Should I Feel Guilty Sending my Toddler to Preschool so I can Homeschool My Older Kids?

Should I feel guilty sending my toddler to preschool so I can homeschool my older kids?

I saw a similar question online and thought it might be helpful to write my thoughts on homeschoolers utilizing preschool to help them focus on their older kids’ education with less interruption. I think most of us would agree that there is nothing morally wrong with sending your kid to preschool, but us mommas sometimes can’t help but have some feeling of guilt when we drop our kids off for someone else to take care of, even if it’s only for a few hours, a few times a week.

While I certainly can’t tell you how to feel, I think reflecting on the idea of preschool as a whole might be helpful in deciding if it’s right for you. Those who have started homeschooling AND have more than one kid have all been there – you’re trying to get through a lesson with your six year old and your two year old fell and hurt themselves or is screaming for food or just screaming for a reason that you don’t know why! Certainly the playpen only goes so far in taking care of the little ones – none of our four kids ever wanted to stay in that thing, so I can certainly relate to wanting some help when you’re trying to stay on task with schooling your older ones. Here are some things I think are important to consider when deciding if preschooling is right for you. 🙂

Is the cost of preschool worth it?

This is of course something we all have to think about. If you’re on a tight budget then preschool can be difficult to afford, and doing a cost benefit analysis on the financial side is super important. You just might find ways you hadn’t thought of to make avoiding preschool work when you look at the cost of some of these schools! Plus, homeschooling becomes far less free when you have to pay for preschool. 🙂

Is the time taking kids and picking them up from preschool worth it?

This might be the thing that tips the scales one way or the other for you more than anything. When you think about the time it takes to pack a lunch, get all of the kids ready, get in the car, drive there, drop them off, drive home, and do it all over again when preschool is over you may realize the time and effort to do this is not worth it. Or, you may think it is. A simple time analysis can help you figure it out:

1. Estimate the time it takes to prepare to leave (packing lunches, getting kids ready for school, getting everyone in the car, etc.)
2. Add that to the time it takes to drive there, drop them off, and drive home.
3. Double that number (minus lunches and some of getting kids ready) and you have your total time
4. Save that number 🙂
5. Now estimate the amount of time lost per day schooling your older kids by having to pacify and attend to the younger ones.
6. Compare those two numbers and you have a somewhat quantifiable comparison to help with your decision.

It just might be that the amount of time lost per day attending to your younger ones is far less than the time to get kids to school and back!

Do you trust the preschool you’re sending them to?

Don’t forget that part of the reason a lot of us homeschool is we do not trust the public institutions that want to “educate” our children. Make sure you know the people running it, and that it will be a safe place for your child spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. Even if a church is offering a preschool, make sure you do your due diligence because the people in charge may or may not be someone you’re comfortable with influencing your kids. Make sure to prayerfully consider it and talk to the people in charge in person. And a recommendation from a trusted friend is always a great thing to have.

What is the educational quality of the preschool?

If you do end up choosing to preschool your younger kids, a preschool education has the possibility of helping your future homeschooling quite a bit if they are effective at teaching the basics such as reading, writing, spelling, and some math. Look up reviews from other parents and talk to people in your area that you may know about the preschool you’re looking at and ask them how the education impacted their child. If they found it effective you could be helping yourself as well as your child quite a bit if they already start their homeschooling with you with a lot of the basics down.

That’s all great but… should I feel guilty sending them to preschool?

What I would encourage any parent that’s asking about this first and foremost is to bring it to the Lord in prayer. Take your time, sit on it, talk to friends and those you trust about the decision, and give it time. As I mentioned in the beginning, I do not believe it is an issue of morality in most cases, but when it comes to who we allow to care for our children we want to be extremely careful and discerning, and seeking the Lord and wise counsel is the best way to know if preschool is something that would be good for your family.

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