Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?


I just hate weekends that are gone in a flash.

This (upcoming) week is just awful. Work is crazy… I have a deadline for a massive presentation that I am not confident I can put together.

Life is crazy, but what’s really bugging me lately?

Kindergarten.

Today, a school conference this afternoon with D’s teacher. I have to admit, I am stunned that Kindergarten is so… hard. David is struggling a little with his work, and I think I need to take a little of that blame since I didn’t realize the serious time commitment over and above regular homework reinforcing the concepts. His weakest areas… sight words and the sounds that letters make (he knows his letters, but consistently stumbles on sounds which affects “sounding out” sight words).

When I was a kid, my reinforcement came in the form of Schoolhouse Rock on Saturday morning TV. Those days, ummmm yeah. GONE.

I have flashcards I made for the letters, numbers, colors, ordinal numbers, sight words, and letter sounds. I printed off exercises I found on the web to help him with his writing but I admit, I spend more time searching for stuff and I can’t seem to find what I am looking for which frustrates me to no end.

David has “official” homework 3 nights a week (it’s supposed to be a 10-15 minute exercise), but clearly they are delusional because it takes much longer. Hell, sometimes I don’t understand the assignment (NOT KIDDING).

I found that the key with David is repetition and repetition. The weeknights he doesn’t have assigned homework I review with him, and we do extra work. Maybe 20-25 minutes or so. Sometimes less when he’s particularly in a bad mood. And on the weekends, I try to fit in a little review here and there when we find the time. Emphasis on FINDING THE TIME.

But now I am coming to the conclusion that it’s not enough. This is a problem. Now I completely understand why some families choose to home school. Because if I have to teach full-time after I am done my regular day-job, that presents a serious dilemma. Let’s face it, I need the day job for the money, but my son’s education is way more important. Well, except for the “house over the head” thing. Kinda need that.

(Note to self: buy lottery tickets pronto!)

I love teaching David. I love to teach, and if I wasn’t doing technology consulting for Big Corporation, this would be a job I would love to do. I just wish there was more time to do it. David needs more of me, and I feel guilty because he shouldn’t be struggling because Mommy and Daddy have a crazy schedule.

For the parents out there that do it well (or hell, better than my sorry ass)…. any suggestions? Perhaps a favorite book with activities? Home school website? Suggestions how to make the time more valuable? Any hints/tricks?

I feel so scattered at the moment. I really need a new plan.

10 thoughts on “Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?

  1. Your school must be requiring more of the kids than Em’s. She’s not picking up on the reading either. But I know it’s just because she isn’t trying to! She was able to read a story out of her letterbook (from class) to us last week. So I think she *can* do it, she’s just opting not to at home! We’ve not received anything from her teacher that says “your kid needs to know these words” or anything that she’s not doing fine. Her report card last week had “satisfactory” for just about everything (her “needs improvement” were on knowing her phone number and address, and apparently she’s gotten to be too “social” and isn’t listening as much as she should!) We’re going to start working with her a bit (we read to her and try to get her to read the words, but she tends to go by memory rather than actually looking at the words) with flashcards and see if that gets her going. She’s artsy – she’d much rather be drawing or coloring or redecorating the house than reading right now. It’ll click one day, I’m not worried.Em’s only homework is one color/cut/paste page that comes home on Mondays. Nothing else all week.

  2. I have a few things to add. First of all I hesitate to give any advice because I’m definitely not doing it well! We have about 2 1/2hours a night between getting home and going to bed to fit in homework, dinner, getting ready for bed – doesn’t leave much time for any sort of quality fun time! I don’t have any specific advice on the reading/language stuff, because that’s the area my daughter actually does well in. However, she really struggles with math. We toyed with signing her up for Ku.mon classes because my SIL had luck with them for our nephew (and I’m pretty sure they used it for reading). We didn’t end up signing up with them, but we did buy a bunch of their workbooks, which are available at almost any bookstore and online. They’ve actually been pretty helpful. She’s no math genius, but she seems to be picking things up better than just me trying to teach her (that was a miserable failure). Good luck!

  3. I am acutlly surprised there is homework in kindergarden!! shouldn’t the bag carrying and work part not start until grade 1!! poor kids these days. anyways, I know you can’t change the school system! haha, I don’t have any tips to help you out here though. I REALLY like the idea of homeschooling up to grade 4, if we can I think I may try it out! Cause I agree, it sucks to have to work all day then come home and be a teacher all evening! boo. I hope you figure something out.

  4. Just so you know, worst mother of the year award goes to me, not you two, really. Zilla was SO behind when he entered kindergarten. He was suppose to go in the mornings only, but was switched to all day because he needed the extra help. What’s really helped us with his reading and writing is asking what various words/letters are as we’re out. Like McDonald’s. He knows it’s McDonald’s and we tell him that’s an “M” and eventually he got it and now he’ll say what a letter is if he can recognize the word. With his writing, we got him a dry erase board. This was an accident actually. It was my daughters, and he started writing on it the other day. But we just let him do it. I didn’t “make” him write any words on it. But when he does write a word on it and it’s incorrect, we correct him. I hope some of this will help you. Good luck and I’m sure D will pick things up soon. Zilla is still behind, but he’s picking things up.

  5. lol, KimHe’s having a hard time with letters and their sounds (good with knowing/writing the letter, not so good with the sounds).And he’s really not picking up fast on sight words. He’s up to about 20 that he has to know by heart to read… but he’s only retaining about 5-7 on a consistent basis. He won’t sound out the words and look at the letters… he just rushes and guesses.

  6. I’m in the guilt club, too. B is a really fast learner and could TOTALLY be reading now, but I just do not have the patience (nor the time) to teach her myself. She goes to preschool 5 days a week because I’m a better mother when she’s not here for half the day. Doesn’t that sound horrible? She’s incredibly sweet, but very high maintenance, social, and talks NON-STOP. Really, NON-STOP. It’s exhausting. I don’t know how her teachers do it. Just SEEING 15 4-5 year olds in one room makes the hair on my neck stand up.And if that’s not enough, my only actual motive for TEACHING her how to read, knowing full and well that she’ll pick it up really quickly, is so that…Maybe she’ll want to read ALL OF THE TIME and um… stop TALKING.. some of the time.So there ya go, don’t worry – the worst mother of the year award goes to me, not you :O).

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