04 June 2013

School's Out for Summ-ah!

First day of Kindergarten.

Kindergarten. Check.

Benny has learned so much this year. He can read (!) and write. He knows about dinosaurs and volcanoes and treble and bass and ceramics. He brought home armloads of artwork. He often pulls out nuggets of knowledge and shocks me with how much information he soaks up. I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Kids do that stuff all of the time. But he's my kid and I think he's so smart. Last night he told me that Hawaii is the only state that was made of volcanoes.

This year, we rode bikes to school many more times than we drove. At first Benny wasn't excited about riding everyday, but he has built up quite a stamina and now the one-mile ride isn't a problem.

Benny made some great friends this year. He also learned that kids can be mean, which is a hard lesson for a five-year-old (and it's really hard to witness as a parent).

I learned things too. I learned that it's not easy to get out of the house to get to school on time. I learned, unlearned and relearned patience in the morning. I learned that Benny doesn't like PB&Js (what?!?) in his lunch. Or leftovers. Or vegetables. Or really anything besides yogurt. I learned, through volunteering in the classroom, that I could never be a kindergarten teacher. They deserve our utmost respect!

I'm also learning about how city schools differ from rural schools. I attended the same school with the same 11 classmates for 12 years. I had the same teachers as my siblings, played on the same teams, had many of the same friends. Benny's class will be split into thirds next year. He'll have new faces and he'll have to say goodbye to some of his friends - even if it's only for a year.

One of the most important lessons I learned, which wasn't even on my radar, is how much I love living close to a quality neighborhood school. It's important that my kids receive a good education, but there's more to it than that. I don't want to have to schlep my kids halfway across town to go to school. I think it's important to build a sense of community and attending a neighborhood school helps with that. I know traditional public schools aren't for everyone. But they are for us. We are willing to do the afterschool work to ensure that our kids have a well-rounded education. Really, I just want them to love to learn and be inquisitive. I think every educational institution espouses those goals. So, although Benny and Lila will attend larger schools, I hope we have set up an environment that feels relatively small - knowing and going to school with our neighbors, participating in our schools and neighborhood and feeling connected in that way.

Last day of kindergarten. Those freckles!!!

And now, here we are. School's out for summer. Next year we'll be learning more, making more friends and generally enjoying life. But for now, we'll all be enjoying a well-deserved break!

No comments: