Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Kindergarten Complete

With a painless birthday spanking for the summer celebrants and a confetti cupcake baked by yours truly, kindergarten ended last Friday.

You'd think Nathan would be bummed, but the crystal blue swimming pool and the idea of attending summer care with Owen kept the sadness at bay. He was happy to be done, but boy was my kid proud.

Once we unloaded after our last kindergarten pickup, Nathan sat down at the table and unzipped his heavy backpack. He pulled out his crayon box, ready to color all summer long. He then watched my reaction as he handed me his final, refrigerator-ready report card.

An entire year of memories loaded down the gray backpack that slipped on his small shoulders in August. Books of words he had written in journal entries, pictures he drew that were better anything I could dream of doing, and carefully written names in his first-ever yearbook. He was done.

My son finished his first year of formal schooling and he has come out shining on the other side.

I'll admit I was scared when I left him in the classroom last fall. I knew Nathan liked to learn and I knew he was bright, but I was unsure of how he would do in this environment. Could he make new friends? Could he take care of himself? Could he adhere to the responsibilities that come with school?

Turns out, the answer is an emphatic YES.

(If you haven't already grasped the fact that this is a mommy brag post, grasp it and move on if you're not into it. If you are into though, please continue to read about how awesome my kid is. Illustrations included.)

He has learned so much this year. As we were riding home yesterday, he was looking through the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders (what??) and read me things like "winged thrips" and "sucking louse" and "reproductive termites" (again, what??).

When he stepped into Mrs. Dodd's classroom, he couldn't read. Maybe he knew small words that made sense phonetically, but this kid is using context clues, word chunks, and sound blends. I may not have known what half of those were until he told me. Here are a few of his journal pages:

Click to enlarge. You won't regret it.

His math skills are pretty impressive, too, from addition and subtraction to three-dimensional shapes to counting to ridiculously high numbers. I cut him off at 250 once for my own sanity.

On the flip side, his inner artist soared this year. I've always known he was good at drawing, but I am now even more anxious to see this talent develop. If his kindergarten portfolio is any indication, he's going to be drawing some awesome stuff by high school.

I think pre-kindergarten Nathan to post-kindergarten Nathan is the biggest change I have seen thus far. He went in a scared little preschooler and came out a responsible, respectful, big kid. He takes care of his brother, he helps me more than a five-year-old should, and he simply loves life. He loves Ninja Turtles on a Saturday morning, backyard adventures, and afternoons with nothing but a pile of Legos and a wild imagination. He loves being a kid. Because he is one. Nathan is a kid.

There's no turning back.

I hope your school year was just as successful and you're ready to say hello to summer. We've already dipped into the pool once this year and if that was any indication, it's going to be one sweet summer. Happy Tuesday, y'all!

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