Wednesday, May 6, 2009

kindergarten assessment does NOT cover quantum physics

You know that scene in "A Christmas Story" where Ralphie writes an essay about what he wants for Christmas and then there is this fantasy sequence where the teacher is moved to tears and people throw flowers at his feet etc. but then he gets a C+.?I had an experience today that reminded me of that scene.

Today was Kindergarten registration at Skyline Ranch Elementary and I took Jack down there to get him signed up to start school in July. The paperwork that I filled out before hand explained that there would be an assessment done at the registration to test the kid's school readiness.

We all know that I think Jack is a genius. I was totally ready for him to blow them away with his advanced knowledge. Just this morning he was accurately describing a black hole to me. He explained that the gravitational pull was so strong that it sucked in everything, even light. This is pretty advanced quantum physics, people. Last week he drew a me a picture of what he described as "ancient Egyptian cultural dance that would be drawn into petroglyphs." He has such a large vocabulary and such an amazing interest in science. I am a total sucker for all of this stuff and I spend hours feeding his interest. We do science experiments and read astronomy textbooks and make charts and graphs out of things we find on nature walks. Not to mention the two and a half years of preschool and hours a day of reading books and practicing reading and writing. So here I am toting my supposed genius five year old to kindergarten assessment expecting him to shock and amaze the school faculty.

After testing his hearing and eyesight they took him back to a room away from me and I could tell that he wasn't expecting it and he got a little nervous but went along anyway. A few minutes later a woman came out of the testing room and asked, "Is your son's name John or is it Jack?" I explained to her that his given name was John but that he goes by Jack and has never ever been called John in his life. She seemed a little annoyed and went back into the room. Ten minutes later Jack came out with a male teacher who told me that he did fine.

Fine? That's all? No one was moved to tears?

"Yes. He is fine. He did have a problem with writing a few of the numbers backwards but that's pretty normal. Also, when we asked him to write his name and he wrote Jack instead of John we were all confused but we got that sorted out."

Is there anything else? (he didn't happen to tell you about recent advancements in the US military weapons technology, did he? Because usually he goes on about that for hours)

"Well, there is something else, but I wouldn't worry too much about it since he is only five. When we asked him what his last name was, he didn't know. So you might want to review that with him, but I'm sure he will figure it out with time."

Well no wonder he didn't know what his last name is, he just got the news that his first name is John. I can see that this would be a little confusing.

So apparently in my efforts to prepare my son for Kindergarten I should have been focusing more on the basics like which way the number 5 is written and what his last name is instead of the mechanics behind an internal combustion engine and the migration patterns of blue whales. Who knew?

What is funny is that my mom recently told me that when I started Kindergarten I could already read and she was so proud of me. She couldn't wait for the teacher's assessment so that she could hear glowing praise about how smart I was (keep in mind she was a kindergarten teacher at the time and knew that I was a genius). Instead the teacher brushed over the fact that I could read like it was no biggie and went on and on about how my handwriting was poor and I needed to work on cutting straight lines with scissors. My mom brought the topic back to reading and the teacher said, "Yeah she's a good little reader but her handwriting really has me concerned" My mom still gets irritated by this memory 27 years later. For the record, I am still a good reader and my handwriting still sucks.

I got out the camera to take a picture of Jack and Ella while we were waiting in line in the school office to document the occasion. Ella didn't want to pose and a spontaneous fist fight broke out right before I snapped the picture. This is a good illustration to explain why we asked the registrar specifically to put them into different classes.

I did finally get them to pose for the picture but you can see that Ella was not totally on board. Jack scolded her "You have to let my mom take the picture so she can blog it." He has been trained. The smile is fake but he knows the drill.


Anonymous said...

Once again, the public school system fails and only searches for mediocrity. Many a great person in history has been overlooked by these institutions in the past. Our kid, I am sure (because I am biased), is one of those people. Jack is the only 5 year old I know that has a working knowledge of astronomy, military history, and of course the story line of the Clone Wars. Keep it up Jack!!! (PS your last name is Kramer)

Megan said...

Another thing to keep in mind here is that you're dealing with AZ public schools... I think if he even did get the opportunity to speak about Egyptian petroglyphs or quantum physics they would have no idea what he was saying and would question his intelligence. And as you can see I'm a bit biased against public schools here...specifically Skyline...especially with genious children...and I obviously have no problem opening my big mouth about it...

ANYway...So good to see you at the gym this morning! I'll be there tomorrow morn(not out at the pool this time...). Hope to see ya again!

Anonymous said...

i love this story, i felt the same way whe i took holly, i was waiting for them tp praise me on how well i had prepared her, no such luck, but holly loved her teacher and i loved her!

Tara said...

That is so funny. I have had the same thing happen to me with my kids. Only my situation involved them playing sports. Stupid coaches! What the heck do they know. I think you're brilliant, Jack Kramer! You show those teachers.

Chelsey Howard said...

What a good boy to pose for his mom:) Its stories like this that make me so scared to put Shea into school:( But you know he is totally brilliant and that's all that matters:)

Christy said...

It is funny the stuff that they focus on with that whole "readiness" thing. Scissor skills? I still can't figure out why that is of such paramount importance. Just the other day I was joking with DB's K- teacher about how much I was going to miss her since she has taught my boys for two years in a row now. I told her that I was thinking about enrolling Sophie early since she can spell her name and count to 20 in two languages. I could almost read her mind..."every parent thinks their kid is a freaking genius.." But ours are! It was fun to see you and your little genius today!

Cheryl said...

Hi Staci! I finally had a chance to catch up on your hilarious blog. This little post is why I don't bother to teach my children anything before kindergarten. It just ends up being a lot of wasted energy and everything is new and exciting to them! Jack, John, whatever your name is...I would love to have you as the captain of my rocket ship to space some day! I was going to say President of the U.S. but anyone can do that! Love you guys!

Kara said...

Wow, Jack sounds a lot like my Cameron. Only I was totally unaware of his genius and the school apparently was more keen than me. Then again, he went to a Mesa Public School (Sousa Elementary), which I love, love, loved! and was so good for him! (ahem-- not all AZ Public Schools are horrible) He skipped kindergarten and was still at the top of his class, and his 1st grade teacher doted on him and gave him all kinds of extra stimulating work, and then when he was in 2nd grade, he was put in a 2nd/3rd grade combo, was learning cursive, 3rd/4th grade math, all kinds of stuff when he was BARELY 6 years old! Then we moved to Queen Creek and he went to Skyline Ranch, and it was all shot to hell. Seriously. And Madison in kindergarten there learned NOTHING. Her teacher spent 90% of her time disciplining bad kids, and Madison hated school that year! Kindergardeners aren't supposed to hate school! Well, we moved to Edu-Prize and it has been 100% better for Madison (and great for Isaac this year in kindergarten) but not so much for Cam. I love Edu-Prize but they have no program for gifted kids, no stimulation for those crazy genius science minds, just more work or harder work, which isn't always the solution! I do have to say that I like their cottages, they have been somewhat interesting/stimulating for Cameron. We are looking into another school for him, and as I have been searching I found something WONDERFUL-- that Mesa Public Schools opened a school specifically for gifted kids-- only 5th thru 9th grade though... but maybe keep that in the back of your mind! Its called Mesa Academy for Advanced Studies...

A lot depends on the teacher, too, so hopefully Jack will have a good teacher... I know there is an LDS kindergarten teacher there that was in my last ward, her name is Sheila something.. (sorry)... Macarena Allison's kindergartener has her and she really likes her! Good luck!

Kramer Boys

Kramer Boys