Okay, school’s in session.
Jay asked me to spend the the first day of school on-site, in case the sudden change was too much of a shock for any of the children.
I camped in a workroom one wall from Melody and Elisha’s 1st & 2nd (combined) class and heard their first interactions with their teacher (Elisha’s spontaneous and musical, Melody’s called-on, but confident). The teacher kept going no matter what, continued her lesson without hiccup, and I began to realize how very different this rhythm was than anything I could do.
Before the end of the morning I was pretty agitated, actually. The hum and energy and metronome-steady press so close to me was nearly overwhelming.
I went into their classroom at lunch, and read to Melody after she finished eating.
She’d seen an illustrated version of Heidi in the book basket, one she remembered reading at home, and asked for it. For the next few minutes she lay in my arms and just soaked up Mama. While the rest of the class thrummed by their desks waiting to be released to recess.
The next morning (and every morning the rest of the week) Melody made it clear she was not interested in going away to school anymore, but we emphasized this was not a decision she got to make.
At the same time, I understood. The clip and the rhythm and the push of an experienced teacher is very different that what any of us are used to, and it was nothing that I would be comfortable with myself. I wrestled briefly with whether I could make my kids do something I wouldn’t do myself.
My conclusion was two-fold:
- I already had done this. I wasn’t asking her to do something I never endured.
- I think all children need both structure and the opposite in their lives. If my kids can get the structure side of things from someone else, that means that I don’t have to make it happen. And that. is awesome.