Sunday, September 17, 2006

Confessions of a reluctant…homeschooler?

This year I registered our five-year-old daughter for kindergarten. We have a wonderful neighborhood school. We knew she would get a phenomenal Christian kindergarten teacher who taught our now-third grader, and who has become a special friend (Our daughter used to ask me, "If something happens to you and Daddy, and if Aunt Rachel is busy, can I go live with Mrs. N?" I know it's nice to to know you have so many options if Dad and I are incapacitated, but, really, are you secretly hoping something will happen to us? Sheesh!).

Even though she just turned five in July (cutoff here is Sept. 1), she is small, and even though our district has a rigorous, full-day kindergarten, I thought for sure the “fourth-child confidence” would kick in. She’d just do great.

Well, she made it through the first three days of school. Not saying a word. Completely petrified of a teacher we‘ve known and looked forward to for three years. Telling me every evening she was “probably going to be sick” tomorrow. Hiding behind the sofa crying to herself. And telling me she’d “probably rather go to kindergarten when she was six.” Was this really my eternal optimist child?

This was in addition to major hysteria every morning just getting dressed, and clinging to me saying goodbye. Very distressing for me as a mom.

My husband (who has a summer birthday and struggled all through elementary school) is ever the voice of reason when my “mommy mode” kicks in and I can't make a rational decision for the life of me. He said, “What is the benefit of keeping her in, when we could just try again next year? So what if she’s six weeks older than everyone else next time around?”

I talked to her teacher, my friend, and she was supportive. So we did it. We withdrew her (kindergarten is not mandatory in Texas).

Now our daughter tells people matter-of-factly, “My mom pulled me out of kindergarten because we missed each other too much.”

That was a month ago. So now we’ve had our fun at home, and I’m thinking I really ought to get my act together at some point and pull some curriculum together for her. We home schooled the older kids in the early years, so I have every Sonlight book from K to 4, and tons of phonics games, puzzles and paraphernalia (put on VERY HIGH SHELVES because of little two-year-old fingers!). I suppose I could dust those off.

Last year our big kids went to a university model school, and we did "school at home," but the teacher had done the lesson plan, and I was just the homework helper.

It’s just been a while since I’ve had to make planning for school a part of my day. I’ve gotten spoiled with my own agenda. It’s going to take some getting used to, putting a little pre-k thought into my day.

But it’s going to be fun.

And she’s right. I missed her too much.

I’m glad she’s home.


Tammy said...

Hey glad I decided to stop by this morning (and happen to be the first!)

I know I'm a little bias here, but I'm so excited for you and your sweet little girl this year! Last year, when I decided to homeschool for the first time, my oldest was 6. I really looked forward to our time together!

This year, it's slightly more challenging for me since I'm juggling pre-K and second grade...but we're finding our rhythim.

Really, with someone her age, you actually have to spend so little "book work"...a little goes along way and the rest can be done with activities or learning play or toys. And one thing that both my girls STILL love- even my older- is when we take a break and do a silly song together like "Head, shoulder, Knees and Toes." Gets the wiggles out and they just love it...

OK, I'm rambling here...but good for you for you and your husband listening to heart this year. You know I don't believe homeschooling is for everybody, but I know God will bless you all, even if it's for a it was for your older ones!

Jenn said...

That is so sweet, I'm so glad you did it! Seems so right, doesn't it? Sounds likeLots o cuddle time reading books, lil experiements and tea parties are in order.
Have you heard of Five in a Row?
Please check it out...we found it delightful and a natural way to learn without all the formalities:

Have a fun and memory making year!

Wendy said...

Hi Katherine, I think that is great decision. Kindergarten isn't mandatory here either.

I did Five in A Row last year with my son and he loved it. I would recommend it. The book is only about $15-20 and then we just got all our reading books from the library.

Hope you have a great year!

Kristine said...

Listening to those "heartstrings a pullin" is vital.

Our (now) first grader was kept home for a year because it just did not feel right. It was one of the best decisions we made. (And I spent a lot of time on my knees making that decision.)

My philosophy is that God can see the whole picture, and we need to have faith enough to follow even when it doesn't seem logical!

Enjoy working together on school will be a blessing to both of you.

Heather said...

I was one of those with an August birthday. Your daughter sounds much like I did at that stage. The Lord has an awesome plan for both of you and it sure sounds like He has set it in motion. Enjoy.

Jenn @ Knee-Deep in Munchkin Land said...

I think its amazing that you and your husband are willing to listen to each child's needs and react to them individually. That's amazing!

I, too, was one of the older students in my class and I loved it. My parents just felt that I'd do better having one more year at home and they were right. I think it's a great decision.

Shawna said...

What a completely precious way for her to put it. That must be exactly how she feels! It sounds like you made the right decision. I can't bear the thought of sending my middle son next year. I really need to check and see if I have to! I am glad it is working out for both of you. :)

Susanne said...

My youngest's birthday is late December and cutoff around here is December 31st. So we put her in and have regretted it since. Boy she could so have used that extra year of confindence and maturity under her belt.

Susanne said...

Oh, and I was going to say you have a wise hubby there and I admire you both for discerning what was best for your child.

Unknown said...

It sounds like you are doing what's best for her and your family. That TX full day K is rigorous. I know that you will make the right decision about what to do next year as well--as a family and with God's guidance.

Beck said...

That post hit a real nerve with me - we have full day PK here (only every other day), and my little guy is having a rough time adjusting. He's happy at school, but the problems he's having make me want to keep him home with me. I'm glad you and your little girl are happy!

Michelle- This One's for the Girls said...

Wow girl--our lives continue to parallel...

I have 3 in public school, a 2nd grader here whom I homeschool and a nearly 2 year old running around.

I'm using Rod and Staff this year and loving it! It's cheap, cheap, cheap.

Have you ever heard of Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons? My favorite Kindergarten resource...

Katrina @ Callapidder Days said...

Good for you and your husband for being so flexible about the whole situation. Sounds like you made the perfect decision for your little girl! said...

Good for you guys. Kindergarten is just learning the basics and listening to other adults besides mom and dad and it sounds like she's already exposed to other adults. Hope you enjoy your year together!

Christine said...

The end of your post made me teary. What a great thing for your daughter. You've expanded her trust in you and your judgement because you listened to her heart and responded.


Andrea said...

That is so sweet!I love that. 5 always seems so young to be gone all day!

Code Yellow Mom said...

Two thumbs up. :) You two will have a great year, and it will be wonderful for you to see how really ready she is next year. I like the husband's voice of reason, too. :)

Sabrina said...

This is a wonderful post. My own daughter is having issues of missing mom, but she is in gr.1, and homeschooling isn't an option for us. This post reinforced what God has been showing me about this little girl of my own.........Thanks!