We are half way through the school year and already Lu has learned so much. They say "everything you need to know you learn in kindergarten" and I think that might be right.
Besides reading and math, which she is learning very nicely, here are some important things our little Lucy has learned:
1) it's what's on the inside that really matters.
The week before school started I took her shopping for new tennis shoes. In the summer we don't wear shoes, it's strictly flip flops and sandals for us, nothing that requires a sock :); so she needed a pair. We went to Payless and she spent a long time looking and picking just the right pair. She actually ended up with two, one that was light pink with velcro zig zagging stripes to hold them on. The other was a dark pink with shoe laces. She was very happy until she got to school and saw that "all the other girls" had twinkle toes.
After school on about day three she asked if we could go to the store and get twinkle toes. I said no. She had brand new shoes that were perfectly nice.
Every day after that she longed for twinkle toes. She just knew that everyone else had them and were in fact mocking her for not. If only she had some then stinky Christopher wouldn't stick a straw in his nose and wave it at her, and she would always get first choice of centers and no one would ask her to let them get on the swing when she wanted it. So with the persistence of a pit bull, or a 5 year old, she asked and asked for twinkle toes. Every week. Every time we went to the store, and sometimes randomly when she just thought of it she would beg. Every time I said no. Gently and kindly but firmly because a) she had perfectly good shoes and b) I knew what she did not, that twinkle toes would not change her life at all.
Then along came Thanksgiving and a trip to Ohio to visit the family which included a shopping trip with Uncle Brian.
Guess what Lu got?
Yep, twinkle toes!
She was ecstatic!
She was thrilled!
She sparkled and danced her way through life waiting for the first Monday back to school. Monday came and she hopped up bright and early, got dressed all the way down to her twinkle toes and skipped off to school.
Monday afternoon she got off the bus looking forlorn and upset and walked up to me with the saddest face. When she traversed the 10 steps from the bus to me she couldn't take it a minute longer and burst into tears! "No one noticed my twinkle toes!" she cried. It turned out they had no magical powers after all. Christopher still was stinky, she still had to share and no one cared about her shoes.
As gently as I could I told her that was because her friends liked her for who she was inside, not for what kind of shoes she wore. People are important and special just because they are, not because of what they have.
She listened, sighed, and kicked her shoe on the grass. Then we headed home a little sad, but also a little wiser and ready to make some cookies. (secret lesson #2 making cookies helps a lot of situations)
She has learned to be compassionate. At the start of the year the children took turns bringing home "the broadcast box". They had a plastic shoe box that each perosn got to bring home and fill with treasures, then the next day they brought it back to school and could share what they brought. On Lu's turn she stuffed that box with all her cool stuff, she's a very confident little thing. She was very excited and happy on broadcast box day :)
One day I was at school helping and Ms Myers told me that some of the kids were quite shy, particularly Lu's friend Rebekah. On Rebekah's day to have the broadcast box she only brought in one thing and when she sat on the "special stool" to share she just sat there looking down at her lap . Ms M told me that Lu raised her hand and asked Rebekah 2-3 questions about her thing, and really helped her to share. She told me she is always helpful and kind to the other children. Which I am so happy to hear.
She has learned that the cafeteria food, that looks so fabulous, really is not :)
Most recently she learned that you never regret saying something nice...but sometimes you regret being a little snarky.
With the start of the new year that class made a "new year's resolution book". Each child got a page to write and illustrate their resolution on and then they bound them into a class book. Lu thought she would be funny and cheeky and wrote "my resolution is to torture my brother and sisters more". After the book was put together the teacher sat them down and read it out loud to the whole class. The other children wrote things like "I will make my bed without being told" or "I will help my mom". When they got to Lu's page she was quite embarrassed, it was too late though and she couldn't change what she wrote.
When she got home from school she spilled the sordid tale of shame and was a little weepy about it. "I asked Ms Myers if I could redo my page", she said, "but it was too late :( "
We had a little chat about how you will never regret not saying something mean, but the things we let slip out that aren't so nice, whether we are trying to be funny or not ,often come back in a flash of shame that makes us shake our heads and wonder at our own stupidity. I assured her that I know, and Ms Myers knows, that she is a wonderful, kind, sweet, helpful, girl and that no one thought less of her. She told me "next time I'm just going to write something nice". Words are powerful. My sweet girl is learning many good lessons this year.
and she can read "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" all by herself!