Earlier this morning, I posted this on Facebook:
It’s been keeping me up at night for the last few days. It’s constantly on my back burner. And I truly don’t know the “right” answer for us, yet.
Some of the possibilities we’ve talked about:
(1) Preschool at Settle Memorial. They offer a two-day-per-week class at our church, and several of her little friends attend. Some of the kids she is in class with right now at PDO will likely “move up” to the preschool in the fall. I’m sure she’d love the bright lights and colors and kids and teachers — that is her favorite part of the Parents’ Day Out program! Negatives: I don’t know if the academic part will challenge her, and I believe she’s ready for a bit of a challenge in this arena.
(2) Continue attending Parents’ Day Out. This does nothing for her, academically (it really is a play, social, fun-oriented program). She loves it! But she is already one of the older kids in her group and has become, I am told, quite bossy. I worry about the dynamic of being a 4 1/2 year old in a room with 2’s and 3’s. However, this past year I have used those hours she’s at PDO to do the bulk of Jonas’ schoolwork, so I also worry that keeping her home will mean Jonas would struggle with constant interruptions.
(3) Looking into other preschool options. Chris suggested the public school in our neighborhood, but I don’t want to jump into public school waters right now. I don’t want to be tied down to the public school calendar and I don’t want to “send my baby away” for a full-day program. There are other private and/or Christian preschools around; I just need to investigate.
(4) Homeschooling for preschool, much like I did with Jonas. The thing is, even if I cover the same concepts for prekindergarten with Susannah, I know I’ll need some new approaches. Jonas was a “traditional” sort of student, in that I could tell him about a new topic, read a book or engage in an experiment or lesson, ask him questions or work on paper to be sure he understood, and move on… On the other hand, if I try to tell Susannah something new, she replies, “I already know that!” 😛 It will be VERY necessary for me to put on my “guide by the side” hat with her (instead of my “sage on the stage” hat, for those of you who sat through Dr. Walker’s early childhood ed classes with me). I would also need to have good plans in place for physical & social outlets and experiences for her (possible: dance, gymnastics, karate?, swimming, continue at Homeschool Gym, continue with Homeschool Primary Play).
I think I need to keep a few things in mind, moving forward into a decision:
- Susannah is not Jonas. Nor is she Ezra or Samuel or Azahn or Semaj or Natalia or Zachary or any of my other former students. I can’t put her into a mold (and I really don’t want to!). I need to be mindful to turn my comparison/contrast mode to OFF.
- I need to pull out some games, cards, and sheets to conduct a decent assessment with her. Susannah is kind of sneaky smart! There are things she knows that I have never “taught” her and they don’t cover at PDO, but she has absorbed a metric ton of information. That girl is observant and keen. It is actually possible that she might be ready for the types of things I did with Jonas during his first Kindergarten year (the fall when he was 4.5, we started with preK materials and then switched to Kindergarten stuff halfway through; the following year he had Kinder & 1st materials by subject for the full year).
- Hey Guess What!? Not only will Jonas be starting 3rd grade and Susannah starting preK4 in the fall, but little Abigail will be turning TWO. So. Best laid plans and all. It’s possible that I’ll get a whole game plan set out and find that I have a crazy two year old on my hands and end up rebooting the whole thing. 🙂 The takeaway there is not to get too attached to whatever I dream up right now, because in another six months our needs could shift.