I'm Worried About Kindergarten, and We're Not Even There Yet

Linda Sharps
Healthy Living

I recently attended my first kindergarten orientation at what will soon be my son's school. It was an event I prepared for as nervously as a first date, carefully applying lipstick (to be more adult-like) then blotting it repeatedly with tissue (to not resemble one of Charlie Sheen's dick-gobbling hookers) before removing it altogether (to not appear to be Trying Too Hard, even though HELLO).

I was inexplicably paranoid there would be some sort of parental pop quiz, like I'd be forced to demonstrate my capability to be the grown-up parent of a school-aged child—which can't possibly be what I am, since my child was just born, right? And I'm still so young! In my early 20s, even! Far too dewy-skinned and bright-eyed to be a kindergarten mom.

(Note: according to my lying driver's license, which is full of a bunch of dirty lies, I am three years shy of 40.)


We've been doing a sort of homeschooling endeavor for the past five months or so. I've learned that there are certain things I'm pretty good at when it comes to facilitating learning (finding a topic that interests him and using it as a jumping-off point for projects), and things I am not so good at (restraining a nearly uncontrollable urge to shriek, "MY GOD, JUST SOUND IT OUT, DAMMIT!" then race from the room tearing out chunks of my hair after we've spent more than 30 consecutive seconds in the Learn to Read! workbook).

I would probably be an okay teacher if all we did were the fun things. This matches exactly to my experiences as a student, actually, which might have had something to do with all those abysmal grades.

Anyway, while I've learned that homeschooling isn't something that only crocheting sister-wives choose for their families (not that there's anything wrong with crochet OR sister-wifing), I never planned to do it long term. Riley's excited about starting school next year, and I'm ... I'm ...

Oh, I don't know. I'm excited for him, I suppose. But the school orientation kind of bummed me out.

I'd been planning for him to only do half days, but not only would he be in the vast minority (something like 5 kids out of 80 are doing half days at this school this year), it sounds like he'd be missing out on a lot of stuff. They do reading and math in the mornings, with all the social studies/art/music/etc. in the afternoons.

The principal also made it clear that the kids would have homework every day. I imagine this is more of a discipline/preparation thing more than anything else, but really, every day?

I suppose I sound more than a little ridiculous to those of you who have long passed the kindergarten stage, and know how much more school-related hand-wringing is in our future. Still, like the first-time mom obsessing over wipe warmer brands, I can't help it because MAH BAYBEEE.

Will he be happy? Will he thrive in this environment? Will it be okay that his school only gets a 4 out of 10 rating on GreatSchools.com? Will he make good friendships? Will he remember the days when it was just the three of us? Will his close relationship with his brother suffer? Will I ever stop fretting over our parenting choices, ever?

(I only know the answer to the last question.)

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