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Preschool? Homeschool?

A few months ago, after being scared to death upon hearing another parent talk about the waiting lists, competition, etc. to get into a good preschool in Chicago, Ricky and I decided that even though Little Ricky was barely a year old yet, maybe it was time to start doing some looking.

Conveniently, the elementary school in our neighborhood has a very reputable preschool program so we decided to go check it out.

This place is amazing! A local music school provides the kids music instruction, the kids are taught Spanish once a week, each child gets a little computer time every day, and my favorite part—a professional theater company comes in once a week to teach creative dramatics to the kids.

Sign me ... I mean, Little Ricky ... up!

There were so many pluses to this place—the great programming, it’s close to where we live and going to preschool there ensures that Little Ricky can go to elementary school there even if we were to move out of the neighborhood.

However there were some negatives. Ten thousand of them to be exact.

As in dollars.

Yep, to send Little Ricky to this amazing program—this program that will get him started on the right foot where school is concerned—will cost us almost as much as a year of college.

And if we do what everyone recommends, he should take two years of preschool so that’s twenty thousand dollars.

Obviously, mama needs a job!

Or do I?

I love the idea of him getting all of this hands-on, creative learning, but can’t I give him that too? We live in an amazing city with wonderful museums, parks, theaters, etc. When the time comes, can I not sign him up for a few classes and let him learn that way instead of shipping him off from 8 to 5 every day?

(And there you see another downside: 8 to 5? Isn’t that a long day for a three-year-old? He’s going to be in school all day for at least sixteen years of his life. Why would I start that at three? Why are we in such a rush to push our kids out the door?)

So now I’m thinking homeschooling. (Those of you who know me just fell off of your chairs, didn’t you?)

Not forever, but at least for that first year of preschool. I can teach him his colors, his animals, his numbers, how to read. I can also make sure he gets activities at the museums, theater class, music class. He’d be around other kids at all of those activities, plus we belong to a very active moms group, so he’d still be socialized and know how to act around other children.

There are a ton of great homeschooling references online, so with that and the whole city of Chicago as my classroom, I think I could do a pretty good job.

And I could do it for less than $10,000 a year and without sending him away for nine hours a day.

Obviously, I haven’t made any decisions yet. Ricky and I still need to research more preschools—maybe there’s a perfect one out there that is free (or not $10,000!) and only a couple of times a week. Maybe Little Ricky will turn three and I’ll be glad to have him out of the house for nine hours a day (what?!)—and I need to research homeschooling some more.

But it’s certainly an option. And one I’m kind of excited about.

(However, Little Ricky’s name will be going on that preschool waiting list. Just in case ...)

So, parents, tell me. What have you done about preschool? Any preschool homeschoolers out there?

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