Thursday, October 8, 2009

I am going to fail Kindergarten. Seriously.

I can't keep up. I never knew how much work being a Kindergarten parent could be. Pollito attends a public school that is one of the largest (well over 1000 kids in PreK-5) and also so-called "better" schools in the district. It has become clear to me that they assume that each child has a stay at home mom who LIVES to make sure her Kindergartener has and does everything he needs, wants, and his teacher deems essential, for Kindergarten success. Between the things I am explicitly told to do, send, bring, and be, and the things I am just supposed to KNOW I am failing miserably.

For example, they are learning independence (as is the theme of just about every early childhood education program I have ever encountered). In the mornings parents are supposed to walk children to their classroom but let them take off their jackets, empty their backpacks, hang up jackets and backpacks (in different places), put lunchbox and snacks away (also different places), return reading folder, library book, Tuesday folder, and poetry folder (ALL in different places) say a "quick goodbye" and then leave. If we help them with any of this we are politely reminded they need to learn to be INDEPENDENT. So in the spirit of supporting his independence I taught my child to walk by himself to his classroom in the mornings. (Yes, I am an overachiever!) Plus, he went to this school all of last year so he is familiar with the place. His classroom is not too far from the front door of the school where I can drop him off. He makes one left turn and then finds his classroom. We practiced for weeks and he wants to do this. If I drop him off I don't have to leave 3 kids in the car (a big no-no) or bring 3 other kids in with me when we drop him off. Last week I got an email telling me he is "too little" to walk to the classroom by himself. I should be walking with him. Huh?

So far in the past couple of weeks I have managed to NOT send his baby picture to school on time, FORGET to send the order for his school pictures (although I did remember it was picture day and dressed him appropriately), NOT replaced the extra set of clothes in his backpack after his latest peeing accident on the playground, NOT signed up for a parent conference on Columbus Day because I don't have childcare for all 4 children while I attend this 30 minute meeting in the middle of the day, and NOT signed up to volunteer in the classroom. I have also managed to NOT read him the poems in the poetry journal as instructed nor have I read the latest of his nightly books as sent home in his reading folder because I am sick and tired of bats, bugs, lizards, snakes, alligators, crocodiles, and monkeys which have been the subjects of he has brought home in that folder since school began 6 weeks ago. There has only been one exception--"My first 100 ASL signs" which of course he really wanted to sit through. Bless his heart he looked at the book and said "mom, we already know all of those since both C. and I have some basic ASL knowledge that we have tried to pass along. Talk about "gendered" reading lists (which I know because we accidently got a girl's folder last week and she had stories about families, people and ponies)! But of course, I haven't had time to address that with the teacher yet.

Monday he brought home a HUGE blank posterboard with a note saying he was the "Star" for the Week in mid-October and the poster has to be decorated to represent "all about" him. Those were the full instructions. There are also two SEPARATE sheets to fill out about our family (with questions like this: Tell us 5 things about your mom, 5 things about your dad, your favorite memory, best thing to do with your dad (for boys), etc.) Also during that week I am supposed to go to school and have lunch with him (at 10:49 a.m.), send him in with special snacks, and oh yeah, that weekend he gets to bring home the classroom stuffed animal (which has been in the classroom for at least 5 years, and most recently would have had stays at 7 or 8 other children's homes. How gross is that?) We are to take the stuffed animal everywhere with us and photograph it as it spends time with our family and then send the pictures in the following Monday. Did I mention that is the weekend Corazon's district gymnastics meet and we are there Friday night for set up, all day Saturday for mandatory "volunteering" and then again Sunday morning for more "volunteering" plus she competes Sunday evening? I may just take the thing to the gym and leave it there for the weekend.

On Tuesday, his "Tuesday folder" had no less than a dozen fliers about field trips, PTA dues, fundraising responsibilities, book order form, book FAIR expectations, talks by child development experts, math club, and the container of white frosting I have been assigned to sent to school for the Halloween celebration. Then there was the overdue notice from the library along with a stern note about how this was the last time he would be allowed to check out another book without returning the other. That would be fine with me.

As I checked my email yesterday morning there were all kinds of responses from parents about who was bringing juice boxes, pretzels, fruit snacks on Friday and at first thought it was related to that container of frosting memo but realized the dates were off. Suddenly it dawned on me that I forgot to download the teacher's class newsletter (it gets uploaded each Friday afternoon/evening). I went to the teacher's website. Lo and behold there it was! They are having a party this Friday as part of their study about "color." And it was a good thing I looked at that newsletter because today he was supposed to dress all in red and tomorrow he is suppose to dress entirely in his favorite color so he can share why he likes it so much. It's pink. (I have written about how some at the school has responded to having same-sex parents in their midst before so can you imagine what this will do to our reputation?)

Now I am off to cut out a pumpkin (thankfully they supplied the sketch so hopefully I can find it) onto fabric or felt or some other material so that when he gets home from school he can decorate it with "buttons, beads, feathers, glitter, etc." because it is due tomorrow. In all fairness they did send that notice home LAST week to give us plenty of time to do it.

So if you wonder what I am doing when I don't post for a few days......


ohchicken said...

you are making the case for homeschooling, friend.

Reighnie said...

Get to work young lady! hehe

Actually I recently heard/read somewhere about a teacher who had the parents read the same books (high school age) and turn in reports too!

Lisa said...

This sounds oh so familiar. I failed Kindergarten miserably. Thinking I took it to a whole new level. these people know how hard it is to get all of these things completed. Would love to see them run a day in my life. :)

Dia por Dia said...

I'm working, I'm working. 5 year old and glitter and pipe cleaners and glue! Fun times ahead!

Ohchicken...yes I am and may I remind everyone that I am a product of public schools, a certified teacher, a teacher educator focusing on urban schools, a public school supporter AND a reluctant homeschooling mom!

Torina said...

Screw that! Your school has ridiculous expectations for parental involvement. Kids need to have some time just to chill and do parents!

Christine said...

Yeah, and you'd whoop ass if you were working in a school that created such Kindergarten chaos. You'd have your boys reading books about PINK BUNNIES, baby.

That's just crazy.

Hartley said...

I abosolutely am in LOVE with the fact that his favorite color is pink--all three of my sons went through that as well. Imagine how crazy I looked when my oldest potty trained and ONLY wanted "pink" underwear. Hard to explain why I refused to buy him panties--but a mom has to draw the line somewhere. LOL

I hear you on the too much parental homework--I saw your kids' book reports and was in AWE. My 8 year old can barely read and write, so the idea that we have to do a book report (due the 26th) INCLUDING a freakin' pumpkin decorated with "yarn, paint, glitter, and accessories" to look like the main character is going to put me over the edge.

Deep Breath.

OK--good luck! We all need it.


Mama Drama Times Two said...

Holy Smokes Girl!!!! If that is what kindergarten is like I dont even want to know what they are expecting in 4th grade!!!! YIKES.

BT said...

This makes our granola-belt kindergarten program look like total slackers. We had all those STar of the Week and the week-long celebration of colour and all that, too, but the teachers did almost all of the work (e.g., for Star of the Week we just had to send in two photos and the teachers helped our sons make their posters). I don't see how you're supposed to fit all that into your after-school life. Would they ever know if you rebel? Read the books you have at home rather than the gender-stereotyped reading folder books? And more power to pink being his favourite colour. It's also our older son's favourite colour.

Dia por Dia said...

BT--I agree. Today he decided to wear orange instead of pink because it is his second favorite color and he KNEW lots of kids were going to wear pink! As for the books, yep, I just sign the thing and pass it back without reading them. We have so many other books here that he loves to have read to him that I just don't deal with it but it does annoy me that it isn't the case for so many other families.

BT said...

Amen on us and our luxurious ability to adapt and work around. Not all families have the resources to do so.

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