Goodbye, Pre-K and Hello, Unknown

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My oldest son recently graduated from Pre-K. Because I’m a stay-at-home-mom, this year has been his true first school experience. It took my husband and me months to decide the path we wanted him to take when entering school for the first time, and I was beyond nervous about how the year would play out. He is a highly spirited child in every sense of the word, and I didn’t want that to hinder him but rather propel him forward. I wanted teachers who would nurture his spirit instead of stifling it for the purpose of “schooling.”

Thankfully, we could not have been happier with his (and our) experience this year. He grew leaps and bounds, formed great relationships, and didn’t lose an ounce of his spark. Now that our time in Pre-K is over (good thing, according to my five-year-old… who claims to now “know everything”), we’re back to the drawing board.

When it comes to making decisions, I’m about as effective as the letter “g” in the word “lasagna.” I am torn between all of the options: public school kindergarten, private school kindergarten, homeschool, co-op, outdoor school, or hold him back a year since he is on the younger side (and many other factors).

As a former teacher, I hear all the arguments:

You have the know-how. You can 100% be a successful homeschool mom!

How could you not send your child to public school as a trained educator?!

Your experience in private school was so great, don’t send him anywhere else!

And then, of course, there are the vast critics for every choice. I tend to ask many (too many) people their opinions since my decision-making skills are lacking. More often than not, I regret it.

Public education is a mess. Send him anywhere else!

Outside school? Seems like a waste of time and money. Sounds like a fad for hipsters.

He JUST graduated Pre-K… you have plenty of time! Don’t stress!

If you homeschool, he’ll get no socialization and will fall way behind!

And on and on and on. But I see the pros and cons for each. And I also take into account not only that I know my child better than anyone, but I also have to make the best decision for him. Do I think he’d thrive at any of those choices with the proper support? Definitely! Do I think that any of those choices could hinder him somehow? Yep.

As I weigh the good and the bad, I’m reminding myself that nothing has to be permanent. If something is amiss, we can continually reevaluate and see if another option would be a better fit for him. But the bottom line is that I’m worrying so much about this because it’s all about what’s right for my child, and I’m not trying to appease the opinions of friends, family, or acquaintances on the internet.

In talking to friends in similar stages of life with their kiddos graduating Pre-K, it’s reassuring to know that I’m not alone. Making decisions about your child’s future isn’t something to take lightly, especially since I’m so privileged to have the options in the first place. I want parents to know that doubts and questions are okay, and there are resources available if you’re going to explore more than one type of schooling. So while we’re saying goodbye to Pre-K, it’s “Hello, Unknown!” as we continue to help our little guy forge the right path forward.

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