My four- and five-year-old daughters go to a wonderful Montessori-style preschool. I had originally planned to homeschool, but my oldest daughter had some significant development delays that I was unable to address. I did not have the knowledge or training to work with her on cognitive processing and motor skill delays. And the preschool has been as awesome in that arena in encouraging a love of learning and an Attachment Parenting-friendly social environment.
Now, it’s time for my oldest daughter to transition to a Kindergarten program. There are no Montessori-style elementary schools in the area. There are a couple parochial schools, but I couldn’t get past the tuition cost to even investigate the program. There are a number of public schools.
I wanted to homeschool, but my daughter doesn’t want to. So, we went to Kindergarten Round-up (that’s what they call it!) at our district public school. It alleviated some reservations but brought up other concerns. A big one for me is, too much desk time and too little free play time, especially for five and six year olds.
But my daughter is super excited! She loves to learn. She loves to write words and practice reading and adding. She doesn’t mind sitting still for relatively long periods of time. She’s a little sponge and soaks up as much new information as possible. So, according to my personal code of ethics regarding our relationship, I am honoring her choice…although I am already anticipating needing to plan some extra play time every evening when she comes home.
Just to be clear, I am ready to try homeschooling in case she changes her mind and she knows that it is her choice. But I don’t want to press her to give up the opportunity to go to school to stay at home just because I prefer so. So, when she said she wants to go to school, I said OK and supported her without showing my disappointment. But, to be honest, I did cry a little bit later that afternoon, alone in my room.
I know this is only the beginning of her and me disagreeing, and me honoring certain choices that may differ from mine. My disappointment is less about her choice or even that she’s going to public school, and more that I am reluctant to step into this next stage of motherhood. I am already mourning the transition approaching. She’s graduating from her preschool years and will soon be beginning a new chapter of childhood where our secure attachment will be tested both by time and distance away from home, from cultural pressures to detach from Mom and Dad and attach to peers.
I’m going to be one of those parents who cry when their Kindergartener gets on the bus for the first time, but it’s more important for me to honor that Kindergartener’s choice in her place of education.
Article by Rita Brhel
Rita Brhel is a stay-at-home mother to three children. She is also a WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor for the Community Action Partnership of Mid-Nebraska, the Publications Coordinator for Attachment Parenting International, the managing editor of the Attached Family magazine, an API Support Group Leader, PSI Postpartum Support Coordinator, Sidelines High-Risk Pregnancy Peer Counselor.
Rita has written 41 awesome articles for Natural Family Today.