“I’m looking for more buy-in on your end,” Fluffy’s Kindergarten teacher tells me. “Like what?” I ask. I mean, our school has a no-homework Kindergarten policy, Fluffs is an exceptionally strong reader, and most of the time I get her to school with a lunch and everything, so really, what more was there?
Well, let me just make you a list of all the optional activities and homework disguised as non-homework that I should have been doing:
- Teach Fluffy to tie her shoes. (Or someone else’s shoes actually, since she never has owned a pair of lace-up shoes.)
- Read-a-Thon. (We actually did the Read-a-Thon at home, but didn’t bother to turn in the paperwork for her to enter the lottery because according to Fluffy, “I already have an iPad.”)
- Make a collection of 100 things. (And I thought I was being oh so clever and original by popping that 100 Dresses book in her Ziploc bag.)
- Spend more time on her first poster. (This assignment was not so much homework, which Kindergartener’s don’t get, as it was work to be done at home. Apparently, Fluffy ratted me out that I threw it together the night before.)
- Show What You Know. (This is like a science fair that is actually an anything fair. I told Fluffy she had to either do this optional activity or the optional Talent Show and she chose the Talent Show. And just as I was getting so excited to throw together another poster the night before. Darn.)
- Make another collection of pocket change.
- MYON. This is a program on which the teacher loads a bunch of books related to the subjects they are covering in class for the kids to read for at-home enrichment. In this case there is no pretense of this not being homework. The pretense was only that it was optional.
The most annoying thing about our teacher’s litany of opportunities I missed is its utter and unimpeachable accuracy. I have been totally phoning in Kindergarten. I’ve taken in tablecloths and snacks for their myriad class parties, but I haven’t begged anyone to watch my two 2 year-olds so I can volunteer. I have thrown out half the papers that come home without even reading them. I’ve forgotten to write playdate notes twice. With the twins, the house build, and my three other part-time jobs, Kindergarten has been way down the list of my priorities. I’ve spent far more time on Fluffy’s piano lessons (which are going great!!) than I have on her school. Heck, I’ve spent far more time on this blog.
Now normally, my response to being called out on something like this would involve a giant slow-mo eyeroll and possibly an inappropriate “Pffffffff!” noise, but the thing is, this time I really feel bad about it. Not so much because I’m disappointed in Fluffy’s shoe tying ability, but because I think I set a very bad example for her. I haven’t given her any reason to believe that Kindergarten matters. I’m pretty sure she’s heard me say “You’re not learning anything in that school anyway,” at least a few times. Gah!
In family council (which is that one breakfast of the year that we all ended up at the table at the same time) Kent and I explained to Fluffy that “Other people have other rules in their family, and that’s fine, but in our family, we do our very best at everything we try. We work really hard so we can do an exceptional job.” I silently added, “And that includes Kindergarten, Momma.” And I stopped myself mid eye-roll.