Monday, March 3, 2014

Kindergarten for Mama

My first day of Kindergarten was scary. It had been 30 years since I stepped foot in a Kindergarten classroom, and I was nervous as heck about what to expect. 
The first thing I did when I got to the school was go into the office to talk with the secretaries. I had lots of questions that needed immediate answers: Do I pack a lunch? Do I bring an extra set of underwear? Who is the teacher? Is she nice and friendly and understanding? What happens if there's an accident and medical help is needed? What if it's just too big and scary? Can I back out? Can I cancel everything and start again another time? Will you be understanding with my needs?
I was on the verge of tears and feeling so uncertain about the future.

The office ladies gathered around me, their warm, caring faces reassuring, ready to calm my deepest fears. They didn't have fangs or claws like I'd half imagined--they didn't come at me with stacks of frivolous papers or useless worksheets, ready to stuff the latest in common core down my throat. They came with eagerness and excitement for this new journey ahead of me, making me feel that no matter what, they would support me on my path and comfort me when I needed it. 

I went to the Kindergarten classroom feeling more confident. The Kindergarten teacher welcomed me with open arms. Her friendly, caring smile calmed my fears once more. I could tell she had years of experience calming down first-timers, and I was probably one of the worst of them. All I could think about was how strange this all was. For years all I talked about was homeschooling and more homeschooling. I didn't prepare for this! I didn't check out books at the library about what to expect on the first day of school, or what to do in an elementary school classroom. It was always freedom, and creativity, going at our own pace, and doing things on a whim. But here I was in a Kindergarten classroom, ready (or not)to take on this next adventure in life.

I soaked in the classroom around me. It was brightly decorated, covered with artwork and whimsical images made by cute and clever little 5 and 6 year olds. There was a soft carpet on the ground made of squares of rainbow colors. I was invited to sit down on the blue square and join with in the rest of the class. I listened eagerly as the teacher spoke. She was talking about Dr. Seuss, one of our family's favorite authors! His birthday was coming up and she was planning some fun things to do. We would create Cat in the Hat letter books, make a giant Cat in the Hat cut-out, and read Dr. Seuss books in our pajamas. There would even be a special program in the classroom, where Thing 1 and Thing 2 would come in and read stories and do a puppet show. 

This wasn't so bad, I thought. I can do this. I can be a part of Kindergarten and not be scared! After-all, It's only three hours long! There will be new friends to play with, new things to learn, and new fun, activities to try! There will be computer class, playground time, musical assemblies, and interactive games in the gym for P.E.! Kindergarten was starting to sound like a fabulous escape from the mundane! 

****Today started the second week of me and Odin going to Kindergarten. I sat in the corner reading a book, making myself almost invisible. My goal is to gradually disappear as Odin becomes more and more comfortable with it. The first day I sat in a chair next to him, and on the blue square, but I've slowly moved farther and farther away. I can stay as long as I need to, because Grandma is home taking care of the other boys so I can do this. But, pretty soon I will fade completely out of sight and won't be attending Kindergarten any longer. 

But Odin will be going every day. And he will love it! I can already see the eagerness and curiosity in his eyes as he takes it all in. He comes home on a bouncing high of happiness, as he spills out all the fun things he did at school to his family. He is proud of the things he makes and proud to be part of a group of kids his age. He even made a new little friend all his own. I can tell that he feels more independent, and not so shadowed over by his big brother. He is doing his own thing and loving it.

Starting Kindergarten was really scary, but now I know it was the right thing to do.
I've decided not to send my 3 1/2  year old to pre-school, just yet. 
Afterall, I just got used to Kindergarten, I don't know if I'm ready to take on pre-school!

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