Author Topic: Preschool  (Read 4266 times)

TerriM

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Preschool
« on: December 17, 2014, 06:18:56 PM »
I'm curious what people's thoughts are on preschool. 

I have my daughter in a MWF half-day preschool for $500/m (for those not in a high COL area, just assume this is a reasonable going rate).  It had been my hope that I would use that time to prepare for being self-employed next year when she goes to Kindergarten including doing some projects that would be sellable or working hours that were billable.  At this point, it's December, and while I've gotten time to do work on some projects, nothing has come to a point of making $$, and it's been really slow going.  Furthermore, the shop I've been going to is moving and I've no idea how long it'll be shut down.  Maybe a day, maybe a couple of months.

My daughter has also seemed less interested in going to preschool because one of her preschool friends is down the street and she has afternoon playdates and she's felt socially left out at school (even by this friend sadly).  I do playdates with the friend twice a week, but for reasons I don't want to get into here, I don't want her spending too much time with the friend, and I would continue these playdates, but I would not more than two hours a day, three times a week. 

I'm debating about canceling preschool.  I've already paid for January, so whether or not she goes after we return from Christmas break is irrelevant.  But I need to decide whether to cancel February soon because Feb is due beginning of January.  I could save $2K if I just take her out now instead of letting her stay until May.  She wouldn't have gone during summer anyways.   Once I cancel, there's no turning back--they will fill the spot immediately.   I do like the preschool--it's one of the nicer ones--but I am unmotivated to make her go if she doesn't want to, and $2K seems like a lot of money to save.  We had a meltdown one morning a couple of weeks ago when I REALLY had to go to the shop because I'd promised a friend I'd do something for him that had been dragging on, and I lost it.  I can't deal with both "customers" and kids pressuring me at the same time.

I am a homebody.   I like cleaning up the house, reading forums, web junk, etc.   I'm horrible at taking people to a park.  I hate the library.    I am vaguely interested in mom's groups, but the ones I'm involved in happen once a month each, and one of them I'm not sure I care about because I'm only just getting to know the moms and I expect to not be going after I try to go back to work next year.   These groups do meet on preschool days which makes me less likely to want to go to them. 

She has another non-preschool friend, but her mom works, and the friend spends time with a relative who is a bit draining.    I'm an introvert, so while I know that playdates are important, I dread them, and the way I'm feeling right now (kind of frustrated and depressed) doesn't honestly make me an enjoyable person to be around.

This girl is a talker.  I need quiet. 

She likes to be read books.  I hate most kids books (Sandra Boynton excepted).  I hate Elmo, I can't stand the tedium of Dr. Seuss, and princess stories make me ill (don't tell her I said that).    I hate reading the same book over and over.

When she's home, she's been playing Plants vs. Zombies (yeah, sorry, that's pathetic--I would nix it but hubby brought it into the house, and I try to be tolerant of his likes in return for him being tolerant of mine) or other video games because she's bored.  She does like Blue's clues and Curious George.  I like those too.  I feel guilty telling her no screen time partly because I spend a lot of time on the screen, but also because I know playing by yourself for 7 straight hours can be boring, and she likes playing with other people.

I could try to help her learn to read, and try to practice handwriting with her.

I could play games with her, but that could lose its appeal pretty quickly, and she's walked away in the middle of games in the past which has been problematic for the other people playing.

I could take her out to do things, but a lot of them would cost money, so then I'm not saving money.

I could also continue to keep her in and push forward and try harder to make the most of the preschool hours for learning skills that would make me more hirable or even try to get some hours from my old boss, though that's not the career direction I'd intended to go.

Thoughts?

(No debt, nowhere close to FI)
« Last Edit: December 17, 2014, 06:21:56 PM by TerriM »

Homey The Clown

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Re: Preschool
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2014, 06:34:26 PM »
I also have a 4 year old. I think you should keep her in the pre-school, as it will be a more gentle transition to kindergarten next year.

As for entertaining a 4 year old, our son loves Legos, toy trains, etc., basically anything you can build. I actually think he likes the building part more than the playing part. Does your daughter like building? She's also old enough to read more advanced books with you. We read Roald Dahl, Beatrix Potter, and tons of non-fiction with our son.

You said you're a homebody. Do you like working in the yard? Our kids love to play in the yard. They also love to help with cooking and cleaning in the house. Yes, these things take more time if the kids "help", but if you don't get them in the habit now, it will be much harder later.

For excursions that aren't so expensive, try natural areas for day hikes. Learn about the trees, animals (especially insects), and flowers together. Buy a membership to a museum. Our membership to our local outdoor museum/zoo was about $60 and includes free admission. We go at least once every month or so. When the weather warms up, hit the pool.

You will have much more free time next year, so use this chance to bond with your DD. She is more mature than ever before and this is the last time you will have this much time with her. Use it and cherish it.

TerriM

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Re: Preschool
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2014, 07:55:52 PM »
She does like legos.  She has all the princess duple sets.  And Kai's fighter which we can't find all the pieces for :(((

The yard is the bane of my existence.... but i will probably go and do some gardening to cut down on grocery costs.

She does like to help cleanup.

There is a children's museum and zoo nearby, but small.   I think the big science museums are 20-30 miles North and South.

Hiking on a very short trail might be ok, but she might not understand why we're walking around the middle of the forest and just want to go home.  I know that sounds silly.

The kindergarten thing--I'm a little concerned that if I let her stop going when she wants to, she'll think she can stop going when she gets bored of Kindergarten too.  But otherwise, she's taking the summer off anyways, so I'm not sure if an extra 4 months is a big deal.

ltt

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Re: Preschool
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2014, 08:16:23 PM »
How is your daughter doing at preschool?  Is she understanding the very basics that they teach at preschool?  If not, it may benefit her to continue to go.  If she understands and truly know the basics and it is not challenging her, then I would not have her go.  You could easily teach her at home.

mozar

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Re: Preschool
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2014, 08:24:44 PM »
I don't have a kid but, is there a homeschooling group you can get involved in? With the other non pre school friend, why does it matter that the relative is draining? Can't you leave?
Since she feels left out at school, I think that is a good teachable moment, about standing up to bullying, improving social skills etc. I think she is learning to be withdrawn like you and you should make efforts to make more friends for her, take her to the park, library etc. Don't punish her for being born.

The issue isn't the preschool, or work, it's your depression. You owe it to yourself to focus on getting better. Your hatred of all things sounds a bit extreme, and your daughter is starting to internalize your issues.

TerriM

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Re: Preschool
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2014, 08:36:50 PM »
The preschool is social with a daily craft, book reading, and there's music once a week.  As far as I can tell, she's doing fine at learning whatever she needs, but having social issues and being shy about playing with kids. 

She's been majorly clingy the last month and making excuses about why she doesn't play with certain kids at school that make no sense.  I stayed with her one morning, and we went to sit with her "best friend" (neighbor friend) at the drawing table and we all doodled for a bit with neighbor friend and another girl that DD seems to like.  I then observed  neighbor friend say to other girl "Let's go play xyz" and go off without even eye contact with my daughter.  DD looked down and kept doodling unhappy she'd been left out (well funny that).  Week after, DD didn't want to go (this was the day I really needed to go to the shop), so I took her and tried to explain to the teacher that there was an issue.  On pickup, asked DD who she played with, and while she didn't seem too unhappy that she stayed, she also said she didn't play with neighbor friend.  Next day, during the neighbor friend playdate, I specifically said to the girl that it would mean a lot to my daughter if she invited her to play during preschool.  Next day was better and they did play together.  Today was ok, but DD seemed ambivalent about going--just as happy to stay home. 

I know social stuff is important to learn, but it's hard for me to do anything about it except to keep mentioning it to the teacher.  I'm trying to give advice like "Go play with Mary" (not neighbor friend) and help DD to figure out how to insert herself into someone else's playing without giving them the option to say no to her, but I can't get any feel for what's really going on, and she's not good at remembering the phrases I tell her.  I told DD to get the teachers to help her, and she said they won't listen to her on the playground because they're talking.  Could be true, but we've been there two years, now, and I'm pretty sure all the teachers are happy to help resolve these issues, so I think DD isn't actually asking.  Best thing I've heard so far is DD say she's going to play with one of the boys she likes when she goes.  If that's working for her, great.

All this started when we started doing neighbor playdates.  She's been really happy at school before that.  But this combined with me starting to read the MMM site and take stock of what we're spending is starting to make me wonder if I should be spending the money on this anyways.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2014, 09:18:40 PM by TerriM »

TerriM

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Re: Preschool
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2014, 08:40:53 PM »
Homeschooling group:  Probably, but it's essentially just 7 more months until Kindergarten, so I don't want to just meet people only to stop seeing them 7 months later.  In Kindergarten, we'll end up making more long-term friendships.

As for the other friend with relative, I could leave, but I don't want to be treating this lady like a babysitter--she already has abandonment issues, and she hasn't offered to let me do a babysitting swap.  I could certainly approach the issue with the mother because we are friends.   Really, I'd like to just see the mom and daughter on the weekend--I should be better about getting together with them because we enjoy talking with each other, and we want it to happen. 

You know what, I'll put that on my calendar to pester her on Thursdays for Saturdays :)
« Last Edit: December 17, 2014, 08:42:46 PM by TerriM »

Greg

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Re: Preschool
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2014, 08:48:53 PM »
I think you should keep her in preschool, expanding the schedule if possible, as you sound like it helps you cope.  It's not supposed to be perfect, and even the other kids won't see it as such.  It's a place to learn how to socialize, which isn't always easy. 

Trust in your kid to figure out what works for her there, with your help.  At this age and certainly in 1-4 grades, the friendships will change nearly daily, and you "just" have to help her figure out how to best weather those changes.


TerriM

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Re: Preschool
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2014, 09:09:25 PM »
I think you should keep her in preschool, expanding the schedule if possible, as you sound like it helps you cope.  It's not supposed to be perfect, and even the other kids won't see it as such.  It's a place to learn how to socialize, which isn't always easy. 

Trust in your kid to figure out what works for her there, with your help.  At this age and certainly in 1-4 grades, the friendships will change nearly daily, and you "just" have to help her figure out how to best weather those changes.

Her in preschool does indeed give me "me" time.  But I guess I'm feeling like I'm not pulling in any money during this time, so would it be better to not have the spending in exchange for not attempting to do work right now.  On the flip side, if she was really enjoying her time at school still, I would not pull her out and would consider the money well spent.

I did pull out one of my sons from preschool after it wasn't working out.  We gave it 7 months, he never liked it, and it was the right decision.  He was totally fine in Kindergarten, and loved his teacher there.  Philosophically, I've generally been of the "you try it for a session, and then you can quit if you still don't like it."   DD's situation is a little different in that she did like it a lot for a while, and seems to be losing interest now.  Even on a good day now, if you asked her whether she wants to stay home or go, she'd rather stay home.  On a bad day she doesn't want to go in. 

And everything could change after Christmas.  She could feel totally done with preschool, or she could be really excited to go back.


It seems like the common feel here, though, is that preschool is a valuable expenditure.  Little surprised since MMM I thought stayed home with his kid, but that's good to hear.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2014, 09:15:38 PM by TerriM »

gooki

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Re: Preschool
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2014, 01:14:28 AM »
Without more info I think you are expecting too much of your daughter and other children.

1. I'd stop asking if she wants to go, or stay home. Just make a decision and make it part of her routine.

2. From my experience kids who haven't grown up in preschool (i.e. started later, and only do half days), interact differently. It's ok if she's a bit shy.

3. It's a hard decision. But at $500 a month I wouldn't pay it. I'd do play dates instead. She will still learn social skills from watching how you interact with others, and the time she has with other children.

FWIW we pay $700 per year for 14 hours a week.

MDM

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Re: Preschool
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2014, 01:29:05 AM »
She's also old enough to read more advanced books with you. We read Roald Dahl, Beatrix Potter, and tons of non-fiction with our son.

+1

Try The Hobbit, the Harry Potter series, etc. and you won't be reading "the same book over and over."  You may also be pleasantly surprised at how quickly she develops her own reading skills - although she'll still want mom (and dad - get him involved too!) to read to her for a while after she can read on her own.