Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Preschool For Pennies

Q: I think I remember you mentioning homeschooling (preschooling?) your son. If you have any ideas on that, especially on doing it frugally, I sure would love to hear them. –Shannon

A: I don't consider ours a traditional homeschooling family. However, we have been "preschooling" at home because tuitions are sky-high. Here, the need for childcare has converted most economical church programs to full-time daycare. I would be paying $200 (and up!) a month for two mornings a week. Also, I don't really believe that young children need to learn in a formal setting.
Instead, we found less expensive museum and zoo memberships, use our local library at least twice a week, and mark our calender with all the free activities in the local parent's magazine. With few exceptions, I've found all the manipulatives and learning games we can store at yard sales and thrift stores. Instead of Mother's Day Out, mom gets a little break by exercising at the YMCA, where nursery time is included in the fee. We also found that my husband’s school offers a free Preschool Lab one morning a week. While the high school students develop an early childhood curriculum, our son gets to operate in a small group setting and learn to separate from mom. More than the academics, this was my biggest concern for a clingy only child!

Some reference books that have inspired me to develop low-cost alternatives at home:
Barbara Curtis’ Small Beginnings
Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons
Karen Miller’s The Outside Play and Learning Book
Karen Jenkins’ Kinder Krunchies: Healthy Snacks For Children
Ruth Bowdoin’s The Magical Years: The Bowdoin Method At Home


Shannon said...

These books look great! I was just about to order Barbars's small beginings. I read the Mommy Manual and it is fabulous! Thanks for the link, too. I should call up to the college and see what they offer that's free. The school of education may have something going. I knew you'd have some great ideas!
BTW, my oldest is a tad clingy, too. He's 4 and is starting to come out of his shell at weeball practice:)

Anonymous said...

Wow-I had no idea how truly blessed I am in this regard. My DS (2) goes to a parents day out once a week for 4 hours. The tuition for the month is $60. In our case, this allows me to teach a college class once a week and to do some school work.

Anonymous said...

You have mentioned your "husband's school". As I am relatively new to your post, I was curious...if your husband is a public school teacher, how are you able to home school? My husband is a public school teacher in the district we live in and it just doesn't seem like we'd be sending a good message if we home-schooled our children (which they would LOVE to do!). Can you let me know your take on this? Thanks :)

Meredith said...

Shelley, that's why I say that ours is NOT a traditional homeschooling family : ) Hearing about some of my husband's discipline problems does worry me--I don't want to sacrifice my own child on the altar of public education. However, we feel our son will thrive in a highly structured school environment. Luckily our city has lots of great educational opportunities. After all, children of teachers typically do well in school--probably because they are constantly being schooled at home anyway!
Bwah-ha-ha, he'll never escape those family "field trips" now...

Anonymous said...

Meredith ~ The discipline is a BIG part of why my kids want to be homeschool. They are not the troublemakers but feel "held up" in class because of all the time spent on the troublemakers. When they have missed a day of school, their make-up work only takes them about 1 hour to finish for a whole day of school...thus clarifying the time spent on discipline. Ah, well, the woes of public education are many but we still feel the kids are continuing to grow and learn so I guess I won't fret too much :) Thanks and have a great day!