Saturday, August 24, 2013

What To Do About PreSchool?

Malachi is 4.5 and I debated long and hard earlier this summer about putting him in a preschool program. I feel that this is an expectation of parents now - preschool. I'm not too sure how I feel about it. I'm not anti-preschool... but.... I don't really know. I feel weird about it. And I have a stubborn streak that balks at the idea that I should put him in preschool because everyone is doing it.

I have already made the decision to wait until he's six (which will take us to the 2015-2016 school year), so I figure I have next year to put him in preschool if I want to, but I'd like to work with him at home some this year.

The last couple years I've tried to do some of the units from's Mommy School. This has proven to be very time consuming for me to prep. I really enjoyed the ideas, but some stuff was too hard or too much prep and it took me a long time to go through the pages and pages of ideas to pick the few we wanted to attempt. 

I am a pretty organized person, but I think I'm one of those people who kinda needs everything spelled out for me. A lesson plan - but I don't necessarily want to make it all up myself. I want something I can grab and prepare for the stuff already on it, not pick all my own stuff from 100 random things.

I started researching some homeschool preschool programs and here's what I found:

1. There are SOOOOO many options. It is incredibly overwhelming. Everyone has a different opinion about which program is better, more researched, has more learning potiential, etc. It's kinda horrible actually. Trying to sift through this information has had me almost giving the idea up several times.

2. The super expensive programs (as in - it's over $100 bucks):
Sonlight ($285)
Horizon's ($179)
Oak Meadow ($130)
Timberdoodle ($229 Basic)
I am not against spending some money - but I'm also not convinced I'm willing to spend $100-$200 on a preschool program that I'm not sure how good I'll stick to it. Maybe that's the key - if you spend that much money, you'll for sure use it....

3. The affordable programs (under $100):
Before Five In A Row ($35 plus the cost of books if you choose to buy them) - we already have this program and the majority of books that go with it. Many people seem to LOVE it, but Malachi isn't very excited about the activities I've tried with it. I love the books (and so does he), but it is a lot of intentional reading which we do anyway. I still might try to use this more, but I don't think it's a great fit for my oldest - Zach might be more into this?
Letter of the Week ($15 download version/$20 CD version) - this program is created by a homeschooling mom. Many reviews I read sung the praises of this curriculum, but there were a few dissenters who claimed it's not teaching letters correctly.... hm.... I have a feeling it has more to do with your child and style of teaching more than anything.

4. FREE!
1+1+1=1  - This looks like a pretty comprehensive program considering its free. 
Ambleside or Charlotte Mason - This really starts at more of a Kindergarten level, I think.
Mommy School

At this point, I think I'm leaning towards the Letter of the Week curriculum. In spite of the "trained professionals" who discounted the program, it sounds fun and fairly easy. I'm all about easy and making learning fun at this point, so I think it sounds great. I also have a copy of Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons that MY homeschooling mom used with me during my education. I begged her not to sell it at a curriculum sale one year, so I obviously loved it. 

Hopefully I'll make a decision soon.... the new school year is basically here!

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