14 January 2012

confessions of a preschool dropout.

confession time: we took e out of school last fall. and we have no plans to enroll him somewhere this coming fall. i'm still not sure how i feel about that decision. it wasn't that he didn't like preschool, or do well there, we mainly pulled him out due to the financial burden. and also the disruption of family life. our boy is a bit of a sleepy head, naturally waking somewhere between 7:45 and 8:15 (his sister wakes him up much earlier than that on most days however). considering the fact that school started at 8:15...i hated waking him up just to get him out the door. more often than not, i had to wake one of the girls up too. sleep is so important to their development; i never felt right waking one of them up just so he could go cut and paste (obviously, he did more than that but sometimes it seemed it was nothing more than an expensive daycare).
on his first day of preschool - august 2010
the only pause i have is when i think about the friends he made. he really only has one friend now...though he enjoys playing with the neighbor kids on occasion. did we deny him the chance to make new friends? i don't make friends easily. i never have. i am a homebody at my core; it is just easier for me to stay home and find friends within the pages of a book. that's just who i am. however, i do see and understand the desperate need we all have for friends. first and foremost, i'd like my children's friends to be their siblings. and there's no other way to nurture that than to spend time together. e and lu are now getting to the ages where they can play together well, though not always nicely. but he also needs other boys he can gang around with, to tackle and shoot guns, to spit and fart and do BOY stuff. my prayer for him this year is that he would make and find a few fast friends.
in class...
now, preschool is behind us (for e anyway). kindergarten looms. we've talked through the various options for school next year and beat out the pros and cons of each. public school: close to home vs. large class sizes, curriculum geared to pass standardized tests. charter school: good curriculum, variety of programs/classes vs. driving more than a few minutes, not guaranteed to get in. homeschool: chose curriculum to fit our family, flexible schedule vs. no social aspect.
i've started looking at homeschooling curricula and am, of course, overwhelmed. mostly at all the different options available but also, the cost involved. i realize that it won't be free...still the cost is much higher than i anticipated (though the fact that i could use the same curriculum for more than one child is a definite plus). i got tears in my eyes just this afternoon as i was reading through a kindergarten course description. so silly! i got excited about being able to teach my son the things described in the catalog. i want to teach him those things! to watch him learn and learn to love to learn. but i also want him to have time away from home. to learn how to be independent and not socially awkward.
home after his first day
 it is just kindergarten. it's not like we're talking about the tenth grade here. he's only FIVE! still such a little boy. a little boy that should be running around, playing with legos, kicking dirt and ripping holes in his jeans. not confined to a desk or a table, learning to count to one hundred. obviously, learning is important. and school is important. but so is life and living! and learning to love the act of learning. and i'm starting to think that he could develop that best jumping into puddles, filling his pockets with rocks and poking an ant hill, just to see what happens...

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