Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Kindergarten: Then and Now

I'm going to start this post with a confession.

I feel like a kindergarten slacker.

Ben is five.  He loves to run and jump and yell and tear his jeans.  He's all boy, hates to sit still, and is always hungry.  He listens to me read stories while he hangs upside down from the couch cushions.  He is learning to read like a champ and can count to 20 and beyond.  

But at least once or twice a week,  I forget about kindergarten.  

Six years ago, when Gavin was in kindergarten, we carved out a neat little sixty- to ninety-minute window every morning where we sounded out words, talked about tall and short, full and empty, and learned to count to 100.  In Gavin's year of kindergarten, we also read through many of the Five in a Row books and performed a few corresponding activities.  After school time, we packed up our crayons and manipulatives and the rest of the day was spent playing outside, reading loads of library books, caring for a toddler (Maddie) and baby (Owen), cooking dinner with multiple children hanging on my legs, attempting to keep the house tidy, and falling into bed exhausted.

It was a crazy-busy season of life at home, but school was scheduled and predictable. 

Fast-forward six years.  Now Ben is the one in kindergarten...in addition to the 6th grader, 4th grader,2nd grader, and preschooler.  Somehow kindergarten gets lost in the shuffle.  After reading a chapter of our science book aloud, checking math lessons, reviewing memory verses, and handing out handwriting assignments, I forget to take a few minutes to work with him individually. 

Kindergarten, this year, is not scheduled and predictable.  It is mortar in the bricks of our life.  It fills the cracks of everything else we are doing.  Kindergarten is letting Ben read me a storyand sound out the words as we sit together on his bed before I tuck him in for the night.   Kindergarten is going to the library to pick out new books.  Kindergarten is a quick economics lesson about money while we're waiting in the van (true story!). Kindergarten is letting Ben knead the bread I'm making for dinner.  Kindergarten is listening in while the older kids learn about ancient Rome.  Kindergarten is counting leaves and noticing their color.

I still feel like a kindergarten slacker, but I'm discovering the joy of a new way of learning.  I'm finding that, though it may not be structured, Ben is absorbing a rich education more suited to him than lot of seat-work anyway. 

Surely I'm not alone, though.  Do you feel like a slacker when it comes to your kids' education?


  1. I usually feel like a Kindergarten and First Grade slacker. We do some planned activities, but the majority of our learning seems to be tucked in between laundry, cooking, and household chores. I'm trying to be okay with that!

    It's hard to see kids my children's ages being "ahead" in academic, but I try to remind myself that even if they were in traditional school, there is no guarantee that my kids would be further ahead. Also, they would definitely feel more pressure & frustration, which is something I don't think should be associated with learning!

  2. Slacker? Ummmm...yes. As a matter of fact, I have some notes about our "Holiday Maintenance Homeschool Schedule" in my blog's draft folder.

    I have also learned to relax over the years. Our oldest are often the guinea pigs (my apologies to you, my dear guinea pig!), but with a dollop of purposefulness, everyone from the oldest to the youngest gets educated and prepared for life!

    Ben's kindergarten sounds just about perfect to me!


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