February 27, 2012

When Did Kindergarten Get So Hard?

I am currently sitting at the kitchen table next to Captain, fighting against myself to not correct his spelling on his journal pages for Kindergarten.

Each month, his teacher sends home a packet with homework assignments that reinforce the daily lessons. Usually it's not such a big deal in our house, Captain sits down with me, and we work through the half-page assignments that include filling in the blank with beginning or ending sound of a picture, matching picture to the corresponding letter for beginning or ending sound, circling which picture has more/less, etc.

Then, in December, when we went to the in-laws, we were given some pages that have a box at the top for picture drawing, and those awesome lines with the dotted half-way mark, and asked to write 7 of the pages with events of our family trip. This was in part because he was missing school, and also because the teacher did an experiment with us. Good times!

January saw us come home with a 2nd homework packet, as well as a reading log for the Book-It! challenge. The first packet was the normal homework, the reading log was no big deal - I have to tell my kids to put down their books and go run around in the basement so they exercise their bodies! The second packet was a calendar, with writing topics scattered across the days, and 8 of those awesome pages for sentences and illustrations. And the assignment was "please have your student write at least 3 sentences about the topics provided. They should do at least 5 of the topics, and need to draw a detailed picture, color it in, and then write the sentences to describe the picture. Let them do as much as they can - spelling words as they hear them..."

I abhor phoenetic learning. Somehow, I don't ever remember being told by my teachers to "stretch out the word and write the letter sounds you hear"...maybe I've blocked it from my conscious memories...maybe we just drilled with spelling lists and basic rules like "I before E except after C, or when sound like "ay" as in 'neighbor' or 'weigh'"...

All I know is that Captain is at the top of his class right now - one of the most advanced readers (and therefore spellers) in his class. He has pretty darn good penmanship for a Kindergartener, and can already count well past 100, count by 2's, 5's, and 10's, can add, subtract, and is learning to count money and tell time on an analog clock (the kind with hands). He learned all about the Native Americans, the Pilgrims, the "important" Presidents (his words, not mine) such as Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Roosevelt, and of course, our current Commander-in-Chief.

He knew all his letters by sight, both upper and lower case, by sound, his numbers 0 - 9, our address and phone number...he had an awesome Pre-K teacher that totally had him ready for Kindergarten.

What gets me, is that while they aren't graded in the normal sense of the word, they are expected to have these things done...it's just weird to me that Kindergarten isn't learning how to cut and paste, color inside the lines, write your letters and learn their sounds...

I know why...it still just seems weird that my Kindergarten kid is already doing things that I didn't do until 1st grade at the earliest...

I know I love our school, but for the love of all that is just in the universe, PLEASE don't tell me I have to bite my tongue through homework assignments being spelled phonetically for the next 4 years until the kids "get it" with spelling...

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