Monday, August 3, 2009

Playing School

My little one will not be starting school this year. And she may or may not be starting next year. She is one of those "lucky few" who turns five after the school cut-off, so she will have two full school years before she starts kindergarten. Not that I am in any hurry, because I totally am not.
She will be almost 5 and 3/4 when she starts school, which is about the same as my experience, as we are both December babies. I already know for sure that I am keeping her home with me this year, no preschool. Oh, I think she would totally dig preschool, and bloom like the little social dandelion that she is. But I have a few selfish reasons for this decision:

1. She will be in school, like, her entire life. Why start so early?
2. This will be our "last year" together as "just us". When baby comes in March, things for my little only child will change pretty dramatically, so I want to enjoy the Abigail and Mommy time while it's still us. One of my friends who is pregnant with her fourth child said that her oldest daughter, who is now 8, and had several years of being an "only" before bro and sis came along likes to remind her parents of the "good old days when it was just us." I love this, and plan to enjoy these days as well.
3. She is mine, and you can't have her. Ahem.

I still roll around the thoughts in my head of what to do the next school year, the one before the big K. Part of me likes the idea of just keeping her home. Although I can see benefits to both sides of the coin, I think kids benefit from more time with Mama than less, so I'm in no rush. On the other hand, she may be ready for some break time after baby, and a couple mornings a week may be just what she needs to do her thing. And that is all I am really wanting...there is lots and lots of time for five days a week. If she could go a couple of mornings to a good preschool, that may give me some one-on-one time with baby that would be precious to us, too.

Because those baby days? They go like lightening.

Today, however, I tried something new. We played school. This came from the advice of my Super-Smart-Awesome-Mommy friend Christianne. She has three kids and is an elementary school teacher. A "high-ability" school teacher, no less. Cough, cough. And her oldest daughter who is about to start kindergarten is nothing short of....really smart and sweet and awesome just like her mommy. She never has sent her kids to preschool, yet her oldest could be in the running for next Doogie Howser. Or something smart like that. Her suggestion was just buying those little preschool workbooks from the store, that have little activities and stuff. Wow, I sound super smart when I talk preschool work.

So, I did. And we did. We did 17 pages today, because she just didn't want to stop. We played "What starts with the same sound?" and "What is different in the picture?" We counted, and did mazes. We colored. She loved it. Every time I would say it would be the last one, she would say, "Just three more." I was impressed with how much she understood it. And here's the real kicker....I had so much fun doing it with her! It was focused. It was quiet. It didn't require dragging out every toy into the living room. I didn't have to put on my swimsuit or lather us up with sunscreen. And just like the Grinch's heart, I think her brain grew two sizes today.


Rudy said...

Amy, I feel you on this. I am actually going to a meeting at the preschool close to our house (head start) on Wed. I am not 100% sold on the idea but I really think he could benefit from the social aspect Plus, I think the 1 on 1 with Baby K would be good as well. He REALLY wants to go to school with his best friend C and he begs me to go to school all the time so I figure, I might as well look into it. If he likes it, I will enroll him. But I totally understand all of your reasons for keeping her home with you this year.

Beth said...

Awwww...this post made me smile! And I love your description of Christianne and her kids- spot on! We get to start the big K in exactly two weeks. TWO WEEKS! I'm glad I've had a year to hang out with Annabelle, but boy, is she ready to fly... She went to preschool on the one day a week that I taught there for the past two years, and I think it was great for us both, but I don't think it was required for future success in school or anything. You do what's good for you and your lovely Abigail! :)

Christianne said...

(Conversation in our house earlier today before I read this blog entry)

KARA = "Mom, can we do my math book together???"

ME (aka "SUPER MOMMY") = "Uh...not today, sweetie. Go pick out a movie or something. Make sure it's a long one...I've got stuff to do..."

I guess I'm just letting her "practice" for indoor recess! ;-)