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.