I didn’t hear those words last night, but I most certainly received the looks that conveyed that message.
Last night was Meet the Teacher at Davey’s School. School is an exciting time for me. I’m a nerd. I love school. I love to learn, and at times I love to teach my sons. Unfortunately for me, and my sons, my personality has yet to equip me with the capacity to be a home school mom, which means I send them to a Christian school two days a week.
Davey will be four, one month from today, but he is starting into K3 thanks to the State of SC’s lovely cut off. I have mixed emotions about this which I will address later.
So, Davey will be in a classroom with kids younger than him, some by almost a full year. At this age, I shouldn’t be too terribly concerned about it, and that’s what I keep telling myself.
When meeting the teachers last night, I was thrilled to see that his TA (Teacher’s Assistant) will actually be the same one he had last year for K2. It took a load off of me, allowing me to literally wipe the sweat that had started beading up on my forehead. He loved Mrs. Whaling, and the fact that she knows him AND me, is making this process a little bit easier. As for his new teacher, I need to warm up to her a bit.
She’s young. She graduated college seven years after I did. Her one advantage in my eyes is that she went to Bob Jones University here in Greenville. It’s a great university, which instills a lot of love and faith in Christ in its students, something I know she’ll bring with her. Even with that under her belt, her age still bothers me. Yes, I’m discriminating. I’m trying to stop, but as my husband says, she’s a little too bubbly for him, but maybe bubbly is what our kids need.
My biggest concern; however, was when I inquired as to what the curriculum would be like for K3. When she explained it to me, my heart sank. I nicely explained to her, with a compassionate smile, that Davey is already well ahead of the game. He already writes his upper case letters. He’s learning to write his lower case letters now. He knows how to spell some words. He can write his numbers, at least all the way up to 10, and he’s even started learning mathematics. He knows sounds and has begun to sound out words. He knows more than a lot of current K4 students know.
As I explained this to her, she looked at me and said, “well, I guess when Sue takes the kids to their centers, I could work one on one with Davey.” That sentence rubbed me the wrong way. I wanted to say, “you GUESS?”
I gave up my career four years ago. I gave up a big portion of my dreams to be a stay at home mom. I chose to stay at home so that I could be hands on with the boys, not so that I could have the cleanest house, or the prettiest yard, or more “me” time. Those three things suffer A LOT, even with me being at home. They are not my priorities. My sons are my priorities. Their continued growth, mentally, emotionally, intellectually, and physically, are my number one concern. From my very first day of being home, I started working with Davey. I took him to story time at the library, made flash cards with colors, bought puzzles, read him books, played music, all of this in an effort to make him better than me and his dad, to encourage him to be more, and at times I feel as if I’ve succeeded.
Five days a week, I find a way to incorporate a minimum of three hours a day of some sort of “schooling” for my boys. I don’t follow a curriculum and it’s hard on all of us for me to try to create a school type atmosphere, but they learn. They learn their manners, they learn about God and our creation, they learn their numbers and letters, they learn their shapes and colors. They either build upon something they already knew or I add something new onto them. So, maybe I am leading somewhat of a homeschool life after all.
As my husband and I climbed into bed last night, I told him that I had backtracked from my original statement earlier in the evening. Today is student orientation and while Davey has that, I’m to attend a Sip and Sob with other parents. My original intent during the Sip and Sob was to find a way to speak with the Headmaster of Davey’s school to convey my concerns about where he is academically and how he’s penalized because of his age. By the time I’d gotten into bed; however, I had changed my mind.
I’m going to let Davey go into K3. I’m going to let him go back to school with some of his friends. I’m going to let this play out. If need be, I can have parent teacher conferences on a weekly basis (which I did last year). I can, and will, continue to help Davey grow and learn every day. My husband told me last night that truthfully the only reason either one of our boys are going to school right now is because I need a break from them. He told me, I do more for them than any school could right now, but that their going was really just to give me a few hours a day, two days a week, to recharge. I suppose he’s right.
So, this morning, I will drop Davey off for his student orientation. I will begrudgingly sit in Sip and Sob with these other moms and play my role. I will let him stay where he is because as my mother in law said to me, right now Davey is a big fish in a little pond. Wouldn’t I rather like that for him than to be a little fish in a big pond?