Monday, June 22, 2015

Summer and my thoughts on getting ready for Kindergarten. Warning: This is a long post!

Summer! Such a sweet word! I love it when people make a comment that they wish they were a teacher because of our summer break. I use that as an opportunity to assure them that it is not 3 months off because we  usually start putting in inservice days soon after school is out (I've already put in 2 1/2  of the 5 that we have to do) and that even though we do not have to report to work our mind is already tossing around ideas for the coming school year. I also tell them that soon there will be a teacher shortage and we welcome all to wish to pursue the career. :) I must admit that for me I have a very difficult time decompressing after the school year. By the time, I'm able to come off a school year it is time to gear back up again. It is hard for me to not be on a schedule so I make myself get up about the usual time and go to bed (a little later) although my kids might argue with that. :) I wish I could handle being out in the sun for extended periods of time just lounging by the pool but I simply cannot. It makes me light headed and some of the medicine I am having to take makes me burn easily. I do enjoy getting out and mowing and doing around outside the house. Now if I were at the beach it might be a different story!!! Yeah, I think I could manage staying out all day at the beach. :)

My mom, Kara, Kali and myself headed out to Disney World on Memorial Day. We spent Tuesday-Friday at the parks of that week and then flew home on Saturday. My aunt, my mom's sister, flew down so we got to spend time with her and her daughter while there. We had a great time-the weather was great, we got to do all we wanted to plus more, spend quality time with family, eat some great food, relax at the pool- and lots of other good stuff.

Kali left for camp at Lakeshore the day after we got back. She had a fabulous week and is signed up to go back for another week in July. We are so fortunate to Lakeshore UMA so close to us and it is such a wonderful facility that has such special meaning to our family. I attended camp there as a teenager and also served as a volunteer counselor there some during one of college summers and made lifelong friends who many I attended Lambuth College with. Kirk and Kara also attended for several summers when they were younger and were both baptized there in the river. I am thankful Kali holds it dear to her heart too.

Kara has been busy babysitting this summer for the sweet family she has kept for the last 7 years. I am taking her to Gainesville, Georgia this Friday to meet up with the group from Adventures in Mission that she will be working with in Puerto Rico for two weeks. She is obviously very excited and a little apprehensive since she has always done mission work with groups from home and she is stepping out of her comfort zone. She is such an example for me to follow!

Kirk is busy with work and taking an online summer class. He is signed up for another full load this fall and is excited because most of all his classes deal with his major now and he enjoys those classes much more than simply the classes that are required to take. He is more focused on his schoolwork than ever before it seems and anxious to finish his degree and hopefully move back to Florida.

Marty just completed his first week of his annual training with the TN National Guard. Thankfully, it was in Nashville and Kara and I had a place to stay last week overnight for her to visit with her FBLA BFF. Just a quick trip but lots of fun! He was able to come home for Father's Day weekend and get caught up on a few odds and ends. He headed back last night and Kara and I will stop off overnight again on our way to Gainesville, GA Thursday night to break up the drive.

My friend Crystle from posted a great article on June 17 about preparing your child for Kindergarten. I met Crystle two summers ago at ITeachK!  Please read it as I am simply adding to her list and not going to retype/post everything she has already said in her post. Please share with those who have children getting ready to attend Kindergarten this fall or a child of any age in fact. I decided to add some things to it that I have noticed with children at our school and wanted to share with you. Here goes:

1. Teach them to tie their shoes!!!!!!!! OR IF THEY CAN'T BUY VELCRO SHOES PLEEEEEAAAASSSSEEE!!! Don't get me wrong-I will tie shoes BUT it becomes a problem when I tie shoes and they magically and unknowingly become untied within moments after I just tied them! I vividly recall with my own children that I put them in Velcro until they learned how to tie their shoes. I can not tell you how many children have LONG shoestrings tagging along and it is the source of many falls for them and OTHERS. TEACH THEM PLEASE OR BUY THE VELCRO! :)
2. Let's just go ahead and get this out of the way-Bathroom Issues....
Ok so you would assume that most of this goes without saying BUT you would be and not so pleasantly surprised at some of the following things I need to say and address. Amazingly, I always see students who have to go immediately to bathroom as soon as they walk in the classroom-why, you ask?-because they don't go at home before school! Can you believe it?! Me either but apparently some are literally gotten out of bed, hopefully dressed appropriately (not always) and put on the bus. Forget using the bathroom, brushing your hair or teeth and certainly not eating breakfast. Now, breakfast is served at school so they can eat there JUST GET THEM THERE EARLY ENOUGH TO EAT IT WITHOUT RUNNING LATE TO CLASS. Back to the bathroom, excuse me but I think it goes without saying that most human beings especially we old folks PLUS anyone who has been asleep for an extended period of time need to go to the bathroom when they wake up. HELLO! So, tell your child to go use bathroom first thing after they get out of bed.
Now as far as using the bathroom. Teach them that ONLY pee or poop goes in the commode/toilet not in the floor, on the wall, not on anyone else and only pee goes in the urinal (for boys). DO NOT PUT ANYTHING ELSE IN THE URINAL OR COMMODE. NO ROCKS, STICKS, TOYS OR ANYTHING THEY SNUCK IN THEIR POCKET! If they see anyone putting those things in the commode, go tell a teacher. After they use the bathroom, PLEASE REMIND THEM TO FLUSH IT! I agree this is all gross. Makes me nauseous just typing and thinking about it but folks as you know a public bathroom can be one of the nastiest things on the planet. And the SMELL-OH MY WORD!!!! After flushing it, WASH YOUR HANDS. Last but not least have your child say I need to go to bathroom or restroom when asking to go. Potty is a word used for babies and toddlers. One of my pet peeves is to hear I have to go potty.  
Now, if you need to go take a break from reading this and throw up I understand. Go take a break!
3. Give your child paper, pencils, crayons, markers, play dough, dry erase boards, blocks,etc. and let them draw, color, build, create, mold and have fun! Coloring books are actually still sold in stores and my own 3 kids grew up on them! How will they know if they like to color or draw or write if you never provide them opportunities to do so.
4. Check your child's work every night and help them complete homework if they have any, check for reminders, notes from teachers, etc. and see what they did at school that day. If you have a question about something, contact their teacher about it either by email, write a note or call them at school the next day. Don't freak out and start making posts all over social media about a question you have. The teacher and/or school will be happy to answer your questions-just give us time.
5. If you are constantly changing the bus that your child will ride home in the afternoon or if they will be picked up or ride the bus or if so and so will pick them up today and so and so the next day, etc. well guess what? the odds are they will get sent home the wrong way at least once that year. whew!!! Try to be consistent with how they go home.
6. READ BOOKS TO THEM. After reading them, ask them questions to see if they were listening and check their understanding of what you read. This is a BIG standard that we work on in Kindergarten in Reading! What is the story about, who are the characters, what happened at the beginning, middle and end, if you could change the story what would you change about it, where does the story take place, etc. I mean you can have a child read anything you put in front of them and know every single sight word there is but if they can't answer simple questions about a story what good is the rest of it?.....
7. In the words of my favorite, most loved, a teacher rockstar, bff,  I wanna be her, the one and only Dr. Jean, every child needs a laptop. Did you hear that a laptop? But guess what you don't have to go out and buy one. You have it already! Put that child in your lap and READ, READ, READ  BOOKS!!! Also, teach them songs and nursery rhymes and tell them fairy tales and TALK TO THEM. Put up your cell phones, your ipods, ipads, TV's,  computers and video games and have a real conversation with your child. Electronics are literally raising some of these children. SO SAD!!!

So, maybe in addition to Crystle's blog and mine you have some ideas to get you started on the right foot for Kindergarten and school this fall. :) If I think of anything else, I'll add to the list later. Please keep Kara in your prayers while she is on her mission trip. Thanks and Bless you all!