I used to think that preschool was for helping children gradually adjust to the demands of Kindergarten and beyond. I am slowly learning, however, that preschool also helps parents gradually adjust to the demands of helping their children with homework.
Normally, I spend my weekends writing articles, editing, returning emails, doing laundry and relaxing with my husband and children. But this weekend, my oldest daughter, Josie, and I spent the majority of our weekend preparing for her first official school project.
Next week is Josie's Special Week at school. She can bring in a poster board with pictures about her life, have her parent read aloud her favorite book, and share her favorite snack with the class. Since Josie can't do any of these things on her own, it's also a very "special" week for me.
I braved Target on Black Friday to pick up a poster board. I was thrilled to discover that Target sells pre-folded poster boards specifically made for stand-up displays, another benefit of raising kids in the 21st century.
Together, Josie and I scoured the computer for photos of her doing her favorite things with her favorite people. I taught her how to copy a photo from one folder and paste it into another.
I supervised from a distance while Josie glued the pictures and decorated the board with glitter and crayon drawings of butterflies and flowers. She taught me how to sit back and let her get the job done her own way, even if that meant gluing one of the pictures on upside down.
I also learned it is critical to have an abundant supply of construction paper, glue, markers and poster boards because mistakes can and will happen. Most importantly, I learned to enjoy helping my daughter make a poster filled with pretty pictures and glitter. I'll be longing for these days when Josie comes to me for help with Algebra and Earth Science.
Later that day, Josie and I planned what we would bring for her favorite snack: sugar cookies with strawberries and blueberries. Josie had the brilliant idea of making play dough to share with her class. I was impressed by her desire to go above and beyond the assignment.
Of course I didn't have the right ingredients for play dough, so it meant one more trip to the supermarket. But it was worth the extra effort.
On our way to the supermarket, Josie said, "I am so excited about my special week, Mom." Hearing those words warmed my heart. It made all the extra time we spent preparing for her week worthwhile.
"I'm excited for you to share all your hardwork with the class," I said, being very careful to say your hardwork instead of our hardwork.
"I am excited because I get to be the line leader all week!" Josie said. Not exactly the highlight of the week I was hoping for but definitely an age-appropriate priority for a 4 year old preschooler.