My oldest just turned 5 and I am on the fence about what we'll do in the fall. There are some very good reasons I can find to send him to Kindy, but I have this nagging dread about sending him off all day every day. But then I have so much doubt about my ability to do a good job homeschooling. And? Having some time to spend with his younger brother, and exercise, and have a "break", sounds amazing. I am having such a hard time with this decision. Total rant, but WHY can't Kindy be less rigorous than 8 hours/day 5 days/week? It just seems like a whole lot for a 5 year old to me. Anyway, then I think, well... I'll just stick my head in the sand about the whole thing and just homeschool for Kindy and reassess next year. Is that how it starts sometimes? Like, "I'll homeschool this year, but that's it" and then it turns out to be many more than 1 year?
Wow. There's a lot of different stuff going on in this, so I'm going to pick it apart and answer it a bit at a time.
This is the perfect time of year to begin thinking about whether or not you'll be homeschooling next Fall. You should have plenty of time for researching and soul-searching between now and September. Kudos to you for thinking so far in advance. (I wish I were this organized!)
There are many good reasons in favor of either decision, keeping him home or sending him off to school. What are your reasons for either one? Have you stopped to actually think about it or is it just gut reactions? (I'm often guilty of making gut decisions and not thinking it through. That's why I'm asking.) Have you written it down or talked it out with your husband or a close friend? If not, brainstorming your thoughts and feelings on the subject is where I would begin.
As I've said in other blog posts, I don't think fear is a good reason to make any decision. Whether it's your fear of what's in the schools or your fear of your own inadequacy, fear can be a useful tool to make you take an honest look at things, but you need to make decisions based on facts. For example, you're afraid that you wouldn't be able to teach him. Okay...why? Have you had difficulty teaching him things in the past? Have you struggled to convey to him exactly what it is that you want from him and how you want him to behave? If so, those are skills you need to work on whether you homeschool him or not. If you've taught him to make his bed, say his alphabet, pee in the potty, behave in public, identify colors, and to count to 10...guess what? You've taught preschool...successfully! Why should Kindergarten be any different?
Finding time for yourself, and time alone with his younger brother will not be the easiest thing...I'm not going to lie to you. But if he's at home with you now, it won't be any different than what you're already doing. You have two small boys at home (God bless you), finding time for the things you want to do is already a challenge. I can see why adding more things on top of that seems like adding madness to chaos, but it's not that much madness. Kindergarten should take approximately an hour a day (You're right, 8 hours a day is way too much for a 5 year old.) Can you do an hour's worth of work while the little brother naps? Can the little one color and do his own "school" next to the 5 years old? The work doesn't have to be done all at once, so can you find time for 5 or 6 things which take 10-15 minutes each? Taken in little bite-sized chunks, it's not that hard to work his schoolwork into the daily routine you've already established in your home. As for your exercise, keep doing what you're doing now if it's working for you.
Kindergarten is a great time to stick your toe in the water and try it out. In many states, kindergarten attendance isn't even compulsory, so your son won't be behind the state standards if you decide this just isn't for you. A word of warning though, there was a time when I thought I'd homeschool kindergarten because I couldn't bear to put my baby on the school bus, by the end of that year I'd fallen in love with teaching her and she was years ahead of her peers. We were stuck with it, and couldn't have been happier.
I hope that helps. I've tried to answer your questions as best I could. If I've missed something or you have more questions, please ask! (That goes for all of you!)