Friday, August 2, 2013

Countdown to Kindergarten: Listening for Divine Direction

Back at the beginning of 2013, I started to consider whether or not to send my daughter Curly-Q to Kindergarten in the fall.  She has a September birthday and will be turning five this year.

I had no idea what the right decision would be.  On the one hand, she seemed so young and I know that the trend is to hold kids back to maximize their chances of success.  On the other hand, I knew she could mature a lot in a few months and actually be ready in the fall.  

I worried about her being bored, I worried about her struggling.  I had no idea what the right decision would be and I agonized over it.  I asked for prayer in Bible studies, from my family, from my friends.

I tried to listen for God's voice in our circumstances, and when I failed to see clear direction in the face of a decision along the way, I chose the course that left our options open.  

In March, Curly-Q's teacher made a comment about her not being in any way ready for kindergarten, and so I was leaning toward holding her back.  Still, I took her to register at the local public school just in case something changed by fall.  I also applied for one of the limited seats at an excellent charter school in the next town and a homeschool charter in our county.  So many possibilities, so many options to keep open.

By April, I was seriously considered homeschooling or unschooling as an option after a friend said, "You just seem like the kind of person who would be homeschooling." Another acquaintance who homeschools talked it up and it sounded so wonderful.  But I didn't think I could do it without support and accountability, so I thought getting into the homeschool charter would be a sort of fleece to tell me if homeschooling would be right for our family.

And then came the letter saying we didn't get in.  

For a time, I considered homeschooling anyway.  After all my friend had said I seemed like someone who could/would do it.  And after all my reading I was really entranced by the idea of homeschooling.  It sounded romantic and lovely.  And yet, it didn't feel right for our family, at least not at this time.  I kept waffling, and couldn't commit or say out loud that this was my choice.  Something was holding me back. 

We were also put on the wait list at the excellent charter school, but since it was in the neighboring town and would require a 20 minute drive, I wasn't seriously considering it.  It would be the local school or nothing, or so I thought.  

At the parent teacher meeting at her preschool in May, Curly-Q's teacher commented on how much she had matured and that she felt confident Curly-Q would be even more mature and ready for kindergarten in the fall.

But I was still leaning toward homeschooling, trying to work through my doubts and get to the point where I could claim my decision to friends and family and move forward with planning.

A few weeks later, we were called to take a kindergarten readiness test at the local public school.  Curly-Q passed the test and was declared ready for kindergarten.  

When we got home from the readiness testing, I noticed a voicemail on my answering machine.

It was the excellent charter school.  A seat had opened up.  Did we want to take it or should they move on to the next family?

I called my friends with kids at this school, who advised to take the seat just in case even if I wasn't sure because I could always change my mind and release it again before school started.  I called my husband, who agreed with that plan.  

In June I renewed my requests for prayer from my circles of support, asking for clarity and a final decision.

Around that time, I realized that I only started considering homeschooling when friends said that's what they saw me doing. It hadn't arisen from an authentic desire or calling to do so.  I confidently set it aside for now and started leaning toward the idea of starting Curly-Q at the local public school, although something held me back from calling the excellent charter school to release the seat.  For some reason I just felt I had to keep it as an option.  

July brought some conflict with my in-laws/landlords that made it clear that it was probably time to move.  As we investigated different options for housing, we discovered that not only could we probably afford to buy a home (after 8/24 which is the three year anniversary of our short sale), but it would most benefit our family to move to the neighboring town where the excellent charter school is located.

And with that, our decision was made.  I feel a settled peace about it.  

Curly-Q will be starting kindergarten at the excellent charter school on August 13.  I have purchased school uniforms.  Still need to buy some supplies to donate to the classroom and find her a backpack.  

Everyone in our family is excited about it and we're counting down the days until school starts!

And a few weeks later, the next phase of the journey will start when we can begin looking at houses...

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