Two weeks ago we received SS's senior class evaluation and were pleasantly surprised. SS is developmentally on track to enter kindergarten in the fall with her same age peers. Unknowingly Ms. C prevented WWIII from erupting at home. Although P and I share the same core values and parenting style (as in fly by the seat of your pants), we have respectfully agreed to disagree about kinder preparedness, or just plain advancing on to any grade. I do not see anything wrong with waiting an extra year if a child is not ready, be it academically or emotionally. P is adamant that his children WILL attend school based on their chronological age. As it is the case with most things we feel strongly about, P is coming from an emotional place. His parents made the decision to have him repeat first grade and the man has had a boulder on his shoulder since. P is a rather sensitive soul, and it comes down to his embarrassment over being a year older than his classmates. I am sure the decision was made with the best of intentions and for his sole benefit. In the end, P is brilliant, has an amazing work ethic, and does well no matter what situation he faces; be it parenting at an early age, or finding himself in the abyss that is international adoption. So no harm done.
Then again, I am an August baby, the same month when school begins in Puerto Rico. As a matter of fact I had quite a few first days of school on my birthday. In other words, I do not know what I'm talking about because I have not walked a mile in P's shoes. Although I love my children more than anything I am brutally honest about their deficiencies. I must admit that when SS transitioned into the senior class I had reservations about her ability to succeed in kindergarten this fall. OK, freak out moment "OMG OUR KID STARTS KINDERGARTEN IN THE FALL!!!!!!!" What the heck? We just arrived at SFO the other day? Anyway, SS has made a lot of progress in the past few months. She does have work to do in some areas, but only in order to master the skills, she is not delayed in any of the areas tested.
Must send a shout out to Whatshername's Mummy because her advise led to SS's biggest improvement. WM suggested three sided pencils when I posted that SS still had difficulty writing even when using the fat pencils. The improvement is just amazing. Turns out the school was using the fat pencils and we provided them with the three sided ones for SS's use. Now the teachers are recommending them to other parents. Down side is that they are not sold at T@rget nor W@almart, found them in an office supply store. The upside is that they are not that expensive, worth every penny. There are some SS writing samples below.
Back to the brutal honesty part, we do feel that Ms. C was rather generous in some areas. It could also be a side of SS that she chooses to display only at school. The biggest shocker was her attention span and the fact that she listens to her teachers. Taking in consideration that she runs around here like she is strung out on meth, we were grateful that this won't become an issue at school. I will gladly put up with her manic antics at home, if it saves us a few trips to the principal's office, a place where JJ landed frequently due to his inability to be still.
We were also pleased that they have allowed SS to be herself, as in no longer trying to make her a pink wearing, doll loving girl. Some of the comments on her evaluation:
"One great thing about SS is that she likes what she likes. She doesn't worry about what others might think. She would rather play with the boys during the day, but gets along with everyone." We hope that she remains this way, because kids are vicious little creatures, especially girls. Aunt Michelle will back me up on that one.
"SS is adventurous, she likes to pretend that she is Buzz Lightyear or Batman. She is very expressive and makes lots of faces during the day." True, SS has no future as a professional poker player.
"SS did a great job identifying letters and sounds. We are working on her asking questions as opposed to making statements. She is improving but still needs work in this area." The latter is solely our fault. We did not focus on making her ask questions. However, she is catching on quickly. Two weeks ago SS would say "Milk please?," now she says "May I have some more milk please.?" That one is the best example because she drinks A LOT of milk.
"SS gets along well with all of the students. She can play with others or independently and enjoys her time at school. SS listens to her teachers and is generally easy going and happy." Say what? Our stinker can play independently and listens? Dude she so had us fooled.
SS is quite the dancer. She loves it when we play music and really gets into it." OK, my kids LOVE music, and yes they get into it, but neither is going to win D@ncing with the St@rs. What SS does not have in technique she certainly makes up for with her enthusiasm.
"When SS came into the senior room she really struggled with fine motor activities. She has improved so much. The tri-write pencils really helped her and we will continue using them here." Well, those tiny hands of hers did not exactly help.
This is a cute one. Next to "Understands that families share responsibilities of work and recreation" our angel answered "take care of me, we all clean, both make dinner together." Yes we both take care of SS, but I have no idea where she's been during dinner prep, because it is usually P or I, not both. And now we have to add bold face liar to SS's less than desirable qualities, because the kid doesn't clean after herself at home. But now we are eager to correct that, and yeah, our bad.
At her age SS should be able to work a puzzle of ten or more pieces. SS can easily put together a 25 piece puzzle in record time. One of her Christmas gifts was a set of six wooden (a must because she destroys the cardboard ones in no time) D*sney puzzles, and they are pretty much obsolete now, She has them all down.
Not everything is puppy dogs and rainbows. Areas of improvement include getting SS to answer when put on the spot by a teacher. Even when a teacher is certain that SS knows the answer, her go to answer is "to smile and say um," mainly because of shyness. Wait, shyness? Who takes over my daughter's brain at school? SS can easily count to 20, but likes to skip numbers, she knows the order, but chooses to skip. SS still has an aversion to last names. She knows her last names, but chooses to go by her nickname, not even her first name.
Wow, that's one long winded post, but at least we won't have to repeat the information three times (grandparents). When JJ was SS's age, he was doing simple math and his reading was amazing. So this laid back attitude towards academics goes against everything that I am. However, when we made the decision to bring SS home, we also made a commitment to make as smooth a transition as we could possibly achieve. We have let so much slide because our focus has been on attachment. When SS transferred to the senior room I was worried that our decision would result in academic delays for SS, but thankfully our minds are at ease.