It has been hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that our youngest son, Elijah, started the Third Grade this year. I’m not sure why, but that feels like a much bigger deal than the first or second grade. It’s as if he has crossed some kind of threshold that marked him as a “big kid” as opposed to a “little.” Or, if he is not the oldest grade, then he is somewhere in the middle, which puts him only a year away.
Each time my kids have graduated to a new grade in school, I’ve found myself thinking back to my own experiences. My third grade year was spent in a classroom which was split between second and third graders. Sharing a classroom with second graders felt somewhat special, kind of like being in a one-room schoolhouse as portrayed in “Little House on the Prairie.” But, I also remember that my mom wasn’t very happy. I also remember that our third grade teacher was fresh hire in the school, and I think that the idea of creating the classroom with split grades might have been an eleventh hour solution.
Maybe Elijah’s entry into the third grade affects me only because when I look back my experiences in the third, fourth, and fifth grades all sort of blend together. I do remember being in the classroom, and Movie Days, but the rest is a bit of a blur. I made a friend in the third grade who also rode the bus with me, and in a year or two turned into more of a bully.
But, what do I actually remember about the fourth and fifth grade? Only the smallest bits and pieces. Enough to understand why I want Elijah’s time in elementary school to be both educational and pleasant.