Sunday, August 9, 2009

Preschool - yes or no?

Bryan and I take my job as a stay-at-home-mom very seriously. We always have. When we were pregnant with our first born, we'd talked about preschool as if it were a possibility but never a certainty. And if he went to preschool, it would surly only be for one year. What could they teach him at preschool that I couldn't teach him at home? And teaching the kids is totally my job. Kindergarten through 12th grade? Well, that's mandated by the government, so off to school they'd go! (And, frankly, I would home school if Bryan would let me... But then we'd need a dozen other posts about my previous life dealing with serious separation anxiety - mine, not theirs.)

Then Zach hit age 4 and all of his uber-cool older cousins were starting school. And every show on PBS was about going back to school. Naturally, Zach started asking when he would go to school. "Kindergarten is in two years, Dear." But he kept asking. Since he had such a serious desire to go to school, we enrolled him in preschool the following January. He went for 1 1/2 years. It was such a wonderful experience for our entire family.

Enter Luke... He has been asking to go to school since he was two! Our first immediate reward when Zach started preschool was that he learned how to socialize and work with other children his own age. This is the area where Luke struggles. He is very friendly and outgoing, but sharing is not to his liking, and shoving sometimes is. I find myself actually avoiding play environments with kids his own age because the little friend usually ends up crying... We plan to hold him back in school, so he won't start kindergarten till after his 6th birthday. That's THREE YEARS from now. We'd planned to put him in preschool for 1 1/2 years (just like Zach), but now I'm weighing our options... One thing preschool can give him that I cannot is a bunch of 3 year olds to socialize with. Why wait till he's 4 1/2 to learn how to get along with kids his age?

On the flip side, I wonder if I'm over reacting. Am I expecting too much out of a 3 year old? Will I regret giving up two mornings a week - those last precious mornings that the boys and I have together before Zach is REQUIRED to go to school all day next fall (1st grade)?

Luke always does well in Sunday school, etc... It's just those playdates at the park, when he and another child are running wild on a play structure and then Luke comes running up, unprovoked, and shoves his friend down. Crying ensues, the other mother goes to comfort her sweet child, I am embarrassed, Luke apologizes, goes into time out, and it all starts over again after he gets out of time out. I keep thinking of preschool the way I thought of Apollo's dog training... As if Luke is going off to some class to learn how to behave. Have I fallen off my rocker?

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