Friday, August 16, 2013

Back to School

We decided to go back to school this year.

We all feel very calm about it.  That's the word I've decided on.  I can't say that it's Peace, or that I feel really good about it.  But I feel calm in the decision right now, and for me--regarding decisions about my children's education--that's saying a lot.

Jonas is 5 so he is of age to go to kindergarten here.  They have a full day program in our district, but we opted to pull him out after lunch every day.

One of my friends here said she asked her principal about only putting her daughter in half day, and the principal totally discouraged her telling her how much her daughter would miss out on and told her she'd be the only one in the district doing it. Well I told her I know for a fact she wouldn't be the only one, because I am.

I was nervous about talking to our principal as well.  But she didn't make any fuss over it or try to dissuade me at all.  I think it's because we have a "history," and she has seen that I will do what I want for our family, take them out, put them in, at any point I choose.

Truthfully, they do miss out on the things the school offers.  I picked up Jonas yesterday and realized that he hadn't participated in half the "special activities" that we'd been told were going to be going on during "color days" the first few weeks of school.  And I was sad, because he was missing out.  But then I remembered what we've been telling Jonas about how school is going to work for him: 

"In the morning you will go to school and after lunch we will pick you up to come home and play with Wyatt all afternoon."

And if he went to school in the afternoon, he would miss out on that.  

There is plenty of time for academics.  I don't believe the baloney that two years down the line students from full day kindergarteners will be ahead of half-day kids.  Possibly looking at full-day vs. half day programs as a whole, but certainly not comparing all full day kindergarteners to children whose parents opt out and choose to only send them half day.  That act in itself is an exhibition of familial support, not the only possible act by any means, but certainly shows a way that that family is choosing consciously to nurture their child.  That is wholly to the child's benefit.  And I don't think and principal could look me in the face and tell me that a greater level of familial love and support wouldn't increase the chances for greater success, in life and education, for every single student in school today.  

So that is our trade-off.  Jonas will be missing out on some of the kindergarten "academics" (he'll be reading by Christmas regardless), and some more activities, and all the fun PE, Music, Art, or whichever electives fall in the afternoon.  (Not that kindergarten is the only time or place one can be involved in those kinds of activities.)  And in exchange, he will be spending time with his family.  He will be building bonds of friendship and camaraderie with his little brothers that he will be able to fall back on at every future point in his life.

And that's a trade-off we are willing to live with.

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