And that seems like as good of a time as any to talk about my kids and what they’re learning. Recently I read a blog post where the author mentioned how lots of homeschooling bloggers comment frequently about what their children are learning, and how school is going, but parents with kids in public school tend to do this less. And I realized that is very true! So I decided that I, as well, would let my blogging audience (Hi, Mom! Just kidding, I know 5 other people read this too!) know how my kids are doing in school.
This is your warning, it’s really good. So, if you don’t want to hear endless bragging on my wonderful kids, it’s OK to close out and wait for another post. This might be like the worst braggy Christmas letter that you throw away every year without reading. This one is long, really long. But, if you are interested (Hi, Mom!) then here it is!
First up, my Humorous Thinker. He is 9, and in 4th grade. This was his first grading period in 4th grade, as we did a grade skip after just the first 9 weeks in 3rd grade. And it was a wonderful move. Some day I’ll go into more detail on that, since grade skipping is oft-debated. In our case, it was the right move at the right time. Will we need to adjust back some day, for social reasons? It’s not out of the question. We’re not worried about it right now, however. He’s doing very well in his new class. His class is all boys (there is also an all-girls 4th grade class at our school), with an amazing teacher. He fits in well to the class as a whole, he loves learning, and he loves his teacher. He made high honor roll again, and got all A’s (with a couple of A+), with a B+ in gym (Ah, just like his mom. Sorry, son!). His STAR reading level goes up to 9.4 (forgive me for not leaving the warmth of my bed to find out the lower number). We’ve had 18 weeks of school, and I think he’s read close to 40 books for the Accelerated Reader program. Of course, none of them so far are above an 8, because our library doesn’t have any books above an 8. We need to start utilizing the public library for his AR books, because he’s read out most of what interests him in the school library. He also does math at home on IXL, where yesterday he learned the Pythagorean Theorem. He does 5th-8th grade skills on IXL, depending on his mood.
More than academics, though, I’m glad to see his character continue to develop, as he is a strong boy who loves God. This winter he donated at least $50 by purchasing hats, mittens, and books for other kids in South Bend, as part of our church’s outreach at Christmas. He’s always willing to give to others, be it Monopoly money for someone going broke, or his time, or a hand to help out. He’s kind to the kids at school, and is learning how to use his fine-tuned sense of humor in a positive way (including knowing when is OK to tell a joke, and how long is appropriate to laugh when it’s funny). I love being able to see him throughout the day, and I love that when I do see him, he’s always very excited to see me, sit by me, and give me a hug.
Next up, my Perpetual Motion Boy. PMB is in first grade, and closing in on 7. He got all 1s and 2s on his report card, with 1s on the highest content areas (math, language arts, reading). The big news on his report card is that his Guided Reading level is now N! This is big news, this is a third grade level reading level, and he started the year at a G. His STAR reading level is a little lower, topping out at 2.5. He’s working so hard at reading, and when he slows down and doesn’t try to scan two lines ahead while he’s reading, he improves his accuracy even more. He also loves reading, and he still loves for me to read to him. Which is good, since I love reading to him! He’s suddenly taken a huge liking to math, as well. He is working hard to master all of the 1st grade skills on IXL, because he wants to do them all before he starts second grade skills. He wants to work daily for 10 minutes in my office before school starts, along with wanting to work every day after school.
My speech office is right across the hall from PMB’s 1st grade classroom, so I see him frequently throughout the day. He also loves to see me, gives me hugs, and is very affectionate. I love seeing my guys during the day! He’s growing in other ways, too–he grew a half an inch in the last 2 weeks (with more to come? He still eats like it!), and just yesterday told me how some of the kids are calling one of his friends nicknames (nothing mean, just lots of nicknames and not done in good spirit), and how he’s sticking up for him. He also “broke up” a fight between two of his good friends yesterday, standing between them and telling them to stop. I should be clear that these two boys are also friends, and it wasn’t a fist fight, but they were arguing and maybe pushing. I’m glad he’s confident enough to step in.
He is struggling some with focus and attention at school. It’s always been a problem at home, but we’ve mostly found ways to help him out. But it is creeping into his school–he missed 4 on his last spelling midweek test, all right in a row, and I could tell he’d lost focus, because one of the words he wrote wasn’t just a misspelling, it wasn’t even one of his spelling words. He says it takes him a long time to finish some things because he gets distracted by what the other kids are doing, like if a kid is counting out loud while doing math. And he’s started saying, “I’m stupid! I can’t do it!” So we’ve really hit hard on working on changing that self-talk to truth. Building up his strengths, as well as speaking plainly about where he struggles (attention, focus). For the spelling test today, I didn’t really quiz him on words. I knew he knew how to spell them all. I helped him think about how he could focus during the test: work hard to write the word right away, then take time to be distracted until the next word is said. He said he was able to implement that, and he did get them all right. I am trying to be thoughtful and prayerful about continuing intervention and teaching skills, behavior modification, while keeping a close eye on his mental picture of himself.
And now for Miss Imagination. She is 3 1/2, and in her first year at a public Montessori. She loves her school! I would know more about how she was doing if only I had not completely forgotten about her parent-teacher conference on Monday… But everything she reports is great, and her teacher told me she has no concerns at this time. She’s a rhyming machine, which is the most fun development I’ve seen from school this quarter. She rhymes so well, both nonsense rhymes and real-word rhymes. She also is attending to so many details in books. This afternoon I listened to her tell us about a current favorite book from the library, a Charlie and Lola book called, “I slightly want to go home.” She recited it with so much detail to the phrasing of the book–many pages were nearly perfect.
Miss Imagination loves to play pretend with others, too. Of course, as her family we’re often called into service. But she has frequent play dates organized by Carl to keep her active. She also plays quietly every day in the afternoon in lieu of a nap, and she knows that is completely “play alone” time–she is creative and engaged in a make-believe story that whole time. I miss her during the day, and can’t wait for the time when she is at my school, too! Only a year and a half to go! All of my favorite teachers better still be there when she starts Kindergarten.
Miss Imagination is also doing very well in gymnastics. She can walk on the beam by herself now! Her core strength is amazing to me, as it’s something I just do not have. She dances, twists, jumps, and spins through most of her day, including skipping whenever she can. I’m pretty sure that neither of the boys can skip, even at 9 and almost-7. And I know she’s the only one of my children who can effectively sweep the floor. Thank you, Montessori!
So there you have it, just a few details about my children.