For All the Mamas Experiencing Kindergarten Registration Anxiety

 

BLogKindergarten 001Hey, weary mama, the one who just got this list and now you are feeling worried, confused, stressed, and not good enough.  I want to tell you something.

Stop worrying.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Mt 6:34)

There will come a time when there are big things to worry over (even thought Jesus tells us clearly that worrying adds not one iota of anything beneficial to our lives).  Our kids will one day be faced with hard decisions, they will DRIVE actual cars that move, they will be offered drugs and alcohol, they will learn about sex from all the wrong places.  If you plan to spend some of your life worrying, save it for those days.  But today, just breathe.

I don’t know when kindergarten became this place where children go already prepared for school; when it became a place that even before the first day, pressure is being placed on parents to make sure kids know how to do this and understand that.  Kindergarten comes from a German word that means Children’s Garden.  A garden, a place where you plant the seeds and watch them begin to grow.  You feed the plants with what they need to be their best version of themselves.  They are all different,  some sprout quickly, some take a bit more time, but they all start as a seed in the ground.  They will all get there with the right amount of time, love and nourishment.

Seriously, STOP WORRYING ABOUT THIS.

I come from a place of 3 totally different starting kindergarten experiences.  My first, Jake, was reading at 4.  Reading whole books, not just memorizing pages (I know this because I would make him read them backward, with the pictures covered, and out of order just to try to trip him up).  PARENT OF THE YEAR BY THE WAY.  We used the BOB books with him because he was ready to learn and he loved them.  I could have checked off this whole list except for maybe tie his shoes and quite honestly now in 4th grade I wonder if he even knows how to do it properly.  The boy’s shoes are always untied.  He could button and unbutton his pants on his own but he frequently went to school with shorts on backward and more than once forgot to wear underwear.  He is smart, but bless his heart.  He once tried to get on the bus without shoes on, has lost at least one coat at school per year, and received his FIRST satisfactory in handwriting EVER this quarter at school. Total text book straight A student.  God made him that way, not us.

Then Will came along and we threw everything we thought we knew about school and readiness out the window.  He could not be bothered with reading, or writing, or learning anything for that matter that did not involve drums or a ball.  He hated the BOB books and pretty much refused to even try.  He may have known lots of things, but would only cooperate with sharing those things when he felt like it.  I thought he was going to go to middle school in a pull-up because he just would not stop living life long enough to go to the restroom.  He talked incessantly.  I just knew he would spend the next 13 years in the principal’s office.  But, it was time for kindergarten so we sent him.  And would you know that just like a garden, they fed him and nourished him and gave him what he needed and lo and behold that same kid who could barely write his name is now in the advanced reading group in 2nd grade.  He did spend the better part of K & 1st on “yellow” or “red” because the boy simply could not quit talking, but if I had listened to the list, I would have never sent him, and challenged him, and let God bring out the best in him because we believed in him.  He loves to write now, and to draw, and can memorize Bible verses quicker than anyone I have ever known.  He occasionally even reads an actual book (as long as it is about sports). And man is he smart – just needed to take time to show us.

So here I am.  Maddie May is officially registered for Kindergarten.  Her birthday is later than either of the boys and she won’t be 5 until June, she writes her name like this:Maddie May's Name & Coloring

Not the “correct” way.  And as you can see coloring is not exactly in the lines.

She sounds out letters with me for about 10 seconds before she is bored with that & goes from “A, aaa,  apple” to “G, ggg, zipper”.

She can’t tie her shoes – who cares, she refuses to wear running shoes anyways so she might never learn.

She holds a pencil properly sometimes, sometimes she decides to be left handed.  I think she will be fine.

She knows letters and sounds sometimes, when she feels like knowing them.

I’m just not worried about it.  For now, I am going to worry about soaking up the last few months of having a little one at home half of the day with me and all day Mondays.  I’m going to remember that this list might be an ideal that they would like to see, but mine will not be the only one who can’t tie her shoes or write her name the correct way.  I let myself get bogged down with doubt over a lot of things but I refuse to let a list make me doubt that I know my child, I know what is best for her.

We might send the brilliant child to school, or the not-so brilliant but friendly, or the barely ready to let go of mom kid.  Yours might be shy, or loud, or an amazing singer, or a natural athlete. Another might be terrified while that one is racing to the bus with his big brothers and sisters. No matter which kid is yours, you know him.  You know her.  You know if your baby is ready to go. The first day they are all at so many different stages and levels, but it all levels out to where they will thrive if we will just let them. Some will have gifts that shine right away, others may take a little longer.  Do what is best for your child, and your family, but don’t let a list cause you to second guess that God made you the mama, you are doing a great job – Carry On Mama’s God’s got you.

 

I write this with love and thankfulness for all of the teachers who have encouraged, led, and cared for my family.  Elementary school teachers deserve a special reward in Heaven.  I love you all.

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Books I’m Loving Right Now

February 24, 2014

I love to read.  Love. Love. Love to read.

But alas, life with little people and silly responsibilities like pesky house cleaning, and driving kids to and from school as well as that other important one, my job, leave me little time to devour books the way I would like.  I want to start sharing what I am reading in hopes that I can ignite someone else’s love of words or just help you find an encouraging word in the pages of someone else’s story.

Since Christmas day, I have only finished reading 2 books (seriously sad considering I have started 5).  I just started a new book today and already have my sights set on some new books for March.  In addition to these I’m also reading Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls aloud to the kids at night and they love it!

The Go-Giver by Bob Burg & John David Mann
This is a powerful story that left me speechless for a little while.  It took some time to process before I could talk to Jeff about how it impacted me.  It encouraged me.  It fills my heart with the truth that serving others matters and that being successful does not have to be a winning at all costs plan.

Anything: The Prayer that Unlocked My God and Soul by Jennie Allen
I’m still working on this one!  It is a good read and Jennie’s voice is so honest.  I got so caught up in the If:Gathering that I forgot to finish.  Writing this post reminded me I need to finish it today.  Her willingness to do anything for God is an absolute light in a world of selfishness.

Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker
Is it bad to admit I was putting off reading this?  I remember hearing some time back that one of the books that messed with Jen while her life was being interrupted was Shane Claiborne’s The Irresistible Revolution.  I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I literally QUIT READING Shane’s book because it was making me so uncomfortable.  It is phenomenal – I was just not ready to face the truths and realities he was sharing in his story.  So the idea of reading Interrupted worried me, I knew it would make me really think about my own life and missional calling.  I’m glad I waited to read it.  I’m still not sure how exactly to process what it brought out in me.  If you are ready to peel many layers away from the church you are used to and look at life as a called follower of Christ then jump in.  This book can open you up to MAJOR God led transformation of your life  and in turn the lives of many.

Restless by Jennie Allen
Tonight starts a live online book study and I cannot wait to dive into this one.  Jennie is the founder of theIf:Gathering and a mom and a dreamer and someone I would just love to sit and have coffee with because her big dreams just make me feel so normal!  She has a voice that needs to be heard by women all over the world and I’m excited to be a part of this study.

Hope some of these suggestions will speak to your hearts!  I would love to know what you are reading!  Leave book or blog suggestions in the comments!

Casey