Dishonor Band Mom
Figuring out the whole World

Ugh. This one's a downer.

This morning I tugged socks onto Sophia's unwilling feet. I pulled a shirt down over her head, a bit of a struggle as she refused to push back. I combed her hair and she raised tear-filled eyes to me. "PLEASE, Mom. I don't WANT to go today."

Preschool. She didn't want to go to preschool.

I made her go. I've let her stay home so often lately that I'm feeling cringe-y about it, and today I put my foot down and urged her, weeping, into the car. Her big issue is the worksheets. They start the day with these ridiculous, asinine worksheets (that aren't even developmentally appropriate for...well, for humans, but certainly not for FOUR YEAR OLDS), and Sophia hates them. If she doesn't finish them fast enough, there's no time for coloring, and coloring is her favorite part.

She started off the school year so enthusiastic about preschool. She even went to bed more willingly the night before a school day. When I picked her up, she chattered and chattered and chattered about the wonder of all things school.

But then, ever so slowly, that light started to dim. The work started to increase. There wasn't anything new to report, just the same things they'd done last week. She had friend issues. It got harder and harder to get up on school mornings until she began to get weepy many mornings before she even got out of bed. I tried talking to the teachers, but never felt like I got anywhere with them. Sample conversation:

"Sophia has been having some problems with MonsterChild."

"OH, NO! Sophia does FINE with the other kids! She's always playing with someone!"

"Yeeeessss. Okay. But apparently some of the girls she's playing with are saying mean things to her."

"No! She's GREAT! MonsterChild has older siblings, so she can come across a little harsh sometimes, but they like each other just fine!"

"Um. I...don't know how to respond to that. Sophia has older siblings, but she's not a jerk."

"NO! She's GREAT!"

"Huh. Am I supposed to say thank you now?"

Okay, I didn't say that last part in the outside the head voice. Nonetheless. The point is that things have been going downhill, and I haven't been able to work any of it out with the teachers. Last week I told them that Sophia was in tears nearly ever school morning over the worksheets, and they reassured me, loudly and repeatedly, that she was doing FINE on the worksheets, JUST FINE.

I know she's doing fine on the worksheets. I know what Sophia can do, and those worksheets are an inane waste of her time. The fact that she's capable of doing them is not the point. The point is that they're so boring that they make her itch with desperation to get away from them.

I have to figure out what to do. We're so close to the end of the school year, and the end of the year is usually so much fun. Parties, graduation, nonsense. I've been holding on, thinking she'd enjoy all that, but I'm beginning to wonder if it's worth it. I don't want her to feel like she failed at preschool. Then again, I don't want to go along with the teachers, as though they haven't failed her. The whole thing is complicated by the fact that I'm picking an entirely different school experience for Sophia, and so far I've really screwed it up. The fact is, I failed at choosing her preschool, and while the fault isn't entirely mine, that just sucks. I'm looking forward at all the other decisions to come, and I am awash in panicky dread. 




I don't comment often, but I've been reading you for a while. Honestly, it sounds like this school isn't right for her. Are there other options in your area? I'd hate for her to start associating 'failure' with 'school' since that can be a hard road to overcome.

Of course, take this with a boulder of salt as I have a 3yr old who, at this rate, won't even be welcome in pre school because all of the ones around us require the kids to be potty trained... and she's being stubborn on that front.


Give this a read. A friend of mine posted it on FB, and I shared it.

And you most certainly DID NOT fail at choosing a preschool. Worksheets have been driving us all crazy since the mimeograph was invented. And mean people are just part of life. (((Hugs)))


Oh, UGH. I hate worksheets with my whole heart.


(The first draft of the previous comment said we should go on a Thelma/Louise roadtrip this summer and blow up All The Schools, because I am SO exasperated about some junior high crud, but I am too peacenik-y to leave that comment.)


Ugh, a kid hating preschool is just WRONG and BAD. WHy would they even have any kind of worksheets in preschool anyway?! Blerg. I'm sorry you and Sophia are having a hard time.


I say this in the hope that it validates your concerns: (1) ask for what you want if you haven't already (e.g., cut out the worksheets for a while, take them home instead, limit time spent on them so there's enough time for coloring, etc.), (2) if the teachers still do not address the concerns then go to the director, (3) if the director does not address the concerns then find another school (or discuss it with Sophia with the understanding that if she wants to stay at the school then she will have to accept the worksheets and you will give her some words/examples of how to deal with MonsterChild). It's good for Sophia to see you stand up for her, and there's no reason for her to stick out the end of the year if it's making her miserable (other than that you need her to be in care, and there must be other options for that). Yes she will miss class parties etc. but there can be fun substitutes for those too, or perhaps you can even find another school that's a better fit. We went to a nice half-day program through a local church that had a focus on play rather than learning (because they knew that play IS learning for that age!) and often there were openings at the end of the year due to people moving etc. Good luck! And P.S. Stop beating yourself up. We all make the best decisions we can at the time, and that's what you need to do again now, taking into consideration what you know now. That might be staying, it might be switching. You know best for your child, even if it isn't always clear cut!


*removes stick from Kira's hand*
Stop beating yourself up Mama!You made the best choice based on the intel you had. Sometimes things change in the dynamics of the classroom over the course of the year. Not your fault. I would definitely tell them she can do the work sheets at home, or later in the day, or not at all if necessary. This year is about learning to love learning and GOING TO SCHOOL. Not how well she can fill out a worksheet.
I ended up speaking directly to a Monsterchild parent in one instance and it made a huge difference. I simply mentioned that her precious snowflake didn't seem to like my angel so much & what could we do about it? Maybe give that a whirl?
My kids have all definitely gone through phases of not wanting to attend school. Hopefully that is all you are facing here too.
Hang in there!

I haven't (Yes, you can hear me knocking on wood from there!) yet "left' a child behind yet... but my mother left me at a rival school after a basketball game. No money. No phone. Only a stalker boy from this other school. Stalker boy turned into my boyfriend, best friend, husband of 20+ years... so not all forgotten children stories have bad endings!


I agree with the others, preschool and kindergarten are not what they were even when my children went. No child left behind, now Common Core--Sophia will be the monkey they experiment on before deciding in 15 years to do something else "new." Put it off for as long as possible and get her out of there. The teachers have shown you their true colors and philosophy. I am super cynical, but you aren't going to change their minds. At that age I am surprised the children can even write or hold a pencil properly. And I am sorry you both are dealing with this!


I am sorry...please don't listen to me. You didn't ask for advice and there I poured it all over you with lots of personal opinion. You'll work it out. You have not failed at choosing preschool--if anything it has made some things clearer for you.


Actually GCM you're right. I'm just lucky enough to have my Sophia in a school that has been around for 30+ years with practically zero turn over in staff, so it remains largely unscathed by all the horrors you mentioned.
I left there yesterday & a mom complained that they had "too many parties". Well, what more engaging way to get four year olds to want to go to school?!?!! lol


I don't post often either, but I'm a teacher and I feel compelled. Please, go talk with the teachers and then the director if things don't change. Request a conference so your conversation can be uninterrupted. Her coloring time which she loves should not be restricted by work sheets. Worksheets? For four year olds? Please. No. Request a time limit on the blasted things if nothing else. Secondly, although your child may be seeming fine at school, things are not fine. Do they really want your child crying daily because of worksheets and monster child? More supervision and intervention with monster child's and your child's interactions is completely appropriate. Some kids don't report to us teachers, they only report to parents. If that's how your child is right now, make the adults listen to you.
Finally, if you can find a better place, don't worry. They have end of the year parties and field trips too. Sophia won't be missing out if she changes school.
I hate that this is happening to you.


One other thing. Sophia is not failing at preschool.
Her preschool is failing at Sophia. They should be getting "A+ 100" at Sophia.

My very first students were always jones isn't for an "A+ 100" for some reason. I guess they learned it in Kindergarten...


I have dim memories of pre-school (of course, I am so old you didn't have graduation until Jr. High) ... but still, will Sofia really, really remember the end of year?

(I don't have kids, I'm not a parent - and so I am unqualified to to weigh in with any wisdom on this discussion) however, I say, "Let her stop going, find a different option for next year & move on."

But everyone above is 100% right. This is not a failure of you - and it's not a failure of Sophia.

Hang in there - look how awesome you boys are - it's clear you know how to do this child-raising thing!


First things first: you did not fail at picking a preschool. You have succeeded in determining what kind of environment doesn't work for Sophia (and you).

Second - no one knows better than you that there are all kinds of options when it comes to choosing your child's learning experience. Just keep looking; you'll find one that fits. And Sophia will learn that Mama's got her back.


I failed at picking my first preschool too. It STUNK.

But also? Every single March my kids HATE whatever they are doing for school. They hate homeschooling right now, they hated kindergarten/ preschool last March, and when they were 3 and going to their very first preschool (the one I failed at as well) they hated it too. Is it possible she just is burned out? Every spring we limp to the finish line.


When my younger son was 4, he had worksheet issues in preschool too. He had and still has horrid handwriting, and hated the worksheets and the coloring too. When I found out that they were keeping him in from playing outside to finish worksheets, I had a talk with the teachers. I told them that he needed to be outside with the other kids and to just send home the worksheets. I don't know that the teachers were happy with it, but my son was happier. So, I would try telling them that you want her to have x reasonable amount of coloring time. I've been told coloring is actually important in developing handwriting (maybe why my sons handwriting is so horrid - he always hated coloring). Good luck!

You didn't fail at picking the preschool - Sophia liked it a lot in the beginning.

Katie K.

You didn't fail. You tried something based on the information you had at the time and it didn't work out the way you'd hoped. Now that you know what she DOESN'T like, you can try to find something that is a better fit. I don't know that I would make her keep going until then, but that is just me.


This happened to me. I pulled my 4 year old out of her preschool at the beginning of March, after two months of trying to talk to the teachers and work with the administration and try to figure out why a 4 year old ACTING like a 4 year old was such a problem. There were personnel issues - the third teacher started in January (one teacher had been there since the beginning of the year, but this was the third secondary teacher in the classroom since August), and oddly enough, starting in January, my kid hated school. Stomach aches from stress. Tears. Begging not to go - but it was only a few months, I figured, and then she'll start at another school for kindergarten.
It deteriorated. She was miserable. I was miserable. The teachers were totally uncooperative. The administration tried to help, but the teachers only got defensive, and finally I pulled her out.
I had nowhere to send her, and spent a week off work with a babysitter watching her while I tried to find her a program that would not make her totally miserable. She just finished her second week there, and she loves it.
Anyway, my two cents: preschool is too young to hate school. I knew my kid, at least, would carry that attitude with her to.kindergarten if I didn't change things.
It was an ENORMOUS pain in the ass, but I am glad every day that I did it.


Worksheets are one of the reasons I pulled my son from his school 1/2 way through 4th grade, after 8 years at the school. It was the right thing to do and he is now a happy 7th grader. As a teacher of gifted kids - worksheets are wrong, wrong, wrong! Boring and wrong! Creativity killers and wrong!

Ok, I'm done.

The comments to this entry are closed.