Right after Asher turned three, I was invited to be part of a joy school group with a group of moms who all had boys Asher's age. Asher was really, really nervous about starting school, but after the first day he was sold. And by the last day, he was calling his joy school "buddy school" because he "like goed to school with all [his] buddies." We did a second year of buddy school with the same boys, minus one who moved and one who decided to go to "real" preschool. Again, only happiness from Asher.
Then, in January of this year, I decided it was time to figure out which "real" preschool Asher was going to attend, since he'd be only a year out from Kindergarten in the fall. I would have happily gone back to Reed's preschool teacher, but she was only teaching three year olds. I started asking around and found that everyone who did an in-home preschool was full for the fall. IN JANUARY. I was getting a little bit desperate when, luckily, one of the preschool teachers who was full gave me a few names of other preschool teachers. One wasn't full--in fact, we took one of her last two spots. I was overjoyed, especially when I found out later that she was in my friend Karinne's ward and the two of them actually ran together. Before that little tidbit, I didn't know her at all!
Along came the last week of July. I hadn't heard anything from our preschool teacher, who said she'd send something at the beginning of the summer, so I sent her a text just to make sure Asher really was on her list and I didn't need to start frantically searching for another preschool. He was on her list, she just hadn't had a chance to send the letter. Two weeks later, we got the promised letter and sent a small supply fee to secure our spot. The letter also advised us that another letter would be coming at the end of August with more details, once she had her class list completely set.
The letter didn't come. And I started to have some misgivings. Reed brought home an application to his school's preschool and, though I knew the chances were slim that we'd get one of the two spaces available, I filled in the application. When Asher found out what I was doing, he immediately started crying. He was upset because he wouldn't know anyone at school. When I reminded him that we didn't know anyone at the preschool we were planning on going to, either, but that it would still be fun, he kind of calmed down, but not really. He only stopped crying when I told him we probably wouldn't get in.
I was also worried because his would-be teacher seemed kind of not dependable to me. I realize it was summer and she had kids of her own to spend time with and do things for, but I was kind of super frustrated with the lack of information--it was the last week of August, and I knew school started sometime in September, but didn't know when for sure, how long the school days lasted, or anything else.
And I really didn't want to send him to Reed's school preschool even if he did get in, because the preschool is full day! I wasn't ready to have Asher gone for so many hours yet, not when I have one more year before he really starts school.
I talked to Asher about the preschool conundrum, to find out if he even wanted to go. His answer was a tearful "no." He wanted to stay home to do school with me because, "I love home!" (I also got a little teary at that one.) And, the first preschool letter we'd received said they'd focus on learning alphabet letters, sounds, and cutting with scissors, etc. As Asher aptly put it, he already knew how to do all those things. ("I can already read, Mom!") Ryan and I talked about preschool that night, mostly about not going and if that would be a bad decision. I was leaning toward keeping him home. The only reason I wanted to send him was for the social interaction--but $125 each month seemed like a steep price for social interaction :)
The next day, his would-be preschool teacher actually came to the house to drop off a packet of info and meet Asher. He started sobbing--partly because he was upset, and partly because he was only two days out from his surgery, which made everything extra upsetting--and hid behind me. I wasn't completely decided yet on preschool and, despite my misgivings, she really seemed like a nice person and the preschool info she gave me was quite organized, so maybe she wasn't so flaky as I thought. After she left, Asher and I talked again, and he really, really, really didn't want to go to preschool. He didn't calm down until I told him that he could stay home with me, on a few conditions: he was most certainly going to Kindergarten the next year; no complaining when I asked him to do school stuff; he'd try his hardest at school at home. Ryan and I talked again that night and decided to keep Asher home from preschool.
I know this seems like a lot of drama over a decision that doesn't really matter. But it was a decision that really mattered to me. Asher and I are only on our second week of preschool together, but I've put a lot of work into it and think he can really learn a lot this year. I also think it's been so good for us to have a little extra one-on-one time together where we're working on learning and projects. Having Reed at school all day this year has made me want to cling a little tighter to Ashie and Lila while they're still home all day, because I really miss Reed and I'm really not ready to not see Ashie and Lila all day, too. I think I was planning on sending Asher to preschool mainly because it was what people do--but now I'm keeping him home because I think it's going to be better for him, and me.
And, on a Lila note: Lila decided months ago that when Reed went to first grade and Asher went to preschool, she was going to go to "buddy school with mommy." So in the mornings three times a week, she and I and Asher do a simple "buddy school" for her. Then, when she naps, Asher and I do his school. Lila takes school very seriously and wears her backpack--that is full of toys--every day. Because that's what you do when you go to school.
This backpack is referred to as "Brady backpack" because we bought it from a store that sells PBKids stuff that is new, but super cheap (like under $10). I think these items are "mistakes" because they all have names on them--they must be misspelled or the wrong color or something. Anyway, the backpack said "Brady" but I picked out all the letters except for the A--but we still call it Brady backpack, every time. Lila's backpack is from the same store, but luckily didn't have a name on it.
I have already learned that Lila is very good with colors! I didn't realize that she knew her colors so well--definitely something she picked up on her own.