Just when you think you’ve got your life under control something like kindergarten registration pops up in the middle of the week and knocks you off your block.
I wasn’t quite ready for the decisions that lie before me this year. It all came too quickly.
This past week I realized that my little boy, my second and final child, is heading off to kindergarten this fall. What an emotional jolt, especially for someone like me who has chosen to be a stay-at-home-mom for the past 10 years.
The past decade has been filled with diapers, Sesame Street, sticky fingers, moms’ clubs, and many, many special moments that I might not have had if I had chosen to go back to work full-time.
So here I am, signing the registration paperwork, scrambling to get immunization records and hoping my husband and I are making the right decision about sending our baby boy to kindergarten this year.
It’s more difficult than we thought, on a couple of different levels.
My older son turned 5 at the end of May 2007 and was more than ready to hop on that exciting yellow school bus by early September. My youngest will be 5 this June, but for some reason this situation isn't quite as simple.
You see, my little guy is quirky. He's always been hypersensitive to certain things like bright lights, strong winds, and loud sounds, but it was never something that interfered with his day-to-day activities. We assumed it was just part of who he was.
With kindergarten around the corner, we’ve been advised by his preschool teacher that he might need a little more time before he goes to school, but not for academic reasons.
Perhaps another year would help him with his quirkiness and emotional sensitivities. I’ve considered having him evaluated, only to hear from some that it might be an extreme measure. Do we want him to have a label? Or is this just who he is?
How does one know what’s "normal?"
As a parent, it’s so hard to know what path of action is best for this situation.
In my opinion, he’s a sweet boy with a passion for life. Academically, he’s where he needs to be to begin elementary school. He’s eager to go. He loves being social with his friends and wants to ride the bus with his big brother.
In my mind, he's ready. But then I think of what the "others" are saying...
We’ve considered all-day kindergarten where, perhaps, he’ll get the attention necessary to allow him to prepare emotionally for first grade. Then I take a step back and consider going with the norm and sending him to the typical half-day kindergarten.
“We’ll make him conform,” I think. “It’s all about conditioning.”
But is it?
The emotion of losing my baby to school is enough in itself. But to add these extra stresses of “Is it the right time?” and “Is it the right class?” are about to send me over the edge!
Homeschool, charter school, cyber school, private school, full-day, half-day ... can't we go back to the old days of just sending them off to learn their ABCs and 123s?