I was not looking forward to the start of school for a variety of reasons.
For starters, I like creating my own schedule. I don’t like someone “else” determining what I do with my own children and at what time. I don’t care for inflexible rules. I love summer, sunshine, freedom, and easy days and nights. I don’t respond well to other adults telling me much, least of all, what to do, and when to do it, especially with my own children.
Hey, I’m the descendant of commercial fishing captains. We do our own thing.
However, I also live in the real world. I’m familiar with reality. Realizing that reality, and taking into account each of my children, I made the best decisions I could going into this next school year. So far, everything has worked out well, and that has made the start of school so much more pleasant!
Eva entered first grade, and we made the decision to enter our Vincent into (private) kindergarten—in spite of his summer birthday—because we felt he was ready to progress to the next level. It was a hard decision; I didn’t think Vincent was ready for public kindergarten, but I did not want to see him in preschool for another year. I did not want him with 3-and-4-year olds; I really wanted him learning alongside children his own age.
Vincent has been at a disadvantage due to his late summer birthday and because of his hearing and speech challenges which were recently, and finally, diagnosed after five years.
However, just because Vincent does not hear perfectly well, or does not speak perfectly well, does not mean he does not know his colors, and letters, and numbers. He does know how to follow directions, even if he doesn’t always hear the directions. We felt that just because he has specific challenges, it didn’t mean Vincent needed to be held back from progressing in his learning and socializing with children his age.
Therefore, we made the choice to enter Vincent into a small, private kindergarten. I brought Vincent to kindergarten each day this week and stayed for a while each morning to observe his manner, his interaction with others, and the interactions of others with him.
Nobody is more vigilant, sensitive, or alert to the needs or challenges of my Vincent than me, and I wanted to be sure we’d made the right decision and that Vincent was in the right place.
Each morning, I watched Vincent’s teacher interact with my sweet boy. I observed the way he would gently rest his hand on Vincent’s shoulder and make sure Vincent was looking right at him before he began speaking. He made sure Vincent could see his mouth as he spoke, and he spoke in the direction of Vincent’s left ear, which is the better of Vincent’s two ears, before he continued.
I watched Vincent smile, nod, and respond to his teacher.
When I felt comfortable to go, I gave my sweet boy a big hug.
“Have the best day ever,” I said each day. “I love you so much.”
Then I’d go home and figure out what to do next. (Fortunately, baby Valerie helps dictate that plan of action.) I returned every afternoon to pick Vincent up and was so pleased to see him playing in the big field underneath a blue sky and making friends. I received a note from his teacher telling me how much Vincent enjoys the Listening Center and that his favorite part of the day is reading books.
I also walked the baby up to Eva’s school this week in the nice weather to see if I could catch her at recess and give her a hug. Eva wasn’t at recess, but she just happened to be outside working on an art project, and it was so much fun seeing her with hands covered in red paint.
I’m so proud of my two big kids. They melt my heart with their backpacks and their joy. They are each in the place that is perfect for them, and that has made all the difference.