So here we are again six months later, having delayed my little girls entry to reception for one year - the question hangs in the balance - did we do the right thing?
The answer for us - is absolutely yes!
Amelia is thriving, loving being at home and enjoying time with her mama, daddy and most importantly her baby sister!
So was it easy? Being pregnant and having a new born and delaying entry to school was never going to be plain sailing but I think I can say we are doing a good job - in fact all of us parents are doing a great job regardless of whether we delay, defer or go straight to school with our summer born youngsters.
It is without doubt a massive decision and one, which will throw up a lot of questions from other parents, grandparents and family members.
So here is what has happened so far:
*We had a baby! This has been an exciting new adventure for us as a family and for Amelia she has become a big sister, I cannot stress enough the importance of her presence at home these last few months. The relationship between her and her baby sister has grown into the sweetest, most innocent and beautiful friendship. Baby Ivy adores her big sister and Amelia has learnt lots about being gentle, sharing and we have watched her grow up just a little in her new role of big sister!
*We still have our friends! And we have made new ones! Lots of people asked me if Amelia would miss out socially in this first year and I think it has been one of our busiest years so far. We still see our lovely friends who have started school and better still have made new ones. Most importantly we have also been able to enjoy lots of special time that we would not have had with grandparents, cousins and just together as our little family. Delaying or deferring doesn't mean social isolation, it means the opposite, a world of opportunity opens up - we wake up every morning and ask what are we going to do today?
*We play! It is sometimes tempting to "teach" my four year old, especially because I am a teacher, I try not to think about what she would be able to do at this stage in her school year because every child is different, instead I follow her lead. She can read, but only because she is ready and only when she wants to, there is no pressure and it is so nice to have seen her choose what she wants to do and learn at her own pace, always through play.
*We have lazy days! Sometimes we don't get dressed ;) We stay in our pyjamas (gasp) all day! We watch TV and movies and eat biscuits and it is okay. The world hasn't fallen in! Amelia is happy, we are happy! We are out a lot! Most days we have adventures, but some days, like today we are feeling lazy and we snuggle, put the fire on and chill! It is amazing!
*We go on adventures - you name it we have been there! The park! The zoo, swimming, classes, museums, London on the train, Devon, holidays during term time! We go to the library, the shops, get our nails done, we build dens in the garden, have picnics in the park, make snow angels, play sports, go to yoga classes, play hide and seek in the woods and walk the dog.
*IT IS OKAY TO BE BORED!!! Sometimes I run out of energy, I don't have unlimited energy and neither does she, we do A LOT but sometimes she has said those words a parent dreads "I am bored", and do you know what? That is okay too! Amelia is great at amusing herself and very imaginative, she plays with me, with others and by herself but sometimes she is bored, is it okay to be bored? Yep!
I think the biggest lesson I have learnt this year is no matter what you choose for your child it has to be right for you. Our lifestyle is so amazing for us but it wouldn't suit everyone! If you do choose to delay I have this advice for you - this is an extra year at home! Remember the reason why you delayed in the first place! Was it so your child would feel pressured? NO! Was it so that you could teach them the national curriculum from home? NO! Then don't! Do what you like! Have fun, build relationships and go with the flow. Childhood is short, children are only children for a short time enjoy them and let them enjoy you! Have an adventure everyday and if you aren't in the mood? Stay in your pyjamas!