If you know me you know that school is a big thing for us around here. I for sure don't take school lightly. I pray diligently for my kids schools, principals, teachers and classmates. I feel that is the BIG thing I can do for them. I have been praying for Pickle Elementary and the staff there since we decided to buy this house. Us sending Cayden, and the rest of our kids for that matter, to Pickle is a whole different post that I'll save for another day.
From the get go in our adoption we have wondered what would happen with school when Amos arrived home. You see, him and Deacon are 6 months apart (with Amos being the older one) and we have gone back and forth on what to do next year with him for school. If we sent him to kindergarten he would be a young kinder kid and he is so behind because he hasn't known English his whole life. If we didn't send him to kinder then him and Deacon would be in the same class their whole lives and not be twins. I worried about them finding their own place in school and friends, etc. Probably lots of worries that don't mean much in the long run, but worries that this momma had anyways.
We finally decided to send him to the preschool that the kids have been at the past two years. They are fabulous there and I knew it would be great for him. We had originally said the boys would be in the same class, but as the summer rolled on I noticed that they are doing great and Amos doesn't need Deacon to be there as much anymore. He is becoming much more independent and seems to be able to be okay w/out Deacon's help.
During the summer I started to stress about how far behind Amos is. It's hard when a child arrives home to their new land and family and A NEW LANGUAGE. Since him and Deacon are so close in age I sometimes judge his “educational” progress with Deacon. Which I must add is not right or fair, but I'm just being honest. After my observations, Aaron and I started to talk about possibly trying to get Amos into the pre-k program at Pickle so that he could get a little more instructional help before the kinder year began. That was good for me, because he was going to be getting a little extra boost before “real” school started the next year. We decided to meet with a counselor at the school and get their opinion and possibly register him for pre-k.
Well that brings us to this past weekend when I was talking about this to a few friends that are in the education field and they asked how old Amos was. I told them that his birth certificate says he's six, but we know he's really five and will fix/change that when we finally adopt him. They then informed me that he can't even go to preschool because you can't be older than 4 to go to pre-k. Oh that put my head in a tail spin. You mean that my baby can't go to pre-k? They then recommended that we put him in kinder this year and then again next year. What? My baby going to “real” school. My heart is not ready for this.
Aaron and I talked about this over the weekend and we have come to the conclusion that we will go next week to …. oh my word I can hardly say it …. we will go next week to re… regis…. register my baby for kindergarten. My heart is bursting with emotions. Not bad emotions, but just emotions that are confusing. I needed more time to get ready for this. Sending a kid to kindergarten is a big deal and usually you know when it's going to happen. I feel like this just came out of nowhere and now my heart is not prepared.
We haven't said anything to the kids yet about this. I don't want it to not happen and then have to explain another plan to Amos. That is always confusing to him. I'm sad for Deacon. He has been telling Amos all about his school all summer long. It is so cute to see him explain all the fun stuff that you do at preschool. I know that he was excited about having his buddy at school with him. I'm sad for Amos who will miss out on so much love and attention from the ladies at the school that we have the other kids at. They are so amazing and would have loved my baby well.
So, next Monday I'll head up to the elementary school to possibly register two kids for school. My heart swells with so many emotions when I think about this. So happy for my boys who are growing up, but so worried for my sweet Amos. He is so innocent and in some ways behind emotionally and socially. I will beat up any kid that is mean to him or makes fun of him. you think I'm kidding? I worry about his sweet spirit.
I feel so behind spiritually as well. Had I known Amos was going to possibly be in “big” school in kindergarten I would have had such different prayers this summer, and this stresses me out just a bit. As my sweet friend Staci reminded me, God has already gone BEFORE me in this. Although I feel as though the wind was just knocked out of me this weekend when I realized that my baby just might be going to big boy school this fall, I know that this did not knock the wind out of God. He knows where my sweet Amos will be and has known all along. He is preparing our paths and I know that he has hand picked Amos' sweet teacher for next year.
So this year I'll have 2 in big school and 2 in preschool, and then next year all 3 boys in big school. Oh my word where has the time gone. We will have Amos do kinder twice and so eventually him and Deacon will be back in the same grade together, unless Amos blows us all out of the water and does so good that the teachers think he can go on to 1st grade. Oh my gracious wouldn't that be amazing. Nothing is impossible with God.
*a picture from the past – Sept 2008
Oh my goodness, Jamie, this is big– my eyes welled up reading it. I can only imagine how you feel – school is a really big deal for us, too. (molly just turned 3 and I’ve already been thinking/praying about it for at least a year!). Prayers for you and Amos both. 🙂 It is true though that God knew all this was coming, so just start praying now! God knows our hearts, and the effectiveness of our prayers aren’t dependent on how long or hard we pray for something (thank goodness!). I know you know that – but sometimes I need a reminder. 🙂
Jamie, I know this is a nervewrecking change in plans! But you are getting good at making hard/big decisions! In fact, I think you are a professional at it! 😉 If you ever have any questions, I used to be a kindergarten teacher for 2 years and I would love to help you! Holding him back for a second year in kinder is not uncommon for ‘young’ kids, but I have a feeling he won’t be needing it based on what I see in Kidstuff!
Carly was reading this and is so excited for Amos. R flourished in school and he knew nothing. God provided a Haitian man that came to school three times a week just to tutor him. He is so excited about going back. I just imagine that Amos will love this. Also, no one made fun of R, actually after all the news coverage he became the kid to know. That was actually kind of weird. He loved it though.
Smith is going to be kinder and we are going to redshirt him:) I told him that he won’t be quite old enough to go to 1st grade after one year so he gets to go to kinder again. My advice…find a teacher the first year who keeps kids (especially boys) actively engaged and moving…a teacher who can help him develop socially. Talk to the counselor or assistant principal about the type of teacher that would fit his needs best. Then, next year worry about the academic piece…that is what I am doing with Smith. My main concern for this next year is that my sweet boy loves school, makes friends and learns how to be a good guy:) Smith is turning 5 on August 17th. I so wish I could watch over sweet Amos at my school 🙁
Jamie wouldn’t it be fabulous if you could watch over him every day! I think I will meet w/ the counselor about this after I get him registered. We’ll know much more after next Monday when I go up there!
Luke and Beza came home from Ethiopia at Christmas time. According to their ages they would have been 2nd and 5th grade but based on lots of different advice and stories we decided to put them back one year each.
This meant that Luke (who is 4 months older) would be in the same class as Noah. I too worried about them finding their own space but it has gone fine. Luke and Noah are very different (Luke is athletic; Noah is a bookworm) and so they have found their own way. Some friends overlap of course. And I think it was a little hard for Noah in the beginning because Luke was kind of like a rock star (since the class had been hearing all about him for the first half of the year.)
Age wise Luke is pretty much like someone w/ a summer bday (June) that was held to start kindergarten til 6. He’s the second oldest in his class but not out of place.
Beza (January bday) is obviously one year older than all her classmates and she sometimes complains but it was totally the right decision with her language skills. I told her when she’s in high school and she can drive before all her friends she will LOVE it!
The wonderful thing about kids is their resilient and they constantly surprise us!
I’m just going throw in my 2 cents as educator of older elementary kids. There is very little research that supports retaining children because it doesn’t necessarily help them make gains academically. There are other options though. You can fill out the home language survey and make sure to note that his initial language is not English and he can receive ESL services which may help him grasp the language (both academic and conversational). Also, I would recommend just advocating for his education and seeing what services he can receive through the school so that he will get the support he needs during the school (i.e. Reading Specialist, tutor, mentor, etc.)
Sorry if I stepped on your toes, but I have had some kids in classes that were held back for similar reasons and it actually hurt them socially.
Just my thoughts.
delurking here….My son was 3 1/2 yrs old when he arrived home in Italy in June 2006 from Ethiopia. We enrolled him in pre-K/Kindergarten that September. He already spoke Italian fairly well when he started school and he was really so happy to be going to school. His language skills flourished and he was a very happy boy. When he started 1st grade, we noticed some disorthography problems in his written work due to problems with phonemes. My son had two languages before Italian, an Ethiopian dialect and then Amharic, and he had problems differentiating the phonemes. Two years of speech pathology has taken care of most of the problems, he sometimes lapses but if he stops and thinks, he usually gets it right.
It’s hard to let them go, but then seeing them learn and get excited about learning new things is so much fun….he’ll be ok, you’ll see.
Thanks Anna! I love that your son has so much language. I wish that Amos still used his creole, but not at all. I think he lost most of it. 🙁
I got a lump in my throat reading your thoughts. I will be praying for Amos! It’s too bad your kids’ preschool doesn’t have a bridge program. Praise God that none of this is a surprise to Him and I know He is working all this out for Amos’ good. God bless you guys!