Back in the Dark Ages when I went to kindergarten, class was all show and tell and games and recess. I went for a half day, in the afternoons. There must have been some learning going on, but I certainly don’t remember any of it. My most vivid memory is of me practicing for graduation to shake the principal’s hand while taking the baton-like diploma with my other hand. I don’t think I got it right, and that’s okay.

By contrast, Simone had homework a few weeks ago. She had to read about 20 pages in a book and then answer two of three questions with a few sentences. I listened to her read the assignment and the three questions. She chose the two she wanted to answer, and she wrote three short sentences to answer each question. I was proud and surprised at the same time.

She also has told us about adjectives, subtraction and graphing. Each month she brings home a journal of her writing. She is prompted with a picture or a question every day. Proper spelling is optional.  I’ve been stashing the journals away, and I imagine they will make for some very interesting reading when she is older.

Kindergarten should be tougher than when I was a child. I would be disappointed if it hadn’t changed. Still, with all the proud and surprising moments, I worry about the outcome 12 years from now. There are so many unknowns in parenting. So many unknowns.