Friday, July 30, 2010

More Kindergarten Angst

Just what you wanted to hear, right? LOL I'm trying to be calm about it, I really am. But they give us (two engineers!) these forms and instructions that are... insufficient, and I get stressed!

For example, we tried to be prepared and get the school supplies in advance, based on the list I was given when we registered. Simple enough, right? Maybe not. Some examples - Item: 5 glue sticks. Okay, what size? They had 3 different sizes. I assume they mean the size I grew up with, but they didn't say. 5 little ones, 5 big honking ones? Are the "goes on purple, dries clear" ones okay or not? Specify please. (They did give a length on the scissors, which helped me so much!) Item: 2 erasers. Okay, what type? Cap erasers for his pencils? The clicky stick eraser that my husband likes? Classic pink erasers? Again, these are all different styles and types that serve different purposes. What is it he needs? If it truly doesn't matter, then say "any type," or something like that. This next item, in particular, caused me so much angst that we didn't even buy one while at the store: pencil box. Well, what does it need to hold? Just the pencils? Just the primary stuff, like pencils, crayons, glue sticks, and scissors? Or do those items go somewhere else? If it needs to hold everything on his supply list (all of the above, plus markers, glue bottles, all of the extra crayons and pencils, etc), then it will need to be the size of a small suitcase. I'm not asking for dimensions or a specific brand/type, just an idea of what the pencil box is supposed to hold, because there are a lot of different sizes out there. I decided to wait and ask his teacher at open house.

Then there is the "Kindergarten Readiness Checklist." This is something we are supposed to fill out to give his teacher an idea of where each child stands on things. Some are pretty easy: "Recognizes first/last name in print" (yes) or "Reads simple books" (no). You are supposed to respond with Exposed, In Progress, or Achieved. (So actually, those answers should be Achieved and Exposed, respectively.) I try to be completely honest on these types of things. Like any child, Luke is better at some things than others, and if you are bothering to give me this assessment, I figure you want it to be accurate. But what about some of the other items? "Able to sit and listen with interested to stories for 10 minutes." Well, it depends on the day and the story! Does the story interest him? Is he hungry? Has he been (more or less) sitting still for quite a while already? It all depends. So is that achieved or in progress? "Sequences a series of three picture cards." I have no idea. He's never been asked to do that! I also don't really know what type of picture cards you mean. I could make some assumptions, but I'd really rather not. So I guess I should answer with the lowest level of achievement, but I can't really say "Exposed" since we've never tried it. Do I just leave it blank? "Willingly cleans up own area after play or activity." Um, exactly how many 5-year-olds always do that willingly? Heck, I don't "willingly" clean up my own mess; more like grudgingly! That seems more of a personality type thing than an achievement. "Accepts rules and authority." You're kidding, right? Has any young child (or teenager!!) actually fully "achieved" that? If so, I want to know what their parents are doing differently!

I don't want to make him look like an idiot or a problem child, but I am trying to answer the questions as precisely as possible. I also think "rarely, sometimes, usually" (or something along those lines) would be a better scale than exposed, in progress, achieved. This is why you don't give this kind of thing to an engineer without more precise instructions or a better scale. It stresses us out!! And all I could think the whole time I was staring at and fussing about this is that *surely* most other parents don't get this uptight about a simple form and supply list. I could also imagine the teacher just rolling her eyes at me (hopefully behind my back) when I ask about what size the pencil box needs to be. I even mentioned on Twitter that I wondered if teachers preferred uninvolved to anal. I don't want to be "that mom," you know? (My teacher friends assured me anal was preferred. Thanks, y'all!) And the worst part is, he hasn't actually even *started* Kindergarten yet. ::sigh::

Are we there yet?

Currently feeling: frustrated

1 comment:

  1. Oh honey, I think you're overthinking it a bit there.

    Although I do totally understand what you're saying.

    Luckily for us, the school provides the stationery and we just pay for it so all the kids get the same stuff and we know it's what the teachers want.

    I am so impressed and amazed with the way you handled sending him off on the bus. I couldn't do that with Marcus. I couldn't be sure he'd remember to get off in the right place (are they shared buses or just for a single school?) and I know he would never remember everything he was supposed to bring home at the end of the day. When I go and pick him up I have to do a possessions/homework check each day to check.

    You'll survive. All parents do. But that doesn't take away the stress at the time.



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