Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Our Big School Decision

Oh where do I begin?

Well, lets start way back at the first of the year in January. It was about this time we began the decision making process about where Austin would attend PreK. And who knew way back then that it would turn out to be such a roller coaster of a journey?

Late January and early February is when most preschools start registration and therefore when we started to think about where Austin would go to school for PreK the following school year.

We made a pretty easy decision that he wouldn't go back to his current school at the time because he was just way beyond what they were covering/learning/teaching. We absolutely loved his school and his teachers but it wouldn't be beneficial for him to attend there another year. So we made a quick and painless final decision and began the search for a new school.

Our original first choice was another school in Thomaston near Terrell's office. I fell in love with the PreK teacher, fell in love with the school and curriculum, I really loved just about everything. Except......... it's a good 30 minutes from our house, he would have to go in with Terrell to work for at least 30 minutes every single morning of the school year, and it would be a bit of a burden getting him picked up 5 days a week. We were soo torn about this option from the start but eventually decided it just wouldn't be feasible or best. It definitely wouldn't be a great idea for him to have to go into the office with Terrell every morning and it also wouldn't be easy getting him picked up everyday. So we decided against it and reluctantly moved on.

Meanwhile my husband had me register Austin for big school PreK just in case. I knew we wouldn't go that route but I did it because it wasn't a big deal to register him. We'd gladly hand over our spot as soon as a final decision was made about where he'd be going.

We briefly checked into having him attend the PreK program offered at our church's daycare, but unfortunately, given that it's a daycare and they don't follow the school calendar, we couldn't afford the weekly cost and we'd be on a different schedule altogether for the year. So that option was out rather quickly.

Then, out of the blue, another option presented itself.

Shortly before Spring arrived in early March, I received a phone call from a nearby preschool director presenting me with a possible job opportunity. I loved the idea of this job, however it wasn't guaranteed (as in she couldn't guarantee me a position until registration ended-and beyond- and she was sure she had a spot for me) and they almost couldn't afford to pay me what I would need in order for the job to work for us. So this became our first choice, not only for Austin but also for me. Even though it wasn't guaranteed and the pay was low we felt this was an open door and held out hope all Spring long and then into the Summer as well. This option definitely felt best and was our 1st choice by far. However, Austin and I were a package deal. This school was in another nearby town as well and we wouldn't be able to work it out for Austin to attend there unless I was teaching there.

We really hoped and even believed at one point that this opportunity would most definitely work out and this is where Austin and I would go together. But as the summer days passed and the month of June approached and then kept trucking right along, I felt the opportunity slipping away. It was so tempting to panic! So tempting. I stressed and felt anxious and obsessed  over the possibilities (or lack thereof!) and weighed pros and cons almost constantly. Even though I didn't handle things perfectly I also never panicked. I actually made a list of Scripture that I read (and continue to read) every time I felt anxious about my unknown job and Austin's unknown school. These verses have continued to be such an encouragement and source of peace.

We were unsure of where Austin would attend PreK for almost the entire summer. Not to mention, a job opportunity for me had pretty much vanished. I even started to consider homeschooling but quickly knew God wasn't calling me to that. Austin is very social and was ready for school.

My closest friends encouraged me and reassured me about big school. My sister (a teacher at our school who taught PreK for 2 years) kept my questions answered and offered lots of sound advice and inside teacher-info. My mom listened to me and supplied words of wisdom right when I needed them, and my husband put up with me and was so supportive and patient as I struggled over what felt like a huge decision.

So as the summer moved along I prayed a lot. (And read over all those verses often!) I prayed specifically that God would place Austin in the school, classroom, and with the teacher He knew was best. I prayed for His plan to work out and for us to be accepting of His plan. I prayed that we would be at peace with where He led us and that Austin would be right where he's supposed to be. I prayed for open doors and closed doors and clear direction based on those open or closed doors. And slowly, slowly I started letting go of my plan and what I thought was best and started trusting in God's plan and what I knew deep down truly would be best.

And that's how we arrived at public/big school PreK for Austin and a calm and peaceful mama. =)

My biggest concern about big school PreK has always been the long school day for 4 and 5 year olds. As a teacher and as a mom I know it isn't exactly ideal for them to be at school all day so young. I also know that half of their day consist of the times that make up breakfast, lunch, playground time, and napping... most of which we can do at home. Plus I loved Garrison's PreK experience in a church preschool and just always planned for Austin and Layton to do something similar. Our plan had always been to start public school in Kindergarten and my planner self didn't want to change the plan. Ha! So several factors contributed to me wanting a different PreK than the one God chose for us.

But He made it clear this was the place our middle was supposed to be. And we're here now and SO thankful. God is faithful and His plan is always best!

The big boys are thrilled to be at the same school together (this is actually the only year they'll be together until high school) and Austin is having a great experience so far. We love his teachers, we love his little class, we're thankful he's napping at school  (something that actually probably wouldn't happen at home), and we're really excited about his school year. 3 days in and Austin is loving school and in the best mood when I pick him up. He's thriving just like I knew he would... even if it did take me all summer to accept the new plan. =)

God's faithfulness and plan continues to be confirmed to us and we are just beyond grateful. So, so, soooo grateful. To God be the glory great things He hath done!

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