Sunday, November 25, 2012

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving!

Last week, we celebrated Jack's 6th birthday. 6 years. It seems like a lifetime and like a week. Time is an odd thing. The birth of my first child was such an enormous transition that it is hard to imagine what my life was before.. in a way, that time just feels like part of my imagination .. something that possibly never happened. My children have become so much a part of who I am today.

The first thing Jack said to us on his birthday was to ask if he had grown taller now that he was 6. We said he probably had. He is still the size of an average 4 year old but he is certainly growing. We celebrated with 5 of his buddies. We flew remote control helicopters, ate mac n cheese per Jack's request and then ate a double layer chocolate cake that I had made. It was the first cake I'd make from scratch and you could tell. It wasn't pretty but it tasted good.

Later that day, Lily, her parents and our dear friend Heather came over for pizza delivered by the pizza man then s'mores for dessert. A dream diet by Jack's standards. He had fun and so did we.

 The old days .. at 3 and 4 months:

Last week:

In some Sonia news.. the other day I put Sonia down for a nap. It often takes her a while to sleep and she knows how to entertain herself in her room before sleeping. The other day I walked in to check on her. She had a bunch of strips of construction paper in her room and she had made them into different shapes. Oh the Virgos!


I didn't get any photos of Jack's birthday but one of the moms did. She shared the photos with me on SHutterfly but for some reason, I cannot simply download the photo. So here is a photo from Jack's party with his friends..

Saturday, November 03, 2012

The school thing

The school issue is very complicated. There are bullet points then bullet points to the bullet points..

The issues:

1. Jack does not like school. He has articulated only one reason.  No one plays with him except a boy who always wants to play Star Wars. When asked who he'd like to play with, he has no answer.  I have arranged play dates. This does not seem to help the playground problem and it is true. I don't know why it's true though. Jack seems to struggle with the initial engagement. Kids try to engage him but he doesn't pick up the cue or isn't interested.  So why doesn't he like school?  Maybe he doesn't feel like part of the community. His teacher is nice but her job is to keep order so maybe they don't have a great connection. He often doesn't complete the work he is supposed to do in class so maybe he just doesn't like it.

2. I am not inspired by the structure of public school. This is not a problem with our school. Our school is very "good" which I have learned means that there is a strong emphasis on academics. Almost all of the kids passed the MANY standardized tests they take throughout the year. I just don't agree about the definition of good. Every public school has lots of kids in the class. Every teacher has to teach to a test and this seems to have eliminated most of the creativity in the learning process. Jack does a LOAD of worksheets.

     2a. This structure is not bad for all students. It worked for me and Ryan. However, we always excelled. We passed all the tests. We are always among the best students. We had never considered what it might feel like to be in the middle or back of the pack. It might not be a great or interesting or inspiring experience.

    2aa. It is impossible to test at this point what type of student Jack will be. HOWEVER, due to our intense parenting culture or maybe it's just a preponderance of bright students in Jack's class, many students are way ahead of Jack. THere are lots of readers, lots of kids who can write well and even spell.

3. The only way to make the right choice about Jack's education path is to have the ability to see into the future.  If Jack doesn't excel at elementary school and identifies himself as an average student, will that affect his interest and love for school or will he not label himself as such and love school regardless? When I was in fifth grade they divided the kids in my school by intelligence. Kids knew when they were in the "dumb" class. How much does this experience matter to my overall goal for him which is to enjoy his life -- perhaps learning to cope with boredom and structure is an excellent skill? Or is it a terrible skill which can never be mastered and only sentences the person to a life filled with annui. Who in the hell knows you say? Indeed. Am I over-thinking this? Yes. No doubt.

This parenting gig is not for the weak.