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Friday, June 06, 2014

What's the Opposite of a Tiger Mom?

This morning, Norah had her "kindergarten curriculum skills assessment."  I know.  Sounds fancy, right?

Beforehand, I only had the vaguest of clues as to what the "assessment" would include, but I figured it'd probably be basic stuff.  Then, I second guessed myself: What are kindergartners supposed to know now?  Would the solar system be on the exam?  Would calculus?  Should I cram in the Pythagorean theorem?  Shit.  I had to use spellcheck to even SPELL those last two words! 

In this new age of education, most parents are aware that kindergarten today is NOT what kindergarten was when we were kids. When I was a kid, kindergarten was 3 hours a day of glue-eating and learning how to avoid being turned into a human rocket on the seesaw (ever notice how seesaws have all been removed from modern playgrounds?  probably because they were death traps, but I feel strangely nostalgic about their absence).  Certainly, we were never "assessed" before entering either, unless that assessment included "Are you 5?  Good.  Now you're a kindergartner!"

Now, however, kindergarten is "the new first grade" and kids are entering elementary school supposedly already knowing how to read, solve basic algebraic equations, and offer comprehensive political analysis of the electoral college.

Granted, Norah has been in preschool and recently "graduated" pre-K, so she knows her letters (pretty much), their sounds (mostly), her numbers (competently), and can do some basic math (sorta).  To me, that's WAY more than I knew at her age; in fact, her wealth of knowledge as a near-5-year-old sometimes astounds me.  For instance, she knows exactly how to pour her own ICEE at Target.  If anyone needs anything else in life, I don't know what it is.

So, back to this "assessment."

A Tiger Mom would've reviewed with her daughter pre-test. 

No.  Wait.  Back-up.

A Tiger Mom would know how to fucking spell "Pythagorean theorem," and so would her kid, so reviewing would've been for sissies.  Let's be more modest: A Type "A" mom would have reviewed with her daughter.  A Type "A" mom would've already been working on practicing handwriting and quizzing her child on sight words with flashcards.

I guess I'm more like a Type "Z" parent (I put sight word flashcards in my Amazon cart; does the thought count?).  So, at about 8 pm last night, I was like, "Hmmmm, maybe we should've reviewed for tomorrow morning?"  ...long mind pause...  "Eh.  You know what you know."

Thankfully, the "kindergarten curriculum skills assessment" turned out to be a cakewalk for Norah ("Yay!  You can cut squiggly lines!  Score!"), and the teacher told me she is "more than ready" for the fall.  Mentally, I was high fiving myself: "Yup.  I am raising a genius!"

On our way out, we were handed a "vacation education" packet that includes all kinds of "fun" school skill stuff to practice over the summer.  Oh, joy!  So, we ARE gonna have to work on sight words, after all?

Again, a Tiger Mom would've been all over this shit a year ago (plus, her kid would know Mozart -- and not because he or she had been watching "Little Einsteins" -- and spending the summer perfecting back handsprings or mastering her tennis serve).  But, I'm a lazier brand of parent who still thinks summer should be unstructured time spent arguing with your brother about whose turn it is to drink out of the hose.

I suppose, though, I could be persuaded to actually checkout those sight word flashcards in my Amazon cart, and perhaps I will add an educational app or two to the iPad, on the off chance Norah wants to practice reading instead of decorating cupcakes, yet I'll be honest: I'll probably do very little of that.  For the most part, I think we'll be outside this summer throwing water balloons or riding scooters.

There's a lot of years of school ahead.  Only a few months of summer.


Elizabeth said...

When it came time for my kindergarten assessment one of my childhood friends (the youngest of 4) missed one important question: "where is your elbow?" LOL but her mom feared not because "she could name every member of the backstreet boys!" Priorities, right? :)

CharisFaith said...

yeah your kids are going to be just fine! Life is short, summertime is short, and there are definitely a lot of school years ahead! I have a kindle fire and my stepdaughter loved the easy phonics and matching apps that I bought for her.