so we’re staring at a new school year…second grade and kindergarten.
this past year of first grade in the Big City School went really well. she was providentially placed at the very last minute with the BEST most WONDERFUL teacher. I say this because when Nat and I arrived on meet-the-teacher day this time last year, we found that she had been mistakenly placed in kindergarten. so….the principal literally said ‘oh! hmmm. well, put her in Mrs. Seymour’s class.’
and that was that.
she did awesomely. she adapted well, she made friends, she never dropped her tray in the cafeteria (so proud!). she won the Citizenship Award for her class at the end of the year. she was the best girl in the class.
so with a start like this, you would think we’d be all full speed ahead for second grade and registering an Almost-Six-Year-Old for kindergarten.
but what I found happening was that I really. missed. Nat. I really did. I hated that dozens of other people were getting to see her every day, but not me. I hated that her sweet teacher got to see her really start reading on her own, and I didn’t. I hated that when I asked ‘what did you do at school today?’, she was usually so tired that she didn’t feel like talking about it. I hated that she was starving when she got home because she didn’t have time to finish her lunch. I hated that she was the sickest she’s ever been this last year with the flu twice, strep, and one awful ten-day stomach virus (which she kindly shared with the rest of us). I hated that she probably received that awesome award because she listened, was compliant, never interrupted, never threw her chair, never talked back…which means she probably received the least amount of attention.
and guess who else missed her….her best friend Karis. now, a huge ginormous blessing was Karis and Jonathan hit it off so well, truly playing like puppies all the day long. but every hour, I could count on it, they would ask when Nat would be home. their three-way tie was off balance, out of kilter, their leader had abandoned them to much mischief and tom-foolery.
SO. by thanksgiving, my wheels were spinning. and by January, the decision was unanimous. let’s teach these kids what they need to know and a lot of what we already know…from the living room. in our pj’s….around the dinner table….in the back yard…driving to see friends…at a museum….while building with LEGOS….in a creek….at Walmart (SO educational)….reading on the couch…OH and lets do it in 4 hours or less every other day! and then….let’s play, and imagine and share and learn to cook and paint and have self-control and explore and look things up and learn to apologize and save our money and give our money and unload the dishwasher and take food to friends and speak Jesus into it all….because we are present and able.
we started this change earlier this month. so far, I am truly blown away by the Peace I have found, the confidence I see growing in her, the time they have together, and all-around loving every bit. there have been rough moments, of which I am learning to bend and re-think and try again. because it’s possible. I don’t know how long this will last, but I know this year is different.
and guess what. Karis surprised me the other night, long after bedtime. she snuck into the living room saying she had gotten up to use the bathroom, but could I please come and see something? I was nervous. come see something in the bathroom? oh dear. . I followed her, she grabbed a Curious George book from the bathroom floor, she settled against the edge of the tub…and she read it. and I got to see it. not every word was perfect, but it was pretty darn close.
so in August, at 2:52 p.m. we will be here…reading, painting, exploring, making graphs, riding bikes, playing with friends, having quiet time, learning about Roman civilization, making mud pies, gardening, writing a story, Lego-ing, warming hot chocolate, playing in the rain, spelling, building blanket forts, climbing trees, gazing at maps…we will not be in car line.