Today is the day!
Today is our first day of school for the 2016-2017 school year.
Today is our first official day of homeschooling.
Today is Avery’s first day as a kindergartener (and first grader too, lol).
Today is Kaylee’s first day as a preschooler.
We’ve got our curriculum, I’ve got the first week planned out by page number (and all subjects loosely planned out for the first 4-6 weeks), I’ve got my coffee, and we are ready to dive in…
Here we go!!
Photo credit: Oh Snap Photography
Avery is officially done with her year of Pre-K and they hosted a cute graduation ceremony, complete with caps! All day before the ceremony, Avery kept saying “Since I’m graduating….” and then followed it up with all sorts of super grown up ideas and propositions. Basically, she graduated Pre-K and is now about ready to leave for college!
Her teachers made really nice scrapbooks for each student. Pictures that we had never seen from all of their different events throughout the year. Projects that highlighted their growth (physical and development). Avery had a good year here and really came to love her teachers. I am glad that we decided to put her in a Pre-K program this past year but I am also very happy and very confident in our decision to homeschool next year.
On the way home from the graduation ceremony, Avery said “Since I graduated, can we start on kindergarten tomorrow?” I laughed and said “Of course!!” And her dad laughed at both of us and said “You guys are such nerds!” All true.
Kaylee recently got very frustrated while trying to write her name and declared “I’m ridiculous at making Ks!” Of course, I had to chuckle a little bit because it was hilarious and adorable. But I assured her that she was not ridiculous at making Ks and we just needed to practice more.
So I made her a tracing worksheet for her name and she was happy as a clam to practice! Within a week and only a few times using her worksheet, she is now a pro at making Ks.
Well, I’ve been absent from blogging for awhile now. To play a little catchup, Avery has been in a 3 day preschool program for this school year as a “trial” while we continue to decide about whether or not to homeschool. As this school year is quickly coming to a close (less than 2 months!), I’m getting more and more anxious about making a decision. We have been talking about it lightly throughout the school year but more in passing comments than real, sit-down-and-hammer-it-out discussions.
So there are 3 options for next year (or every year, I suppose):
- Public Kindergarten
- Private Kindergarten (same school that she’s at now)
I have 2 main issues with public school. First of all, there is no public half day kindergarten in my city. The school day is 8:45-3:40 and I feel like that is a ridiculously long day for a 5-6 year old. Avery currently takes dance class twice a week and we’ve been thinking of adding other activities but after a 7 hour school day, I just don’t see her having enough energy for other stuff. My other issue is that based on the standard kindergarten curriculum, Avery will spend at least half of the year being bored or reviewing things that she already knows.
While the private kindergarten is only half day, I still feel like their curriculum would not be challenging enough for Avery. This would be at the same school as her current preschool. I love the people at her school but their preschool curriculum has been all stuff that Avery has known since before she started school. Avery can read, do simple math, etc. I’m assuming that their Kindergarten picks up where their Preschool leaves off and so, I just cannot see it being challenging enough. Also, because it is a private school, the tuition is a few hundred dollars per month! There are tax donations and scholarships to lower that cost but none of that is guaranteed when you register. I do not mind spending money on education but I feel like the cost here is a bit steep when I’m not confident that the curriculum will be a good fit for my child.
So today I made a list of all of these pro/cons to have the visual there for my husband. I’m going to let him have that and contemplate on that for a bit. The more I think about it myself, the more I am heading towards homeschooling…let’s hope it’s the same for him!!
And in apology for my absence, here are some Disney pictures from our February trip!
We are one month into our pre-K school trial. If you are just tuning in, you can read this post to read about why we are doing a in-school trial. I figured I’d give an update on how it’s going. A has adjusted fairly well. She cried at drop off for the first 2 weeks when mom dropped her off (but no tears on daddy drop off days). After 2 weeks, she got used to the idea, knew when we would pick her up and now no more tears. She does occasionally cry for a minute or two during the day but is always easily redirected. She has 4 friends in the class that she already knew from the exercise-playgroup that we have attended since she was a baby.
One day last week, her teacher told me she cried for a couple minutes during the day because she missed me. I asked A on the way home why she had been crying. She said “I was just SOOOO bored!!” Oh my gosh, she had me laughing so hard with that….she was literally bored to tears.
That brings me to the academic portion. I do not really feel like she is learning anything new. She goes to school 3 days a week and so far, they have worked on one letter each WEEK and the 4th week was a review of the previous 3 letters. A already knows her letters so this is a very slow pace for her. It took 3 weeks for her teachers to realize she already knows how to write her name. The teachers write everyone’s names on their papers in yellow highlighter for the kids to trace. A doesn’t like to make waves and likes to please people…so she just kept tracing her name even though she can do it herself. In the third week, she drew a picture during free time and labeled “Mom, Dad, Avery, Kaylee”. Her teachers had no idea that she could write her own name, let alone her entire family’s names. I was/am trying not to be “that parent” so I planned to wait until open house (beginning of Oct) before I brought up challenging her more. I am hoping that now that they know, they will challenge her more but I totally understand that they have something like 18 kids in the class and may not have the resources to be changing materials for 1 student but I’m hoping we can figure something out.
Look how big my girl is!! It is always so crazy to me to see how much she has grown and changed. These pictures, of course, show her physical growth and how her face has changed but they also her personality and sass!
Her first two weeks of school have been okay. She cries at drop off but is done crying by the time I pull out of the parking lot. And at the end of the day, she always reports that she had a great day and did lots of fun things. Educationally, I am waiting for her to be challenged but I am trying to be patient and give the teachers time to establish baselines for all of the students.
Still crossing out fingers that this turns out however is in her best interest!
What do you do when there is a difference of opinion in your own household? About really big issues?
We had preschool orientation for A today. If you recall, we are testing out public school (which is actually a private, Christian preschool) just as we tested the homeschool waters to see which is for us and our family. Anyway, A spoke with the teachers and after a few minutes, left my side to play with the toys and other kids….this is great for A as she typically she sticks pretty close to mom in unfamiliar situations. And she already had a crying session last week just thinking about going to school without mom….
At orientation, the teachers were talking about how the class will learn a letter a day, they will learn numbers 1-10, how to write their names, use scissors properly, etc. These are great goals and I am not knocking them but A already knows all of that. These are the goals for the END of the year. A might get the social and independent aspects that we are looking for but I think we will be doing her a huge disservice by not challenging her intellectually and academically.
Dad really thinks A needs this to gain more independence from mom. Not necessarily social skills as she does great at dance class and play groups. He also thinks she would really blossom in school because she is so focused and pays such close attention. I don’t disagree but I don’t think public school is the only way for her to get those things. I just feel like we could be really successful at homeschooling. I see more and more benefits to it but dad isn’t convinced. He’s not against it, he’s just a little stuck in the “we went to public school, kids turn 5 and go to school, it’s just what you do” camp of thinking. I’m honestly a little confused because last year, he was SOOOO for me homeschooling preschool (and we had a great, successful year!) and now suddenly, he’s back on the public school train. To be totally honest, he would not fight me if I said I was homeschooling…he would let me do it. If we disagree on things, he generally defaults to me on parenting decisions because he knows I do more research, I am with the kids the most, and he knows that I am always thinking of the kids’ best interests. So even though I know that I could get my way on this, I feel it is more important to be sure we are making the correct decision for the whole family. I don’t want to bully him into homeschooling and then feel like he is judging what A is learning, IF A is learning, our schedule, etc.
I agreed to this trial and I am committed to giving it a shot but then we’ll sit down and have a good long debate if we are still on opposite sides of the schoolyard fence. My hope is that we are able to give this a fair shot and go from there. My true hope is that we do decide homeschooling is for us. But if we don’t? That’s okay too as long as we all feel that public/private/charter school is the best thing for A and our family.