Saturday, September 3, 2011

Kindergarten Success!

Jacob is a kindergarten success story. He loves it there. I was a few minutes early picking him up yesterday and saw him go to his locker to get his backpack. He was full of smiles and excitement. He has even figured out the trick to getting his locker to open when it sticks!

I decided to walk Jacob home from school yesterday. I remember hating walking home from school but I also realize how much I learned on those walks. It was a chance to just relax and have fun while looking at the sky, grass, insects and world around me. I wanted Jacob to have that same experience. He normally rides the bus to day care but I took yesterday off work so he came home instead.

The walk home as well as much of the past 2 days has been full of stories about the wonderful things he has done and kids he has met. He states they are all his best friends and there aren't any he plays with more than others. I am sure that will change as the year goes on but for now it's great that he likes everyone.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about what our evening routine will look like. Jacob's not thrilled that I am instituting a new "routine" at home but I have noticed that those kids who do best in school are often the ones with a pretty structured home life. So here is a look at what I hope our new routine will be.

5:30 Arrive home. Mom cooks dinner while the kids play or watch TV.

6:30 (or whenever dinner is finished and the table cleared off). Look through Jacob's backpack with him. Discuss homework assignments. Find something positive about each piece of work before discussing what he could have done differently.

6:35 Work on any homework or assignments that weren't completed at school or day care. Check over assignments for the next day.

After homework is completed or additional work completed the following list is completed in order:

- Get backpack ready for the next day. Pack lunch box and place in fridge if not eating hot lunch.

- Play or watch TV. Must be inside the house by 7:30 if playing outside with neighbor's kid.

- 7:45 pm Bath time while I get Matthew ready for bed, read books to him and have -one-on-one time.

- 8:15 pm Read stories and have a few minutes of one-on-one time.

- 8:30 Tucked into bed. Light on with a few books to look at

- 8:45 Lights out and books put away.

That is Jacob's new routine. I am sure it will be adjusted slightly as the year goes on. The bedtime seems a little late but really it's earlier than he went to bed last year (by about half an hour). Since he rarely takes naps at home or day care anymore, I don't think he will require extra sleep. He gets up about 6:45 so he gets a full night's sleep. Matthew goes to bed a little earlier because he seems to need the extra sleep. He also gets up closer to 6:15 or 6:30.

I hope this routine works and the kids both strive from it. Matthew will have a similar routine when 4K starts next week except he doesn't really have any homework or even academic work to look over. He will do a little more structured learning later in the year and I will spend time looking at his work from school also but he won't have the same academic expectations until next year. For him, we will look over his papers together, discuss what he did really well, review anything he might have been working on and then just go play until 7:15 when his bath and bedtime routine begin.

There are also some nights where our routine just won't work. Tuesday nights Matthew has swimming lessons from 6:30 until 7:00 and Jacob has lessons from 7 until 7:45. We will get home around 8:15 and both kids will have to get ready for bed, read stories as a family and then go to bed at the same time. Thursday nights I have class so I will have to pull out any homework for Jacob before he goes to his babysitter's house, read any notes or newsletters on my break at school and then go over his worksheets Friday night. The babysitter will get him ready for bed and he will have to sleep in the car on the way home. I am hoping he won't be too tired on Friday mornings but it is the best I can do for this year. At least I only have class one day a week so it is only one late night a week.

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