A few of you have asked me on occasion, "If you homeschool, why do you send your kids to preschool and kindergarten?" Well, there are a couple of reasons.
First of all, I think attending school in a group setting can be a very valuable experience for a child. It's one thing to learn to share with your siblings; it's quite another to learn to share with 15 other kids. I think they learn tolerance--every class seems to have "that kid." You know the one--he's the kid running around the circle slapping heads and yelling, "duck! duck! goose!" while the others are trying, very quietly, to position themselves on the carpet in prime storybook-viewing territory. Instances like these offer wonderful opportunities for "teachable moments" with your child.
I also think preschool and kindergarten are an ideal time for kids to meet someone who can become an extra special friend. Yes, the "best friend" status may change from week to week, but early schooling provides kiddos with a chance to learn how to make friends. Yes, one can argue, the same thing can happen in a homeschool group, and I suppose it's true. But, depending on the homeschool group (particularly if it's a co-op), there may be little downtime for the kids just to play and hang out. Just like other families, we're busy with school during the day and kid and family activities in the evening. There's no formal daily "recess" where the kids get to play with other kids, siblings excluded (that being said, they do get lots of weekend/evening outdoor play with the PS neighbor kids). So somewhere in midst of daily life, in the middle of everyone's busy schedule, you have to pencil in "playdate." With today's busy-ness, it can be tiring and time consuming. For our family, preschool/kindergarten class time and recess provide a welcome break from having to schedule playtime with other children.
And last, but not least, in the case of Thing 3, sometimes a boy just needs other boys to play with! Thing 1 and Thing 2 are girls; they have lots of girl friends; most of my friends have girls. Poor Thing 3 is surrounded by girls. May I submit for your review, Exhibit A . . .
Now, just to be clear, Thing 3 can be, and usually is, all boy. He's a whiz with a football, makes all the requisite "brrrrrowwww," "errrrrrrrr," and "woooosh" sounds while riding his Big Wheel and playing Hot Wheels, and he's not immune to that little boy sweaty-head smell they all seem to get after 15 minutes outside. But let's face it, there comes a time in a little boy's life when he just shouldn't be subjected to such (future) humiliation. Lest you think this an isolated incident, I present to you Exhibit B . . .
I believe no further evidence (or justification for kindergarten) is necessary. I rest my case.
(If you need me, I'll be waiting in the pick-up line at school. :-)