Back to School

28 08 2008

Today we went to the open house at Asher’s new school. He will begin the year in the three year old preschool class. When we registered for preschool last February, this seemed like a good fit. Asher had just turned three in December and started preschool in January. He was still learning basic classroom skills like listening to the teacher, standing in line and following instructions. Now we’re feeling like the pre-kindergarten class would be a better fit.

Today he told me that he didn’t learn anything at school last year.

As a parent, I know this is not true. He learned how to respect his teacher. He discovered a love for painting. He finally mastered potty training. But it is really interesting that this is his perception of school.

He thinks he didn’t learn anything last year at school. While I could ignore his comment and assume he doesn’t really mean what he is saying, I think that in some ways he is right.

Asher is a self-directed learner. Several weeks ago, his grandma bought him a child’s encyclopedia. He was so excited: “Mom, it’s a book about everything!” He then sat on the couch and studied the book for more than an hour. He has been this way since he was a small toddler. When he is passionate about something, he has a voracious hunger to learn.

When he is not engaged, however, he is trouble.

I’m worried. At the preschool open house today, he walked around the room and inspected the toys. Most of the toys on the table were geared for toddlers. The sensory table was filled with beans. There was a circus tent. There were tubs of toy cars. There was a play kitchen and a dress up area.

Micah was enthralled. He went from one part of the classroom to the next, trying everything. Asher, however, had a little attitude: “been there, done that.”

I don’t want to be an arrogant, pushy parent – but I do want to do the right thing for our son. On one hand, he thinks about things like he’s about eight. He wants to learn to read and write. He loves numbers, counts way past 20, and does addition and subtraction in his head. He loves to build with legos: the little ones, not the legos for toddlers.

This week he wanted to learn about birth. He wanted to know how the baby would get out, exactly where he would come out, if it would hurt, if I would be loud, if the baby would cry. We found a nice animated video about birth. He watched it carefully about three times through and then asked more questions. He was worried that if the placenta came out, there wouldn’t be a placenta for the next baby the mommy was pregnant with. And then he wanted to know what they do with the placenta after it is delivered. He thought it wasn’t such a good idea to throw it away, and he wasn’t sure it belonged in the usual garbage. He thought it was very interesting that some people take their placentas home and plant a tree over them.

A few hours later – he’d obviously been thinking about babies and birth – he got very serious and asked me how the baby got in there. I told him that God put the baby there. He just kept asking how. I thought that parents didn’t have to have this talk with their kids until about 5th grade?

So when Asher tells me that he didn’t learn anything at school, I think he means it. At school, they didn’t get very deep. And they definitely didn’t talk about placentas.

I’m totally lost to know what to do with this kid. He is so intensely curious and bright. But in other ways, he’s just three. He’s little. He can’t run straight. He puts his underwear on backwards because he thinks it’s funny. He can be very rude to adults. His brain goes faster than his hands and legs.

So do we push to have him in prekindergarten this year? Push to have him tested for early entrance to kindergarten next year?

I have no idea what to do.

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