When is your kids first day of school? How did it go? Are they excited for this school year?
My two 6 yr old DDs don't start until 9/4.
They are excited to start 2nd grade and see who is in their class and who their teacher is! Although, as one DD says "I like school, I just wish it was not so many days a week and for so many hours-- I want to come home and do XYZ (do all the things she cant do at school!)"
Me, I am sad that summer is at an end. I love spending the summer with them exploring what interests them and nothing more. Also, I have to take a big breath before the year starts and cross my fingers that they get teachers that 'get' them---I dislike knowing how much/hard/often I will have to advocate for both DDs (both are 2E).
I have a meeting to address one DDs Special Needs. That is always interesting....
Good Luck to all- I hope you and your kiddos have a great school year!
Edited by KCMichigan - 8/20/12 at 5:32pm
Mine started today.
My 9 year old DS started 5th. Our schools have a middle school system so this is his last year in elementary school. Last year didn't go great, however, we are cautiously optimistic about this year. We met with his teachers last week and all appear to be on the same page going into this year.
DD, age 6, is going into 1st grade. She's still not a fluent reader so is really excited to be going back to school and is anxious to learn to read. Her teacher seems nice.
We'll see what the school year brings.
My DD 15 started in a college/high school hybrid program last week. The first week she only had her high school English and History class. Loves the teachers. Connected right away. Already more discussion than she had in class the last 2 years of high school and the homework has been purposeful and interesting. They are also reading her 3 favorite books as part of the curriculum and she's thrilled. Today she started her college courses. She approved of the textbooks, thought they were well written and easy to absorb lol. I got a text that her Statistics teacher is super passionate and engaging. Tomorrow she'll meet her Oceanography teacher. It's so great to see that spark in her again!
DS 11 starts 7th grade after labor day but he has been going in once a week to work with his band instructor. He's being groomed for the jazz band and DS is super excited for it!
They will attend the same progressive school that they went to for the last two years. They are really looking forward to getting back to school, seeing their friends, and getting into their classes and projects.
I'll post more after they start!
DD and DS are already back in - DD (12) started the 8th,and DS (4) started the 13th.
DD was very excited to switch to the new MS she is now attending. She has been sooooo much better about going to bed and getting up for school (major problem in the past!). She absolutely loves her school, and all of her classes (some are challenging, some are not). As her MS is a STEM focused school, one of the classes she is taking is engineering using CAD. Favorite class by far, but she is also loving Algebra too. She is the only 7th grader in her class, and has been more than holding her own (proudly told me how she got the right answer for a difficult problem that she was called up to the board to complete in front of her classmates). Her fellow Algebra classmates were (amazingly?) surprised that she was a 7th grader; at first the other students weren't interacting much with DD, as they all knew each other from last year, but now they have been talking with her and working with her when needing a partner. So far, so good! Keeping my fingers crossed that school continues to go well.
DS started his second year at a (mostly) play-based preschool, located in the elementary school where DD went for 5.5 years. The preschool is multiage, so now he's part of the returning "elder" kids. He's been doing well, having fun, but following directions and helping the new kids. And his teacher has told me a few times how amazed she is about his focus this year, and how much he knows. I attribute a lot of the differences she noticed to DS getting glasses right after school got out this past year (poor thing is pretty far sighted!). I think his letter/number recognition will be better, and hopefully he'll improve on his handwritting skills.
School in most of Canada starts September 4th. Elder dd has placement auditions and exams in the week prior to that: she's starting her Bachelor of Music degree and is hoping to earn the option of playing in the contemporary music orchestra, normally reserved for juniors and seniors. We'll see: she's had hardly any time to practice the orchestral excerpts, having just returned home from orchestra tour. Middle dd and ds start their second year of school, Grade 9/10 and 11 respectively. Some wrinkles yet to be worked out for both of them, moreso for dd (see my grade-split post). Younger dd (9) is a homeschooler through our district's umbrella program. We've had a Learning Plan discussion together and have some ideas. She's hoping to join the local school 7th and 8th grade kids for their Intro to Spanish class, and continue with all her other academics at home. We have some great extra-curriculars on the go: a Law & Government series of workshops for homeschooler run by a funky, creative lawyer in the area -- brilliant!, a set of art workshops for local homeschoolers that we love, her violin-based music learning which offers some interesting new possibilities this year, and her recent involvement in recreational gymnastics, which really appeals to her. We can't wait to get started on all those!
Ds will start first grade on Sept 13, his first year of formal schooling with real academic instruction (K is a very much play-based pull-out program in preschool). He is very excited - we have already bought the special satchel (yes, European kids still have to use proper satchels, at least in elementary, not just any old backpack) black with red dragons and matching gym bag and pencil cases, procured the long list of exercise books with the required jackets and the long list of art supplies...and we have readied everything, put everything in the right jackets and cases, marked everything with his names and initials, wrote the colours on folders whose colours he cannot tell apart (he's colour-blind)...a huge expense and took us days and a lot of money to put everything together, and I keep shaking my head - all this stuff and it's just first grade.
Do they really need all these specialized materials with the special multicoloured lines and the little upstairs-downstairs houses at the beginng of every line in order to learn how to print legibly? Two exercise books just for language arts, another for "individual work period" in language arts, an extra book for "stories" (lines on one page, no lines on the page across for pictures), one extra book for "writing", one for "spelling words", a book for "daily homework", a folder for "weekly homework", a book for "whatever" (seriously!)...and all this art stuff - water colours, two different kinds of crayons (always most expensive brand recommended - nothing less than Stockmar will do), playdo, 6 different kinds of brushes - he better turn out a prodigy!
Sorry, rant over - I was just wondering whether this is just his school, or whether this is a cultural thing, or whether things are this over-the-top the world over these days....
I assume he will be the youngest, as he's entered early. He is now reading Magic Treehouse books by himself, so I assume he's reading at least at late second grade level, maybe early third. Can't really tell about math, but imagine a similar level. Luckily, his fine motor skills are quite good for a five-year-old boy, so I think he'll be right on track with learning to print. He's been writing quite a bit lately, with quite legible spelling, but all caps with sizes all over the place and a lot of reversals, so I hope that with a focus on learning how to print well and legibly and learning symbols and how to organize his work in math he'll have something to learn and grow in until they start to give him higher-level work (they sound serious about their commitment to differentiation, which they mostly use the daily "individual work periods" and Montessori materials for, and have talked about having to provide him second-grade work by about Christmas).
How he'll adjust socio-emotionally is a bit of a different worry, particularly as two or three weeks into the school year I'll be off to hospital and the NICU with our special needs youngest for (hopefully only) a few weeks. I'm hoping that the excitement of school and the newness of everything will carry him through it all!
Tyr starts grade 1 only 2 weeks from today. We all have mixed emotions about it. We've enjoyed homeschooling with him and he has progressed well. I know he is mixed too. One day he will proudly say he is going into grade one and that the apartment is right near his school. Then the next time it is mentioned and he is all about wanting to be at home to do what he wants to do. It will be a major adjustment for us all.
We have one more week of summer left. School starts next Monday. I think both my girls are excited, although dd2 maybe moreso. She will be going into 3rd grade and is very excited about both getting more challenging work and about the school's focus changing to project-based work. 3rd grade is the year they screen for entry into the main gifted program, so interested to see how that works out.
DD1 will be going to a small charter with a focus on the ennvironment and the arts which are two things she's very interested in, so I think/hope that will be a good fit for her.
DD is waiting impatiently for her timetable (11th grade) to arrive in the mail. Classes start soon and she's getting anxious because it isn't here yet.
DS got his tuition notice for his 2nd year at college and is not too happy with his schedule (classes on all 5 days, Monday to Friday, THE HORROR!! ). I'll be able to update soon when classes actually start.
My kids started school yesterday. They were excited and had a great day. I love their teachers! I truly think we're off to a good start and feel very positive we'll have fewer issues this year. I talked to my 6 y/o's teacher about his handwriting and she told me not to worry that she will set up some time with the K and 1st grade teachers to help him personally in 10-15 minute sessions a couple of times a week. And on top of this she promised to let him have his own box of tissues in his desk for his nosebleeds! yay His nose bleeds like crazy if you just look at it wrong. She has experience working with gifted children so she is very used to lots of the issues. I am really hopeful you all!
eta, I got an email from his teacher telling me that she's never seen such a behaved and sweet boy. =) She probably sends that to all the parents to get points lol
My oldest started K a week ago! Should be an interesting adventure for us--we decided to delay entry due to a mid summer birthday as it is extremely common here, and our district generally does a good job of working with kids at ability level rather than grade level. She scored in the 100th %tile on the readiness screening (which I know is more achievement-based, but a score like that is relatively unheard of). So far, her being far ahead of her peers doesn't seem to be an issue. She is a child who LOVES school, everything about it. Though she has complained a lot about it not being *enough*, mostly because it is 1/2 day only. If I had to guess, though she is not reading fluently, it has improved a lot, probably somewhere in the mid-1st grade range; her math skills are beyond that for sure, but I have no idea where. Her teacher encourages kids to pursue their interests which is great because DD is very curious and likes to "research" things. I think she got her dad's science brain.
#2 doesn't start preschool until 9/5, and it's slowly driving both of us insane, having her home while her big sis is in school. She will be "grade accelerated" (hee! so silly to say about a 4yo) again this year and in the same class #1 did last year. I'm having trouble envisioning her there, though, because she is not a desk learner, and I think the class is a bit more sit-down than she is used to. But she never ceases to surprise me, so I am sure she will thrive! She shows zero interest in working on anything school related outside of school, so I have no idea what she can do.
But, his teacher is awesome, he came out all smiles at the end of the day, and was happy to go back today. He says some of the first graders (his former classmates) teased him during After School, but we can head that off at the pass quickly.
Both kids report successful first weeks of school.
DS is really really liking his teacher this year. Which is great because I had a few issues with this teacher last year so was/am hesitant about him this year. I stopped in to have lunch with DS today and got to watch them working on a few brainteasers in class. He seemed to have a good level of control of the class (independent, fun work, so lots of movement and freedom about what each kid was doing, but not out of control or crazy). He seemed to interact well with all the kids. They do about 2 weeks of pre testing at my son's school so they haven't really started much for real work. The real test of our year will start when big projects start. His school likes to assign them and my son isn't very good at the organization required to complete them.
DD is also liking her teacher. I went to lunch with her as well, but was running a bit later to her school so didn't get to see her class in action. I do need to find some time to visit with her teacher about health issues. Overall it sounds like things are going well in her classroom as well. Speech therapy already started and the speech therapist emailed me to let me know that DD make good progress on articulation over the summer. Which is really good considering we only made it to about 1/2 of the 6 weeks of speech classes she had scheduled this summer.
It was a busy week for all of us as we ran to a number of meetings for Lego League this week as well since my husband and I are coordinating some of the state events.
I start school myself next week as I'm going back to school for my Masters of Arts in Secondary Education. Hopefully I'll have good things to report about my first week of school at this time next Friday.
Good to hear everyone is off to cautious but promising starts to the school year.
I has been my own experience that kids that age don't sort out that kind of thing by themselves, but that the stage for that kind of exclusion is set by the grownups, in this case the teachers. I would speak to the teachers about whether the children are encouraged to play across age lines (as is the point of a mixed-age-group, really) or whether a big deal is being made throughout the year of who is a tiger and who is a puppy and what else there is in between. You may have to be a squeaky wheel about this.
You may be interested in a thread I had about our DS' preschool's exclusion policy two years ago which I tirelessly advocated against for DS' whole "middle" year and the teachers kept defending their policies, even though they did admit that things recently had appeared to get somewhat out of hand. Lo and behold, in DS' "tiger" year, things suddenly moved in much more harmony, and I believe that my squeaking must have made a difference, even though this was never openly acknowledged by the teachers.
Edited to add that if you doubt that the stage is being set by the grownups: it's the teachers who come up with "puppies and tigers" in the first place, thus planting the idea that there should be special little age groups. If they had met in the park, they might never have cared!
My kids go to a mixed age school and for some activities kids are sorted by age, but for many they are not. It's a K-12 school and some classes for just for highschoolers, or just for primary level, etc. Some field trips are just for certain ages. But there are chunks of the day when the kids are mixed, and even field trips that include who ever wants to go. All homerooms, for example, contain a mix of ages and the goal is to foster interaction. Some classes are mixed as appropriate. The kids do know how they others are classified, but it isn't a huge deal.
The "you can't play with us because you are too old / too young / wrong gender" isn't allowed. It's referred to as "exclusionary play" and it is against school policy. IMHO, this often NOT something that kids can sort out on their own. It is something that adults teach and foster. I'm not sure that it is part of our basic human nature to include those we consider to be different than ourselves. It's something we learn. Obviously, it is an easier thing for some kids to learn than others. Heck, some adults struggle with this.
(exception at our school -- kids playing a game with real rules, like chess, don't have to admit another student who wants to join in mid game. But for open ended play, who ever wants to play can play.)
I'd talk to the school. I think a mixed age school that encourages or allows the behavior you describe is missing the point of being a mixed age school.
Thanks for your thoughts/experiences! I did end up saying something to one of the lead teachers this morning and she was responsive. She indicated that yes - that probably happened and they would definitely try to discourage it if they notice. When I picked DD up the same teacher told me they had a morning meeting and discussed rules - including "everyone gets to play." DD told me that a boy wouldn't let her on some playground equipment so she asked a teacher for help and the teacher told him that he had to let her play. Thanks for encouraging me to speak to them sooner rather than later. I now feel really good rather than somewhat anxious about the school!