Monday, May 6, 2013

The Day I did not pay the bill. The Day I followed my heart.


How ironic, that on the day I published the post on signing Elliana up for preschool was the same day that I, or should I say, we, my husband and I, made the decision to back out of this whole pre-school gig and follow our hearts. My heart. Husband just happened to finally jump on board with it.

So the bill I speak of? The final "this is it" preschool bill? I decided not to pay. We had paid an initial deposit fee the day we signed up, and this was the second part that would hold her spot starting in the fall. Although I will not be seeing the deposit back, that did not bother me one bit. Not for a second. In fact, I would have paid to get her out of the program if that is what it would take. And, she had not even started yet.

You're probably wondering what happened, why the change of heart.

The thing is... there was never a change of heart about this. My heart has always told me one thing and one thing only: not to start. Not yet.

Then why did I sign her up to begin with? Because that's what I thought you were supposed to do.
You see, we go through the steps of motherhood. We make decisions. We follow the path of "what's next for this age," and the majority of the time we do what everyone else is doing... because... well... we think that's what we are "supposed to do." Especially if, we were raised that way.

Andrew and I both? Preschool-12 public school kids. And I think we turned out just fine. I think. But does that mean that I am supposed to do the same with my children? Does that mean that my children will have as good of experience as us? No. Unfortunately, as parents, we do not have the capability of seeing into the future. If we did, we would be able to see which path would serve best for our families. If we did, we would be able to prevent the "bad" from happening. Since we do not have the capability, we have to use our best judgement, or gut feelings, and follow our hearts when it's leading us a certain direction.

And my heart? My gut? My judgement? Was leading me to keep her at home with me..
The day that I had made the decision to place Elliana into this preschool was done so prematurely. I did not give myself enough time to think through all this, and I felt a little "pressured" persay to get things going, get her signed up, and check another thing off the list.

I was on maternity leave. Sign up day was February 1st. The preschool that I wanted to get her in from the beginning was booked up by 8:15 am, fifteen minutes after sign up day. So she was placed on a waiting list. We then went scouting for other preschools and I really liked the one that we had finally chosen. There was only 1 spot left, so I got nervous, signed her up, and that was that.

The next day I had to drive to the church to pay my deposit fee since they were holding my spot. I cried. I got a sick feeling in my stomach. I just knew it wasn't right. Yet, I found myself inside, holding Elliana's hand on one side, and the carseat in the other as I handed the sweet lady my check.

But since that day I just did not feel like it was right. Something was telling me that I was doing this for all the wrong reasons.

When you think about the reasons we send our children to school, the first things that come to mind are socialization and education.

1. Socialization. She gets that multiple times a week. Toddler time every M-T-F where she gets to read books, dance, and do crafts with other littles. Children's museum year membership where is she is around many kids her age and she is able to learn and discover. We have a zoo membership as well, although that is not as close interaction, she still gets to see others her age and we get the opportunity to continue to talk about the animals and key characterstics with these animals. Saturdays are devoted to sport or activity day, such as gymnastic, dance, and art/music class. And of course we get together with friends and their babies at the park, at our house, and out for little playdates.

2. Education. She was getting everything at home. Has known all her ABC's {lower case, upper case recognition, and all the sounds}, shapes, colors, numbers, and knows more animals than I could ever tell you {like the difference between a parrot, a bird, and an eagle}. And you know what, I am proud of that. Because I know that what I have done has helped her learn all these things in our normal day-to-day setting. She loves to learn. She loves to read. She will sit and do her flash cards for an hour without me even telling her to do so. She actually, truly, genuinely enjoys it. And that? I don't want her to lose that.

At the end of the day, I want to be the one that influences my child's learning. What she is learning, and how she is learning it. At the end of the day, I want to be the one that instills the morals and values that are important to our family. At the end of the day, I do not want to miss a single moment with her during her development, especially while she is this young and growing so fast.

My heart has always lead me to homeschool. My husband is not there yet. I cannot tell you with 100% certainty that come K-12 time, that we will for sure homeschool. Why? Because I cannot tell you what the future holds.

What I can tell you, is that if nothing changes from here on out, that my heart and mind is definitely leading me that direction, and I believe that with time, my husband will see the positives in this decisions. Because after all, we are a team, and I want to go into this whole-heartedly with my husband's support.

But today? Today my heart is at ease. I know that I have made the right decision for Elliana and our family.

Am I out of a little money? Sure. But who cares about that. I have a piece of mind and the knowledge that I hold.

Look, the "homeschool" decision topic is a completely separate post from this. I could write for days about this topic. Why the school system terrifies me, why I think that homeschooling can be very beneficial for children {if done the right way}, and why I think that as a society, we need to be more open to the various aspects of learning.

And I am certainly not here to tell you what is best for your family. I am not telling you that sending your child to the traditional school system is bad.

What I  am just saying is that I am doing what any mother out there would do when she has a "feeling" about something, a heart pulling her toward a particular path. I follow it.

I follow it and I don't look back.

Where's the crime in that?


  1. I could have written this exactly..down to the trying to get hubby on board with honeschool...I am a mess trying to decide the preschool thing too. Thanks for the post

  2. Good for you for following your heart, even though that meant making a different decision than most people! I think that the world would be a better place if more parents put the kind of consideration you did (and do) into their children's educations.

  3. This is a great post...although I decided to put child in preschool at 2. We put him in because both me and my husband had a job. then he stopped going once I moved, but then when I had my second child, my husband was deployed and I was all alone in Texas with a newborn, so I decided that I should put him in again for a little awhile.

    But I feel the same way about putting my son in sports. I see everybody doing it and sometimes I think I should put him in sports...but my husband has to be the one to tell he is not ready, let him be interested in sports. Which I never thought of it that way,

    Anywho...this is a great post!!

  4. I commend people who homeschool, I really do. I have mentioned it to Jimmy a few times and he is the same, not on board. I'm not sure what we'll do as far as that goes but for now I don't think it's in the cards for us. I do think that I will be researching the heck out of schools before we send her though because I am not 100% sold on the district we are in.

  5. I love seeing you touch on homeschooling. I'd love to read a post about it!

    My husband and I were both in public schools growing up and had great experiences. But something is leading us toward homeschooling. And my husband is the Director of Admissions at a college. He said the homeschoolers are always the brightest with the highest ACT scores. AND they are NOT socially awkward. Well, some are. But the ones who are socially awkward also have socially awkward parents.

    It will be a few years before we have to decide what to do, but we are strongly considering it. My city has great co-ops to supplement my son's learning at home with me. And he could still be in sports leagues, choirs, etc. And I love him learning at the pace that is right for him.

  6. We did this TWICE with our daughter, who is now about to turn 5, losing over $200, and we couldn't care less. She is reading, doing 2nd grade math, and as you mentioned has a lot of time around other kids. She is one of the most well socialized children I know, and I have had lots of other people tell me so. That said...she is starting kindergarten this fall and I feel no anxiety whatsoever, well apart from what I think most moms feel upon their children starting school. She is beyond excited and we know that it is right for her. If I felt led to continue homeschooling, I would have done that too. I hope the decision is as easy for you when the time comes for kindergarten.

  7. Such a great post. I'm so glad you followed your heart! Sometime it can be so tough to not follow that path of what everyone does and do what's right for you and your family! I love the idea of homeschooling my kids (something I never thought I'd want to do) but my hubby isn't on board. I hope the decision is easy for you when it's time to sign E up for kinder. Hopefully your hubs will be on the homeschool train!

  8. Such a great post. I'm so glad you followed your heart! Sometime it can be so tough to not follow that path of what everyone does and do what's right for you and your family! I love the idea of homeschooling my kids (something I never thought I'd want to do) but my hubby isn't on board. I hope the decision is easy for you when it's time to sign E up for kinder. Hopefully your hubs will be on the homeschool train!

  9. Such a great post. I'm so glad you followed your heart! Sometime it can be so tough to not follow that path of what everyone does and do what's right for you and your family! I love the idea of homeschooling my kids (something I never thought I'd want to do) but my hubby isn't on board. I hope the decision is easy for you when it's time to sign E up for kinder. Hopefully your hubs will be on the homeschool train!

  10. You know your heart, and your husband does too. Good for you for following it. You have done so much for Elianna already and you will only continue to enrich her every day of her life. I wish I had the ability to be such an influence on my son, but unfortunately my situation does not allow it. I am frantically trying to find a program to put my son in when he 18-months, just one day, for interaction and having no luck. Then, like you, I decided to step back. Am I pushing it? Did I want to do this for him or for me? So I decided I will do what I had always planned and I will put him in next year. This year, we will try to do all the toddler times, and museums, and play dates, and will just let him be a 1 year old. Thanks for this heartfelt post, Becky!

  11. We homeschool our children once they are in fourth grade. We use Switched On SchoolHouse by Alpha Omega Publications! LUV LUV LUV IT!!! I can program all the days I want them to have off and when to begin and end the school year and it calculates her assignments through-out the year. It does all the grading except for the written assignments-which gives you an answer key for it.

  12. This gives me such relief. I struggled with the decision about Cooper and preschool. I felt like people were judging me about not sending him, but I just didn't feel right about it. He'll only be this age once and I didn't want to spend the year apart from him! We do workbooks together and he gets plenty of socialization in our neighborhood and church. He is registered to start Kindergarten in August and I don't know if I'll be able to do it. I was homeschooled k-12, so the thought is strong in my mind.

  13. u know my views on this....(grins)
    not only are we NOT doing preschool b/c i thought it was something we 'were supposed to do' but we don't vaccinate either....i never thought to question dr's b/c i thought they knew better...i mean after all they weren't to med school....but i did the research and found what is best for my family.
    following my gut is how i parent...hahaha...if it doesn't feel right then i don't do it....

    you know what are parents used to say?!! if everyone jumps off the bridge u jumping too? haha

  14. I'm glad you've made a choice that's right for you and your family. It really is tough making desicions based on experience and the actions of peers. Sometimes it's hard to follow your gut that taking you a different direction. So, good for you Becky!

  15. I did the same thing at the beginning of the year. I just couldn't bear having K in pre-school already. She is already socialized and smart. My mama heart just isn't ready for this step yet.

    Great post!

  16. Awesome! :) I don't think you have to defend your reason at all! We're almost finished with our third year of homeschool with Eli and we've really enjoyed it. Sure there are challenges, but my husband and I think it's totally worth it! We both went to public school and he's a teacher as well as my Mom and many others in my family. Even so, we think this is the best decision for our little family. Emma is three and we've been doing the same thing as you do with Elliana. We also have Abe who is 4.5 months old who will join us one day! Our kiddos have never been to preschool, but they get to spend time with other kids at worship, in our neighborhood, and Eli also goes to a private school two days a week with my Mom who teaches there. Sorry to ramble on... I think you've made a great decision for you and your family, Becky! :)

  17. We plan on homeschooling our kids. Sometimes I feel a little left out because I won't be sending our daughter to preschool and first grade and everything, but that's so unimportant, in the scheme of things.

  18. Oh girl..this post took me back to when my daughter was about 3 years old. I sat with her every single day in our dining room and did "school". We loved it. I LOVED to watch her learn. I had it in my heart to homeschool. I read about it, I talked to people that did it, I researched all of our "local" options, etc... her daddy didn't feel the same as I did. His major concern: socialization. (as is most people's). <--- that is truly overrated, btw.. there are PLENTY of ways out there to get in your socialization!!

    So anyways, unfortunately, we separated not long after that and I had to get a job and raise my littles on my own, and ended up putting her in school. Looking back, my heart still aches that I wasn't able to homeschool.

    Thank you for this post. I wish you all the best in your family's decision on this. When the time comes, you'll both just...KNOW. ;)

  19. You should always follow your heart! When my son started Pre-K last August, I was a nervous wreck! But, he thrived in that environment and since it was on a military base, I felt safe sending him to school.

    Now though, it's a different story. We moved to a new post and this one doesn't have its own school system. Instead, it sends kids via school buses to various schools where some are lax in their accountability of students.

    I have been giving homeschooling some serious thought but I'm too afraid to commit to it because I don't want to "mess him up". Plus, my son has told me multiple times that he wants to go to school "with the other kids".

    At this point, I'm not sure. But, he's going to public school in the fall to a school where thankfully they take accountability very seriously. So, we'll see how this goes.

    Good luck in homeschooling E when it's time. I've known plenty of people who were home-schooled and they loved it!

  20. I LOVED every bit of this post and totally understand! Would love to hear your thoughts on homeschooling. I was so against it before I became a mother and now my perspective has completely changed. Just a matter of getting my husband on board :)!

  21. mama knows best! you will never regret following your heart. I have been having this debate big time as well. Right now, we are trying to preschool thing for her speech. But it doesn't seem to be improving so my heart is saying to pull her out. I want to make sure I give it enough of a chance but I don't know how beneficial it is right now. I hope that when the time comes, I am in a position to have more options about schooling.
    good for you, mama!

  22. THANK YOU for this. I have a friend who has a baby just a few months older than Ari who is pulling her baby out of our sitter to put her in a "preschool" daycare setting for learning; But I think Ari already gets a lot of learning and social interaction. But because of this one person, I was questioning our decision to put him with a private sitter while we're working.

    But it's where my heart is.

    Have you checked out any alternative mom groups and message boards? I belong to the "New Natural Mom" on FB. Very active group of women who are really open and supportive of things like this.

  23. Loved reading this post. I have a lot of the same thoughts about home-schooling, so it was wonderful to read how you followed your heart. What flashcards do you use with E? I've been trying to find some toddler flashcards for my son, but haven't had much luck...

  24. I decided against preschool for next year too. I can't see beyond that but I'm happy with my decision for next year.

  25. Thanks for sharing such an awesome post. I'm going through the same thing with my son. My son will be 4 this year, so one more year to prepare for Kindergarten. He doesn't like his school and I can't help but to think that now being unemployed, maybe he's supposed to be home with me? Not only is my relationship in the Lord growing during my time at home, but maybe so should his. Should I take him out of school? But what if I do and then I go back to work and I need to look for another school and then start somewhere? Does he even need school?

    All these thoughts are running through my mind and I just need to trust in the Lord. I'm still praying and asking the Lord to guide me. If you have any advice for me that'd be great.

    Again, thanks for a great topic that I can relate to right now. :)

  26. You're a good mama for doing what's best for you and your babies!

  27. Good for you! My daughter is 4 and I homeschool. I also have 10 month old twins I will homeschool.

  28. I really don't understand why people send their children to preschool so early. My two older kids went the year before they started kindergarten, and that 1 year was plenty. They are perfectly socialized and excel in school. I really believe the extra time with mom, dad, and family is incredibly beneficial. They are in school most of their young lives. Why make them start sooner than that?!?


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