Early Education for Katy kids on a Budget

With the current state of the economy, we’ve been looking for ways to pull in extra money and cut our budget.  I’ve been working as a photographer on the weekends to help make ends meet, but it has been at the cost of time together as a family.  And the house?  Oh, boy… please don’t come over without giving me at least 6 hours notice!

Photo by Lerin Wheeless

Katy ISD offers half-day preschool for certain children.  Their eligibility can be based on having English as a second language, an active military parent, or federal income guidelines.  We were a little disappointed to find out that we make just $30 per paycheck too much to qualify!

My first thought was to take on more photography work to pay for preschool.  We figured out how many sessions I would need to book each weekend to cover the cost.  I was one of the crazy moms standing in line way too early in the morning on registration day with a baby and two toddlers in tow, just to make sure we secured our spot!  I paid the registration fees and filled out the paperwork for Bella (4) and Ben (3) to start in the Fall. 

However, as the weeks have gone by, we are reevaluating our decision.  After all, $700/month for preschool would mean quite a few photo sessions!  If I have them in school during the week and am working every evening and weekend… when will I get to be their mother?

One tearful family meeting later, we’ve made a decision… next year, we’re doing preschool at home!  I feel a tremendous burden off of my shoulders.  To prepare our children for the wonderful Katy ISD school system, we’re planning a daily schedule of learning activities.  One of my majors at NSU was Early Childhood Education, and with two siblings so close in age, this could be lots of fun.

Rather than being disappointed at my inability to pay for preschool tuition, I find myself getting more and more excited to enjoy another year at home with my daughter before she spends the rest of her childhood in the school system all day.  I sat with my son yesterday morning, playing Play-Dough for over an hour.  He was laughing with joy, while we squished and rolled and named colors and shapes.  We love to color and paint, too!  I have flashcards to play with, and shape sorters.  We have a little play area in the backyard to exercise those large muscle groups. 

Katy offers a lot to preschool-aged children, and I plan to take advantage of it!  The library system in Katy has many storytimes for different age groups to choose from.  What a great way to let my children practice sitting and listening to a teacher for short periods of time.  Local playgrounds and our church nursery will provide opportunities to interact with other children.

As I gear up for Preschool At Home, I would love to hear your ideas.  What are some other things we can do at home?  What else does Katy have to offer parents of preschoolers on a budget?

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