DC loves kindergarten. Most of all DC loves first grade where ze goes for math and reading. Also, DC must be learning things because ze is sleeping more hours at night, despite having to get up earlier.
The new K teacher is working super hard. She’s got themed units. This unit is apples. DC has been regaling us with all sorts of apple facts. Ze made an adorable apple book in the shape of an apple in which DC has drawn the inside of the apple and labeled its parts. We had a long discussion last night on the meaning of the word, “flesh.” (DC asks, “Do you like to eat flesh?” I explain how flesh doesn’t just mean the flesh of an apple, but could also mean meat.)
DC’s printing has improved dramatically in just two weeks. That’s something that nobody wants to work on at home (especially not DC).
We’ve been pleasantly pleased this week at what ze is bringing home from the first grade classes. Ze had a spelling test (ze already knew how to spell the words, but the reminder of the difference between P and 9 helped before the actual exam). They’re doing timed addition practices of x2 numbers (so 1+1, 4+4, etc.). This is great because DC knows a lot of math but again, doesn’t like practicing things that require memorization at home and we don’t force things that are boring at home. But the lack of memorized addition facts made triple digit addition and subtraction go pretty slowly which made them more boring, so we haven’t done any of that kind of math in ages at home. I like that ze is learning new stuff at school, especially important stuff that we don’t find fun at home.
The best thing on the timed addition facts is that DC didn’t finish in the minute, and hir reaction to not finishing. Ze got pretty far in a minute, but there was still a line and a half left. Ze then drew a line in red, and finished the rest of the page untimed in red. Then they corrected the ones they did and ze wrote c’s next to the correct ones. Ze explained all of this very matter-of-factly to us and didn’t complain about not having enough time or being nervous or not finishing or anything. Ze got as far as ze did and finished the rest after. The first grade teacher has done a great job in that respect, and we are very pleased.
Initially we were a little worried that DC was just going over for “reading,” which ze is doing at a 3rd grade level, so we weren’t sure that the move was all *that* helpful, but based on what ze is bringing home, ze’s also going for spelling and language arts, for which ze has more knowledge gaps that first grade can fill in.
They’re also using the second grade Saxon math textbook in first grade, which I like because I always felt Saxon math was about a year behind what it should be in terms of topics. (Of course, I feel that way about University of Chicago math too.) And the first grade teacher is supplementing with a lot of fun fun pattern matching stuff based on a math workshop she went to last year, which is like beautiful music to me (especially given the drawbacks of Saxon math). Math *is* about pattern matching. Mmm, math.
The Spanish teacher does immersion. Sadly Spanish conflicts with first grade math some days, so the Spanish teacher has been sending home homework for DC (even though there’s technically no homework in K). The French teacher isn’t as impressive– they watch videos and do coloring. I wish French conflicted with math instead of Spanish conflicting!
The K teacher has also worked really hard at open-ended exercises that meet the kid where he or she is. So they write their own sentences and copy words from around the room. There’s a word-wall where they put new words, and it has everyone’s name. She’s set up stations that they do each day and many of the stations change with the theme for the unit.
DC is learning a lot and making new friends and we’re very very happy. We’re very lucky to have this opportunity, a single private school whose primary mission is academics, and which is willing to work with us, in the small town. Well worth the additional expense over preschool.
WELL worth ignoring the nay-sayers who argue that early entrance to kindergarten is stealing a child’s childhood. We know that it’s enhancing it, at least this year.