Saturday, October 09, 2010

kindergarten, then and now

My dad taught me to read. When we were driving in the car together, he would point out signs and have me sound them out. When he read me bedtime stories, we would alternate reading pages. I've always been grateful for my love of reading, instilled in me at a very young age.

But when I went to kindergarten, I was bored to death. I, who had always been a docile, easy child, became a discipline problem.

My teacher discussed the problem with my mom. She said I was memorizing books. My mom corrected her, saying that I could read anything, even the newspaper. My teacher didn't know what to do with me.

She struck a deal, saying that if I would do my work, I could put it in my cubbie and then go sit in the corner and read. A problem then presented itself: I was putting my work in my cubbie, undone, and then reading. I remember saying to my mom, "They want me to cut out the letter B! Why would I do that?!"

Eventually, I was placed in a first grade reading class, and things smoothed out a bit. But I never forgot how bored I was in kindergarten, so I found myself reluctant to teach my kids to read before they started school. Kind of sick, when you think about it.

Max was reading some before kindergarten, but he managed alright (except for being a tattletale because of his drive to make sure everyone was following the rules). I don't recall Lucas having any problems in kindergarten (but I can't say that with absolute certainty, because I always find myself falling victim to middle child syndrome with him).

Eva wanted to learn to read about a year ago. I kept putting her off, hoping to avoid that stifling, kindergarten boredom. But what kind of mom – especially one with a lifelong love of reading – tries not to teach her child to read? Goodness.

{Eva's kindergarten picture}

Now that Eva is safely in kindergarten and loving every minute of it, I have finally given in to her pleas and we are actively working on sounding things out. Of course, she loves it.

For those of you who aren't my Facebook friends, here is a recent free-writing sentence that Eva wrote:

I was having trouble interpreting it, so I asked her what it said. "I am Eva, hydrated and tortured in jail." (I think she was going for dehydrated.)

Her teacher was concerned and brought it up at our parent-teacher conference. Honestly, I have no idea where she comes up with these things. Is this the natural result of having older brothers? Always keeping us guessing.

So, what do you think? Concerned, protective mother or unnecessarily stultifying one?


Jill said...

This was a fun post, I always enjoy seeing vintage photos and hearing about your childhood. Maybe Eva's precociousness doesn't all come from Marc! Ha.

Eva's drawing and sentence is hilarious and oh so creative. I can see how the teacher might be alarmed, unless she spent five minutes with Eva and had her talk about paleontology, Paris, video games, bugs or pretty much anything else.

Charlotte said...

I agree with Jill. If her teacher heard everything that Eva talks about generally, she wouldn't be so alarmed at her writing about being dehydrated and tortured in jail. Too funny!

Susan said...

...where does she come up with these things?!

And, just for the record...after an evaluation of your work level, it was noted that you were doing work in certain areas on a 7th grade level. Skipping that many grades was just not an option! But, we were very pleased with the gifted programs in the Denver school system where we lived. They kept you challenged and happy.

I will never forget the day your teacher told me that my sweetest little tractable baby was a discipline problem! I hardly had words...then she told me about your refusing to "cut out the letter "B" " !

Remember when you would go the the library and check out a dozen books for a road trip to Utah, only to have them read far before we even got close. Yep, you've always been a reader.

Anonymous said...

WOW! I don't think you should be concerned at all. All I can think is wow how smart is Eva. My little girl is a year younger than Eva and can only write the first two letters of her first name. No telling where she got that from, my kids come up with stuff all the time. I just wonder where some of it comes from.

Robyn said...

I love that photo of you! So cute. Eva is adorable and I can see why you put off teaching her. I think kids are bored in kindergarten. The stuff they do is totally preschool- cutting, shapes, numbers, etc. I personally think our school system is a little backward- I mean, some kids are nearly 6 by the time they start school. They could really be much further along by that point if we had a better system... whatever.

Anyway, Glad that Eva is loving it!

crystal said...

Well, if you'd give the girl a bit of juice and let her out of jail once in a while, that would solve everything.

Elizabeth said...

I agree, she just has an amazing imagination.

amyfm said...

darling pictures.

it's hard to know what to do and when so I guess the best thing to do is base it on your own experience. Glad she is loving it.

Amy said...

I am laughing. Out loud. Hydrated and tortured in jail!?! I would be proud of my child for original thoughts. There should be a whole lot more of that! :)

Esther said...

I enjoy fall but it just doesn't want to arrive here in Southern guys are blessed with the changing of the wonderful is that!

Melinda said...

I'm with Jill also, I wouldn't worry about it. You know Eva best and also kids can come up with crazy stuff. I know mine do. Eva looks so much like you in that picture! I used to wear my hair exactly like that also. I loved when my mom did that. I sported the bows also.

Claudissima said...

Daaaarling least she color coordinated the drawing....have you been dehydrating any fruits lately???? Oh, I can see your love for reading!!! Kindergarten is soo different now from when I went to school....we did a lot lot lot lot more parades and dress up functions and GROUP it is really like School!

jenn said...

Look how cute you were in Kindergarten. I'm sorry you were a discipline problem but always admire that you are truly a reader!!

Eva is one of a kind!

I've been wearing socks too- LOVE that!!

Denise said...

I am still laughing too hard at Crystal's comment to come up with one of my own.

Rebekah said...

She needs her own tv show, definitely.

Negotiating my way through a child's education is a stress I don't look forward to.

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