The average time child spent in classrooms is 779 hours each year.
Children gotta learn, right?
Of course they do.
They’ll learn to read, write, do math. They’ll learn about crushes, friendships, and how to handle homework.
They’ll think about clubs to join, getting their driver’s licenses, taking standardized tests, which college/university they want to go to, and figure out what they want to be when they grow up.
One day we’ll be packing up and sending them away to start life on their own.
But that day is not today because my daughter is only 22 months old.
We have talked about preschool. Visited preschools (6 of them), talked about it with anyone who would listen (or pretended to listen) and debated.
How many days?
Morning or full day?
Two days in a row?
I know preschool is great for some children. I know most people send their children to preschool. I know it’s even seen as a ‘rite of passage’ to some. I get that and believe wholeheartedly that each family is different and knows what’s best for them.
After all, we can know if we are making wise parenting choices and we can remind ourselves of this if we are feeling false guilt.
But after talking, thinking and budgeting we decided that we won’t send her to preschool right now. And I’ve committed in my heart to do some other things instead.
So what will we do instead?
We’ll be busy outside.
One of our reasons for wanting to home-school Mia is the ability to provide her with abundant, unstructured time outdoors. “You cannot love what you do not know”, and it feels to me that now more than ever we desperately need people to fall in love with and care about our natural world – whether that be the ants and wildflowers we meet along the pavement, or the beauty of our national parks. I urge you all to find a way – no matter how small – to bring nature into your life (and your child’s life too!) One of my favourite things to do is to spend the majority of the day outside, with picnics for every meal of the day, picking fruits, meeting bees, and watering plants.
We’ll do school Montessori Way
The Montessori phrase “Help me to do it by myself” is probably the most important concept to keep in mind for your toddler. Create an environment that will help your toddler gain as much independence as possible.
There are many things you can do to make your home a Montessori-friendly toddler environment. You’ll want to have low shelves with activities in baskets and on trays, toddler-size table and chair, and real child-size tools and utensils. Practical life activities for care of self, care of the environment, control of movement, and grace and courtesy will be essential.
We’ll read a lot.
I love books and so my daughter does. We will read books about friendship, reality-based books and books with an element of fantasy, easy books and ones which are a little more challenging.
We’ll do life.
As the children get older life will inevitably get busier. More scheduled. More involved. More will be required of the children and therefore of myself, so this year we’re going to just do simple life. I’ll teach her how to do cooking.
We’ll go grocery shopping. I’ll make sure she continues doing chores, cleaning, and I’ll teach her some more personal hygiene skills. Of course children learn throughout the entirety of their childhood, but this year we’ll do these things in a relaxed way.
We’ll make sure she’s prepared.
I’m a mum (and a teacher) I do understand what my daughter needs to know before starting the school. I will teach her letters, numbers, colours, shapes, how to write her name.
She can sit still, pay attention, and obey instructions. If she misses anything, I’m sure she’ll pick it up.
We’ll enjoy this season.
This is the major thing I want to do. Right now I have an overwhelming sense we need to relax and enjoy this season of life.
Next year life will be different. Next year my daughter will be one year older. It’ll be awesome in its own way, but I’m not going to rush it.
Preschool is great, but it’s not a necessity.
Learning is a must, but it comes in many forms.
Each family has the freedom of choice, and we are happy with ours.