And why I’m still agonizing over it.
Jess is a bright kid, and according to her teacher, is thriving at school. Learning fast, making huge progress, gets along well with others, etc. But every single morning, she begs to stay home. She really, really doesn’t like going. If she was an adult, and this was her job, I’d actively encourage her to quit because I’ve always thought that there’s nothing worse than getting up every morning to go to a job you hate. So why am I continuing to send her to kindergarten?
Pros – she’s somewhat shy, I think, and needs the social skills that she learns at school. She’s frequently frustrated by the other kids, and trying to navigate the schoolyard politics. This one wants to be her only friend, and that one wants her to play with her and not with the other ones. When she complains (and she does), it’s never that nobody likes her, it’s always that so many people like her and she doesn’t like being that popular. I have to have the only girl in America who actively thinks she’s too popular. I want her to have playdates and birthday party invites, and fun memories of playing with her friends. School isn’t just about reading and math, it’s also about learning to get along with others, and that’s a skill that she’ll really need going forward. I also think that teachers go to school to learn about teaching, and are much better equipped to teach then I, armed with a couple of workbooks, and a bunch of toddlers, could be.
Cons – she still really, really doesn’t like it. She just doesn’t. It’s never something she looks forward to, and at best, it’s something she tolerates because I make her. Every morning, it’s a struggle to get her dressed and out the door. She’s advanced well beyond what they are doing – she’s still bringing home worksheets where she’s just forming letters, a whole paper filled with ‘b’. And she’s reading at home. I could focus on her here at home and easily teach her more than what she’s getting at school, because she could go as fast as she wanted to here, and not have to keep repeating things for the rest of the class. Plus – to reiterate – she really doesn’t like going.
So – what to do??? I’m the only person who thinks that homeschooling is a good idea. Everyone I know thinks that I should shove her out the door to go to school, because that’s what you do. And I’m still marginally torn on the issue – because I want her to be “normal” and have friends and swing on the swing, and make bestest friends. I really think, even if I do nothing with her at home, that she’d be ready for first grade right now. So anything I do at home with her will be a perk, and she’d be so much happier. I don’t know if she’s just saying she doesn’t like school because it’s part of a power struggle (which is my mother’s theory – and backed up by the teacher, who keeps saying that Jess is doing wonderfully, no problems at all) or if she’s legitimately unhappy there, and by continuing to send her, I’m just ignoring her.