Thursday, February 17, 2011

Is it Primary School or Harvard?

Is there a doctor in the house? Max with his buddy Basilio

I've got little butterflies in my tummy today. Nervous mommy butterflies. Max's current school is only a kinder, after this year he needs to change schools to enter primary, movin' on up to the big time. We dropped him off this morning at the primary school that we love to have his entrance exam and evaluation. Yes, an entrance exam for primary school. Last night I grilled the poor kid on questions I thought they may ask him, gave him "extra" homework to practice his writing and tricked him into some math practice with some online games. I don't know why I am so worked up, it's not like he's taking the SATs to get into Harvard Law.

I think I am really stressed about the "pre-first" or "first grade" deal. Most schools here put kids right into first grade after kinder three, when they are six years old (Max turns six in April). This particular school wants all six year olds to do a pre-first year to prepare them for first grade. The director explained that many kids do not have the level of English or the maturity to enter first. Max certainly has no problem with the English, we'll see how he fares on the maturity level, though this proud mommy thinks he'll do just fine in that regard. The directors and teachers of his current school and his psychologist think that pre-first would be bad for Max, when he's bored, he starts acting up and they believe he would be bored.

Currently Max is top of his class. The director told me last week that he is "ganando todos los demas" (beating all the others). He got a perfect score on his math exam (blew my mind and made me cry), adding and subtracting three digit numbers, counting by 2's, 5's and 10's, counting money (pesos and dollars), and adding fractions! His other exams were all "excelente", just one or two mistakes here and there. He's completely frustrated with his English teacher's mistakes, he speaks better than she does and has to correct her in class. (She didn't take well to this at first, punishing him when he told her she was wrong, but I put a quick stop to that). He reads and writes in both languages, grasps French quickly and overall is a pretty smart kid. For Valentine's Day he must have written 14 letters of love to his teachers, all of his own accord, for "fun" and because he loves them. Now, he's not a perfect kid by any means, problems arise when he understands concepts quickly and his fellow students do not, he gets mouthy and antsy and starts climbing the walls (and spouting bad words, ugh). Sadly, he loves his punishment which is being sent to the "baby room", where he says he helps by giving bottles and putting the munchkins to sleep. I think what he really needs is a dungeon full of monsters, that would straighten him up a bit.

So, I have no idea what to expect when I pick him up this afternoon. Will they say he is a gem of a child and a genius and they'd love to have him or will they throw him at me and run for their lives asking us never to return? Is he destined to be a doctor or will he be selling chicles on street corners? (I'm really hoping he goes into plastic surgery, gawd knows I could use a little work and the big bucks wouldn't hurt either). Yeah yeah, he's five, it's primary school, not graduate school, but mommies worry, right? Who's going to take care of me in my old age? Who's going to lift and tighten all my loose bits? Come on universe, make this a good Max day, I'm pretty sure that the chicle business won't pay for my adult diapers......


Dr George Leddick said...

Are you sure "playing doctor" is a sign of impending academic excellence? Perhaps he aspires to becoming a photographer at the Playboy mansion instead. I'm impressed he can do fractions in kindergarten, I didn't hear about them until 4th grade. Of course, that was ages ago so there was less to learn. When he takes physics in 3rd grade will you go to grad school in order to help with his homework?

jeanie said...

I sure Max will ace everything. It seems like a lot of decisions for you to make at such an early age though. The pressure!!! Of course Canadian parents now have to decide whether to put the kids in French Immersion at 5 or 6yrs. I didn't have to make that one till grade 7.I think Dr. George is right. There is a whole lot more to learn now. Good luck Max!

KfromMichigan said...

Max will do great! Don't pressure yourself so much. Doctor, Lawyer or whatever he becomes Mama will be proud of Max!

Elizabeth @ My Life, Such as it is... said...

I totally get the anxiety. My son's preschool closed unexpectedly right before he was to start PreKindergarten we found a private school with openings. They treated PreK as Kindergarten and he had to take a test & interview to get in. I was totally freaking out! The boy was just 4 1/2 years old. What kind of stuff was he expected to know? He did fine. I,on the other hand, was a nervous wreck. I'm sure your son will pass with flying colors.

Mic said...

Wow!!! I'm sooo proud of Max :-)

CancunCanuck said...

Dr. George- I was chatting with a friend who Canada who has children about Max's age and studied education. I was really curious to see how things compared. She was amazed at what Max is learning in kinder 3, she said most of the skills he has accomplished are what they aim for at the end of first grade and some things were third grade material. She then shocked me when she said fractions were grade seven! (And yes, I'm going to have to go back to school to keep up with this kid, some days his homework boggles my mind, mostly the Spanish stuff of course). :)

jeanie- If we were in Canada I would absolutely have him in French immersion, the more languages the better! Particularly in Canada where some great jobs are only available to those who speak French and English. Lots of benefits of multilingualism!

Elizabeth- Oh the anxiety of being a mom, I don't think it ever ends! I know the education system here is quite different than the US or Canada, they definitely expect him to be able to read and write and do large sums as well as have a basic understanding of Mexican history. Thanks for stopping by!

Mic- Gracias amiga, me too.

And now the big news......insert drum roll.......He passed with flying colours! He has been invited to start first grade, no pre-first required! They said he was a lovely boy, with a positive attitude in the classroom and that he was extremely intelligent. My shoulders have dropped, the butterflies are gone, I'm a proud proud mommy today. Now, the anxiety of paying the registration fee...... :D

ElleCancun said...

Aww...Yay Max!!!

What a cutie - making Valentines for his teachers!!

Also, I've always wondered how the enlgish speaking kids handle english class here! It would make you want to correct a teacher, and you don't mean to overstep!!

Funny thing? Back home my brothers and I all had to write entrance exams for our school(s) as well. I remember being so stressed about it as I was old enough to understand what was going on. I hated it. Fortunately, my brothers were all younger (like Max) and didn't even think twice about it! They just thought it was school! Hahaha :)

Linda said...

Adding & subtracting 3 digit numbers, fractions and 3 languages? No wonder the USA is so far behind the rest of the world!

Whenever he gets bored, he should be given more advanced material; he's a budding genius!!! With his curiosity, he'll be a great doctor or research scientist!

Isla Chica

Leslie Harris (de Limon) said...


I came back to see if maybe you had updated about whether or not Max got in. So happy to learn that he did.

Congrats to both of you! :)

CancunCanuck said...

On Mexican Time- I have a feeling we'll have some battles ahead with English teachers, I'm ready! Hopefully they'll be open to corrections from a munchkin who understands the language better than they do, if not, they've got me to deal with. To Max this is all "normal", he knows no other way, so I totally get what you are saying!

Linda- I totally agree with giving him more advanced material, I have extra books at home that my parents brought from Canada to try to keep him stimulated. The internet is great for that too, so many resources!! Oh here's hoping he's a doctor and doesn't decide he wants to be a rock star, haha!

Leslie- Thanks for checking back in, I am really proud of my little monster. :D

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