WCK has been in kindergarten for over a month now, and life is different. I'm still sort of a stay-at-home mom, but not really a stay-at-home mom. I'm sort of, a little bit of a working mom (I'm doing a bit of freelancing right now), but not really a working mom. I am busy -- really -- but I'm not quite sure where the day goes. I think I spend a lot of time talking to myself and then wondering why the house is not spotlessly clean after I spent the past five years of my life repeating to myself, nearly hourly, "As soon as she goes to kindergarten, THE HOUSE WILL BE SPOTLESSLY CLEAN!"
Yeah. I'm staring at a sink of dirty dishes right now. It didn't happen.
And here's another surprising thing: Kindergarten has changed in the past 30 years. When I went to kindergarten, it lasted three hours. We were expected to show up, color pictures of Humpty Dumpty, eat a cookie, and try not to wet our pants. It was not a tough curriculum. Now, kindergarten lasts all day. They have P.E. and music and art and Spanish and computer lab. They start reading by the second week. And now kindergartners have homework.
I clearly remember not getting official homework until fourth grade. I remember this, because in third grade, I desperately wanted to have homework like the older kids. I imagined myself, sitting peacefully at home, working on my homework like a mature adult, appearing smart and worldly. "I cannot play," I would say to my younger sister. "I have homework, something a mere child like you could never understand." I would do my math problems as slowly as possible at school, just so I'd have no choice but to finish them up at home, as my mature, intelligent homework. My teacher figured out what I was doing and told me to knock it off. And that was the end of that.
But WCK started bringing home homework this week, and she's only five years old. The first few days were painless. One day was a worksheet where she had to identify shapes and color them certain colors. The next day, she had to bring in something that started with the letter M. She picked a monkey mask, which I felt should have gotten her extra credit. The third day, she had to take an apple to school. It was a breeze!
Then, last night, she had to write 10 capital letter M's and 10 lower-case letter M's. WCK hates handwriting. Hates it, hates it, hates it. It's been her chief weakness since her first year of preschool. I haven't pushed it a whole lot, because it just wasn't very fun.
But there we were, faced with 20 letter M's for this required homework assignment. I love my child, but trying to help her write the letter M 20 times was an absolute nightmare. Couldn't we start with something simple, like O? I never knew how had it was to write the letter M. I now know why I'm not a teacher and why I do not home school my child. WCK and I make a great mother-daughter pair in nearly every other way, but we cannot write lower-case M's together. It's like how you really, really love your husband, but when you have to go grocery shopping together, you begin to wonder, somewhere around the spaghetti-sauce aisle, if you can get the marriage annulled.
After about 15 harrowing minutes, we finished the M assignment. Thank God. I'm very hopeful the teacher will not expect the kids to learn any more letters for the remainder of the year. That's totally possible, right?