Why I'm Not Homeschooling My Preschooler

“Bye Mommy! See you later!” And he turned toward the playdough and started smooshing. I smiled at him and smiled at his teacher and walked out the door. A few tears gathered in my eyes as I walked to the car.

Note the uncombed hair. Yeah, I'm rockin' it as a preschool Mom :)

Note the uncombed hair. Yeah, I'm rockin' it as a preschool Mom :)

About noon that same day I walked into my son’s preschool classroom to pick him up from his first day. His teacher dismissed him and he ran into my arms, screaming Mummy! I kneltdown and hugged him and he said the most beautiful words - “I had so much fun!!” As I squeezed his little body, tears threatened to spill over onto my cheeks. Joy and relief flooded my body.

This morning, when we first walked into his classroom, one of his teachers greeted him and said “Timothy, I’m so happy to see you! I’ve been praying for you this morning!” This is the first child that we’ve sent to preschool since we started homeschooling 7 years ago. Making the decision to send him to preschool was not taken lightly. Leaving my son in the care of another person that I know is praying for him is a balm to my tattered mommy heart.

Why would a homeschool blogger send one of her kids to preschool? Not only am I a homeschool blogger, but our blog is called Preschoolers And Peace, with a tagline that says “Homeschooling with littles under foot? YOU CAN DO THIS.” No, the irony is not lost on me.

This is another of those times that I will bare a little bit more of my soul to you, our readers, because I want to be sure that everyone knows what is deep on my heart – God’s plan for my family might look different than His plan for your family. Please be gracious as you read and be quick to listen and slow to speak.

Our son, Timothy, as you might remember, was born prematurely at 25 weeks gestation. He had a long journey in the NICU. He is almost four years old now and has overcome so many challenges. We are so incredibly thankful for the progress that he’s made, overcoming so many developmental delays. But I’m not going to sugar coat things either. He’s a lot of work. His behavioral issues are starting to take more and more of my time and they seem to be getting worse. I was feeling so defeated because none of my usual tricks were working and my school age children were getting the raw end of the deal.

A few weeks ago, after I was crying in my husband's arms on the side of the freeway, I was talking to my husband and said that something needed to change. I didn’t believe that putting our school age kids into a public or charter school was the answer. I brought up the idea of preschool and neither of us were opposed to the idea.

 A few days later, Timothy spent several hours with another family so that I could kinda relax. That was very revealing to me because, after I dropped him off, the van was peaceful. And it was peaceful all day, despite having the van break down in another city and dealing with that on my own with three of the other kids! The minute we picked him up later that afternoon, the chaos returned.

It was at that moment that I realized it was Timothy bringing the chaos. I am in no way saying it’s his fault.  I don't believe that he is intentionally wreaking havoc on our family. I believe that there is something happening neurologically in his little brain and we are seeking help to figure out what that is. But I knew that for my own mental well-being we needed to explore options for Timothy.

Through a number of God-ordained serendipitous moments we decided to enroll him a local, Christian preschool where he attends three mornings a week. His teachers love Jesus and they are teaching the children to love Jesus, too. During those three hours each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday that he is in preschool I am able to focus more on my school-age children and also on my little 2 year old, who has become my shadow. I no longer feel like I am fighting fires all the live long day. I don't feel like I'm walking on eggshells all day long, wondering when Timothy is going to explode again. Those nine hours a week have given my brain space to rest. And it makes me a better parent.

So, that's why I'm not homeschooling my preschooler. Did I feel guilt when I first enrolled him? Yes. I should be able to do it all, right? Uh, yeah, no.  It took me being very honest with myself and my husband about the fragile state of me so that we could make the best decision for our family. I had to remind myself that homeschooling does not save our children and that there is no magic formula.

Our God is so big. He is bigger than homeschooling and bigger than public school and bigger than all educational options. Pray. Seek God's plan for your family. And give yourself grace if the plan ends up changing. We are not defined by our educational choices. Amen and amen.


Homeschool Planning with Purpose and Peace

On today's Google+ Hangout we were joined by Pam Barnhill of Everyday Snapshots ! I recently reviewed her new e-book, Plan Your Year: Homeschool Planning with Purpose and Peace and was so pleased that she was able to me for today's Hangout. We talked about how to get started with homeschool organization. Pam has some wonderful ideas to get a great start to your school year. We kept it short and sweet so that you can grab a moment to watch during your busy summer day.

Show Notes:

Link to Pam's You Tube video on Loop Scheduling

Here is the link to Pam's book that we talked about during the Hangout:

Plan Your Year: A Review

When the temperature passes the century mark and I'm thinking about how to stay cool and help everyone stay occupied, often the last thing I want to do is think about planning for our homeschool year.  But I know, from years of experience, that if I don't plan now, by October everything falls apart and our homeschool can start to look a bit like Lord of the Flies.

Knowing that our coming year will likely be bringing more children through adoption as well as a continued busy travel schedule for my husband, I'm making a real effort to plan as much in advance as possible so that I can focus on cuddling my babies, young and old alike.

In comes Pam Barnhill's new e-book Plan Your Year: Homeschool Planning for Purpose and Peace. (affiliate link)

Pam has done a fabulous job of laying out, step-by-step, a way for you to plan your homeschool year. What I LOVE the most about it is that she doesn't assume that you will do it exactly the way that she does it. She gives examples from her own family as well as other families so you can see a variety of possibilities and choose what works best for you and your family's situation.

The book includes over 40 printable pages, all of which are referenced in the chapters. Each chapter is brief, with a well-written explanation of the topic. Each chapter then ends with action points (another favorite part because I often need a kick in the pants!), as well as a section called More For You, which gives you more resources to explore from around the internet.

One of the things that sets Plan Your Year: Homeschool Planning for Purpose and Peace apart from other books on homeschool planning is that Pam has included links to specially recorded videos and audios with even further explanations and information about what she's presented in the book. BRILLIANT! So when she is talking about creating a homeschool binder, she also includes a link to a video by Mystie Winckler of Simplified Organization who explains step by step how to save the .pdf document into Evernote if you are choosing to go paperless. How cool is that??

I spent a good amount of time last weekend, reading through the book, watching the videos, and printing off some of the planning pages, I've started jotting down notes, firming up plans in my head. I spent a lot of time on Chapter Ten, which was on Planning Your Day. I'm still mulling over the ideas that she presented there, trying to decide what will work best for my children.

If you are needing some extra help this summer to plan your coming homeschool year, I highly recommend Pam Barnhill's book Plan Your Year: Homeschool Planning for Purpose and Peace. If you'd like to see a preview of some of the printable planning pages that she has created as part of the book, you can pop over to her website Everyday Snapshots and subscribe to her email list and you will receive 11 pages of planning pages, for free!

Just a heads-up, Pam is offering an introductory price of $7.99 through July 5 only. So, don't wait too long!