Hey, if you think this will be anything other than a post of me bragging about my kid, turn back now.
So after much trepidation and some accidental stringing along of the local Catholic School, we decided to send Frank to kindergarten. I was pretty confident we could help him through whatever troubles he might encounter. Well so far the boy is flourishing. He loves going to school, loves his teacher, and has made a lot of new friends.
As it turns out I am the one who may have not been ready for kindergarten. Pre-school was so nice. First and foremost, it started at 9am. Rule of thumb was get there no later than 9:15. Since both of our kids were sleeping till 8 – 8:30, that was awesome. Honestly neither Tracy nor I knew what it was like to be out of bed before 8am until Frank started kindergarten. Plus drop off and pick up was so friendly. People were glad to see you. I mean, one of the kids used to announce me when I rolled up to the yard to pick Frank up from Pre-school; “Frank, your dad is here!” I miss hearing that. There was just a general happy valley lets all learn together vibe about pre-school.
Now I have to get up at 6:30 every morning without fail. There is no slip factor in that. He has to be at school by 7:30. I know most of you are flipping me off right now, but bear in mind I go to bed around 12:30 – 1am. Of course I’ve adjusted that back to 10:30pm but it was nice having such a wide margin for error.
Then of course drop off and pick up is so different. And by different I mean bad. It’s bad. Very rigid, very unforgiving. Make one honest misstep and blows rain down upon you by people not fit to be in charge. No happy 4yr old yelling out to Frank that his dad is here, just Darla Drill Sargent checking my ID and pole-vaulting over her authority, chastising me to the point she put her own life in danger. Honey, bottom line, it’s just elementary school pick up not the Manhattan Project. With 700 kids I get it, there are morons in the pick up lane and I may have been one of them. Still doesn’t excuse your behavior. No matter, I talked Frank into riding the bus home. Problem solved. The drop off lane is a much smoother, calmer operation.
Those bumps aside it’s a great school. The principal is awesome and Frank’s teacher is the perfect match for him. I didn’t think he’d be excited about any teacher again after the two wonderful pre-school teachers he had for his final year there. But he took to his kindergarten teacher pretty quick. Always has a big smile on his face when anyone asks who his teacher is.
Believe it or not we are 8 weeks deep into this kindergarten experience. And it has been an experience. Just 2 months in and I’ve been to 868 events. Maybe not that many, but it’s been a lot. One huge thing this school does is condense all that fundraising stuff into one night.
They don’t do wrapping paper, popcorn tins, car washes, etc… On one night they hold a “Great Harvest” fund raising dinner and auction. Adults only. This is the third or fourth year. This year’s take was approx $110,000 american dollars. I’m pretty sure they’ve busted the six digit mark all four years. The only fund raiser they do outside of that is the coupon book sales. That’s a blog post all it’s own, coming to your favorite blog very soon.
Great Harvest is pretty slick. Fun night out for the parents, gobs of money for the school, and no door to door crap for parents and kids a like. The ultimate definition of a win win scenario.
You know what else is slick, making their first day an ice cream social that only lasts about 3 hours. It’s held in the cafeteria so the kids even get the feel of what it’ll be like when they start full time. How slick is it you ask, well we all got tagged with a color depending on which of the six kindergarten classes our kid is in. It was then easy to find his teacher, classmates, and other parents of the kids in his particular class. Smart. I like smart.
The place is big on involving parents as I’m sure most elementary schools are. They even got me to run a race, a charity race where they throw paint or something at you and you end up all colorful at the end. Tons of fun. The University of Tennessee Track Team came to workout and run with the students. Frank got to work out and run with the women’s team. I trailed behind, ya know, didn’t want to cramp his style.
That’s us pre-race, hair still in perfect working order. Frank is styling the Rocky Hill Rampage official t-shirt and sunglasses. I, on the other hand, am rocking the official Property of Frank’s Place limited edition t-shirt.
The good folks of the PTO say I ordered a large. I replied, “Lady, I haven’t ordered a large since my junior year of high-school.” Unlike Frank, I am not making friends at kindergarten. Either way, my size large Rocky Hill Rampage shirt was in the van, leaving me to some shameless advertising of Frank’s Place.
Here is the lady killer showing out for the UT Women. Standing right next to his new college aged friend. Frank was in rare form. This might be a problem down the road.
It was funny and almost sad to see the big smile on his face as he ran with perfect form along side two of the girls who took a shine to the kid with the best hair in the school. I mean, if you’ve seen him run around the Sac… he’s not Jesse Owens is all I’m saying. Unless of course a couple of cute college kids are running with him, then he becomes the embodiment of Roger Bannister. (four minute mile, look it up)
Regardless of all the fun pictures, he’s actually engaged in some school work. The first week was learning to write his name. Well, he already knew how to do that thanks to pre-school. After the third day of this he took some liberties.
The task was to write their names down one side of the page and then again on the other side. Frank stayed true on the left side of the page, but on the right side…. Yeah he wrote his name in the reverse, mirror image all the way down the right side of the page so when folded in half, both sides lined up and it looked like one row of names instead of two. So Frank on the left became knarF on the right with the letters facing the other direction. Obviously I can’t do that part here, but you get the gist.
He struggled where we thought he would, letter sounds and reading. After some yeomen type work from him, his teacher and us, he’s writing sentences, reading his books, and has the alphabet down pat. Still lagging behind a bit, but gaining ground.
When they hit the first math segment he shot way a head of his class mates. Hell, the kid has been keeping his own score on the golf course since he was two, can add and subtract in his head, and solved this equation I wrote down for him: 2-x=1. It’s as basic as basic can get, but I was curious if he was guessing at numbers or actually thinking about them. When I asked him how he did that he said, “I just took away the x and the two lines (equal sign).” Welcome to Algebra I Frank.
After talking to his teacher we are finding out his mind may work a little differently when it comes to numbers and patterns. Asked to line up flat rectangle chips in a stair pattern starting with 1 and going up to 10, Frank took a different stair way to mathlete heaven.
Instead of laying his chips flat like the picture showed, he stacked his starting with one, ascending to 10. He made an actual stairway. I didn’t think anything of that until the teacher said she would have never done it that way and her mind would have never seen it that way. So guess what, learning to read is now more important than ever. Math is nothing but words and sentences laid out in numbers and formulas. I’m ecstatic he’s doing so well with math, but it sounds like a lot more work for me and Mrs Frank’s Place to get him reading on par with his class.
Another area where he is woefully behind and is another sign he might be a budding mathlete: art class. The Linardo side of the family tree has never been and will never be full of Michelangelos. My parents, seven brothers and sisters, and I didn’t have too many of our pieces hanging in the gallery that is the front of the refrigerator. Frank is following in those footsteps. I give you his first work in kindergarten:
Asked to fill the page with a drawing of his family, this was Frank’s effort. And make no mistake this is his 100% effort. I tag this as his early minimalist/cubist period. That’s him and his little sister if you couldn’t ascertain that from the work itself.
His art is coming along and he is meeting expectations in art class. This makes me curious about the expectations in art class, but not enough to look into it. He loves it so I’m good.
So while love may be a battlefield, kindergarten is a minefield. We’re 1/4 of the way in and we’ve lost our map of the mines.
Map or no map, Frank is running full speed ahead.