Maggie Makes Four!

This journal started off documenting the adoption of our youngest daughter. It now follows the twist and turns of our lives as we raise these two amazing little creatures into the best women they can become.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


I went back to Kindergarten on Friday. This time as a parent, and let me tell you it was eye-opening.

In California, Kindergarten is only three hours and twenty minutes with a twenty minute recess. Kids spend fewer hours in Kindergarten than they do in most preschools. Despite its short hours La Nina comes home wiped out. Frankly, I couldn't figure out why. Looking at the class assignments she brings home, academic stress was not the culprit. There is some homework, but not much. So, I wondered what the heck was so exhausting. Let me tell you, I learned first hand, Kindergarten is brutal.

I arrived in class about 45 mintues into the lesson. La Maestra was standing in front of the class leading the lesson, in Spanish. While I knew intellectually La Nina was in Dual Immersion Spanish, Lord, it really is in Spanish. And the teacher is warning the kids that she is "forgetting her English" more everyday. The good news is I could follow the teacher...yeah...I'm at a kindergarten level in Espanol. However, when one of the kids asked me a question in Spanish out of the context of what the teacher had said, I scrambled for help. (She wanted to know how long until lunch--a child after my own heart.)

Then, the kids are expected to pay attention, follow instructions and basically, sit still for two hours straight. They were moved from lesson to lesson very little break. Kids pulling the old, "I need water" ploy, were told that they had to wait until the next break between lessons. Then those drinks better be quick or their table would lose points. Kids not finishing lessons with the class were not using their time well. Wiggling too much, then those kids needed to pay closer attention. Considering I'm not good at sitting still or quietly, I was a nervous wreck by the end of my hour.

Hardest of all, the kids called on during class, had to answer questions in Spanish. I was freaked I was going to have to answer questions in Spanish. No wonder La Nina's asking for the flash cards. She's such a little perfectionist, she probably was shaking in her shoes about being called on. I'm also happy to report La Nina did very well when asked to read a few words about Mis Manzanas in Spanish. I, on the other hand, almost fainted on her behalf, which would have been a disaster because I was helping other kids stamp using apples while she read.

Needless to say, my hour was very illuminating. It made me very proud of my daughter. She's doing great. I'll be volunteering for an hour every Friday, which I'm really looking forward to. I'll get to know the teacher a little, get to know La Nina's classmates and also improve my Spanish as time goes by.

When we got home on Friday afternoon after my first day, I scooped us big bowls of ice cream, turned on High School Musical and gelled on the couch with the girls. Poor kid! No wonder she's so exhausted. Kindergarten wore me out too!


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