Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I'm looking for the Do-Over button on today. It's gotta be here somewhere.....
If not a Do-Over, than perhaps a mind eraser? That would work too.

I missed out on a huge opportunity today. It wasn't an opportunity to make money or obtain something new; but a chance to show calmness in the face of pure and utter frustration. And I blew it. Big time.

When the girls came home from school today, I was dismayed to see some rather unwelcome "behavior" issues with Ashlyn. Being only the 7th day of school, it was both disappointing and a bit upsetting. This is a first for me. I've always been the on the note writing side of the fence, so being the receiver of such a notification was both unpleasant and uncool. (My sincere apologies to my past classroom parents on notes sent home. I hope you took it all with a grain of salt.) I definitely want my children to behave well in class. Rules are there to protect everyone, and they need to be followed. I am a stickler for that in our house too. Break a rule, lose a privilege.

The particular offenses today were of the "Lack Of Attention" variety. In my book,this goes right along with two main features of the girls: they're 5 and they're in Kindergarten. These two reckonings go hand in hand, if you ask me. I would be surprised if their focus didn't wander from time to time. In this case, Ashlyn wasn't participating during seat work, and then later she didn't participate in small group work. Both worksheets were sent home to me. Allowing me a moment to vent, please bear with me, neither worksheet was something I would (in my teaching experience) classify as group work or really, 2nd week Kindergarten stuff. Firstly, they were both multi-sectioned things in which the student was expected to switch mental gears a bit from activity to activity. Secondly, it mixed more complex elements (like naming the letter that comes before the listed letters in one section, and writing the answer in upper case). Hey...make my kid think. Challenge her. Absolutely. I want her to stretch her brain. BUT.....but.....can it really surprise anyone that a 5 year old might have some trouble sitting still and trying to stay on task when it was easy to become lost in the many facets of this one worksheet?

That being said (and as I said, that's my vent moment), expectations are expectations. So I worked through each sheet with Ashlyn, who bemoaned the entire long duration of it. During this time, I lost my patience a few times. (It was so hard not to when I was trying to get her to work through some of the more difficult concepts on the worksheets and Caedance was nearby goofing off rather than working on her tasks). In the end, I did get her through both sheets. And we then spent time talking about how school work is not a choice she can make, and when she's in class, she'll do what her teacher asks her to do. Period. Not decide that the worksheet is for the birds and draw mice instead.

Looking back on it, I wish I had handled it better. Truth be told, we're still trying to get into a smooth rhythm with all this. Doing homework every day is a bit new for me, and I'm finding it a challenge to work with both of them simultaneously when they both have unique needs with things. Working with them separate is the best way to handle things, but keeping the other on task is sometimes hard. Because they've never had to do it. Because they've never been in this situation. So we've got a learning curve going on. All of us. They've got their hands full acclimating to this totally new environment of school with a new set of rules and expected behaviors. And I've got my hands full working through the mechanics of it all; meeting each of their needs so that they can use the homework to help them...not just waste our time.

We'll get there. I know. I knew there would be an adjustment period. But somewhere in the back of my mind I still hoped that it would go so much smoother than this. I was subconsciously hoping that mine wouldn't the students drawing mice during lesson times. But...alas....mine were the children squeaking at the principal during registration, so why wouldn't they be the mouse drawers in class?

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