Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Kindergarten Update.

Kindergarten brought more stress than I thought it would. I didn't realize how much was expected of them. I overheard some older woman at work talking about how kids go to Kindergarten to learn to write their name. I was thinking, that these days you need to know how to write your name and how to recognize all the letters, (not just sing the alphabet) BEFORE kindergarten or "have you thought about the remedial class?". In November there is a second assessment, where the kids are supposed to be able to, among other things, blend sounds together to make words, express ideas in print, and write all the letters of the alphabet, Upper and lower case. This blew my mind. My barely 5 year old is supposed to write sentences and sound out words after 3 months of kindergarten? So she can recognize an "s" and a "t" but now she is supposed to know that an "s" and a "t" together make a "st" sound. I am not as flabbergasted and dejected now, she is doing fine. Every night we work on writing letters and go over her skills sheet. It's interesting to see that children at even a very young age have their best way of learning. I am working on learning why it is in her brain that she can recognize a "Gg" and has a hard time with "Dd". What makes her click? Flash cards aren't as effective with her, she has to relate it to something.
Anyway, I could go on and on, I have learned that even if you read to your kids every night since infancy, and even if they can sing their alphabet and know how to write their name, that they need some "schooling" before school actually starts. I have taken the approach that I would not drill my kids prior to school, and took no interest in having my kids know the states and capitols before kindergarten. Let them be little kids! play in the dirt, run, use your hands, cut, glue, make a mess, play with other kids, go to the park, see animals, play pretend, build forts, manipulate puzzles, bang on play musical instruments, dance and be silly in the living room, Love using your body to move, and your hands to make things. Know your colors and shapes and count, go to preschool to reinforce this and to learn how to take turns, wait in line and interact with others besides your siblings and parents. These were my priorities. It has been an eye opener. Zac and I are going to start sooner with letters, not just the alphabet song and his simple name. I am going to try to have him recognize and name all the letters out of order before kindergarten, the trick is getting him to care that a "u" is a "u". Any suggestions are welcome.

By the way, Jenna is really liking school, and the one on one time with her has been good in the evening working on letters, I just have to be careful not to "teach or drill" too much or she turns off and her brain turns to gew. She has made friends, most of them boys, as has been her pattern- probably because of her great relationship with her cousin Mason since she was a baby. She is proud of her book bag and cares very much about wearing a bow in her hair. She really likes her teacher, and I am so glad. We are all going to survive, it's these firsts that really teach us, right? I may look back and laugh at myself when our last goes to kindergarten, but the reality is that the first kid does teach us so much because there is just no instruction book on this stuff, and to top it all off, each child is different and the world changes with time, so basically I'll never have it figured out. I'll just do my best and love 'em, that should stay constant.
Here is a picture of Jenna on "picture day", I figured this would be better than the official one from school.

Date Night

Last night Steve took Zac on his first "hunting" trip. They dressed in camo and drove up the mountain to see if they could call-in any coyotes and just look at any animal that showed up. Zac has been asking Steve if he can go too whenever Steve goes in camo to hunt this past season. Zac was so excited. They had fun, Steve said that they saw a lot of deer, but that no coyotes came in when they called.

Jenna and I ate and shopped, just the girls. It was fun to talk to her at dinner. We went to Pizza Hut and to Robert's Crafts to browse, and then we bought a few pumpkins for the front porch. Steve and I both enjoyed spending time with them individually, we like the little farts.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Goblin valley

On the way home from Blanding, we detoured about 45 miles to a place called Goblin Valley. It is North of Hanksville, UT. It was once called Mushroom valley which seems more appropriate. Some friends of our from Kentucky vacationed in their RV out West, and liked this stop for the kids to climb and explore. This was a good stop. It was windy, but it was still fun. You'll notice that Sunny got to explore too, the rule is that she wear a maximum 6 ft leash, it didn't say that you have to hold the other end...she was good to stay with the kids though. We'll go back Jenna, I promise!

Road Hunting the big Blue

We went road hunting on Blanding's Blue Mountain with Steve's family. The kids thought they were so cool riding in the bed on the mountain roads. We only saw does. Steve has about 10 days to get his buck and bull elk before the archery season is over!

Blanding fun

The kids loved this activity with Grandma Julene. They had a blast and were real pleased with themselves when they were done, especailly Jenna. Good idea Julene.

Zac's Birthday

I know you may be tired of his birthday, but his "Ma" will want to see it all!