School districts across the country all start the school year at different times. Where my mother lives, they've already been in school a week. In Chicago, it won't be until after Labor Day that the school year begins. Thus, at the beginning of each new school year, we can all look forward to posts and comments from friends and acquaintances dropping off their new kindergartner for school... and relay the number of tears cried by the mothers at this momentous event.
This is a post that is guaranteed to annoy people, unless you agree with me, that is.
Inevitably, once a mother posts about how emotional she is feeling about leaving her child at kindergarten, a whole host of other mothers, with older children, will chime in about how they, too, cried when their child started kindergarten, but it's good for them, and the mother will learn to appreciate the time they are in school.
Why, oh why has our society decided it is good to overrule a parent's feelings and intuition? Because that is what is happening here. A parent is feeling at some level it is wrong to send her little one off on their own, and society, in the form of institutions and peer pressure, goes out of their way to tell her that her intuitions are wrong, and perhaps even harmful. It is good for a young child to go to school. They have to learn to be independent. If you baby them, they will never leave home. Etc. Etc.
Why do we do this? Why do we teach mothers to override their natural impulses? Who decided that five years old was a good time to cut the apron strings, and send a child off on his or her own? It seems as though perhaps it is not a good thing, if so many mothers over so many years have to be convinced that their intuition and emotions are wrong.
I can tell you, if you delay school. If you choose to let your little people be little. If you keep your young ones with you, you will not ruin them. They will grow up, figure out what to do with their lives, and become independent even if you did a counter-cultural thing and not send them off to kindergarten at five. Really.
Of course, there are many children who are successful in kindergarten. I'm not trying to say otherwise. What I want to make clear, though, is that it is also not wrong to trust your gut, even if there are many voices out there, telling you that you are wrong.
I just do not understand this rush to rush childhood. Learning to read at five rather than eight does not make or break a child. A person's destiny is not determined by interest and abilities in kindergarten. The voices telling you otherwise are wrong.
This is not a homeschooling issue, really, but a life issue. If you feel as though it is breaking your heart to send your child to kindergarten, maybe your heart is trying to tell you something. Children are ready at different times. Not every child is prepared for kindergarten at five. Children do not come in standardized models, no matter how much the school standardizing forces would like that to be true.
Trust your instincts, not the bureaucrats. I would love it if one day, I was not greeted with dozens of posts about sobbing parents at kindergarten drop-off. That would say to me that each family made a conscious decision about what was right for their family, and did not rush things just because some person or group of people with lots of letters after their name, decided that was what was best.
There, I feel better. Crotchety post done.
Vegetable month tally:
Escarole - 1
Onions - 1
Beans (navy) - 1
Edamame - 1
I didn't actually make what was on the menu tonight. J. and I decided at the last minute that a night out was really necessary, where we could talk and have a conversation without interruptions. I bought cheap frozen pizza for the masses. To make it a little bit healthy, we also boiled some edamame to go along with it. Edamame is just a fancy name for soy beans. My crew love them, and most prefer them in the pod, because they get to pop them out before they eat them. For a while they were called 'popping beans' around here. I buy them frozen and keep a stock of them in the freezer for just such a night as this. It's an easy vegetable to add to a dinner, and also one that most people eat without fuss.