It’s early, but it’s safe to say that we are going to survive kindergarten.

We handed in the homework, attended the teacher conferences, and consoled the lunchroom tears. We mastered the drop-off and pick-up schedule, clipped more Box Tops than we ever imagined and laughed our way through the Christmas program.

We weathered a new set of germs that took down our entire family–twice. We adapted to a whole new set of rules and regulations, and we watched Simone’s love of learning blossom. She declared one day, in no uncertain terms, that she was no longer a kindergartner. She was a “pre-first-grader.” She had no way of knowing, in those few moments, we all came a little closer to that day when we’re going to send her somewhere to learn without us. Her growth also proves that we, her parents, are getting older by the second.

There really isn’t much time to dwell on those points. We have 10 weeks of free time that must be filled with something. We don’t want Simone to lose any academic ground. At the same time, we want her to have fun. With kindergarten in our rearview mirror, we’re tackling more tough questions. Should Simone go to a half day of school or a full day of camp? Or should we try something new?

Before I was a parent, I heard stories of mothers and fathers registering their kids in programs all over town to hold a spot until they could figure out which ones they’d get into or which ones were right for their children. I remember thinking that they were all a little crazy. After all, I spent many of my summers playing double dutch. So, I am a little surprised to be fighting this urge to do what those other parents did, making sure, in their own way, that their child didn’t miss out on anything. Well, my pocketbook is helping me fight the urge, but that’s another story altogether. I know we will figure it out. It’s not like we have much of a choice.

Tell me, how has this decision played out at your house?

6 thoughts to “Now What?

  • Beth

    Pay attention to your “before I was a parent” voice. Most folks, myself included, lose brain cells soon after the baby’s first wail in the delivery room. The goal: healthy, well-adjusted, self-sufficient ADULTS, not high-achieving robots who can’t walk down the street and chew gum at the same time. Three cheers for simple pleasures. If I had it to do all over again (I’m a grandmother and my “kids” are 40 and 42), I wouldn’t change a thing. As parents we have an obligation to give them the tools they need to succeed (this doesn’t include micromanaging or going into debt to ensure they’re first in their class). Give them the opportunity to explore different activities. Be selective. Maintain chunks of free time. Kids need downtime to be, well, kids. It pains me to see children who are anxious and overstressed because they’re overscheduled afternoons and weekends. They need time to let off steam, help with family chores, daydream. The day will come when they’ll have forgotten the finer points of accelerated learning programs, soccer, hockey, basketball, softball, ballet, gymnastics, music lessons, etc. The memories of time alone and time with friends–riding bikes, jumping rope, reading, coloring, listening to music, baking cookies, making up stories, and sitting around and shooting the breeze (notice that I left out TV, electronic games?)–will enhance the quality of their lives forever.

    • Honeysmoke

      You are so right. I’ll try to take it down a notch. 🙂 It’s just there are so many, never-ending decisions.

      • Beth

        And so there will be–until they leave home and beyond. (Some day they’ll be seeking your advice for their children!) I can tell from your blogs that you’re a wonderful mother. One day at a time. And keep your sense of humor.

    • Rania

      Well said, Beth!

  • Rania

    Man, I hear you. I remember days of just relaxing and enjoying the summer after a hard and intense 9-10 months of school. Both of my parents worked so my brother and sister and I were left to fend for ourselves. However, one rule they DID have for us so that we were not entirely wasting our days on the couch or in front of the TV was we had to be outside, playing with friends and we were also responsible for reading the newspaper every day and doing book reports 1x/week.

    I think there is something to be said for letting kids be kids. I remember all of the exciting things that I learned on my own, the friendships I made (on my own without playgroups set up by parents) and just general learning to keep myself occupied (reading and observations outside of the home helped). I think today parents think you have to fill every hour of time for a kid and I just don’t subscribe to that. I have my little ones coming to ask me enough (because they do it at school) “what can I do? What should I play with next?”. It kills me. Kids need to start thinking for themselves sometimes especially when they get to school-age and learning how to occupy their own time.

    But on the other hand, I also realize that you want them to retain the knowledge that they’ve learned during the off period. I remember forgetting some things during the break and wishing I had kept up with whatever it was that interested me most, during the summer. There is something to be said for constant learning. Everyone needs constant brain stimulation.

    I think there should be a happy medium. At least for my family, I don’t agree with over-scheduling, helicopter parenting or the Tiger Lady way of life, but I also don’t subscribe to constant free-play either. Everything within moderation.

  • Blanc2

    We have generally signed our kids up for various summer camps that focus on non-academic stuff. They attend a very rigorous school and deserve some summer weeks of fun. Regular summer camp (archery, swimming, crafts, campfires), music camps (like School of Rock), soccer camps (for our soccer powerhouse daughter), etc. Plus we have a couple of weeks in August when my sister and her kids gather at my parents’ house. We take our kids there too. A couple of weeks in the care of Grandma and Grandpa, without mom & dad around at all.

Comments are closed.