We've been struggling with the idea of whether to keep Rachel home with us this year or to send her to preschool. At this age, she needs a lot of structured hands-on activities and it is hard to keep her entertained while homeschooling Nicholas too. I have lots of art materials and educational toys for her to use while I'm working with Nicholas but her short attention span runs out before we are done and then she seems to find trouble in one form or another. At two, almost three years old, Rachel is all about exploring and getting into things in the blink of an eye.
I've also been trying to work with her on some basic preschool skills while Nicholas is doing a worksheet or reading a story. I want to help her learn to identify letters and improve her counting skills. But it is a challenge to teach two drastically different levels at the same time during the day.
As hard as I try to do it all, I'm still only one mama!
So we have sort of compromised and decided to send her to a half day program that meets two days a week at the preschool that Nicholas went to when he was 2 years old. Rachel will even have Mrs. E, the same wonderful teacher that Nicholas had! We are on a rather tight budget so to pay for preschool we just might be living on Beanies and Weenies, and possibly even rationing the Weenies, but it will be so good for all of us.
Earlier this week we stopped by Rachel's new classroom to let her meet the teacher and explore the room while there wasn't any other children there. She is usually shy around new people but she quickly warmed up to Mrs. E once she saw that we were friends with her (and she discovered what fun toys Mrs. E had to play with!).
It was nice having Daddy with us on this day. Rachel even taught him how this little activity worked.
After Orientation, we let the kids play in the school yard some and Rachel had to check out the water fountain.
Yesterday morning I had to wake up the kids so we could get Rachel to school. I must admit the kids are used to rolling out of bed at 8:00 - 8:30 and it will be a bit of an adjustment to actually get Rachel to school by 8:15. She has been a little nervous about school but when I woke her up and told her that we needed to get ready for school, she jumped up excitedly and said, "Yay! School!" I'm so happy that she's excited about it!
Here she is all ready for her first day of preschool!
She was very excited to pick out her own lunch box, a pink Hello Kitty box. And she is quite proud of the little red bag she got from school.
Nicholas was quite the protective big brother. He held Rachel's hand as we crossed the parking lot and he walked her all the way to class.
He showed her where her name was on the row of hooks and how to hang up her little red bag each day.
She didn't hesitate and walked right into class and started working on a puzzle. This is really amazing for Rachel since she has been really clingy and shy these days.
Mrs. E has a different assistant than when Nicholas was there but she is really nice and gets excited along with the children.
After leaving Rachel in her class, Nicholas and I visited the tree and bench where Nicholas loved to play each day when I picked him up from class. I wish I could get to my pictures of him from back then but they are stuck on a disk and I don't have a working player to read it :(
Nicholas and I got some grocery shopping done after we left school. Several times while at the store, Nicholas commented that he caught himself looking around for Rachel. I agreed and found it hard to relax and just shop. I'm so used to having the wiggly one with me that it was weird to be able to not rush through the store or chase anyone down an aisle.
We got home and breezed right through Nicholas' work that would normally take twice as long with interruptions. What a difference it makes to work one on one!
We went back to school to pick Rachel up and she was all grins. She wouldn't stand right by her teacher to get a picture but she let the teacher stand near her and a little bit behind her. It's a start!
Yes, I think this is going to be a good year for all of us!