Monday, February 08, 2010

The transition from being a mom to preschoolers to being a mom of a kindergartener has been huge for me. There are so many things I had no idea I needed to know.

So far this year, David has had PE homework several times. Early last term he was sent home with a ball and we were told we had to play catch with him. Because we don't already do that. This term we got the skipping rope. The good news is Elisabeth is a great skipper. The bad news is David just doesn't care.

There are an awful lot of field trips, parties and parent participation days. It's a good thing I can't find a job.

Then there's the fact that David has only ever had girl friends his own age. Or boys who are Elisabeth's age. So he's not really used to rambunctious, loud, rough housing boys. They scare him. Every day (unless it's pouring), David's class walks laps around the school. And unless I'm there to walk too, David has a tendency to panic. I finally figured out that it's because the other boys want him to play with them so they surround him and cajole him. The funny thing is, they do it because they like him. But it freaks him out. Luckily the girls in his class LOVE David, so I just make sure he has a girl to protect him and he's fine. Meanwhile we'll work on playdates with the boys so he can get used to rough housing on a more low key basis.

This term we also had to learn how to read. Us. The parents. This involved a morning workshop where we had a combo of teaching, practice and crafts to help us learn to read. Now we have a three part reading program through the school: weekly library books, daily books to be read to the kids and daily books the kids read to us. SO MUCH HOMEWORK! Especially since we've always read to our kids. Andrew started bed time stories when David was four months old and he has consistently done 3 books a night with the kids. Last fall he started reading chapter books (They've read the Three Muskateers, Moonfleet and they're working on Robin Hood). Elisabeth has chosen Noddy for her chapter book and they usually do some picture books too.

So I'm a bit leery of books that are chosen for us. Especially since last term the books being sent home (to expand our children's vocabulary) were very...spanish.

Anyway, after the workshop we had, I wasn't sure I liked the way they wanted us to read with our kids. We're basically teaching them to memorise a simple and repetitive book, which they then have to 'read' back to a parent volunteer the next day. We're not encouraged to do phonetics yet except when practicing writing. This is about tracking and teaching them that the words and the pictures on the page are related.

Tonight David and I sat on the couch and read his book through twice. Elisabeth sat on the couch with us. When David was done, she grabbed the book and said, "I want to read it!" and she read the book perfectly - even going so far as to track each word perfectly. Wow.

She closed the book and said, "I guess I'm ready for kindergarten, hunh mama?"

I guess so.