A lot of factors went into my decision -- even though it's pre-K, not Harvard -- but it eventually came down to this: Sally doesn't want to go and I don't want to send her. It's not rocket science.
I have nothing against pre-school programs; in fact, I love pre-school. I'd keep the kids in pre-school forever if I could. The little cubbies, the art projects, the enthusiasm of the kids, the everything-in-miniature. It's a special time in our family, and that's part of the reason why I'm keeping Sally home.
Sally is a sweet and friendly girl with very little anxiety or shyness, but she doesn't want to go to pre-school. She wants to go to school, but only when she is going to the same school as Francie and Fiver.
I've tried every which way to Sunday to try and convince her that pre-school is fun! and full of friends! and books! and messy art that Mommy is not very fond of doing!
And still she wants nothing to do with it.
Then one day I asked Sally, "Would you like to have pre-school at home with me before you go to the big school?"
In less than a heartbeat, she replied, "That sounds great, Mama. I love school and you'll be my good teacher."
Duh. Why was I trying so hard to cajole her into school? She doesn't have a problem with the idea of going to school, she just wants to go where her brother and sister are. I shouldn't be surprised; she thinks they hung the moon.
And so we will be embarking on a little homeschool adventure next year. I know this is the right decision for us because Sally and I are both so happy with the arrangement.
Although I have some doubts about my abilities to be an especially patient teacher, I am comforted by the fact that I get to teach pre-school and not jump right into a sixth grade lesson plan.
So now I'm starting to look forward to doing all kinds of fun things with Sally. I have no idea if she'll be prepared for kindergarten, but I'm banking on her father's uber-smart genes kicking in and picking up the slack.
Today, Sally gave me a detailed recounting of Little Red Riding Hood while we were puttering around the house. She particularly stressed the part where Little Red's mother told her not to leave the path with her basket of goodies, and ended by saying,
"The lesson of this story is DON'T SHOW YOUR GOODIES TO ANYONE!"
See? I'm already teaching her life lessons. I might as well throw in some extra art projects and call it school.