Thursday, September 20, 2007

Kindergarten is Going to Kill Me

We made the tough and controversial decision to enroll Lainy Ann in Kindergarten this year. She is just 4 1/2 with a birthday in March. In California the cut-off date is December 2nd. She misses this date by 4 months. We have literally been struggling with this decision since she was born. The conversation always resurfaced as she surpassed another major milestone; walking at 8 months, learning her letters by two, manipulating her brother and adult relatives into doing what she wants, and most recently when she started reading at 4 years old and spent her free time writing words and lists for fun.

I have been so excited about her starting Kindergarten this year. It is a full day program, which is just what she needs - she is such a busy little girl with so much energy. Our teacher seems to be on-board with her starting a year early and understands that I, as a teacher, full realize the pros and cons of skipping a grade. We even did research on the school education policy to decipher whether or not she will be able to go straight into first grade public school next year.

But I was not prepared for the 'projects'. They are driving me crazy. Aside from finding the time in our schedule to assemble these projects is the added frustration of two younger brothers who want to help. Let's not forget to mention that the teacher kindly leaves these projects as open ended as possible. I strive with rules and rubrics. I want to know how to get the A. I want to be number one.

But the goal of these projects is for the child to be creative. Its the experience and process that is important. And most importantly, Lainy Ann needs to do it herself.

So each time I have this vision of what her project will look like. The special paper I will buy, the perfect corners and photos and gluing. I try to convince Lainy Ann to do her poster the way I envision it in my head, but then she decides to glue all the pictures jumbled in the top right hand corner instead of spaced evenly with a nice border around the outside. And I have to let her. Then she decides she wants to write everything. In permanent marker. All in pink. Not in nice contrasting colors as a poster should be.

Tonights project was her Family Tree. I convinced her to do a Christmas tree with ornaments all over it. I started painting the tree on white poster board. Then she wanted to help. I know the right answer is, "of course Lainy Ann. This is your homework." But she was doing it wrong. The brush strokes were upwards instead of downwards. The branches were not pyramiding nicely to the top. So I bit my tongue, a little. But what pushed me over the top and caused me to call Caskey is when she didn't want to organize the ornaments in the traditional family tree style; grandparents, parents, then children. She wanted to do a pattern with the colors. AND she wanted William next to Grandma with Papa next to Connor. *sigh*

I feel like a volcano ready to erupt. It will take all my willpower to not redo her homework tonight after she goes to bed.

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