I volunteer in my girls’ kindergarten classroom every week. The teacher has me work with a small group of students, usually 3-5, on a project or game. Today the kids matched colorful, wooden shapes to a picture of a scarecrow that was drawn from different shapes – triangles, rhombuses, trapezoids and squares. I reap many benefits from helping out in the classroom. I see how my kids behave at school and what they’re doing, I meet their friends so I can put names to faces, I get to know their teacher and she gets to know me, and, yes, I compare my kids’ skills with their classmates’.
I’m not obvious about checking out other kids’ math or reading abilities. But it happens naturally. I want to know where my kids stand in comparison to their classmates. So far I’ve been reassured that they’re doing fine. Some kids can read, mine can’t. Some kids don’t know their numbers and letters, mine do. Some kids are loud, jumpy, talkative spazzes and others can work quietly. Mine are somewhere in between, probably depending on how much sleep they had the night before. I don’t feel comfortable asking the teacher where my kids measure up in comparison to their peers while they’re in kindergarten (hello crazy, competitive mom) but when I’m in the classroom I can see this for myself. Whether we like it or not, our kids are measured against their peers. Better to keep up with this now than be surprised later.
I plan to volunteer in my son’s 2nd grade class soon. We have our parent/teacher conference this week, and I’ll ask his teacher then about coming in to help. I have to say my kids seem to enjoy having me around school, and I certainly enjoy it too – even when the loud, jumpy, talkative spazzes are my own kids.