I know it’s March, but we’re late already. In our area registration for school starts in January. The month after Christmas and the month when 2 of our 4 kids have birthdays. My mind is ALWAYS elsewhere in January.
We have a rather unique situation when it comes to schooling. We think of the kids as individuals and make school choices based on what they need, and who they are as individuals. This means they are all in different places this year.
When out first was 3 we started to see the mass exodus from the playground to the classroom. We opted out of preschool, instead planning playdates, and outings. When our oldest was 4 we moved. We looked at preschool options but with a new baby and a new mortgage, we decided to wait until the following year for Kindergarten.
We had one car and lived in a neighborhood that was largely families who were kidless, older couples, or dual income families (IE no kids at home). I also was romantic about the idea of homeschooling, which proved harder than I thought it would be since we had ZERO social connections in the new location, and no way to get anywhere. He needed more than I was able to offer at home.
We sent him to public school (here on out PS) for Kindergarten. That continued through 2nd grade until it became obvious his needs weren’t being met, and the process of getting them met in the public setting was painfully slow. So we pulled him out for 3rd grade to homeschool.
The 2nd kiddo attended a Quaker preschool for a year, and was also not re-enrolled (same year we pulled out her brother) since we knew we were moving at some point that year and didn’t know where we going to move and when.
We moved in the summer the following year. That year was hectic with remodeling our old house, house hunting, and we ended up spending about 2 months living with my parents while the previous house was being painted/renovated.
After moving we continued homeschooling. We could have enrolled the 2nd in the local PS Kindergarten, but opted not to. At the time I thought it would be good for all of us, easier, more fun. About midway through that year we decided things weren’t working out for her at home. She needed MORE, more socialization, more routine, more time than I had to give. I couldn’t enroll her mid-year, so we waited until this Fall when she would be entering 1st grade. This year has been a tough transition, but things are evening out, mostly.
This is out 2008/9 school schedule:
#1 Homeschool Resource Center / Wednesdays 9:15-4:00
#2 PS 1st Grade / M-F 8:15-3:15
#3 Montessori Preschool / T and Th 12:30-3:00
#4 too young for preschool
Now the decisions for next year must be made. Some of them are easy-the girls are both going to PS, but I’m struggling with the boys, and what to do with them, and if homeschooling is working for my oldest. I think it is NOW, but if you had asked me a month ago you may have heard the words “military academy” thrown around. Things are decidedly better, but not all the way. (maybe that doesn’t happen until they grow up?)
Next year the plans look something like this:
#1 Homeschool Resource Center 1-2 days a week
#2 PS 2nd grade M-F 9:00-3:15
#3 PS Kindy M-F 9:00-12:30
#4 Possibly Montessori Preschool 2-3 days a week
The reason the schedule is not final is the cost/logistics. The preschool and resource center will take a rather size-able bite out of our budget, and will decrease our debt repayment significantly. As in it may take an additional year (or more).
I may be able to work more while they are in school, and I may actually have a blessed few hours alone (this is so rare now it’s not even funny). I’m still fidgeting and fumbling with the numbers and the sort of big life decisions that I seem to decide every day.
How do you balance things like preschool into your budget? How do you make decisions that are seem so significant?