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Julia Sims: My year in kindergarten

Posted May 13, 2014

Julia Sims with son Will

Wow! It seems like just yesterday I was walking home, wiping away the tears, after dropping off Will on his first day of kindergarten. Now, we're in the homestretch!

Will has done great. He can read, write, add and subtract. His teacher says he's right on track. (Mike and I though both secretly know he's brilliant!) Will has adapted well to the transition into elementary school. Whew! We thought we'd hit a home run .... little did we know.

See, Mike and I have struggled through kindergarten. On the grading scale of 1 to 4, we hover somewhere between 1 and 2. Stressful? Yes. Chaotic? Oh, definitely!

Who knew there was so much to do?

Colors
There were certain days assigned to specific colors. I thought I had it down. Until one day, Will insisted they had to wear yellow. Well, I just knew it was green. Off he went to school in green. When, we got there, everyone was wearing yellow. Oh, the anguish!

Assignments
So many of my friends talked about the homework their children had. I sympathized, but secretly thought "Oh, we're so lucky! No homework for us!" Then, my husband, Mike, pointed out the monthly homework assignment sheet in the back of Will's notebook. He noticed it in November! We missed two whole months.

Lunches
The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. I grew up with little variety in my lunchbox. Same with Will. We went months surviving on peanut butter and jelly. I'm not creative when it comes to culinary skills. No cute little roll ups speared with toothpicks in my son's lunchbox! No fancy bento box. Oh yeah, and I still haven't figured out how to keep his various water bottles from leaking. He never fails to come home with a soggy lunchbox that's leaked into his back pack and ruined all his papers. He always gives me that look.

Emails
At the beginning of the year, you feel invincible! You know you're going to be Super Mom! You sign up for everything. Then, you start getting inundated with emails. You can't keep up. Your husband says he's unsubscribing to said emails. Suddenly, you're alone with hundreds of emails asking for volunteers! Asking for money! Reminding you of teacher appreciation day (the night before)! Finally, you give in and just start deleting all the emails without reading them. (Sorry everyone!)

More Assignments
The first half of the year, we didn't miss a beat. We were creative! We were clever! Fast forward to January, the wheels fell off the bus. Life got crazy. I started forgetting "Mystery Bag Wednesday" until Thursday. One day, we got to school and realized we'd forgotten that day's assignment (bring in a stuffed animal). My husband was out of town, I was late for work. I panicked. But, I ran home, searched the house, found the animal, ran back, ran down the hall, stood in the hallway and did my best Joe Theismann and threw a perfect toss to Will in the classroom. I was drenched with sweat and overcome with stress. Then, I exhaled.

So, now it's May. And while Mike and I are a bit wiped out from our year in kindergarten, we're optimistic we will one day get the hang of this.

And for you new moms ... if you think high school or college or graduate school was hard, you haven't been to kindergarten in awhile.

Julia is a reporter for WRAL-TV and the mother of a kindergartner. She writes monthly for Go Ask Mom.

8 Comments

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  • Martha Matthews May 15, 2014
    user avatar

    When I was in kindergarten back a number of decades, the biggest chore was getting all of us to settle down for naps. No homework. No learning reading and writing. Those landmarks were kept for the "upperclassmen" - 1st and 2nd grades. IMHO we are putting too much on our kids these days and robbing them of the few precious years of just being children and learning the basics of going from toddlers to pre-scholars. Kindergarten was used to teach us how to socialize. But then, we didn't have pre-school in those years either. I can't say which system is better, but I really do think homework at that age may be a bit too much too soon.

  • emaleth May 14, 2014

    I really disliked the fact that kindergarteners have HOMEWORK. I just don't think they are developmentally ready for it. We spent most of the year arguing with our son, trying to get him to sit down and do homework. He hated it and so did we. I really don't see why a kid that young NEEDS homework. However... we are now resigned to it and will be doing it all over again next year with little brother.

  • Katie Falls May 14, 2014
    user avatar

    Everyone...all that you do will come back to you in spades. This Mother's day, by children called and said they wanted to cook for me (they are 25 and 27 now). I thought it was odd but ok...
    Go back to when they were in elementry school...I would make them chicken ceasar salads every day for their lunch. I got up in the morning and threw a couple of chicken breasts in the oven, went back upstairs and finished getting us all ready for school. I would come back down, take the chicken out of the oven. Cut it up, throw some bagged salad in a container, add the chicken. Fill little tupperware containers with dressing and off to school they went.
    Teachers thought I was crazy, but thought the salads looked delicious and were healthy.
    Mother's day by kids come over with Chicken and bagged salad and said thanks for all you did Mom. I cried...they remembered. It is the little things they remember.

  • babbleon May 14, 2014

    This is pretty close to our experience. We missed some of the color days and a week or two of homework, but it's been pretty good.

    For lunch, our son likes lunchmeat, as long as it has plenty of mustard, and chicken wraps. They take a little extra time to pan-fry the chicken strips, but I bet you could use the pre-cooked ones. Also, most lunch meat freezes well, so you can slide half a pack into the freezer for next week.

    NCmom - wow, you are brave.
    NativeNCGirl: Don't fear it. Just plan to spend 30 minutes the night before figuring out what's needed the next week or day and setting it up. That includes getting the homework done - it's supposed to be 10 - 20 minutes a week or so.

  • nativeNCgrl May 14, 2014

    Wow... I have a 3 year old and another on the way. I have one more year before kindergarten, but I'm already dreading it. I'm hoping that a small school out in the country doesn't require so very much craziness (seriously, color days??) But thanks for the head's up on some things to anticipate!

  • NCMom1 May 14, 2014

    That could have been my year last year too except I added PTA officer to the mix....what was I thinking :-)

    Wait until 1st grade...it gets even better :-)

  • James Grimes Jr. May 14, 2014
    user avatar

    Hysterical.

  • moo May 14, 2014

    I laughed my way through this entire post...commiserating as I went!! The last line is SO TRUE!!! For those who haven't done their research and/or been in a kindergarten class in awhile, they are in for a shock. The kids are expected to know so much already and they do so much right from the start.