Posted by: Tricia | December 3, 2011

Kindergarten, here we come!

 

First day of Pre-K, August 2011

Let me begin with some words of wisdom for all of you future mothers.  If you’re going to have a baby don’t have one in August.  And, if you can’t avoid a summer baby, by all means, make sure it’s a GIRL!!  For the past year or more we have wrestled with all things concerning SCHOOl (Kindergarten) for Elliott.   Where will he go?  Do we do private or public?  When will he go?  Do we hold him back or send him on?  How will our decision affect him later on?

We decided to enroll Elliott in preschool this past fall for several reasons.  We thought he would enjoy the structure and benefit from it.  We thought he would enjoy making some new friends.  He loves to learn so we figured he would love that aspect of school.  And, of course, I was anxious to hear the teachers’ assessment of his Kindergarten readiness.

The first 2 weeks of preschool were a breeze.  Elliott really seemed to enjoy the structure and was starting to make friends.  But, after a few times of going he seemed to be over it!  He was sad when I told him it was a preschool day, but seemed happy enough when I picked him up afterward.  I tried not to panic and say “you don’t have to go if you don’t want to!”.  Knowing that preschool is not necessary made it extremely difficult for me to not give in!  I contemplated pulling him out to do something like zoo school or museum school; Both of which I know he would love.  I mean, why make him do something he doesn’t enjoy if these really are some of the last months before he’s off to school?  I told myself we’d give it a month.  I even talked with his teachers a bit just to make sure that he seemed to be enjoying himself while he was there.  They assured me that he was and encouraged me to stick it out for a while.  Sure enough, after a month or so of not being so keen on preschool he started to perk up about it.  What a relief!  He’s made several friends who he talks fondly of; one of which is a “big girl (she’s 5)” who he seems to have a crush on!

Here he is with his friend, Ethan.  They are adorable around one another.

 Elliott will be 5 this coming August, and technically ready for Kindergarten.  But, as we have come to discover, most parents in Texas hold their kiddos with summer birthdays back a year…especially if they are boys.  Many Most of our friends with similar situations have decided to do the same.  We know two families who will be holding back their sons with May birthdays.  Their boys will turn 7 before they graduate Kindergarten!  7!!!  This makes it really difficult for the rest of us to make the decision to send our brand new 5 year-olds to school at the same time as these other guys! I have asked and asked and received and received way more advice than I know what to do with.  Believe it or not the most difficult part of this process (and I’m sure it isn’t over) has been keeping myself focused on what is best for Elliott.  With so many people offering their opinions and so many friends doing things their own way it has been very difficult not to succumb to what seems to be best for other kids.  Once I was able to keep my blinders on and really go with my heart the decision has been rather easy.

For now, we have decided to enroll Elliott in Kindergarten for the fall.  He soaks up new information like a sponge and loves the learning process.  His social skills may be a bit behind the older kids in his class, but we have decided that he would undoubtedly be a bigger discipline problem if he were held back a year and bored with the material.  We have decided that he deserves the chance to try it out.  If he doesn’t succeed, if it’s too early, then we can reasses.  The where is yet to be determined, but our first choice would be for him to be accepted into one of our city’s charter schools via their lottery system.  We will attend a meeting in January to learn more about the schools, but from what we know already about them, they seem like they would be a great fit, both for Elliott, and us.  If he doesn’t make it in one of the charters we will enroll him in an accredicted 3-day a week program at a neighborhood Bible church.  This plan B is quite appealing to a mother who is not quite ready to let go of her first-born 5 full days a week!  This is  a great program and I think it would be a great transition for a young 5-year-old moving from Pre-K to Kindergarten.  Then, after a year in the church program we would try again for the charter schools.  If they don’t work out a second time we will reassess!  Homeschooling is definitely an option at that point, or we may decide that we can afford private school.  Perhaps we will even move…again!!  But, after spending so much time fretting and praying over what to do I am so relieved to have come to a decision.

I never ever expected this issue to be such a trying one!  I remember when we bought our first house in a neighborhood with so-so schools I thought “No big deal!  Our kids will just integrate wherever, whenever.”  But, now that our then-imaginary children are here and real with real personalities and real futures these decisions have become much more important to me.  It is something that I am still working on letting go of to trust that the Lord will be faithful to do good for Elliott no matter where he goes to school, or when!

And, as for preschool?  We are going to get the best of both worlds by finishing the year out where he’s at and sign up for summer museum camp!

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Responses

  1. I am so glad you wrote this post. It seems that Caleb is very bright, like Elliott is. Caleb has a November birthday, so he will naturally be older than most kids, so that decision is simpler. However, our wild card is James. He has an August birthday, and for him, it seems natural to hold him back a year. To add to the decision, though, he will start receiving his therapies from the local public school when he’s three, so that’s when he’ll start preschool. Preschool here is a full 8 to 3, five days a week, if I understand correctly, which seems awfully long to me! Since we live in a small town, the “where” is a very public decision; everyone knows if you opted not to enroll your kids locally. SO…all that being weighed in, I don’t know what to do! I want C to start school earlier than J, but with J starting so young, that may not happen. And I want the absolute best for both boys, but my options are limited where I live. So yes, I feel your confusion! I’m glad to know its not just me! It’s good advice to just put your blinders on and decide for your own kids. Thanks!

  2. I know it’s HARD! No matter how you slice it – it’s good to get opinions, but ultimately it has to be what’s best for your family. Glad you have moved along in your choice and now you can roll forward.


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