Friday, September 7, 2012

How to Handle the Question of Homeschooling

It's back to school time.  Almost everyone I know has posted a photo of their little adorables all ready for their first day of school.
Not me.
They are not going to school.
My boys are 2.6 years old.  Do they need to go to school?
The state of New York says that legally, I don't have to put them into school until Kindergarten.
Of course, there are ways around that with homeschooling, but legally I
have a few years until they have to go to a 'school' of some kind.  And Kate and I have to agree what that is going to be.  Right now, we are not in agreement and are choosing to respect each other's opinions.
It's a tricky tightrope.

I knew that by choosing not to do a "2's" program or some full time preschool, I was going to have to answer a lot of questions, but I didn't realize quite how many and from so many different people.
Friends, family, strangers, nannies on the playground.  Everyone wants to know if my kids are going to school this Fall.
And every time someone asks I feel like I have to explain myself.

I shouldn't--really.  I should just be able to say, "No.  They are staying home with me."
But I go on with the justifications, "It costs so much money.  I still couldn't go back to work because of the hours.  If I did go back to work I'd have to get a nanny to fill in the gaps.  The preschool + the nanny would probably cost more than I'd be making."

Preschool in Manhattan is crazy expensive and I'm not convinced they need it.  Besides--they are TWO!
That's what I really want to say.  But in saying that I am going to offend and alienate myself to a large portion of my social circle.

If I'm really on a roll, I tell them that we decided to take the boy's preschool money and travel for a year instead.  So yeah, we DO have the money.  (Kate hates it when I make it sound like we can't afford to send them to preschool).  We are just deciding to make a better investment with it.  After all, I personally, cannot think of a better education than taking your kids traveling with you.  
This either opens up an entire conversation of 'Wow's' or their eyes glaze over as they process what the hippie in the city just said.
Worldschooling.  Roadschooling.  Homeschooling.  Whatever you want to call it, the kids are going to be learning an incredible amount in the years coming up and I'm convinced it's for the best.

These boys of mine are ahead of the curve already.  I know I'm biased because they are mine (but not genetically--I didn't have anything to do with these brains of theirs), but these two are crazy smart.  This is a benefit of being able to choose the ideal specimen for 50% of their genetic makeup.  It's a nice bonus after all of the hassle of trying to get pregnant and shelling out 25K, right?!

I don't think keeping them out of preschool is going to do any great harm and I do have them signed up for a couple of outside classes so it's not like we don't get out and do other things.
In fact, we get out and do more than most other moms I know.  We have new adventures every single week and New York City has an endless supply of more amazing things to discover.

If you want to homeschool and you want the world at your fingertips--this is the city to be doing it.
Sebastian aka Whoop Whoop thinking about all of the animals he just saw at the Bronx Zoo....


cat said...

I really do not think 2 year olds need to go to school. Escpecially if mom is around and they have each other to play with. I think from about 3 socializing becomes important for twins (with other kids) but some other program like music or whatever lessons once a week can fill that gap nicely or regualr playdates with other kids. My boys went to school at 3 because I though our nanny was not totally equiped to stimulate them enough after that. But with you at home - gosh, why before Kindregarten? Really I think you are possibly a better teacher than most.

Anonymous said...

N goes to school, but mostly only because we had to do it that way financially, and we lucked into an awesome program where I work (so: discount), plus they wanted to make me full-time. So.

I don't think 2 year olds have to go to school, and anybody who does is nuts. Yes, I think n is getting a TON out of it - she's hugely social, and I was never good at getting us out of the house, and it's just better *for her* all around.

But why anybody cares what anybody else is doing or why, I don't get.

Anonymous said...

I am not the one having to answer this question, but I have been on the other side asking someone questions like are their kids going to school or even asking another parent what they do. In my case its not a judgement, simply me looking for something to talk about. I have asked parents what they do or asked about school and gotten an obviously uncomfortable parent trying to explain that they stay home or home school and they feel a need to justify. I think it is great that families do what is best for them and their situation. But I often have offended someone without meaning to when I commented on why we decided to do things a certain way and they take that to mean I disagree with how they do things. That's really not it. So, I would say don't feel obligated to justify it to anyone. You can simply say we have decided not to start them in school for this year. It is just hard to be able to defend your decision without offending another person. And like Kate said, you don't want people to think you can't afford to send them to school. Just like I would love to be a stay at home parent, but my wife doesn't earn enough for us to really do that without having to forgo the lifestye we prefer, which includes activities like piano lessons and soccer and buying organic food. I don't want to make stay at home parents think I what they do is not valuable, but at the same time I don't want to go on about my wife's earnings making her feel bad that she doesn't earn enough for me to be able to stay home. I guess all that is just to say, it may just be that people are looking for a conversation starter, not trying to imply that your kids should be in school, although certainly there are people, generally relatives, that are making a statement by asking that question. It sounds like you have chosen what works best for your family and it will be a great experience for you, Kate, and the boys.

Strawberry said...

Since we don't have the luxury or desire to stay at home with Curly all day ;) he goes to school. That is simply because at age 3, it IS pre-school and no longer just daycare. If it didn't turn into school on its own (and he weren't old enough for the other new program we just started), he wouldn't be in school yet ;) I think school is fine at age 3, but not entirely necessary yet. And very not necessary at age 2. You do what works, and when they're that young, you have much more leeway to do things like travel for a year or whatever. No need to justify your decision. School at a young age is good prep for school at a later age, but they're constantly learning regardless.

Yuri said...

I could not agree more with what you wrote here.
I love raising my twins in the city where there's an abundance of interesting things and people to introduce them to. And I truly believe you can learn most of what you need in life through traveling.
We unfortunately can't afford to travel as much as we'd like, but we'll be doing our best, and I definitely look forward to your travel stories on your blog!
Thanks for your advice on our trip to California - we had a great time out there. Now we're getting ready to leave for our month-long stay in Japan!

Next in Line said...

Pnut is not going to kindergarten either:) I can't imagine it and she doesn't need too. Since having her, I have really come to appreciate how each family is different and has to evolve in a way that is right for them.
I am on the fence about homeschooling. I feel very strongly about education and went to an alternative school myself. I am not sure what we will decide but it will be great!

Amy said...

Hi--Nice to find this blog. I'm a single mother of choice to boy/girl twins who will turn three in December. They're not in school and may not be in school next fall either. I found this blog while neurotically looking for alternative preschools. I would love for them to be enrolled in some type of school next year, but not all that comfortable shelling out all that money for a few hours of finger painting a week.
You're right--nyc has so much to offer. My kids explore the many parks and enjoy the outdoors each day--as well as a soccer class one day a week. Nice to see others in the same boat.