Last week was Comedian’s time to shine. It was her first week of preschool. Yes, she headed off to an actual preschool not just at home. Storyteller went to preschool for two years while we were getting comfortable with the idea of homeschooling. Now, it is Comedian’s turn.
Thankfully we found a play based preschool in our area. I was surprised at how hard it was to find. Surely, we’re not the only family who doesn’t want their three year old (or even four year old) doing worksheets?! Apparently, there aren’t many of us because we didn’t have many choices. I just want her to explore and play and get really dirty doing it. If we weren’t able to find such a school then she would still be home with us. Yes, this school still needs to prepare the kids for regular school but they do it in a very play based manner.
The school we choose offers a program for 2 year olds but we thought that was a bit young for Comedian. We were on the waiting list for this year’s 3 year old class but were told chances are usually pretty slim for getting in. This is the same school Storyteller went to for her 4 year old year so as alumni we were at the top of the wait list. Now that we have a year of homeschooling behind us it feels kind of weird to send our youngest off to preschool. Yes, we’re still new homeschoolers but we’ve came far enough that I’m starting to identify homeschooling as something we do rather than just something that we are trying. There was a part of me that was hoping there wasn’t a spot for her at the school. I would’ve been okay with that. We have enough opportunities in the homeschool community now that there really aren’t any big reasons for her to go. There are a lot of kids that she gets to play and explore with regularly. Yes, some are even her age and some are not.
She was really excited to go but not thrilled with the idea that I would be leaving her there. I was still on the fence about whether or not I wanted her to go. What really helped sway me was her teacher and the classroom she set up which is filled with hand carved wooden toys. One of the moms mentioned to me that the teacher’s husband builds these toys. Have you looked in a natural wooden toy catalog? They are very expensive! What luck to have a teacher whose husband is willing and able to make these beautiful toys for the classroom!
The teacher had great patience in helping Comedian feel comfortable. I know many moms will walk away and leave their kid crying knowing that the kid will be okay. I just can’t. It is refreshing to have a calm and gentle teacher who takes the time to connect with a scared kid before shooing mom out the door. Even though she was scared, no tears were shed…just a bit of whimpering. All week she has been talking about all the things she’s done in school so she’s clearly having fun.
Aside from starting preschool, Comedian has decided that she wants to learn how to write her letters. It started when Storyteller was drawing squares for her writing lesson. The point of the lesson was to introduce threading. I looked over and saw Comedian was following along and drawing her own squares. Later she drew a picture and wanted to put Storyteller’s name on it. She actually wrote the first two letters on her own before I saw what she was doing. I helped her finished the name. She then moved onto her own name which is quite long. I “drew” the letters on the table with my finger and said the movement commands that we’ve learned with the writing curriculum that Storyteller uses. Comedian has been listening to these words for the last year so she figured out many of the letters very easily.
She’s also taken off with drawing. She’s been able to draw people (or more specifically princesses) for a few months and it seems like each week she is adding more and more detail. At this point, she draws the dress, arms, legs, hands, feet, and a head with eyes, nose, mouth and hair. She has been watching and learning from Storyteller for so long that she seems to be picking up drawing very quickly. This week she’s been working on a cat, whale and submarine.
This has also been a big transition time for Storyteller. Even though I’ve explained MANY times that we still need to do her schoolwork while Comedian is at school, she still had expectations that the two of us would go out for fun activities. We did go to a park one day but she expected us to spend all of our time at museums, parks and bounce house places. We actually only have two hours at home before leaving to pick up Comedian. It’s been hard to get her to focus so we haven’t done much on those mornings. I thought we’d be able to get a lot done without Comedian around but that definitely hasn’t been the case so far. We’re still finding our groove and I’m sure it will all work out at some point. I know some homeschoolers do school at parks. I’m not sure how it will work for Storyteller but perhaps we’ll give it a try now that the weather is cooling off. Finding a park near the school will cut our drive time in half and leave us more time for school and play.
So, what is our purpose in sending Comedian to preschool? I have no idea. Certainly, it’s not to prepare her academically for kindergarten. I’m confident we will do just fine in that area. I’m excited that she’ll get to paint and play with Play-Doh every day that she’s there…and I don’t have to clean it up. They have a large outdoor area with many play structures that she’ll be able to explore. She will get the chance to work on gross and fine motor skills with activities that are new to her. It’s a way to reinforce skills she’s learning at home. Preschool is different than “regular school” at least it is at a play based school. Our reasons for homeschooling just don’t really apply here. So yeah, why not…it’s time for Comedian to go to preschool!