Kindergarten Woes

by Dagmar Bleasdale on October 29, 2011

Apparently, someone seems to have a lot of fun in kindergarten.

Today, I went to L’s kindergarten class with mini cinnamon rolls, paper plates, and a kid’s book to share at his little birthday party.

It’s still not his actual birthday, yet this is his second party. That’s just how the cookie crumbles this year.

L has been in kindergarten now for about 5 weeks, and he is doing fine.

But I’m not.

I thought I would have so much more time now that he’s gone for 6.5 hours. Yet I’m always rushing around and driving up the hill full speed to pick him up from the bus.

Why do I feel like I’m repeating myself? Oh, because I am.

On most days, I don’t think it’s a big deal, but on other days it seems like I have a ton more work added by him being in kindergarten. My to-do list only gets longer.

How do moms with four kids do this, and do it well? I don’t like feeling like I’m winging this.

L isn’t getting a ton of homework, but some. And we are encouraged to do more by ourselves with him at home.

His school is “paperless” and environmentally conscious (yet, do they use toxic cleaners for the classrooms?) We — who am I kidding, that will always just be me — are supposed to check on our kid’s website account ever so often, but the site is so badly designed, it takes me a while to find things every time.

“Paperless”? An incessant stream of papers about fundraisers, home town stickers, book fair, volunteer signup for the holiday fair, etc., comes home with L every day.

I feel like putting a giant “No Solicitors!” sticker on his folder. Is that an option? It should be. How to opt out of kindergarten junk mail.

One note about voting for the school every day on a certain website so they get $10,000 isn’t enough — I think I’ve received four by now. And when I want to be supportive and vote, the site is giving me an error message.

Don and I are proud members of the PTA by now. And I signed up to help out at the holiday fair.

L has been stabbed with a pencil in the leg and was send to the nurse in the first week and stabbed near/in the eye the next week.


All of a sudden he comes home with bite marks on his hands — I guess from being nervous; he won’t tell me. Or from being the youngest boy in class and getting used to so many new kids and demands and rules. Heck, I’m still getting used to them!

After he was the golden child for two years in preschool (“I wish I had 10 Landon’s in my class,” his teacher whispers to me), I now hear that he’s having a hard time paying attention sometimes and was tested for his language abilities (he passed).

Welcome to kindergarten.

I’m in contact with his teacher, who is lovely, but I don’t want to overwhelm her with questions because she’s also getting emails from 20 other parents.

I’m glad that L is in kindergarten — he happily jumps on the bus and comes home knowing so many new things.  We are very lucky to have him in such a good school district. Everyone working there has been nothing but wonderful, but we are both still adjusting.

I’ve looked into homeschooling. I have always been intrigued with it since he was little. I like the flexibility and the focus on one particular child and his/her learning style.

The first — and only — time L got a time-out in preschool, he was holding another kid’s hand after leaving the playground and that kid made a run for it across the parking lot and L ran with him.

My first reaction hearing that? “You go, Landon, I wouldn’t like being in line either.”

I was kind of proud, actually. I don’t want him to be a follower. But obviously safety comes first in school and kids need to listen.

I have several friends who homeschool, but they are not working full-time. How would I get all my work done?

It feel like I don’t really have much control about what happens to L in kindergarten. I never felt like he was out of my reach or that I wasn’t welcome at his preschool.

The kindergarten didn’t ask me before they tested his language, and I think they should have let me know. And I didn’t get a call about the eye stabbing incident, so I was questioning that realness of the story, which I shouldn’t.

I should know to believe L; he doesn’t make stuff up like that.

I’m hoping that the hand biting and not paying attention and not knowing how to write U yet will work itself out in a few more weeks. They’ve got me worried about him.

I guess that’s part of the whole puzzle — I’ve never had to worry about L so far, and having him in kindergarten worries me.

So what that he doesn’t know all his letter yet — he’s a little boy, not even 5 yet.

How do/did you feel about your child’s kindergarten? How is/was the experience for you?


{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Lausy11 November 1, 2011 at 8:22 AM

I found this from a forum, which I was uable to comment on. I should clarify that homeschooling is very very uncommon in my area, so I make NO comment on the pros or cons. However, your forum query was whether you can work full time and homeschool. Your profile says you run a consulting type firm – so I’m assuming business hours to some extent. I don’t see how you could fully, effectively homeschool ie give your child 5+ hours of undivided, uninterrupted quality time at a time that works best for them – even if it was in 45-60min chunks 5-6 times a day – and work full time, even without the complication of business hours. I guess you need to consider, if you’re struggling now, with him away from the house for 6 hours, how will having him home remedy the ‘time’ issue? Good luck with whatever you decide to do :)!


Dagmar November 1, 2011 at 3:30 PM

That’s what I am thinking as well. Although my work hours are flexible and I work a lot at night, I don’t see how there is any way I could pull of homeschooling L.


KC October 30, 2011 at 10:58 PM

Colleges pursue Home Schooled kids because they have more motivation and more real life experiences than kids that go to a Public/Private Shcool? ARE YOU SERIOUS? This is rather a blanket statement. Motivation and life experience is an INDIVIDUAL thing. It matters not how the child was educated. I’d love to know what “life experiences” a home schooled child has over a child that attended Shcool? example please?

Please tell me one College that pursues a home schooled child based on motivation and life experience? How would they know? My child has plenty of MOTIVATION and was not home schooled. He has plenty of life experience and as not home schooled.

as for UNSCHOOLING…that is a crock. It’s lazy parenting. I am tired of reading about Mothers that have child after child and Home Schooling has to stop a while due to newest baby so we’ll just UNSCHOOL.

To each their own.


Tammy Curry October 30, 2011 at 9:02 PM

I am going to have say first you are a mom I have come to admire over the last year +. Secondly, the best advice I ever got in regards to my children came from my mother in law: “Follow your gut where your kids are concerned, it won’t fail you. Because you are the only one who truly knows them.”

As for homeschooling, it is a personal choice. The stereotypes that float around because someone knows someone who has seen homeschool kids have some kind of issue isn’t accurate. While in the homeschooling community I have met families where it really wasn’t working well it was still their choice to do so. I am a veteran homeschool mom this year we are using a virtual public charter school, South Carolina Calvert Academy, because my kids asked for more structure. My 1st grader is excelling and my 7th grader is being challenged but in good ways.

Yes, eventually are kids grow up and we have to let them lead their own lives but honestly at 5 years old there is absolutely no harm in swaddling them up in our love and educating them ourselves. I remember standing crying watching my now 13 yr old get on the bus for kindergarten. Honestly I should have followed my mother in laws advice then and started with homeschooling right off the bat.

I could ramble on about this all day, suffice to say its your choice sweetie, research it and follow what your head and heart tell you is right for your little man.


Meg October 30, 2011 at 5:49 PM

I really like that you are such an independent-thinking, instinct-trusting mom and I don’t see why entering a more formal time of Landon’s educational life should diminish those great qualities of yours. All of your concerns sound rational and valid. From what I have read on your blog, you have never chosen to delegate the most critical influences in L’s life to others so why, now that L is in kindergarten, would you be expected to suddenly turn off your thinking cap! I think it’s great that you’re appreciative of what your public school has to offer and that you’re willing to try and make it work. But if it truly isn’t for L, or for you, or for the both of you, an alternatives like homsechooling is a great idea. Some ignorant people will cite to stereotypes about independent education, saying the kids aren’t socialized, or don’t do well in college. But there is no credible research to back that up. The fact is that homeschooling IS a traditional education – public schools are a modern invention. Just like you had the courage to breastfeed and make a million other choices that you knew that you knew that you knew were just right for your family, I encourage you to make choices now that you know are just right for your family, regardless of stereotypes or uniformed blog comments!

I could completely see you homeschooling and rocking it!

There are a lot of moms who work and homeschool. I believe that, if it’s right for you, you could definitely find a way to accommodate. There are also charter programs that provide some classroom teaching for certain portions of the day, so that you and L can be apart a bit and you can rely on others for a portion of the teaching.

Don’t listen to naysayers and don’t assume that when it comes to education you have to do whatever the majority is doing!! Just use your independent spirit and your creativity and research and stick to what you think is right for your child!

If any one of the incidents you have described had happened to my son I would definitely be considering an alternate route. Best wishes to you!


KC October 30, 2011 at 10:44 PM

I do not appreciate being called IGNORANT just because I stated my opinion on Home Schooled chilldren my Son has encountered in College. They are having a terrible time adjusting to College life and being away from home and navigating all the things that come with that. One dropped out. I am sure there are Home Schooled children that are more prepared for College than the one’s I have encountered. You cannot shelter your Children forever. Sure L is only 5 and can be home schooled for a few years but there comes a time when you have to let them go, whether it be Kindergarten or College. Calling me ignorant is very rude.


Dagmar October 30, 2011 at 11:15 PM

KC, Meg didn’t call YOU ignorant, she said some people are ignorant about homeschooling. I think that’s probably true, don’t you think? I know I don’t know all there is to know about homeschooling. You have your experiences, and Meg has hers.

This isn’t a discussion about which one is better, public school or homeschooling, it’s about what works for YOUR family. For me kindergarten is the right choice for now, but no one guaranteed me that it’s going to be easy :)


KC October 30, 2011 at 11:49 PM

Well in my first comment I DID bring up that the kids in College with my Son that were homeshcooled are having trouble. Meg stated that was ignorant. Maybe she was talking about someone else.

Either way it is neither here nor there and we all should do what is best for our child. I was just offering you a perspective of someone further down the line than you. Someone that has one Son also. I still consider my Son my baby and always will. I have just tried to do what was best for him and not what was best for me. Now if there is something that is best for BOTH then awesome.

I hope Kindergarten gets better for YOU and I think it will as you are so involved. From all the pictures you have shown of Landon he seems to be loving Kindergarten. Please know that I DO understand how incredible hard it is to not have them with you all of the time. I am doing that now. Mine lives 90 minutes away and all I can do is trust I have raised him prepared for his new adventure. Kindergarten seems like YESERDAY and I was looking at hos little Kindergarten “graduation cap” the other say. It goes by so fast.

I have been reading for a while and I am so sorry for the loss of your Father. Your post to him was beautiful. I feel I have a few things in common with you besides our boys….my Family all live in Australia. I did many trips with my Son over the years just as you have with Landon. I could not imagine getting a phone call from my Brother as you did…my heart broke for you.

I know you will make the best choice for Landon and your Family.


Meg October 30, 2011 at 11:58 PM

KC your comment is full of generalizations and judgment so if the shoe fits, wear it. But for the record Dagmar is right, I only meant there are people out there who want to opine on one another’s parenting choices without having all the information. It really wasn’t about you. All I’m trying to do is encourage a mom who has put her valid concerns out there on a blog, and build her up in her personal decision making.

Dagmar October 31, 2011 at 12:19 AM

Thank you, KC!

M D October 30, 2011 at 2:09 PM

PS Homeschooling is a valid choice; many colleges seek out homeschooled children because they’re more motivated and have real life experiences.


M D October 30, 2011 at 2:08 PM

Check out Waldorf education! They give children what they need, provide developmentally appropriate and multi-sensory education. No unrealistic expectations (six year olds are not SUPPOSED to sit for 5 hours a day; no wonder their attention wanders!) or teaching to the test. Green Meadow has opened an early childhood center in Tarrytown.


KC October 30, 2011 at 3:00 AM

oh one more thing I would like to add…..I started my Son at L’s age also. He was not yet 5 either. I WISH I had waited a year. I knew he was ready as he already knew letters/numbers and was very bright but in hindsight he may not have been ready emotionally. When he graduated HS he was 17. He only turned 18 when he started College this past September. Over the years there was never a problem with his grades, just maybe some immaturity in Middle School.

The thing is if I had held him back a year he would still be in HS and not in College and home with me:)

There comes a time when you DO lose control over a part of their life. I see some comments where Mom’s are all saying they want that control back and want to control what they do/learn.

You have to let them go. Yes it sucks but in the long run it benefits the child and I feel i can speak on this since I have seen mine through to College and there are no UNSCHOOLED kids in College. NONE.


KC October 30, 2011 at 2:50 AM

It seems like yesterday my little guy started Kindergarten. He started College this fall and is my only child and now away from home. Trust me when I say it goes by FAST. What you are experiencing is not any different to what I am now or what I did back then too. You miss him and you worry. It comforts you to think about taking him out and homeschooling. It comforts me to wish mine would come home and go to a local College. But we are being selfish. They are where they are supposed to be IMO and as hard as it is we must accept they are growing up. I hope you remember this when he goes off to College!! All this stuff will pass, he is learning in Kindergarten and interacting with other kids and learning to follow rules.

Oh and when he ran across the street with the other kid he WAS being a follower! :)

Hang in there. The Home schooling idea is a comfort to YOU and would be for YOU. Let me tell you this…..My Son has homeschooled kids in his College, it is a fairly well known College and they are NOT DOING WELL. They lack life skills for one. They don’t know about the world and living away from home. Some of them have already dropped out.

Keep your Son in Kindergarten. It will be fine. It’s hard at first but it is the best thing and especially if it is a good school as you said. Cherish these moments!! Before you know it he will be off to College also!! No offense to home schooling Parents but I just don’t think everyone does it correctly or is cut out for it and I think an only child benefits from Public School. Mine did.


Miss Night October 29, 2011 at 6:45 PM

I am a kindergarten teacher, and if I stumbled across your entry, the very LAST thing I would be is offended or upset. I try hard to remember every day that the start of kindergarten is often even scarier for parents than it is for kids. I agree that you should have been informed about any specialised testing (this is policy for us). Keep asking questions, trust your instincts, keep building a strong relationship with Landon’s teacher (it sounds like you are doing this already), be open to conversations. If Landon is loving school, that is a VERY good sign. And you are right about the letters, too – 2 months into kindergarten is WAY too early to be worried about a child not knowing something. Your post is fair, and honest, and more teachers need to read it. School can be scary, and not just for kids.


Dagmar October 29, 2011 at 9:44 PM

Hi Miss Night,

thank you so much for your comment! I was doubting my instinct about what I wrote a bit after that other criticizing comment :)

I wanted to express how it feels to me as a first-time mom sending my son off to kindergarten.


Angie (theactorswife) October 29, 2011 at 5:25 PM

We’re unschooling through pre-k and not doing kindergarten until 6.
Check out Boys Adrift by Dr. Sax, it was instrumental in our decision to go this way.


Angie (theactorswife) October 29, 2011 at 3:55 PM

We’re unschooling through pre-k and not doing kindergarten until 6.
Check out Boys Adrift by Dr. Sax, it was instrumental in our decision to go this way.


karen October 29, 2011 at 1:02 PM

We don’t have the same system in the UK. Emily did 18 months of nursery (I guess what you’d call Kindergarten) from aged 3-4.5. She is now in “reception” at Primary school. All children in the UK have to be in some form of full time education, be it homeschool, the public or private system by the term they turn 5. She’s 5 at the end of December. She currently goes from 8:45-1pm. She’s loving it, but like you, I’ve had my reservations. We are also “paperless” so all parent information/school letters are e-mailed to me. But she does bring home a reading and writing book, which we do about 15 mins of per day. They’re using the Jolly Phonics system, which is pretty standard UK wise, and I’m not that convinced it’s the best method to teach reading, and it’s hard for me to get my head round how it works. Em herself hasn’t had any issues, although she is exhausted by the weekend, and I’ve definately noticed a bit more “attitude” and she’s definately grown up a bit. I know other kids in the class have struggled with a few things, Em’s best friend has regressed toilet training wise, and there are one or two very rough boys in the year 1 class above them who have caused a few issues. I’ve said to my husband, I’ll give it this year, and if I don’t like the effect it’s having on her, personality wise, and if we’re not happy with the “system”, then I may homeschool for a while. The school is good, the teacher’s are lovely, I think it’s just hard to see your child changing, and growing, and not being able to influence as much as I’d like, and I don’t mean that in a helicopter/overprotective parenty way, just that I feel sometimes that my children should be with me, learning with me, and growing up more slowly, not in a full time, uniform wearing, rigid, system, at such a young age. It’s hard isn’t it. Em also has been biting her nails, I’ve noticed, which for her is a sign of anxiety. It has lessened a little, so I’m hoping it will pass. Hope Landon’s hand biting eases. I know what you mean about wondering about what happens at school. Em came home with huge bruises on her knees, told me she’d been pulled of a play area by a “bigger boy” but the teachers didn’t know anything about it. Sometimes I wish they didn’t have to grow up and be out there without us! :(


Petra October 29, 2011 at 11:44 AM

Hi Dagmar!

I would say your worries are certainly legitimate ones! My daughter started Kindergarten this year and I’m certain I’ve already gotten a Tree’s worth of papers so far about this and that ;) As for Landon, does he seem happy? Does he enjoy school and look forward to going? I would say let his behavior and attitude towards school, his teachers, and the other children be your guide. Home school really appeals to me too, but I am also trying to figure out how it would fit into our lives. Good Luck, and as always, love your blog!


Erin October 29, 2011 at 11:26 AM

As a teacher, I would be fairly horrified to come across a blog complaining about situations that I had not yet had an opportunity to address. Yes, the teacher has twenty other parents contacting her, but I’m certain she’d prefer to give her input on many of the situations you addressed. Trust me when I say that we’d prefer to be overwhelmed with questions and be given a chance to explain any classroom decisions or situations.


Dagmar October 29, 2011 at 3:32 PM

As I said, I’m in contact with his teacher, who couldn’t be more lovely. She wasn’t aware that the nurse hadn’t called me about the eye incident, she assumed the nurse would have called me.

I have brought up my concerns and she told me what she wants me to keep an eye on, and we are totally on the same page. No problem there. We both want L to do as best as possible and have a great experience.

I don’t see anything wrong with voicing my concerns. These are just my feelings. I’m a very involved parents, and that will never change. Might I worry too much sometimes? I’m sure, and that’s why I don’t bother his teacher with every little thing.


Dagmar October 31, 2011 at 12:18 AM

Thank you, Meg!


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