Tuesday, February 10, 2009

School readiness

Today we got a short evaluation for kindergarten readiness from Julian's preschool. The "academic" criteria are very elemental, though really, they should be. Despite what many patrons of our school district might think, it's only kindergarten. Things like recognizing letters, colors, shapes, numbers. By those measures, Katrina is almost ready for kindergarten!

More importantly, his teacher wrote "very good" for the social criteria: attention span, social maturity, gross and fine motor skills, self-discipline, class participation, and that based on her assessment of his social and emotional maturity, excellent success can be expected in Kindergarten.

Not that I was in any way worried about Julian. I actually had a hard time filling out a parent survey for his kindergarten registration, especially about his strengths and weaknesses, goals I have for him, if there are any issues the teacher should be aware of, does he work well in groups, etc. He's so well-rounded there's really not a lot to say besides "He's great!"

Yesterday I was trying to give Gabriel an example of how math can be useful in the real world, as he complains sometimes about why he has to do homework. I told him, "Today at work, I needed to know how many minutes there are in a day." He scrunched up his face, puzzled, and said, "Well, why would you need to know one-thousand four-hundred and forty?!" OK, OK, never mind. [ Addendum: this is something he memorized, not that he calculated on the fly. ]

Two days ago I was showing Dave some samples of new handles for our dining room hutch, and mentioned that three of them cost $15 each, but one cost only $3. "WHAT?!" Gabriel exclaimed, "FORTY-EIGHT DOLLARS?!" I stared at him. Could I do that in first grade? Would I have?

He calculates quickly, but it takes years of experience to put into context what $48 means. I'm still learning how myself. $15 is a lot for a handle, but $5 is a lot for a piece of cheesecake too. Fortunately, I don't need a lot of either, and I'm buying both.

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