I've talked and thought and prayed and blogged and talked some more about preschool since last November when I let Josh (wisely, oh so wisely) talk me out of a preschool co-op that had a spot open. That decisions was beyond the right one. But the question became "Where do we go from here?" When DO we start preschool and in what context and in what amount? And my mind has gone from here to there to back again on it.
I'm trying to separate my needs and desires, with Zeke's needs and desires, with my abilities and his abilities and the realities of our lifestyle and personalities and honestly? It's difficult. I'm not the sort of person to waver. I make a decision and I stick with it, to a fault. But I really don't know what's right in this. Funny how parenting can do that to you.
There is a balance between respecting his personality, which is admittedly shy, and pushing him into the label "shy" and not ever giving him a chance to prove me (or himself) wrong, but where that balance lies is lost to me.
At the same time its becoming increasingly obvious that he's ready for some sort of "schooling". His appetite for reading and songs and crafts is insatiable, and those desires aren't being filled. He wants more. I've been sending him off to play by himself too much this summer. Its too easy, is the problem. He's great at playing by himself. But he needs more.
So the plan for this year? Im in the midst of turning that empty bedroom we have into a school space. It's unnecessary in the extreme. We dont need a school room for the 1 or 2 mornings a week we will be doing school. But the room is empty. And because it was going to be a nursery for a few weeks there earlier this summer I cant help but get a sick feeling when I see it empty.
We will start with a "circle time" of songs and felt board stories and books and counting. And then he will have a shelf full of rotating fine motor and art activities that he can do by himself any time he wants, but we will spend some time right then using them together. Puzzles, and stringing beads, and coloring, and cutting, and matching games, and playdough, ect. And then we will finish with a snack and a mommy-led activity, something he CANT do anytime by himself. Cooking or a craft or painting ect.
I'm going to fight against my personality on this one. We will try and do it Mondays and Tuesdays, but we might skip a day, or add a day, or move a day. We will try to do it in the morning after breakfast, but we might put it off until the afternoon. We might do each section for 10 minutes, they might last 40...I will follow Zeke. I'm trying to remember that he's 2, its all extra right now. And that its about making this available, not forcing it.
On Fridays we're going to go to Elizabeth's for the preschool co-op she's starting. I'm nervous about how Zeke will do but I think out of all the co-ops I know that are available this will be the most low-key. Its just a few moms, and we will all be there. I'll admit that my own needs for some socialization for myself are pushing this more then my concerns for Zeke's socialization. But my needs are as important as his. I don't think it will be harmful for him, and he might just learn to enjoy it.
Elizabeth is following a letter of the week plan, not necessarily in alphabet order but hitting the kids' names first. I'll follow the same letter theme at home so its all cohesive.
We're starting mid-september.
Im keeping it all going on an experimental basis, but I'm also excited. I think its the right amount of pushing Zeke socially-wise. And I think calling it "school" will just motivate me to do the kind of parenting I want to be doing anyways. I also think a few years of this will give me a taste of homeschooling, and help me make THAT decision when it comes.
Wish me luck.
Oh and you know when I finish with the school room I'll post some pics. My budget for the project is about 50 bucks (including supplies) but I'm still pretty happy with how its turning out. Yeah for thrift stores.