Our Boy finally started school this week.
The reason we waited so long was that at first I just wasn't ready, and then financially it made more sense to keep him home, and then there was the "put him on a wait list and see what happens".
I had my sights set on a pre-school at a local church near my work...but for whatever reason, they called us twice for Bluebird, but Boy never made it up on the list. I wasn't going to put them in different schools, so we waited.
Boy is about to turn 4 and we realized that we would need to get him in pre-school by next year, because next up is kindergarten.
Call me ignorant, but Boy is my first experience with this stuff...and I guess I thought it would be easier than it was, and cheaper than it is. Pre-schools really seemed to be designed for stay-at-home mom's who are able to pick up there children at noon. If you need after school care, they are willing to rob you blind in order to offer it to you. Seriously, the most moderately priced schools would be $4-$6/hr each hour..which if you can't pick them up til 5p, then you are looking at anywhere from $15/day= $60/wk=$240/mo OVER the monthly cost of school.
I know there are day cares that may be cheaper but I really wanted a school like setting.
So....I search and search and search. Sent for information from some places, etc. (I know I should have done this before, but I thought after a year and a half he would get into the one I had chosen). Finally, it seems Montessori would be the best option and that they would be willing to let our Boy start right away. Daddy and I went on a tour and we liked what we saw. I was not completely sold by the philosophy, but there was at least a cap on the after school care price. I was disappointed there did not seem to be more structured crafts and activities...because I am a mom who has dreams of displaying lots of refrigerator art.
Well, all was set...and then Montessori threw a huge kink in my plans. They only offered 5 day a week programs, and they strongly felt that Boy would need to be half day only in order to prepare for full days in the fall.
Don't get me wrong...I understand and am inclined to agree on the principle...but unfortunately, I am not a mother who has the capability to pick my child up at noon.
Naturally, I felt depressed. I called my mom (who was in the car picking up my nieces from school) and I felt depressed that I was so far from any family. I felt depressed because I had to work. I felt depressed because I loved to work.
Anyway...the same day I got the impossible call from Montessori, my phone also rang with a call from someone from one of the schools I had inquired about.
I could not have asked for more perfect timing....I looked into the school more and I liked what I saw. I went on a tour and I liked it more. Lots of crafts. A full library where they start checking books out in K4. Chapel on Wednesdays. Music on Fridays. Spanish on Mondays. If they are good (and demonstrate the fruits of the spirit) they get a red apple and if they need some extra work, they bring home a green apple. AND, they each get a memory book at the end of each year with all the crafts and pictures and excitement through the year.
Affordable. Discounts for paying all at once. And discounts for each subsequent child (which means eventually we get one in for free, haha).
We went and bought him supplies: crayons, a mat with a Lightning McQueen pillow and blanket, wipes, tissues, etc. I ironed all his collared shirts and slacks and hung them in the closet. He was excited and we were ready.
We let him know that if he gets a red apple, he can wear his Superman costume all evening.
So...Boy started this week.
Here he is on his first day to K3 (yes, he had to wear his "Clark Kent clothes")
He was very sad when I left him and it was extremely hard for Mommy.
His wonderful teacher sent me several updates throughout the day to tell me he was smiling, playing with other kids, eating all of his snack ("like he is starving") and asleep on his mat at naptime.
Daddy picked him up and said he was playing on the playground by himself....which of course made Daddy and me a bit sad.
But he had a red apple and so....
On Wednesday, once again, he cried and screamed as I left.
When the end of the day came...I eagerly went to pick him up....and he was intrigued reading a book when I arrived. As we left he seemed so happy. He said "bye everybody".
another red apple was sent home.
On the way home we got a milkshake and he talked about stories and other kids and napping on the floor and skunks.
When we got home, he emptied his back pack and these items were at the bottom.
I have a kleptomaniac on my hands.
I wasn't sure why he chose these items? Random at best.
I did the best I could think of. I told him that this was called stealing and he is never to take things from school. We put them back in his back pack. He would not be allowed to play with these things and we would take them back to school on Friday and tell our teacher we are sorry.
When he mentioned his "things"...I would say "No, those are the schools things".
So, on Thursday, I got another email from his teacher telling me how much progress he had made in one day. That he had fun. He was following directions. He played well with the other kids.
I responded and let me know how happy I was, but that it seemed he may have swiped some toys from school.
She quickly sent this response:
"Oh no, I should have sent a note. One of his classmates, Jake, felt sorry that Boy was sad on Monday, and he went home and gathered those things and gave them to Boy as a gift".
Well, I don't even have to tell you how this made me feel. I quickly called Daddy and told him. He gathered the items and said "Did your friend Jake bring you these things as a gift?". Boy said "Yes, and I said 'Thank you Jake'".
He played with those random items all day and even slept with them that night.
Yes, on Friday, I ran into Jake's mother who said that Jake told her he wanted to give a present to his new friend".
I can't tell you how this melts my heart.
He still cried when I left him...but I know he is going to be fine. He is going to learn, develop his own interests and build his own relationships. I am so proud.
So...this morning...a typical Saturday morning and then Boy responded to Daddy with a "Yes Sir".
I guess you could say that so far...our experience with school is a positive experience.