“Benjamin Quits Kindergarten,” Friend, Sept. 1995, 44
On the first day of kindergarten, Benjamin giggled while drinking his milk during snack time and ended up with milk all over his shirt. When the other children laughed at him, he didn’t feel like giggling anymore.
He broke his yellow crayon while he was drawing a picture of the sun.
He made a dragon out of modeling clay, and everybody thought it was a pig.
On the second day of kindergarten, Benjamin accidentally let Hamlet, the class hamster, out of its cage.
His blue paint spilled and made a messy puddle on the floor.
When he threw the big red ball to Susie, it hit her in the face and made her cry.
After school, Benjamin sat at the kitchen table, eating lunch. “I’m not going back to school,” he announced. “I already know the things I want to know. I can make all the letters in my name, I know the days of the week, and I can count to twenty-three.”
“You do know a lot of things,” said Mommy, looking up from the letter she was writing to Aunt Agnes.
Benjamin looked at her paper. “Those are funny-looking letters.” He pointed to the curly writing on the page.
“They are different from the ones you make,” agreed Mommy.
“Hmmm,” Benjamin said.
Later that afternoon, when his sister, Karen, came home from school, Benjamin told her, “I’m not going back to school. I already know the things I want to know. I can make all the letters in my name, I know the days of the week, and I can count to twenty-three.”
“Then you won’t get to do the exciting things I’m doing in the second grade,” she told him. “We’re taking a trip to the zoo in October.”
“What’s October?” asked Benjamin. “A kind of school bus?”
Karen gave him her big-sister-who-knows-practically-everything look. “For your information, October is one of the months of the year.”
“Does it come after Saturday?”
Karen just laughed.
Benjamin looked thoughtful.
When Daddy came home, Benjamin met him at the door. “I’m not going back to school,” he said. “I already know the things I want to know. I can make all the letters in my name, I know the days of the week, and I can count to twenty-three.”
Daddy grinned. “Is that so?”
Benjamin followed Daddy out to the garage, where Daddy wrote down some measurements for a set of shelves he was going to build.
“What are those numbers on top of each other?” Benjamin asked, pointing at Daddy’s notes.
“Those two-story numbers are called fractions, Benjamin,” Daddy answered. “They’re pretty important numbers.”
Benjamin scratched his head.
That night in bed, he stared at the dark ceiling.
He wondered about Mommy’s curling letters. What did they mean, anyway?
He wondered how many months there were in a year. Did they all have funny names like October?
And he wondered a lot about Daddy’s two-story numbers.
The next morning, Benjamin made an announcement to everyone. “I already know a lot of the things I want to know. I can make all the letters in my name, I know the days of the week, and I can count to twenty-three. But I’ve decided to go back to school and learn about curly letters and October and two-story numbers.”
Mommy smiled. “Those are pretty important.”
“I’ll probably need to go at least until second grade,” he went on. “Maybe even longer.”
“I expect you will,” Daddy agreed. He looked at his watch. “It’s time to go. All aboard for school!”
“All aboard for school!” Benjamin repeated cheerfully, following Daddy and Karen to the car.