that new-eraser smell

This morning I had convinced my mother to come with me to Sophie’s kindergarten class for a class project. Mrs. P. has designed a unit this week on pizza (shape recognition, sounds, reading, math – she’s integrated the whole week curriculum). So today she brought shredded cheese and I brought my homemade dough and sauce and we helped the kids, three to a pizza, as we prepped and walked them to the shiny, sterile school kitchen to put them inside to cook during recess.

The project went really well. The kids loved putting their pizzas together – every single kid loved it – and it was almost like gifting the kids with a whole reason to love school. Don’t get me wrong, most of them seem to love school anyway. But it is really special to have several tiny little creatures look you in the eye and say, “Thank you Mrs. Hogaboom” (or as little T. who I suspect has a crush on me shyly gushed when he first saw me, “I’m really glad you came today.”) and really, really mean it. Not only that but, as anyone who is actively involved with their children know, having kids is a way to re-experience things all over again. It sounds trite but it is absolutely true; from the gleaming convection oven to the cooperative efforts of sharing cooking steps together, experiencing it with children is really a gift.

Sophie took an AR reading test administered by her teacher and I got the results today. The test put her in the top 99 percentile nationally of her “grade” (is kgarten a “grade”?). Moreover she is now on a program of selecting absolutely-quantified books to work on for homework, then take a reading comprehensive quiz at the end of the week. It was an odd, and then deeply satisfying, prospect to bring home homework for Sophie that was designed to her abilities and that will challenge her. Homework! Honest to goodness, actual homework. Yeah, I really am re-living childhood.

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