Over the last week or two, I’ve watched as many friends posted “first day of school” photos. Poppy is still just shy of 3, so we’re not facing any major schooling milestones yet, but I have been stressing out about preschool since the move.
Should I send her somewhere? Should I not? Can we even afford it? Do I think it’s worthwhile?
The arguments for “yes” were compelling:
- it’ll be a way for her (and me?) to make new friends
- she’s a terribly social kid, so if not preschool, I’ll have to find something for her to do regularly, outside of the house
- she went to coop preschool last year and adored it
- it would be nice to have some regular hours alone with just Boo every week (and make it easier to do things like grocery shop with just one kid in tow)
But the arguments for “don’t bother” were also strong:
- I don’t think preschool (especially at this young age) is necessary to “get ahead”
- we’re trying to save for a house and paying for preschool* will just delay that goal further
- she’s too young (by 6 measly weeks) for the most affordable option (park district) & I don’t want to send her somewhere religiously-affiliated**
- I can just homeschool her here if I change my mind and decide I’m concerned about her missing out on “formal” instruction
So after some local research and contemplation, we decided that preschool was not in the cards this year and we made some alternate plans.
- Tues: a 10-week music class that is a holdover from Brooklyn
- Wed: 90-min kids-only program at the park district through December (an hour and a half away from mom is better than nothing, eh?)
- Thu/Fri: a 6-week cooking class with Gamma now through October, to be replaced by a 6-week sports class with Mom & Boo through December
- And, on other days, trips to the library, which has a full programming schedule for kids of all age ranges — and is free!
Total cost: $355.
Or more than $100 cheaper than one month of part-time preschool.
Having an activity to attend a couple days a week will be really good for all of us. I’m still at home on full-time maternity leave with the kids and I’ve never been great working in totally unstructured free time. And now my inability to focus and find a routine affects not only me but my kiddos, so I need to step up my game. Knowing we have a music class at 10 will mean we have to get moving if we want to grocery shop first or have time to play at the nearby playground beforehand. Dropping P off alone on Wednesdays means I’ll have to get dressed and organized first thing, so I may as well run errands with Boo while we’re out anyway. And having a little time to myself Thursday mornings while she’s off cooking with Gamma will allow me to write while the baby naps or get together an art project for when P returns.
I think this is going to be good for all of us and I’m confident we made the right decision. Everything kicks off next week and I can not wait.
What does your Back-to-School look like this year?
* There is a gorgeous Montessori just up the street, but whoa. And I looked into some other non-Montessori options and were shocked to find out they weren’t significantly cheaper. Wha?
** I know, I know. “They don’t care if you believe!” and “There probably isn’t much/any religious stuff in the classroom.” That’s all fine and good, but I’d still rather not.