Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My Kachina Doll

Shana didn't skip a grade in school on purpose, it just happened. One summer day when she was five, Shawn and I walked in to Kachina Country Day School to see if it was somewhere Shana would like, a place where she could start Kindergarten. Shawn had gone there when he was little for maybe two years. The place was empty, but when we walked in an older lady walked out from her office. We told her our names and what we were looking for in a Kindergarten. After thirty years, she recognized Shawn's name and told us all about his days at the school. She knew his parent's names. She knew that his dad is an Orthodontist. She knew that he has an older brother. She remembered that Shawn was an early starter, started first grade at 5, even though she thought that maybe he should have waited and remembered that he had a hard time his first semester but then had his tonsils removed at the Christmas break and did better the next semester. I was blown away. She then went on to show us around and explained some of her unique ways of teaching and testing. I was impressed. Another day, I brought Shana in for some placement testing. She was off the charts. A genius. Well, yeah, duh. She recommended that Shana go into a mixed class, Kindergarten and first grade, so she could benefit from the higher academic level of work and classmates. Well, who could argue with that? Shana went to a Montessori preschool for two years, we read to her all the time, did Hooked-on-Phonics and when she was two my mom dropped everything in her life and moved to Kansas for a year to help me with Shana since I couldn't find a good babysitter while I worked some nights and Shawn was in school. The kid got a lot of attention. So we enrolled her at Kachina and she started in a K-1 classroom. The following year, 1-2, then a 2-3 the year after that. In the middle of that year, we transferred to another school with some of her friends. Since she was doing third grade work, she went into a third grade classroom. So I guess that's when it happened. I've questioned that non-decision for years. Should I have held her back with her age group? Even one year back and she would have still been younger than some with her March birthday. Her standardized test scores were always just average, having to be compared to those one, two years older. But, now she's in college. The GPA is good and I let all the guilt go a while ago. Then today I got a letter from our insurance company. "Your child is now eighteen. We need verification that she is a full-time student. Please send proof, for instance a current high school schedule." High school? She's in college. A sophomore already. At eighteen. I called U of A and they're sending me an official Enrollment Verification form. A sophomore already. What was I thinking? Oh, the guilt. So hopefully like the lady at Kachina, Mrs. Kline, I'll still remember every little thing.


  1. Don't feel bad that you could have had her at home an extra year all to yourself! Sounds like she's done great!

  2. Getting the "school thing" right is so difficult. One of my sons (due to age) couldn't skip to where he needed to be (developmentally and intellectually); I had to move mountains to get him where he needed to be in elementary school, at considerable expense (private school at age 6). He's been a year younger always, and it was never a problem. My other son was small and shy, but advanced in some areas. The public school system (or rather, two very fine teachers) created a special "arrangement" for him when he was 5, looke 3, and reading like an 8-year old. We constantly second guess our choices in these matters. And then stay flexible, when it's time to try for something else.