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March 18, 2009

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I love this blog! This is the first one I ever really followed (and whose past entries I am trying to read up on) because I cannot wait to be a parent myself and it gives me a new perspective (a parent's point of view) that I could never understand having only been someone else's child. Also, you live in Atlanta which is further proof that my new home is not all that bad!

Now about your post, my mom was the inspiration behind my success in school. The funny thing is that in high school and college, my mom would complain that I did too much, worked too hard. I would say the same thing as your near five-year-old: "I love what I do and I will stay at school as long as I need to to finish my work." I used to think my mom made no sense, but now I understand where my mom might have been coming from when she would say those things.

@Kate -- Totally right. I think I sound guilty because I'm not completely sold on it.

Especially after the most recent field trip. Sigh.

But I'm really at a point where I don't know if I can do it or not. And I reaaaaaaaaally want to make the right decision for my kid and not just for me.

So guilty, maybe not. Insecure? Absolutely.

Every child is different. Every parent is different. Every family situation is different. Can we stop making blanket statements about whether the way a parent does things is "good" or "bad"?

If a woman wants to send her child to all-day kindergarten, she shouldn't have to write a guilty sounding blog post in order to earn approval from a bunch of strangers.

She's a social bunny!

My girl is going to kindergarten next year. She will love it. I am already hating the bureaucracy.

Q will do great!

"explode the code" is awesome. see if she will like starfall.com
it's phonics online and fun for kids. (coming from a computer teacher at a dyslexic school in atlanta)
:) Kim

are you serious? letting your child decide their own educational path? who is the adult? who is ultimately responsible?

wow.

I attended all-day kindergarten and never thought anything of it until I found out as an adult not all schools do this. We had nap time everday, and recesses provided enough down time.

I don't get the half day kindergarten from a parenting perspective. How many parents can pick up/drop off their kids in the middle of the day?

I agree that a whole day is really long for 5 year olds. (This from a former 1st grade teacher.)

You can always move to Kansas. They still have half day kindergarten. I've considered it as an option for a teaching position so I can do a combo of SAHM and working mom. This makes me really consider it when my kiddo is ready to go to school. However, the con is major... Kansas, ugh.

-Abby
(a transplanted Kansas girl now living in the South)

Lord lord lord: wait until College.

Around here its full day (public school) K and you have to go private for a shorter session. I think my son would love being at school more(he is a few weeks shy of being old enough for public school K next year) but more is simply more money we don't have!

Send her to k.garten. Mine is the same age as yours, in Italy 'scuola dell'infanzia' for 3 to 5 year olds finishes even later every day (8 until 4.30!) but they all love it and when we arrive to collect them they never want to leave, they say it's too soon! My daughter is funny, loving and smart, well adjusted at home and at school, it's certainly not harming her

I was totally convinced my kid would have a hard time in preschool, too, especially because of his sensory issues. But he loves it.

I think he will really like kindergarten, too, but 8-3 does seem like a ridiculously long day for such a small a kid to me. I worry that he'll be tired, or overwhelmed, but my biggest worry is that he won't eat anything all day. I mean, at home he sometimes takes an hour to finish a quarter of a sandwich. At school he's going to have 20 minutes to eat (realistically, after getting seated and all).

But I've talked it over with him, and he really wants to go.

I might just have to feed him a stick of butter or something every day when he gets home.

She is lucky to have you for her mom. Our Quinn has been enrolled in the full day lottery here. We might get full-day or not. I just hope he will get the most out of kindergarten that he can.

Your daughter sounds extremely bright!! She'll do great.

Mine was in kindergarten until last month when we moved and I have had her home for 2 weeks because we wanted to homeschool her, as of yesterday she told us "mommy and daddy please send me to school" and yes I have tried to give her the guilty voice and she won't budge, so this Friday we have made an appt to go register her, we have to trust their kid instincts and they can always come home if they decide to.

Good for her. And good for you too.

It's so hard when our children actually become the free-thinking, self-actualized humans we want them to be.

Bastards.

I was home schooled for kindergartn, and then started first grade late. The choice to go to school was my choice. I wanted friends. (we lived in the woods, in the middle of nowhere) While I hated being teased for being different, and didn't always think I had made the best choice, when I compared myself to my friends who home schooled, I so won.

I know how to play nice with others. :)

Giving kids a say in their lives is great. I think it creates independent thinkers as adults. Isn't that what we all want? Successful adults? You always get veto power, but does it really hurt to let them wear the same skirt with cute people on it every day for two weeks? (that was me, not my daughter)

Funny, but each of my four kids was so ready and so was I to let them spread their wings.

They all had a 4 day pre-K because of birthday issues.

When the baby went to all day K, my husband was ticked at me for not falling down in tears as he departed on the bus. (You know, that "my baby is leaving home" mentality)

I spent four years raising him to be ready! No clinging, kicking or screaming. He was ready to be there all day.
He waved and told me to have a great day.
Woo-hoo!

Don't worry, it will be great!

I had to giggle because I started to teach my son violin as well and we decided it would be better if we got an outside teacher. They are doing great with her and I've learned a lot from her as well! .... My kids all LOVE/Loved kindergarten but I think our cut off is such that the kids are on the older side of 5 and many are 6 when they start.

I suppose if she wants to do it, might as well let her try. And then if she doesn't like it you could always change your mind, right?

Cordy will be going to a full-day Pre-K next year, and I'm also stressed about how long she'll be gone. But she handles half-day preschool so well right now that I think she'll probably adjust without any problem.

I agree with most comments. My 2-1/2 daughter is in daycare 2 days a week and while I think it is long, we have a hard time getting her to come home.

So on the days I am home with her, thinking I am such a good mother sitting down playing with her, she's like "yeah, can I go to school today?"

Gotta listen to the kids.....

My oldest is much like your daughter. LOVES school. Now boy #2 on the other hand...I suspect we'll have a lot more heartache with that one!

Your child will totall thank you for letting her go to Kindy. Trust me. I was one of those kids who's mother kept her home and homeschooled her and I always felt like I had missed out.

We think that 9:00 - 3:30 is a long day of school for children here in North America, but get this. In France, they attend school from 8:30 - 5:00 on Mon/Tue/Thur/Fri. Wednesdays off. And during those four days of school, they are fed a three-course lunch and allowed an additional hour to play after a lengthy time for them to consume and digest lunch.

I'll see how my sons adapt to Kindergarten and Grade 2 in the fall, when they start the school year over there...

Aww..that's adorable! They do have their own reasons for wanting to do certain things, and it's nice to hear them. My little one is dying to go to Kindergarten at her big sister's school next fall. She just wants to be with her so much.

My son started daycare at 18 months, and my daughter at 9 months. In both cases, they began by going in the morning only. In both cases, they both demonstrated that they wanted to stay longer. Now that I'm back working full-time, they are there from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm. And I still have trouble coaxing them out of the building.

Have no guilt. Children love being around other children. They learn by example and there's nothing like a mirror image.

And you, my friend, believe it or not, will appreciate the break.

After spending 5 full years together, all day K has really strengthened the bond my daughter and I share. Having her go off into the world every morning has given us both a better appreciation of each other. It helps that I really love what her school has to offer.


And I think it's great that you let your daughter weigh in about decisions regarding her life. I couldn't parent any other way.

My kids have been in full-day programs since infancy that take great pains to include them in decisions whenever and to the extent possible. It's a sign of respect and that they are viewed as whole and complete beings, not vessels to be filled.

My son is changing schools next year for pre-K and is so excited. He played a significant role in choosing the school. We would have gone elsewhere if he had not felt as good about the choice as we do. As parents, we narrowed things down before including him, but he knows his opinion mattered and that's a powerful thing for a child.

I feel your pain, when my son went to Kindergarten it was difficult to send him for that full day. 8-3:30 does seem long though, my son went from 8:30-2:30??

Isn't it incredibly tough to let go and remember that those little people really can make good decisions for themselves! Ug still cuts brutally when we know they are right.

We had that moment we tried to pressure our princess to attend a monster truck show with her car-crazy brother - it will be family fun we thought (as much as a monster truck show can be?). "It will be loud and dirty and I don't want to go," she assured us.

As the first truck shrieked past us, my husband and I realized she was SO right, she would have HATED that and would have made it difficult for all of us to enjoy the show - which her brother LOVED. We try to let her make decisions when possible!

I can't feel your pain yet, but I do think it's extraordinary that you discussed the options with her.

I am not ready to discuss kindergarten. Not gonna do it. Nope. My kid is not that old either. (Even though she and Q are weeks apart.)

We're going the full day route too, because she wants it. If it were up to me, she'd go to kindergarten for three hours. Which is an option, just not the one she wants. At least I'll still have my baby boy. Sob.

I love her response. She's already a hard worker and over-achiever. That would make me so, so proud.

My greatest fear is that my sons will hate school, show up only to get F's, and drop out the minute they hit puberty. I already have a willful 2 year old who says No to my Yes and Yes to my No -- so I can only imagine that he's counting the minutes until he can do something truly defiant.

You did good, Mama. Be proud of her independence and ambition.

You know, around here there's only half-day K and the parents all complain for WHOLE DAY. lmao.

There might be something to that, yo.

If any kid can participate in a discussion and/or a decision, it is THAT KID.
xo

Bingo! I always hated my mom saying "I"m mom and you'll do as I say" without even bothering to hear me out. I discuss almost everything with the Little Lady and always have, it makes things a lot easier regarding communication when they get older. Some days anyway.

I knew from very early on that I would always have battled with PunditGirl about learning things from me, as her mom. So I've been happy to pay for other things, including school, and swim lessons and ice skating lessons and (in the future) driving lessons.

Money well spent to avoid a lot of angst!

You're daughter is awesome and super smart. And you're super great for letting her do it even though you don't really want to. I'm only now coming to terms with the fact that MY little boy is growing up. That he can voice his opinions and feelings and wants and needs... pretty articulately.

I'm right there with you. My daughter loves school and she's excited about kindergarten next year, while I am worried and anxious. Not because I don't think she will like it, I know she will. But because my baby is leaving for the first time and I am going to miss her so very much. Watching them grow up is so bittersweet.

The standard public school kindergarten day here in Tampa is 8am-2pm. My oldest two couldn't wait to start kindergarten and they loved it - I also loved knowing that they were having a great time at school and that I could have more one-on-one guilt free time with their younger siblings.

My baby starts kindergarten this fall and already he's talking about how he will be going to big kid school when he turns five. I'm always the kooky mom crying in the parking lot on the first day of school - but this year I'm afraid it's going to be ugly. I hope they don't hear my wailing inside the classroom!

Ugh. We just went through this too. I was planning to home preschool my 3 yo son but the crazy-long, crazy-cold winter here and a newborn made me reconsider. My son was climbing the curtains like an apartment cat. So now he goes 2 days a week from 8am-3pm. Yep, all day preschool which unnerved me at first. But it's a really crunchy, child-led, 2 one-hour recess, chickens & goats out back kind a school and...he loves it. Walked in the first day and never looked back. He's super social and also begs to go on his off days. Go figure. I wasn't ready. He was.

I'm a homeschooler at heart, but if I'm really commited to the child=led thing--and I am--I guess I have to respect that he may not be. We'll see...

Yes often these heart-wrenching emotional battles we wage are ours alone. Right on for listening and letting go of those fears .... she's gonna be just fine. Sounds like she already is.

:-)

As a mom of a 3 year old daughter....i will need to refer back to this in a few years. When i am tied to the back of the school bus begging it to stop!!Thank you for helping put it all in perspective!

I get the trend towards full day kindergarten. The shock of first grade after kindergarten can be tough. It's GREAT that's she's already loving going to school every day and I'm so impressed with your parenting. I'm sick to my stomach worrying about the day the decisions are bigger than go for a walk or go to the park?

That seems like a remarkably long time to me, a product of a half-day kinder program and the mother of kids who did a half-day. The fact that she can't wait to go makes me think it's not so long after all.

It seems like she's really thriving in that environment - it's great to remember there is a time when kids love school. :)

I went to full day kindergarten back in 1951. I loved it! My children did full day kindergarten and they loved it. I think it is only hard on parents, not the kids. Here are a couple of hints to make it more successful. Have a snack ready for your child to eat as soon as they hit the door. They will be tired and need more energy. They will still eat dinner so don't worry about that. Some kids need to "chill" and watching tv can be just the right thing. My kids sometimes fell asleep and took a nice nap before dinner. Running around outside can also be good after their snack. Kids are often ready for things long before parents realize. It will be ok. thinking of you and wishing you the best

my son is in the first grade. he loves it! kindergarten was harder for me than it was for him. he wants to be his own person and going to school gives him that opportunity.

I feel your pain, it's one of the "big" decisions we have to make for our children. Some schools in our area offer half days 3 times a week for the first few months of school.
I did however homeschool my son when he was in 3rd grade. (horrible teacher= child having to take meds to get through the day) It was fun and a relief from what we came from but we looked forward to going back the next fall. He was bored and had way to much free time.

Good luck with your decision, you might change your mind like a million more times but in the end you'll have made the right one.

I hear kids let you make more decisions for them once they turn 15.

Or not.

Ah yes. We were trying to guide our eldest toward a specific school for Kindergarten. But after touring several schools that we liked for different reasons, she had made up her mind which school, and that was that. Now, we could have said no, but...it's what we're working toward, yes? Independence. Interdependence. I like both. We give limited choices (always sort of preferring one over the other) and then they choose. I think the toughest part is allowing the choice, but also allowing some of the consequences (good and some bad) that come with the choice. That's the big life learning right there. Not always saving them from the consequences, allowing them to "unlike" something but helping them with the discipline to see it through once they've made a commitment.

Oh, I could go on.... ;-) But yes, Kindergarten is lovely when you love it. I'm glad that you both have found one that you like enough to allow her decision.

That is a long day for little ones, but totally standard here. All my little ones have or are doing it and have loved it. It also got them ready for 1st grade where they'd actually have to buckle down and work a bit more. I think the academics are important but the socialization part of kindergarten is invaluable too.

I'll tell you what I tell people when they ask me how long I'm going to homeschool: "as long as it works for our family". There is nothing saying you may not decide to HS her in the future, but this is the best option for your family right now. And, you are a good mama for listening to Q.

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