Monday, January 27, 2014

Holiday Detox, Nest-Building and Preschool

Since when does everyone have to go to preschool to go to a good college?  Above:  dropping off our oldest at college last year.  He never went to full-time preschool (just a little part-time the year before half-day kindergarten). 
Ah, it's finally time to settle into a "new normal" routine.  We've had enough time to detox from the excesses of a long holiday, recover from bouts of the latest "Germs R Us," weather the terribly bad arctic blasts (and adjust to subsequent cancellations)......and we're all still alive--thank the Lord!

This is also the time for many parents across the country to register their little ones for summer AND fall Mom's Day Out and preschool (both part- and full-time).  Are you one of those panicked parents, visiting classroom after classroom?  Obsessing about maximizing your child's potential?  Or scheming about how to maximize your "me time" next year?

Please relax and resist the urge to push.

  • this is your first child
  • your only friends are working
  • your only friends have enrolled their children in programs
  • you find yourself driven by fear of what your child may be missing
  • you feel smothered and think you need a huge amount of time to yourself

There's a time for everything under the sun.  Their first few years are for nest-building.
You need perspective and you need advice from some moms (with similar values) who have been there, done that.  You need a network of more experienced moms to talk to who have sent their children to similar programs and who can tell you whether it was worth it.  You need a group of confidantes who will honestly tell you what kinds of mistakes they made when they were in your shoes, so that you might learn from their mistakes (and make your own!).

I am not a huge fan of full-time preschool for young children.  Why?  There are lots of reasons, but one main one is that the focus of home and family life shifts more and more outward.  When your children are older (especially teenagers) you will regret anything that you let interfere with the nesting and family building of your family's young years.

Maria Montessori's classrooms were purposely as homelike as possible.  It's at home that a young child feels secure and loved, and it's at home that a child learns some of the most important lessons, like how to get along with other human beings over the long term.  It's also at home that a child will know he or she is loved unconditionally.

Not only do I think it's better for the children to be home during their youngest years, it's better for the parents, too.  Our vocation as a married couple and as parents is to learn how to love sacrificially and how to love all kinds of people.  What better way to do that than to spend more time with the little people that are God's gift to you?

Have you considered homeschool preschool?

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