The evenings are drawing in, the weather getting colder and the fall type craft activities increasing (which isn't actually a stretch)
Jamie is not by nature a child who would choose sitting and creating art over almost anything else, and for the most part the run on the beach wins out with all of us. However, this evening when I suggested we do some art with stickers he was uncharacteristically keen.
Results below.... kinesthetic, hands on learner meets maternal crafting impulse...
Learning styles, kinesthetic and otherwise are on my mind at the moment. (Bet you didn't see that segway coming from like, a million miles away, did ya..?)(did you also notice that I look, like, 12 in the photo. yeesh.)
School registration deadlines are fast approaching here, and talk amongst my pre-school parent friends is all catchment areas and class ratios.
I have been almost smug in my detachment from these conversations as we plan our big move back to Canada the summer before Jamie would be due to start school here.
I'm a sea of conflicting emotions about the move generally, but I had put the school issue in the boat of 'good reasons to move' and happily shoved off. In Canada Jamie will have another full year of half day, play based learning in Kindergarten. He will (we hope) attend an alternative school that mixes grades, and focuses strongly on community. All was good.
As will be clear to everyone who has ever read this blog before I have an almost pathological need to poke the sleeping dog, until it barks all night keeping me awake. And then bites my finger. I mentioned the smugness before to give you a little hint that there was maybe some burgeoning moment of over analytical parenting coming.
The crux of the issue is this; Jamie is an unusual learner.
Even as I write this there is a little catch of sadness. Its maybe the letting go of the deep hope for our beloveds to have a childhood with no problems, no hardship, just love and sunshine from everyone. The forming understanding that there may struggle, judgement and misunderstanding in a part of their lives that consumes 3/4 of their time, and anxiety on anxiety, where you are not is one of the most scary thoughts of parenting
J is a very bright boy, but lots of his ability is hidden behind a kid that just loves nothing more than to be.. well, a kid. He's physical, doesn't like to sit still to demonstrate his ability, and will jump through hoops when, and if, he deems it important.
He frequently immerses himself in intricate imaginative play, and forgets that others aren't in his head too. He is verbal, and logical and finds fun in wordplay and contradictions, and if you don't really listen carefully to what he's actually saying sometimes comes across as a little too cheeky, but is genuinely surprised that others interpret him this way. He's sweet and sensitive, but also non-conformist and sometimes a little.. well.. impulsive.
I don't know if this makes sense to anyone other than me - as is often the case when describing our own children, but I can see the potential for Jamie to be just another 'could do better' - board with school.
I'm not as neurotic about this as it may seem (really...yet...). He's doing just fine going at his own pace, which of course at 4 is just how it should be, and his wonderful pre-school is good for him.
Its just that there are little things, foreshadowing, potential for things to be less well in the future I think.
So I'm left with lingering questions that I'd welcome your wisdom on.
Do we just find a good school in our neighbourhood, stay involved and encourage Jamie to build the skills that allow him to fit in, but maybe be educated in an inevitably cookie cutter way...?
Private school - smaller classes, more tailored approach, ethically and financially sticky for us, but, well, it is our child's education..?
What about home schooling...?
Maybe we should stay here and have him go to school with his dear friends?
Its here that seeds of doubt about the move are sown. I'm in the middle of revisiting research on children and friendship to embed in the psychology courses I teach, and I am reminded of how vital they are. I know the findings, but again the lines between work and parenting blur. Its suddenly closer to home.
Is Jamie's uniqueness just one drop in a ocean of unique children, and I should stop over analysing and just let it unfold as it does for every other family... (its Ok, you can say it... I know ;)
Or is this serious and I should go to greater lengths to address our choice it intentionally and careful....
Yikes. holy minefield batman.
And can I just remind you of this......
in case you think I take myself and my neurosis too seriously .:)
But really, How was school for you? What would you have had your parents do differently? What do you do for your own children...?
Talk to me Goose.