. I worked for a charter school for three years, not as a teacher in another capacity, and have seen the benefits of a charter school. I think if you could marry the philosophy of charter schools with public, you would have a win-win situation. Sorry for such a long post!

Megan said...

Oh also, I really like the idea of a joy school for preschool, but am also a huge fan of the local university preschool program. I think joy school gives you the opportunity to really get involved with the learning process for your child and to gain new ideas on how to teach things from the other families involved. But, our local university program is a very good alternative. The problem though, is trying to get in! So, if you are trying to get into the local university program, good luck!

Kelly A. said...

I LOVED that quote shared!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!! My thoughts are this: when you think about the big picture, we only get out kids in our homes for about 18 years and that is less than a third of their life so the time they have with us, their parents, is crucial! I agree that it is so important that kids get a foundation and love of learning at home. Eventually though, they will go to school and get exposed to the "real world" and I don't think sending them to preschool is bad, BUT doing your research and finding a preschool that fits your philosophy of learning and your child's needs is key. I think there is something to be said about letting our kids be little and I want to keep my kids at home and be in no rush to send them to formal school. One example that was a success for someone I know: My SIL did a joy school with moms in her ward/neighborhood when her son was 3 and then is sending him to preschool when he is 4, a year before kindergarten. She spent countless hours researching preschools and was very picky about which one she chose. I love the fact that many schools are now choosing to teach through play! I feel that truly is the best way for children to learn!! I student taught at the preschool Megan and Delia mentioned above for the University and the program is wonderful!! In response to your question about whether learning can be encouraged too much, I say no, BUT I think that we need to be careful about teaching children at their level and remembering to teach to the "whole child" if that makes sense. I know a little boy who is not even kindergarten age yet and he is learning his states and capitals at home, but he lacks social skills. I think I would rather my own children be more well rounded and good at sharing, interacting, etc with other kids their age, instead of memorizing things way above their grade level. What do you all think?

JeriLynn said...

I know I take a risk saying this, because three of my fellow panelists are teachers, but I plan on homeschooling my children. *Gasp!* Especially if we live outside of Utah. A lot of my reasons are politically motivated, and because I have very strong political feelings, I will not elaborate.

Being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, my children already have access to weekly socializations is a group setting I find safe and acceptable.

Consequently, my major's top student happened to be home-schooled. She is quiet, but it's a respectful quiet, and mostly she's funny, bright, and terribly talented. (She also just returned from her mission, and we are going to lunch this Tuesday; I'm excited.) Homeschooled children learn to follow their interests and often have to be very self-motivated.

Because I once sold Usborne books, I stocked up on some great homeschooling supplies. Libraries (at least ours) have curriculums available for parents to use. It does take time and planning, but I feel drawn to it. Jay would have to teach the math, but he loves teaching anything.

Oh, did I mention my babysitter is also homeschooled, and that's awful convenient when I need someone in the middle of the day.

Forward With Fun and Faith said...

JeriLynn...I am right with you, believe it or not! I originally started this post as being on the topic of strictly debating each school choice (public, private, charter, home). I feel as though I am betraying everything I have dedicated my life to (being a product of public schools, teaching in the public schools, and working closely with UEA during college). We are seriously considering home schooling for many reasons. Maybe that will be a future post... =0)

Delia/Megan - That is SO cool that you guys got in to the preschool lab!!

I wish all of us could do Joy School together! =0)

Tannie Datwyler said...

I agree about doing a Joy School together Courtney - but I doubt that would work since we span several states. :)

I think that your opinion is yours. It doesn't matter what you and how you want to teach your children. I think you talk with your spouse, you decide what you like, and you do what feels right to you. Most of all, you pray about it.

I still want to send my kids to public school and my opinion on that score is not likely to change, and there are SOOOO many reasons why (I can go into detail if you really want to know, but I won't now. Contrary to what others think, it isn't because of socialization with other kids - Erin and Jeri both had great points; kids can do play groups and nursery and whatnot). I respec the difference of opinion we all have. Everyone is different and you should do what feels right.

If I've learned anything in the last few months, I've learned that you can glean all the advice possible, read all the books you can get your hands, and try a million different things, but there is no one size fits all. You, your spouse, and Heavenly father are the only ones that hold the answers to your family.

Thanks so much all for sharing your thoughts, it really has kept my mind turning.

Chris and Laura said...

I didn't have time to comment when I first read this post, so I've had a while to think about it. I have a lot of different thoughts, so please forgive me if they don't all come out in a coherent order.

First of all, I think that the single most important learning that happens at home has nothing to do with shapes or colors or the alphabet. The learning that is so critical coming from parents is a lot more in the realm of values and beliefs, and a foundation for both gospel and secular learning. I think that children learn at home to value learning, to have faith and to practice their beliefs, and to build up a process for using the knowledge that they will gain later from other people and places. That kind of learning is very, very important and should definitely come from the parents and not anyone else.

Learning social skills are important, too, and I think the foundation for those also come from home. Things like not interrupting when someone is talking, not screaming inside, sharing and treating toys nicely are all things they will need to know in school and they should already be learning, whether or not they go to preschool.

There is definitely something to be said for being around other people. That can come lots of ways, like going to nursery and playgroups, or occasionally being left with a babysitter.

As far as transitioning into kindergarten, it can definitely be really hard (I haven't done this with my own children yet, obviously, but I have seen a lot at the school where I teach). It seems to be the hardest on the kids who have never really been away from their parents. It's not necessarily the structure of the school day or having to learn in a way they never have before, it's a lot more of just being in a new environment with people they don't know. The teachers are very adept at handling such problems, but I think what helps the most is when the kids are used to being in different situations with different people, without mom and dad always there to save them.

I guess what I'm getting at is, no, you don't have to go to preschool to get the social benefits it can provide. Long explanation for a short point.

When I was a kid, my mom actually participated in Joy School with my siblings and I. I can remember going to other kids' houses and playing games, doing crafts, etc. I remember really enjoying it as a child, and I'm sure my mom enjoyed the breaks she had on the days when we went to someone else's house. Looking back now from a parent's perspective, I think it would be nice for my kids to have that, so they could have a chance to go to other places, socialize with kids their age, and for me to both have a break occasionally and be able to help other mothers have a break, too.

I don't think joy school is much more than a playgroup, which I know a lot of people do anyway. The big difference is that not all of the moms stay the whole time, and you would have a little more structure to the "play" part. But if you have enough moms who are willing to do it, I think it would be totally worth it.

And if anyone is interested, I was recently talking to a kindergarten teacher (she has been teaching for nearly forty years and I trust her more than any other teacher at my school) about what kids needed to know to be ready for school. She said it is helpful if they know their letters and the sounds they make, and how to write their name. They are not going to be terribly behind if they don't, and they will be fine if they don't know how to read yet. Just a side note.

Finally, I thought I'd share a quick response to JeriLynn's comments on homeschooling. I think there's a huge stigma placed on the idea of homeschooling, and I think that has come from all of the people who have done it very badly. The problem comes with the people who rant and rave about how terrible public education is so they pull their kids out to homeschool, then don't really do anything. Kids can learn a lot on their own through exploration and experimentation, but they need structure and guidance to learn enough to really be competitive in today's society. I say that if you are willing to really teach your kids (anyone, I'm not just saying this to JeriLynn), if you are really willing to actually teach your kids everything they will need to know, while still making sure they do have adequate and frequent social opportunities, more power to you. Yes, I'm a public school teacher and I think homeschooling is ok. As long as it's done correctly.

As far as charter and private schools are concerned, I think they do have a place. There are kids who, by personality or background or whatever, really can't function, let alone succeed, in a public school setting. Having the option of a less- or differently-structured charter or private school can be exactly what is needed to save that child's education. I also think it's good that they are there to provide a little competition for public schools. Monopoly isn't healthy in any business, education included.

So there's my two cents. Or thirty-eight cents, if you go by how long this comment is...

JeriLynn said...

Great post, Laura! I agree with you almost entirely! I have seen poor homeschooling, too, and that is really unfortunate. I also agree with what you said about charter and private schools and monopolies.

JeriLynn said...

Also .. .

Courtney, I'm surprised you agree with me! (Though I am relieved at least ONE school techer does.) ;) I would love for one of us to do a future post on this. We could also share homeschooling resources. Or perhaps each of us on the panel take a school type and write an article supporting it. That way, our readers (we need to get more) have a resource to look to.

Tannie, you are right. There are a lot of reasons to send our kids to public school. I'm not one who thinks public schools are all bad. Utah, as the heart of Mormondom, still has hope yet, and I believe parent involvement with their children's public education goes A LONG WAY. Still, it feels to me like government oversight in education will someday soon delve too deep. However, I am interested in your reasons, and as I mentioned just now, perhaps we should each write an argument for our choice of school.

Jessie said...

I, too, am actually seriously considering homeschooling my children, for a plethora of reasons. I do have a lot of concerns with the idea of homeschooling (I'm not structured enough, I don't know enough, how can I take care of babies while actually teaching my older children... the list goes on and on...) but I also know that there are so many resources out there for homeschooling parents, and depending on our situation in a couple of years, when my daughter is school aged, we will make a firm decision. I know several homeschooling families in our area, though, who all teach together--each one covers different subjects on different days, and in that way, the kids get more social interaction, and there is structured education, which is important to me. If we homeschool, I hope to be a part of a group like that.

I am a product of public education, and while I loved my education, I'm not sure that I could knowingly send my 5 year old into this crazy world without a second thought, just because that's what my husband and I did. It just seems like there is so much to consider these days, and I really want my kids to receive the best education they can get, while learning to pursue what they are interested in, and to take initiative, which is something that I think was kind of stifled in my educational experience. I'm not saying that I would be the best teacher ever (not by a LONG shot!), but I think with a group of capable parents, a really strong homeschool could be formed, and could be a huge benefit to my children.

Oh, and as far as teaching your children early, I am all for it. They are so intelligent at such a young age, and are capable of so much more than we sometimes give them credit for--I think the more we can help them learn, the better off they'll be. I don't push my children to learn the things I want them to, but I do try to do regular activities to catch their interest, and then work off of that. I think it can only benefit our children to help them learn as much as they can while they are young and their brains are still forming and so receptive to what we teach.

Forward With Fun and Faith said...

Kelly - I completely agree with not teaching above their level. I think that goes hand in hand with Laura's comments.

Tannie - Amen! Thank heavens for revelation. Everyone, sorry if I "opened a can of worms" with the different schooling options. But, it has seriously been a hot topic with Steve and I. Almost all we have talked about lately. Like I said, still debating between home and public. I had ALWAYS pictured myself being the PTA, room mother, way involved parent. But due to some issues/ideas/incidents within our specific school district we are rethinking public schools at the moment. I think it is a 60/40 split right now and I would LOVE to hear everyone’s ideas and opinions! More than anything we just find ourselves doing a lot of research.

I completely that no one size fits all! Especially when it comes to education. There are tons of things that are factored in.

Laura - Thanks so much for your comment. You definitely hit it home with the "teaching values/love of learning" comment!

Amen to your comment on Kindergarten transitioning. I had 5 1st graders and screamed bloody murder for the first 3 months of school, and wouldn't even come to school sometimes. I was ready to handle it, I just needed the parents to let go and be strong. =0)

Forward With Fun and Faith said...

Jessie - You summed up so many of my own thoughts EXACTLY!

Tannie Datwyler said...

Wow! Can I just say that I am so blessed to know this many talented and wise women? I love how you have all brought your thoughts to the table.

Jessie - your idea with a homeschooling "JOY" school is wonderful. If there were that many dedicated moms in my area willing to do that - I MIGHT consider homeschooling. As it is, I am still a very great proponate of public education and we can do like JeriLynn suggest and have the panel write a post on the different choices of education. I like that idea a lot.

I like what you said about charter and private schools Laura - I just tend to get very defensive about those options because not all parents go into a situtation like that with their eyes wide open. What makes me the most angry though is that charter schools are not subject to the same accoutability as public schools. There is no justice there. Jeri - you couldn't be more right about the government and public education. Education is supposed (and should be) to be left up to the states.

Also, I agree that Utah is a little different. Public education in another state might scare me more, but at the same time, I think (for some reasons that I could talk about later) that I still might do public school in another state. .. depends, how am I to know since I still live in Utah?

Megan said...

UMM, charter schools are subject to the same state testing, state regulations, and state requirements that public schools are, including teacher certification. Private schools, on the other hand, are not. I'm not trying to open a can of worms, but I just wanted to make that point. I hope to be done with school by the time Lucas is really ready for preschool and if there are enough people, I would love to do a Joy school. Laura, I love your comments on what is important to teach at home, I totally agree with with you. I have really loved reading through the comments on this topic and I think having the panel write an article on the different types of education would be great!

Tannie Datwyler said...

Not all are, at least to my knowledge. . . HMMM research I guess.

Tannie Datwyler said...

Maybe I'm thinking of Lab schools. . . you know more about charter schools than I do Megan. I'm a pro about public but that is not my speciality.

Jared and Delia said...

I agree with Tannie. I am glad to know so many wise women!

Erin said...

I hope that when you are doing the posts this week, you can explain each of them. I know some people who don't like private or charter schools, and some who say they would never send their kids to a private school, but I have no idea why. I am so interested in everyone's thoughts.

On The Go Family said...

You've all shared a lot of great thoughts. One thing I wanted to add is that it's important to think and pray about each individual kid and what's best for him/her. And that may vary between children within the same family.

I have a 4 1/2-year-old daughter who is very, very smart but social skills have been harder for her to develop. We tried a lot of different things at home with little to no success. This put so much strain on our relationship with her that we decided to try a Christian preschool program. She started at the young, tender age of 2. (And yes, I had major guilt issues about sending her at that age.) But having her in this structured environment (with someone other than mom or dad setting the rules) has really helped. Being away from me for two hours two times a week is just what we all needed. It's enough time for me to get a breather and re-gain the energy needed to help her feel loved, valued, etc.

Our daughter has made huge progress socially over the past three years. Though her teachers felt she could handle kindergarten next fall, we decided to hold her back another year since she has a Sept. birthday. (That could be a whole other topic on the forum.) As some other moms said, you only get to have them at home for so long, so this felt right to us. I'm thrilled with the progress she's making and know we did the right thing for HER.

We also have a 2 1/2-year-old son. He's as bright and happy as they come. Though he's definitely testing the waters (i.e. acting TWO!), he doesn't have the need for structure or the adversarial relationship with us that his sister did. I always assumed I'd start him in preschool at 3 since that is the "norm" in our area, but after much thought and prayer, we've decided to wait until he's 4 or 5. The fact that we don't have any other babies at home yet definitely contributed to that decision.

My point is -- along with all the other wonderful advice listed in this post, be mindful of each child's strengths, needs and natural dispositions. Heavenly Father knows all of His children individually and will help you know what's right for each one that has been entrusted into your care.

Jared and Delia said...

Thank you! That comment was WONDERFUL!

And to answer Erin's question. Yes...we will give an explanation of each type of schooling next week so you can be informed on each one. Stay tuned! :)

Summer said...

Hi Delia!

You referenced this blog of yours on a comment on Springs blog, so I wanted to check it out. I've just read the newer posts about public/charter/homeschooling and whatnot and then this one, so my comment applies to more than just this post. I didn't have time to read all of these comments, but I just had to respond to your comment "I KNOW that I can only teach him so much at home. I am a supporter of Pre-K." I can see that applying to homeschooling as a whole, but trust me, you can teach your child everything he would learn in preschool :). Not to mention the fact that our children have the benefits of nursery and primary to prepare them socially, along with playgroups and the like, so you really have no need to fear.

My oldest will still be 5 when my 5th child is born, so like Tannie, I admit that I've considered putting kids in preschool, 'cause it sounds nice for mommy to have a break. The truth is, though, that my kids are going to be away from me a lot really soon, when they're in school full time, and they need as much time with mommy as they can get.

At this point, I'm not planning on homeschooling, 'cause I think my children will thrive in the "system," but I do agree with Spring that it'd be nice to be able to educate my children on a schedule that's convenient for me and have more time with them. My problem is that all too often I'm handing over what should be quality time to the TV, so that I can do the things that I need and want to. I've tried on several occasions to set up a structured schedule to help us utilize our time better, but the real problem is that I don't have to stick to it, so I don't. I find that the flexibility is what's actually killing me.

So anyhow, although I agree with a lot of the things my sister Spring believes, and I like a lot of the aspects of homeschooling, I'm not committed or dedicated enough for it to work for us. Hmm, maybe the truth is that I'm not willing to be, at least not until I have to, because I know I'm capable of a lot. I at least intend to give public (actually more likely a really good charter nearby, 'cause these days, charter schools function the same as public schools, but can offer better curriculum tracks) school a chance first, and then consider homeschooling only if that seemed to be failing for my children.

I'm blessed with really headstrong children (a bit of a pain for me know 'cause they challenge everything, but I was the same way and it ended up being channeled into me being firm in my righteous beliefs), so I'm confident that if I teach them good principles in the home, they'll stand up for them when confronted with other choices in the world.

There's supposed to be opposition in all things, we just want our kids to be ready to make the right choices. That's why it's so important that we spend these preschool years teaching and preparing them in the home. I hope I've expressed that clearly and not just babbled :). -Summer