Public, Private, or Homeschool?

People are starting to ask us "the question."

"So, do you think you'll send her to public school or private school...or will you homeschool?"

Our daughter will turn three this fall.

Since her birthday is in September, we actually can't put her in kindergarten for another three years, which means we still have ample time to make that decision.  

That being said, I reflect on that question often. I think there are pros and cons to each particular scenario...and I think each individual child's personalty and disposition toward learning needs to be taken into account. Of course, the quality and proximity of available schools are also factors...so there is much to consider. 

One thing that we are almost completely certain of is that we will homeschool for preschool. For starters, preschool programs are quite spendy. Secondarily, I am 100% confident in my ability to teach my little girl and prepare her for kindergarten. Finally, she already has plenty of opportunities for social interaction so there is no lack in that area either.

Alpha Omega Publications recently sent me their Complete Preschool Curriculum & Multimedia Set to review. Although we've just been using parts of the curriculum as of late, I plan on jumping in to the program with greater vigor later this fall. 

Following please find my review:

horizons preschool curriculum alpha omega publicationsHorizons Preschool Complete Curriculum & Multimedia Set by Alpha Omega Publications (on sale now for $322.96)

If you would like to homeschool for preschool and would like an extensive curriculum to help guide you, the Horizons curriculum is designed to give you (almost) everything you need for a full year of learning fun. The kit features 180 lessons and comes with a HUGE selection of DVDs, CDs, and CD-ROMS to supplement the activity workbooks that are provided.

The program is truly comprehensive.

horizons preschool curriculum teacher's guide alpha omega publicationsThe hefty "Teacher's Guide" comes with detailed instructions for planning activities for Math, Social Studies, Language Arts, Science...even Physical Education, Music, Creative Cooking, and more! Since Alpha Omega is a Christian publishing company, a majority of the lessons also feature a Memory Verse or Bible Story. 

The good part about this program is that you can do as much or as little as you want. There's no shortage of information. You'll find ideas for corresponding crafts, creative recipes ideas related to the day's theme, and more.

horizons preschool curriculum dvds and cds alpha omega publicationsThe downside of this program is that there is a lot of text in the teacher's guide and it actually requires some preparation. If you are a Type A personality or just generally love putting together lessons, you'll be in homework heaven. If, however, you just want to jump right in and do a little teaching without prepping, that might prove to be a bit more difficult. 

This curriculum would be perfect for a small preschool program or daycare, but it can also be used by individual parents as well.

Overall, I would recommend the program.

In an ideal world, I would design my own lesson plans and come up with creative supplemental activities individualized for my child...but the reality is that I really appreciate having ready-made lessons available, especially since I'm usually holding a baby during "school time." 

I'll leave you with a picture of my daughter enjoying one of the character-building DVDS from the Horizons curriculum (Note the title of the film - "OBEDIENCE" - I sure hope she's taking that message to heart!): 

school-time-may-2009-11

She's watching rather intently. That's a good sign. :)

school-time-may-2009-2

YOUR TURN: Do you/did you use a preschool curriculum with your child? Why or why not?

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23 comments on “Public, Private, or Homeschool?”

  1. we have been conversing about this very topic over the past while. my son COULD start school away from home this fall but we have (like you) decided that for sure we will have school at home for the kindergarten years.
    I have been asking around for a great curriculum and especially one that is Biblical based. thanks for sharing this one. :)

  2. My girl is only 5 months old so I have a little while before I need to start thinking about preschool activities.
    I used to teach preschool so I will definitely be teaching my daughter when the time comes.

  3. I actually teach preschool from home and I make a whopping $45 per kid per month! I bet you could afford me! I definitely don't do it for the money, I do it because I love teaching and I love kids but I want to be home with my kids as well. This looks like an amazing program!

  4. We too have started to get The Question. But, like you, thanks to a September birthday we have two years before Kindergarten.
    I do not plan to send Calvin to Preschool, although our local Elem school has a good (and expensive) preschool. I agree that I am perfectly capable of "teaching" and he has plenty of social outlets. A potential benefit would be having some alone time with the baby (but I already get this with grandparents around).
    The only school-type books we use are School Zone brand workbooks. I love their simplicity and their nice illustrations.

  5. I love your positive review! We actually just purchased and received this very same Horizons preschool program last week. I plan to start it this fall with my four year old (he'll turn five in Sept.) We've been doing preschool at home since he was 2, and it was mainly me piecing together things I found online, in library books, and from my aunt (a former preschool teacher with file cabinets full of goodies).

    This coming fall we're going to get more formal, structure in regards to fitting it into a set time every morning. We're also going to try and delve into phonics, as well. I bought "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" to supplement if necessary.

    You're right! Preschool programs are high and I heard many parents say it's basically like a fancy daycare. I would much rather save that money and ensure my children get playtime with other kids but spend a fraction of those fees on a year-long program I can hand-pick myself.

  6. Voddie Baucham is quite adamant that homeschooling is the only way to go. I must say, I agree with him. Of course there are always exceptions to the rule.

    I really enjoyed going through public school, but, even with going through decent schools and being in honors classes, I really didn't learn much (my Honors Economics class was a disaster), and that was frustrating. I kind of feel like the greater part of what knowledge I have comes from self-education through reading. And it wasn't even for the purpose of education!

    I really like Sonlight's approach. (http://www.sonlight.com/) It's rather Charlotte Mason-ish, in my opinion. I was able to get what I wanted of their P3/4 program off of Half.com for about $80. I'll eventually be ordering stuff from Sonlight (like their Instructor's Guides, since a structure/schedule of some sort is what I desperately need help with!).

  7. Ah, the $64,000 question. Our city has horrible public schools so that option is automatically out no questions asked. Private/Christian schools are expensive (not that education isn't worth it...) so it's unlikely that we will go that route. We do have some charter school options that we will look into more intently when kindergarten rolls around.

    As for preschool it's going to be all at home as well. I actually have always wanted to homeschool for the first few years. I think this is b/c my mom is and early edu. teacher and has always said how much time is lost in the classroom in the early years. I think for this year we'll just do fun learning stuff. I'll probably try to be more intentional about some things like reading and I may even do something like MOPS for a little interaction and to give A a change of authority figure.

  8. God willing, I plan to homeschool Levi. I'm a bit unorthodox though. There won't be any curriculum involved in the early years of learning around here. I believe that children are so geared towards learning that as parents all we have to do is follow their lead. They will learn because God created them to learn not because we gave them school work to do. If you're considering homeschooling (and I think you would be awesome at it) then you should check out some books by John Holt.

  9. We are considering homeschool, but our son has an early September birthday too (as you know), so as you said, kindergarten is a ways off. We enrolled him in preschool that starts in the fall, though, and will try it out. We think it will be good for him to learn how to take turns, follow directions, be part of a group, etc. It's only six hours total per week, and that will give me a little bit of one-on-one time with the new baby. ;)

  10. Definitely leaning towards homeschooling! I just went to a conference last weekend and was totally inspired. I feel the exact same way about preschool, and we just started a "curriculum" a friend recommended. I'm keeping it very low key. The little guy isn't even two yet, but he already knows some numbers and letters. I liked this one b/c it gives some structure-- a theme of the week, letters, numbers shapes, colors, activities, and a book list. It's probably more for me than for him :) I have to keep my teacher impulses in check and remember to let him be a baby lol.

  11. We definitely plan to homeschool. I'll do more research as the time gets closer but right now I'm really impressed with the curriculum my sister-in-law is using with her children. It's mostly "pre-prepared" and the children actually watch a teacher teaching their class and then do the worksheets and assignments along with the "real" class. (Can't remember who the curriculum is by right now...) Ideally I would write the lessons, come up with all the activities and teach it too... but I know that planning to do that would just set us up for failure so I'm leaning towards doing school this way and adding in where I can and where it's practical. As for preschool - I think we'll do some of that kind of thing. Sugar is already learning to count, to spell her name and her ABC's - I just try to incorporate learning into whatever we're doing around the house!

  12. After much prayer, my husband and I have decided we will be homeschooling our children. Princess is only 22 months, but school is something we take VERY seriously! For preschool, we won't be using a certain set curriculum, but we will be using flash cards and workbooks. I feel like I know my letters and numbers pretty well, so I won't need much more than that to teach her at that age! ;)

  13. Of course, all public schools are not created equal. When it was time for our kids to enroll in school, we weren't comfortable with the school district where we lived, so we researched school districts and moved to one that we felt was a good fit for us.

  14. I am all about the preschool, but yes, it is spendy. But I fear my children would languish in front of the TV, were they in my care 24/7. I love seeing how happy they are at preschool with their little friends and their adoring teachers. They can do all the messy stuff there, and I get a much needed break. It's glorious. :-)

    As far as the school debates, it's such a personal decision. I loved school, my husband and I went thru public schools with positive experiences, and I was a teacher. We never seriously considered homeschooling, although A LOT of our friends do it so it's certainly not foreign to us. That's not to say that we didn't take the decision seriously, but until/unless there is a problem, the public school was the natural choice for us.

  15. Being a first time parent, when my daughter was younger, I was contemplating whether or not she should go to preschool. After much consideration and talking to my mom (I have three sisters and not one of us went to preschool) my husband and I decided that I could teach our daughter at home. I am glad that we decided that for many reasons. One of the main reasons was because I could not bare sending her away to school, even only for a few hours. I was able to teach her so much at home and she has excelled in kindergarten and is ready to succeed in 1st grade. I didnt have a specific way of teaching her, we just sat down and wrote and sang the ABC's, I would quiz her on colors ALL the time, she would write her name on EVERYTHING, including our couch YIKES! We practiced shapes and I asked her what shape items were around our house. I have started doing the same thing with our son and I love every minute we spend together! This system would really help with making sure that all of the areas are covered. He would love watching the DVD's too.

    Since I have rambled on...I will have to save my homeschool, private or public school thoughts for another day:)

  16. I didn't use an official preschool curriculum with my kids. I just taught them things when the opportunity arose using various flash cards, work books and the like.

  17. I homeschooled my oldest two through 5th grade for each of them and miss it. Unfortunately I need to work right now so I can't homeschool my youngest. We used a fun program for kinder called Five in a Row that used literature as its base. It was fun. We also did some group lessons with some of my friends who homeschooled. Before Five in a Row is a good preschool program.

    I loved teaching my children at home. I loved being home with them and watching them learn about the world around them.

  18. I will need to check out these programs. My little girl just turned 2 in February so we're also looking at 3 years before kindergarten. And while I would love to put my child in preschool, the money factor is probably going to inhibit that. Plus I think I would rather my money go to athletic adventures for her and also provide social. Maybe I'm strange in that area!

    I'm interested to hear more about the programs that you find work well at home.

    And I have to say that even with it's problems, I'm still a proponet of public school. You just have to find the right school! We plan on moving in about 2-3 years before my daughter starts school and intend to do lots of research on the school district and specific schools in that area.

  19. My son also has a fall birthday so we still have another year plus to decide what to do about preschool. Right now we attend a "Mommy and Me" type of class for an hour and a half once a week. For half of the class the parents slip away to discuss a given topic and the children remain with the "teachers." My son loves it! He loves the structure, the teacher instructions and the other classmates. So that would be my biggest reason for considering at least some form of preschool. We'll see!

    Does your daughter sit still long enough for you to go through a learning activity? My son pays attention better to "teachers" than he does to me. When he's spending time with me he thinks we can switch from the alphabet to playing cars because that's how it always has been. So that would be my biggest fear about homeschooling.

  20. If I may, I will weigh in on this topic. I am at the end of my children's schooling experience with my youngest graduating from high school this year. I homeschooled both of my children all the way through, but they went to public school only for group music classes beginning in jr. high.

    As far as preschool curriculum, I guess I did try a few things with my oldest, but I found that the best thing is to just have your children with you as much as possible and read to them every day. They are learning just by having interaction and conversation with you over their peer group. A couple of resources that are really helpful are, "Better Late than Early" by Raymond Moore, which talks about a child's developmental age to be ready to do school work, and anything you can get by Carol Joy Seid. You would have to Google Carol Joy because she does seminars and I don't think she has written a book...yet. This is all very different from what the culture says, but it all makes a lot of sense.

    Homeschooling is not about bringing school home. The first thing I tell new homeschoolers is to RELAX. I will stop now because I could go on forever about this topic. There is a lot of options within homeschooling out there so anyone considering homeschooling should not get overwhelmed.

    1. I just saw your post. I know it's from over three years ago, but I would really LOVE for you to "go on forever". I'm very interested in what you would have to say.

  21. I have been considering homeschooling for a while now. We haven't decided yet. We are looking into things. Our oldest is going to school for now. I am pretty sure middle and high school she will be home schooled. Our middle child I want to start something with him at home because preschool is so expensive.

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