The first year Ian and Alec were home from Haiti, I was often asked in Chile if they would be attending "jardin" (daycare/pre-school.) The second year home, the questions were more frequent and I did feel some pressure to seriously consider it. After all, it was only a few hours each morning and our other children had done well and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Also, I'd be lying if the thought of a few quiet hours each morning didn't sound lovely in the wake of two toddler tornadoes most days! :)
|all smiles as we get ready to leave for school|
However, Pedro and I felt strongly that Ian and Alec needed that extra time with just us to cement the relationship of "family" and we thought it right that they should spend the same amount of time with us (two years) that they had spent without us (two years) prior to sending them off to school.
|the new backpacks were a huge hit with Ian and Alec|
Looking back we are still confident in that decision and now that the time has come to "let go" we are excited and comfortable doing so, even though seeing the boys with their new "pack-packs" (as Ian calls them) and seemingly so grown up is bittersweet. They were more than ready, though, and we can only share and enjoy their enthusiasm!
|this was the scene when cousin Kendra arrived on the scene|
A tremendous blessing God has given us this year is the opportunity to send Ian and Alec to a small Christian pre-school just ten minutes from home. Because we are in full-time ministry, we receive a tuition break that makes this feasible and we are SO grateful. The icing on the cake is that my sister and her family are also in the area on furlough ministry, and so the boys get to go to school with their cousin Kendra! The three of them are truly hilarious together, as Kendra is very outgoing and the boys tend to flit around to her bidding. This can be good or bad, obviously, but it is almost always entertaining. :)
|this precocious trio of cousins will likely keep the teachers on their toes|
I am very impressed by the quality of the teachers, facilities and curriculum. I try not to make mental comparisons with Chile, but the glaringly obvious difference is that instead of having to spend mounds of money on a three-page single-spaced "utiles" (supply) list for the school we were only asked for a handful of items and the school provides all the rest. Hallelujah! (I digress, but walking through stores in the USA with their amazingly cheap prices on school supplies makes me want to weep when I remember what the beginning of the school year is like in Chile and the outrageous prices we have to pay. American parents - you are SO blessed!)
|finding their names on the correct banana for their monkeys|
The morning of the first day of pre-school, I gathered all my children and informed them that they were no longer allowed to grow up. Preparing my babies for pre-school brought back a flood of memories of young Eva and Isabel attending their two- and three-day a week classes at pre-school in Marlette, Michigan and later pre-kinder and kinder in Texas ... of sending Owen off with cousin Micah (before he even turned three! gasp!) to "jardin" in Santiago ... and then seeing him all dressed up in uniform for pre-kindergarten in Iquique. Time is flying by too fast, so I told the kids to close their eyes while I waved my magic wand and turned them all back to bottles and diapers (yes, I may be certifiable.)
|settling into their cubbies and class routines|
But as much as I hate to see my babies grow up, I rejoice in their health and strength and the life God has so lovingly and generously given to them and us. Each day is a gift and I hope Ian and Alec enjoy every single minute of this special semester. They deserve it. All too often with homeschooling the older siblings this year it seemed they were sent off to play or look at books or watch a movie (anything to keep them quiet and busy!) Yet now they have a time and place all of their own for growth and learning, and I look forward to how God is going to shape their hearts and minds through His Word and the wonderful teaching they receive.
|seated and ready for action|
Ian and Alec, you are precious gifts from God. May pre-school be full of fun and laughter and learning and sweet memories for you both. Mommy is very proud of you and your family loves you!