We've pulled Natalia out of her kindergarten starting in March and will be homeschooling/sending her to afternoon preparatory classes (for kids who will be in 1st grade in September) at Katya's school for the rest of the school year. I haven't quite figured out all the logistics, but it'll work.
I know, after the last post I did of her frog dance in the school play, it might seem a bit unexpected. It was for us, too. I think it makes sense, though, and Natalia is very happy with the decision.
What did it all come down to? A six-year-old needs friends. We think that proper social development is just as important -- or perhaps even more important -- than academic achievement when it come to our daughters' growth.
It never "came together" for Natalia at school this year. Her best friends had moved away last year (while she was in a British kindergarten for one year since she needed speech therapy), and she had to start from scratch in making new ones. While she played very well with all the kids this year, she never really made a friend. A REAL friend. One she would miss if she had to move away next week. One she would want to have over.
Last year she made such good friends... And she used to have such good friends in the Russian kindergarten when she was ages three and four... So she knows what it feels like when you have such relationships -- and also when you don't.
By attending these afternoon classes at Katya's school, she'll have the chance to learn all the material necessary for math and reading/writing (in Russian) WHILE ALSO forming friendships with a small group of kids who will be in her class next year. That way when she starts school in the fall, she'll be prepared both academically and socially.
She already has a very sweet American friend attending those afternoon classes; now they'll actually get to see each other! The other kids are very nice, too. She started going to the classes last week and LOVES them. She also loves being able to participate in some afternoon theater, art and music classes with the kids in her group and 1st & 2nd graders (including her sister).
All this means that she won't get to do her "Mary Did You Know?" dance in the school play, be in the school play at all, or be part of graduation (it's a HUGE deal in her Russian kindergarten-- a BIG ceremony in a grand theater)... But Natalia isn't even blinking an eye.
She wanted OUT.
She is thrilled to be mooving on.
Oh... And the extra little plus? We'll save almost $1,000 per month!