My youngest turned six in July. She finished
Montessori school in May and come August Ada geared up to join her
big sister at the local elementary school. First grade - Was she
When it came to knowing her ABCs and her 123s, yes,
she was well prepared for the "academic rigors" of first grade. And
even if she wasn't, between my hours as a working mom and my SAHD
husband's disinterest in homeschool-style enrichment activities, we
probably weren't going to get her there. Heck, even though we're a
family of voracious readers, we couldn't manage to track the books
we were reading (and worse, the minutes we spent reading them) for
the library's summer reading program.
The readiness I refer is not about drilling flash
cards. It's about mastering important life skills. The kind that
let children loosen the apron strings, giving them (and honestly,
us parents) a little more freedom.
Two important milestones in a child's life, which
Ada needed to learn, was how to swim and how to ride a
We took care of the former by enrolling her
swimming lessons and by mid-July they'd paid off.
She was an independent, competent swimmer, jumping gleefully into
the deep end of the pool.
Riding a two-wheeler safely look a little longer.
We had to deal with fear, balance, and stopping and starting,
before we could teach traffic awareness and the rules of the road
(sidewalk). I spent hours going up and down the block, running
alongside her as she wobbled and crashed. I took long rides in the
street with Ada as my co-pilot, attached to my bike, practicing
signals and going fast. Finally, it all clicked for her.
By the time the first day of school rolled around,
Ada was more independent, confident and was keeping up with her
She was summer schooled.
Alma Klein has been blogging since 2006. She works full-time as a creative director at a shopper marketing agency in Chicago and lives in the practically-perfect village of Oak Park with her husband Josh and elementary school-aged daughters.
See more of Alma's stories here.
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