Saturday, September 28, 2013

Back to school

The kids have been in school now for almost a month. A is in 2nd grade and D is a big kindergartner. A, as expected, has had a very smooth transition. School combines the two things he loves best - lots of kids his age and predictable rules to follow. If A could be in school seven days a week, I think he would be. He is doing great both academically and socially. He's really strong in math - he has great number sense - and he loves helping the teacher and other kids. His reading is on grade level, and he just got selected for the student council. The one small concern I have is that his speech often isn't clear. Mostly people can understand him, but he tends to shorten glides (certain long vowel sounds) and drop final consonants. I can see how that might affect his spelling down the road, but for now, it doesn't get in the way, and he can make those sounds, he just often doesn't.

D has had a harder time. He was in daycare every morning this summer, but it's still a big transition to full days of learning and socializing. He loves school, and wakes up super excited to go each morning, but he's exhausted by the end of the day. He's usually very grumpy in the evenings. I was proud of him the first week, when he was able to articulate through tears, "I don't like this new routine." He's usually not that self-aware - more often exhaustion is expressed as a nonsense word being yelled over and over. But he does love school. He doesn't want to leave when I come to pick him up at 3:15. I actually had to bribe him with McDonald's to smooth our going-home routine. (I've been a vegetarian for more than twenty years, but D wanted McDonald's, so I tossed my principles to the wind and bought him a hamburger. Or, as he called it when it was time to order, "mouse meat.") Academically D is doing great and has already hit most of the end-of-year benchmarks. He's starting to read, and he loves to work on the Reading A-Z books I used with A a year ago. It has always calmed him when I read to him, and I'm thrilled to notice that he is now calming himself by reading.

The boys also started soccer this month. A had played every day in July at his YMCA camp, so we already knew he would love it. For D it's his first attempt at a team sport, and it's great to see that he is ready for the experience. It's pretty cute when the boys already have their shin guards on at 6AM for a 10AM game.

I'm continuing to work a couple of hours a day, teaching adult ESL. The last session (during the summer) was rough, but the current group has been great. They are mostly quite young, mostly pretty motivated, and often funny.

Fall is not my favorite season - the days get too short too quickly - but this one is off to a good start.


  1. I wonder what it is about reading being such a good regulating mechanism. Is it because the whole brain has to concentrate, thus rechanneling neural pathways? And our district just started full day kindergarten and I've heard from the teachers that the little tykes are *tired* by the end of the day. T did full-day pre-K, but they had a two-hour nap in there (which he just hated and would spend the time perfecting his armpit fart noises).

    1. I don't know if it's anything as complicated as rechanneling neural pathways. Reading is an escape, for all of us, including for D. "The goat is in a boat" is really interesting to him. If I saw a goat in a boat in real life, I'd be pretty engaged, too. I think our kids liking to read is evidence that they are visualizing what they read.

  2. I'm glad to hear that your school year - for all three of you - is off to a good start. That is a HUGE change for a child, to go up to full days of school; I can see that being a real challenge for so many children. But I love that he was able to articulate his worries to you.