The 1st Time Kindergarten Made Me Feel Stupid (But Likely Not the Last)

Every day after we get home from picking up BigBrother, I look through his folder to see if he has homework, needs anything signed and to see what they did in school that he can now keep at home. Normally, I understand what the concept was behind the worksheet that they did. I mean, it’s Kindergarten. I should probably know more than a five-year-old, right?

I got stumped last week.

I stood at the table and stared at the 3×3 chart. They’ve been sorting lots of things, so I tried to figure out what the sorting method was for this particular grouping.

Three way sort.

House, bird, cat.
Wagon, monkey, balloon.
Kangaroo, banana.

Uh, okay. Let’s see. Birds and cats can live in houses. Yeah? Monkeys… like balloons and wagons? Kangaroos eat bananas? Uhhh. I thought, for a second, that it was a color sort, but the kangaroo and banana were also white and were in their own column. Nothing rhymed. I was simply stumped.

I kept turning it over and over in my head as I got our snack together, trying to put the pieces of this mental puzzle together. I sat down plates in front of both boys and flopped myself into the chair next to BigBrother. I held up his sorted chart and pointed to it.


Hey, Buddy. Can you tell me how you sorted these objects?

He finished crunching up some goldfish. “We did it by how many sounds the words make.

I blinked at him. “Oh?

You know, syllables.

Not said but indicated by his tone and facial expression, “Dumbass.”

I asked him questions about syllables and we clapped out our names. He finished his snack and ran off to play with his brother while I sat at the table and stared at the worksheet. Syllables. In Kindergarten. Huh.

Thankfully, I felt a little less stupid when my Husband came home. I held up the worksheet in front of his face and asked him how they were sorted. When I finally revealed the answer, he replied the same way. “Syllables? In Kindergarten? Huh.” I did not call him a dumbass.

I think it’s great, of course, being as addicted to words as I am. Now we have another word game we can play while driving around, running errands and such. If you see BigBrother in the back of the car, clapping and counting, just know that I’m trying to prove to him that I am not, in fact, a dumbass.


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13 Replies to “The 1st Time Kindergarten Made Me Feel Stupid (But Likely Not the Last)”

  1. At least you were smart enough to know which way there were grouped. I decided to not scroll down and see if i could figure it out i kept trying to make sense of the rows and didn’t even think to try to the columns…not that syllables would have dawned on me especially not in kindergarten!

  2. I did the same thing Katja did – tried to sort them by the rows instead of the columns. You are NOT the only one that couldn’t figure it out…and you are NOT a dumbass! (I did the “d’oh!” head slap and everything when you revealed the sorting method for this worksheet.)

  3. I didn’t figure it out either!

    mental note – introduce the concept of syllables to FireGirl before she starts kindergarten. If no other reason than to prove you’re not the dumbass parent. ha!

  4. Well, I am a DA struggling with sixth-grade math that I swear I learned as a freshman in high school! Our children are learning at a much faster pace than we ever did (at nearly age 46 I may be one of your older readers so I’ll give you a little leeway). More power to ya if you can keep up! On a similar note, check out today’s local news story on cursive writing disappearing from school curricula.

  5. I didn’t figure it out but Charlie didn’t bring home anything like that last year. I just wish the teachers would give a refresher course on terminology. For example, they (at least down here) don’t teach the kids to “sound it out” when reading. They use the principle but call it “sound chunks” or just “chunks”. I ran into this again in 1st grade last week with one of the math principles Charlie is learning. I used a word and he corrected me on it. I can’t remember what it was though. Something to do with sorting, patterns, number ordering.

  6. I got stumped A LOT with kindergarten language worksheets for both of my boys and oftentimes because I didn’t know which word a picture was supposed to represent! (they use some far-fetched words when teaching phonics, I tell ya — you’ll know what I mean when you see the worksheets or book pages). When my youngest was in kindergarten we were cyber-schooling, so I had to do all the work with him and be his “facilitator.” I was thankful that the phonics book came with directions because some things were complicated to figure out, like the activity you show above. And… syllables? They do this ALL the time in kindergarten. What surprised me the most was the phonics activities in which the teacher (or parent) says words to them and they have to tell you which is the beginning, middle or ending sound (not all three, only one). It’s pretty intense work! I enjoyed the opportunity of learning how they’re taught to read through phonics that year…

  7. I would have never picked up on that. I tried for a good five minutes before I read your post. That gave me a good laugh to start my day, thanks!

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