It's starting to sink in a little bit more and more each day. I'm a Kindergarten Mom.
Starting on Tuesday, I will no longer with him 24/7. It's bitter sweet for me. BigBoy is so excited to start public school. But he also doesn't realize this means we are no longer homeschooling. No mid-week play dates playing in a creek, no field trips to amazing gardens while no one else around (they are all in school or at work), no homeschool co-op every week, and no more waking up when he feels like it. And now he has a teacher that he can't charm he way out of everything. For now at least.
Deciding to go the public school route here was a little stressful for me. I wasn't sure if a kinda country school was going to be the best place for BB. He's busy. and creative. and a hands-on learner. and doesn't always listen. and has a million and one questions. I'm terrified that he will be "that kid" and then of course I become "that mom." I want him to love learning as much as, if not more, than he does now. and I like our homeschool friends. and I'm sad I won't be learning side-by-side with him anymore. Being his teacher was amazing. I realize we will still be "homeschooling." It doesn't end because he's in public school... yada yada yada. but it will be vastly different. He will be away from me more than with me. Can you feel the waterworks edging their way in here? As a mom, my role is dramatically changing. I'm not saying it's a bad thing. We are creatures of habit and I am used to being BB's main caregiver, teacher, friend, role model. That's my job as a stay-at-home-mom. It's exhausting, but that's what I signed up for. And I love it. I'll miss it.
We had our Orientation Night last night. Thankfully, I have our neighbor friends to go through this with since BigDaddy is in preseason. I found myself in a mini-van with not one, but two, giddy, excited, soon-to-be Kindergarten chatterboxes. We arrived at "MY SCHOOL!!!! " with plenty of time to grab our packets, drop off forms and find seats. As we were filling in something amazing happened to me for the first time since moving here. I knew people. I saw familiar faces, lots! And they knew me too! I'm on the board at Sassy's preschool and we had a meeting last May with a combined incoming/outgoing board. To be honest, it felt good to finally be in a setting where I didn't just have to smile a lot and pretend to look for stuff in my purse as everyone chatted away. Times are a-changing.
We sat down in the gym and soaked it all in. Mr. Principal welcomed us, said a few words and then it was time to release the Kinders! Teachers names were called, then their charges were listed off. BigBoy jumped up and ran off to Mrs. S., turned to wave and smile, and off he went with his new leading lady. I got to see him again when everyone rode the school buses around town and then had a snack-- cookies and Hawaiian punch at 6 pm. *sigh* Thankfully BB kept asking for more water.
Overall, the orientation was great. If this school delivers everything Mr. Principal claims, we are in for a great ride. They talked about really focusing on the individual learner and building a program to suit his/her needs. Stressed communication with parents. They are big on email and actually use email to alert parents on closings and to send out weekly e-newsletters. Hooray! His teacher has been teaching for 30 years and says she knows that kids learn through touching, feeling, doing. Cooking will probably happen weekly. Lots of field trips that units are based on. No assigned seats. She doesn't like lined paper- just get them writing-- period. And one thing BigBoy has been missing with our homeschool. Blocks. Big, heavy, wood school blocks. Mrs. S has them. Lots and lots of them. And tons of Lego bricks. And they have an "Engineering Center" that they go to to build things out of "stuff" (boxes, tubes, paper, containers.) Heaven to my 5 y.o. boy.
So far, I'm feeling pretty good about our decision to go the public school route. for now anyway. See how I'm still holding the door open?. Our community is fantastic, involved and concerned. And it feels like our school will be like that too. I was blown away when our bus driver called to check-in with us about the bus route. She apologized for not being able to pick BB up at our house; she doesn't go down our street, so the closest she can get is his stop at the corner. I could probably yell down to him at the corner it's so close. After talking to her a bit, I found out she was calling my neighbor next since she realized the computer set her stop way, way, too far for a K kid. She's picking her up at her house since it's along the route. After talking with my friend about it, we decided to just have her pick up BB there too since it's not much farther, the kids will love it, and it will give them a nice porch to hang out on while they are waiting. I'll be able to call back Ms. Bus Driver since she gave me her cell phone number and told me to call anytime. (But she couldn't talk during the route.) She said she'll just keep an eye out at both stops on Tuesday and we'll figure it out.
Seriously? My kid's bus driver is sorry she can't pick him up in front of our house and she's calling me at home before school starts to touch base. Good God, I love the Kinda Country.
All in all, I'm already stuffy. I didn't think it would be happening already, but it is. Thankfully the kids are riding the bus from Day 1, so I won't be at the actual school sobbing, just my neighbor's front porch. Then I can hide inside, enjoy a strong cup of coffee with my fellow KinderMom and reminisce about when our kids were "little."