Agent E has been to school a lot . . . and she's only five years old.
At two she went to a Mom's Morning Out program at the YMCA one morning a week for three hours. Not really "school" but time away from me with other kids her age and two teachers. Agent J was about four months at the time, and we used those mornings for running errands as well as some dedicated Mommy Time. Mostly, though, it was more for me.
At three she attended preschool three days a week at a small church near our house. Again, three hours each day, nine hours a week total, and she loved it. Julia was older and mobile and a little more challenging, but we enjoyed our time together.
|Agent E at her new preschool in Italy|
A little more than halfway through that school year, we moved to Italy. We were here for about a month before I enrolled her in preschool (a few weeks before she turned four) . . . this time in a pre-K class, which she attended for just two months at the end of the school year. She thought it was great, and of course by now this was just what we do, so I enrolled her again for the following year.
(Both Agent E and Agent J also completed the summer session . . . three days a week for five weeks . . . at the same school. This was J's first school experience, and she thought it was wonderful. Guess what? Enrolled her in the two-year-old class for the following year, too.)
Back to E . . . at four years old, E went to school Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 2:30 p.m. in the pre-K/kindergarten combined class at the same preschool. And, as usual, she loved it. She turned five near the end of the school year, and immediately thoughts of The Big Kid School filled her head.
(Insert another summer session . . . for both Senior Agents . . . here.)
The school days at the elementary school are even longer . . . 8:00 a.m. to 2:20 p.m., Monday to Friday. That's over 30 hours a week, not counting travel time or homework (which I'm not certain but I hear they now give in kindergarten. Kindergarten homework, folks.)
So, now I'm wondering: Who has all this school been for? Her? Or me? And why does it seem so normal to us?
Of course, I can’t escape the fact that the Senior Agents love school. They really enjoy their school days. They are very attached to their teachers. (Who, by the way, are fabulous.) They look forward to it, learn a lot, and are happy to go each morning. Which makes this decision even harder.
Do I really want to “take that away” from them?
As usual, I have more questions than answers.
|Agent J rockin art time again|
Why, when I read an e-mail from the girls' preschool about open house for the new school year did I get all weepy?
Why, when Agent E mentions going to kindergarten, and points out the elementary school on base, do I stifle my urge to tell her, "maybe not"?
Why did I spend the entire weekend researching what children learn in kindergarten and first grade?
Why do I have a document on my desktop outlining the "school" activities I'd like to do with the girls in the next few months?
Why am I not looking forward to time alone with just Agent A? to grocery shopping in peace? to being able to run errands with just one not-yet-walking child?
Why is my desire for "me" time not squelching this newfound obsession with wanting to homeschool?
Why am I not more excited about the school year beginning in four weeks?