I wrote last year about my mommy guilt over putting the dutchkid into a preschool two mornings a week this year, which by the way, has turned out to be a great experience. She has thrived in the social environment and really enjoys it. When I chose that particular preschool, it was in part because I heard good things from other parents, but also because it is faith based. I am the product of a Christian education and so almost by default that was always the route I had planned to go.
Over the past few years, however, I have been exposed to and read about the many different schooling options out there. Things that I just never considered before. In my attempts to figure it all out, this past year I read a really interesting book called The Power of Play by David Elkind (the author of The Hurried Child). He talks about how children today are so pushed scholastically from such a young age that they lose the valuable skills provided by self-directed spontaneous play. I felt fortunate that I had chosen a play-based preschool for the dutchkid.
But now I have to choose all over again! We are moving to a much larger community and the options are overwhelming. And ironically now that I’ve educated myself by reading all sorts of books, I feel like it’s such an important decision and I’m worried I’m going to screw it up. My dh likes to remind me that she is only 3, but we will likely be at this duty station until she is through kindergarten. And the all important “they” say that these early years are so important! Not even to mention waiting lists and all the rest.
Right now I’m seriously considering Montessori, an option we didn’t have where we are now. They have multi-age classes with children from ages 3 to 6. So we’d ideally need to decide now if we’re going to try that out this fall. And then there’s the cost of it all, which is about enough to drive my dh to drink. If she weren’t an only child, I think I would keep her at home through kindergarten, the more I learn about homeschooling the more appealing it looks sometimes. I just worry about finding enough social interaction for her, not relying too much on the television and still keeping my sanity. And of course there are zillions of other options as far as religious based education, traditional public education…. Sometimes it feels like parenting is one of those choose-your-own-ending books: “To go down the dark tunnel, turn to page 25. To go into the forest, turn to page 30.”
Which page do I turn to for a happy, well-adjusted, productive member of society?