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December updates, brags, ponderings: post 'em here! - Page 2

post #21 of 24

Had to add an accomplishment (not so amazing as the cellist or chess champion, but still a milestone in our house). DS7 (1st grade) is officially finished with multiplication. He had a hard time keeping patience with the longer problems, but rallied this morning and decided on his own that he wanted to finish.


We're on to medium/ long division and a bit of work with fractions, decimals, etc. Hopeful that we'll zip a bit faster through division and maybe get to some "fun" math. 


We're going to put DS in a chess class starting this winter to see if he likes it-- and another milestone coming up this winter is the first out of town Taekwondo tournament. 

post #22 of 24

We've had a great 2013 in our house! DS went from diapers to the potty, from recognizing random words to reading fluently, from counting up to 30 to counting backwards from 200 by 10s... it's amazing to me. Just when I think he's slowing down, he has a new breakthrough. 


We've made the painful/exciting decision to change DS3's schooling situation in February. Our current preschool is wonderful, but I'm not sure if it's the best thing for him going forward. We found a small Montessori school that seems perfect. A few weeks ago we had a family interview. I wanted to be clear about his abilities, without sounding too ridiculous (I'm a teacher and I know how parents can over-sell their kids' abilities.). Early in the interview, DS finished all of the simple puzzles that had been brought for him to "explore". Then he looked at me and clearly said, "I want to go home!" I cringed. But then he walked over to a bookcase, picked up a book, and began reading it with wonderful inflection. After a few pages, my husband interrupted the interview to say, "I want you to understand that he's never seen that book before! He's really reading! And he comprehends it!" It was perfect! We're cautiously optimistic...


DH had an "ah ha" moment about a month ago when he volunteered in Children's Church with me (ages 4-2nd grade). I was having the kids line up for an activity. In an attempt to help figure out who should go first, he offered, "Ok, pick a number between 20 and 80." After a few minutes of struggle he looked at me and whispered, "Ok. This is a wake up call!"

post #23 of 24
Originally Posted by FisherFamily View Post


I think I need to hang out here much more often.  I just don't have anyone irl who is supportive of my children.  It's the hardest for dd1 because she is paving the way.  The others are trying to catch up to her, so they have a better environment.  They are already reaching way higher than they ought for their age, if that makes sense. 



Thank you all for your encouraging words!


I agree with FisherFamily! This board is wonderful because people here understand and do not judge! :)

post #24 of 24
A little late for December...

DD (13 years old) just finished her 1st semester of HS, after skipping 8th grade. She certainly got her first real taste of challenge, both to her intelect, and her executive functioning skills. And learning that even though it sounds fun, maybe joining every after school group you are interested in *may not* be the best use of your time.

First real challenge: Honors Conceptual Physics. She completely missed the Physics unit from last year's science class (moved from 7th grade science to 8th grade science 2/3 of the year through). She really has a difficult time wanting to track scores/grades, and also has a hard time acknowledging that the need to ask for help is not a sign of weakness or lack of ability. So she got a B for the first quarter because she failed to keep track of her tests. labs, and homework, and in doing so, missed her chance to correct two low (high 70's) grades. Her teacher had a pretty liberal policy where they can correct any work for partial credit to improve a grade.

She was pulling a low to mid A for the second quarter, and needed to do fairly well on the final to squeak out an A. Her class was given the final a week early, so they would have a chance to retake it on the true final day, and the teacher would average the two grades. Low B on first take; high B on second take. Her teacher made a deal with her - get a 89.5 average and I'll give you the A. Guess what average she ended with? ;-). Happy Ending: an A in Physics. My DH and I told her we were most proud of her for the way she stuck to it and gritted out the effort. The A was nice too, of course.

Challenge discovered: Helping DD to learn how to distill a subject's important concepts down to aid in recall for a final!

She did well in her other 3 subjects (her HS is on the block system; they have 4 classes per semester) - received A's. She took Spanish and Drawing - both were relative cakewalks for her. Her other class was an Intro to STEM class that presented some challenges - not academically, but interpersonally. One major part of her grade was a group project. Her fellow group mates were pretty lax in their commitment to get things done by deadlines. She would get very frustrated, and feel stressed to get all the work done herself (which had happened to her in the past with group work - the expectation of group mates that she should do the bulk of the work). AS she will have to deal with these types of situations "in the real world" someday, we worked with her to proactively deal with the situation - staying in constant contact with group mates outside of class, encouraging the group to make time to work together (via email, so if nothing else, there was a paper trail for her teacher to see her level of effort). And to let her know it was okay after attempting to resolve the issue on her own, to seek help from her teacher to solve it. She did that; her teacher let her know he wouldn't let their lack of effort affect her grade negatively.

The teacher she had for this Intro to STEM class will be one of her Engineering teachers over the next few years (and we did tell him that DD skipped to 9th grade, so he is/would be aware of the age and other differences). I think he's formed a soft spot for DD; they have spent some time together outside of the class (in an after school activity) and he joked with her one day that she might be his" new favorite student". We also received a very heartwarming note at the end of the semester, part of which read:

"I also wanted you to know {DD} exceeded my expectations, which were high to begin with. She turned out to be quite a leader in class and her work is excellent. I am looking forward to a long, friendly, and productive relationship for the next few years. I will work on her becoming more active in {an extracurricular activity} so her leadership potential can be further developed.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday. Thanks for sending me such a wonderful kid!"

I've got to tell you, getting feedback like this makes the difficult times we've gone through with her so worth it; most recently dealing with her inability to monitor and self control computer game playing and socializing via Skype and text, to the detriment of her need for sleep.

Now on to the second semester, which will be even more challenging; Honor Geometry, PE/Health class, Intro to Engineering, and Honors English. And to get her to see that she'll need to choose which after school activities are most important, and ditch the rest.

And on to DS (5 years old). He started K this year; it's going as well as can be expected. I say that because while I know he's doing well academically, it's a bit of a bumpy ride for him anyway. His teacher and I are keeping in contact about his issues - generally a lack of body awareness (trouble staying still, not being aware of how his physical movement/actions affect others - bumping in to them, knocking them over {even hurting a few kids, though not seriously}, not allowing for other's need for personal space, and not being able to stop talking and focus on his table work). Seriously, there are times he just CANNOT stop talking and/or making noises, even though he know it's too much and driving us, and his teacher a little nuts. If we try to stop him, he'll get upset and scream, "Let me finish my words!", even if he has said/asked the same thing over and over and over. I also think that he has issues with speech (still misstates the right sound for letter(s) and vice versa. He does still have a lisp and will still incorrectly say certain words, even though we say them correctly, and have gently worked with him on the correct way to say the given word. So this all speaks to potential sensory, hearing and speech issues.

A LOOONNNGGG time ago I asked his teacher for a speech eval, but the wheels are moving slowly (or not at all), so I'm going to formally write the principal a letter to start the clock. I'm going to have to tread carefully with this; he is Open Enrolled at his current school and don't want to do anything that might affect that.

He really needs to have a full eval, I know. But we are dragging our feet for a couple of reasons. I'm having trouble sussing out what is normal 5 year old boy behavior vs. what is not and in need of immediate intervention. I only have my DD to use as comparison; that's not a fair comparison. While she was a challenging child emotionally/behaviorally, his issues are not the same as hers. Also, it's expensive, and with our high deductible insurance, it will completely have to be paid for by us, even though most/all will be a billable visits/diagnoses (I've checked this with our insurance). I need to figure this out sooner than later; I don't want to drag my feet as long as I did for DD and not proactively advocate for DS's needs.

But on the positive side, he really is a sweet boy, who loves to go to school and has made good friends (with the girls too - they think he's a great friend, and love to chase him on the playground at recess!). His teacher has said this as well.

As always, I do appreciate the space to be able to say these things, and to get great and thoughtful feedback/advice from those who've BTDT.
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