A Mini Examen
Now the parking lot is empty

What happened with kindergarten, plus Free Time, how do I maximize it?

Emma's not going to kindergarten next year. The story on THAT is: 

  • We thought she was ready to go to kindergarten next year.
  • Our personal experts on the subject - teachers in our family, teachers at the kids' school, ourselves - thought she was more than ready. 
  • We weren't 100% certain we would send her, but we wanted to be able to choose at the last minute. 
  • So we took her to the Early Entrance Screening the district offers for kids born just after the cut off, like Emma
  • AND SHE FLUNKED
  • When I called her preschool to ask for their help appealing the decision they said, 
  • "Oh, we don't think she should go either."
  • Which. 
  • I mean.
  • I'd talked to them about it. They knew we were planning to do this. I sat in the director's office and told them what we wanted to do.
  • They offered some social emotional reasons, things we wouldn't see at home because they're out of context. Things I would have liked more time to discuss and think about, but at that point we had 24 hours to write an appeal and preschool wasn't going to back us up sooooo
  • Emma's not going to kindergarten!
  • And I have made my peace with that, but not so much with the feeling Very Very Stupid And Foolish And Like A Bad Parent when it comes to my interactions with the preschool. HEY, WE ALL HAVE OUR FLAWS. 

Now I am trying to figure out the What To Do With Emma Next Year question and I would like to know what you think. 

I don't swing either way on the send-them-early, keep-them-home debate. I think each kid is different, yada yada yada. It is weird to me that we'll have a youngest-in-her-class (Molly) and an oldest (Emma), there's something about how they are 3 years apart but will be 4 years apart in school that is like a psychological block for me, I wish I could consult the What Kind of Teenagers Will They Be Crystal Ball, but you know, whatever. There were things I WASN'T sure about with Emma and now getting those things right in time for kindergarten is no longer a pressure and that feels lovely. I am happy to give her another year of solo treats and outings with me. (Or maybe I am happy to give that to ME.) 

But Emma needs to go to school. She might not be socially/emotionally ready, but academically speaking she's beyond where Molly was when she traipsed off to kindergarten and 2 days of preschool plus coloring and Shopkins at home is not cutting it and this kid needs something to DO. 

We reserved a spot in the 5s Program at her current preschool as our back up (good thinking, us!). And that's probably what we'll end up doing. There will only be 8 kids in the class, we love the school (the above communication issue notwithstanding), and she's very happy there. 

BUT. The schedule might kill me. BECAUSE. Next year the big kids are starting 45 minutes earlier (oh, I must have spared you the whole bell times debate in Seattle Public Schools, LUCKY YOU). That means next year I will be

  • Marching the big kids to the bus around 7:15, 7:20ish. (OMG)
  • Hanging out at home with Emma - or going grocery shopping? to a coffee shop? Target? - until 9:15 when I drive her to school (which starts at 9:30)
  • She has lunch at school and I pick her up at 1:30, get home about 1:45ish
  • Big kids walk home from the bus, get home about 2:30

Writing that out, it doesn't look like the MOST horrible thing in the world. I have a good chunk of time while everyone's in school, and this would be every day. It's just that that gap between the big kids and Emma is so annoying NOW, when it's only an hour, and next year it will be twice as long. And then hardly any time between when Emma gets home and the big kids, which right now is a peaceful get-some-stuff-done time at home. It isn't very EFFICIENT and you guys, I like efficiency. Having my day broken up like that is doable, but I won't like it. 

But a friend who sends her daughter to Catholic school came over this morning and tried to talk me into sending Emma to the Catholic school PreK. Not doing that, I'd have to drive in rush hour every day, NOPE. But there is a different Catholic school around the corner from our house, and Jack went there for PreK, and his terrible teacher is no longer the teacher, and hmm, let's look at that schedule. 

  • March big kids to the bus around 7:15, 7:20ish.
  • Hang out with Emma at home before we drive the 30 seconds or walk the 5 minutes to her school which starts at 8:30.
  • She has a snack at school, but I drive/walk to pick her up at noon and she has lunch at home.
  • Big kids get home about 2:30. 

What do we think about THAT? 

She's in school less time (half hour less) and this would be 4 days instead of 5 days at her current school (because of how the tuition works out, omg this is so expensive). It's not as much time at school, but I don't spend as much time driving back and forth so MY amount of free time is probably the same. I was thinking she might have to skip a bunch of Fridays anyway because those are the days I usually need to work with Katie on bakery stuff and I wouldn't be able to do all THAT driving with the first schedule. 

As for the actual SCHOOL, I don't know. I am absolutely certain the current school's 5s program will be awesome. We've loved everything about that school, there will only be 8 kids, she'll have so much fun and attention. I am less familiar with the Catholic school. I know it will have way more students, but it will also have the benefit of being part of the bigger school and she'll get to go to library and art and GUESS WHAT WE'RE CATHOLIC and I like all that praying in school. 

Okay, so basically I am writing all this out because I know my mom will read it (HI MOM!) and then she'll call me and tell me what she thinks. The rest of you are bored to death. And Phillip has no idea what he's walking into when he gets home. HEH. 

IN OTHER NEWS:

We just finished a 500 cookie order. I deliver it tomorrow. It was less work (for me, not poor Katie heh) than I anticipated and hey, we'll get paid this month! That'll be new! 

And this is the last week of school for all my kids. We pick them up early from the last day to head to the ocean for our annual my-side-of-the-family weekend in a VRBO house. I am alternately delighted not to have to scream at everyone to get ready in the mornings while making lunch and breakfast at the same time, and terrified by memories of kids demanding I be their cruise director last summer. We have swim lessons, VBS, a few weekend trips, and plenty of friends to play with over the next 2 months, but I won't lie, I live in trepidation of the Surly Sullen Child Who Demands The iPad At All Hours. But do not fear, in the face of surly I respond with unsympathetic momness that insists on checking out SOMETHING from the public library each week. 

Now I'm gonna go collapse face first into my bed before I have to start thinking about what in the world we're having for dinner. 

Comments

Kyla

I vote for the Catholic School - and I'm not Catholic and don't like the praying and stuff :) But mornings and pick-ups, these are big deals. Not driving = big deal. Given it's a bonus year anyway, why not give her a new experience? But that's my opinion and it's not boring at all....

Dawn

The Catholic school sounds way more convenient on several counts. I'd probably do that unless I couldn't get her in or if tuition was prohibitive.

Suzanne

So this is not particularly helpful, but it sounds like you can't go wrong. They both seem like the same amount of pros and cons, both from a curriculum and from a convenience standpoint. One thing I think about - with, remember, just the ONE kid, who is two years younger and from what you've written about Emma, has a WAY different personality - is transition. Will it be more stressful to do two schools in two years (unless I am misreading and the Catholic school would be Emma's school next year anyway?) than to stick with the familiar?

Anyway as you know I love to read about thought processes behind decisions so please follow up with the decision! Or further questioning!

Kel

We are Catholic also, so I am for Catholic school in some cases, but I like keeping things the same....I think for one more year before K I would have a hard time switching schools and then putting her in a new school for K. That sounds like more of a hassle than just sticking with what you have.

Here the cutoff is August 1st and NO ONE, I mean no one, sends their kids if they are past that....usually they hold them if they are March/April and beyond especially boys. It took some getting used to for me....but my kids are Jan, Feb, April and early June so the plan is all will be going to K. That said, baby #5 is due Labor Day weekend. If all goes well she will just be held as be one of the oldest and just go to the 5 day program one day.

Each child IS totally different, and people were shocked I sent my early June daughter (who did preschool as a 2,3,4 year old) but I will say I can see a huge difference with the oldest kids in the class vs the youngest. Not academically...but definitely emotionally and maturity wise. Just something to think about.

Oh and I get it. Our schedule is the same, early bus, preschool 9-12 and then big kids home/pickup 2:45-3. I love if I can get that 2 hr nap time for the little ones before they get home so I can get some downtime!

Morgan

Our preschool blindsided us too. They don't think our son is ready for kindergarten. He has a July birthday so it falls before the cutoff. We're going to send him anyway and see what happens I guess. I do value their opinion but I'm not convinced another year at their Montessori school is what he needs. I think he needs the structure of puplic school. And I've always pictured there being two years between him and his brother in school, not three like there would be if we wait. So anyway, we're sending him.

Mikal

I always vote for convenience. If you don't think the transition to a new preschool will bother her, I'd say do what's easiest for you. There is such much boring driving around all the time, I always feel like minimizing it makes me happier. And having Friday's off for bakery stuff if you need it, or fun stuff otherwise sounds great.

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