Police Preschool, the First Fortnight

 

Ground rules

Day 0: The Friday before, Pippin is encouragingly excited about homeschool. I ask him if he wants to come up with a name for our school and some rules, and together we draft the above document. I am killing at this. 

Day 1: There’s a mad rush to get a decade of the Rosary in with J before he races off to work. We are starting school a couple weeks before local places so I don’t feel as shirky if the kids experience a stretch of televised education when Roo comes in late fall. Pip and I are both excited to start, but disaster strikes: I have heard that preparing things to distract the toddler is almost as important as engaging the learner, and soon both kids are vying for a bin of beans, making a mess and squabbling. Ugh. I try to remember that the start of last year, at traditional preschool, was tough, too, but at some point, I’m yelling “NO ONE HERE IS BEING VERY AMIABLE” as I try to go back to our lesson on the virtue of amiability. Then I load up the kids and take them to play at a local wading river with friends because, hey, this is homeschool.

Day 4, End of Week 1: Each morning, Pippin asks me to read to him or play for awhile before we start school, but I keep starting (and finishing) early. He seems to enjoy once we are gathered around the table, and asks when we will homeschool again over the weekend. I’m learning to be firm, kind, and not panicky in making school happen each morning. We have decided that at the end of each week, if we’ve both behaved, we get a special policeman activity, and this week it’s some random worksheet I downloaded off Pinterest. He loves it.


Week 2: It’s Letter B in the house of Bowers. He writes a letter to my sister Beca, using butterfly stamps and bear stickers that were mine when I was a kid. We don’t make it to the library this week, but we do go on field trip to a neighbor’s house to learn a little about her bee hives (mostly he plays with Duplos). We read the story of St Benedict, but he mostly just likes the attempted poisoning bit.

I am relying on my phone more than I feel great about: playing Benedictine chant, showing him paintings of the various Mysteries of the Rosary. But if I were using a library CD, somehow I’d feel more wholesome, so I try to get over it.

 

Writing his aunt

Scout is usually content to sit in her high chair and play with special toys (including the dreaded bean box), and our lessons are always extremely quick — maybe 30-45 minutes, all told. Sometimes we revisit a memory verse or talk about the letter of the week later in the afternoon, but often it’s the usual old mix of park visits, reading aloud, and entirely too many trips to the grocery story. Everyday, he tells my parents over Skype some of what he’s learned, and repeats it again for his papa after work. I feel like that’s reinforcement enough.

 

This week, I think we’ll add in coins, sorting them and using them to count by 5s and 10s and 25s, but that’s the height of my ambition. It can be rocky when everyone’s yelling and I’m just trying to get through a poem, but it sure beats the tar out of Pip’s preschool adjustment last year.

 

Enrichment. Maybe. Also, imprisonment.

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Author: Katherine Grimm Bowers

Babies. Books. Fledgling housewifery. Once and future librarian. Catholic. Always thinking about chocolate ice cream.

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