Day Writing by Heather Hamilton-Maude: Preschool
My dad asked if preschool was in full session in response to a photo I sent him of our three-year old arming his first cow. The more I think about it, the more I believe that yes, it sure is.
Both our kids have learned several things relevant to AI’ing cattle the last couple weeks: Liquid nitrogen is cold, when finished loading an AI gun, you tuck it in your shirt, arming sleeves make awesome balloons, reading freeze brands or ear tags correctly is important, and you always write down how you bred each cow/heifer.
But, it goes well beyond that. We stopped in a wet area to admire and catch tadpoles while moving the cows post-AI. They fought over would get to drive the side-by-side through each gate. Our boy can hold quite a conversation on the current farming situation on our place. When a fat steer got out in the wheat field, our two-year old girl immediately yelled we needed a horsey, and that he was, “over there!”
I get asked fairly regular about enrolling my kids in literal preschool, or daycare, or something. I have been told by multiple sources that my three-year old sure isn’t speaking at a kindergarten level. That school has changed, and kids need to be prepared. It’s not like it was back when we were kids, when you might be able to get by without some form of pre-kindergarten formal education. Like I did.
You can even have a government funded person come into your home and provide educational lessons to your children, as well as observations on your family. Because nothing says, “Big Brother,” like having someone with the government begin the educational process with your child asap after birth, and provide insight on how your family should function within your own home.
I am not anti-preschool or anti-daycare. I am anti-one-size-fits-all-education, which does extend to having a lot of doubts with the current public-school system. I am even more anti-you-are-messing-up-your-kids-by-not-pushing-education-on-them-as-toddlers.
There is nothing wrong with letting kids be little kids for the short time it will last. With learning numbers via freeze brands on black cattle, or letters via reading seed bags to dad while filling a drill. More kids should know to go find basic tools when something is broken, and what those tools are, instead of having to call someone. Kids should experience growing food, and learn how to work with technology not found on an entertainment app or video game.
They should have the opportunity to work with animals, fix fence, change oil, learn noxious weeds, and count hay bales.
There is more to be learned running a pencil and calculator for dad as he does break evens while driving down the road than some college courses will eventually offer their minds. The ability to speak with people, look them in the eye, shake their hand, and actually listen to a conversation is an irreplaceable skillset. Being around adults more than other kids isn’t all bad.
I don’t care that my three-year old doesn’t speak at a five-year old level. I’m not inviting a complete stranger into my home to tell me that a family that works together, prays together and learns together needs to do things differently based on a booklet they were told to follow.
We are far from perfect. But, we are also far from doing a disserve to our children in the area of early education. It is preschool year-round here, and we all love the lessons it teaches us.