I still have nightmares about high school and college. You know the ones, where you walk into class and realize you have a test you aren't prepared for, or you receive your exam schedule and realize that you have an exam for a class which you have totally forgotten to go to all semester. I actually have a friend to which this happened. Just made my nightmares worse.
The profound relief I feel every time I wake up and tell myself, "You have already graduated," is beyond words. I really wish I still had my diplomas from high school and college, just for those moments. Instead, some punk fish in the Gulf of Mexico probably nibbled them away for lunch a couple of years ago. That's right, you may have eaten my diploma with your seafood dinner a while back. Thanks.
Despite having been an excellent student in school, it was like pulling teeth to get me there every day. The worst grades I ever received were not from my not being prepared or based on my performance, but rather by my teachers dropping me a letter grade for poor attendance. Hey, I figured it wasn't my problem that I could still get an "A" by only attending half the time. They, however, felt it should be my problem. Thanks, again.
Needless to say, I'm not looking forward to Pants or Cheeks going to school. I'm already stressing over kindergarten for Pants and all of the kindergarten politics that seem to be unavoidable these days. He's not even three, yet. Yep, even on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, you have to strategically place your children into school early just to maybe guarantee yourself a place in the kindergarten or first grade of your choice. You are kidding, right? No.
I refuse to sacrifice years at home with my boys just so that we can be competitive in elementary school.
Knowing enough about this, however, from my days as a tutor at an incredibly expensive teaching clinic, I've been putting Pants on waiting lists around town in preparation for the choices we hope to have when it comes time to start school. Fortunately, our top choice for kindergarten is the neighborhood public school (top in the area, so we are lucky there), but it's preschool that looked like it might take some work. Competition for preschool. Amazing.
A year ago, days after Pants turned two(!), I put him on the waiting list for my preschool of choice, the only Montessori school left on the Coast after Katrina. A year and countless calls just to "check in" later, we got the call that they have a place for him! Fabulous news, but also bittersweet.
I don't want Pants in school at three. He has a late July birthday and I'm wondering about how we will feel about his entering kindergarten at 5 and being the youngest boy in the class for the rest of his life, so setting him up for two, maybe even three years of school before kindergarten just seems crazy. However, if we don't enter him now, he may not be able to attend this school at four for actual preschool. My mind is just reeling at the ridiculousness of this.
After some extensive discussion with the school's director, we settled on enrolling him for two half days a week. Yep, just six hours a week! I'm so excited! It will basically be like a couple of long playdates a week, only with incredibly organized moms and I don't need to be there to help out. I couldn't believe the director agreed to it, as Pants is the only student she is allowing to do this, but there you have it. We'll probably increase his enrollment to three half days a week later on, but for now I'm happy.
Okay, truth be told, of the two of us, I think I'm the only one that's not ready for him to go three half days a week. He was immediately embraced by the two and three year old class while I was meeting with the director and can't wait to go back. He's so ready for this. I'm not.
The one aspect of this that has got me excited, other than Pants's obvious interest, is the Montessori method of teaching. Take all of the strategic placements for preschool out of it, and what I truly want for Pants from this is an introduction to school that will foster a love of learning. I want him to enter kindergarten excited about school and then maintain that momentum for as long as possible. Montessori absolutely seems to be the best choice for just that purpose.
In my freshman year of college, I remember my first bits of disillusionment about college. During a philosophy class, we somehow got onto the subject of why we were all in college in the first place. It quickly became strikingly clear that not one person was there because they were interested in gaining more knowledge. A distinct lack of a love of learning. Rather, we were mostly there because it was just the next step after high school or it was necessary for our future careers. It was simply what we were supposed to do. Desire to be there to learn was frankly irrelevant.
I would love to be able to go back and retake some of my college classes. The experience would be so different now. I would be taking them out of fascination for the subject matter. Imagine that.
Hoping to instill a love of learning in my boys is a lofty and substantial goal. I am thrilled that this Montessori school may be the ideal first step in the process. I am happy that I had enough sense to put him on the waiting list, grateful that a spot has opened up, and eager to see how he responds to this new challenge. He has been like an absolute sponge lately when it comes to learning new skills and trying new things, so I think this is exactly what he needs.
I'm just not ready.
Is it possible that this isn't about me? Sigh. Welcome to the first day of the rest of my life, right?