View Full Version : How the heck do you decide about preschool???

06-09-2005, 10:00 PM
Let me start by saying that this question pertains to SAHM's and kids in preschool. I keep reading and hearing so many mamas talk about their toddlers in preschool and I'm feeling a bit lost about the whole thing.

First off, it never really occured to me to even consider preschool until DS was probably 4 yrs old, but it seems so many of you are doing it at 2 and 3. Why? I don't mean to doubt you, but seriously want to know why you decided to do it sooner. Is there something I'm missing?

Second, so many of the "preschools" here are just glorified daycares, as evidenced by the fact that they start at infants and the infants and one year olds tend to go full time. And they call themselves "preschools". To me, that's daycare, not preschool. So how do you sort out whether it really is a preschool that is prepping for school?

My mom said that when I was a tot, and she was a SAHM, I went to a preschool coop, which they loved. Unfortunately, I can find absolutely nothing about such a thing here. Just the major chain daycares and some church preschools, which I'm not opposed to, but we don't attend a particular church, so I don't even know where to start.

Again, I really had no intention of putting DS in preschool yet, but now I'm wondering if that's weird. I can't really even fathom sending him away to school right now. Heck, I can't even get him to stay at the nursery during MOMS Club meetings! So enlighten me if you can. Thanks!

06-09-2005, 10:47 PM
My original plan was for DS to start Montessori at age 3 1/2. Last year, I had DD when he was 27 months. A few months later, I found a preschool that took kids that weren't potty trained. I visited it, and hemmed and hawed, then decided to enroll him for 2 days a week, 2 1/2 hours a session. This was definitely a school, not a daycare environment.

While I felt sad to be sending him "off to school" so young, I felt like I was not able to give him the attention and interaction he deserved, with my DD demanding most of it. I decided the best thing for *him* was to be around around children his age for a few hours a week.

I don't think his conceptual skills (letters, numbers, etc.) were any better than they would have been without it, but his speech has progressed (some exposure to Spanish, too), and I think his social skills have been enhanced. Most importantly, though, I know he really enjoyed going to "school".

He is going to Montessori this fall, but I'm glad he had this experience this past year.

06-10-2005, 12:20 AM
Colin's going to start next year at age 3. I *think* that's a pretty common age around here, but I'm hearing more and more moms starting their kids at 2. I was lucky and found a "lab school" out of a local community college that I just love. I'm sending him because I think he'll really benefit from the chance to interact with same age peers and adults besides me on a regular basis. I think the socialization will be good for him. I feel like interacting with other kids in a mildy structured play environment is a good way to prepare for school. I'm not sending him to preschool so that he can acquire any specific skills like reading, writing or math. In fact, I tended to avoid the more academic programs in town. (45 minutes of "circle time" seemed like a bit much for 3 year olds!) Plus, I went to preschool when I was three and four and I have such fond memories of those years! I loved preschool and I want the same for Colin.

All of the co-ops around here are based out of community colleges, so you might check there. Other than that, I too have found that most of the pre-schools are either church based, montessori, or really just daycare. (There are also some *really* expensive private schools that have pre-schools.) Also, a lot of my friends who are very involved with MOPS and other quasi-pre-school groups have opted to skip it all together. They feel like their kids get enough socialization at all of their other events. The kids have all done fine in kindergarten -except when they've tried to get into the really expensive private schools in town.

The way you can usually tell a "pre school" from a "daycare" is to look at how long the kids spend there and who attends. Pre-school programs are usually 1 1/2-3 hours long and that's it. They usually serve 2 years old to Kindergarten, but not infants or older children, unless they are attached to an elemenatry school, which some of the church based ones are.

Sorry,I think I rambled a bit- I get excited about pre-school. I hope that helped!

06-10-2005, 07:05 AM
I won't be sending Ryden to preschool until he's 4. I have no reason other than that's what we did with the other two and it worked out well for us. Oh yeah, and it's not budgeted into our budget right now. Preschools are expensive! I'm also hesistant b/c as active as Ryden is, he totally shuts down when he's with a large group of kids. He has a great time in church nursery when it's just a few kids there. Get more than ten in there and he just stands there like he's overwhelmed by it all. I suppose if he were in preschool he would eventually get over that, but I really see no need to do that right now since it's clear he's so overwhelmed in that type of situation.

06-10-2005, 07:32 AM
Braden will be going at 2. I will be returning to work but even before we made this decision, I signed him up. I think it's important for two year olds to have some experience in a social situation without mom. Braden has been in two playgroups sine he was a baby but it's a different experience with mom around.

Additionally, in our area if you do not sign your child up at two, it's virtually impossible to get into a program at a later point. I chose his preschool by visiting a bunch of local preschools. Since I am a teacher, I knew what I was looking for in terms of a program. I wanted a place where the children were free to explore within a nurturing environment. The schools I looked at were not glorified daycare centers. Each had a vision and the teachers were highly trained in early childhood education.

DS 6/3/03


06-10-2005, 08:55 AM
Alex is not going until he is 4. I looked into it for this fall (he is 3 now), and decided that it wasn't something that he needed right now. Things to consider that helped me make my decision:
* Does your son regularly socialize with other (non-related) children close to his age?
* Does he seem comfortable with other kids around his age? Is his play age appropriate?
* Are there activities/classes you can enroll him in in the community (other than preschool) to widen his horizons and give him the experience of time away from mom?
* Does your son seem ready to be in a classroom for 2-4 hours a day, 2-4 days a week, every week for the entire school year? And does this fit YOUR lifestyle right now?

I decided that I could take the same amount of money that 3 year old preschool would cost and sign Alex up for different classes through our Parks and Rec department here, and let him have some fun this year without any pressure, but still have him learn how to follow instructions with a group (without me there), make new friends, etc. I just don't think he is ready to sit in a classroom for the 3 1/2 hours a day 2-3 days a week that the preschool around here runs. He'll have plenty of years of structured school.

Oh, and don't listen to people who tell you that your son will be horribly behind if you don't put him in 3 year old preschool. I talked with Alex's ped at his 3 year appt, and she said that unless you have an at risk child, there is no indication that preschool helps a child succeed in school. In other words a child that has 2 years of preschool and a child with no preschool at all before kindergarden have the identical chances of success in school.

Alex 3/2002
Catherine 8/2003

06-10-2005, 12:58 PM
We started looking around for something for Matthew when it was pointed out to us that he has almost no socialization outside of immediate family. He's open with family, but very shy with the normal noisy-ness of older kids at the playground. He really needs to have more exposure to more people since I'm basically a hermit. He knows his letters and numbers and loves to read and has great fine motor coordination, so it wasn't about "education" per se for me. I really think it's an individual decision based on what you think Jacob would need or want.

At two, none of the programs I talked to recommended anything more than 2 days a week, three hours a day. There ARE programs around here too that call their full day daycare programs for toddlers "preschool." My guess is because a) it sounds better or b)because they really do have a preschool for older kids and they're just sort of extending that to the younger kids since they think parents like a more aggressive "educational" philosophy.

We chose a program that around here is technically called "Mother's Morning Out" (and this is a term that is used lots of places to mean the same thing--3 and younger, part-time half days). Almost all of these programs are affordable and are at local churches. Our program is at a church that we're not attending, but which has a respected elementary and middle school program and it's right around the corner from our house. The program is not preschool, in my book, since they don't have a strict curriculum (it's more like they learn about birds for a month and pretend they're birds and worms and eat crackers and go look at birds). Preschool there starts at age 4.

Montessori is a different deal--much more school like, ours starts at age 2 1/2 (Matthew wouldn't be eligible this fall anyway) and requires them to be potty trained. It is $7,100 for the school year, half days 5 days a week.

Mommy to Matthew Clayton, who is TWO!

06-10-2005, 01:23 PM
Jen, Jacob has the very same reaction, and maybe it's just mommy neurosis, but I can't see taking him to school and leaving him, knowing how upset he'd be right now. Thanks for your input!

06-10-2005, 01:26 PM
Karen - Your post was helpful and you didn't ramble. I appreciate your input as to why you decided to go with it and when. Also, I think your assessment of what a preschool is is probably right on target. My problem is, I don't know how to find it. When I google, or look in the phone book under preschools, I still come up with places that start full time "care" for infants at very young ages, etc. So I don't really know where else to look. I guess I assumed that even the local college would show up if there were a good program available. I know they have a fantastic daycare for students children, but have never heard of anything public or preschool related.


06-10-2005, 01:28 PM
Jenn - How did you know that if you don't sign up for preschool now that it's impossible to get in later? I worry about that, but have never heard anything locally in that vein.

Also, how did you find your preschool and how were you sure it wasn't just a glorified daycare? Did you know even before you visited the school, or did you have to try a bunch out w/ a visit to determine that?

06-10-2005, 01:30 PM
This is reasassuring, so thank you for your post. I don't think we really fit the criteria you considered either, so it makes me feel better about delaying the decision until I have more clarity.

06-10-2005, 01:33 PM
Jacob has a bit of difficulty w/ larger groups of kids, as he's rarely had to deal with it. He is very talkative around family and some friends, but gets very tentative and uncomfortable in larger groups and unfamiliar situations. This is part of the reason I'm torturing myself w/ this. I can't bring myself to shove him into such a situation, know he would be so uncomfortable, and yet I worry that I'm fostering too much dependence. I keep asking myself if that's ok at this age, and my gut tells me it is, but I just don't know. Thanks for telling me how you decided.

I will also search a bit more widely by looking for Mothers' Day Out programs as well as just preschool. That may help me decide for next year.

06-10-2005, 04:20 PM
Andrea, Caden had a very hard time separating from me when it came to things such as Vacation Bible School and Sunday School. When he was 3 and I took him to these things he would cry and scream and not want to be left there. I ended up being the aide to both VBS and Sunday School for those years :) I seriously wondered how we were ever going to get him to preschool and eventually school. I just could not imagine him ever getting over his refusal to do these things without me. Well we sent him to preschool when he was four and he cried the first two days (which may have been a show for me, b/c by the time I left the room and got to the window on the outside to look in, he was no longer crying). He loved preschool and never complained about it or had a fear of going after those first initial days. Now he is very outgoing in school and shy is the last word any teacher would use to describe him. He talks easily and openly (too openly a lot of times!) to not only kids, but to adults.

Ryden isn't even close to being on the same level of timidness as Caden was, so that's why I'm not feeling the need to expose him to preschool and getting him use to being in group settings (other than church nursery). Some people feel that consistent exposure to group settings is what kids need to get over their shyness/uncomfortableness, and I think that's true in some cases, but I also think that age/maturity is a big factor as well.

06-10-2005, 04:37 PM
Hi Andrea,

You are not weird at all! People think I am though! :)JG will be starting preschool this Fall. We are definitely in the minority. And I am still having an issue with letting her go! :)

Our library hosts a preschool fair each year, and that is how I heard about many preschools. I also looked in the telephone book and found a few that were smaller, co-op, non-daycare types. These ones rely on word-of-mouth rather than paying for advertising to attract students. These are the types of schools I was interested in. Around here there are waitlists that start as soon as babies are born. It is crazy! JG has been on the waitlist since January 04 for the school she is attending this fall. It is smart to start looking now, even you intend to not send Jacob until 4. Good luck with your search!

06-10-2005, 05:35 PM
I forgot to include info in my original post about how I found preschools to investigate. Mostly, I talked to a bunch of people with slightly older kids, and found out which preschools they had looked at and enrolled in. Some recommended church ones, others suggested local independent preschools or coops. Many of the parents around here enrolled their kids in the preschool offered by the public school district. Apparently it is really good (actual teachers, some with masters degrees), curriculm based, 4 year old is mostly kindergarden readiness, and fairly inexpensive. And no waitlists from year to year (you sign your kid up when they are ready to go in -- you can't preregister when they are born or anything). You might want to look and see if your schools have something like this. Everyone we spoke with was very happy with their experience in this program, and it will probably be where Alex is enrolled when he is 4.


06-11-2005, 12:51 PM
I'm not planning on sending DS to preschoool at all - and I do feel weird for it. I'm in the local MOMS group, and I was really surprised to find that most of the moms in the group are sending their child to preschool. In fact, I'm a little concerned because right now, DS has lots of other kids his age to play with on a regular basis. I imagine it will be harder to find kids for him to play with once they all start preschool.

Keep in mind, I'm also considering homeschooling, so that makes me a little odd.

DH works at the local community college and they have a fantastic preschool. They have an early education department so the preschool is a "lab school." It would definately be worth looking at the local colleges if that's the way you want to go.


06-11-2005, 06:13 PM
Just so you know, I had no idea that there was preschool for kids younger than 4. Where I grew up, it was for 4 yo and it was optional. Well, around here, everyone starts there kids at 3 by the latest, and I was shocked. I am lucky as Nick's b-day is one day passed the deadline for enrollment, so I avoided a lot of the stress. There is no way he would have been ready for preschool at 3. I wouldn't have sent him. Now that he is 3.5, he keeps asking to go to school, and I know by the time he starts at 4, he will be more than ready, but if I am wrong, I will pull him out. You have to do what you think is best, YKWIM?

I also had no idea how to search for schools, so I started asking moms in the neighborhood. I got a pretty good idea from this which ones where too daycare like, too religious, too rigid, as well as the good ones to look at. Our public school has a program, which I have heard good things about and some of the churches do have co-ops, but with another child at home, that wasn't possible. Most preschools have open houses or allow drop ins, which was helpful when we narrowed down our choices.

We are sending Nick to a Montessori program, as I think that will fit his personality best. He tends to be a loner, so it will provide him with independence, but also an opportunity to interact with others. We were really on the fence about doing this type of a program, but Nick loved it when we went for a visit, more so than the other traditional preschools.

Just do what you think is best, you're not weird! I would think a Mom's Day Out program would be good for your situation, but around here anyway, they have huge waiting lists.

Mom to Nick 10/01
& Alex 04/04

August Mom
06-12-2005, 12:47 AM
You're not weird! :) I hadn't considered preschool at all, thinking that we'd wait until DS was 4. Then, other moms in my playgroup were signing their kids up for it. I still didn't think we'd do it, but I did think I'd investigate. What I learned is that you have to sign up early. For fall 2005, applications were due between January and March around here. I was really surprised about that. So, keep that in mind.

I talked to other moms I knew about preschools (and even asked on-line here and got help from another mom who referred me to a couple of preschools). Then, I visited with DS.

I was still torn (and still am, actually), but we wound up signing DS up for a Mother's Morning Out program where DS will go 1 morning a week.

My only rationale for deciding to send DS to this program was to improve his socialization skills. I really am not worried about his scholastic capabilities at this point. I can work with him on those areas. However, he is very clingy with me when we are around groups of other kids. And, we have had a really difficult time going to church services because DS won't stay in the nursery. The reason I am still a bit torn is that I worry that having him go will be traumatic. However, at the same time, we would like to be able to attend an entire church service or other event that offers child care. We are hoping that this program will provide that.

Plus, during the tour, he really seemed excited about the room that would be his, the teachers were really nice, they do lots of crafts (which he loves), have a separate music teacher (and I really want to expose him to music) and are well thought of in the community.

DS will be 3. I have taken the attitude that we will try it and if it's not working, we'll pull him out of the program. If it does work, he'll get some socialization time and I'll have a few hours to myself to get things done. It can be a win-win.

But, I wouldn't feel as though you have to do it. I had decided that I didn't want a 2-day or 3-day program at this point. If I hadn't found the 1-day program, DS wouldn't be in preschool and we'd just be doing parks and rec programs or other classes. I still plan to do some parks and rec and other classes with DS too.

Good luck in your decision.

06-12-2005, 01:58 PM
Well, we started Ryan in Montessori preschool (they call it pre primary for his age group) in January since little Miss Riley was on the way. I was on bedrest, so I also needed the break from Ryan. I wasn't quite sure how "schoolish" it was since it is not really recommended that actual hard core teaching happen this young. It's not! They do Montessori lessons like showing the kids (no words to explain it, just learn by watching the teacher do it) a bucket with water in it then using a sponge move the water to another bucket by squeezing it. When they do snack time, they take their own plates and rinse them off and put them in a dish drainer (for them to be washed by the teacher after school is over). He does a craft project a week too.

It's a very calm environment compared to some of the other "schools," that were really glorified daycares, that I visited. The ratios are great too so I know Ryan is in good hands. As far as Ryans take on it....he loves it! He talks about school all of the time. He behaves better there than at home too, btw.

So there you go Andrea. If it is something you are even considering for Jake, I would really do it before the bambino gets here too so he is established in the routine!

06-12-2005, 08:47 PM
I haven't read all the other posts yet, but I wanted to reply and tell you why I'm sending my DD to preshool starting this fall. I didn't really consider preschool until DD will be 3, but I know lots of moms that use programs designed for kids younger than 3. Around here, most of these type of programs are referred to as Mother's Day out, but I think they do lots of activities similar to preschool. I work full time but am lucky enough to have my mom care for my children. Because of this, my kids aren't around other kids there are very often. So, the main reason I want DD to start preschool is far more for the social aspect rather than the educational one. I don't think you're weird for not wanting to put him in a program yet. If you don't feel like you need a break and you think he wouldn't handle it very well, I probably wouldn't consider it just yet either...maybe a year from now when he is 3. Good luck with your decision!

06-13-2005, 10:05 AM
I wanted to add that if a preschool is based out of a church it might not be affiliated to that, or any church. There are many churches in my area who rent their space out to independent schools so they can make money on their space when it normally would not be used during the week. I would look into your local library for storytimes and your local parks and rec for other mom & me groups and when you meet other moms you can get info from them about local schools.

06-13-2005, 01:07 PM
Thank you to everyone who responded here and was so honest with their reasoning for sending or not sending their kids to preschool and at what age. Reading these replies has solidified for me that I am not ready to enroll him in preschool just yet, but that I need to be aware of getting enrolled early even if I want him to go at age 3. So I need to do some further research and asking questions of the moms in my MOMS Club. My google searches really turn up only a few "real" preschools and lots of daycares, so I need to check into the details of those programs and try to find out more about "mothers day/morning out" and "pre primary" programs too. And I didn't realize that some operate solely on word of mouth, so that makes me more inclined to start asking around early, even though we're not there yet. I feel better knowing that it's ok to start researching now, without having to commit to something just yet.

Jacob is a very talkative, curious, friendly little guy, but it is very dependent on the situation, and it has evolved over time. He is very tentative in new situations and would be overwhelmed and intimidated by preschool at this age. I am exposing him to more and more group stuff at the libraries and w/ MOMS Club, so hopefully this will continue to evolve. I keep thinking that how he reacts to a group right now, or how he reacts to separating from me right now could be completely and utterly different in 6 mths or a year from now and so I shouldn't feel inclined to push him. I can help foster some sense of confidence by continuing to expose him to group activities and new adventures w/ the 2 of us and perhaps that will help him feel more comfortable when the time comes.

Again, thank you for being so honest about your own thought process, as it really helped me to sort out what I felt at heart.

06-13-2005, 06:45 PM
I had not planned it this way but DD is going to preschool at 2. Hers is at a nearby church, a few days a week, 9-noon. I pictured nursery school the year before kindergarten like when I was a child. After we moved and I met a lot of the moms who've lived here a while, I was told that it would be difficult to get DD into a program at age 4 because people here tend to start their kids at 2. The class sizes are only slightly bigger at age 4 so after all the kids who are already enrolled move up, even the biggest programs often have only a handful of spaces. In addition, my DD has the sort of personality that is very slow to warm up to new things but at the same time she is intensely curious. I think interacting with other kids and adult caretakers will be good for her. I don't view it as anything academic, only social.

I did not look into any programs that did full days for toddlers except one Montessori program at a private school. Other than that, I looked at church programs. We are not Christian so I just looked for a program that did not have too much religion mixed in. I ended up picking a preschool at a nearby Methodist church. When you peek at their classes, it just looks like kids playing with a couple of teachers helping to keep everything nice and happy. The preschool director does do a sort of presentation based on Christian principles once a month but from how she explained it, it is something in the vein of everyone is special and be good to each other. I looked in a local phonebook for a listing of preschools and called the ones based in churches and also got suggestions from moms I met doing Gymboree classes.

The other big difference I found between the daycare type of preschool and the church programs is cost. The daycare type had fees similar to FT daycare. The church preschools ranged from about $120-200 a month depending on how many days of the week your child attends.

06-16-2005, 10:23 AM
I decided to send my DD to preschool at 3 years old. At first I thought 'maybe she is too young', but her class was only 2x a week for 2 1/2 hours. She absolutley loved it, and I loved the school. It is a preschool through a local church. (you don't have to belong to the church to go to the school). It is amazingly organized (they have a library, gym, nice playground, etc.) and most importantly... they learn through playing. They are not pressured by any means. The teacher would send home a letter each month, specifying all the skills they learned through playing. A lot of kindergarten programs these days expect a lot from these little ones, so I know this program will be beneficial to her. I teach her a lot, but this helps her learn more, make friends, and learn how school runs and how to act in school.

I think that they don't really need to go at 3 if you don't want them too, but should definitely to go at 4. This helps with learning to make new friends, and separation from mom. My daughter is amazingly outgoing and enthusiastic, but had a horrible time separating from me. She cried pretty bad the first few times. I had decided that after a few more times, I would pull her out if she didn't get better. All of a sudden it clicked, and she couldn't wait to go to school each tues/thurs!

I would stay away from daycare preschools, they are expensive. Check out your local churches. With Sophie's school, I called way in advance and that helped her get in the school. (some have big waiting lists!). I've already put my son's name in for the 3 year program, and he just turned 2! Also, the school cost $138 a month.

Like a lot said here, it also depends on the child and your lifestyle/schedule... what works for the child and you.

Good luck!

06-19-2005, 02:20 PM
Around here, you need to get into a program ASAP otherwise you will never get in. It is crazy.

I started Matthew in a toddler program at 16 months. I needed a break and he needed to become more social. I have seen such a huge change in him since going to that program. He used to get so easily overwhelmed in social situations. He was shy, not interactive with people or children he didn't know, and was super clingy to me. Since being in preschool, he has become a social butterfly. He is sure of himself and feels comfortable in new surroundings. I love how he has gained interest in topics I never thought he would. For example, he is seriously into bugs after they talked about them at school. His teacher had set up pretend magnifying glasses with different colored lenses and lots of plastic insects. He would sit and look at them forever if you let him. That interest has spilled out into home, the park, even asking to watch insect documentaries on the Animal Planet channel. He likes me to read him books about bugs, both fiction and non-fiction. We now have a bug t-shirt in our clothes rotation. It is amazing how into them he is!

Anyway, I would look into as many programs as you can and find the right "fit". It is amazing how kids thrive in a good program. And as a point of reference, the two's program cost us $200 a month, for two days (T, Th) from 9-1. The three's program is going to be $230 for three days a week (M, W, F) 9-1. He packs a lunch. They provide snack (drink and food) and milk with lunch.

07-03-2005, 04:49 AM
We plan to send James to preschool next September because it is hard to get into the preschool program of your choice around here unless you start at 3. I found out about different preschools around here from moms with slighly older kids in my MOMS Club. IMO, there's no other way to find out about preschools around here since most are church-based ones that don't advertise. Also many have such strict enrollment deadlines and entrance requirements (e.g., you have to be an active church member, etc.) that you almost have to start looking a year ahead if you want to send your DC to the preschool of your choice. I highly recommend a Moms Morning Out Program though. James has been enrolled in one for 6 months, and it's worked out great. It's helped him feel more comfortable in a crowd of kids with other adults, and I'm sure it'll help him to adjust to preschool.

07-10-2005, 01:38 PM
Will is starting preschool this September, a few months short of his second birthday. Because of that, he'll be in the 1 year old class, but several of his friends will be in it too so I know it won't be just him and a bunch of youngins'.

The school is run through a Methodist church here and it is *the* place to go. When I first heard about it, someone told me that people slept out overnight to get their kids in because it was so competitive. I immediately said that I will NOT, on principal, sleep out overnight to get my child into preschool!

Fast forward to a lovely Thursday night this past February, and I got to the preschool at 6pm to await the next morning's registration. I was third in line. It was actually a fun experience, I had all my friends with me, and it was kind of like sleeping out for concert tickets in high school.

The 1 year old classes were both FULL before open registration (from siblings and church members who could register early). I was #1 on the waiting list and got a call in May that Will got in.

So...he's going MWF from 9-12. I decided to put him in for a few reasons, some pertaining to him, some to me. For him, he is a very social guy and very independent around other kids (although the mommy mommy mommy stage is starting up big time so it will be interesting to see what happens). I just felt like he was ready. The program does art and music sessions, which are things I'd be taking him to anyways if he weren't in school.

I also did it for selfish reasons. I just need a break for a few hours a week. Errands are virtually impossible with him, as you all know. I can't even drop off or pick up dry cleaning. I was also thinking ahead to being pregnant with #2 (which we still havent started trying for yet). I knew there was no way I'd be able to take him to doctors appts, etc- so I can schedule all that kind of stuff while he's in school. Plus, I thought if I just needed to sleep, spend time hunched over a toilet- whatever- I could get it done.

Regardless of your choice, no one is weird. You know your child better than anyone. I would suggest, however, to those who have more dependent kids that preschool could be a great way for them to learn how to branch out. It would likely be emotionally hard on you in the beginning, but I'd be willing to bet your child would start having fun in no time.

As for how to find a school - start asking around to everyone you know. Call some of the private elementary schools and ask if they know of any good preschools. Call the bigger churches and ask them- even if they dont have a program, they'll likely know who does.

Yikes, such a long post. HTH.