Monday, September 14, 2009
Off To School
Last Tuesday morning, September 8 2009, Benjamin was off to school for the first time. He is beginning kindergarten up the road at our little country schoolhouse with two other children in his class (both of whom he's played with since diapers!--funny that doesn't seem to be so long ago, now that I think about it!) It seems a little surreal that my first baby is ready to go off to school all ready, but there it is. He was pretty excited when we took him off to Billings to do some clothes shopping for school, and then we bought school supplies and he thought it was REALLY exciting: his own markers and scissors!
He asked me to take him to school his first day because he was feeling "a little nervous" and so I obliged. Normally he will ride the bus that comes up to our turn-off and picks him up first and then 4 other kids on the way to school. We went into the little school to find a desk and bookshelf in a corner for the 3 Ks, complete with mini chairs and room for their little cubby of supplies. Once a teacher, always a teacher, so our dear teacher allowed me to check out the lessons for the day, thumb through the math and language workbooks, and even showed me the cool "letter people" 45s and curriculum she found at a 2nd hand store. Ben discovered the magic of an electric pencil sharpener so the teacher took me on a tour downstairs to find the area where the centers will be assembled, 2 computers for the little ones, and the big rug for the "resting" while reading area. (I told her the word "rest" would work better with the Ben than "nap" he's a big kid you know, who doesn't take "naps"!)
After the rest of the students arrived, Ben and his classmates paused, reluctantly from unloading all their treasures from their back-packs, and posed for me. Everyone asked me how it was and if I handled it. And you know, I did. Benjamin is clearly ready to learn some things from someone besides his mother, and I couldn't have hand-picked a teacher for him any better than the one we have. She understands how differently kids learn, and that they are not perfect. She loves them all individually and I've always thought kids could really sense when it was that someone truly cared for them. She holds the same values that I have for my kids--in fact she's been such a great friend that she's given me great parenting advice, as she had a child much like Benjamin. She's of another generation who really values hard work, truth, and the importance of building kids up based on their accomplishments rather than false praise. Benjamin is a 4th generation rural school kid on both sides of the family. From my observation and experience, I think it is one of THE best ways for a kid to be educated. Small class size, excellent student-teacher ratio, all kinds of opportunities for reinforcement as the kids listen to each other learn on all skill levels, and good families who are our neighbors.
It WAS hard, knowing that our season of being home together all the time is over. But that's part of life and it's time for a new season. He's loving it so far--he told me he thought he should really be going more than two days a week and he's really excited to learn to read. I'm so proud of the boy the Benjamin is now (even if there's few rough spots now and then) and I'm really excited to see the boy he'll become.