Tuesday, August 2, 2011

End-of-School Gratitude


My Gratitude List 
End-of-School Addition

~ Despite OCD-related setbacks, Peter managed to read 100 chapter books this year. He can read anything I put in front of him now, with help on the heftiest vocabulary words.

~ Starting the year a reluctant but advanced reader, Paul now loves chapter books and reads more than I assign, with the Magic Tree House series still captivating him.

~ Paul developed a deeper love of art, inspired me to invest in art books, and changed our family forever. I have art-lovin' kids now who never tire of creating. 

~ Though the multiplication facts are still not memorized, Peter is stronger in all other areas of math, thanks to Teaching Textbooks.

~ Peter has made great strides in spelling sight words conventionally.

~ Starting the year with atrocious handwriting, Peter can now print nicely, though his lettering is still larger than average.

~ Paul taught himself to write in cursive, saving me a load of work.

~ Peter knows a vast amount about nature and could easily write a nature book for grade-schoolers. He doesn't know it yet, but that will be one of his fourth-grade projects.

~ Both boys, thanks to heftier Christmas-pageant roles, can speak well in public.

~ Thanks to Compassion International and our correspondence, my boys know how third-world living standards compare to the first, and what the Bible says about our responsibility to the poor.

~ The boys know how to plant and care for a vegetable garden without adult assistance.

~ Both boys have learned to organize themselves well, thanks to simple charts.

~ Though the year started with some jealousy between the boys, it's ending with them accepting each other's struggles and triumphs. 

~ Despite my chasing a two-year-old out of cupboards and drawers all year, the boys made more than a year's progress, by the grace of God. It's all by the grace of God!

~ Both boys know that an education is only a library, and a computer, away. Our county spends $9200 per pupil. I spent less than $100 per pupil, plus $70 for tomorrow's portfolio review appointment.


Terri H said...

I love this post! What an amazing accomplishment for all of you! I especially love to hear about eager readers. What do you feel like helped to get him over that hump? I have an advanced but somewhat reluctant reader myself. :-P I am about to offer him his first Magic Tree House book...we'll see if it takes...

Christine said...

Honestly, Terri, I think it just takes the right book series, more than anything else. Just keep checking different genres out. I found that if I read the first few chapters aloud, getting them over the more boring introductory parts and into the actual plot, they were more than happy to take over reading the rest themselves. I did this every time I introduced a new series this year. Mary Pope Osborne, who writes the Magic Tree House books, starts out with action-packed beginnings (for the most part). That helped my Paul a great deal.

I love that her books teach so much about social studies and science! We read the first several before giving them to the kids, to check out the quality and the nature of the topics, and after that we just told Paul that if anything comes up about the dating of the earth, about dinosaurs, or about another religion, or about evolution, then we needed to explain the true facts to him and read the book along with him. Paul was more than okay with this matter-of-fact caveat, but for Peter it was too much. His OCD has a religious-distortion component, and the possibility of reading non-Christian content freaked him out. He stopped reading these and went on to Boxcar Children, which he read for several months. There are a ton of those. More recently, Peter started reading the Animal Ark books.

Isn't your son only 4.5 years now? Or is this a different Terri? Wow! He's really advanced! Keep me posted!

Terri H said...

Yes, my son is 4.5. Nearly exactly the same age as Mary. I'm not certain that he's ready for The Magic Tree House books developmentally, but I know he could read them if he wanted to. The beginning ones are written at a straight second grade level, and he is reading fluently at between a 2.0 and 2.3 lexile level. The chapters are really short, so we'll see what he thinks. I wasn't going to pull them out yet, but he saw the stack of my garage sale find in the garage and asked me about them.

Sandi said...

LOVED this! What a gift to look at all you and they have accomplished this year. I might do this myself. I find that it is easy not to see slow progress. But comparing the start and the finish really points out growth.

And the 4th grade project for Peter sounds like a great idea!

We love TT, going into grade 7 this year...no more math tears in our house :o)

Christine said...

When it became clear that Paul was really bright (at about age 18 months), I wondered for several years why he didn't have more intellectual curiosity. Older brother Peter learned new concepts at a more average pace (except math), but from the start, Peter had a lot of intellectual curiosity, concentrating on the whole (the big picture).

Paul, on the other hand, was content to just play with numbers and letters and designs and patterns--he didn't care about other learning areas. He likes spelling and math the best, because they both deal with patterns. He likes art so much because it, too, deals with design and pattern.

I suspect Paul with always be someone who reads to find out about the parts, and Peter will read to enjoy story and to better understand the human condition.

But, hey, they keep on surprising me, so I shouldn't assume anything!

I just know God is amazing in how he created us so uniquely.

Christine said...


As much as I dislike having to do paperwork and portfolios for the district, I do see the value now, three years into it, of being forced to spend time evaluating the year academically (and spiritually and emotionally). It surely makes me realize how insignificant I am, and how big God is!

Yes, slow progress is harder to give thanks for, but when they're twenty, it won't matter when they learned cursive, multiplication, punctuation, etc. They'll get there, just like my two-year-old will get the potty training! And your two-year-old, too, Sandi!

Laura said...

Wow, you and your sweeties have achieved much this year! So many blessings to count. The reading bit is very exciting. I've found that being good readers has helped my boys out in many areas.

I hope you have had a lovely summer, Christine. Time is going by so quickly. It feels like it slips through fingers like water these days. I need a remedy to slow the days. Working on that :).