Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Getting Schooled

Warning: I am way over-thinking things. I should probably stop thinking. And brathing.

What, you breathe instead of brathe? Heathen.

Preschooler (who is not in preschool) turned 3 this autumn. This means that she’d start conventional preschool next fall, in order to complete 2 years of preschool and enter kindergarten at age 5.

And I’m a bit freaked out.

Preschooler is smart, and I’m not just saying that because she’s my child and I’m biased and believe everything she does is brilliant (although this is true.) She could identify all the letters of the alphabet by 18 months. She knew all the letter sounds by 2 1/2. She counts to 30, understands the concept of zero, and can do very simple arithmetic, i.e. addition and subtraction with numbers 10 and under.

The thing is, I don’t think she’s doing all this by rote. Because one day she’ll just reveal these concepts in conversation with us, and I’ll ask Husband:

Me: Did you teach her this?

Husband: No, did you?

Me: No. OMG what do we do? We have to encourage this somehow! All this talent will go to waste if I don’t encourage this right now, and she’ll end up homeless on the street begging for change in exchange for sounding out 3-letter words and adding 4 + 3, and it will be all my fault!

Husband: No way. She’s a genius! Let’s notify the media!

Me: She’s not a genius! She’s just too smart for her own good. Or my own good. Whatever. Anyhow, we need to get her in some sort of program where she can continue working on these skills.

Preschooler: I like ham!

Husband and I and those close to us believe she needs to be in some sort of preschool program now, to help her further develop these talents until she can start “real” preschool. Problem is, we can’t afford it.

So, I’ve started teaching her at home a bit. For the past week or so, we sit at the kitchen table about 10-15 minutes a day, and I work with her on basic reading and math skills. I’ve checked out books from the library about teaching math with manipulatives and teaching phonics skills. We sing a song or two. We read a lot throughout the day. I try to get her to a playground or other activity where she can run amuck with other kids a few times a week. We continually work on things like manners and self-help skills.

Hopefully, by the time she enters a conventional preschool program next year, she’ll be equipped academically to focus her attentions on social skills. Because, as I’ll explain later, this is what she needs to work on the most.

So, she’s getting schooled in ... school. And I’m getting schooled in ... school. And hopefully, if this works out, she won’t be the kid in kindergarten who eats paste.

The secret to eating delicious paste is to do it in full view of others.
That way, your peers will be fraught with envy as you wallow in your sticky gluttony.