Friday, August 17, 2007

First Day of School

Austin made it great through his first day and appears to really like it! We had our orientation on Monday night and he really had his schedule down pat and he seemed to be doing pretty well. There was a lot of information and it was a little overwhelming for him. Fascinatingly, the principal actually told the kids he expected they do extremely well on their ITBS because of No Child Left Behind or the school would get in trouble and it was up to them to make sure it didn’t. Hmmmm….last I checked that was the teacher's job. Talk about pressure right out of the gate! Last year his teacher said she would give a list of names of kids who would help Austin get through his day and the middle school said they would find at least one child to help him get from one class to the next, but they couldn't guarantee it would be the same kid. It became VERY obvious Monday night who she had chosen. There were two boys whose schedules (other than enriched study hall) were EXACTLY the same. And they were boys I figured would help him out anyway. That was reassuring! The hardest part is they don't allow sucks or gay to be said at all, zero tolerance, and his favorite word lately is sucks. I've tried and tried to get him to knock it off...hopefully now he really will. As I told him, it is a LONG 17 miles to Freddy to be walking when he gets a detention at 7 am. They also give detention for homework not getting done. I was a little upset about that. One of his “accommodations” is for his teachers to write the assignment down for him in his book and sign off if it is done or not because he can't follow through or copy things from board to paper well. Yet, yesterday his assignment book came home with only his writing in it and noone checked it off to say it was done. The problem with him not having anything formal is that they don’t HAVE to follow the accommodations…it is all just “recommended.” Thankfully, he brought it all home for me to check. This is exactly why I asked for him to be in an enriched study hall and she didn't do it. I can only hope it’s because it was the first day and they’ll get it down soon. The lovely enrichment teacher told them that they were in there because their grades had dropped or test scores had dropped and there was no screwing around. While this might be true of some kids, it certainly isn't for all (ie, Austin). I was a little upset she said that to all of them. She could have just said it was a study hall. He was upset because he thought she meant he was stupid. He was so excited when he came home because he had his schedule down and the building down and he was able to help other kids find their rooms. He loved the lunch (better than Sumner!) and the fact that they had a salad bar that he could get as much as he wanted from. You actually have control over what your child eats and we had to specify how many times he could get more. I checked "as many as he wants!" They are bussed to the elementary because their school doesn't have a lunch room and he handled that well, also. They also have one period a day mid-morning referred to as "advisory." It's pretty much homeroom and they are given that period to take a break and chat or read or whatever, and get a snack. He can purchase healthy snacks and juice from his teacher or bring his own. All his classes are a total of 20 minutes because they cram 11 into a day...I don't know how teachers get anything done in that short of an amount of time! He found his friend at the bus stop in the morning and rode with him every time on the bus, which was good. He said he made the lunch and afternoon busses in plenty of time, also. I re-wrote his schedule for him with exactly when to go to his locker and what to take with him at that time and what to do with homework and highlighted those parts, also. Unfortunately, they cannot take their bookbags with them at all to any classes, not even the last one and he has to get from one end of the building to the other to his locker, quick get everything he needs in his bag, and out to the bus at another end in under 5 minutes or he misses the bus. I am sure in the beginning they are given a little more time...I just hope he continues to make it on time! Last year, he had to have 16 book reports done by the end of the year, 4 each quarter. Anything above that was extra credit, which was great for him because he loves to read. This year, a grade older, they only have to do ONE! Anything over and above that is not extra credit, but they earn "rewards" for them! WHAT??!?? Rewards for reading....that is about the dumbest thing I ever heard of. Why not continue to just expect it or at the minimum, make their "reward" a better grade? I am still not sure if it is because they broke out according to reading ability in grade school and they do not at the middle school level or what. There are some big difference because we switched is still just whole-grade sharing, we have yet to merge, so each district sets their own standards. His teachers all seem great and I think he is really going to enjoy them. He has already decided Mr. N is his favorite teacher...big shock. Mr. N teaches science.Aidan is getting VERY excited to start preschool. We have orientation for that next week. He cannot wait. This is a hard year for me with Austin starting middle school and Aidan starting preschool. I felt like a dork when I dropped Austin off at the bus, restrained myself from getting out, and started crying watching him walk to the bus!I kinda wish that I could have done this a little more gradually, but Aidan needs something of his own and needs interaction with peers. He’s not so good with the whole sharing thing!Noah now has two teeth! Steve taught Nathanial and Ethan how to hold their own bottles a few weeks ago and they are really starting to get it down. Nathanial rarely drops his bottle now and can even hold it up in the air to get everything out. Ethan is learning to put it up in the air, also, and can take it out of his mouth and get it back in again, as long as he doesn’t drop it (which he tends to do quite a bit!). On Monday night, they were all hungry at the same time, which they always are, so Steve put Noah on the floor and tried him. The little stinker held on to his bottle for Daddy! He wouldn’t for me! Last night, he did it again and Noah did it for him again…with me in the room! So, this morning, I lined them all up, handed them their bottles, and sat by them. They all fed themselves!!! Yeah!!! This makes it a little easier at feeding time! Noah and Ethan still drop theirs quite a bit, but that’s fine with me. They are also LOVING eating “real” food. I just run from one to the next in a line and keep it coming. Noah and Ethan are not real good about waiting their turn, but they have no choice. As always, I added more pictures to the dropshots page of Austin’s first day and babies holding bottles, etc.

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