Kindergarten at home

Luke is really loving kindergarten. So much that he demanded - uh, I mean asked -that we make a few changes at home. Here are a few.

1. Active Listening

I know. You thought this was the universal sign for "Loooserrr," made popular by Jim Carey's Ace Ventura. Not to kids at Lake Carolina Elementary. In Luke's class, when the teacher needs to regain some control and get every one's attention she makes the "L" above her head and everyone follows suit as they catch on. The big "L" means it is time to stop socializing and listen to the teacher. In other words, the big "L" means SHUT UP!

Luke has requested that when I need him to stop talking I use the active listening sign. "Like when you are on the phone," he said, "and you don't want me to interrupt you can give me the active listening sign." Okay, I like that. I guess what Luke is telling me is that he prefers this to my usual "Luke, Luke, Luke (it normally takes at least three name calls to get his attention) you NEED TO STOP TALKING NOW."

2. "Must do," "May do," and "May not do."

In Luke's class these three phrases guide and direct them in work and play. This was hard for Luke the first few days of school. But now? He is bringing it home and implementing it here.

When asked to do something it is not unusual to hear him ask, "Is that a 'must do' or a 'may do'?"

When told not to do something I am finding I must tell him it is a "may not do," otherwise he views my command as a suggestion.

3. Reading

This isn't new for us, we do lots of reading. Or we thought we did. The reading requirements for kindergarten, however, surpass what we had been doing. So we have ramped it up and Luke is doing much more reading on his own. When Wil and Timothy are around it is a little more challenging.

What with Wil pushing the book closed or pointing to the pictures making the appropriate sound. Or Timothy trying to turn the pages before we are ready or both boys deciding to stick their fingers in Luke's ear while he is trying to sound out the word "favorite." I figure in addition to reading he is learning some multi-tasking skills.

4. Life Skills

Luke's school is all about the "life skill's." So in addition to their traditional school work they have an ongoing conversation about things like compassion, courage, common sense, kindness, responsibility, integrity, honesty, etc. I like this. It is good for him to hear these things from folks other than mom and dad. On Wednesday's his "Life Skills" folder is sent home for us to write down a few of the life skills we have observed in Luke. The folder goes back the next day and the teacher reads the accolades to the class. They all love hearing their parents praises as their peers listen on.

Luke, being the boy that he is, struggles with some of his life skills. Except on Wednesday afternoon. On Wednesday he comes home from school and offers to take out the trash, get his clothes out for school the next day saying, "I think it would be good for me to be responsible for getting my school clothes ready, don't you mom?" He is extra patient with his brothers - and always points out his patience. All in all he is really agreeable, for he knows I will be pulling his folder out to write down his life skills. Too bad cleverness is not on the list.

So kindergarten? We are all loving it. I pray this enthusiasm for school will be long lasting!


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