(You can catch up on G‘s story right here: A Third Baby, Fighting Panic, Connecticut to Oklahoma, You’ve Got the Job, The Birth Story, 95 Degrees, She struggles to breathe, I struggle to walk., The Liquid Diet, Not Enough Oxygen, Getting Out of There, Let’s Party!, Fitting Our Lives into a Minivan, Finding a Home, Remarkably Unremarkable, The Fever and the Screaming, One Answer Leads to More Questions, Her Kidneys, You’re STILL Nursing?, Fearless at 14 Months, Youngest Child Syndrome, My Clone, Preschool?)
I already shared with you all the current preschool plan that we have in place for G.
As I’ve said, my three-year-old stays home with me. She has several little activities a week that touch on faith, reading and art, and physical activity– I honestly feel like she’s getting a pretty good balance of “social interaction” through those things, and I like that it happens in different settings. That’s a good example of what life is like.
She has a little purple folder here and I make up little practice exercises for her that go in there. She’s learning to write her letters. She can already write her name pretty well. While, like most preschoolers, she’s very adept at counting, she’s learning 1:1 relativity and comparisons. Oh, and also how to actually write those numbers.
She truly enjoys it, but– I will confess– there’s a little tiny part of me in the back of my brain that occasionally fears I’m somehow short-changing her. I have this irrational worry that she’ll be “behind”, somehow, and that sends me into panic mode. Still, she is the one who asks to do it and she does a great job.
Last week, I attended my older daughter’s annual review at the school. It was fantastic to hear about all her progress!
As usual, G. stole the show a bit with her fine motor skills, however. Our occupational therapist has been an admirer of G’s since my girl was less than 1 1/2 years old. She has always had a perfect little pencil grip. She can open all her own packaging. She’s a good cutter. She can manipulate tiny pegs and puzzle pieces with ease. None of this is owed to me– she’s just handy at those little tasks. (No pun intended.)
The teachers and therapists watched her as she worked her way through tracing some letters, printing her name, and carefully circling the appropriate number of shapes. Honestly, I had brought her folder just to keep her busy, so I could review C’s progress.
At the end, the questions came, “She’s not in our program here, right?” (No, I tried, but she was wait-listed.) “So where have you enrolled her?” (Um… no place. She stays with me, for now.) …
I encountered no criticism. And, when the therapists spoke among themselves, murmurs of “I think she’s caught up to even our best three-year-olds” and “actually, she’s ahead of any of them” could be heard. Though it probably shouldn’t matter, it made me feel better.
This is whole new territory for me. And, even though she’s *only* three-years-old, not enrolling her in preschool definitely goes against the grain. (And remember! I am NOT anti-preschool. Not at all.)
What’s most interesting, however, is probably the reaction I get from fellow parents. Online, of course, where I hang with a group of people from all over the map who “do school” in all manner of ways, there is nothing special nor alarming about this. I have a feeling my announcement of “I didn’t send my three-year-old to school” would be met with lots of shrugs and “and so’s?” by many, many people.
But, in this little corner of the world, pre-school at three is most definitely “the norm” and, with a cut-off date that, while changing in the near future, remains steadfastly at December 31st for now, my June baby is most definitely “old enough” by most people’s standards. So… how do they react?
[I'm going to tell you next week! This post got a bit unwieldy-- over 1,000 words-- and I don't even pretend to think you all should devote that much time to reading "My Story..." Sorry to cut off in the middle, but I know your time is precious. ]