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Educate Me

It seems crazy to me that I’m already thinking about school for my boys.  No!  This can’t be right!  They were just born, they’re not ready for desks and worksheets!  But yeah, I guess this is something I need to be deciding with my husband.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had some long talks and deep thoughts about the boys’ schooling future.  In fact, we talked about it waaaaaay back in Podcast Episode #14:  Catching Up Is Fun To Do and last year around this time when we were dealing with some developmental concerns with Miles.  I know Jamie has been thinking about this subject too (Haha, “subject”, in a school post…See what I did there?) so I know we need to record another podcast episode about this.

I’ve been very firmly in the homeschooling camp, solidly on the private school team, and even sang the praises of a public school education.  Suffice it to say, I’m undecided and so is my husband.

Here are the facts:  Our oldest, Miles, is 3.5 so he will have his 4th birthday at the end of July.  Along with having to decide about where he will go to school, we also need to think about when he will go to school.  He is in that ambiguous birthday season, where he could go to Kindergarten one month after he turns 5 or the next year when he turns 6.  It seems everyone has an opinion about when parents should enroll their summer birthday babies and even moreso if those babes are boys.

Here are some of the things I’m thinking about when it comes to where our boys will go to school, in no particular order:

  • I’m really going to miss the flexibility that our schedules currently have if the boys go to private or public school.  My husband’s schedule is flexible but because he is a minister, he has to be home on the weekends.  Most of our traveling is done during the week.
  • I like the idea of them having one-on-one attention in a homeschool or private school setting.
  • I want to go on awesome little day trips and do home science experiments and create our own lessons…But am I capable of doing that?
  • If we homeschool the boys from preschool up until high school and then send them to high school, will it be worth it?
  • I’m pretty sure my kids won’t end up being weirdos just because they are homeschooled…Some kids are weird and odd no matter where they go to school, right?  I mean, look at their mom!
  • Participating in school sports isn’t important to our family.  Sports and play are great, but I don’t think we expect our kids to get athletic scholarships.
  • Am I disciplined or creative enough to homeschool?  I have my moments, but every day, all the time?  Yikes.
  • We would be including Bible in our curriculum if we homeschool and if we choose public school it will be the local small Christian school (our family gets a discount because of my husband’s church position).  No, we don’t wear floor-length dresses.
  • What if we choose homeschool and I mess up horribly?
  • What if I choose private school and it’s awful?
  • What if we choose public school and it’s horrible?
  • What if we make the wrong decision??

For some reason, I think I’ve tricked myself into thinking that once we decide for Preschool/Kindergarten, that’s it, that’s the choice we have to stick with forever.  I know that’s not the case, I guess I just want to make the right decision from the start.

This is making my head hurt, so it’s time for you to chime in…

How did you (or how are you) making these decisions for your family?  Was it a major decision for you and your spouse or did you always know what would do?  Have you changed your mind?  What are you doing for your kids’ schooling?

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About Krista

Krista is a full-time working mom of two boys, currently aged 6 and 7. She lives in Kentucky with her husband, Brandon.


  1. Krista, this is the topic I spend 90% of my day thinking about! My son is the same age as yours (August birthday), and I put him in a church preschool this past fall but have since pulled him out. He had lots of anxiety around separating from me and though I know he had fun with the other kids, I wasn’t big on kids being forced to sit still and do worksheets, even if it was just part of the experience. I’ve read so much about how kids learn and the merits of homeschooling that I’m having a tough time making any other choice. I can’t afford private school, but then again I can’t really afford to continue staying home instead of going back to work. But I don’t want to go back to work and teach other people’s children while my son is away from me all day at the age of five. I don’t want him to lose his love of learning because he’s spending most of his day standing in lines, being told to be quiet, doing boring worksheets and having homework in kindergarten. I don’t believe everything about public school is bad, and there are some wonderful teachers (I used to be one!), but the teachers are so limited on what they can do with each child. At home, it can be one-on-one, focused, child-led learning. But I fear that I won’t have the energy to do it right! It’s such a tough decision and like you, I still haven’t made it. I guess time is running out for us both! But we can always change our minds if our choice doesn’t seem to work for our children. I keep forgetting that!

  2. I love CAL for pre-school and wish I could afford Kindergarten, but alas, next year will see Kaitlyn enter the public school realm. I certainly like the smaller setting CAL has provided for her first years, more hands on and one-on-one. It has also given her more social time that she would not have had at home. If you choose to enroll Miles in pre-k – keep in mind that it is only until 11 3 days a week. You still have time for your travels. And if, down the road, you feel led to homeschool, then go for it. If the need arises for public school, I think, for the most part, Anderson is good. And as an involved parent, no matter where your child goes, I believe they have a better chance to be successful.

  3. @Lisa – I feel like this is the first really big decision I’m making for Miles that really has the potential to be either awesome or screw him up terribly. No pressure!! 😉

    @Stacie – I do feel like if we go the public school route, this is a great town and school system for it.

  4. Oh and I wanted to add that if there were an online public school option in Kentucky, that would be my first choice. My brother in law did a program like that in Ohio and it seemed like a really awesome way to mix homeschooling with public school.

  5. Mmmmmkay… Homeschool Alum here. 🙂

    First off, I would like to say that basically… you’re already homeschooling your boys. I saw on FB where you did a letter craft and they went “fishing”. Um, that so counts. Home school is NOT (or doesn’t have to be) a big, huge, organized to the letter type thing. Trip to the zoo? FIELD TRIP! Going grocery shopping? Let your kid keep a running total of how much the food will cost. With home school (as I know you’re already doing) you turn everyday activities into learning moments, and add a little bit of curriculum in as well.

    The single most important thing I can recommend you doing, whatever you decide (because I can tell from your posts and such that even if you do send Miles to a public or private school, that you’ll be a very hands on Mama) is take the time to go to the Christian Home Educators of Kentucky conference this summer. It takes place in June in Louisiville, and you should be able to get in for free since Brandon is a minister. This will give you hands on time with the MANY different curriculums out there, you can talk to all kinds of home schooling parents, and you can listen to a ton of different talks and speakers (who talk about how to get started, the legalities, how to set up your school, etc). And you can bring one or both boys, it’s usually full of kids! My parents went for probably 10+ years (and my Momma and I plan on attending this year) and found it invaluable.

    Also, Lexington has an awesome (or so I’ve heard!) home school co-op group. I know that they offer a lot of different “classes” as well as get togethers and field trips. I think tying in with a support group is essential. My Mom actually ran the one in this area for many, many years.

    You don’t have to spend a ton of money on curriculum (in fact, in the first few years you can get by with next to nothing). There are a TON of resources online, and you can get a ton of books on the clearance rack at Half Price Books.

    Miles is so advanced (especially in the reading area) that I fear he would be really, really bored in a more organized setting. With HS(I’m just going to abbreviate from now on) you can customize for just him. And you’ll be surprised how quickly and how much Spencer picks up as you “teach” Miles. I plan on doing what’s called “Delight directed learning” with my girls. With DD, if Keevia suddenly falls in love with Princesses, we go to the library and check out books about different REAL princesses, we make crowns and septors, we have tea parties and pretend we’re actual princesses, we learn about the chemical make-up of gold and silver, we cook some of the foods they would have eaten, etc, etc (obviously I chose something that would be best for older kids, but you get the idea). You go with what your child is most interested in and then you integrate science, history, math, etc around that.

    There are MANY different curriculum’s that don’t require a lot of planning on your part. There’s the Bob Jones University stuff that comes with videos and things that you and your child follow. Alpha Omega LifePacks (or Sonlight for younger kids) is a very simple to follow system.

    I just want you to know that you ARE qualified to teach your children. In fact, it’s my belief that you are the MOST qualified to teach your children because you know them best. You don’t have to have an education degree to do so by ANY means. The main thing with homeschooling is that you just relax. You pay attention to your kids, and just let them learn at their own pace. If you’re uncomfortable about them learning the material, then you just buy an inexpensive curriculum and take what you want out of it. A great series of books (which hey, I have the Kindergarten one if you’d like it. I’ll mail it to you) called “What your Kindergartener Needs to Know”. It covers all the things they should know by the end of Kindergarten. There’s one for each grade level up to the 6th grade.

    Doing a support group, MOPS, church, etc, you don’t have to worry about socialization. I did gymnastics, girl scouts, youth group, choirs, etc. You might be able to have him take art, music, or band classes at a local private school.

    You mentioned on Facebook that you don’t know how to tell if a school is “good” or not. I would request test scores, but mostly I’d try and talk to parents. There is no way in HADES I would send my child to our local county school. There are drug problems IN THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. And although the “independent” school is better, it still lacks a LOT (I know, I went there for two years).

    I was HSed from birth (ha!) until my Junior year of high school. In middle school especially I wished I could go to public school. Let me tell you, once I went, I wished I could be back home. I could finish my school work in 2 hours if I buckled down and did it. In public school I was there for EIGHT HOURS. Half the time we had subs and sat on our butts for hours on end. I was bored with the work, and not use to the drama that happens in high school. I had a ton of friends, and I enjoyed choir, band and drama class…. but I was soooo bored during the rest. It did allow me to take college courses while in high school for free through our local community college, but that was seriously the only positive.

    If you do plan on your children going to college, they won’t qualify for KEES money, or have the opportunity to get as many scholarships. However, if they get outstanding ACT or SAT scores it kind of evens out.

    My husband is a little leery of home school, but I know that we have a very advanced daughter. She already can count to 20, knows all of her ABC’s, all of her colors and shapes… and she’s 27 months. She would be bored to tears in Kindergarten. I had such a positive experience that I know it’s the best choice for my girls. I suggest you check out CHEK (Christian Home Educators of Kentucky) and the local co-op group, and just be in a lot of prayer about the situation. If you have ANY questions about ANYTHING let me know. I’m not as up on current curriculum (which is why we’re going to CHEK this year), but I’d be happy to look into anything you wanted!

  6. And Shaina gets the award for the longest comment EVER at! 🙂

    Thanks for such a great response! I hope the timing works out for me to attend the conference in Louisville this summer, that would be awesome.

  7. Krista – they’re all good choices, so whatever you decide will be OK. We debated about Sam’s schooling too. He went to the Christian school for pre-school – mostly so he could learn that he was not permanently attached to my hip, and he COULD survive without me. He didn’t need preschool for the learning – he already knew his oolors, shapes, numbers, etc. and was reading independently. We visited the Christian school kindergarten – but I didn’t feel it was an atmosphere in which Sam would thrive. We ended up deciding public school, and now I’m really glad we did. I think the public school was better equipped to deal with his giftedness than the Christian school would have been. Homeschooling wasn’t really an option for us. We have chosen to have him in a multi-age class since first grade – and it has been a great option. There are more opportunities for independent learning, and peer-to-peer learning. He loves being a mentor to kids who aren’t as advanced. We have our Bible time together in the morning before he leaves for school. And as one of the earlier posts suggested, we make learning opportunities out of every day life experiences. Take a deep breath – relax – you’ll know what to do when the time comes.

  8. Krista, the only two areas that I have experience in is public and private…..not homeschooling. Even if I were a stay at home mom, I could personally never be in that role. Connor goes to public school and thrives extremely well…I know you were concerned about sports and basically made the comment that sports were not important to your family…that is something that is still unknown (I didn’t have preconceived thoughts if my kids were going to be sports oriented) it just “happens” by being around other kids during gym or outside play for instance. For example, Connor brought a paper about a wrestling clinic. He really wanted to give it a try so I supported him. Half way through, it was not what he wanted, but he followed through. It was easy for him to tell me (his mom) that he didn’t want to do it anymore. Before I said no to him quitting, I told him that he needed to talk to the coach and tell him that he didn’t want to participate anymore. As soon as I said that, he knew what option he was taking. He knew that he wouldn’t be able to tell his coach that or let down the others in the group. I know that it may be a stretch for Connor to get an athletic scholarship, but honestly all sports have been such a positive influence on him. It has taught him that you have to work really hard if you sign up for a particular sport because it really pushes them to play as a “team” and support one another and also teaches them that there are things they will fail at. Those times are extremely hard for me to watch, but it makes him so much stronger. My heart aches for Connor if he happens to be the last person to strike out in baseball. Connor also knows that in order to play sports or something else that he finds fun, grades ALWAYS come first here. Even though I do not homeschool him, we spend about an hour every night going over his work before I can sit down and do mine as well :). There are also going to be teachers that I don’t particularly care for, however, I can’t let Connor know that. He NEEDS to experience times that are not comfortable for him either. Believe me, in this day and age, kids need to have these experiences for when they get out in the real world. I agree that you want flexibility with your schedule, however, too much flexibility with school time or anything else you do could pose a challenge in the future.

    Reese on the other hand attends Catholic school. This came about because of a birthday issue. Her birthday is Sept 5 and the public school system cut off date is Sept 1. Reese had a huge desire to go to Kindergarten. She had already had 2 years of preschool and she was ready to move on. Luckily St Joan of Arc’s cut off is September 30th. After a lot of thought, I decided that she can go to St. Joan of Arc for kindergarten and then if she struggles, she can either take it again there or transfer to the public school system. Reese thrives in this environment. There is a great deal of structure involved in this setting, but I actually really like that part. The dress code is extremely strict and there is a lot expected of them. She absolutely loves mass and have been attending mass on Sundays as well. We are still up in the air about what to do next year. Tuition is somewhat hefty because we are non-Catholic. The tuition is something that we live with because honestly someone would be watching her anyway and would be compensated for that. Reese still gets to play soccer for Perry and she also takes gymnastics. If she were to stay in the private school world, there may not be as many options for her.

    Ideally, in my dream world, I would like to mix the two. I want the public school options, but for them to wear uniforms. The public school has so much to offer (not all sports related either). Like others have said, nothing stops you from being involved with whatever you choose. I work 50 hours a week and am getting my masters degree, but there are very few events that I do not get to participate in with my kids…they include events that they have at school, as well as after school events and homework. Also when they are in a public or private school, there is something in addition to be said about them coming home and telling you how their day went and what they learned.

    I am sure you will make the decision that is right (obviously there are no wrong decisions) or you can try out all 3. Just my 2 cents…lol

  9. Just to clarify, I’m not anti-sports, I’m just not going to choose a school because of the sports options. I’m not going to let it consume our family. And yes, I realize that my kids are only 3.5 and 2, but that’s just not the way Brandon or I were raised and we don’t intend to have our family time dictated by sports. There are plenty of ways for kids to be involved in sports without it being a really important thing to our family, that’s why it made the list. 🙂

  10. I totally agree with you on the sports thing, Krista. If sports are important to my son, then they’ll be important to me as well. I think there are wonderful things kids can learn from being involved in team sports, but homeschooled kids can have those opportunities too (there are plenty of community sports things they can do here). My husband is a track and cross country coach (I coached with him once) so it’s not as though we’re an anti-sports family either. We don’t watch sports, though, for example, so maybe it’s less of a big deal to us than other people (my husband always says he’ll gladly play sports but he finds it boring to sit around watching them, and I agree). As a coach, my husband promotes academics far above athletics to his team members. If his best runner has a low grade in one of his classes, he doesn’t get to participate in the meet that week, even if it means the whole team will lose. Unfortunately, most coaches don’t roll that way, and team sports in public school (especially, it seems, in small towns) end up teaching some negative lessons. I’ve seen many students believe they can get away with anything in school, including not bothering to attempt any kind of learning or work, because of their athletic skills. And they do get away with it. It’s depressing. Obviously, a wise parent wouldn’t allow his or her child to get to that point, but I think we need to keep in mind some of the negatives of team sports in public schools, along with the positives. I was horribly unathletic in school and went through an absolute nightmare every time I had to go to gym class, for example. I do believe children need to experience unpleasant things and learn from them, but I think they will just because they’re human and things happen. I don’t believe we need to manufacture bad things and put them in their path. I’m not going to break my son’s arm and take him to the ER just to prepare him for the possibility that he might break a limb one day and he’ll need to know what to expect. I sometimes hear an argument that we all make too much of a big deal about bullying, that kids should toughen up to prepare for life, but honestly I’ve never been bullied as an adult. I guess I would call the police if I was, you know? We don’t need that kind of preparation for life. My reasons to homeschool are not about sheltering my child, but the fact that he might miss out on bullying and other negatives in public school is definitely a plus. (Sorry this was so long!)

  11. One other thought I’ve had…Am I depriving my kids of something cool if they don’t have any kind of “real” school experience? The desks, bulletin boards, first day, school pictures and whatnot. I know that would be replaced by a home school and homeschool co-op if that’s what we choose, but is it the same? And is that a big deal?


  1. […] Miles’s schooling.  After months of going back and forth over all the options in my head and on the blog, I suddenly just knew.  I knew that enrolling him in our local private Christian school would be […]