Friday, 25 September 2009

Homeschool considered

Well, Colin's start to school has been less than stellar. I'm surprised I even feel this way after being so confident he would absolutely love going, and that he would be absolutely ready.

First and most concerning, I have encountered some serious safety issues at the school. The first day I dropped Colin off I found four kindergarten kids who had been left in the school yard, after all the teachers and kids had gone inside. Two were near tears, and two were running around near the busy road. I took the initiative, gathered them up and took them into the school. Even more concerning, they were kids from Colin's class, meaning it was Colin's teacher who had missed her head count and left them behind. Then, this past Monday, the teacher lost Colin. James was a few minutes late arriving to pick Colin up, and when he arrived Colin was nowhere to be found. After 20 frantic minutes of the teacher, the principal and James searching the school and the grounds, they eventually found him. All we could get from Colin was that when Colin didn't see me at pickup time, he figured he would just walk home. The teacher didn't notice he had wandered off. I was surprised at how calm I was at the whole experience: I think it was a combination of knowing that a) Colin is capable enough to actually walk home on his own and would adhere to all our safety rules and b) the teacher was likely in as much of a panic as I would have been.

Second, Colin isn't enjoying going at all. He absolutely loved his preschool last year, but this year all he says about his days is that it's boring. Other than the story the teacher reads each day (which he then recites verbatim to me when he gets home), he doesn't talk about anything he is doing there. Every day he has to go, he tells me he's had enough.

Third is the ongoing exhaustion of it all for him. He continues to fall asleep every day at school (no, there is no designated rest time - he just opts out of an activity and falls asleep instead!) Once on the playground, once on the carpet in the classroom, once under his table.

Fourth, we've encountered the inevitable teasing that comes along with growing up. I know I won't be able to protect my little boy from all the heartache he will encounter in the world, but I feel like I want to shield him just a little longer.

Fifth, I don't think Colin's teacher is a good match for him. She seems to be very laid-back, whereas Colin craves structure and organization. I think his dislike of class and his some of his disruptive behaviour is a result of undefined rules and laissez-faire teaching styles. Not that anything is wrong with the teacher's method, it's just that it's not a good fit for Colin. His preschool teachers were extremely surprised to hear about Colin's attitude at and toward school - it is nothing like their experience with him last year, where he absolutely thrived in the "school" environment.

All this has made got me thinking about homeschooling again. If I weren't so ill and exhausted with this pregnancy, I might give it a go. I admit I feel slightly guilty about sending Colin to school so that I can get a bit of a rest, but really it is the best answer for us right now. Caleb is down to 8 or 9 hours a night and is starting to give up his naps, which means I'm not getting near the amount of sleep I need to sustain my own health. Add to that the return of the nausea and overall weakness - I'm not like I was at the beginning of the pregnancy, but I can feel myself on a slow downward slide again.

And so, at least until Christmas, I think we'll have to stick it out with school. For the life of me I can't remember a thing about my own kindergarten experience; my memories begin in earnest at grade one. So hopefully we can see how this year goes and see if Colin eventually settles into the routine of it all. What I love most is that I feel like I always have options - no decision ever has to be permanent. And so the ever-vigilant mother stands her post...

1 comment:

heather80 said...

Can you try requesting a change of teacher, or is there just the one kindergarten teacher there?