Off to school

Last weekend, a couple of my friends drove their boys off to Madison for their first year of College. While feeling pride at their sons’ accomplishments to date, they were also sad to be sending their oldest child off on their own. I can’t imagine how hard that must be! One of the friends on this journey is at both ends of the spectrum – her oldest is heading off for his first year of college, and her “baby” is off the Kindergarten. WOW!

On Friday, Michael started Kindergarten. I thought I would be sad to see him off.. I actually kept myself together pretty well! I think having a half day of school with parents there before he went off on his own was helpful for both him and I! He seemed very nervous on that day we were there. He didn’t really know how to say it, but I could tell. I was nervous for him too. After seeing how well he fit right in, and how well he participated in those two hours, set my mind at ease for his first day. Getting to see his teacher in action, I know she is going to be great with him! She is very experienced, and knows how specific she needs to be in her instructions on what she expects out of the Kindergartners.

When I was working in the Anoka-Hennepin School District, there were a lot of parents with boys who had summer birthdays. Many of them debated on sending a brand-new 5 year old boy to Kindergarten vs. keeping them home another year to “let them mature a bit”. When I found out I was pregnant with a boy with a July due date, I dreaded getting to that point. Right after he tuned one, we moved to Chippewa Falls, WI – out here, pretty much everyone sends their child to school when they are 5, even if their birthday was the week before school started. Whew – I wasn’t going to have to have that debate…

The reality is, I never would have had that debate with myself with Michael – he’s a “smart cookie” as they say. I know he is ready for Kindergarten. He’s reading simple words/sentences. He can write his name. He can sit and focus (when he wants to)… He has a lot of skills that he needs to succeed in school. His biggest issue may be in how he gets along with others, although, being with a new group of children may help that too…

I am so thankful too, that he has a big sister who can show him the ropes at school. She is now in 4th grade, and has been at the same school since Kindergarten. She helped him on the bus, promised to help him find his way around school, and, I believe, eats lunch at the same time as him. They were both excited to find out that their classes are paired up as Book Buddies. It will be nice for him to have that contact with each other in spurts at school. Yet another reason for having my mind (and his) at ease about his first school year.

I was able to see him off to the bus, but did not get to hear about his first day. His Dad picked him up at daycare right when the bus came. On Monday, I’m sure I will get to hear all about it. Or, he might be a typical kid and say, “It was great” with no further details (like I got from Grace on her first day).

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