I am sinking in KindergartenJennifer Doyle
Kindergarten is going really, really well. Carson, my child who once threw the most amazing fits ever at any sort of structured activity and would scream if I tried to leave him anywhere, is now the child that hops out of the car in the drop off line without even bothering to look back or wave or even acknowledge my existence. When I pick him up, he’s all smiles, though the only thing he ever tells me about his day is about either recess or lunch.
“What was the best thing about school today?” I ask, a question I learned from the Internet that is supposed to be great for getting a conversation started with your five-year-old.
“Recess,” he answers simply without elaboration. The Internet lies sometimes.
I do know that he likes Kindergarten, though, and that is a very good thing.
But I am completely lost in Kindergarten.
I know that elementary school is different, but I’m used to preschool and seeing and speaking to his teacher every day. Communication between preschool and home was always very clear. I knew what I needed to send in and when, I knew what he did in school each day, and if I had any questions, I knew I could get an answer that day.
It’s just SO, SO different now. I guess that just like Carson had to quickly gain independence, I also need to learn the ins and outs of Kindergarten without someone holding my hand. Sink or swim!
The school has encouraged the parents to set up an online account to pay for school lunches, which is genius but also makes me miss the days of the weekly visit with the lunch lady to buy a lunch card that got stamped. A student number is required to set up an account and takes a few weeks before Kindergarteners are assigned their number. Totally to be expected, no big deal. In the meantime, I’ve sent money in a sealed envelope for Carson’s lunch only to have it returned at the end of the day, unopened in his backpack.
“How did you pay for lunch, Carson?!”
“I just used my lunch number to pay for it, Mom,” Carson told me. Well, gosh, DUH.
I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT A LUNCH NUMBER IS.
Our very first homework assignment was sent home on a Friday afternoon with a due date of Monday, August 25, which was confusing because the following Monday was August 22. “Some ideas to help you with this project are on the back of this paper,” it said mockingly. There were no ideas or instructions. YOU GUYS! I thrive on rules! I didn’t want to screw up the very first assignment!
Notes and emails with my questions have been sent to his teacher, but I’ve yet to get any replies from her.
I do get lots of cryptic notes sent home on behalf of the PTO and the Box Tops Coordinator, though. Box Tops, what? The notes are obviously written for people with previous experience in school. I have NO EARTHLY IDEA what they are talking about in these notes. I think I’m supposed to send something in, but I’m not sure what I’m supposed to send in and I think they are looking for volunteers for something, but I don’t know what that something is.
The morning drop off line at school is….confusing. It’s especially confusing when you’re sending your very first child to the school and it’s never been explained. If it weren’t for my neighbor who I followed to school the first week so I could learn the system, I’d probably have caused a complete gridlock of their carefully orchestrated drop off system.
This school is one of the top public elementary schools in the state, I’ve never heard a negative word spoken about any of the teachers or the school itself. I just don’t understand how it is that I seem to be the only parent who is lost most of the time. Their website is chock full of information, but again, it’s written for people with some background information. I wonder if I missed some important memo titled, “Here’s what you need to know to decode everything on our website and every note that comes home.”
Please tell me that I’m going to get the hang of this whole Kindergarten thing, right?
photo credit: wwworks via Creative Commons