Monday, March 5, 2007

Perpetual preschool interrupted

About two weeks ago, Logan made the startling announcement that he will not, in fact, be a kindergartener this fall.

This was news to me on several fronts. First and foremost, the boy is nearing his fifth birthday. In our house, the fifth birthday is the official time of some sort of required schoolwork--albeit little more than a short period of sustained work. Up until the age of five, a simple, "No thanks," cuts it with me, and you're off the hook for preschool-y type instruction, as long as you manage to keep yourself mostly occupied while everyone else is doing school. Logan has always been exceptionally good at working when he wants and playing quietly when he wants. Maybe a little too good, in fact.

This was also news to me because honestly, it had never occurred to me that any of my children would ever simply opt out of learning. And frankly, that's what Logan has done lately. He has said "No, thanks<" more often than not to any sort of organized lesson, unless it involves drawing instruction. Since he's under five, since he seems to be struggling with some underlying learning issues and since I tend to think that drawing is a wonderful skill that ought to be encouraged, I've allowed this continual state of "No, thanks," to go on for the past two or three months.

It never occurred to me that he had no desire to learn in an organized way. I just thought he was busy in other areas. He's a busy kid, after all. Stickers to be stuck. Tape to be taped. Paints to be blended. Buildings to be constructed. That's learning, right? And if you can learn like that, you can learn from a book, too, right?

So you can see why his little announcement caught me totally off guard.

Despite my own inner "Ack!" I didn't make much of an issue out of his statement. He followed it up by letting me know that he planned on buying a guitar and becoming a musician. O.k., fair enough. I told him that all the musicians I know most certainly read, and suggested that he follow in their footsteps. He smiled his impish grin and said, "No, thanks."

Fast forward to Saturday morning. The whole family is loading up to get Jo off to her latest rabbit show. The boys are completely ready--faces washed, hair brushed, shoes on--and beginning to get that "what now?!?!" chaos where they start poking each other and wrestling like puppies. In desperation, I order them to the couch and tell them to look at library books while I finish making the sandwiches to take along. Things are quiet for three or four minutes. Suddenly, Logan starts howling.

"Please! PLEASE! PLEASE! "

Atticus shrugs and says, "Not right now. I'm busy."

You guessed it: Logan is desperately begging his older brother to read a book to him. Atticus, absorbed in his own book, is saying no. And all hoopla is getting ready to break loose.

Being the wise homeschooling mother I am, I seized upon the moment.

"Welllllllll," I smiled sweetly at my youngest, "too bad you don't want to learn how to read. You know, there are going to be lots of times when there's no one around to read to you, or when we're all too busy. Boy, especially once some new little brothers or sisters arrive ... hmmmmmm...."

Guess what? We started reading lessons again this morning. Logan attacked 100 EZ with a whole new appetite. I asked him, as he sat on my lap just after finishing the insipid story about a cat on the sand, "So, do you think you're going to be a kindergartener this year after all?"

"I guess so," he replied, already wiggling down to start a new Lego creation.

Good enough.

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