Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Stuff

Nope, the computer still hasn't made it here, although last I checked, it was through Miami. So, I'm trying not to freak out about it and think about other things. Like what on earth I'm going to do about Wyatt and school.

Sigh.

This wasn't supposed to be a difficult decision. From everything I'd seen and heard, the school here was going to work out fine. The class sizes are tiny, and I've yet to meet a single parent who is unhappy with their child's education situation.

And then I talked to someone who told me kindergarten is full day. That means six hours of school for my five year old. The one thing I swore I was not going to put him through. I know, I know, a lot of people out there think full day kindergarten is the be all, end all, but I'm not in that camp.  While I can see the value in it for people whose kids are in day care all day, anyway, I don't think it's necessary for my son to be sitting in a classroom for so long. He's already reading; what is six hours going to do that only four wouldn't have?

Yesterday, I had a conversation with someone who works at the school. She teaches there, and her kids are in the day care, which they are turning into more of a preschool. She wanted to know first what on earth I did with the kids all day and if it drove me crazy. (Not to start a big mommy-war here, but seriously? That is such an idiot thing to say to a stay at home mother. It's like if I asked her if she was upset she was missing out on so much of her kids' lives.) After I blew her off on that one, we moved onto more nuetral territory and talked about the day care. She's helping set up the preschool program, so encouraged me to check it out. I asked her if she thought it was at all possible for me to just keep Wyatt home after lunch (all the kids are sent home for lunch, then go back for two more hours), but she was very negative about it.

After this conversation, it appears I have two choices: send Wyatt to a ridiculously long school day that I am not at all happy about, or keep him home again this year and homeschool. I'm not at all against the idea of homeschooling, and have always thought it could be in our future with all this moving around, but Wyatt really needs some kids around him. He's reaching an age where I can't be everything for him anymore. I very much want him to go to school to make friends and have time to do his own thing. The academics I can teach him, but the friends? That's not so easy. And, really, homeschooling doesn't solve the problem because then he still has to go to first grade. I wanted a half-day to work him into going all day, and kindergarten is the only chance to do that.

I am considering putting him in the fledgling preschool program. A couple days a week for three hours at a time seems like it would be good for him. His best friend also goes there, so that's a plus. But kindergarten? What to do about kindergarten.... If we do decide to just send him here, that will be abit of a transition, too, but not particularly gentle.

I'm so stressed out about this. It's especially aggravating because I have absolutely no one out here that gets where I'm coming from on this. Every mother I've met with young kids works. So, to the internet I go in case someone out there might think I'm sane despite my stay-at-home-with-two-kids status.

I know some of my stress comes from my background. I'm so exceptionally aware how easily and quickly your life can be messed up. I don't want that for my own kids, so every decision weighs on me like a ton of bricks. What is best for him? It's so not clear to me right now. I know I need to go in and register him soon if he's going to school here this fall. Knowing that is not making this any easier.

This would be a lot easier if we were in the States. I'd be homeschooling him if all-day was my only option because I can still get him into sports and things. I'd also be looking at private schools to see if there was a program I was happy with within our financial reach. Here, though, it's all or nothing. I detest that, but I can't change it. So I'm left with a whole lot of questions and no answers.

Life is so complicated sometimes.

5 sonar pings:

Carrie Stuart said...

I feel your pain. No one ever told me decisions about education could be so hard. We home schooled for 5 1/2 years. We started when my oldest was headed to middle school in San Diego. There was no way I was going to put him in the situation he was headed for. Anyway, it was a blessing for our family. All my kids are currently in DoD schools...but my daughter only attends middle school half time (luckily, it's an "A" day, "B" day schedule, so I chose what classes I wanted her to have and she just goes on "A" days. It works great and she's not in that prison-like environment more than necessary. The high school isn't as bad in that respect, and my high school boys are really liking it. My youngest son heads to middle school next year, and we will either do half-time for him to, or exclusively home school him. Still haven't decided.

Anyway, one thing I wanted to advise you of...is to not take the lady's negativity as a definitive answer. She doesn't make the rules, and it really doesn't matter what she thinks...it's not up to her. As a parent, you have a lot more control than you realize. Sending him in the morning and having him finish at lunchtime really sounds like a GREAT solution to me.

I have encountered a LOT of opinions and "helpful" advice over the years when it comes to MY children's education, and I've learned that most people are coming from a place of fear. They don't want you to do anything different than they are doing, because it makes them feel that they are doing it wrong, or that YOU think they are doing it wrong (for example...what she said to you about being a stay at home mom). I have learned to let my children's development, manners, and abilities speak for themselves and just chuckle to myself over the "helpful" nay-sayers.

If you are seriously wanting your son to attend half-day, talk to the principal. If you don't like his/her answer...talk to the district. Confidently explain where you are coming from. It is about your son's educational/emotional needs...NOT what the school would like you to do. There are SO many options. I've known home schoolers who have their child attend for ONE subject...and since they are entitled by law to a free and appropriate education, the school is not in a position to deny that, even if you are only wanting them to provide part of that while you provide the other parts.

Anyway, sorry this is so long, but I just hate to see you start out this process discouraged. You really hold the cards, I promise! My oldest is about to graduate high school with honors, and one thing I have learned through all of our educational adventures, is that there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to education. We've done a variety of things to meet our kids needs and have learned there is more than one way to do it...even if it a combination of things, or different options for different kids.

Sgt and Mrs Hub said...

Awesome advice from Carrie!!

I had a few of my friends in high school home school half and go to the private school I attended the other half.
Carrie is right, you do hold the cards. You are definitely going to have to do your homework, per say, to find out your rights and your options. I don't think that scares you, though!! :)

You strike me as the type of person who isn't afraid to stand up for yourself or for your kids. So find out your options and be firm in implementing what YOU know is right for your son. We are their advocates.

And if it turns out you home school, well, I'm sure it will be a blessing for both you and Wyatt. Blessings come in the most unassuming packages sometimes.

Any home school co-ops or other families there? Or is that a far-reach for the type of base you are stationed at??

Mrs. 2nd Lieutenant said...

i just wanted to affirm your thinking that 6 hours is way too much sitting down for a little boy - i have one (a bit younger) and i taught and really, its unfair. boys get burnt out on school so young because the expectations favor girls more and more, especially with all the physical parameters. so you're not crazy and you're not the only one!

i 2nd andrea's hs-ing suggestions and the OP's about ignoring nancy negative and talking to the real deal - the principal. its KINDER, why in the world can't you leave at lunch? like you said, he can read already.

When God entrusted these boys to you, He made you their primary educator. Even if you chose to share that responsibility with a school, it should be on your terms.

Good luck!

sues2u2 said...

Are you ready to have your mind blown? Kindergarten is NOT required! I didn't know that until dd started. Then the teacher explained that little fact to me. At least here in Az kindergarten isn't a required class - 1st grade is but it sounds like Wyatt's ahead of the curve anyway.

I 4th the whole talk to the principal thing. You do hold all of the cards & if Wyatt stays until lunch then it sounds like he'd actually be considered full time according to most school districts which in turn enables them to fed money for him.

Look up any & all rules pertaining to education on the island & if not available ask the principle. You should be able to get this done. Let us know what happens, kay?

tressays said...

Everyone has given you some great advice already, but I just wanted to throw one more bit out there. One thing I have had to do is develop a bit of a thick skin.(still working on it too) There are a lot of people out there that think I am crazy. I hear it all. the. time. I get tired of explaining myself to people. I agree with you that all day kindy is tough, and if your son is already ahead of the game there will be a lot of time wasted. I learned this from experience.

I can't tell you what you should do. Whatever you decide you should be firm and at peace and don't worry about what other people say.

Also, the whole "socialization" thing is really not that big of a deal. I know it seems like it should be, but it really isn't. My kids get along very well with each other. I always remind them that friends will come in and out of their lives, but they will always have each other.

Ok, I know that I said I didn't have any advice, but if your son can already read, you could have "school" done in 2 hours (if that long) at home if you even chose to do formal schooling with him.

So that is my 2 cents. I know that the decision is hard, but you are him mom and whatever you decide be at peace.