Despite Earthly Failure I Have Two Kindergarten Graduates

There were several times this school year that I felt like a failure. I had so many ideas of what I wanted to accomplish. I certainly have not accomplished/finished them all. However, at the beginning of the school year I set two goals. I wanted to teach Gymnast how to read and I wanted her to enjoy being read to. The second of which I thought was vital to her lifelong ability to learn. Before this fall Gymnast wasn’t really interested in being read to. She was 3 before she would even sit still long enough to listen to a short board book. It was my Mom who eventually won her over at 3 with A Dog For Suzie. Little Bit and Karate Kid were quite different and loved for me to read books to them.

So, when we started school this fall Gymnast was 5 and Karate Kid was nearing 4. Academically Karate Kid was keeping up with all the concepts that Gymnast was learning (except for writing). So I planned to teach Karate Kid everything Gymnast was learning. What was my plan. I set out to read, read, read to them. In addition I bought a Math program, keyboard program(Kinderbach) and lots of workbooks. My hope was to keep them occupied in a rich learning environment. I wanted to keep them from fighting and getting bored. Two things that aren’t very common in our house. Fighting does occur when Little Bit is in the mix though. Gymnast and Karate Kid would happily play dress up and pretend for hours on end all day.

So as I sit today and type I didn’t get done nearly what I wanted to get done. We are 10 lessons away from finishing our Math book. We aren’t quite through the recommended Language Arts book. We are a few lessons shy of completing 1 semesters worth of Kinderbach. And half of the worksheets that I started with in the fall aren’t complete and the workbooks I bought in December have hardly been touched. But all that being said I feel like Gymnast has successfully completed Kindergarten. If I don’t do anymore school this spring I think we were successful.

This is what Gymnast has learned this year:

1 – She will sit for an hour or longer for me to read to her picture books as well as chapter books.

2 – She is reading three letter words. Knows what a syllable is. Knows about 50 of the 72 phonograms.

3 – She can write all of her letters, copy entire paragraphs, and is starting to spell words when called out to her.

4 – She knows how to add, count by 2’s, count by 10’s and is starting to grasp place value.

5 – She has learned how to keep rhythm through Kinderbach. She has also learned where C, D and E are on the keyboard. She can read the music for and play a simple song on the keyboard.

6 – She colors beautifully and enjoys doing so. She can often be found sitting at her desk coloring in one of her books. She has also drawn me some pretty artwork that adorns my fridge and bulletin board.

7 – She can unload the dishwasher, put the dishes away in cabinets, change the clothes from washer to dryer, start the dryer, put clothes in the washer, fold towels and her clothes, clean windows, feed her cat, and run the vacuum. Some of these things of which she figured out on her own. For instance, I never told her she had to start the dryer. After putting her second load into it she asked me where to turn the dial to start it.

8 – She knows what the American flag is, knows that there are other countries in the world, knows that animals are classified into five basic groups (fur, fins, feathers, scales and skin).

9 – She has learned many positive character traits. She has learned that God created the Earth and everything in it and that he sent his son to die for us so that we could live forever. She has learned how to pray.

What has Karate Kid learned? Technically if he was in school he would have been in a three year old program. However, I believe he has also successfully graduated Kindergarten. I’m not really sure what is expected in a three year old preschool class. Karate Kid is reading three letter words, can write his name, has kept up with Gymnast in the Math book, knows where C, D and E are on the keyboard but isn’t all that interested in playing songs, he loves for me to read to him, he is capable of doing all the same chores as Gymnast except folding, he can write his name.

All this and we took off from Nov 1 – Jan 3. The weeks we did do school we only worked about 2-3 days a week. Except for our reading time. Just about every day after breakfast and morning chores we sit down on the sofa and read for at least 30 minutes. So what’s my plan for the next few weeks? To relax.. We will do Math maybe a couple of times a week to try to finish. I plan on having them practice reading to me. And I plan on continuing to read many of our wonderful books. Most of all I am going to continue to love teaching my kids and stop sweating the “but I didn’t finish… or I had planned to…”. God has given me the grace to not sweat those things. His grace has shown me to stop and see all that we have accomplished and not feel guilty about the things that I didn’t follow through on. His plan was carried out. He was the one that gave me my goals for this year and I accomplished them. In my own strength and pride I put those other things in our life. Those other things brought guilt. Not any longer. I have peace that I have succeeded in schooling three kids this year. And His grace allows me to let go of all the other plans that I had.

I have some great ideas for next year. I am cautious though to not go overboard in what I want to do. I will certainly pray about it and let the Lord direct me in what he wants for my family next year. After all He creates each family uniquely for His unique purpose.