Emilio finished Kindergarten last week.
Two years of play, building, crafting, mud running, rope skipping, grass planting, animal spotting, story listening, bread making, dish washing, sweeping, learning and growing.
You know what he didn't do?
Sit at a desk.
Be taught to read.
You know what he did do?
Sit at a communal table and tell stories with his friends at snack time.
Get really dirty. Like scrub his fingernails and toenails every night kinds of dirty.
Explored his own interest in reading outside school with his Dad.
And I continued to question our choice to send him there, to enroll him in 1st grade.
Because he's having a different experience than the mainstream.
Because he isn't reading like many of his peers.
Because at some point he likely will transition to a public school and what will that experience be like for him?
Because frankly it is a significant financial commitment to send him there.
Because when people ask him about Kindergarten they assume he's reading, writing, doing homework, etc like other 6 year olds and then I have to explain for him because he doesn't know that his experience is so different.
And I want to celebrate it. I want to be proud of what he's done, of what we've been able to provide for him.
Because even in the moments where I wasn't sure it was right for him anymore, in the big picture I know it was.
Because even though they didn't fully cater to him individually, he still got an experience that is more him than the mainstream.
Because even though looking deeper in to Waldorf leaves me questioning it on a whole, more of it makes sense than a public school system that I believe is deeply broken.
And mixed in with all of this is my knowledge of our privilege. To have this choice. That is special too.
So I will celebrate it, while being aware of all of the above.
I will celebrate his love for gardening that they fostered.
I will celebrate his appreciation for nature that they encouraged.
I will celebrate his handiwork that fills my house with strands of four finger knitted.
I will celebrate his reading when he learns when he is ready, not the system.
I will celebrate his watercolors which returned home last week as magnificent sheets of merging colors.
I will celebrate his confidence in himself, and excitement to go to 1st grade next year because he knows school as fun and play.
My son may not have learned to read in Kindergarten, but he learned to knit on his four fingers and design a pillow he then sewed by hand.
And I will celebrate that. And his Leopard body pillow.
And I will do so knowing not everyone can or would make this choice. And we all every day make the choices afforded to us and our children thrive based on how we adapt and move ahead and celebrate those choices.
Happy Summer Emilio!