That’s it, we are redoing 2020! Yes, I know that sounds crazy; who in their right mind would want to repeat this past year?
But a redo is exactly what’s in order for our family.
We currently have a just-turned-5 preschooler and we’ve decided to repeat the 2020 school year. Instead of moving onto kindergarten with her class, she will be repeating another year of preschool. This year has been hard for her beyond measure (let’s be honest, it’s been hard for all of us). However, it’s been an extra dose of rough on my little one.
You see, at the beginning of May my mother, who lived with us, passed away. She was extremely close with my daughter so the next six months were kind of a blur of grief for us. We managed to put one foot in front of the other but we were basically stuck for months in kind of a daze. So when it came time for kindergarten prep, well, she didn’t have it in her, and I certainly didn’t have it in me to push her.
So instead of getting overwhelmed after our last parent/teacher conference, we decided to take a step back and just breathe. After a long chat with her teacher, we made the easy decision to have her repeat preschool next year. Between Covid shutdowns, quarantines, grief, and an ADHD diagnosis, she has missed so much school that repeating a year will barely feel like much of a repeat.
I won’t lie, I was worried at first.
What if she’s taller than all the kids in her class? What if all her friends move on and she doesn’t? What if she’s bored repeating preschool? What if people think I failed my child? But after a couple restless nights of “what if’s” and a long talk with my husband, we concluded that another year for her to grow, not just academically but socially and emotionally, would be exactly what she needed and the heck with what other people thought.
We all need a reboot – a year to recalibrate and that’s exactly what we are going to do. For most of the year, I felt powerless to do anything to change our circumstances. I tried to keep our boat from sinking as we were hit with wave after wave of hard blows and that’s about all we could muster. And you know what? We survived! We made it to shore and we are better sailors because of it. But we didn’t thrive like we should have. We are worn and weak and we need a respite.
The fast pace of all-day kindergarten just isn’t appealing to any of us right now and in reality, she just isn’t ready to move up a grade. Emotionally, she’s just now healing. She’s starting therapy and working through her anxiety and taking steps towards rocking her ADHD diagnosis, but she’s still a little unsteady. She has been handling these big changes and these big emotions like a champ, but the ABCs and the 123s haven’t all landed yet. And that’s ok.
This year, she has learned some much bigger lessons. She learned how strong she was when she lost her best friend. She learned how brave she was when she set out on her own the first day of school. She learned how tough her mom was when it came to loving her family and she learned how dependable her Dad was when it came to keeping us all together. So guess what, now she gets to relax and enjoy school and work on the little lessons that she hasn’t mastered just yet.
This redo will mean she actually gets a full year of classes next year before she starts kindergarten. She will get to make friends and maybe even have play dates and field trips. Other kids and joy and laughter can fill this year – can you imagine!? She can have the somewhat “normal” preschool experience this go-round instead of the 2020 struggle. If you have a chance to reclaim this last year, I say take it. Maybe that doesn’t look like repeating this past school year for your children, but it could look like letting the stress of 2020 disappear. No longer worrying about what they didn’t learn during virtual learning or what grade they got on their finals for the year and letting them catch up at their own speed next year.
Whatever the case may be, do what’s right for your family and know that better times are on the horizon for all of us. For our family, we are looking forward to rhyming words and silly songs about goldfish, making friends and coming up for air together, and enjoying this next year to the fullest.