I had all but decided to screw kindergarten, pocket the money we'd save, and homeschool Quinlan next year.
But then I realized, after trying to teach her to play the violin for the last few days, that I'd probably end up using that money on my own personal psychiatric care, so perhaps I might want to consider all the options before making that sort of decision.
In all my years as a teacher and now as a parent, I'm perfectly clear that education doesn't begin or end with school. It's our duty as parents to have a hand and maybe even a couple of feet in the learning process.
We've started a book called "Explode the Code" to help her with reading, and she plays "Dreambox" (both of which we love and were not paid to love) every other day or so. And we read to her all the time, encourage creative imaginative play, and engage her in thought-provoking discussions, which generally have to do with poop and what her next birthday cake will be. But still, we're not sitting back with our feet propped up on our coffee table relying on the teacher and her full-time assistant to ready our daughter for life.
And so we talked with the kindergarten teacher about the curriculum, which we both felt was pretty promising, and we looked at what was holding us back and whether those were legitimate concerns, or just our own fears and trepidations that had really nothing to do with Quinlan.
Funny how we try so hard not to live vicariously through our kids, but then we forget about projecting our own fears and our need for control onto them.
Oh how easy it was when we could stick them in the exersaucer or plop them on the floor, and the only opinion they offered was in the form of a puny whelp or a loud screech.
But now she's a near five year old kid who can't be plopped anywhere without a full, detailed explanation, and a series of ridiculously complicated questions. Decisions just aren't as easily made when they involve her actual participation.
So honestly, I still feel like 8:00am to 3:30pm is a terribly long day.
But I also thought that everyday preschool from 8-12pm was ridiculous - a complete tragedy against small humans.
Come to find out my daughter loves it. Completely freaking loves it. As in begs for school on the weekend loves it.
And so, when I asked her for the 14th time whether she'd want to stay home and do school with me or go to kindergarten, she said:
"I want to go to kindergarten, mommy."
"But it's a reallllly long day. 8-3:30 in the afternoon!" I replied, in my best guilt-inducing mom voice.
"Yes mommy, but sometimes, at school, I never have enough time to get all my work done. So if I'm there all day, then I will."
And there you have it. A ridiculously smart and logical answer to my own heartwrenching emotional battle.
I'm sure it won't be the last time that happens.
Now I'm not letting my daughter make all the decisions for herself, but I do believe there's certainly something to be said about allowing her to have a voice. I just need to be sure to listen to it before my own fears of her growing up and moving on drown it out.