School is in Session

Nine months ago we found ourselves in at a crossroads with Hannah and were weighing one of the biggest decisions first-time parents have.

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Sure, there have been other very important decisions to make in the past 5+ years. For instance, how long do we breastfeed, do we mix formula in there? When and how do we potty train her? Where do we send her to daycare and preschool? And not to mention all the medical issues big and small she’s dealt with (though she and we have been extremely fortunate so far with that stuff compared to what many others have to face). At the end of the day, though, those things all seem to work out and probably would have regardless of what decision we made.

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However, this summer we had to make a decision on when and where Hannah starts Kindergarten. She’s a June birthday and is now halfway to her 6th year of life, so we could have waited another year to start her. And up until a pivotal conference with her pre-K teachers we were comfortable giving her another year of pre-K so that she’d be on the older end of her class instead of one of the youngest. Her pre-K teachers were adamant that she start Kindergarten this year, but we weren’t sure. Our parents and other family members were all very supportive and helpful, but we knew that ultimately the decision was on Sam and I to make. I think we made the right call.

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But that was just half the decision, we still had to decide where she goes. Fort Wayne and our surrounding communities have some really strong options, way more than when we were kids. Public school either at FWCS or East Allen. Christian school. Catholic school. Lutheran school. Montessori school. And there are even more options with that. Sam and I are both proud products of FWCS and we really want to believe in the system, but we’ve all heard the negatives, and Sam hears them louder than I do since she interacts with parents at work day in and day out. Ultimately, after seriously the most intense discussions we’ve had in our marriage to date, we went with St. Joe Central, our neighborhood school.

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It’s still too early, in my opinion, to make an informed judgment on St. Joe just yet, she’s only halfway through her first year. However, while there have been some red flags out of the gate, so far it’s been a very positive experience, and it starts with her awesome teacher, Mrs. Townsend.

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What we do know, though, is she was and is absolutely ready for Kindergarten. I don’t think that would surprise anyone who knows Hannah, but after our first parent-teacher conference we knew we had made the right call. Her teacher said more nice things about Hannah in that 20 minutes than I imagine all my teachers said about me in my 14 years of school combined (we had Reading Readiness when I was in school). I managed to get pretty good grades thanks to the discipline and encouragement of my parents, but Sam was a much better student than I, so it’s no wonder that Hannah is off to a great start with a mom like her.

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One of the best highlights to me so far has been seeing her make strides in learning how to read. Every day she gets better and better at sounding out words and I’m continually amazed. But what made me (and Sam) even more proud was how her teacher gushed about Hannah’s behavior. She was really well behaved at daycare, and for the most part she is at home as well, but socially she’s flourished. She raises her hands and answers questions eagerly. Plus, she completes her work quickly and instead of not knowing what to do with herself, she goes and helps the other kids with their work and she does that on her own, we and the teacher never had to teach her to do that. I think that’s an innate thing that comes with being in our family – I grew up surrounded by professional coaches and educators and Sam has her share of family members who are natural teachers as well.

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This is a really long-winded way of bragging on my daughter, which I try to not do too much, but in this case, I think it’s going to be cool to look back and read this when she’s older and still helping others. I absolutely love that it’s in her mindset at such a young age.

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Other things worth mentioning for posterity’s sake: she loves gymnastics, going to the Y pool (working on going under water and swimming without a floaty), is super sweet with her little brother Logan (most of the time), and lost her first tooth in October.

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On a less serious note, Hannah continues to develop her love for art and potty humor. Everything is a canvas. If there’s a blank surface – scrap paper, cardboard box, receipt, coloring book, steamed up window, doesn’t matter what – she’ll find a writing utensil (or her finger) and draw a picture. She loves drawing pictures of her family and her attention to detail when it comes to hair and dresses is really neat to witness.

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I’m not really sure where she gets her not-so-clean sense of humor. Couldn’t be from her dad, I am way too serious to make fart jokes! The challenge will be teaching her there is a time and place for irreverence –  but I just need someone to teach me first haha!

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December 11, 2017. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Observations and musings, Updates. Leave a comment.

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