Well...it finally needed to be discussed. The "K" word. My son has been going to kindergarten for 4 weeks now and I gotta be honest with you, the transition has been tough.
I'm going to break it down into 3 categories: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Let's start with the good:
He wasn't worried at all about starting kindergarten. He happily went to check out the school and meet his new teacher. He's practiced all summer and can do a pretty good job reading and basic addition/subtraction. He got on the bus the first day without a worry.....
There are 2 kindergarten classes. Our teacher has recess twice a week. This has become my son's favorite part of school. According to him, there just isn't enough playing and there is entirely too much sitting.
The other kindergarten teacher does not allow recess at all. She said she believes they need to spend the entire time teaching. They have only a short time at school and she wants them to focus. I used to agree with her 100%, until I had a son. I'm forever glad that I read Bringing Up Boys because I never knew how important being physical was to them. No recess or phys ed has been horrible for boys.
In fact, the boys in my sons class are out of control and are constantly disciplined. Luckily, my son is really great at listening and sitting patiently. Though he may not enjoy it, he's capable of it and has yet to be disciplined for behavior.
I'm feeling super blessed that he was randomly assigned to the pro-recess teacher.
And that's where the good ends. Let's dive into the bad:
It was so sad to see his little face on the bus driving off to do who knows what until the bus drops him back home. I tried not to cry and focused on spending one-on-one time with my daughter.
When he got home from school, he threw himself on the ground outside. He was starving. And this became our first issue. Our school is a snack-free school. The principal made the decision because of the risk of foods from meth houses? Really? Okay, rolling with it. The next day I snuck a snack into his backpack and told him if he got into trouble it was fine with me.
He got into trouble and after discussions with the teacher, we were back to a snack-free existence. We modified our schedule so he ate breakfast 4 minutes before the bus came and I had lunch on the table when he arrived home. This seemed to help. Phew. But then again there is that lull between 6am (when he wakes up!) and 8am when the bus comes.
Now the ugly:
We had to institute a bribery system. He is now required to be cheerful at school and come home in a cheery disposition. If he is cheery each day, he can buy something at the dollar store at the end of the week, or go visit animals at the shelter, or something else he enjoys. So far so good, but do we really have to have a bribe? Unfortunately, yes.
The school sends home at least 30 sheets of paper with forms and fundraisers and other stuff each week. Holy paper overload! I have to read and not lose most of this stuff. Not liking it.
Each day, after showing a cheery face, he complains to me about how much he hates school. Each morning his "tummy hurts" and he just can't imagine going to school again. He says school is boring. There's not enough playing. He's hungry.
This is what he said to me today, "my girl cousins don't have to go to school, why can't I have school at home like they do?" Oh wow. How do you explain that I'm just not as good of a teacher as their mom. That we don't mesh well together as teacher/student, that he needs to have the socializing at school, and that I just need him to make some real effort.
It doesn't seem like the students are learning a whole lot at school, but that's why I teach my kids at home. Our teacher has 24 students and no teachers aides. When I imagine this plus all the stir crazy boys, the kids who miss their parents and cry, bathroom breaks, and everything else, I don't know how the teacher can be expected to do anything.
Yet they need to be good readers by 1st grade. I really hate sending my son there. And just so you know, we have a really good school system. A big part of why we moved was to be in these schools. Our school is good, it just seems like such a zoo! And I hate fighting with my son over why he has to go. I just want him to enjoy it. To make some friends and play. To learn whatever there is to learn in kindergarten and focus on the basics with me at home.
Here's hoping it gets easier....