I'm a SAHM: Putting Joy in Pre-school Ed
A lot of the time, being a stay-at-home mom means that you only have one income for the family. While most moms make do with what they have, it can be overwhelming to have a limited budget with plenty of unstructured time at home with the kiddos.
This isn't to say that we don't love spending tons of time with our kids. But when they get to about 3, and 4, and 5, you might start to feel like your kids need more things to occupy them--and not every SAHM has the money to enroll her kids in preschool. Luckily, it is possible to be the cool, exciting mom that does fun and educational activities.
SAHM: Who Can Afford Preschool?Now, keep in mind that I'm not preaching against paid preschool programs. It's a wonderful thing to prepare your child for real school; social skills, making new friends, and getting on a more academic schedule are all benefits of preschool. But if you just don't happen to have it in the budget for a fancy preschool, here is a great alternative: Joyschool!
The Co-op Preschool Model
Joyschool uses a curriculum for children ages 3-5 that works through a co-op preschool model. This essentially means that each parent takes a turn teaching and hosting each week. In a way, Joyschool is somewhat like trading babysitting, but with planned lessons and activities.
As for the lessons, they use a lot of music and singing, and focused on finding joy in different things. Examples range from Joy of the Earth, Body, Uniqueness, Family, and more. Recommended schedules and materials for the curriculum are available for download in the form of sample lesson plans, but you really can make it what you want to--that's the beauty of it.
Back in the day, my mom would participate in Joyschool with several other moms in the neighborhood (typically 3-7 families). One mother would plan and host the lesson in her home while the rest of the moms would have a couple hours to shower, go grocery shopping, or what have you. The host/teacher rotated each time, giving everyone two times a week that were kid and guilt-free!
The Sky is the Limit to Joyful EducationThis model is just one of many things you can do as a SAHM to get your kids ready for school while obtaining some important kid-free time as well. Sending your kids to preschool education shouldn't just be a luxury for wealthy families or working moms. With Joyschool and similar preschool models, you can feel like your kids are spending quality time with friends and other trusted parents.
My TakeI love the Joyschool model for two main reasons: one, because it provides a way to enroll your kids in preschool without the unbearable cost, and with like-minded parents as the teachers. Second, I absolutely love the idea of finding joy in learning. A lot of kids feel overwhelmed or unexcited about school by 2nd grade, but with a joyful foundation, that can change for the better.
Personally, I think if you have more than 5 families involved in the co-op, it's a good idea to have the lesson planning fall onto two mothers each time. That way, you'll have control of unruly kids and be able to teach more effectively. But it's really whatever you want!
Browse the web for more co-op and affordable preschool ideas--there's plenty out there. With a little planning and some cooperation, you can be well on your way to an affordable and joyful preschool experience.