Tuesday, October 26

Preschool Woes!

Oh man, the decision making process was hard enough when I was just trying to make decisions for myself-- situations based on my life, and my abilities and what I thought was best for me. Add a couple of kids into the mix and I think I may need a little "Decision Making 101" course to help me along this road!

I'm referring to our decision regarding Ava and preschool here. Who knew, right?! Who knew I would spend countless hours, zillions of braincells (or so it has felt) and a WHOLE lot of emotional energy pondering the value of preschool versus no preschool for my 3-year old.

But she is my kiddo, and she is very emotional and she is hard to figure out (can you say "female"!?!) sometimes!

So let's not beat around the bush here. Today was Ava's last day of formal pre-school for the year. We are going to attend the class field trip on Friday (seeing as it sounds like fun and I get to go we figured we might as well end on a positive note!) to a local farm for a hay ride and pumpkin picking and whatnot, and that's going to be the end of it.

I have had oodles of people tell me why I am wrong to pull her out; that I'm giving in, that she needs to "learn", that she needs to socialize, that if she is having this much trouble now won't it be worse next year, that we're setting some sort of precedent...yadda, yadda, yadda.

I have had my closest friends (thank you Sarah and Sara) and my lovely sister (thank you!) agree with me that the whole thing is seemingly causing WAY more stress than it is worth.

Scott is going to vomit if I bring the subject up one more time because we ladies, well, we mommies, sometimes obsess about things a little bit. Sometimes. And our poor husbands get to be on the listening end of all things obsessed about.

And, in the end, I had to make a decision that wasn't super clear....

For those of you who don't know the backstory here, Ava HATES being dropped off at school. Still. Seven weeks into this whole thing. All of the other kids have either settled in, or dropped out long ago and I seem to be the only one whose kid is digging in her heels (literally today!) and screaming when I drop her off.

She is happy as a clam when I pick her up. Sometimes singing and showing me what she made. Often quite chatty. It's why we've kept going as long as we have...at first I thought it was a separation anxiety thing (and it may be a little bit), but I've dropped her off at the nursery in the gym, I've left her with babysitters, etc. etc. and she is totally fine.

Apparently she stops crying within minutes of my leaving, but she CLINGS to the teacher all day. The teacher has been a saint about the whole thing, but she does have 15 other kids to take care of! Ava apparently also doesn't engage other kids in the class-- she mostly only talks to them if they talk to her. When I ask her why she hates school her answer is "There are too many kids!"

So anyway, I won't get into my whole analysis of what I think is going on...it doesn't really matter. What matters is that we had to make a decision that was best for our family.

At the end of the day I do feel our society is a bit pushy on our children...there is an expectation that they start school earlier and earlier...if they don't like it, tough...there are a lot of things in life they won't like.

My take is, she's 3! I'm home. If she is a child who has anxiety, especially caused by large groups of people, why force her to deal with it now? Perhaps by this time next year she'll be in a different place emotionally, and, if she's not, then that's o.k. In my book, if she's not enjoying school and I'm home anyway, why not let her enjoy one more comfortable, unstructured year home with me and her sister. She'll have the rest of her life to run around structured and scheduled and forced to deal with groups of people she doesn't like!

I'm a little sad about the whole thing. I loved the songs she was coming home singing, and the cute little crafts, and was looking forward to the Thanksgiving potluck and the Christmas show the kids were going to put on. I enjoyed doing her "homework" with her and and ordering books from the scholastic book form. However, I realize she'll have MANY more years to do all of those things as well.

We have her in gymnastics, I take her to music classes and I'm hoping she'll start going back to Sunday school (she started putting up a fit about that when school started...too much school for her all at once!)

At the end of the day, each child is different and we need to take it as it comes. Ella is usually running into the preschool and sitting herself in one of the chairs while Ava is fighting me at the door!

All that said, it wasn't an easy or clear decision, even in the end. But, as Scott said, "Lis, when you make decisions they often come with good results and bad. You have to determine which good and which bad you want." In this case, the stress it was causing her (and our entire family on school mornings!) isn't worth it.

Alright. Enough said. I think my brain hurts!

Would love to hear about your decisiveness or indecisiveness in regards to parenting your children! That way I won't feel so crazy!


  1. Oh, Lisa! I know where you're coming from! I've agonized over NOT sending my boys to preschool this year. We never really had a "clear" reason why we decided against it...just figured it will cost a lot to send 2 at the same time, & since I used to teach kindergarten, why not do preschool-ish stuff w/ them at home. But the days get busy....and my grand intentions to "do preschool at home" often remain just that...intentions! Every week at Mops and Mom-to-Mom I see the other kiddos coming out of preschool & wonder if I made the wrong choice. I hear about all that they're learning from other mom friends & worry that my boys are missing out because of me! AAAAGGGGHHHH!!!! It's so frustrating! I just keep trying to remind myself that in 20 years, they'll still have memories of preschool (just one less year than some)....but that's all they'll be....just memories. I'm pretty sure that who our kiddos are 20 years from now will have precious little to do w/ when/if/how long they attended preschool!
    ....Now....can you remind me of that next Thursday as we're leaving Mops???? ;P

  2. I think you absolutely made the right decision. Why push it and cause more harm then good? That's coming from me as a mom and as a teacher!!!! :)

  3. Thanks Ellen and Jessica!

    Jessica, Wow! I hadn't even thought about needing to send two to pre-school at the same time! Yes, that would be expensive! I think you made the right decision as well and i will be there to tell you that next Thursday!! LOL>

  4. Good for you for looking at her individual needs. No one knows her better than you do. She is only three, and there is a BIG jump between 3 and 5. Society definitely pushes preschool these days, which I don't entirely get. They have their whole life to go to school for formal learning. I think we forget how much they learn these first 4-5 years from us, especially with you being home with her. Just day to day activities and errands teach her so much. You're a great momma!

  5. None of our four kids went to formal preschool. They were all involved in a preschool " co-op". There was a group of 3-5 moms...depending on which child. We picked out a theme for the month and then took turns teaching our own preschool lesson. We only met once a week. For example, I taught in SEPT once and did an ocean unit. Three Fridays I had all the kids at my house for "preschool" and the fourth week we all went on a trip to the aquarium. One of the other moms took my yougnger kid(s). Then I got the next 2-4 months off. It worked well for us, and all the kids adjusted fine to Kindergarten. We had a weekly playgroup, nursery, and Mom to Mom each week as well.

  6. This is a refreshing post, thanks for sharing Lisa. I think you make the right decision too. I have a friend who does day care and she used to have a boy cry all day. That's no way to live. Of course yours was better if they stopped crying quick, but that one year with you will be so precious to you both and what's one year? I hope you'll pop over to my blog in a week or so when I talk about signing kids up for hobbies, I'm also a hopeless decision maker, yikes!

  7. She's like here daddy! Doesn't like crowds!

  8. I liked your post. I didn't send my son to preschool until the age of 4 (this year) and even now he only goes 2 days a week.! I must agree with everyone how refreshing it was for you to put your child first as opposed to following the norm. We all have to face our fears and anxieties some day, but certainly not at the age of 3. Your little one is Blessed to have such an insightful Mama. Kudos.


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