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Kit and Kat are slowly becoming the sisters who share and play together (it’s taken a good number of years!) and the most imaginative part of this love is their playtime together (courtesy Kat) – lovingly described as ‘School School’ by Kit.
Kit is seated on her little blue IKEA chair (originally Kat’s) – very straight and attentive. Kat makes up this grown up voice and reads out names from an ‘attendance sheet’ – for imaginary students, Kat makes up different voices to say ‘Present’ – when Kit’s name is called out, she immediately responds and also raises her hand to show her presence.
Attendance over, Kat (still in her grown up mode), announces the schedule for the day. Some days, Kit actually has a sheet with the activities for the day (courtesy my printer!).
Activities include story writing time (where Kit tells and Kat writes), spelling time (making use of a whiteboard where Kat writes ‘dog’ etc and Kat spells it) or going over the big world map on the wall.
School School also includes ‘Kumon time’ where Kat helps me tremendously by assisting Kit with her math and reading sheets (some days though, this JUST doesn’t work!) . Also interesting are the little workbooks that Kat prints from the internet purely for playing with Kit. She has now even started using her own pocket money to buy actual kindergarten workbooks (pocket money that was earlier being spent only on iTunes and her own stuff – very impressive!)
When Kat is done playing in the morning session, Kit is assigned homework which she very religiously completes!
There may or may not be another sitting on the same day but whenever Kit Kat decide to play School School next, out comes the big box from the cupboard filled with folders, colours, worksheets and School is ON!
It was a bit of a setback when Kit realised that her Maths sheets in Kumon involved counting big red dots instead of numbers (like Kat) when she got them for the first time a few months ago – however, the situation has now changed – she wishes those dots would come back once more! Yes, Kumon is wonderful for children at this early age and it has been a tried and tested formula in our home for Kat (she needs the repetition) but Kit is finding the new sums a bit of a challenge at the moment.
Every time I sit down with her, she will start looking outside the window instead of looking at the sheets. Exasperated, I will ask, “Kit, why are you so interested in looking at the world?” To this question, Kit will (painfully slowly), unglue her eyes from the window and look at me and say, “Because, I don’t know much about the world, that’s why mummy. I want to know more about it, that’s why I look at it.”
Me: “When you go to school, will you look outside the window even then?”
Kit: “No, I will go to school to play. Then I don’t want to see the world.”
Basically, this interaction means that the current set of Kumon operations are little bit challenging and Kit is finding ways to avoid them. Any kind of work that takes time at this age usually means either too boring or over head transmission. In her case, it is bit of both as when I really get upset, all answers come pouring out of the brain like magic and work gets done unbelievably quickly! Just like that.
Right now, it’s a wait and watch game – where she sees the world from our apartment window and I watch her till she’s done with it…this transition from dots to numbers to sums IS a challenge. Kat did it and so will Kit. All in good time I tell myself. All in good time...
While Kit is always excited to do her Kumon (as hers is so colourful with pictures and large sized numbers – she’s only in Junior Kumon) and although Kat got a Kumon Golden Mathlete Star recently, she always has to be inspired to do hers (I don’t blame her!) The one inspiration that always works is if I get them both to do it together – from a work and seriousness scenario, this is not an ideal situation but is a win-win for everyone so I let them carry on…and this is how the sisters get on with it!
The minute I announce that Kit Kat will do Kumon together, I seem to initiate a race for who will grab Kumon folder first. So far so good I think. Then come the manipulations…
Kat, who mostly has some errors from last evening’s worksheet (which needs to be corrected before today’s sheet and fearing that Kit will win the race if she starts work first): “Honey, can I correct my work while you wait?” And she gives Kit a hug and a kiss. Oh my God! Such drama…BOTH my girls!
Kit smiles back “Sure. I’ll wait” and she waits with such admirable patience that I am amazed. Not so much as drawing a line on the paper. Sitting staring at her work waiting for Kat to edit her mistakes. Commendable!
Once Kat finishes her mistakes, they are back on the race. Kat likes to hum while doing her Kumon and Kit gets irritated.
Kit: “Mummy, can she stop singing? I can’t concentrating” (That’s a new word for her)
Kat finds this funny and starts laughing and I remind her that as the work is being timed and if she gets more than 3 mistakes because of lack of her concentration, we all will be laughing at her and she sobers up!
Kit continues in her high pitched voice and Kat is easily distracted as Kit has this habit of questioning everything with a “Why?” I remind her that this is not story time but Kumon. Every now and then I get “I’m tired…” then followed by “Can I do four sheets today?”
I nod to everything to keep things moving and its working so far.
On the other hand, I think all Kat is doing is looking over at Kit’s work making sure she is not leading her in any way.
When I see this, I question her age over and over again!! She finds this funny and she is in one of her moods and tells us to look at her burp out the ABCs and she actually does it!
Kit’s reaction is “It’s disgusting!” and she screws up her nose in a really interesting way.
I second her opinion and we both tell Kat to continue her work.
Kit tells me “She’s not listening to you, is she?”(Why does she have to say it so loudly?)
As was obvious from the level of concentration today, Kit finishes her sheets before Kat and just then Papa calls. Kit starts her long story of Kat’s complaints as usual…while Kat continues and completes her work between stares of disbelief at both me and Kit.
Kumon session is FINALLY over!