Archives for category: Kindergarten

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August 1st, 2018. First day of kindergarten for Boy, first day of 3rd grade for Girl. Bonus surprised grown-up in the background. Why didn’t I use a different photo? Three guesses. The camera didn’t work? No. A stray Great Dane photo-bombed the photos? No. Boy? Yes. In the previous three shots, Boy had his tongue stuck out. Oh, well.

Now we’re into the second six weeks, and so far, school is a win for both kids: Girl said that she pays attention in class this year because she is learning new things (in opposition to last year, when she was largely not learning new things), and Boy is nearly always the first to get in the truck to go to school and is always excited to go. He’s learning things like the green song, the pink song, the orange song, the blue song, the yellow song (do you sense a trend? There are more, but you get the picture!), and how to sky write (which is writing numbers and letters in the air with your pointer finger).

Today I ate lunch with him at school, and when he looked up and saw me (he didn’t know I was coming), he radiated happiness. It spilled over and seeped into me, and there was so much happiness that the whole school should have been singing.

I still feel the joy.

And even this far into the school year, so do they. They’re in this school thing together, and I’m glad.

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School has started. In fact, school started so long ago that it doesn’t even seem new any longer: on 8/1, Girl returned to school, and Boy began kindergarten! He’s at the Big School, as he likes to say.

He’s been dabbling in reading for a long time. While Girl read her first book at four and a half and, as far as I can tell, never looked back** (or, more to the point, never looked back up), Boy has taken to it like a duck near the water, which is to say that he’s close enough to dip in a webbed foot but maybe he’ll just stay on the shore and eat some tasty bugs, thank you very much.

About two weeks ago, he read Leslie Patricelli’s No No Yes Yes by himself, sounds included – except for the two-page spread at the back, which he could figure out by pictures alone. Tonight, he read the first fifteen or so pages of Mo Willems I’m a Frog. He sounds out words and often plays around with the sounds until they morph into the words they are (like “know,” which is tricky, or other longer words) or the words he thinks they should be – he has a good sense of language, so he often “reads” the text as it might have been written by a different author. He could read words before school started, and school has only increased his interest in words. (He’s long been interested in writing, maybe because it’s a more physical activity?)

In between, he’s done well with Mercer Mayer’s Going to the Sea Park (he read “petting tank”) and Just Pick Us, Please!¬†(in which he read many descriptive words). We read those the same night this week, and when he sounded out or effortlessly read chunks of the book, I turned to him, amazed.

“Do you know what you are?”
“A reader!”
“And how does that make you feel?”
Lying on the bed next to me, Boy punched his two fists in the air. “Like shaking pompoms!” he exclaimed.

Goooooooooo, Boy! we feel like shouting, too. He is, indeed, becoming a reader!

* While I think it’s supposed to be pompons – it comes from the French, so I’ve read – this is how it came out, so that’s what I’m sticking with.
**That’s how you get to be one of the top 100 readers in the state!

October 6th, Tuesday. Boy had his first car ride (and out-of-the-house trip) in underwear. He stayed dry, which the car, the Piggly Wiggly, and I all appreciated. Woo hoo! Within two or three weeks, he had fully transitioned to underwear during the day. Celebration!

October 6th, Tuesday (same day). Boy had his first real experience throwing up. There was a lot of orange food involved: cooked carrots, raw carrots, goldfish – so as you can imagine, this was quite the first. Sadness.

This was also Girl’s full week of fall break, her first real break from kindergarten (excluding Labor Day). She, too, spent it sick. Pretty much the whole week, between them. We each had a turn. Not the most fun we’ve ever had.

November 13, Friday. Yes, that’s Friday the 13th. No, we wouldn’t have picked it that way. Today, the house that Boy and Girl have dubbed “The Bluestone House” finally became ours. Their very own home – it will be Girl’s fourth home of residence but only Boy’s second.

November 30, Monday. Girl first tried and subsequently succeeded at tying shoelaces. Hooray! (And did you know that one method involves making two loops, not one? And apparently, it’s easier??) At school, beginning on December 1st, kindergarteners could get into the Jingle Bell Club. Once they showed their teacher that they could tie their shoes, they got to wear a jingle bell necklace every day at school for the rest of the month. Her entry into the club didn’t come until roughly two weeks later, but she’s now a confident shoe tie-er – not bad for someone who still has no shoes with laces.

December 9, Wednesday. Girl, Boy, and I all got haircuts. For Girl, it was her first time donating hair (two of the cutest little braids). She was delighted to have chin-length hair and never once thought she’d made the wrong choice. I donated mine, too (yea!). For Boy, it was his first not-at-home haircut. All the same, I think I’ll be cutting his again next time, which should really be today!

December 22, Tuesday. After going to the public library for an ornament-making craft, Girl got her first library card and checked out her first book: William & the Missing Masterpiece by Helen Hancocks. She was so proud of herself!

December 25, Friday (Christmas at the grandparents’ house). Boy was given his first pack of gum – Glee Gum, just like Girl got for Christmas when she was two – and chewed up a storm. Glee covered how he felt about it. (Sure, he swallowed a good bit, too…maybe we should call it “swallowing gum” instead of “chewing gum”!)

December 27, Sunday (our bonus Christmas at home). Girl received her own mug, “I (heart) Cupcakes!”, and was delighted. Sometimes, it’s the funny little things that are your own that become special.

January 2, Saturday. Girl read two books all by herself. I think she just holed up, snuggled in, and lost track of time. (What a great way to spend a day!) She read a Magic School Bus Chapter Book, Rocky Road Trip, and a Geronimo Stilton book, A Cheese-Colored Camper.

January 9, Saturday. Boy and Girl got to make pasta with their Auntie Lou. This was a first, and they enjoyed cranking the machine and helping to pull the pasta out. Family visit: yea!

After Matthew came home from a conference in Seattle (his return is always like a gift for the kids, whether it’s after a trip or just a morning at work), he unpacked his sack, Santa-style. (He should have laughed “ho-ho-ho,” too!) Among the goodies was a gift rolled in newspaper for Boy. He unrolled and unwrapped then said in high-pitched delight, “My very own mug!” His says “Seattle” and has one scene with a blue sky, clouds, and folks covered by umbrellas and another scene with a grey sky, clouds, and folks covered by umbrellas!

January 10, Sunday. Our first snow of the season that stuck. There was a little snow in December, the kind that decorates the air but not the ground, but this was enough to make a heavy powdered-sugar showing. Delight again! “I bet the house is wearing snow!” said Boy, upon seeing the snow on the ground, trees, and playset.

January 11, Monday. My first blog post in too long, my first reminder of the year of the many kinds of things that happen and pass all too quickly (or, in the case of stomach bugs, not quickly enough!) in the lives of small children.

Happy New Year, 2016!

The rules:

1. Be a good listener.

2. Follow directions quickly and quietly.

3. Raise your hand to speak or to get help.

4. Make smart choices.

5. Keep your teacher and your friends happy.

There are five. Those are they. I want to see the day when the rules also say something like this:

  1. Try something new (and positive) each day.
  2. Compliment someone else on something he or she has done well.
  3. Do something that will make you feel proud of yourself.
  4. Create something each day.

What else would you add?

It’s 10:11 a.m.

Girl started school at 8:00.

This has been a very, very long morning.

Girl is, according to the schedule, learning phonics. Every day. From 10:00 – 10:30. That should be easy since she already knows how to read.

What IS the point of education, really? Socialization? The ability to think creatively? Learning skills? Becoming a good citizen? Putting up with “learning” things you already know and learning patience? As a teacher, I didn’t spend much time thinking this matter through in the same way – of course, I wanted to be supportive, to get my students to think for themselves, to get them to be better and more critical readers and writers. I never saw it through the eyes of what someone else might hope for them, though. Being a parent changes a lot of things.

Here’s the school’s mission statement:

“The mission of ___, a caring and supportive center of learning excellence, is to assure that each student acquires the knowledge and life skills necessary for being an accountable, productive member of a democratic society.”

I’m not sure that that really sums up the whole of my goals for my child’s elementary education. I’d never suggest it’s a school’s job to do a parent’s job, but this seems to be leaving out whole areas of importance, like joy and creativity, cultural understanding and openness to new people and ideas, among other things, and the ability to think independently.

When Girl woke up this morning, she said, “I’m excited for my first day of school!” She paused, then added, “I’m nervous, too.”

After breakfast, and after peeing three times (she only ever pees once in the morning), she said, “My belly hurts.” I told her that sometimes, when we’re excited and nervous about something, we feel it in our bellies.

I hope that, as the day progresses, what she feels in her belly is more akin to excitement, some joy and creativity, and the thrill of new friendship.

It’s 10:21. Ten more minutes done.