Mirroring the preschool- twice the education

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One thing we’ve been doing since Sonny started preschool was “mirror” what they do everyday. Since we could only afford to take him to school 3 days a week, on the 2 days he is home, he does similar work to what is done at the schoolhouse.  With the help of the internet, and Mommy’s imagination, we’ve been able to keep up with what he learns at school and make him feel like he’s not behind when we does get to school and they do other activities.

One reason I decided to start doing this (even though his teacher said that it would “overwhelm the children” if we did) is because it seemed like the school was focusing more on books and field trips than the essentials the kids would need for kindergarten next year. Trips are great, but for my son that has never been in school before, I wanted him acclimated to the work and to sitting at a desk to learn. Call me crazy. So, when he bought home school work, I paid attention to what the themes were for the week or month, and found our own school work to at home.

Lo and behold, around the middle of April, the director of the school and his main teacher pulls Hubby and I to the side and expresses that she thinks he needs to stay in preschool another year. Her reasoning behind this thought is because she thinks he’s not acclimated to the work and to sitting at a desk to learn.  Hmmmm…sounds like an echo in here.

As soon as she said this to us, we thanked her for her opinion and went on our way. We felt a bit of a tinge of guilt, thinking maybe we should have sent him for 5 days and just went in debt for it. But after talking to many other parents, Hubby’s family(who are all teachers) and talking among ourselves, we realized that this was a time when the teacher was dead-wrong. I went through the work Sonny and I had done while he was home with me during the week, and knew for a fact that he is ready. We practice sitting in your seat, trying new things and trying them again if you don’t get it, and maintaining a balance of work and play. His teacher even admitted that he is one of the smartest in his class, so that definitely was not the problem.

I bring this up because frugally, we will not be able to have him go to preschool for another year, let alone go for 5 days instead of 3(of course, this is what she suggested).  We both knew this when we started him in school and budgeted accordingly.  Thanks to the internet, I have been able to “homeschool” him and keep up with his supplemental work without spending more than I would printing off online coupons.  And, we’ve been able to bond even more, which is priceless.

This summer, we will be doing more of the same, focusing on a few more kindergarten activities and school work to give him a sneak peek of the more challenging workload. We did ponder sending him off to summer camp, but after seeing how well he can do working and learning from play at home, I don’t think we need to bust the budget on that one, especially at the age of almost 5.  There will be plenty of time for camp later in his school career. Plus, this is one of the perks of being a SAHM. Soon he won’t want to spend any time with me, so I get to spend this last summer with just Sonny and me. I have a whole summer curriculum planned already, including field trips, and I’ve already calculated that it will save us over 63% from what we would pay if we sent him off to camp everyday this summer.

So, all and all, I’m not upset with him not being able to stay in school all week and “learn” like the other kids. Turns out, because I mirrored what they did everyday, I saved money and prepared my son for “real” school. I call that a win-win.

About Amiyrah

My name is Amiyrah and I'm an an African American fashion & lifestyle blogger based in Ohio.

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  1. 5.25.10
    Shelly said:

    I think you did a great job! He had the best of both worlds—regular school for socialization, plus time with his most important teacher…YOU! Enjoy the last summer with just you and Sonny boy!!

  2. 5.25.10
    Anonymous said:

    I think that school is just trying to get money. You have to remember that a lot of kids don’t even get to go to any sort of formal preschool at all. So him going 3 days a week plus you working with him at home, he will most likely be ahead when he goes into Kindergarten and if not, he definitely won’t be behind (knowledge wise or being able to sit in the seat, etc). So I would not worry at all, he’ll do great. My son didn’t go to preschool because we didn’t have the money but I put him in a mothers day out for the summer before kindergarten (1/2 day 2 days a week for 1 1/2 months) just to get him used to listening to another adult, getting along with the other kids, etc. and he did really well in kindergarten. His teacher said he really matured over the year and is well above the grades he needs to get to first grade.

  3. 5.25.10
    Anonymous said:

    I am a grade 1 teacher, and i think that some teachers forget that boys mature more slowly than girls and have more energy, therefore they cant sit still for long periods of time. this does not mean that he is not ready for kindergarten level work. it simply means that he is a boy. i am sure that by Christmas next year, especially since he will be academically prepare since you are working with him at home, he will be into the regular swing of things at school.

    you might do this already, but one of the most effective ways to prepare a child for kindergarten it to spend quality time reading aloud to him, this will give him practice sitting still and will familiarities him with books. As a bonus most kids love books. you can also play silly games with the books to help him be ready to read, you can start to challenge him by asking him things like find all of the letter ‘M’s’ on the page, who can do it faster mommy or sonny boy (of course let him win). you can also do things like try and read the book backwards and see if he notices. the more exposure to books, the better prepared he will be for school.

    Mem Fox’s book about the benignity of reading to kids is a fantastic resource for parents on how to do something as simple as reading a book to a child can teach them to read with minimal effort.

  4. 5.25.10
    Amiyrah said:

    Thanks so much Shelly! coming from a teacher, that means alot ;o)

    the 2 “anons” lol….thank you so much for the input! I was hoping to hear so good info from my readers, and you two did not disappoint. I really appreciate it.

  5. 5.25.10
    Precious said:

    Boys do mature slower than girls. There is no harm in putting him in kindergarden. If he does well that is terrific. If not, there is no shame in keeping him there an extra year.

    Knowing how much time you spend with him, he will probably do just fine.

  6. 5.26.10
    Joy said:

    maybe it is just me but I really think boys get a bad wrap. all this “boys mature slower than girls” thing really hits a nerve with me. maybe they aren’t as “mature” but that doesn’t make them not smart and not ready to go to K.

    My son is a young one for his grade he turned 5 in July but started K that Aug and was TOTALLY ready for it and now has finished 2nd grade and is one of the top students in his class. Do NOT let someone tell you “oh he’s a boy he can stay home another year” if you think he is smart and ready send him! you are his momma you know best!

    I never sent wyatt to preschool so his first day of K was really his first day of any school. it is all in the kid, everyone is different and has nothing to do with being a boy! IMO

  7. 5.26.10
    Anonymous said:

    i my previous comment, i might not have explained myself in terms of what i meant by maturity level in boys. their academic abilities for the most part are on par with their female counterparts, however, boys are often less prepared for a school setting where they are expected to sit and listen for an extended period. boys are simply more frigidity in class whether it be at the carpet or at their chair.(on a side note, as a teacher and a mom i hate when medication is suggested for children this young, i feel that if they were given a few more years of time to grow up, many would not need medication) most boys will loose focus before the most of the girls in the class and therefore there are some gaps in what boys learn compared to the girls in the class. often it takes boys a little longer to learn a concept, however once they get it, they do seem to be able to replicate their knowledge to a new concept better than girls. (the gap in terms of maturity seems to be gone by grade 4)

    this of course does not apply to every child, however it is common at the primary level. a good teacher will deal with this effectively by having many opportunities throughout the day to move around in class. Boys are much more hands on learners in general, and a good teacher will play to these differences in preparing centers in order to engage all of the students.

    Since i am a grade 1 teacher in Canada, my experiences might be slightly different as children start public school at 4 years old and therefore few children attend a formal preschool prior to starting school. either way, sonny boy should be fine in kindergarten, and i agree with precious, if by some chance the preschool teacher is right (highly doubtful) he could always spend a second year in kindergarten with no shame.

    Julie (aka anonymous #2)

  8. 5.26.10
    Bethany said:

    I would NOT be worried about him! My oldest son went off to kindergarten before he was ready – I will be the first to admit it! My daughter was ready for K but she was a year younger so I didn’t want to hold him back and have her pass him up! He is now getting ready to finish grade 2 and he has totally caught up to where “he should be”. The thing he struggled with the most was his reading level and he is now above average on his last testing. It truly just take a little bit for them to get to where they need to be AT THEIR OWN PACE.

  9. 5.28.10
    JennysMom said:

    Knowing how incredibly committed you are to Sonny Boy, I wouldn’t be concerned in the least. Never forget, Amiyrah, that you are Sonny Boy’s first teacher. Just because you chose a (somewhat) different path doesn’t mean it wasn’t the best one for your son.

    I completely agree that it was a win-win for your family. Have a blast this summer with Sonny Boy, as this is the last summer for just you two!

    You’re one of the best moms I know…