I was so proud of myself for figuring out a school schedule for doing preschool with Joy this year - I felt like a real homeschooling mom, with a schedule on the refrigerator and everything.
Until we started this morning, and I realized that I did not take into account my child's devouring interest in all things school related. She tore through the planned materials in less than half the time I had anticipated, leading me to sprint upstairs and dig out Thursday's workbook for her to do as well. Not only is she doing more books each day than I had expected, she is going to end up going through them in a shorter amount of time than I had expected, which means I am already ordering more workbooks for her, and looking at the very real possibility that we'll be finished in what I thought was a half-year's curriculum in two months.
Yay! And also: what have I gotten myself into?
I am so very much not a natural teacher. I know preschool workbooks and curriculum aren't necessary for this age, but I am terrible at trying to come up with fun ways to teach these basic pre-kindergarten skills. So the curriculum saves me from frustrations and headaches, and gives my girls a great way to learn. Having a kid this smart already, pushing me beyond what I was expecting (and I'm her mother, so you know I obviously think Joy's a genius) (Grace is a genius too, only hers is more the creative kind, not so much the academic kind. Also, I think she's a musical prodigy, because she already has an opera singer's range - just ask anyone who's ever listened to her cry), is both exciting and kind of freaking me out.
You want to give your kid the best of everything. You want them to have every opportunity to reach their fullest potential. You don't want to push them, or place your goals on them, but you do not want to see them fall short because of your failures.
And so, having a child who is already so academically inclined is a little scary. What if I don't give her the right materials, and end up having her hate school because I didn't teach her properly? What if I push too hard and she gets frustrated? What if I don't push hard enough and she gets bored and loses interest? What if I start assuming she's headed for greatness, but this is really fairly common? What if she is uncommonly gifted, and I miss it because I don't want to be one of those mothers?
And so I tentatively advance one half step at a time, holding my breath at every moment, hoping I'm doing the right thing.
And here I thought the baby stage was hard.