Friday, April 25, 2008

Next Steps for Son #3

Son #3 will be finishing his kindergarten year in May. As is the custom at his school, I had a conference with his teacher to help decide the best placement for him next year. The options for any child are: 1) repeating kindergarten, 2) transitional 1st grade, 3) traditional first grade, or 4) multi-age.

The Traditional 1st grade (also called T-1) is a program that's not quite kindergarten and not quite first grade. It's often referred to as "the gift of time." It's for kids who socially and emotionally aren't quite ready for traditional first grade. At the end of the T-1 school year, the student will move into 1st grade.

The Multi-Age program is where ten first grade students (called "novices") are placed in a class with ten second grade students (called "experts"). There are a lot of centers and collaborative work. The following year, the "experts" move into tradition 3rd grade, while the "novices" (1st graders) become the "experts" (2nd graders) and a new group of 10 kids join them as novices. The advantages are the same teacher for two years in a row, plus half of the same kids.

Son #3's kindergarten teacher and I met this morning to discuss what would be the best option for my little guy. Academically he's 'very stong.' (I'm not surprised since I home schooled him for pre-K - at his request.) However, there are some areas where emotionally and socially, he's a bit "developmentally younger" than his 6 years.

How much of this is because I kept him home with me until kindergarten? How much of it is because of his general personality? Who knows?

According to the Gesell Developmental Observation, he ranked 'very strong' in math and in visual memory. Slight behind in auditory memory (duh, he rarely listens to me! Didn't need a test to tell me this.) His cognitive skills are above average. His symbolic/drawing skills are strong, as are his spelling skills.

He gets along well with his peers, does well in group settings. His challenges, however, are:

  • ♦ fine motor skills. He's such a perfectionist at forming his letters that he sometimes does not finish his assignment. Is it a fine motor deficiency (developmental) or a personality train (perfectionism)? Who knows.
  • ♦ while he works well in groups, he does not want to take the lead, doesn't want to go first. (heck, I'm 40+ and I don't like to take the lead). Again, is this developmental or personality?
  • ♦ at school, he has difficulty expressing his feelings. NOT a problem at home.
  • ♦ although he rarely needs help from the teacher, on the rare occasions where he does not understand the instructions, he doesn't seem to ask for help.

It boils down to this:

School Son #3 versus Home Son #3

  • ♦ School Son #3 plays well with other kids
  • ♦ Home Son #3 plays well with other kids EXCEPT his brothers
  • ♦ School Son #3 shares shares
  • ♦ Home Son #3 shares when he wants to, which isn't often
  • ♦ School Son #3 has difficulty expressing feelings
  • ♦ Home Son #3 won't hesitate to tell you exactly what he's feeling
  • ♦ School Son #3 lacks confidence
  • ♦ Home Son #3 is a complete bulldozer

Will the REAL Son #3 please stand up? I thought the teacher might recommend Transitional First Grade but I've read studies and while I think it might be a viable options for some kids, I'm not sure it's best for Son #3. Dear Hubby is very resistant to this idea (as is the National Association for the Education of Young People).

Fortunately, his teacher said that while T-1 is a viable option, she's not going so far as to recommend it for Son #3 (like she has for a couple of other students). She and I seem to agree that the multi-age program (which offers a bit more flexibility than traditional first grade) might be a good fit. Next step: she and I each write a letter to the principal stating our opinions and rationales. As a parent, I'm allowed to request a specific program (in this case, Multi-age), but I'm not supposed to request a particular teacher.

There is one multi-age teacher that I would love for Son #3 to have. She was Son #1's second grade teacher and we loved her! So while I cannot request her by name, in my letter, I can describe the type of teacher would help my son thrive and blossom. Let's hope the principal can read between the lines. Wish us luck!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Shameless Self-Promotion

Some of you may recall that I make handcrafted jewelry, and I'm trying my hand at selling it online - hence the link to the right.

Business is slow, but I've made a couple of sales. My biggest challenge, I feel, is self-promotion. It's difficult for me to say hey, look what I made! But I'm working on it. :-)

That said, I'm listing a few links below. Visit them if you have the time.

DISCLAIMER: I'm NOT asking you to buy anything, but I'd love feedback (on my jewelry, my second blog, my Etsy shop). Most of you are out there in the real world and may notice something that I've overlooked.

So click here to visit my Etsy shop.

And click here to check out my second blog devoted to my jewelry. For now, I plan to post weekly (on Fridays) on my new blog.

I really enjoy my personal blog and that will be my primary one. I have too much fun here on Would You Like A Little Whine... to let it fall by the wayside.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Happy Earth Day!

That said, it's not easy being green in my part of town. I recycle my newspapers at the the big collection box at my son's school. However, I was disappointed to learn that there are no drop off locations for recycling cans, glass or plastic. (One the requirements for the Citizenship in the Community merit badge that my Boy Scout son is working is is to write a letter to a local official - I think we just found out topic.)

Today was Earth Day/Field Day at Son #3's elementary school. I worked the volunteer registration table and the newspaper recycling center (tying bundles with twine - the recycle folks don't want the newspapers in bags). Every time I saw Son #3 throughout the day, he had a new bandaid. Limbo contest? Fell and skinned his right knee. Jump rope? Skinned the left. You get the picture. (I'm just glad the teacher was there to witness it first hand. This kid is quite accident prone.)

All it all, though, it was a really nice day.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Aliases - Part II

On my Sept. 27, 2005 post, I wrote the following:

For some reason, Son #3 has never seemed satisfied with his name. I think it's a perfectly nice name (or I wouldn't have selected it) and it's one that has options (nicknames). Nevertheless, he'll periodically come up with alternatives.

At various times, he's requested that we call him....

1) Obi Wan Kenobi (kinda catchy, but doesn't go with our last name)
2) Chester (um, no)
3) Michael (okay, not bad once he dropped the "Jackson")
4) Now he wants to be called: Ovento Burrito

what the heck????

Since September, he's requested...
5) Christopher
6) Nicholas

I found this very interesting because I often thought if I ever had a Son #4 (i.e. if God has a really wicked sense of humor), I would name him Nicholas Christopher or Christopher Nicholas. However, I never mentioned it to anyone - not even Dear Hubby. Strange, huh?

But he's moved on. Now he wants to be called:

7) Logan. Nickname: Lo. He actually said that.

He's apparently mentioned it to other people because his Aunt Mimi told me that Son #3 told her that when he grows up, he's going to the courthouse to change his name and that he hopes the judge isn't too mean. Seriously. Who's feeding this kid legal advice?

And did I mention that he just turned six?

Monday, April 07, 2008

I Want to Go Back to the Time When....

This is an email classic so you may have seen it before, but I liked it and thought I'd share it :

I want to go back to the time when...
  • decisions were made by going 'eeny-meeny-miney-mo"
  • mistakes were corrected by simply exclaiming "do over!"
  • race issues meant arguing about who ran the fastest
  • money issues were handled by whoever was the banker in "Monopoly"
  • catching fireflies could happily occupy an entire evening
  • it wasn't odd to have two or three best friends
  • being "old" was referring to anyone over 20
  • the net on a tennis court was the perfect height to play volleyball and rules didn't matter
  • the worst thing you could catch from the opposite sex was cooties
  • it was magic when your dad would "remove his thumb"
  • it was unbelievable that dodgeball wasn't an Olympic event
  • having a weapon in school meant being caught with a slingshot
  • nobody was prettier than Mom
  • scrapes and bruises were kissed and made better
  • it was a big deal to finally be tall enough to ride the "big people" rides at the amusement park
  • getting a foot of snow was a dream come true
  • abilities were discovered because of a "double dog dare"
  • Saturday morning cartoons weren't 30-minute ads for action figures
  • "Olly olly oxen free" made perfect sense
  • spinning around, getting dizzy and falling down was cause for giggles
  • the worst embarrassment was being picked last for a team
  • water balloons were the ultimate weapon
  • war was a card game
  • baseball cars in the spokes transformed any bike into a motorcycle
  • taking drugs meant orange flavored chewable aspirin
  • ice cream was considered a basic food group
  • older siblings were the worst tormentors, but also the fiercest protectors.

If you can remember most or all of them, then you have LIVED!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


Many of you know that Son #1 is a Boy Scout (as is Son #2). Son #1 is working on his Communications Merit Badge and one of the requirements it to serve as Master of Ceremonies (emcee) for a Court of Honor or campfire meeting. Last night was the Court of Honor, a quarterly ceremony where scouts are recognized for earning merit badges and achieving rank advancments.

Son #1 has a significant speech impairment. Combine his articulation challenges with his incredibly fast rate of speed (he's put most auctioneers to shame), well, let's say that sometimes it takes a lot of work on the listener's behalf...

That said, Son #1 was allowed to co-emcee with another Boy Scout. The other boy prepared a script (with Son #1's input), divided up the sections. Son #1 practiced over the weekend and I re-sized the script so he could have a small page of notes at the podium.

During the Court of Honor, I made it a point *NOT* to watch him very much because I wanted to hear just his speech, uninfluenced by his facial expressions, gestures, etc. I was so impressed. Of course the articulation issues are still there, but he really worked on his rate of speech. It would've been a much shorter meeting if he emceed solo and spoke at his normal rate. :-)

A couple of times during the evening, there were a few changes to the program (a previously unannounced guest speaker, at one point the co-emcee accidentally traded "lines" with Son #1). It didn't fluster Son #1 at all. He just 'rolled with it.'

So a couple of things jump out at me:

1) he *can* slow down when he really wants to
2) he really does live up to the Boy Scout motto of doing one's best
3) "going with the flow"
4) fearless. Absolutely fearless.

I think he had a lot of fun. I know I enjoyed watching him.