Jake has been attending St Edward's Preschool for a year and a half, loving it and thriving there. When Jonathan and Madi were preschool age, I didn't understand why homeschoolers would choose to send their preschoolers to a preschool building. In those long ago days our whole life was preschool. The kids painted regularly including fingerpainting, marble painting and walking acoss paper with paint on their feet to make footprints. We made homemade playdough, played with shaving cream and spent endless hours of water play in our big pool and in their little kiddie pool. They even dug big holes in our back yard. In addition to these things we'd attend two or three Mom's Club events a week, library storytime and spend lots of time with our friends. Back then I knew we were going to homeschool and I considered us unschoolers.
Then we had Jake. Little by little Jonathan and Madi got older and the pressure of a seven year old that wasn't really reading began to mount. I started to look at our family as "delayed academics" homeschoolers as opposed to pure unschoolers. By the time Jake was 2, Jonathan was 9 and Madi was almost 7, I didn't really think we could delay academics that much longer. Thus came the task of trying to "do school" with Jonathan and Madi while little Jake was left to fend for himself. I found myself telling him to go watch TV more times than I'd like. Jake's favorite way of playing has always been to sing, dance and entertain. Everybody knows it is much more fun to do those things when you have an audience. He loved watching Barney and singing the songs, but he wanted us to watch. He could play board games at an early age, but though he sometimes tried to play alone , he really wanted us to play with him. Many people can homeschool and keep an active preschooler happy at the same time, but we were having trouble. All this to say the driving factor in looking into "building preschool" for Jake was so Jonathan and Madi could do school work. That and the fact that by this time there was a lot less painting taking place in our house (and almost no finger or foot painting), fewer trips to story time at the library and no Mom's Club activities. Not that Jake didn't have friends his age, he had plenty (he was born with friends actually), and we were very active with our homeschool group (full of kids Jake's age too), but the activites we were interested in were geered toward the bigger kids' ages.
For years I had heard great things about St Edward's Preschool, we looked into it and the rest is history. It is the greatest place! Miss Shawnie is the best. It is so homey and comfortable and well organized. It is every child's (and parent's) dream come true. Madi is planning on working there when she grows up and can't wait to volunteer there. Now Jake is older, can better entertain himself and is not a "delayed academics" type of kid. He is learning to read at 5 and it will be so fun to homeschool him. However, with about 4 months left of Jake's preschool career, I am getting very sentimental about it. It has been such an amazing experience for him and all of our family. They just this week celebrated the 100th day of school. In the meantime I'm mentally starting to count down how fast the end is coming, and it makes me cry. It is such a big part of Jake's life. This past year they opened a Primary School (K-2nd grade) as well. While I fully intend to homeschool Jake next year, I can't help but sometimes think about how how much he'd love to go to kindergarten there. I actually mentioned to Miss Shawnie about homeschooling Jake, but sending him there two days a week for the experience of it. I'm not sure if this will really be an option or not. It is hard to put into words how wonderful it is. He wouldn't need to go there for the academics or the "socialization", he gets all those things. There is a lot of talk in our crowd about only doing the most excellent things. To Jake and our family St Edward's is the most excellent.