Wednesday, June 21, 2017

End of school year

A has finished 5th grade (on to middle school!!!) and D has finished 3rd. They both had good years.

A's accomplishments were mostly about academics and independence. His teacher allowed him a lot of freedom to manage his own time and he excelled at his work while remaining challenged and interested. His math abilities are through the roof - he averaged 100% for all four quarters and scored at the 99.9th percentile on a nationally normed test of math achievement. This last score, along with his reading achievement and his teacher's recommendation allowed A to qualify for the gifted program. It's funny, because traditionally "gifted" means an out-of-the-box thinker but A is just really, really good at achieving in the box. If he's gifted, it's at sheer stubbornness and determination. The boy will not give up until he has plumbed the depths of the box, explored every corner of the box, owned the box. But out of the box? No, thank you. Still, he is becoming more independent. He walked home alone from school most days this year. He spent a weekend at the beach with his best friend's family. And his favorite memory of 5th grade - four days at an outdoor education camp in Maryland - nature studies, swamp crawls, and zip lines.

D also had academic success this year with solid A and B equivalents. His place to shine is memorizing all kinds of facts - presidential history, basketball stats, and geography. Name a year, he can tell you who was president. Name a basketball player, he can tell you how many points he scored his rookie year in the NBA. Show him a blob and he can identify it as the outline of Belarus (next year I'm definitely registering his school for the National Geographic Bee). The way D learns many of his facts is interesting - he reads the same materials multiple times and then sings information to himself while he shoots an imaginary basketball... ♪ MARtin Van ♪ BUren (swish) ♪ 1837 to (swish) 1841 ♪. People are constantly amazed by how much he knows. His other big accomplishment was social - for the first time he has been willing to inviting friends into his space at home. He made a really good friend in N. They've been inseparable at school and have been spending time together outside of school too. It's been exciting to see D step out from under his brother's shadow and form such a strong friendship on his own.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

What else are we supposed to do?

Mom, can I go play basketball?
You know I don't like you going anywhere.
Aw, Mom, just to the rec center to play basketball.
Listen, any trouble happens, you walk straight home.
I will, Mom, I promise.



Mom, I want to go to this party.
Your grades are good, you've earned some fun.
And I'll be there with my own brothers.
Absolutely no drinking, you hear me?
Of course, Mom.
Any trouble happens, you get in the car to come home.
I will, Mom, I promise.



When they killed Trayvon, we were told our sons must never wear hoodies or get in trouble at school; otherwise, they deserve to die.

When they killed Michael, we were told our sons must never walk in the street or be rude; otherwise, they deserve to die.

When they killed Tamir, we were told our 12-year-olds must never be immature; otherwise, they deserve to die.

Tell me, please, tell me, what else are we supposed to do to keep them safe from the people who are supposed to keep them safe?