Today I’m re-posting a guest post I wrote which originally appeared over at Your Modern Family. I’ve been meaning to share it here, and I think it’s about time! So here are the lessons I learned during Carter’s first week at Kindergarten:
It’s that time of year again. Sharp yellow #2 pencils and fresh unmarked notebooks. Time for school!
My oldest, Carter, started Kindergarten this year, and this is a whole new world for us. What a change to go from having all my kids at home to actually setting an alarm for the morning. I have to actually get up and do stuff! Like I said, what a change.
I’ve learned a few things during the first full week Carter was in Kindergarten, and I’d love to share them with you now.
1. Learn To Trust Others
It hit me as I drove away that first day- I will not know what is going on until I come back hours later to pick up my son. In this age of technology, that is almost unheard of. I can text my husband all day long. He can’t always text back immediately, but we have more or less constant communication. When we leave the kids with a babysitter, she can text or call us and let us know how things are going.
But when Carter is at school, I have no communication with him. He is in the capable hands of his teacher. I have to let go of control and let him take the first step toward independence!
2. Be Yourself
Speaking of giving up control, I learned that my children are not me. I was a little goody-two-shoes, always doing exactly what was asked of me. I always did my homework, and nothing less than an “A” was acceptable to me. I never stepped out of line, and I was crushed if I was ever admonished by a teacher.
Carter…not so much. He does his work, and he’s very smart, but he pushes the limits, behavior-wise. Apparently on one of his first days he was walking around the room pretending to be a zombie, instead of picking up. I had to laugh at that one. Hey, at least he has an imagination!
3. Do Your Homework
Carter has Kindergarten homework every single night. Okay so it’s usually as simple as “draw a picture of your friend” or “practice tying your shoes” but still. He is also supposed to practice reading (or be read to) every night. But of course, he is 4, so I’m the one who has to remember to do this every night. Gotta be on my toes!
4. If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It
I thought that in this age of technology everything in the classroom would be touch screens. But even in this 21st century, Kindergarteners still use pencils, crayons, glue sticks, scissors, rulers, and construction paper. As it should be.
5. Don’t run away from your fears
After Carter had a few difficult days, I was at a loss. I thought maybe I would need to pull him out and try again next year. He won’t be 5 until the end of August, so he’s one of the youngest in his grade, and I thought maybe he just wasn’t ready. But my sister-in-law assured me that he was where he needed to be. She said that in order to learn how to behave in a structured setting, he had to actually be in a structured setting! She said to face the situation head-on and not to run away from it. Wise words. And Carter has done much better!
This morning Carter said, “I have to go to school again today?!” Oh yes, my little man. Today and so many more days to come. There will be many lessons to learn over the following years. About letters and numbers. Friendship and heartache.
And Mom will be learning right along with you.