I keep waiting for my thoughts to organize themselves enough about school - now that we're six weeks or so into the school year - to write a profound post about my thoughts/feelings. For now, though, it's all still too new and changeable. I come away from drop-off in the mornings feeling elated some days and other days? I wish I could home school. Or, you know, hire a private tutor because there is NO WAY I WOULD EVER HOMESCHOOL. No offense to anyone who does, I just don't have the skills necessary.
Anyway, I have distilled a few coherent thoughts from the muddle so here they are:
* Kindergarten is not just drawing and painting and singing. They are learning hardcore concepts at this age. There are lots of options here in Minnesota to make sure that as many kids as possible are able to attend preschool, but I know there are kids who don't. I can't imagine coming into the kindergarten classroom as the first experience of school. Talk about intense.
* Our school district offers free breakfast to all kids before school starts. For kindergarteners, they have the food in the classroom and they can eat for the first 10 minutes or so of class. I LOVE that they have this option, as I know there are many kids who don't get to eat breakfast at home. However, our school starts at 9:33 and that's really late for breakfast time, at least where my kids are concerned. I don't have it in me to tell Pacey he CAN'T eat, because he won't understand why the other kids are and he can't. On the other hand, I can't tell him he cannot eat breakfast at home with B, he wouldn't get that either. So, two breakfasts. This isn't a huge deal and he's definitely trying a lot of healthy foods he'd never touch at home. My only complaint is that it kind of derails the start to his day a little bit. I feel like he gets to school really ready to dive into the structure and breakfast is sort of chaotic and can trigger a stubborn meltdown/refusal scenario when there are too many instructions and variables at once. Although it's a pilot program this year I imagine they will continue it so better he get used to the drill now, but it's a little frustrating.
* There are a lot of really nice kids at Pacey's school. I walk him into his class in the morning, but I let him get a lead up so he's sort of independent. It's fun to see the other kids commenting how cute he is, or admonishing each other to watch out for the little ones. His classmates always seem excited to see him and they ask about him when he's out for some reason. I like that he's truly a part of their community.
* It's really easy to get ahead of myself. I don't have to figure out next year, or the year after that until it's actually time. I have to remind myself to focus on this year, and making sure that he's getting what he needs to be successful. I have said it before, but it feels like a long road ahead of us.
* It is a true privilege to have the flexibility to spend time in and around Pacey's classroom that being a stay-at-home mom affords me. I am establishing a good rapport with his teacher and other staff and it is so helpful for me to be able to really observe the class routine and what they're learning. It helps a lot with my ability to problem-solve if need be if I can actually see what's challenging for him. I think his teacher appreciates it as well, and to have daily communication with her is invaluable.
* I'll never get through school with either of my kids if I can't learn to separate their achievements or difficulties in school from my effectiveness as a parent. I can prepare them and support the learning process the best I can, but at the end of the day THEY have to do the work and when they inevitably have their mistakes and failures, I will have to work not to take it personally. Easier said than done for this mama.
* I really liked school, but I am so, so, so glad I don't have to go anymore.