Monday, January 19, 2015

Wise Decision

At the beginning of the school year Todd and I made the difficult decision to enroll Grace in a new school. Our kids' school stopped offering the half day option for kindergarten and I just didn't want to put Grace in school full time yet, for multiple reasons. I, along with a number of other parents, implored the principal to change her mind and allow the half day option but she held firm. So, Grace began at a lovely school just down the road from where we live.

Grace was sad that she wasn't going to school with her brothers anymore, and she really loved her friends and teacher at her old school, but she was a tremendous sport about having to change schools. My shy little girl went into the new school and tried her best.

In reward for her good attitude and effort I attempted to use our time together outside of school for fun. When I picked Grace up at lunch time we would often go to the farmer's market and have lunch together.
I learned to french braid Grace's hair and painted her nails. We had a lot of special "girl" time.
We did a lot of baking together. Banana bread is one of Gracie's favorites and we made it often. She got really good at smashing those bananas.
Of course, we made a lot of cookies too. And she was a huge help rolling the ginger snap cookies in sugar so I could just keep making the balls. It went so quickly with my little helper.
There was a half an hour between dropping the boys off at school in the morning and dropping Grace off so, many times, we would go down to the lake and read books together. Basically, I was trying to use every spare minute I had with her knowing this would be the last year of having her all to myself for those few hours.
I even got to go along on the class field trips to the zoo and have more special time with my girl.
And Grace did make a few new friends that helped her feel more comfortable at her new school.
But Grace never stopped asking the same question. Multiple times a week Grace would ask when she could go back to her old school. She really missed her brothers. She missed her friends. She missed her teacher. She missed not being able to talk about and learn about God. She just never felt at home at her new school. She never looked forward to going to school.

When Christmas rolled around and we went to the boys' Christmas concert it was hard for Grace not to be a part of it. She had loved it so much the year before and I could tell she was missing it. Her friends all rushed up to her and hugged her but then she had to watch them go up in front of church and sing without her. Her new school had a holiday concert too, but it just wasn't the same. I was shocked to see that Grace didn't even really look happy up on stage. It hit me kind of hard. My little lady, brave as she was being, was just not as happy at her new school.

So, shortly before Christmas, when the principal at her old school resigned I decided to ask the interim principal (along with the kindergarten teacher) if they would be okay with Grace attending half days starting second semester. Both the teacher and the principal were happy to offer half days again and would welcome Grace back with open arms. I was so excited I could barely contain myself. I knew Grace would be thrilled. Grace would be back at school with her brothers, her friends, and the same teacher she had for 3K and 4K. It was exciting, people! The only hitch was trying to keep it a secret from her. I couldn't tell her the news before Christmas because that would be too long to wait. I decided to wait until last Tuesday to tell her the good news. 

To say she was happy would be an understatement.
The boys were equally happy for her. There was so much screaming and yelling and laughing and jumping around, I thought my ears were gonna burst.

Today was Grace's first day back at her old school. The school had started a new uniform policy this year and Grace was SO EXCITED to try on her new school clothes. 
Grace's teacher had told the kids that Grace was coming back and they were all waiting on pins and needles for the day to come. It was an exciting moment when Grace walked into school this morning. Watching all of her friends cram in around her as she put her things away, giving her hugs, helping her sort, and showing her where her bin was, was just so precious. Grace finally looked like she was at home again.
When Grace got home from school she was all smiles. She can't wait for school again tomorrow. She hasn't said that in a LONG time. She was so anxious that she decided to try on a bunch more of her school clothes. She put on a bit of a fashion show.  
I must say, I am loving the uniform policy. The clothes are cute and comfortable and super durable. A handful of shirts, a couple pair of slacks, a skirt (I think I'm getting her the plaid jumper too cuz it is SO cute), a cardigan, and a sweater, and the possibilities are endless. Just one more plus in this whole scenario. It is a win/win all the way around.

I am so happy for my girl. She is back where she belongs.


betty said...

She's so cute! I too love the uniforms; so much easier and less of a hassle to get ready in the morning! I'm sure she will continue to blossom and grow back at her old school!


Tabor said...

It is unfortunate that our culture puts so much emphasis on clothing. My granddaughter is so involved in what she wears and I do hate that. Uniforms are perfect to take their mind off what is outside and focus on what is inside.

Bijoux said...

I'm actually shocked that a school would make an exception for one student and allow her to go half day! That's fantastic though!

You will always remember your special time together!

Kat said...

Bijoux- They didn't make an exception for just Grace.The interim principal was wondering why the half day option wasn't being offered in the first place. He decided to start it up again. The public schools here offer it but it isn't advertised so you have to ask about it. Not many people know to ask. Our parochial school always offered it. Then we got a new principal and she thought the public schools weren't offering it anymore so she took it out even though a group of parents had gotten together and asked her not to. The teacher was fine with 1/2 day everyone wanted it but the principal. It was odd. A handful of students left for 1/2 day kindergarten elsewhere. Anyway, after that principal left I figured I'd see if the new principal wasn't to start it up again. :)

I REALLY love my kids' school. The teachers are amazing. The kids are wonderful. It is strict but loving, really top notch academics, and offers so much more for the kids too (chess clubs, photography clubs, Spanish, basketball/volleyball/cheerleading, wonderful music class, and every year they put on a full scale musical). It is a great school and I am so happy all my kids are back in the same place.

Mom24 said...

I am so happy for you and for Grace. Wonderful news. I am so glad too that you stuck with your conviction that half day was the best thing. I am so tired of the prevailing wisdom that kids need to be in school or daycare all day long, no matter how young. Ridiculous. You knew what was best for Grace and you held to it. That is wonderful. I'm glad that the interim principal and the teacher were willing to make adjustments to accommodate families that know there is value to a half day program too.

Elaine Alguire said...

This warms my heart SO much! K changed pre-school this year and it has been very bittersweet. She will be with her brothers next year though, so I am excited of that.

I'm so glad Grace is back where she is happiest! And she looks so cute in her uniform. :)

Riahli said...

Awwww, that's so great!

You're a mom warrior, always questioning and making the choices needed to make sure your children are in the best situation. I wonder what in the world the other principle problem was, how frustrating! Glad the new principle realized how silly it all was and went back to the way it was before. I'm a strong believer that full day kindergarten is just too much!

Your children are the cutest. :)

Wisconsin Girl said...

What great news! Such a blessing to have her back in a place that makes her heart happy:)

Hilary said...

Good for you for knowing that Grace really needed to be back in her old environment. I'm so happy for her.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Glad to read your girl is excited to head back--sounds like you're making a good call.
And I second everything you say about uniforms!

Kat said...

Tabor & Green Girl- I am LOVING the uniforms. I was wary at first because of the initial expense of it all. It seemed like it would be much more expensive. BUT, the uniforms are through Lands' End and they are always running 30% off sales and all of their clothes are 100% guaranteed. Their pants are guaranteed not to rip or have holes. If they do you can get a new pair at no charge. A friend of mine passed her son's down to his younger brother and after 4 years they finally got a hole in the knee and Lands' End STILL sent them a new pair. Unbelievable. The boys each have three pairs of pants and they still look great. By this time last year Ben had already gone through about 5 pairs of pants. Insane. So, in the long run it saves a TON of money. Each boy has a handful of shirts and can easily pick out clothes to get dressed in the morning and they look so nice! And the girls' uniforms are SO cute. Grace just loves them. And it definitely takes any hassle out of what to wear in the morning. I asked a few of the older girls (7th grade) at school what they thought of the uniforms and they like them too. It has been a great addition to the school.
Also, I normally keep adding to the kids' clothes throughout the year and I don't have to do that AT ALL this year because of the uniforms. So good.

Krystyn @ Really, Are You Serious? said...

So awesome! So glad it worked out for her to go back and everybody is happier! It really does hurt a momma heart to see her kiddos sad, so I'm so glad everybody is happy again!

Anita said...

This story shows the lengths of what a parent will do for her child. How wonderful it would be if all parents knew how to seek what's best for their children. I'm glad everyone's happy and content again.

I have one child in a private school and she wears Land's End uniforms, too! This is her first year at the new school (she's a high school freshman) and all is well with the clothes. No complaints!

Words To Live By

Be grateful for each new day.
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson