Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Kindergarten Graduation

I don't get it.  And, at the risk of sounding like a giant stick in the proverbial mud, I will declare publicly that I don't understand the point of preschool and kindergarten graduation.

Yes, the children are incredibly cute.  Yes they all look positively adorable getting their "diplomas".  Take a look at my sweet Connor on his kindergarten graduation day.  I certainly won't argue that it isn't endearing.

I love clip on ties!

But I truly am not sure what started this tradition.  Is kindergarten that big of an accomplishment?  Most children continue on to 1st grade at the same school.  Some children aren't quite ready for the next level of schooling and repeat kindergarten.  No big deal.  It just doesn't seem like an enormous leap of maturity to celebrate.

Our children's school goes from preschool through 8th grade.  On Sunday, the church and school commemorated the graduation of preschoolers, kindergarteners, and 8th graders.  The 8th grade graduation I understand.  Because this is a Christian school, the students don't all just funnel into the same high school.  They will scatter to the Lutheran high school affiliated with our school and various high schools throughout the metro.   I understand the solemnity that a graduation gives to this occasion.

But preschoolers and kindergarteners?  They aren't continuing on to another school.  They aren't tearfully signing yearbooks and promising to keep in touch.  They aren't pledging to be BFFs in an attempt to hold on a little tighter to the security of friendships fostered through years of schooling together.  They aren't mourning the inevitable demise of crushes and puppy love romances - at least they better not be.

But at some point in time, little children who have not yet learned which hand to shake with are being feted for their cutting and gluing skills. And once a tradition like this is established, who will try to end the pageant of cuteness?  Who will try to shut down the parade of little boys with clip on ties and little girls in pigtails with bows?

Not me.  I'm not going to make myself a social pariah over this opinion.

I am not morally opposed to this mini procession of pomp and circumstance.  All I'm saying is I just don't get it.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Let the Sloth Begin

Today is the first official day of summer vacation at our house.  The two youngest kiddos have been out of preschool and ECFE for a bit, but today is the first day with all five kids off of school.  Yesterday, we celebrated the day with the annual all-school picnic for families at our children's school. 

Today we continue with our summer traditions, and this one is not quite as wholesome.

I allow my children one day each year (the first day of summer vacation) to be of complete and total sloth if they want.  I don't make them change out of their jammies all day if they don't want to.  They can watch TV or play video games all day if they choose.  They can eat snacks (within reason) and fall into a sugar induced stupor if they want.

Of course I don't make them do this.  They can go outside or play board games or read if they choose.  But, for a Mama who has tight control over screen time this is a day of pure joy they look forward to all year. 

Normally my kids watch about 30 minutes of TV a day.  Maybe more if we have a family movie time or it is a lousy weather day, but usually no TV if it is a nice day.  My usual phrase is, "Go outside and play or I'll find some work for you to do."  Unless they are reading.  Then I'll say, "Its a great day out.  Go read on the porch."  Video games are usually a once a week event, for a fairly short duration.

But I imagine what it would have been like to have a day like this when I was a kid.  Or even now.  To be able to do absolutely anything I wanted with no responsibilities.  Because my kids are normally so limited with screen time, the anticipation for today is almost more exciting than the day itself.

But trust me.  Tomorrow, the TV will again go dark, and again my neighborhood will be filled with the shouts of several kids climbing trees, riding bikes and playing in forts.  And maybe you'll hear the near silent sound of pages being turned by a reader on the front porch.