Tuesday, September 07, 2010


First of all, an update: Michael is feeling so much better! He actually slept through the night last night. He made it to school today, had a great day, and is taking a good nap. Praise the Lord! (Oh man though, I'm really nervous about cold and flu season, having pneumonia when it's barely September does not bode well for the rest of the school year ya know?)

Okay, in no particular order here some things I'm feeling conflicted about:

1) How much to politely interfere with Harper's kindergarten experience.

Based on the work they are doing (and I know it's just been a week) it may take Harper's teacher a very long time to figure out that the child can read and decide to do anything about it. I don't want her to completely change the curriculum for Harper. Trust me, there's plenty of kindergarten stuff she needs to learn. BUT if Mrs. H does have some methods for making adjustments it might be helpful if she had a head's up about Harper's skill level in that area, right? On the other hand, when I taught, sometimes I would get that kind of information from parents and it would actually feel more like they were saying their child was too smart for the grade level and I shouldn't be making said child do ANY grade level work. I really don't want the teacher to think I feel that way about it. (Yes, I'm open to suggestions here.)

2) Television.

Not for the kids, for me! I feel like if I am not watching television at all, it isn't hard not to watch it. If I am watching it (there are many TV series I like, I'm easily entertained) I tend to watch a lot of it. Television and I have kind of an all or nothing relationship. Of course I would still watch football, even if I did stop with the week to week stuff. Do any of you watch TV? What do you like? I'm not too worried about example setting here because I primarily watch after the kids are in bed.

3) Speaking of staying at home...

I loved the job I had last spring, LOVED IT. Have I mentioned how much I loved it? It honestly felt like I was finally doing the job I was meant to do. (Er, unless relaxing in a hammock and reading is a job, in which case that's what I need to be doing.) But I hated the feeling that there was not one second to spare when it came to all the things that needed to be done at home. And it seemed like doing things I really enjoyed doing (writing, blogging and blog reading, reading, etc.) all came at the expense of sleep. And I hated trying to figure out what I was going to bring for lunch every day.

Now I'm not working. And I actually have a little free time. And I kind of love that too. I love that I'm blogging at two in the afternoon. I love that I read at least 50 pages of a book today (and did some laundry). I love that I can go volunteer for the PTO fundraiser tonight and not have it mean that I won't see my kids at all today. I love dropping them off and picking them up from school. I love that we didn't have to rock-paper-scissors to see who would stay home with a sick Michael last week.

I have a degree and a job that I'd really like doing, but I'm actually enjoying being a stay-at-home mom more than I ever have. Something that started to feel true last winter, just before I got my long-term sub job. I do feel like it is the right thing for me and our family for me to head back to work at some point. I would have gone this year if I could have found something. But now that I'm not working, part of me feels like it would also be okay if it took five years to find that job.


I think that's enough to ponder for now. What are you hemming and hawing about these days?


Giselle said...

1) I would wait a few weeks, and then request a conference with the teacher. Because Andrew was half day, I tended to not interfere with Andrew's kindergarten teacher (with 28 kids to handle), and I supplemented reading instruction at home. By the middle of the year, the teacher was doing her own modifications for Andrew (poetry instead of beginning reader books/comprehension questions/different math worksheets, etc). But again, I wasn't feeling too much pressure for kindergarten to be that great...since I had all morning to teach him.

2) I am HORRIBLE about tv. I watch too many series. We're really thinking about cancelling our DVR and cable...being able to tape shows that are on after my bedtime has really increased the number of shows I watch. Ugh.

3) Free time...ugh how I can't wait for it...one more year and I'll have one whole morning to myself a week! Woo-hoo! I'm actually quite jealous that you are happy either way you go. I can see how it would make decisions more difficult...but wow. You know what you want to be when you grow up. Jealous. ;)

What I'm thinking about? Moving in the next year. Whether my kids aren't in enough activities. What did I used to do with Andrew all day every day when he was 4. Why I complain that we don't have any friends, but then I don't ever want to go to things like tonight's back-to-school picnic...it shouldn't be such a mystery ;)

Jill said...

WAit, wait you mean the teachers CAN give you different work. Why o earth was I subjected to the same boring stuff day after day then when I was a kid? Argh. Good luck, I think you should wait a bit and then say something, maybe just ask for some additional sheets to be 'available' to her. With the way my girl is busting through letters and absorbing information, there's a chance she'll be ahead, even if she can't get into a Pre-K. I'd be thrilled to learn that she wouldn't be subjected to what I was.. snore..

Chris said...

Kelsey -- glad that Michael is doing better!

If I remember correctly, it didn't take Mrs. H that long to clue into the reading thing when Talia had her. Harper might be beyond the level Talia was at that age, but I'd probably give her some time. On the other hand, they have more kids in the class this year. So there, wasn't I just completely helpful :)

As much as I sometimes think "I didn't go to school for so long to stay at home as much as I do" -- I also really enjoy being here. There is a full-time job opening up in the winter and I won't be applying for it. Maybe we can spend the next 5 years together!

Swistle said...

It's too bad you're such an expert on books, because otherwise you could FAKE IT by emailing the teacher with a question about recommended reading material, saying something like, "Harper's read this book and this book and that book and I think she's ready for more of a challenge. I was wondering if you had any recommendations?"

I'm glad Michael is better!

Pam said...

Glad Michael is better!
It seems like the consensus is to wait a bit before speaking to the teacher but I'd be the same as you in wanting to make sure no learning opportunities were missed.
I only really watch TV on Friday nights and the odd movie. My problem is, I think my kids watch too much. I'm hoping they'll tun into readers like me but it's hard to encourage with Spongebob about.
I love working, love my job and will always work but I agree with you 100% on the trying to get everything else done at home too. At 41 years old I sometimes feel 101.
I was thinking about moving again to get out of CP Schools but I keep flip-flopping. Financially, we need to stay put for a couple more years and I REALLY want to spend spare cash going home to England next year as most of my family haven't met Daniel yet.

Emily said...

1) I think you have the ultimate sauve for this situation because you can be all, "I used to teach first (?) grade myself, so I know how overwhelmed you are with all these kids and I don't intend to create more work for you, but I was just wondering if this info would be helpful..." Better than thinking you are a know-it-all parent or something. (You DO actually know).

2) I've just been thinking recently that it would be nice if we didn't plop in front of the TV EVERY night after the kids are finally down. We didn't used to...I wonder what happened?

3) I'm so glad that you are enjoying staying at home for now. That's a good place to be, whether you are working or home - satisfied with it.

MamaK said...

Yay- Michael's better! (Thanks for your sympathy with Kaden too)

No clue about the teacher thing, sorry. I'm still trying to figure out how the PreK works!

TV- We actually don't have cable/DVR... When PBS split into 4 channels with the digital signal, it was fantastic. Still, I'm with you on the all or nothing bent. Love to know how to balance!

CARRIE said...

I vote for saying something now....because I couldn't even wait for Open House this week to barrage the reading specialist with questions about why N hadn't been assessed to determine her reading group. Some parents are just really on-the-ball (which is also called annoying) and I happen to be one of them. ;)

I would just say that Harper has been reading books like "xyz" over the summer and you are wondering what materials she will be reading in kindergarten that might be comparable in terms of reading level....or will she have access to such books during library time.

Or something along those lines.

Whenever I send what I consider to be an annoying email to a teacher, I make an honest comment like, "Sorry to be the gadfly parent," so that the teacher knows that I know I'm being annoying.

I never watch tv, so I can't help you out. I just can't sit still.

Even though I love my littles, it will be nice when I can
1. do projects around the house (like paint or something that takes longer than 10 minutes) without fear of being interrupted
2. volunteer at the kid's schools and feel useful/using my teacher skills without feeling burdened (like ug, this is a job.)

So ride that out. Maybe perfect job will come along. If it doesn't, that must mean you are where you are supposed to be.

tracy said...

I have nothing to offer on the kindergarten question, but will be interested in what you come up with.

We never really watched much TV, and watch even less now with a new baby. The only shows we'll try to watch at their actual times are Survivor (we still love it! even though we make fun of it a lot) and the Office. It helps that we don't have cable, I think, that definitely makes us watch less.

We tend to rent a lot of TV series from Netflix, which works well for us because we can watch an episode here and there, whenever we have time after the kids are asleep. We are currently watching Breaking Bad, which is pretty depressing and sometimes slow, but also really well done. A few of the other shows we like (at least, ones I can think of off the top of my head) are Mad Men, Weeds, Entourage, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Nurse Jackie, and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

I'm really glad you're in a good place when it comes to staying at home. I have no judgment whatsoever on the whole work/stay at home issue -- I completely understand that it's a personal choice and everyone does what's best for them and their family. For me, staying at home has been such an incredible blessing, and I am so thankful for the opportunity, despite how crazy and maddening the days can sometimes be. I too have a masters degree, and enjoyed my job, but feel that home is the right place to be right now (though I, like you, am certain that I'll at least attempt to go back to work at some point).

I love you -- and hey, I will see you FRIDAY!

Sarah said...

I would go ahead and say something in the next few weeks if the teacher doesn't seem to be picking up on it on her own. I mean, you only have a window of a few years for kids to learn to either love or hate school. And I know for smart kids, or more advanced or whatever, the thing that usually triggers non-interest in school is boredom, right? So you might feel pushy and annoying bringing it up, but if you don't, Harper could get bored and decide school is lame, so I say it's worth the risk.
I know my husband always complains about his fifth grade year as being the turning point when he went from loving school to loathing it, all because his new principal (they had moved that year) refused to put him in sixth grade even though he had already learned all of the fifth grade material the year before at his old school. He therefore spent the entire year doing stuff he already understood and by the end of it had a really bad attitude about schoolwork in general. I realize that's an extreme example, and also partly just his having an attitude problem (!) but it still seems like something that could very well happen to a lot of bright kids at one point or another.