Posts Tagged ‘School’

Last year around this time I was feeling completely overwhelmed keeping up with my kindergartener’s school work. I felt like I was perpetually behind, often letting reading and site words fall by the wayside. This year? Total opposite.

We’ve hit our groove early. Nicole’s sight words list has been divided into four lists, one she should know already, and one for each trimester. We’re already mastered the first two lists and we’re just over a month in. Even better, many of the words from the final two lists she can sound out, even if she doesn’t instantly recognize them. She’s been working really hard and it shows!

What’s really making me feel like a rock star is not having one little homework champion, but two.

Alexis is all about getting to do everything big sister Nicole gets to do, and that includes homework. We signed her up for the same extra classes, dubbed Learning Adventures, we signed Nicole up for when she was in pre-kindergarten. Two years ago I signed Nicole up mostly because I felt pressured to keep up with other parents. I knew we were supposed to continue the lessens at home, but I never prioritized them. Since I wasn’t continuing the lessons, we weren’t getting everything out of them.

One of my favorite parts about my three year olds doing “homework”? The way she writes her name. Alexis writes her e’s and x’s a little crooked sometimes so sometimes it looks like ‘Alptis.’ When Nicole was not quite four she used to spell her name ‘Nicon.’ I know I’m done having kids, but if I wasn’t, potential for an adorable misspelling would be a factor in name selection.

Of course we still don’t take pre-k homework too seriously. For Alexis “homework” is tracing letters and identifying sounds in words. Her worksheet will include tracing five p’s, then circling the image of a pickle, pig and pumpkin. One time she insisted on circling the Koala because she loves Koala, even though she acknowledged it doesn’t have a p-sound. I didn’t fight it. She has always had a very strong independent streak. It will serve her well as CEO one day.

June 5, 2018

Start of Summer

There was so much lead up to the start of the kindergarten – the start of school! – that is seems so surreal that it’s already over. Yet here we are. Summer break has officially begun.

This is the girls’ first summer apart. We enrolled Nicole in the summer camp program affiliated with the school’s after school program and I’m so excited for all the things she’s going to get to do! Each week the camp has a different theme and different set of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) activities to go with it. They have weekly field trips including amusement parks and going to the movies, and weekly in house events like magicians and bouncy castles. They even have a maker fair at the end of summer. Alexis is a little jealous, especially of the field trips. As am I!

Alexis will be eligible to join Nicole at the new summer camp next year, making the age cutoff by just one day. In the mean time her current preschool has a summer program of it’s own with themed weeks (also somewhat STEAM focused, though focused for her age group) and in house activities. They’ll also have a concert by a kids-oriented musical group, a puppet show, petting zoo and a visit from a reptile guy. Last year she loved holding one of the lizards. I think it was a skink?

We decided to keep Dana home a little longer. Initially I was planning on enrolling her in daycare in June or July, but I’m enjoying my time with my last itty bitty and making excuses why it’d be better for her to stay home. We’ll be enjoying our days filled with snuggles, songs and a bit of photography.

Of course we also have Nicole’s birthday in the middle of summer to look forward to, and all the associated festivities as well as family visits. Things are starting to look a better sleep wise too, and should that continues, we’re planning on a special road trip with the girls before the next school year starts.

Here’s to what will surely be an incredible summer!

October 28, 2017

School Costumes

This year Nicole’s second costume for school is a Scientist, “like Mommy.” One morning, as I was driving Nicole to School, we were discussing what she wants to be when she grows up. One of the options we discussed was scientist. I told her mommy was a scientist and she got really excited about being a scientist, just like like mommy. We had already settled on the girls being astronauts for Trick or Treating, so I told her most Astronauts are also scientists, and asked her if she wanted to be a scientist/astronaut for Halloween. My proposal was met with a resounding yes.

I love how non-conventional my little girl is!

I also fear that she will regret her decision once she sees the other girls in their Disney princess costumes, so we decided pretty early on that she wasn’t going to be a stereotypical scientist with tapped glasses. Scientists come in all shapes and sizes, after all. She’s going to wear her favorite dress under her lab coat, because why not? My two favorite details of her costume are her badge, and her astronaut necklace. The badge has her picture from her first day in kindergarten, title and the official NASA logo. She is an astronaut/scientist after all! The necklace is a special surprise I’m going to give her the day of her school party.

I had dubbed Alexis’ school costume “color explosion.” I was going to put her in a her rainbow fairy skirt and give her a rainbow lei garland. I thought she’d love all the colors. Unfortunately they had a dress up day earlier this week, and while my not quite three year old was initially content in her costume, she got upset when she saw all the other Elsa, Moana, and super heroes. Oh Irony, that’s what I was worried about with Nicole!

So Alexis is going to her school party in Nicole’s old Wonder woman costume from last year. Crises resolved.

Most of our second costumes came from the dress up corner. The safety glasses were an additional $3.59 for a pack of six, and the necklace was $3.39. I did purchase a Moana costume for Alexis when she was sad, but the only one I could find was a 4-6x. Technically she sometimes wears 4, but that size was too big in the astronaut. I was worried we’d risk another round of disappointment when the costume she coveted didn’t fit. When the Wonder Woman costume sufficed I decided to keep the Moana costume for the dress up corner. We should get a lot of good use out of it for a few more years still.

September 23, 2017

A Not So Helpful Helper

I am in awe of how Kindergarten teachers handle their classrooms.

For several weeks I have been volunteering in Nicole’s classroom. I manage the art table and math table once a week when the students break into small groups. Last week the math table was cutting out “topping” shapes and gluing them onto their “pizza.” They then created a graph of how many of each toppings there were. I was too focused on the art table and didn’t notice one of the students at the math gluing the left over paper scraps to the table until it was too late. This week I was determined to keep a better eye on the math table. While helping them with their calendars, two of the students at the art table started dueling with their scissors.

I fear I’m not a very effective helper. My only solace is that those things would have also likely happened had I not been there.

Despite the chaos I greatly enjoy volunteering in Nicole’s classroom. It’s been a handy way for me to get the inside scoop and see what the range of skills are. There are some kids who are amazingly ahead and could probably skip ahead to first grade if our district wasn’t such a stickler for the age cutoffs, and some for who all this is clearly new. Seeing the range of where the kids are for each skill set helps me see where I need to focus our efforts at home.

As a parent, it’s definitely beneficial to get an up close view of the teacher in action. I attended the school night where her teacher discussed the skill sets the teacher felt most valuable. Kindergarten has a little of everything in their curriculum, but the emphasis is on learning to read. Seeing her teacher in action and how she works gives me ideas on how I can best encourage Nicole at home while doing homework, and how I can work in reading and writing even on math or science projects. Nicole’s teacher keeps a folder of “early finisher” worksheets, and I was able to find similar worksheets at home that we could practice with.

I also enjoy the access it provides to the teacher. I am a classic over thinker with a tendency to dwell, so waiting for a parent teacher conference to ask a question isn’t always a practical approach for me. I also don’t want to be a pest with constant emails. I can ask quick questions during recess while the kids are all playing that don’t feel important enough to warrant an email.

I might not be the best parent volunteer, but volunteering has helped me be a better kindergarten parent.

February 23, 2017

Soon to be Kindergartner


One of Nicole’s School Picture Day Photos.

A few years ago when Domingo and I went to daycare together to pick up Nicole we stumbled on to a preschool graduation. The neighboring school was having a graduation ceremony for their five-year-olds. The soon to be kindergartens were wearing caps and gowns, and marching in procession for their parents. I told Domingo how silly I thought that was, since the only requirement to graduate preschool is age. Domingo said I’d feel differently when it was my kid.

Okay, so they’re darn cute in the caps and gowns.

I registered Nicole for the big K. In just a few months I will have a kindergartner. Kindergartner. It’s still feels so unreal no matter how many times I say it. Kindergartner.

I’m a bit sad that the girls will be in different places next year. It was inevitable, I know, but having them at the same school program has been really special, especially in the last few months. Now that Alexis is in the twos room, she gets to spend drop off and pick up time with Nicole’s class. That includes some outside recess time, as well as inside art time. The two of them really seem to enjoy having each other around. I love how much Alexis idolizes her big sister, and how Nicole looks after her little sister. Alexis is picking up so much from Nicole!

Nicole is ready. Her teachers have been saying since last summer. She’s also excited.

So we’re three quarters of a year from officially starting school. In the mean time we’re continuing to get Nicole ready by continuing “homework“, and talking about all the cool things she’ll get to do in her brand new big girl school. So far she’s most looking forward to riding the bus, and building her own rocket ship to take her to Disneyland. Apparently that’s what you do in Kindergarten these days.