Never say never... isn't that what they say? Today is Zoe and Dmitri's first day of school--ever. Both of them are entering kindergarten, even though Zoe is six and Dmitri is five. We've been homeschooling up until now, but I've taken a very laid-back, unpressured and child-led approach, so when the principal said first-graders should know 10 sight words and be able to count to 100, I knew ours were both definitely kindergarten-bound.
Why did we decide on school? Well, for a few reasons. First, they keep asking to go. All the other kids go to school. Even Caillou goes to school, that little bald-headed weirdo. (I'm still surprised he's not wearing a hockey helmet...) Everywhere we go, kids are defined by their grade. At church, they want to classify the kids by grade. In stores, doctor's offices, outtings, people always ask them, "What grade are you in, honey?" The kids just give them blank stares. It kind of got to the point where I wondered if I was doing more damage to them by making them "weird" or "different" from other kids than school would do... I figure they'll be better able to decide later if school is something they really want to do, and if they decide it isn't, at least they'll have had the opportunity to know what they're missing.
Also, this is the last year I could sit on the fence, and I knew it. One grade behind isn't so bad (for Zoe) but two? Eek! So if we were going to do it, now would be the time. Also, considering we've been living on one salary since Zoe was born, two kids in school all day would free me up to find something to supplement our income, at least part time, if not full. So that was a consideration.
Of course, this isn't a final decision. We could decide it isn't working and pull them out mid-year. Ultimately, I'd like to start re-homeschooling them come 3rd grade or so. Kindergarten through second really isn't so hard on kids... it's more fun than work. Third grade is when I remember the change happening in my older ones, Autumn and Blake... the light went out of their eyes when it came to school and learning. Up until then, they were still pretty curious and interested in the world around them. That's the part I don't want Zoe and Dmitri to lose...
But for now... there they go.