The term "school" has been thrown around a lot lately. Aidan hears his Daddy talk about school, and having to do homework every night. He hears adults ask me "When is Aidan starting school?" He has heard his friends and their parents talking about school starting up, back-to-school shopping, planning for the big day, etc. The other day he asked his Daddy "When can I go to school?"
Aidan is not going to preschool this year. He is three years old. He won't be 4 until the end of December. He can't start Kindergarten until September 2015 due to the age cut-off being Sept. 1st. He will start preschool next year.
I am a SAHM and we are living within very limited means. Sending Aidan to preschool for 2 years is just not in our budget. But regardless of budget, I just don't see why I should send him to preschool for 2 years. Other moms totally have their reasons (be it work schedules or simply for their own sanity), and I respect their choices. But, delaying 14 years of school, not taking college years into account, for one more year is my gift to my little 3yr old. Its one more carefree year of being under momma's wing, sheltered from growing up any faster than he needs to, and having fun with his brother at a time when their relationship has yet to reach a point of hostility, jealousy, or a constant need for a referee. I love being able to stay home and raise my children. I love watching his imagination in action as he runs around the house and yard pretending to be a fireman, rescuing all kinds of people and animals from danger. I love when he asks me to read him a story, and one story becomes twelve. I love that he still naps in the afternoon and I get a little (and yes, much needed) break just about every day, but I still get to be with him otherwise. I love that he gets to go to a 2 1/2 hr drop-off gym class once a week, where he gets to play and have fun, and experience a little separation from me and Liam too, because I do understand the importance of that independence.
He's so eager to learn new things. Its seemed for the longest time that he's had no patience for learning letters/numbers, but lately has really begun to express interest. He has a preschool workbook one of his aunties bought him a couple years ago that has been tucked away in a closet until yesterday. With all of his inquiries about school, I thought it was time to try some of the lessons in the book (we've tried learning letters and numbers in various other ways with limited success). We sat at the table together and page by page started working our way through the lessons, practicing tracing different kinds of lines, then moving onto shapes, then colors. I told him this was his homework - and he's been "doing homework" since.
"Aidan, come upstairs so we can get ready to go out."
"Mom, I'm doing my homework!"
Despite all that, I still feel a little twinge of guilt that he's not going to school this year. Like I'm harming his odds of being successful once he does start school - like I'm starting him off with a disadvantage because all the other kids have been in preschool for YEARS! I start thinking these things and immediately just have to tell myself to shut the hell up. He is a brilliant little boy. Preschool for even just one year is still optional - not mandatory. His one year of preschool will be AMAZING! He is going to love it. He's going to have so much fun learning and meeting new friends. He's going to come home from school eager to share with me all that he did, right down to what he ate for a snack ( he's a growing boy, afterall), and I will have a big, giant smile on my face watching my little sponge grow and learn under someone else's wing. My pride will soar as I see him mature further into his own little person, and my heart will simultaneously ache as I see less and less of my "baby", and burst with excitement for the boy he's becoming and adventures he'll have!
Its going to be wonderful - next year.