Wednesday, October 16, 2013

how it's going

Kasen loves school and is doing great with it!

They are teaching the very basic things (recognizing and writing upper and lowercase letters and numbers 1-20) so that part is kind of boring for him; however, he does still struggle with writing so it's great practice. They tested his reading level and he's reading as an 8-year-old (at not even 4.5). He is just devouring books and right now is obsessed with The Magic School bus series. (The books and the show.)

I don't know that he's made a ton of friends because he only talks about our neighbor's son who he rides the bus with and plays with at recess, though he does constantly mention an "Ava" with a shy smile... we think he has a crush. :) I've volunteered to help in the classroom at some point so I'm anxious to see who this little girl is! He also adores his teacher, which is awesome!

Right now the environment and all the other fun things they do are new to him so he's not bored yet, but I worry about him getting tired of "learning" what he already knows. I still see homeschooling in our future at some point so he can go at his own pace but starting Kindergarten now has been a perfect fit, timing wise. I've gone back to work part-time and Maddie is loving the one-on-one time she's getting with me and my parents, who are my babysitters.

Maddieisms

Maddie is talking up a storm now and it turns out that she has an amazing sense of humor. Not many people know this because she's still pretty shy, but it's showing through more and more.

I give you the following conversation we had this morning. She was giggling the entire time.

Maddie: Mommy, I pooed.
Carrie: Okay, let's go to your room.
M: Dares buhrds in it.
C: What?
M: Dares buhrds in it.
C: There are birds in your poopy diaper?
M: Yesh.
C: Um, how'd they get in there.
M: Dey cawed.
C: Birds crawled into your diaper?
M: Yesh.
C: Well, that's interesting.
M: It happens sumtimes

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

He's in!

Besides the gifted coordinator, Colleen, and us, everyone else at the meeting was "dubious" about Kasen starting kindergarten... that was until they met him.

Colleen said she understood because when she first talked to me and heard his birthdate, she felt the same way. But then she reminded herself that it seems that each year there is one child who stands out and usually surpasses the other kids who are applying for early entrance/acceleration. Kasen is definitely that child this year and the decision was unanimous that he start Kindergarten.

The other people there were the principal of the elementary school, a Kindergarten teacher and the school's curriculum person. We met in the library and they sent Kasen to the rug and directed him to spend time with the books. He was in heaven and they quickly learned some things about him:

1. He can alphabetize. (The principal helped show him how to reshelf the books and he caught on quickly.)
2. He can read. They were all blown away when he sounded out "her." I tried to explain that that is a super duper easy word for him, but they were all "No! er-blends are REALLY hard!" Okay then. Don't tell him that! :::shrugs!:::
3. He is very well-behaved and polite.
4. He has an incredible attention span.
5. He takes direction very well.

One of the concerns brought up by the teacher was how he does when interrupted or unable to finish something he's working on and needs to change task. I explained that he does fine - he may ask for more time or say "just a minute!" so he can wrap it up, but he's usually quick or immediately obedient. As we were finishing the meeting, they got to see it first hand as he had just finished sorting a puzzle to put together when we told him it was time to go. He got a sad look on his face, and explained that he had hoped to finish the puzzle but then when we said he would be coming back another time and he could do it then, he said, "Okay!", picked up the pieces, put it back on the shelf and announced, "I'm ready!" with no qualms. I believe they were impressed. :) I also noted that he had made sure to clean up after himself the entire time.

We are getting school supplies today and should find out who his teacher is, orientation is tomorrow and school starts next week!

Monday, August 12, 2013

today is the day!

Kasen saw the gifted coordinator on Friday to reevaluate where he is with some things... see how he's progressed in the past two months since we met with her last.

He did great. She said she could really tell he'd been practicing his writing as he was able to write his first and last names for her and do some tracing. I'm not sure what else they went over but she said he did great and talked her ear off about "a whole range of topics" from Play-Doh to solar flares. :)

We meet with the board this afternoon for the final decision as to whether he'll start this year or not. I was reading through some of the material they have online and came across this:

12. How common is early entrance placement?

Early entrance is typically reserved for the exceptional child. Although students do not need to be gifted for early entrance placement, students who are ultimately eligible often fall in the gifted range of ability. The goal of all placement decisions is to ensure that students entering Kindergarten are ready for what this big year has in store academically and socially. Because the September 30 date is appropriate for most children, there often are very few students, if any, who demonstrate eligibility for early entrance.
 
I remember reading it before we did any testing and doubting myself that we were doing the right thing by pursuing it. We know he's ready, but will they see that?

I know everyone thinks their child is special but Kasen is... well, exceptional is actually a good word. I'm not saying that as a braggy mom. It's just a fact. I can clearly differentiate how remarkable he is compared to Maddie. Not that she's not amazing, too. She's very bright - and I would even say there's a possibility of her being gifted in her artistic side, though it's too early to tell. But Kasen is just different. Has ALWAYS been different, literally from the moment he was born. He's logical and mature and I have always been able to reason with him. I read these articles and blog posts that other parents write online laughing about the ridiculousness that is the toddler/pre-school years and I seriously could not relate because Kasen has never been that way. (Now Maddie is another story, though her tantrums and craziness are also rare.)

A good example of how different he is: The other day I was watching "Who Do You Think You Are?" and in the opening credits, they show the celebrities who are doing the show that season. As each image pops up, so does their name and Kasen started reading their names. NAMES, people! That's not your basic sight words he's happened to memorize or even names he would have heard before. And they only show each name for a few seconds. He breezed right through Kelly Clarkson, Christina Applegate, got a little hung up on Chelsea Handler, read "Chris" and got hung up on O'Donnell, totally couldn't figure out Zooey Deschanel (but how many people can unless you're a fan?) It was amazing to watch.

But that's what our everyday life is with this child. He'll randomly do things like that that leave us with our mouths hanging open and looking at each other like, "Did that really just happen?"

I'm pretty confident that the board will see that, too. Kasen's excited to get to see inside the school today and meet the Principal and possibly his teacher. Not to mention, Maddie's not going so he feels special to get Mommy and Daddy all to himself. :)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

he's ready

One of the things that I feared would hold back the board who will make the final decision as to whether or not Kasen starts Kindergarten is the fact that he was hesitant to go.

He's always been either with me or my parents, or occasionally with some friends for a couple hours.

To prepare him, we've been church hopping, trying to find a good fit, where he feels comfortable so that we could work on me leaving him with the class.

Three weeks ago, we decided to check out my grandma's church (where aunts, uncles and cousins go, too). We hadn't gone before because it's about 40 minutes away, but I decided to give it a go, hoping the fact that he already knew some people there and had been there for family things would help him be comfortable.

The first day went as expected. He was shy (even with all the family members) and clung to me, wouldn't let me leave his sight, etc.

The second time he was better, mostly because my cousin's son was there. They are buddies and he is 5 and starting Kindergarten this year. I even snuck away half way through the class and Kasen never noticed. After I pointed that out, he said he thought I could probably leave him next time. :)

So this Sunday, when it was time to dismiss the kids to go downstairs, he made a point to tell me to stay and that he'd be fine. And he was :)

Then yesterday, while we were driving somewhere, he was telling Daddy how much he loves his church class and how fun it is. Daddy replied, "You know, Sunday School is a lot like Kindergarten."

Kasen sat on that for a couple minutes, then piped up, "Mommy, I think I'm ready for school."

I couldn't stop the tears. A little saddness that he's growing up, but most I'm happy and proud of him.

He then proceeded to talk about how Maddie is going to be so sad that she doesn't get to ride the school bus with him. :)

Another thing that helped him ease into the idea was that we found out another neighbor's little girl will be starting Kindergarten this year as well. She will be in the same class as the boy neighbor with whom Kasen is friends. We went to their house Saturday for a 4th of July party and she and Kasen hit it off immediately! They were adorable - holding hands, talking about all sorts of things and just having a good time.

So now he'll have two friends already in his class... I think it'll be a very easy transition for him... and now I want to start school supply shopping!

We are also enrolling him in Vacation Bible School at a church down the street from where we live. We've been there before and he liked it. I was hesitant to enroll him because I will not be allowed to stay, but after our successes this past week, I think he's ready now and will love it!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Kasenisms

I was teaching Kasen when and how to dial 911 and what to say and all of that. I wrote it down by the phone for him, including our address, which includes the word "Plains" in it.

Later that day, he asked me what plains meant.

I explained it depended on the spelling. Plane as in airplane. Plain as in open areas like the great plains. Plane as in a flat surface. Plain as in not fancy.

He sat on that for a little bit, then came up to me and said, "Mommy, you are not plain. You are a fancy mommy!"

Best compliment ever :)

~~~~

We are going to a 4th of July party tonight at our neighbor's house and Kasen was telling Maddie all about it. He said, "We're going to a bonfireworks party!"

Friday, June 14, 2013

plugging along

We are plugging along with Kasen on some training in specific areas to prepare for the possbility of starting Kindergarten this fall.

He is getting better at handwriting, especially after I found this pin to help with his grip.


It made a huge difference immediately and even he was excited to see his progress.

I try to have him practice a little every day - tracing the alphabet, writing his name, doing mazes, coloring. He also gets to trace sight words on the tablet, but that just uses his pointer finger. I'd like to order a stylus so he can keep practicing his pencil grip. I've also been looking for ways to increase his finger strength. So far his favorites are popping bubble wrap, playing with small legos and using the slingshot from his Angry Birds Jenga game.

He enjoyed the church we went to two weeks ago, but there was only like 10 minutes of actual sit down instruction. The rest was free play or playing in their play space/slide/climby thing. Of course he loved that! He wanted to make sure he could see me at all times though and every time we switched rooms, he made a point to seek me out and confirm that I'd be following. I know he'll get it with time and be fine... we just have to actually go! Sadly, we've only been to church twice in the past month. It seems like we either have things going on (like guests visiting or birthday parties) or  all week long I think about it but then when the weekend comes, I completely forget. :/ Lame. I may venture to my grandma's church this week, though it's 45 minutes away, which is why we've never gone.

The gifted coordinator for our school district is on summer break until August 9. She said she'd call within her first couple days back to set up the meeting with the board and us to discuss our decision and see what the board recommends. School starts August 22. Eek!