Two years ago I wrote a post detailing our decision to have Luke repeat Pre-K. You can read the whole thing HERE, but here are the highlights...
- When Luke started PreK he was in a class of about 15 kids (the only PreK class at MCA) and he was the youngest child in the class by far. I remember going to another child's birthday party during the first month of school where the boy was turning 5 and thinking how much older he seemed than Luke (who had turned 4 a few months earlier).
- Luke has never struggled academically, but falling into the stride of a classroom environment wasn't a natural fit for him.
- Luke lacked a bit of social awareness. For example, the teacher would say, "Hurry up Luke, we're all waiting for you" and that wouldn't bother him :)
When we sat down with his teacher at the end of the year and looked at all of his progress, we decided to have him repeat PreK. Mainly, his age with respect to the rest of his classmates and his social development.
Luke went into PreK for a second year and we immediately noticed a difference. He was a classroom leader, he was extremely social and since he knew the expectations... he excelled. Several boys with birthdays around his joined the class after coming out of other local PreK programs and it was obvious that we made the right choice.
Luke is well aware that he repeated PreK and, honestly, the only issue that he has with it is that the second graders are getting to work on some robot project that he really wants to do :)
So. That brings me to Mason :)
Mason's birthday is two weeks later than Luke's and so we went into PreK with the mindset that, like his brother, he would do a second year. He's also TEENY compared to other kids his age so that even further affirmed that we thought he'd do a second year.
But, even though we've always known that Mason and Luke are very different from each other, this year has shown that more than any other. Mason came home on the first day of school and he knew all of his classmates names. He knew friends names in ESS (their after school program) and he knew who his specials teachers were. He fell right into the flow of the classroom and understood the expectations from day one. Academically, he's a totally different story than Luke. He has struggled to get his letters and letter sounds down and he can be a challenge to work with because if he doesn't completely "get it" the first time around, he doesn't want to do it at all. He is extremely hard on himself and throws in the towel early for fear of failure.
His teacher (a different teacher than who Luke had) has been a God send this year! Mrs. Anderson is amazing. Which I know is an overused word - but I don't really know how else to describe her. She has been caring and nurturing, while still maintaining a high standard of behavior. Her classroom is all about play, but every single activity they do has an educational purpose behind it. SHE LETS THEM BE KIDS while still helping them grow and she goes well beyond the call of duty to help her kids succeed. I mean...she pulled Mason from ESS at least once a week to work with him individually on his letters and when he finally got them all down she took him out for pizza during Spring Break because she knows how much he thrives with one-on-one attention.
We ADORE Mrs. Anderson.
We ADORE Mrs. Anderson.
She and I have conferenced several times and she has assured me that Mason is more than ready (socially AND academically) to head on to Kindergarten and so we're trusting her expertise and sending him on.
It was a hard decision mainly because we had spent so long talking about all the benefits of having Luke repeat... being an older kid in his class, having an extra year to mature, etc.... if that was what was best for Luke, HOW was it not best for Mason???
We prayed a lot about it, talked to his teacher and ultimately decided that since we had made what we felt was the best decision for Luke and the situation he was in and we wouldn't do anything less for Mason just because his brother did it one way.
In some ways parenting Mason is easier because we feel like we've "been there, done that" a little bit. You know.... we started taking Luke to the dentist when he was 3, so we'll do that with Mason. We took away Luke's paci when he was 2, so we'll do that with Mason. We knew what to expect going into PreK because Luke had already done it. Stuff like that. But, it turns out that sometimes parenting the second is actually tougher because you have a child who's NOT like the first (which is amazing!) and doesn't need the same things. For example, we had a great discipline plan that worked WONDERS with Luke, but Mason literally laughed in our faces when we tried it and we had to come up with something totally different!
We try our hardest not to look back and second guess our decision for Luke. He is with a WONDERFUL class of kids and has absolutely thrived. Big parental decisions are hard and stressful, but as my mom likes to say, "It is what it is". :) You do the best you can with what you're given and don't look back.
I am by NO MEANS an expert on this topic, but I know how comforting it can be when you read someone else's story and can really identify with it. I know that this is the time of the year some of y'all are thinking about decisions like this and so I wanted to share. I also wanted to encourage anyone struggling with a "big" parenting decision to pray about it, go with your gut and then LIVE that decision without looking back.
Happy Tuesday, Friends!!!