Tuesday, February 5, 2013

How I (reluctantly) started home preschooling

First day of preschool (2012)

In September, Will started at an amazing Montessori-based preschool. Like ah-mazing. The teachers, the space, the curriculum. We were so in love.

He attended three mornings a week, which was just perfect for him. And despite a few rough drop-offs in the very beginning, he adjusted rather quickly and loved it. Being a very independent, tactile, and methodical learner, we found his personality really well suited to a Montessori environment. He was learning so much, and we were thrilled to see him thriving. It's such a joy to see your child light up when you arrive at school.

But after four months, we received some disappointing news: The school would not be re-opening after the Christmas break. The lead teacher was making some changes to her family situation that would not allow her to continue running the school. We were devastated.

We struggled with how to tell Will. He loved it there. How do you explain to a two year-old that he doesn't get to go back to his school? With his teachers? And friends? I had just graduated with my master's degree when this happened, so on his last day we told him he was "graduating" like Mama. I got a few questions in the days afterward ("Is it a school day, Mama?"), but overall this reasoning seemed to appease him.

Immediately after Christmas we started looking into other options. To date, we've toured four other preschools and researched countless others. But nothing has been a good fit. We struggle with a few factors: 1) Will only needs to attend part-time, 2) Many preschools are not accepting mid-year enrollments, and 3) The majority of preschools do not take children under three who are not potty trained.

We did find one preschool that can accommodate on all fronts, but something about it was just off for me. Many of Will's friends have since enrolled there, and while I love the curriculum (Montessori), I can't get on board with the tuition or the generous breaks. One friend described it as "Baby Harvard," and while Will's education is worth every penny, I'm just not confident that the value matches the cost.

We have some options for the fall, including two Montessori-based preschools that will lottery open spots at the end of the month. I'm confident that we'll have something great for September and beyond, but we have few options for the next six months. I don't want him to loose momentum on his learning, so I made a big decision: I'm going to home preschool.

We're supplementing with other activities for socialization, but ultimately, I'm making myself responsible for his formal learning. I created a preschool space in our basement. I made up lesson plans. And beginning next week, I am his teacher three mornings a week.

I'll be posting more on our actual preschool space, resources I found helpful, etc, but if you've home preschooled or have any recommendations for us, I'd greatly appreciate your input. I'm still unsure if this is going to be a good move or a complete disaster.


  1. I'm so sorry to hear about your school situation not working out! M's in a Montessori school every morning and we LOVE it so much.

    If you're aiming for a Montessori home-preschool sort of environment, you might like the book "How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way" by Tim Seldin - we were given it shortly after M was born, and we really like it. It's got a lot of suggestions for implementing Montessori in the home, including information about creating your own versions of some of the materials.

    1. Thanks, Whitney! I actually have that book on my nightstand, but haven't had a chance to read it yet. I'll fast-forward it to the top of the pile with your recommendation. :)


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