Tag Archives: Elementary school

2013 – 2014 school year, finished!

12 Jun

June 5 2014 was officially the last day of school… for both Noa and Mia.

First, Mia –

Mamma and daddy decided to put you in preschool after realizing you were bored at home, and that you were more than ready.  We were still apprehensive about letting you go, but we found a nice preschool.  After touring the facility and meeting with administrators and teachers, we were confident that you start at this school.  When you started, it was already in January, half way done with the school year, but hey…  We started you with the VPK program, which was 9am – noon, and in March, we extended the hours to 3pm.  There were mornings that you were excited to go, there were days that you just didn’t wake up, and there were days that you just decided you didn’t want to go.  The attendance was not perfect.  However, you learned many things that you wouldn’t have, if it were not for this experience.  Of course you learned your ABCs, numbers, and the basics.  You learned some new songs and rhymes that I never taught you.  You even had homework (which you were very enthusiastic about!)  But the most important thing you experienced was facing your shyness and making new friends.  This is one of the reasons why we wanted you to go to preschool, was so that you can over come your extreme shyness before starting kindergarten.  You did struggle with this at the beginning, and still do, in new circumstances, but with the help of loving staff at the school, you were able to make friends on your own!  We are very proud of you!  It’s a small school, and the staff was so loving, they greeted you with a hugs and kisses.  I am so happy we chose this school, and grateful to all of the ladies that made my little Mia feel comfortable in this new journey.

Mia's Preschool Graduation

Mia’s Preschool Graduation

 

Noa –

You made it through 2nd grade!  You had a successful year once again, and I am very proud of you.  Homework was a struggle, many times torturous, and we dreaded the hours after school…  It’s not that the homework was hard, but its that you gave me a hard time to start and finish this task, which was a struggle.  It’s such a simple concept…if you got on it right after you get home, and didn’t fight with me on it, you would have the rest of the day to do whatever you want…  I’m just so relieved that I am done with this daunting task (for now.)  Wow, and you had that big science project too…which I take full credit for…  The education system which puts this kind of stress onto students and parents for the sake of getting a “good grade” is totally questionable (that is a different blog post.)  Anyways, your grades were A-awesome, so I guess it was all worth it!?  No, really, you scored high on the SAT as well, which I am super proud of.

Your 2nd grade was a good year for another reason, which had everything to do with your teacher, Mrs.R.  After the not-so-great teacher we had last year, I couldn’t have asked for a better one this year.  Mrs.R was like Mrs.S (from this post:https://busybeecraftymama.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=39&action=edit   )  She is a true teacher.  She is sweet, but also knew how to discipline with calmness.  She pushed you with positive encouragement to do better.  What I love about her is that she kept constant communication with me, which is so vital.  She informed me on your weakness and your strengths.  I left you with comfort that you were in good hands.  I am so grateful for having her as your teacher.

This year, you have become more like a big boy, talking like one too (almost like a teenager!)  This year you were into Minecraft, Plants vs Zombies, and Pokémon.  You made new friends, and had your first sleepover away from home.  You also started eating…a lot!  You asked to go to Chipotle after school, very frequently, and are able to finish a full loaded bowl on your own!  ( I thought I wouldn’t have to worry about this for another couple of years, but you already eat as much as an adult!)  Another accomplishment this year is that you participated in soccer for a season.  Soccer was all new to you, but you learned the basics and about working as a team.  We are very proud of you for trying out new things.

 

Noa's 2nd Grade Graduation

Noa’s 2nd Grade Graduation

 

All in all, It was a great school year for both of you.  I plan to relax as much as possible over the summer break, because I know this fall, when you guys are in kindergarten and 3rd grade, I’ll have to be ready!

 

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Survived the first week of school!

26 Aug

First week of school …Done!  I have survived, and conquered the first week!

I am proud to say, I have totally managed the first week well.  I planned ahead, and I kept with the plan, and it went well.  The question is, can I stick to the plan?  Time management is KEY.  I did food preparation in bulk, on Monday, so I had stuff in the fridge for the rest of the week.  That totally saved me time and stress.  I also made a chore chart on my fridge, so the kids will get things done to earn stickers.  It worked this week, and I’m hoping they don’t loose interest over the weeks.  I went to bed fairly early this week, my goal was to get in bed by midnight, and I did it!  I swear, going to bed before midnight, compare to after midnight makes a big difference.

New school year means many changes, and I was nervous about these changes.  My son gets out an hour later this year, drop off/pick up areas changed, new classroom, and… new teacher!  The drop off/pick up was totally chaotic, being the biggest k-8 school in the county, there are way too many cars and way too little parking spaces.  They (whoever handles these things) need to do something about that for sure.  Parents were able to walk up to the new classrooms the first week, so I got to see his new classroom, which was great.  I’m so happy that he is in a single classroom, (not the huge co-teaching classrooms with 30-something kids in it.)  The room looked nice and organized.  New teacher – the biggest concern for me, is what I am most happy about, because I got a really good impression from her.  One thing I was really worried about was homework, but the new teacher, checks it everyday, and that encourages my son to get it done, so that is really a great support for me and my son.  She sends a behavioral chart everyday, and I see her at pick-up everyday.  I’m just so happy to get a teacher that is “there,” and communicating.  I feel comfortable in leaving my son with her every day.  Best of all, I saw motivation from my son to do the homework and readings this week!  I love that.  This year looks promising, and I’m so relieved.

So, that is how my first week went.

Noa’s First Grade 2012 – 2013

13 Aug

June 6, 2013 marked the last day of first grade for my son.

Congratulations!  Hooray! to my boy… and for me.

Phew, I’m so glad it’s over…  Weights lifted off my shoulders and I feel so relieved!

My son had a good year, academically.  He had a couple of “B”s the first two quarters, and the last two quarters were straight “A”s.  His conduct are always “A.”  He received 2 Honor Rolls, and a “Principal’s Honor Roll,” and received a “Citizenship Award” at the graduation ceremony.  Needless to say, I’m very proud of him and his achievements.  (…Ok, enough bragging.)

However, I feel dissatisfied.

The homework was torturous.  My daily stress level increased significantly due to “Homework time.”  My son was uninterested, and unwilling.  It took hours, and alot of patience and begging.  I guess there’s too much distraction at home, all the temptations of toys and games…his little sister likes to bother him as well.  I tried all kinds of tactics, and by the last semester, I started taking him to the confinement of a meeting room in our building to complete the task of “homework.”  (it was effective.)  I admit I like to micro-manage all the work he submits.  And I know for a fact that there are many parents that just “let it be” to the child to finish, or not finish homework.  One of the problem I have is that my son knows that the teacher is not checking the homework.  That makes him think it is not that important that he does everything, or completely.  And that really bothers me.  I know for a fact that the teacher doesn’t check the spelling word activities he was assigned to do every day.  This spelling word lessons contribute directly to the performance of the Friday spelling test, which is a major part of their grade, so I think it is very important that he does this with dedication, but it was a task he had least interest in finishing.  I really wish the teacher had encouraged, or reminded how important it is to do the homework, then maybe, my life would have been less stressful.

This year, I felt really disconnected with what was going on in the classroom and the teacher.  Especially compared to last year, which was a great kindergarten year, with a great, involved teacher.  (you can read about it on my other post.)  I understand that each teacher and each grade is different, but I can’t help but to compare the experiences.  It’s too much a difference.

I am a mom that wants to be involved with the teacher and the class.  I always offer to volunteer and often email the teacher to offer help.  I know my boundaries, and I didn’t want to be “that annoying parent,” so I backed off as much as possible.  But really, I was disappointed by the lack of interaction by the teacher.  Last year, I knew all the students in class, and their parents, this year, just a couple of them.  At least for the graduation, I expect a little card to her students?  No.  Nothing.  I put together a little goody bag for everyone in class, and a little gift to the teacher.  I made sure my son wrote a card for her, thanking her for being his first grade teacher.  I wonder what kind of good bye gesture was done in the class at their final dismissal?

Ahhhh…. it’s over now.

At the end, I asked my son how his first grade experience was, and he tells me he had a great year, so I’m taking his word for it, that’s all that matters anyway.

Fight, tomorrow, at recess!

2 Oct

Here’s the conversation I had with my 1st grader son, on our way home from school yesterday.

“there’s going to be a fight tomorrow.”

“what??? where?”

“when we go to the park”

“what???  Who?  Who’s going to fight?”

“J and M.”

“Why?”

“because…they said they will”

“What?  Do not get involved, okay?  You need to stop it.  Do I need to tell the teacher about this?  Should I call J’s mom?”

“no.  I’m not fighting.  but if J needs help, I’m going to kick M’s butt, because I’m his friend.  That’s what friends do.  They have their back.”

“No, I don’t want you to get involved at all.  Really, I think I should email Ms.X”

“No!  Don’t do that please.”

“But why are they fighting?”

“whoever wins, gets to be friends with Mia.”

Then, my daughter, whose name is Mia, says “No, I don’t want to be friends with J or M”

“No, it’s not you.  It’s Mia that sits in our table.”

Our Mia insists it’s her, saying “No, I don’t like J or M.”

“No, it’s another Mia, Mia.”

“So does J and M both like Mia?  Is she pretty?  How about you? Do you like her?” I asked.

“they both want to be friends with her, but only the winner gets her.”

“Oh.”  I’m kind of worried, and smiling at the same time.

“it’s going to be a good fight.”  my son says excitedly.

“Well, if it gets serious, or if anyone is hurt, you need to tell the teacher right away, okay?”

I left it at that, but was contemplating the rest of the day, whether I should contact the teacher or J’s mom about this.

But my hubby told me, that’s what boys do, and not to intervene.  It’s boys’ stuff.  I guess it’s kind of a “rite of passage” so I let it go.

Today I picked him up from school, and I asked him, “So, what happened today?  Was there a fight?”

“No”

“What happened?”

“I don’t know, they forgot about it.”

“oh good!  that’s good…”

I’m so glad the “fight” did not occur.

Really, these are 6 year old boys…  fight over a girl?!  what do I have to look forward to?!

 

Superstar Kindergarten 2011 – 2012

30 Aug

My son started his first grade a week ago, and before more time passed by, I want to look back at his super kindergarten year.

One thing I can say is he had a “super-awesome” kindergarten year.  He was a little boy when he started, (didn’t even know all his ABC’s), to knowing alphabets, numbers, to add, to subtract, 100 sight words, spelling, and reading!  He is still my little boy, but he grew profoundly.  I was a very proud mom to watch him graduate kindergarten.  It may have been “just” kindergarten, but his accomplishments were really big.

I want to thank one person who played a major role in making this happen – Ms.S, the teacher.  She is a teacher who educated her students, and at the same time, nurtured them with care and love.  Her teaching method is very micro-managed, which was so helpful for us as a parent.  She made sure there was constant, daily communications with the parents, so we knew how our child behaved every day.  She pushed the students to reach their full potential, and created her own study materials (besides the one general one given by the public school system.)  She taught them books, and also basic skills, and manners.  Honestly, I was a bit overwhelmed at the beginning, because my son will bring home the general homework packet, Homework Fun packet (the one she created,) 1 book for reading, 10 spelling words, and 10 sight words – to turn in every Friday!  (This is kindergarten these days?! – I was shocked and intimidated of the work load at first.)  To get your child to sit and get all this done, without loosing patience, and loosing your mind, is a task that I struggled with for a while, but we managed!  Ms.S really set us up with high expectations in many ways.  Like active parent involvement in class, academic achievement from the kids, and what we can expect to get (feedback) from teachers.  She informed us with what will be taught in class every week, and my son knew what was going on.  It gave me comfort and confidence that my son is in good hands.  I know that her methods might not suit someone that has a more laid back attitude, but it really worked great for me.  She knew the kids, she knew the kids’ family, she treated the kids’ as her own.  And, you really felt that.  She is a rare kind (as I confirm with many other parents,) the kind of a teacher that really cared for her craft of teaching.  Her motto was, “All I really need to know, I learned in kindergarten. (by Robert Fulghum)”  – and it is so true.  I appreciate her now, more than ever.

The class as a whole was great as well.  The kids were a great bunch of kids, and the parents were able to gather forces for school and holiday events.  We just had a great energy all together.  I really enjoyed the kindergarten experience, and I know my son did as well.  It was one special year and a special teacher which we will never forget – Thank you!

First Grade!

26 Aug

We survived the first week of First Grade!

I gathered everything on the (long) list of supplies that are required to start first grade.  I wrote my son’s name on every article.  His uniforms are ready, and he is happy with his new backpack and his awesome Batman lunch box!

He was not nervous at all, (or maybe he is just acting cool) and when he saw close friends from kindergarten in the same class, he was extra happy.  That took one worry away from me.

But why am I feeling unsettling?  Why am I worried and nervous?  Have I become the annoying “paranoid parent?”  My husband tells me I’m getting the separation anxiety from Ms.S, my son’s kindergarten teacher.  You can read about Ms.S on a separate post, because she deserves one just for her.  Anyways, I’m feeling  jittery and I know why.

I am a very hands-on mother when it comes to school activities and studies.  I strongly believe having a good teacher is extremely important, because it directly affects your child in many levels.  I also think it is equally important that teachers and parents have an open communication, a connection.  It’s as important as finding a trustworthy babysitter.  I never hired a babysitter.  The rare times that I leave the kids to someone else’s hands was either to my mother in law or to my mom.  Otherwise, to a very close relative or a friend that we know very well.  Am I over-protective?  Anyways, I don’t have that comforting feeling with the new teacher – yet.  I know it’s only the first week, so I may be over-reacting to a situation that is too young to judge.  However, I felt that I can trust my son in Ms.S’s hands from the very first day we met.  First impression is important, right?  I feel like this new teacher who I’m going to call Ms.X do not even care to make any sort of connection at all.  I made several attempts to introduce myself, and to make that connection, but she brushed me off like she is uninterested.  SO, this is why I’m so puzzled, frustrated…  I’m going to back off a bit, just because I’m sure she is overwhelmed on the first week back to school.  Maybe we had a rare luck of having an “A+” teacher for kindergarten, and that the “standard” is this?  Maybe I’m not accepting the “change” just yet.  Like I said, maybe I’m over reacting, so let me give it time.

Lets see how it goes…