Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Open-Minded Schooling

So, I can't remember if I mentioned this here, but LilBro is enrolled in our parish preschool for this year. He will be attending the 3 year old pre-K program two mornings a week, beginning this Friday.

It's a first for me. Neither Princess nor BigBro ever attended preschool. In fact, I have said (as recently as Saturday evening, filling out the emergency info forms for preschool), that I don't think this recent trend in pushing academics younger and younger is a good idea. Kids, especially little kids, need time to just be. There is a lot of learning in just living.

Yet... LilBro starts school on Friday. Seven hours a week, in the care of someone else, learning and growing (and probably challenging and fighting a bit, once he's gotten comfortable) away from me.

It was a strange decision; one that came quickly -- though not without pausing for prayer and discussion -- in June. And it is helped, in great deal, by the fact that I know his teacher... and she is exactly the type of preschool teacher that every child deserves: positive, joyful, creative, encouraging, and truly happy to spend her day in the presence of a bunch of 3 year olds. This is a gift from God. (Trust me... it's not easy. Four years of teaching Sunday School to 3 and 4 year olds for one hour, one Sunday a month... man, I have not been similarly gifted!)

And I am confident that LilBro is going to have a great time. He will learn some new social skills, make some new friends, and for seven hours a week, he won't be the little brother. He'll get to be just ... LilBro.

This will give me some concentrated time on Tuesday mornings to focus on Princess and BigBro. And, since the older two have homeschool enrichment classes on Friday mornings, this will give me a few hours, every week, to myself.

My standard line to well-meaning friends and strangers who ask how long I'll homeschool has always been, "we take this decision child-by-child, and year-by-year." But, truthfully, my heart leans strongly toward homeschooling them all... for as long as I can, and so, deep down, I never fully believed that answer.

I'm as surprised by this choice as many of my friends. But I'm also looking forward to it. I'm excited for LilBro. I'm looking forward to my quiet Fridays, and to more focused Tuesdays.

And... as for pre-K 4... well, we'll just have to see.

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