Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fast Start To Frustration

In our family, encouraging the kids to read is as important as teaching them how to tie their shoes or how to operate all of the remotes. The boys always have a book in progress, and Zach starts every day with breakfast and the sports section. We've never had an issue with reading in the past, and I wasn't anticipating having one this year.

For some reason, kindergarten has decided to include a program called "Fast Start" in it's reading curriculum. Every Monday, a harmless looking red folder comes home containing a story and a corresponding worksheet of activities. The worksheet is supposed to be completed and the folder returned to school the following Monday. This sounds like a simple enough task, but the sight of this folder has become a major thorn in my side because the activities suck and I don't like to do them.

Some of the activities are simple enough; do these words rhyme, number the lines, circle the lowercase t's. But then you get a question like "tell me which stanza has more syllables." My favorite so far is "do wiggle and wrinkle start the same?" It was really nice of someone with a sick sense of humor at the Fast Track Headquarters to throw in a trick question for a five-year-old. Normally, I'd add this kind of person to my Christmas card list, but right now I just want to hurt them. Badly.

Inevitably, both Zoe and I end up completely frustrated because she is confused by the terminology and I don't remember signing up for homeschool Sundays. Half-way through the worksheet her brain slowly shuts down, her attention span disappears, and I'm sure she'd circle all of the t's if I hadn't just jammed her pencil deep into my forehead.

Fortunately, Zoe's reading was off to a good start before this devil-colored folder appeared in her backpack. Once she masters "Hop on Pop," we'll move on to the "Junie B. Jones" series, and eventually the highly acclaimed "Captain Underpants." Unless, of course, they start including Fast Start worksheets with these books. If that happens, I'll just let her read "The Onion."

No comments: