Monday, March 8, 2010

Kindergarten? Already?

It hit me like a sack of potatoes. I woke up last Thursday morning with the realization that Jada will be ready for kindergarten this year. She turns 5 at the end of April.....my other kids were all 6 when they started kindergarten simply because of where their birthdays fell. She knows her letters, is writing more neatly than my 9 year old and can color inside the lines. I know those things aren't necessarily the most important in determining her readiness. She's also fairly mature for her age, which I just may be able to partly thank diabetes for (wow- did I just "thank" diabetes?). And she has a curious mind...if I didn't start her in school, it would be to her detriment. I'm not one for holding my child back just because it's convenient. Give them wings....watch them fly. One of the greatest thrills of my life!

We've been a mostly homeschooling family until this last year , when, for so many reasons, we put them in public school. It was a good decision...I love our school...the principal is great...the teachers have been amazing and our kids are thriving. They still get plenty of "school time" at home- Jeff and I are always right there when they doing homework and we get plenty of "talk time"- debriefing and sometimes helping them to "detox" from some of the crap that happens in a public school setting. Overall, very happy with our decision and it's allowed us to get a better glimpse of the community that we live in. That's important to us because THE reason we moved back is for ministry....and you can't minister very well if you don't know the community you live in.

We're also a big believer in the individuality of each child and how that pertains to the way they learn. Our oldest is very visual....he's a reader and will retain anything as long as he can see it and read it. Our second, is very kinesthetic....he HAS to move...he has to touch....he has to DO...and then he gets it and gets it VERY well. Mary Beth is like her oldest brother....very visual and retains things well by just reading. Because we recognize that they all learn differently, we always said that we would always take things year by year according to what their educational needs were...and it's worked very well. All 3 kids are at the top of their class.....we loved parent- teacher conferences a few weeks ago...we got to sit and listen to teachers tell us how well our kids are doing academically, how they are leaders in their class, and that they get along with everyone. Couldn't have been prouder. But I also left wondering, what would this be like with Jada? Would they tell us that diabetes is just too much for her and school? Would they be as supportive?

I've sat and read many blogs and Facebook and have hurt with you...my D-moms- about the various struggles that come with school and this blasted disease. I'm always amazed at your strength and the maturity of your beautiful kids and their ability to manage their diabetes at school. I've also seen some of you deal with obstinate teachers, nurses and administrators who are literally messing with your children's lives...and yet you handle it SO well. I don't know how you do it. You absolutely amaze me.

So now...how do we do this with Jada? It's been on my mind for a long time...but now it's time to make some decisions. The more Jeff and I have thought about it, the more we do believe that homeschooling will be the best option for the first 3-4 years- maybe longer if we want to. We've done it before....it's not a hard or scary thing for us...actually, it's a pretty natural thing for me to do. Our school district has a homeschooling program....so we wouldn't have to pay for any text books and STILL get to choose our own curriculum..and Jada would be able to take up to two classes at our school--anything that we want...but I'm thinking it will be things like music and PE initially. To me, this is a great way to get her introduced to the school, introduce the school to diabetes (the school nurse has never had a diabetic child in her care) and let her feel a little like her brothers and sister...being a part of the school community that has become important to them.

So that's where we are. My baby will be a kindergartner this year....I'm actually having a tough time getting over that fact. She's growing up...moving ever away from me in her independence. I know, it's all good...it really is. We're heading into a new and different stage of life...change is just hard.

7 comments:

Jen said...

I'm surprised the school nurse has never had a diabetic child in her care. The school I sub at most in our district (where my 3 elem. kids attend) has at least 4 - those are just the ones that I know of. It seems to be very managable at school if the staff is supportive and trained properly. I was in a kindergarten classroom one day and one of my students was on a pump. She battled lows all day (in the 50's). The nurse pretty much camped out in my classroom most of the day monitering her and giving her stuff to eat that should have brought it up. She ended up calling mom to come get her at the end of the day because none of us were comfortable putting the little girl on the bus at that point.

Obviously, you know Jada best and you know what's best for you. As long as you have peace and comfort in your decision, you don't owe anyone an explanation! Hugs to you, girl!!

Meri said...

When you are done having kids, each new stage your baby goes through is hard. No diapers? New stage in life! Kindergarten? New stage in life! Now that my youngest is in Kindergarten, it has been an adjustment for me. But it is all good. :)

You know the right thing for your family. And for Jada! I think your plan sounds like a great one. :)

Melissa's Thoughts said...

As far as the nurse, look at it as you are making her perfect for Jada!! You will be fine and we are here for you. You have done a great job and you both will be great.

Jennifer said...

I know you will make the decision that is right for Jada and your family. I am not sure if you were talking about my issues with our teacher and administrators but I know that not everyone has it like me. There are people out there that have wonderful, caring people willing to do what needs to be done. We just are lucky. My four year old will be in kindergarten next school year as well and it is hard to imagine!

Reyna said...

It is hard...the kindergarten-transition. I think your plan is sound...you know your family and obviously what will work best for you all.

Over the next year or two you can get the school nurse primed and ready to go for when Jada attends regularly.

BTW your life sounds pretty darn cool up there in Alaska!

Amy said...

Jen- I was surprised to find out as well that she had never cared for a diabetic child. It was a little concerning when the first question she asked me was,"Does she ever have a high blood sugar?" I mean...obviously....she wouldn't be diabetic if we didn't have that problem with high blood sugar! Just the lack of a basic knowledge bothered me!

Jennifer- You were definitely the person at the forefront of my mind when I wrote this! I've seen others go through it at a lesser extent....so I just know the potential is there. I do think that our school would be very supportive if we chose to put her in full time.

Wendy said...

I think it sounds like a PERFECT scenario :) And I know you're good at it too! I can't wait to hear about your kindergarten adventures from home...and, admittedly, I might be a little envious too!