Sunday, October 6, 2013

Why I Hate Kindergarten

When I went to Kindergarten, it was a half day.  I loved it.  I made some good friends (including one that is still among my closest friends), played kitchen, enjoyed some educational toys, and did lots of art projects.  We had a snack and a short naptime.  I learned how to tie my shoes, what my address and phone number were, and did some basic math and reading.  I don't think I was reading books or anything, but I'm sure we practiced a lot of words and things like that.  We made a city out of junk (it was awesome!), we performed a real play for graduation, and fought over favorite storytime books on library day.  I loved everything about Kindergarten, except maybe that it was only half a day.  That said, I loved my bus ride home with a handful of kids from my class, loved lunch at home with my mom, and loved having the rest of the day to spend with her.

I don't remember having much homework, aside from maybe bringing in some project supplies, or maybe a worksheet or something once in a while.  It certainly wasn't a regular thing.  Jacob, on the other hand...there's quite a bit.  Now, our situation wasn't helped by our trip to Florida.  We had a boatload of work to do while we were gone to keep him up on the things he was missing.  We had to do something every single day while we were gone in order to have a chance at keeping up, and we still didn't get it all done.  The work we had to finish up set us back for the entire time we've been back.  We've been in constant catch-up mode, because every day we have another worksheet or another project to do. 

Additionally, Jacob isn't helping matters.  We had a big project sent home last week because Jacob had two days to do it and hardly got anything done.  We've been struggling to get him to sit down and do it.  Today I managed to use a kitchen timer to get him to sit down for five or ten minutes at a time and crank through some coloring, but we have a bunch of cutting and pasting to do as soon as possible.  He hates every minute of it, though sometimes he'll get caught up in it until something throws him off.  The other day he was working on one worksheet and I stepped away for a couple minutes.  When I came back, he'd started on another one and had done it amazingly well.  He's so smart, but the concentration isn't there.  He'd rather be off playing than doing work, and it's like pulling teeth to get him to do it. 

There hasn't been a lot of information coming home specifically relating to the homework, so we don't really know due dates, or in some cases full instructions.  We're doing what we can, but it still may not be enough.  It's clear that Jacob is not your average student--he's smart, but his focus is debatable.  Hopefully his teacher knows that we're trying.  But we only have so many hours with him in any given day, and spending a third of that trying to get him to sit down and then to actually do it, really stinks.  We don't want to spend that time arguing, for sure.  I know we have to invest in his education, but with a kid like this, it's hard.  I'd love to do educational stuff with a kid who's really into it, but he sees through everything and knows when we're trying to sneak in some learning. 

When you're used to daycare where you get a sheet home each day reporting on his day, the lack of behavioral information coming home from Kindergarten is a tough switch.  The good news is that his teacher's behavioral system is color-coded, so we can get a general idea of his day based on his color for the day.  But beyond that, we've had a couple phone conversations about his quirks and the rest is pretty much a mystery.  In addition, we've got the afterschool element, as well, and there's very little information coming from there.  We know he really doesn't like it there, which is hard because we don't have a lot of options.  Long story short...even though he he's been used to a long day away from home, the additional structure, reduced play, and lack of friends have made Kindergarten a tough transition.   

I loved school for a long time and even when I hated homework I still appreciated the opportunity to learn new things.  One of my biggest fears as a parent was having a kid that didn't like to learn or to whom learning did not come easy.  I don't really know how to relate to that or to motivate him to like it, so it's a challenge.  Add in that he's not really a fan of spending time with me, and we've got a boatload of things against us as we're trying to get this work done.  And no matter how many times we explain that the sooner he does it the sooner he can play, or by putting it off he's wasting valuable play time before bed, nothing seems to get through to him.  So we sit there and struggle.  I'm pretty sure I hate homework more now than I did when it was my own.

Oh, and between the projects that we as parents have to do (collecting garbage for a project, working on a special shoebox for little books they're doing) and the crazy amount of notes about goings-on at the school, it's all pretty overwhelming.  I don't know how cut out I am for this school mom thing, but we're working on it.  It's new for both of us, so hopefully as the year goes on, things will get easier.  I hope.  But for now, I'm not really a fan...   

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