Now that its past the midway point of the semester I suppose I should find the time to write a back to school post. Both Annelise and I had back to school experiences that were a little different than I had anticipated. I’ll start with Annelise since her back to school experience comes with pictures.
Annelise has been in “school” since she was 7 months old. In Virginia, she attended a Mother’s Day Out program at a local church. It was set up very much like “school” and feed into their preschool program. She went for four hours a day four to five days a week (depending on my work schedule I often kept her home on Fridays). There were small class with same aged peers and they followed a daily schedule that included activities like music, and Spanish along with scheduled outside time. Annelise attended out of necessary (I needed to sleep). Once we moved to Michigan there really wasn’t a need for her to attend school or daycare. Since my mother would be available to watch her while I slept.
About mid August I began to realize that she needed something, either preschool or daycare. For an only child she had a lot of interactions with other kids while we were in Virginia. She attended school. Our overnight sitter often brought her girls to stay the night and my days off usually included play dates with friends. Other than occasional play date with her cousins she had very little interaction with other kids once we moved to Michigan. One day I realized she had gone almost three weeks without being around any other children. And it was starting to show. She seemed bored and started trying to get me and my mom to be her playmates.
I was really limited on preschool options. My parents church has a two day a week preschool but she needs to be four to start. She could start part way through the year after turning four if there was room, but that would leave me several months to figure something else out. The public school has a head start program but I was very hesitant to put her in that. It was part day four days a week, and I wasn’t sure how that would work out with my schedule. And also, I made this big move to make things easier for us and give us more time together, it felt self defeating to put her in school for the majority of the week. I had almost decided to put her in daycare two days a week until she was four and then put her at the church preschool, but then at the last minute changed my mind and enrolled her in Head Start. I found a day care that was close and had a good reputation and when I visited it it was really nice, but I also knew there would be days when Annelise would not want me to leave her there. It was a daycare. It lacked the structure that she was use to and she would be grouped in with kids of all ages. Annelise has had very limited exposure to tradition day care, and the one time she was she didn’t respond to it well.
When I visited the Head Start it felt much more like what she was use to. So I signed her up. Because it’s head start there are some little extras (also a lot of extra paperwork). Both breakfast and lunch are provided at school and they provide transportation. At first I turned down busing. I wasn’t going to put my baby on a bus. But then I found out that it was a head start only bus, there are special seats with harnesses and an Aid on the bus. So she rides the bus. That has made life easier for both me and my parents. And for the first couple of weeks Annelise said that was her favorite part of her day.
The jury’s still out on whether preschool was a good idea or not. She’s adjusting slowly. But I don’t think any other option would have been any better. She wants to go back to her school in Roanoke. She misses her friends. And doesn’t seem to want to make new ones. For the first several weeks when I asked her about making friends she would tell me she didn’t want to be their friend she wanted her old friends. I’m hoping things are improving. There are now two kids that she talks about on a regular bases and refers to as friends. She claims to not like school and would prefer to stay home if she could. This has created a dilemma for me. I don’t want school to become a negative thing, but I also know that if she was home everyday she would be very bored. I’m also not sure how much of her dislike of school is real. She often talks excitedly about the things they do and particularly likes to sing and act out the songs she learns. Last week I realized that she could simply be mimicking me. I often will say that I don’t want to go to school and that I would rather stay home with her when I’m heading off to my classes. She will often say the same thing “I don’t want to go, I just want to be with you.” So from now on we LOVE school and we can’t wait to go and learn new things.
I’m not sure what I will do if she continues to dislike school. I have the option to switch her to the private preschool in January, but I’m not sure a mid year switch is wise. I’ll probably plan to start her there next fall. I’m hoping now that she has some friends and with a little more positive spin she’ll start to like school again.
First day pictures…
Riding the bus…
I wrote the majority of this post over a month ago (I’m a little behind with things). School has been going much better for Annelise. Simply changing our attitude and how we talked about schools seems to have helped. She’s stopped saying she doesn’t want to go and on several occasions has expressed excitement about going. She has several friends now that she enjoys being with, so things have definitely improved.
I had also originally wrote a lengthy segment on my back to school experience. Which I’ve deleted. If you’re curious about the whole what and why of my going back to school, lets get coffee and I’ll fill you in, but its too convoluted to detail here. The basics are that I’m taking some classes at MCC in anticipation of transferring to GVSU for a second Bachelors.
My back to school experience has been a lot more intense than I anticipated. School work has practically consumed my life. I was very nervous in the beginning wondering if I was too old to do this, or if I still had what it takes to learn anything. It’s been a trying semester. I’m almost done. One more week of classes and then exam week. I’m looking good going into finals. I currently have A’s in both the classes I’m taking. The lab practical and final for my Anatomy class will be difficult but I anticipate finishing with at least a B. Since I’m devoting more of my time to that class my psychology final might suffer a little but my grade in there is high enough now that even if I completely skip the exam I’ll still have a B average in the class.
I’ll get about a month off in between semesters and then next semester I jump right in with Anatomy and Physiology II and Microbiology. It should be a fun winter.