Silas started preschool in January. And while I have taken advantage of part time preschool on and off over the years, I have always felt that, if at all possible, my kids are better off at home with me until kindergarten.
Florida has a program called Voluntary Pre Kindergarten or VPK for short. It's part of the public school system, so it's tax funded. It's three hours a day M-F. But because it is every day, I didn't even consider it at first. Silas, after all, is better off at home with his mother.
Shortly after we moved into our neighborhood, Silas met a boy around the corner. He and Kai became instant friends. Si and Kai, I call them.
When school started this past fall, it did not take Silas long to discover that Kai went to VPK. Every day.
"Mom, I want to go to VPK like Kai."
"Oh, honey, that is every day, and I don't think you are ready for school every day, are you?"
All fall and through Christmas he pitched his case to me. And each time he said yes, he was ready for school on a daily basis. Captain Fun agreed and often encouraged me to enroll him. Then one morning shortly after Hope was born, I came downstairs. Four year old Silas had a makeshift desk set up in the den, piled with papers.
He stood up, as if presenting his case like an attorney. "Mom, I need to go to VPK. I need to read their books and use their computer and play with their toys."
I started to speak, but he wasn't done.
"Kai goes to VPK, and he's still little. And I need to go to VPK, too. I don't need to wait until I'm bigger."
I felt I was depriving him. He was right. He needed school.
I put him in in January, delighted to discover that his teacher attended our church and regularly worked in Silas' class.
Every day he comes home talking about something he's learned or a new friend he's made. Although we did school work just about every day before he started VPK, I have to admit, he's much more content for the rest of the day after his morning at school.
It just goes to show that even after ten kids, you can still learn a thing or two. Captain Fun knew Silas needed school. Silas knew he needed school. Even Mom Dot was in the "yes" camp. And it certainly proves that even though kids have the same mom and dad, they are all individuals with different needs at different times.
Being the mom of ten, I definitely have tried and true methods in raising my kids. Some things I absolutely will not compromise on. But I hope I will never stop learning to be open to new approaches.
Even if I start to forget, I am certain my little lawyer Silas will be there to remind me.