On Friday I had parent/teacher conferences for both kids. Now, I figured everything would be okay. I’ve only heard good things. Still. One never knows with my kids. They can be quite…rambunctious at home. I imagine there will be times when it could cross over to school.
“It seems,” I can imagine a teacher telling me one day, “that your child started going, ‘The bird is the word. Don’t you know, the bird is the word?’ when asked if she knew the answer.”
Ahem. Yes. They do watch Family Guy sometimes. One of the characters starts busting out with the song at random moments. My kids think it’s hilarious.
Natalie’s conference was first. Her teacher is friendly and immediately told me how sweet Natalie was.
“This Natalie?” I wanted to say. I mean, yes, she is sweet at home but she has her moments when she turns into Linda Blair. The mean version. Or she’ll act as though she didn’t hear me when I tell her to put away the iPod Touch and when I take it from her, she’ll shriek, “I was going to stop! I WAS GOING TO STOP!”
It turns out Natalie is where she should be for a five-year-old. I flashed back to when I went to Tommy’s Kindergarten meeting and remembered how the teacher kept saying she was worried he wasn’t “getting it” and that he had a hard time sitting still. Kindergarten was rough for Tommy.
“She’s reading about 10 words,” the teacher continued.
Readers, you probably won’t be surprised to know that one of those words is “pink.”
What we need to work on with Natalie is getting her to write her name in lower case letters. At the moment she writes them all in capital letters because “she likes how it looks better.” She can do lower case, she just doesn’t want to. So I guess in a way, some of her stubborness comes out in school. The teacher knows she can do it, because sometimes she’ll put a sentence on the board and have the students write it on their own. Natalie does it just fine. But when it comes to her name? Everything MUST be in capital letters.
Not that there is anything horribly wrong with this. One of my friends only wrote in capital letters. When I first met her, I assumed she was constantly shouting when she would pass me a note. I was thinking, “Chill, okay, we’ll do the swings at recess.” Then I realized, oh, that’s how she wrote.
The teacher also said that Natalie was finally letting her know when she had to use the bathroom. She’d spot Natalie grabbing her crotch frantically and go, “Do you need to use the bathroom?” and Natalie would practically race down the hall. Now Natalie has started to let her know before she turns into Michael Jackson. Awesome.
“She’s a really good girl,” the teacher said as she walked us out.
Next came Tommy’s. I always worry about Tommy. He’s a smart kid, but he struggles. Writing comes so easily to most kids his age but to Tommy, it’s a battle to get him to write a sentence down.
At Tommy’s meeting, it was his teacher and his resource room teacher. They started off by saying that Tommy is very respectful and that he’s a good kid. Then came the rough part.
One, he doesn’t like to read. This PAINS me, guys. You have no idea. He grew up with tons of books. I read to him constantly. He sees me reading all the time. But it’s hard for him to finish a book. He’ll read the beginning and won’t give a hoot how it ends. (HOW, SON, HOW?!) I know there are folks out there who don’t like reading but I never thought one of my offspring would be one of them.
He does need to work on his writing, but it is improving. Before you could barely understand what he wrote. Now it’s looking better. He just needs to expand on his thoughts. Like a man, he’s brief and to the point. When asked how he liked the short story they just read, he’ll simply put, “It was great.” Not explanation as to WHY he thought it was great. To him, that’s enough.
He needs to work on raising his hand when he’s confused. The teachers say he stays quiet and he doesn’t bother to ask for help. Then he’ll turn his work in and it’ll be all wrong.
But he does excel in science and social studies. He loves both subjects. He’ll tell me what they learned on social studies and be like, “Let’s go to Jamestown one day!” Like his mother, he loves history. So that’s something. He will somewhat read history books. And weather books. He still loves learning about the weather.
All and all, he’s on track and they don’t think he’ll be held back. Tommy is always paranoid he’s going to be held back a grade.
The teacher did stress that when he starts middle school, that I need to make sure I’m involved so he doesn’t slip through the cracks. They can help him there, of course. He’ll have his IEP, naturally. But middle school is different from elementary school.
“I know you’ll stay involved. I see how you always look through Tommy’s work in his backpack. So many parents don’t. But it’s just important that you make yourself known. Because Tommy is so quiet, I could see him slipping through the cracks,” the teacher explained.
I agreed. And I do plan on keeping myself involved. They’ll know me well in middle school. I won’t let my kid get lost.
Oh, and good news! Tommy made the honor roll! He got As and Bs! So he’ll be awarded at a ceremony.
Naturally I’ll be there, armed with my camera. I’m incredibly proud of my boy.