“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”

John Dewey


If you’re a parent, it’s the time of year when your social feeds are flooded with school buses, shiny new backpacks, and carefully curated wardrobes and lunch boxes. We’re inundated with emotional posts – from bittersweet tears and separation anxiety, to more relaxed and joyful (?) send-offs as the years pass. We have yet to join these ranks. This will be our fourth year watching from the sidelines, and we’re still feeling uneasy about getting in the game. We don’t have all the answers yet, and most likely never will. What we do know is that we’re in a season of life that goes by all too quickly, and we’re holding onto it with all our might. I’ve avoided discussing this topic here for so long, because it’s a highly charged and personal one. Every family has different needs and goals…I’m sharing our journey, with respect for your choices.

The gravity of parenthood has never been more evident to me than when making decisions about our children’s education. Those decisions and questions began years ago, when Henry and Marie were still in utero. What educational path would we choose? Public, private, homeschool, charter? Where are the best school districts? What type of learners will they be? Which environment will suit them best? The questions are endless – it’s dizzying and overwhelming. Add the societal pressures, and it’s enough to make me want to crawl under a rock. We’ve received advice (both solicited and not) from family and friends, and have toured a myriad of schools. The cost of a (secular) preschool education has left us in a state of shock, and we haven’t felt right about any of the options we’ve explored. We’re waiting for something to feel right.

Until that happens, we’ve decided that we’re not going to decide (yet). We are giving ourselves (and the kids) another year to get our bearings, find a more permanent home, and choose an educational path. Of course, we’ll continue our quest and research in the meantime. If we choose the traditional route, we wouldn’t enroll them in kindergarten until they are six (two years from now). So, while the kids will remain “in the nest” for a bit longer, we’ve already started providing a bit more structure to their learning (more on that soon). I’m so thankful to have the luxury (and choice) of being at home with my children, and letting them learn at their own pace, for now. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. What path did you choose, and what has worked best for your child? Would you change anything, if you could? Please share!



  1. Our family is in the same boat. We live out in rural Kansas with very few educational opportunities. We still have a few years to “figure it out,” but for now we are homeschooling/unschooling. I’ve been researching Charlotte Mason and the various movements that have come from her insightful approach to children’s education. We still have a long way to go, but that’s where we’ve started. Best of luck to you and your family!

    • Thank you for sharing Anna…yes the Charlotte Mason method is one I’ve read quite a lot about (and am a fan of). I can imagine that in an area with less options (and even in one with many), homeschooling may be the best choice. It’s something we are seriously considering!

  2. I can’t specifically address schools since I had no choice when I was eventually enrolled and I don’t have children myself. But I will speak as a child who didn’t have parents like Henry et Marie have, I wish mine had been half as hands on and caring as you and Parker are. The way you enrich the lives of your kids by making learning part of every day, is something not every parent does and something I wish my parents had done in a positive way, like you are <3

    • Thank you so much for your kind words Kirsten, that means so much. We are doing our best, which so often feels like not enough, so that’s encouraging. xo

  3. Any chance you’re overthinking this? I mean, great to consider all options but the traditional methods are pretty solid if you have normal kids (meaning without special learning needs). If you live in, or buy a house in an area with decent to good public schools, send them there. If you can afford better private schools, and it makes sense logistically, send them there. Done! If your kids are struggling, then at that point you can consider more outside-the-box options. Until then don’t worry about it.

    • Hi Jeff, thanks for weighing in, I appreciate your thoughts and perspective. Yes of course there’s a chance, I’m a serial over-thinker (ha). However, one could also argue that there’s no such thing as over-thinking when it comes to your children. We hope that things will become clearer for us soon, but in the meantime we’re going to continue to explore our options.

  4. What a charming blog. Just found you and am so glad I did. I rarely comment on blog posts but for some reason this one really spoke to me. I have a 1st grader, who is 6, and one in pre-k, 3. I have been lucky enough to find a fabulous parochial school that has made then entire experience of “starting school” so much fun. I see and hear from friends for whom this whole time has been very stressful and I just so firmly believe that children absorb that stress like little sponges and that jumping into something that doesn’t feel right can taint the idea of formal education without anyone consciously realizing it. I think if you’re super clear on what’s important to your family as a whole and you can find that kind of an environment where you’ll meet like-minded families the test of the details will fall into place. It makes me crazy happy to see that my children are learning not just their abc’s and 123’s but also an appreciation for art, music, charity, mealtimes and manners, and their faith. Best of luck and I hope that for you and for more families school will be FUN!

    • Hello and welcome Laura, I’m glad you found me! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. You’re very lucky to have found a place where both you and your children feel comfortable and happy – that seems rare. I agree that children absorb stress (and everything) like sponges, so we want to wait until something feels right before moving forward. And absolutely, a forced situation could taint their experience. I hope we find our FUN soon too!

  5. Hi there, I have been reading your blog for some time but I have never commented before. However, this post really got me thinking and I had to comment. I am a twin who started pre-school at the same age of your twins and I think you are making the correct decision. We were the youngest students in the class (in fact, we were always the youngest ones) and we really struggled during the first few years. The struggles were due to us moving, each school was different and had a different standards. In one school, we were far advanced for our age group and in another school, we weren’t. It was a battle. We started at private school, then public, then back to private. I wish my mom had started us a little later on and didn’t move us so much. We would have been better off. It all worked out in the end but those struggles from our early school days are still deep inside us. I just wanted you to know that I think you are making the correct decision for your twins.

    • Hi Marie (you know I love that name)…thank you for sharing your experience, wow. Your perspective is so interesting – I’m sorry you struggled a bit due to your circumstances. My own personal journey is similar in that we moved a lot (military), and I went from public to private, which was extremely disorienting for me. While I recognize life throws us all curve balls, we are hoping to avoid a similar situation for our children. Thank you for your thoughts and support, it’s truly appreciated!

  6. It sounds like you are doing the right thing for your sweet kiddos at this moment. You being concerned and involved parents will put them ahead no matter what you decide next. My husband and I are raising two kids in South Philly. Outside of choosing to stay in the city, we don’t have a whole lot of choice! We both work full-time out of the house. Both kids were/are in full-time daycare since 12 weeks of age. My youngest is 3, and he learns so much everyday at daycare, where he will seamlessly transition to pre-K next year. My eldest is in 2nd grade at a public school in our neighborhood. I was pregnant when we were house hunting, but schools were not even on my radar. Private school is not an option for us due to costs. I got involved in our neighborhood school improvement early on, but we lucked into a great principal. I lazily applied to a couple of charter schools because I felt obligated to do this, but there was no need. For now, a decent public school, parental support at home, and not doing too many extra-curriculars is all we need for success. This will change, and I will remain flexible. I try not to lose perspective that choice in education and location is a luxury. There are so many families who have few school options and no resources to do much about it. Good luck!

    • thank you Stephanie…I recently read an article about a family that lived in Mt. Airy and loved playing a role in their local school system, to help shape and develop it – a refreshing concept! private is not an option for us either due to cost, plus both my husband and I attended public (with me in private for a short time). we actually have a great charter in our neighborhood and are seriously considering that. we absolutely acknowledge that having the choice is a luxury, and having flexibility to move and choose a school system (within our budget) seems to be the only positive to come out of selling our home right now (which was in West Chester, a great district). thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, it sounds like your children are flourishing!

  7. Our daughter is in public school, she had full day K last year and now is in first. We are in a great school district and the school is doing everything they can to help our children in a caring and meaningful way. But, I think it might not be a good fit for our insightful, sensitive, artistic, nature loving girl. I think it’s great you are choosing to start them at 6. My daughter seemed ready at 5, she did great at her 3 day a week preschool. But she is scared, lonely and struggling. It’s so hard and emotional to make educational decisions. Now that we are in the school and are trying to make it work for her, it might be time to look around at our options. Now that we know how hard the kids are pushed and how our daughter handles it. Good luck to you Mama ♡
    Ps, we are also near philly

    • Thank you for sharing your perspective Linda, and yes absolutely, it is very hard and emotional to make these decisions. I feel like my daughter is 80% ready, but my son is more like 50%. We have them involved in some classes, in addition to our at-home learning, and they are slowly warming to those. I’m still feeling very unsure about a traditional path, and am still strongly researching and considering homeschool. Is that something you’re looking into? Good luck to you as well, and thank you again.

  8. I applaud you for thinking on this so heartily. I imagine you’ve come across the studies that show how Finnish children do so well and do not begin school until 7. Simply playing at home with Mama or Papa near is a wonderful opportunity for M et H. They will have many years of going to school so why rush it.

    (We chose Waldorf and did have to move our boys from CA to WA in early primary. The transition went well b/c the curriculum is standardized world-wide.)

    • Thank you Cynthia, and yes…I just read that study actually! 7 seems like a great age to begin formal schooling, in my opinion (and I’m glad it’s not mine alone). We’ve looked into Waldorf actually, as we have an incredible (and historic) campus near us. While we determined it’s not the right fit for our family, I can see why it is for so many. I’m glad your boys had an easy transition, that’s wonderful. Thank you for sharing!

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