The plan to home educate our son has always been driven by myself, with Hubby needing a fair bit of convincing. So last year, I agreed to enrol our 3yo to the local school nursery for his anti pre-school year, providing he could attend part time. The nursery agreed, and he has been there since August, on 2 afternoons per week, instead of the 5 afternoons that are offered and expected to attend. No-one really questions the nursery provision, its just expected that once they're 3, they start nursery 5 days per week. Often when we go into shops, the staff ask Kiddo if he has been to nursery that day, or if I pop into work to pick up some messages, it is always presumed that Kiddo is at nursery, when maybe he is just at home playing with his dad.
I was a bit apprehensive of leaving Kiddo at nursery, especially for 2.5 hours, as he had had a couple of unhappy experiences at play groups in the past, however, he took to it immediately. To say I was surprised was an understatement. However, whilst everyone kept telling me that he would be knackered when he came home, I found the opposite to be true. The only way I can describe Kiddo when he came home after his nursery class, is this : it is as if he had sat still for 2.5 hours, on his best behaviour, concentrating really hard on not putting a foot wrong and eating nothing but orange smarties, then as soon as he is out of school - BAMMMM, freedom! Manic energy, that just doesn't quit.
The year (academic year) he has spent in nursery, on the whole, seems to have been an enjoyable one for Kiddo. He has made wee pals, which is great to see, especially when we walk into the playground and they all shout hello to one another, rush over, then its the big hugs all round - so cute!
However, the past few weeks we have seen a change. Kiddo can't get out of nursery quick enough, he is reluctant to go, at all, and won't discuss it at home. He had a melt down one day as I was leaving and ended up taking him back home with me as he was so distressed and upset. The only reason I got out of Kiddo, once we were home and he had calmed down, was that he didn't enjoy nursery the previous day, and he had to make his costume for the upcoming concert, but he didn't want to as was still playing with something else and was busy. Kiddo is the type of child, that when he is interested in something, he will give it his full attention, and will be finished when he's finished. This is something I encourage at home, as I want him to be passionate about things he does and take the time and care to do things properly, and have responsibility for his wee projects, developing an awareness of what he considers to be important.
The last couple of week have seen Kiddo going to nursery, but only if I get to stay. The class have been practicing for their end of term concert. Kiddo has told both myself and his teacher that he is not doing the concert. He has been fine to rehearse with the others, but he is NOT performing!
Monday ended up being Kiddo's last day, since yesterday was the concert. He stuck to his decision that he was not going to nursery and not "doing the stupid concert". On one hand I refuse to cause him and stress or anxiety over the matter, as it is obviously something he feels strongly about. On the other hand, I have to admit, that I was a little disappointed, as would have loved to watch him singing on the stage as he had at Christmas.
We (hubby and I) made the decision a few months ago that Kiddo was not returning to nursery after the summer holidays, as we don't think that it is the right environment for Kiddo. His reaction recently towards nursery and the release from it once its finished, tell me that this is the right decision. Plus, next year there is more of a focus towards getting prepared for Primary 1 the following year. Taking the suspected PDA into account, and the increased demands placed upon the children, it is not conducive to furthering his learning.
Since Kiddo has now finished his nursery education and didn't go in yesterday, he and I popped in today to say good bye to his teacher and for me to collect his Learning Journal. Surprisingly, I actually found myself feeling a bit emotional as we said our good byes. Kiddo gave his teacher a big hug and with that he was ready to go, actually pulling me by the hand to drag me out. When we did leave, I asked Kiddo if he was sad not to be going back. His reply said it all : "No, it was fun, but I'm done".
Now we are officially on our home educating journey, and I have to say, we are very excited to see where that leads us