Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Learning, here and there

I had a bit of a freak-out yesterday. Olivia has a hard time getting up for school. I can't blame her. It is at least an hour earlier than she normally wakes up. And she starts out the day with a freaking long bus ride, which is kind of boring.

But after dealing with her morning ritual of whining about the bus and how she'd rather stay home and play with the kids than go to school...well, something just snapped in me. I started researching preschool curricula for home, which led me to a bunch of research about starting organized learning too soon versus keeping kids in exploratory learning, which led me to wondering if she needed to go to school at all and are we ruining her love for learning by torturing her at an early age with a bus ride and will she end up hating school and therefore hating learning and GAH! It was too much for me.

So I messaged my husband, who talked me down from my freak-out. I was feeling better about it through the afternoon, but still a little concerned. I know this whole first semester is a bit of an experiment. Although she looks much older, she's still just three. But she's so social and loves being around other just seemed like the right step to start her in school a couple days a week. But was it?

Of course, the jury is still out, and probably will be until November-ish. But Olivia stepped off the bus talking about the fun day she had, and most of the rest of my anxieties disappeared. I know she hates being on the bus so long, but I can meet the bus in the afternoon in town (2 miles away) and cut a half-hour off her ride home. That might make a big difference in her least-favorite part of the day (she's almost the last kid off the bus). So. Give it some time, right?

I'm thinking about blogging about some of the things we are doing/learning at home too. She's so bright and inquisitive right now. I'm thinking we can learn at school AND at home. I like the school's approach to preschool...very hands-on, experiential learning. Very few worksheets/organized learning, which is good for that age. And we can certainly build on that at home.

For example, last night we were working on yet another landscape area that we are filling in with rock. Olivia climbed into the truck to fill up the rock bucket and found a "broken" rock that she asked about. It turned out to be a rock with a bunch of fossils in it. So after her bath, we looked up fossils and some youtube videos, which she watched closely. Then we looked at the fossils we had and thought about what they might have been...a fish, a lizard spine and a plant were our conclusions. It doesn't matter if we are right. The point is that we are thinking and imagining and understanding the world around us.

I just love how her brain works at this stage. She's such a bright kid. And she's so excited to go to school on Thursday because it's cowboy/cowgirl day and she gets to wear her boots and cowboy hat. So, freak-out over. For this week, anyway.

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