Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Report Card Day

Dear Ian,

Technically the title of this post is a misnomer, as your school doesn't do report cards in the traditional sense, but today was our very first parent-teacher conference at School of Arts and Sciences.  And in a way, it was our first actual parent-teacher conference.  That DOES NOT mean in anyway that Advent didn't have them; we did winter and spring conferences to keep track of your progress, but you and I were at the same school.  If your teachers had an issue, it was pretty much open conversation right at that moment.  Sometimes even on the playground, which I really appreciated.  I could see you throughout the day, so I had a general idea of your progress, but with this conference, everything was new.

You spend roughly six and a half hours at kindergarten.  I drop you off at 8:45am, and then I pick you up again (or Grandma Brooks does, on Thursdays) at 3:20.  Then after an hour of time with you, it's time for me to teach lessons, and most of the time, you go to bed before I finish.  That means, from the time I get you up at 7:15 in the morning until the time you go to bed at 7:45pm, I spend exactly 2 and a half hours with you.  And it is positively killing me.  But you, my boy, seem to be thriving.  You love school, and you love learning, and while I miss being able to spy on you from my own classroom, you are growing into an independent little man, and I am so proud of you, even if dropping you off in the car-drop-off line makes me die a little inside.  

Today's conference only made me more proud.

The first things out of Ms. Tricia's mouth were, "Ian is a great student.  He's a good kid and a good listener.  He follows directions well."  All of the academic stuff came after (and you are doing fantastically by the way), but I held on to those little words like you would savor the taste of something sweet.  Because they were words that touched my heart and relieved my mind.  The transition to kindergarten from a mommy-infiltrated Advent was a big one, and you seem to have conquered it.  And you're doing so with your typical Ian grace and kindness and sweetness.

I didn't have many concerns as far as your academics go; you're out-smarting me most of the time as it is.  But knowing that you are well behaved, kind and a good person means more to mean that any "A" or percentile ranking.

But I do expect good grades, Mister.
I love you,

Monday, September 14, 2015

Brain Power #1

Dear Ian,

So back when you were at home with me, and then once you started going to Advent, I titled letters where I posted your projects "Works of Art."  Well, now you're still doing some art work, but your classroom projects are becoming more and more school-work-like, and I felt that the old title didn't really fit anymore.  Hence, the new "Brain Power" titles!  Yaaaaay...  Mommy needs sleep, but I digress.

Here in these letters, I will post photos and snippets of your classroom assignments and projects so we can track them and see how you progress throughout the year.

We're about a month in to the school year, and I think you're starting to get the hang of this whole Kindergarten thing.  Since you're in a multi-age class, you occasionally get the opportunity to do first grade work, and this thrills you to no end.  I am so very proud of the papers that come home, but I think what makes me the happiest is seeing your little face with great big smile on it when I pick you up at the end of your day.  You're happy to be in school, and that makes me so glad and relieved.

But back to the point of this letter.  Here is some work you've brought home over the past few weeks or so...
This one seems pretty self explanatory.  This piece of work is all about your first day at SAS.  The top left picture, of you meeting your school family, is a picture of your new friend, Kyle.  Apparently Kyle (and Beckett) have my phone number, too, as you have been passing it out to people with the promise of playdates.  Top right, something you learned that day was in P.E. when you learned how to run faster by going in a straight line.  The bottom left picture is a picture of your work during "choice time."  You worked with these neat manipulative thingies.  The bottom right picture is blank because you told your teacher that you had too much to put there, so you would just tell me instead. Haha!
This is a letter you wrote to me in your Family Art and Message journal. These journals are books that will travel back and forth from school to home.  You write me a letter, and then I am supposed to read it and write back.  This is your first entry to me!  It says, "Have a good day, love Ian to Karen."  You told me you had to underline the words you weren't sure how to spell, but I got the idea!  Of course I wrote back, and you took it to school and read it.  I really love these journals.  In a way, they are kind of like this blog!
Here is a self portrait that you drew before your Parent Night event.  Your assignment was to draw a portrait of yourself and then write a sentence about what you to to help around the house.  Your sentence says that you "dust the house."  You actually do help with this chore, and I love your phonetic spelling of house.  It makes my heart happy to see you learning to read and spell; mommy's thing is language and words, so watching your literacy develop thrills me to to end
 Here's the first homework assignment you had to complete.  Your job was to create a scrapbook page that was all about your family for a classroom scrapbook.  I helped you print the pictures - you chose them from Google images - and then you cut them out and glued them down.  All I did was help you write "Brooks Family" and our names.  I think you did a great job!  You were a little less than ecstatic about having to do homework, but once you got started, you enjoyed this work.
Your theme, so far, for this semester has been all about Communities.  You made a great book all about different community helpers, and it turned out really great!
This adorable community helper is a baker, and he had a special sorting mission for you.  Your assignment for this, besides creating the baker, was to create some cookies and then sort them on the bakers tray.  The words above the tray say, "I sorted by color."  You also drew an elaborate oven behind the baker, I see.
And now we move on to math...  Thankfully this is still math that I can help with!  Great number writing, Bear!  And you got a blue smiley on this work!
For this job, you had to count the items, write the number and then circle the smallest number.  Another job well done!
And now we're starting to get to reach the limits of Mommy's math skills.  Thankfully this still has pictures, so I am ok, but Algebra...  Because that's what this is, you know, and Algebra makes Mommy queasy.  You were SO excited about this assignment; this was your First Grade work.  Your smile when you told me about this made my heart so happy.  And look at that work!  Great job, Little Buddy!!

You make me so proud, and I get a little teary eyed when I think about how happy you are to go to school now (it was touch and go there for a bit at the beginning) and how much you are learning.

Keep up the good work.