Wednesday, September 8, 2010


I try not to buck the system too much, really. I am a homeschool mom, though, so that is an area where we are not following the norm. Of course, having seven kids isn't exactly normal, either. For that matter, neither is encouraging one's husband to leave his steady job of 15 years with great benefits to start his own business. Hmmmmm. Maybe I am a bit of a rebel.

Anyway, reading so many blogs and so many posts about sending our 3-year-olds to preschool, many of them on a bus, has caused me to pause and ponder.

Is this really the best thing for Eon?

Who decided that it is? I think I need to see some research to back it up. I know that it will be easier to get him therapies if he is in preschool and I've heard some wonderful things about the program in our area, but, I've heard those things from people who expect all their children to attend public school, anyway.

In all the posts and musings about this, the options revolve around which type of preschool, how many days, or what type of transportation to utilize. I have not read anyone question even attending preschool.

I suppose, since he's only 19-months, I have some time to explore this issue, but time seems to be flying by at an alarming rate. If anyone has any research or input on this, I would love to hear it!


  1. Hi there

    I watch the American system with interest as it is so different from ours, especially regarding kids with special needs like our boys. Here the ONLY option is mainstreaming (our word for sending kids with special needs to ordinary schools.) This started in New Zealand in the early 1980s so is very much the norm. There are still some (very few) special schools for children from 5 up, so parents have a choice, but the evidence overwhelmingly supports mainstreaming as having better outcomes for our children. Luke will start kindy next year around 3, and will go for 2 hours 3 days a week, and have support for 3 hours of that, which I think is probably too much. Will be interested to see what you decide to do.

  2. Oh...I'm questioning it...definitely questioning it. I really need to get on the ball and start thinking about what I really want to do. And most importantly...praying about it.

  3. as a teacher, you'd think I'd want to work with JEB and do as much as I could with him and help him reach those milestones as I had seen my classroom full of 6 yr olds do.....BUT I slowly realized that I was sooooo not ready to keep him home and that as his little personality developed, he LOVES being with other kids. He needed to be in preschool/Kindergarten for the social aspects of it as well as therapies, and such. JEB does so well at school and even though I'm a Christian-school advocater and teacher, I'm ok with him going to public school. There may come a time as he gets older that we have to re-think that choice, but for now, it's the perfect one for us.

  4. I can't quote research on this topic, but I can tell that my girls are two of those kids going on a bus to preschool. And the funny thing is, I've always questioned the idea of "attending preschool"...for all of my kids but these two (the ones with Down syndrome). We don't homeschool (never considered it a "realistic" option for our family), but I've sure thought a lot about it these past few years (for all kinds of reasons).

    We had good preschool experiences with our typical kids, but I think they attended mostly because I felt pressure to have them there. I began to realize that "preschool" is not a necessity, but an option.

    At this point, I am not at all sure how we will pursue Bridget and Alina's education in the long run(whether it will be at home or in the public schools)...but they are thriving in our local school district's "peer model" preschool program, where they receive targeted help from professionals as a part of their regular school day. Their preschool "curriculum" is exactly what their siblings learned and experienced in preschool.

    I don't feel as responsible for being "THE" person in charge of helping them develop and grow, and I am not running them all over the place for "therapy". When they come home, they've done their "work", so I can just enjoy them.

    I know that the girls are in wonderful hands while they are learning and playing, and I have a few hours by myself several days a week to get things accomplished and re-charge. The current system is a positive thing for is working out very well.

    That said, what's right for one family isn't necessarily what's best for another, though. There are so many variables. You know Eon and what your options may be better than anyone. Don't feel guilty about selecting whichever part suits your child (and your family) best. Go with your gut!

  5. Tara, my kids all attend public school, but I have always wondered about the rush to preschool. Most of my friends have sent their (typical) little ones to preschool at age 2! I've never been a fan of that for my kids - I feel like, once they start school, that's it, they'll be in school for the rest of their childhood and into adulthood, so what's the rush? My kids have done a year of pre-k at age 4ish (depending on when their birthday falls), and that's it. That's worked for us. As for Finnian, I get knots in my stomach every time I think about him turning 3 in less than a year and being expected to automatically start preschool. At this point, I'm seriously leaning towards just opting out of the whole system for a year or two and putting him in school when I feel like it's really in HIS best interests.

  6. It seems to me that this is very much a decision based in what's best for your son and your family. In our family, we're happy to say that our daughter (who's two) is LOVING preschool and already visibly changing (walking consistently and with much greater physical strength, talking more). So it was a good decision for us.

  7. I don't have anything to add other than to say you've given me some food for thought. I like reading the pros and cons and never really thought about NOT sending her. I will have to weigh it when the time comes and see what I think is best for Olivia. This blog post also reinforces that WE MOMS know what is BEST for our kids. Period end of story.

  8. I don't know how I didn't find your blog sooner! I just hopped over hear from Sarah & Joyce's blog. I'm the hs'ing mom of 4. My 3 1/2yo, Goldie, has DS. We opted not to send her to pre-k. I haven't blogged much about that decision, but I did do a couple posts comparing the therapy options we've used since she turned 3. Check out my blog and shoot me an email if you want to know more. Just know, you're not alone!

  9. I know exactly how you are feeling! Even my older kids are like why would you send Mattie to preschool if you didn't send us! We all can't imagine him being gone for even 3 hours a day, much less 8! I've talked to his therapists about it as well and sometimes they make it sound so wonderful for him. The other day though, my speech therapist said, "well, you may not want him gone all day now, but in a year you might." What?! I thought that sounded horrible. My other children heard her say this and couldn't believe it. Well, I guess I have another whole year to think and pray about it. We shouldn't worry, right? :o)

  10. Hi Tara. I am new to your blog via A Perfect Lily, but I have been thinking about this very thing a lot lately. Abbie is only 4 months old, but hearing what I am hearing about our public schools in my city, particularly in my district, post- preschool, I have begun to seriously ponder honeschooling Abbie when the time comes. I have a teaching background although no special education training specifically. Anyway, I will keep following your blog to see what you decide. I'm not even sure my husband would support the decision but luckily we have a while to decide.

  11. To share our experience since we've been there....Jessie did go to preschool, although neither of my older two had. If I had the choice to make again, I'd probably be as confused as I was about it before and not sure what I'd do. Jessie attended preschool for 2 years. The 1st year she was in a class with only special needs kids. Pros: Because they were all special needs kids the parents were all very conscientious about not sending sick kids (even a cold, usually) to school, as health issues were more on the forefront of all their minds. Her class was SMALL, 5 or 6 kids. They were diligent about hand sanitizer and cleaning toys. It was only a couple days per week for 3 hours each day. Biggest pro: it enabled me to have some uninterrupted homeschooling time with my older two kids. Cons: I don't feel that she really learned a whole lot there. Truly, in a smaller amount of time, she could have learned more at home as she does now. We have always been a homeschool family. Jessie attending preschool required a change in our routines (having her home and in bed early so she could get enough sleep) was not one we enjoyed :) Since I wanted to talk to the teacher when dropping her off and picking up, I didn't really end up with all that much time with my big kids. The teacher told me Jessie could wipe herself on the potty....I knew she put her hand in the toilet with tissue that never touched her body. That might seem told me they couldn't really pay attention to detail, even with such a small class.

    Long comment, sorry! I just know I wanted all the help I could get when facing that decision. 2nd year Jessie was in a larger class of 15 with 1/2 typical, 1/2 special needs. She was sick A LOT. When she was sick, her hair started to fall out. She went 5 days per week 31/2 hrs. per day, which was too much for her and for me. She enjoyed being with other children, but, although the teacher told me they interacted with Jessie, when I was present I didn't see a lot of that going on. She always talked MUCH less at school than she did at home and didn't communicate well enough at that time for other kids to understand her. I felt she did much better with speech when she was home. Overall, Jessie enjoyed it but didn't learn a bunch. She went to preschool knowing her letters and sounds. Had we not gone to preschool, looking back on it, we would have been working more at home on sight reading. We did continue to work some at home, but she was so tired after just half a day that she wasn't willing to work a whole lot more for me. She did learn to sight read all her classmates names...but had to be told not to say them before the classmate whose name was shown! If I had it to do over, I would still consider it if she enjoyed it (in our case she did) and if I felt the time with my other kids was desperately needed. Jessie went with her friend she'd had since birth. If it hadn't been for that reason I'm not certain she would have gone. Hope some of that helps :)

  12. I plan on homeschooling Ruby just like I have with all my other children but if I were to send her to public school I know I wouldn't send her when she's 3.I talked with one of Ruby's PT's and she has a teen daughter with DS that attends public school.She didn't let her daughter start school when she was 3 because she felt like she was still a baby and didn't need to be at school yet.
    There is a christian school near me for children with Ds 7 years old up to 21.I have thought about that if it is still there when Ruby is a teen.Part of the proceeds from our Buddy Walk go to this school.
    I wish we lived closer to each other :)