Why Kindergarten Is Going To Push Me Over the Edge

I need someone to talk me down.  I just returned from a tour of our neighborhood public school.  This is the school where Vivi will very likely attend kindergarten in the fall and I just don't think I can handle it.

I walked out of the school near tears.  Part of my reaction, I think, is the emotion of sending my first-born off to school.  I find myself vacillating between the excitement of having her be someone else's problem for a few hours (hardy...har...har...) and the sadness that my little girl is no longer so little.  The other part of my reaction is that this school is just not what I want for her.

One of the bees in my bonnet is that the school district only allows kids 15 minutes of recess a day.  Fifteen!  Like somehow if we just keep them in the classroom whilst driving information into their brains these children will score higher on standardized tests.  My daughter is still little enough to need time to run around.

My husband and I were also standing in those kindergarten classes picturing how frustrated our daughter would be.  You see, Vivi is very language-oriented.  She loves practicing her writing, making up languages, and learning to read and it really bothers her that her fellow nursery school classmates don't all know their letters and sounds.  (Yes, my kid is also a pain in the ass.)  When she becomes frustrated, her behavior deteriorates and while I think it is important and necessary that she learns HOW to handle that frustration, I think putting her in an educational environment that forces her to slow down instead of advance is going to spell trouble.

So I am left feeling depressed about our lack of options.  Here's the deal:  We have put in applications to charter schools but since my luck isn't that good, I doubt we'll win that lottery.  We have also applied to our neighborhood Jewish Community Day School which is wonderful (two significant recesses a day and a very challenging curriculum!) but unless we get some serious financial aid, we won't be coughing up $16,250 for the pleasure of sending our kid there.  And, well, my daughter doesn't like me enough to make homeschooling a viable option.

What's a stressed-out Mom to do?


  1. I'm sorry Mama, its a hard time and made harder when you are not super confident in a 'match'. Remember how much she changed in the past year? it'll keep happening... she'll figure out her way no matter where she goes... you've done a good job...

  2. Thanks goodness for you WMX. You make me feel better.

  3. "my daughter doesn't like me enough to make homeschooling a viable option."

    Did you know that you only need to spend 1 hour/day on schoolwork with a first grader? For a kindergartner you only need to spend about 30 minutes? Seriously. And homeschooling for a year or two doesn't commit you to doing it forever. ;-)

    My 3 year old sounds very much like Vivi, and although she makes me want to tear my hair out most days, we usually find an hour a day--total, not all at once--where we are both in good enough moods that we can do something constructive. (At 3, "constructive" right now is doing puzzles, coloring, art projects or some writing together. She has expressed an interest in Bob books, too.)

    I was very leery of homeschooling when I learned about it 7 years ago, but now I'm all for it and am excited for my kids to be 'school-aged' (but maybe that's just because I'm hoping for a decent night's sleep by then!).

    I can point you to some info if you want to explore it further.

  4. No big advice, just sympathy and understanding. I remember being where you are and it was tough. We ended up at a private school but we're not there anymore...we're homeschooling, even though I felt sick at the thought of it for YEARS. Good luck, and WMX is right.

  5. My oldest is a pain in the butt too but I think staying home with him has forced us to appreciate each other and find ways to have fun. Homeschooling does not have to be formal at all. It can be a time of play, fun "field trips," lots of reading, etc. This could be a good way for you and Vivi to build a relationship. Whatever you decide, I wish you nothing but the best of luck!

  6. Apply early decision to Oberlin and Harvard.


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