Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Homeschool,public-school, pre-school, Mom-school

I just got home from dropping off my first grader at elementary school for his third week, and my pre-schooler for his first day of pre-school. I wasn't expecting to cry as I walked to the car as I've been really excited for this day to come, but tiny tears came anyways. What a big, grown up kid he is!! We are sending him to preschool for 2 1/2 hours, 5 days a week, to give him extra fun stuff to do while mama gets my ducks all in a row. Of course I forgot my camera today so here's a picture of Jonah in our backyard on a random day that isn't the first day of pre-school:
Family dynamics are such an interesting thing! When my kids were younger I pictured us doing the same things forever: we'd wake up whenever we wanted to, cuddle in bed and read stories while I nursed a baby, eat a leisurely breakfast, then go play outside at a park for hours. Our days would drift blissfully by as we laughed, and played, and explored the world around us.....
But alas, our dynamics have changed! Each of my boys has an innate desire to learn and grow in different ways, which has taken our children in several different directions, each on a unique path which they need. 

Odin loves first grade. He loves his teacher, he loves his friends, he loves worksheets, and homework, and organizing his desk! He loves P.E. and drama, and art and computer class. He loves being at school, overall. When I pick him up everyday he is genuinely happy and excited about life. I overheard him telling his big brother the other day,"School is really fun fun! You should come to school, too- You would like it!" 
Since I forgot my camera on the first day of school here is a random picture of Odin roasting a hot dog in our backyard that is not the first day of school:

Actually, the truth is, Zadok would really hate going to school. Zadok is not cut out for any of that formal education stuff-and that's ok. I like him home with me where I know he's learning and growing in his happiest environment possible. We started Zadok out this year by doing an online homeschooling curriculum called K12.  (Basically third grade public school at home.) At first I thought it would be a positive thing for Zadok to have his own computer, his own classes,  and to answer to someone else besides me, but after a week 1/2 of it we realized that the overly structured, demanding schedule was putting too much stress on the both of us. 
So, we're trying to figure out what to do about that. I'm hoping I can tweak the program so we can skip all the "busywork," and get down to igniting the light of learning, because,

“A child is not a vessel to be filled, but a lamp to be lit.” – Hebrew Proverb

One thing that has been confirmed to me through this experience thus far, is that Zadok is truly a natural learner. He absorbs anything and everything he reads, and picks up on most new concepts immediately. He doesn't need to be told what to learn, he just needs to have resources put in front of him so he can. He's such a brilliant kid, I feel blessed to be on this journey with him. He has come a long way in overcoming his anxiety and shyness and is continuing to move in such a positive direction. There's still certain things he will NOT do, (like sing at church, participate in his primary program, put on bowling shoes, smile for a picture, or play team sports ) but there's a really long list of awesome things he DOES do, which makes this mama proud- (like reading advanced novels for his age, playing complicated card games and computer games, rocking at spelling and vocabulary, being a fun friend, being cleverly witty, writing books on dragons, helping his little brothers, making good choices, and basically being awesome.)
Z-boy working on a school assignment for K12. He mostly just likes wearing the microphone thingy.
I won't lie, I really missed Odin his first two weeks of school. I wanted him home with me. I wanted all of us together again. I felt guilty for sending him to school all day while I still had my other three boys at home. I started to worry that I was doing the wrong thing by sending him to first grade. Anxiety and fear started taking over my thoughts instead of peaceful assurance. I started worrying that my boys wouldn't be as close as they are right now. I worried that Odin would make new friends and then Zadok wouldn't be his best friend anymore. I worried that I would exhaust myself everyday packing Odin lunches, driving to school twice a day, and keeping on top of his homework.
But all those fears dissipated as I continued to pray.
 I've found myself easing into a nice routine that we're starting to enjoy. As it turns out, I like dropping Odin off at school! I  like saying hi to his teacher, meeting the other kids in his class, and watching him settle into his little desk. My little Jonah likes to walk in with us to say goodbye to Odin, and stares at everything with big, curious eyes. 
 I also like picking him back up! I like seeing his happy, excited face, and hearing all about the fun things he did on the drive home. He even started eating the healthy school lunches, which I thought he would never do! (This makes my life much, much easier.)
And I don't think I have to worry about these two boys not being as close. They have so much fun when they are together, and the space apart may give them time to recharge for their next round of craziness.  
So in the end, I know in my heart of hearts that we are making the right decisions for education/learning/growth right now-- For Odin, for Zadok, and even for little Jonah who is our pre-school pioneer. He had a great day at pre-school today, too!
So, my fear and anxiety is lessening as I read the scriptures and pray for guidance. I know that when we do the simple things that God asks us to do, everything else falls into place. 
I am also learning so much right now as a mom. I can feel the growth inside my soul stretching into new dimensions. My children teach me so much and give me the experiences I need to be a stronger, wiser, and overall better human being. I feel like I am deep in the depths of Mothering-101, and might even pass the class!

And did I mention I have a huge, chunky baby? 6 weeks old and growing. I love him!

On a side note, I might wonder someday how I was able to type on my blog with a newborn baby in my home. (A newborn baby that wants to be snuggled constantly, doesn't sleep without me holding him, and requires sustenance every 2-3 hours). Well, this is how:
He sleeps on my lap on a nursing boppy while I hunch over and type over his big baby body. It's not so good on my back, but that's the price I have to pay for wanting to write on my blog. :) p.s. Love the photobomb, Zadok.

1 comment:

arianne said...

Sounds like it's going to be an awesome year!