Monday, September 16, 2013

School Update

Now that we are almost a month into the school year I suppose it's time for an update.  Probably because I feel like I can finally catch my breath a little since the new daily routine has become just that - routine.  For the most part, the kids are doing okay with me getting them out of the house by 7:30am.  All of their alarms go off at 6:40 and they are all downstairs by 7am eating breakfast.  Some days things go swimmingly and other days I am chasing after them at 7:25 to get over their drama and get their stuff together.

On the days they do well, I commend them and let them know it.  On the days there are problems we discuss what we could have done differently.  We've all learned a lot, actually.  Piper knows that no matter what she needs to stick with the outfit she chose the night before. Bryce needs to untie his tennis shoes when he takes them off...no knots left for the mornings!  All three kids need to do a better job of not all trying to get into the bathroom to brush their teeth at the same time otherwise screaming and drama ensues.  I don't expect every day to be perfect but I do expect them to work with me.  I've learned that Piper needs non-cereal choices for breakfast if I expect her to eat something before school.  I tried making some peanut butter oatmeal bars this weekend and she actually ate one this morning.  (I was getting tired of the ones we had from Costco - too much sugar, not enough protein and fiber.)

Thankfully, the cubbies we bought when we moved in have been very helpful.  Everyone's book bags and jackets are where they are supposed to be and kept neatly.  Everyone puts their binders and folders in the "inbox" to be signed each night.  My organization habits are working, thankfully.  We would not be able to manage without it.  I hate that a whole corner of my family room that could be used for a desk is taken up by it, but it really has been so helpful and it's the only good spot for it since we don't have a mud room.

As for individual adjustment to school, they are doing fine.  First Caroline, I knew she'd have the toughest time because she is the one that spent 4 years at her old school.  I think we're finally at the point that if I told her she could go back to her old school she'd say no.  I don't think I could have said that 2 weeks ago.  But since then, she's made a few friends and is starting to feel like she fits in.  Her teachers are very attentive and I have been very impressed by her Reading/Writing teacher.  She still hasn't completely bought into the new school yet and will make comparisons with her old school.  She'll laugh at things she thinks are weird (school pledge) and doesn't take them at face value the way someone who has always been there would.  But she's doing really well so far. Her grades the teachers have posted online have been very good and she's clearly not behind.  Her handwriting is beautiful (how is this MY kid?) and I am amazed at some of the narratives she has been writing.  I love to read them! She's also finally getting used to going to the before care program - HotSpots.  She gave me the hardest time of the three kids with that.  But I finally had to have a conversation with her that this was our only option, it's a good option (they are at the school, no external buses to ride, it's safe, and it's only for a little over an hour) and that it allows me to get to work so that I can leave by 5pm (which is still later than I'd like).  I think she keeps her complaining about it to herself now because she knows that I won't stand for it.  I told her it's part of our family's teamwork and she needs to be a team player.

Bryce has been doing well too. He has made friends with "everyone" in the class according to him and that sounds just like his experience in the past.  He's a friendly kid to begin with and typically girls and boys like him.  He's made some soccer buddies too which I know he enjoys.  He's the only one that there have been any slight behavior issues with and apparently that only happened on Friday and it seems to be "just" talking issues.  If any of my kids would have that issue, it would be Bryce.  Mr. Talkative!  (A few of my neighbors have declared talking to Bryce is like talking to a 25 year old - if you look out your window it's common to see him shooting the breeze with one of the men on our street.  Our next door neighbor declared how much he loves hearing Bryce talk about his soccer games.  It's kind a hoot.)  I think Bryce is doing well in school - all the papers he brings home seem to indicate that, but in 2nd grade, the grades are a bit different than 3rd grade and beyond.  I'm not worried as I can tell his reading has improved already and he continues to love math even enough to want to play a game they played in class at home with me this weekend.  All good signs!

As for Ms. Piper, I cannot say how proud I am of her.  As the youngest of all my kids starting kindergarten (just turned 5 as opposed to almost 6 or already 6), I was worried.  It's a long day especially with getting there over an hour before school starts and the new rigor of all day school, but she seems okay with it.  I even got an email last week from her teacher telling me how well she has adjusted. She even managed one day to get "blue" on her behavior chart which is above and beyond green.  I asked her why and she said, "I was working quietly on my own."  She is too cute.  She loves to report about the "bad" kids in her class every day too but then, so does Bryce.  One of the things about Piper that is frustrating for me as a parent is that she can be quite stubborn and if I want her to do something she has to do it in her own time.  Well, that's worked well with school because things she won't do for me (writing her last name, holding her pencil correctly) are things she is HAPPY to do for her teacher.  But I'm okay with that.  Proud, actually.  She was pleased as punch to show me that she knows how to hold her pencil now.  I cannot wait for American Education Week to see her in class.  I love the way she describes things and tells stories about her day.  Listening to her each evening is one of my highlights right now.

I feel like we've finally gotten over our final hurdle of the moving process.  I had so much anxiety about switching schools and it was the last thing we had to do.  It's hard to believe it's been a year since we started this crazy process.  It's amazing what can happen in a year.  It's funny too because I just realized we have now officially been in our house longer than the time we lived with my mom and dad.  It seems like we've been here a long time already.  It is starting to feel more like home.  If only there was more time to paint.

1 comment:

Bracken said...

What a great post. Sounds like everyone is settling in. Great to hear how you are all doing. I promise I will try tonight to respond to your email I never responded to :)