Wednesday, August 29, 2012

On schooling

Hello, hello! I've been meaning to write all about the fun we've been having, but I've been too busy having fun! ;)  I've had this post started and have kept coming back to it for days, but then it just gets abandoned all over again...

(not my picture or our tree frog. Image source:

Today we found two tree frogs in our hot tub (what the heck?!). We caught one and made a cozy little terrarium for it. The kids learned all about what frogs need (moisture, hiding places, greenery, and food).and what they eat (bugs of all kinds: ants, spiders, beetles, crickets, even slugs!), and then helped collect the needed items. They were so adorable and excited and spent the evening watching the cute little frog. We'll let it go tomorrow but until then we're all having fun with it. :)

My kids get so excited about science and life, and it reminds me of myself as a child...but then I get sad because I think about how formal schooling totally ruined that for me. As a child, science was my favorite thing ever. I loved learning about life, biology, ecology, geology... As I got older, my science classes in school took all the fun out of science. By college I absolutely hated it, so much that I went to class as little as necessary to still get a  B-C. I hate science now. I still love living creatures but anything else "science-y" just makes me tune out completely.

As I prepare to send my first baby off to Kindergarten in 2 short weeks, I can't help but wonder (and fear for) how his school career will be. I am scared of school squelching his desire and excitement to learn. I fear for how his self-esteem will someday be tied into how well he performs on a test. I am terrified of the influence other children will have on him, and how he will be at the mercy of the kindness of a bunch of still-learning and growing immature peers.

In short, I am freaking out.

Even with all of that, for now, I know that public schooling is the right thing for him. As much as I would love to keep him away from a school setting with kids who might be mean, I know that he wouldn't thrive here with me, at least not at this time in his life. He needs that structured setting, with a teacher who expects him to sit quietly and listen for some of the day, and with other kids with whom to socialize and from whom to learn social cues.

He is beyond excited about going to school. And so I am excited for him. I will cry after I drop him off on the first day (and likely beyond the first day), but I will try to be hopeful for his future: I hope that he will love school. I hope that he will feel confident and brave and secure in who he is and what he believes. I hope he will have good teachers who will help nurture his love and zeal for life and learning. I hope he will blossom.

What tips do any of you experienced parents have for me about sending my baby off to school for the first time? Do you have any fun traditions at the start of a new school year? How do you stay connected with your child as slowly you loosen your grasp on him?

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