The purpose of our family blog is to share our life journey with family and friends. Our family consists of Ben and Barbara (married Dec 2002), Caroline (born Sept 2006), Andrew (born Feb 2009) and Dixie (our dog). We hope that you will enjoy following us and all of our adventures and mishaps!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Don't Blink!

Teach me to number my days
And count every moment before it slips away
Taking all the colors before they fade to gray
I don't want to miss even just a second more of this . . .
It happens in a blink;
It happens in a flash;
It happens in the time it takes to look back.
I try to hold on tight,
but there's no stopping time.
What is it I've done with my life?
It happens in a blink . . .
~BLINK by Revive~

I can't even begin to count the numerous times I have heard this song on the radio.  Each time I hear it different images flood my mind -
I pray for a child for a year. BLINK. I am pregnant. BLINK. We find out we will have a daughter.  Her name is chosen.  She will be called "Caroline." BLINK. Caroline is born. BLINK. We are celebrating Caroline's 1st Christmas. BLINK. Caroline says her first word, rolls over, crawls and then walks.  BLINK.  Caroline is one! BLINK. I am pregnant again! BLINK. Andrew is born. BLINK. Andrew is one! BLINK.  We still don't have to worry about kindergarten until "next year." BLINK. "Next year" is here, and Caroline is in KINDERGARTEN! Double Blink. :)
~Idea totally stolen from my bestie, Julie - who did a post like this when her son, Mason went to kindergarten~

By Monday morning, Caroline was very anxious to start kindergarten.  Public schools in Gwinnett County started two weeks back so she was ready for it to be her turn!  Last Thursday, the school held it's kindergarten open-house.  I was very impressed with her new teachers Mrs. Zellner & Mrs. Holcombe.  Mrs. Zellner was the transition kindergarten teacher last year and recently completed her Master's in Education.  Mrs. Holcombe is new to the school but not new to teaching.  She has previously served for years as a kindergarten para-pro in the public school system.

Over the summer, I have doubted our decision to send Caroline to kindergarten at our church many times - doubts that were mainly triggered by other inquisitive parents. They would often ask, where is Caroline going to school?  But, I knew what they were really asking...why are you paying for private kindergarten when you can go to public school for free? (especially when most people know me to be very frugal).   And I must also mention that we live in a great school district and have awesome public schools in Gwinnett County.

Well, here is why...
> I know that my child will only be little for so long.  I desire to spend as much time with her as possible.  A half-day kindergarten program will allow me to ensure she is provided the education she needs while providing me with time I so desire.
> Did I mention the program is a 1/2 day program (9-1) whereas, public schools go a full day?
> I feel like kindergarten is the spring-board to learning.  I want Caroline to be enthusiastic about learning, and I think a smaller environment can help to ensure this.  Plus reading and math foundations are vital to her educational success.  With a student/teacher ratio of 16:2, I am assured she will receive the attention and support she needs.  My decision was further confirmed when I heard that many of the Gwinnett Co schools no longer have para-pros in kindergarten and have 19-23 students and only 1 teacher.  Hence, the reason the church's program only needs to be a 1/2 day - they don't have to start and stop a multitude of times a day, deal with bus/carpool lines, lengthy potty breaks, cafeteria time, etc.
> Speaking of foundations, I love the fact that Caroline will continue to have chapel time each week, learn of God's love for her and be taught in an environment that will help to shape her character to be more like that of Christ.  Not that these things cannot be achieved in public school (given the right teacher and guidance from us), but it is a real plus and might I add comfort to me knowing she is in this environment while she is at school.
> Okay, I admit it... the schedule  just works!  Andrew will also attend the preschool at our church so their drop-off and pick-up times are aligned.  It makes it easy and convenient for myself and all the grandparents.

Well, there you have it - my list of reasons for sending Caroline to North Metro's Kindergarten program.  Please know my heart, and know that none of what is stated above is to condemn public schools or anyone else's education decisions for their child.  I love public school.  I am a product of the public school system and a child of very grateful, retired teacher who survives off a teachers pension :)  My sis-in-law is also one of those GREAT public school kindergarten teachers I mentioned above - which any child would be blessed to have as a teacher & influencer in his/her life.

Okay - well, I know you must be wondering how the 1st day went.

It went exceptionally well!  Caroline slept through the night (Ben and I both predicted she would wake up early over-excited about the first day of school).  We actually had to wake the lil' sleepy head up.  She loved that the night before I painted her finger and toe nails pink.  And upon waking up, immediately looked at her freshly painted nails.

We had not planned to go out for breakfast; however, when Ben asked her what she wanted for breakfast, she exclaimed, "Dunkin Donuts!"  How could I resist - Ben and I are a sucker for their coffee (and what cute pictures it would be)!

After breakfast, the whole family drove to the school.  The first day, we walked her in (carpool starts on Tues).  Caroline walked right in without hesitation, found her hook for her bookbag and then immediately found her seat.  The kids had name strips sitting at their seats and were instructed to decorate them.  Mrs. Z (as she calls herself) told the kids that they would be making the strips into hats to help her and Mrs. Holcombe learn their names.

After that, Ben and I (and Andrew) scooted out of the classroom and were escorted to a special parents breakfast. Such a nice touch! We enjoyed a brief welcome by Mrs. Scates (the Director of the school) and a yummy (homemade, might I add) breakfast.
Ben left for work after breakfast and Andrew and I hung out together until time to pick Caroline up at 1:00.  At pick-up, Caroline still had a smile on her face - and I knew it must have been a GREAT first day!  She chattered all the way home about this new friend and that new friend, centers, playtime, their tour of the facilities...and of course, her special class treat - which she and all the other kids enjoyed!