My husband and I are frequently asked where we send our almost-three-year-old daughter to preschool. Where we send her, not if.
From my encounters with other mothers in the area, preschool is a norm.
So, when my husband and I respond that we don't send our daughter to preschool, that we're not going to be sending her, and that we're going to be homeschooling, it catches people a little off guard.
Both my husband and I are teachers. When we moved to Santa Monica 10 years ago, it was because we had both been hired to teach 6th grade English and history at different schools. During that time, we both changed subjects, schools, and grade levels, and I got a master's degree. Then we had a baby. Because I had an advanced degree, it made financial sense for me to work, while my husband raised our daughter.
Before my husband and I decided to homeschool, I did look at preschools. Our daughter wasn't even walking, and I was looking at preschools.
What I found was non-refundable application fees of $125, "admissions specialists," and Nanny & Me toddler groups conducted in Spanish. They called older siblings "alumnae," and sent out letters of acceptance. Some offered "Transitional Kindergarten" (a term I find interesting because kindergarten itself was once "transitional" - a gentle easing from home to school).
In addition to art and story-time, some taught woodworking and capoeira. Wednesday was Cheese Tasting Day, and the chef prepared organic menus including poule au pot, quiche, quinoa, and fennel hearts.
Fun classes and gourmet food - I wanted to enroll!
The base rate was a quarter of my salary.
Had we wanted to send our daughter to preschool, my husband would have had to go back into the classroom, and - because we would both have had to be at work an hour and a half before the preschool day started, and both have had to be at work an hour and a half after the preschool day ended - we would have had to hire a nanny to care for and transport our daughter during the time she wasn't in school.
Preschool wasn't even a possibility...which opened the door to a better possibility.
Where does she go to preschool? At home.