Monday, April 2, 2012

Tooting our Horn

I'm going to take a second, or more and tell you how awesome my six year old is.  I try to keep my bragging to a minimum, for many reasons, but then I realized was sort of neglecting him.  In hopes I didn't make him conceded I wasn't praising him, and then I realized that is what he really wants.  He isn't that touchy, he doesn't want that much quality time, but he really loves for people to tell him how awesome he is.
He is awesome, he taught himself how to read a little over a year ago, when he was barely 5.  Sure we have always read to him, sure we have more books than most people, sure we sort of, occasionally did phonetics, sure he went to preschool for most of a school year, and sure he spent a lot of time on  But I didn't teach him, nor did my husband.  It took him a few months to believe us that he knew how to read.  Then he figured it out, and enjoyed short books, then by early fall he exploded, he read all the time, books, much too hard for kindergarten in the beginning of the year.  He would read to his sister, it was awesome.  Until he started reading facebook, we put an end to that.  Reading pinterest even worse!
I waited in anticipation for reading groups to start in Kindergarten, it was going to be so fun.  The first day was great, he got this super long  book, with a sentence one page, a paragraph on the next, he read the whole thing to me.  I thought hooray his teacher understands his level.  Turns out he was suppose to read the sentence I was suppose to read the paragraph.  Every book after that for until after Christmas, was a short 6 page book, that said "A bird flies", "A cat walks" (he favors non-fiction).  I didn't know what to do, I was so annoyed, but I didn't want to be that annoying mom who says, my child is smarter than you think.  I talked all the time to Brent about it, I called my mom, I called my sister.  Then I started drowning in sunbeams, I couldn't really fight any other battles, going to church on Sunday was enough battles for one life.  It was giving me headaches that would last through Tuesday, I really didn't care about book groups.
In December I started talking to my friend who's son is in the same class, I told her my annoyance she said just email the teacher, you don't need a conference I email her all the time.  So was going to in the new year, like I said I was drowning in Sunbeams.  Oh I will also say, at first I was really annoyed with the teacher, then I started helping out in the class, I cut her some slack, a lot of slack, she has 25 kindergartens in the morning for three hours, some of which are still working on letters, and then 17 more in the afternoon for another three hours. It is her first year teaching kindergarten, she spent a previous 4 years in First grade.  After thinking about teaching that many children five days a week, I cut her a lot of slack.
Well January came and my friend asked for her son to be moved up reading levels, she was sick of reading the same books, J moved up too, without me asking. I did start emailing the teacher, we talked about his strengthens and weaknesses, she said don't push him to read books too big.  I realized that a week before she said that, I tried to get him to read to me a beginner fiction chapter book, I thought we were both about to die we were so miserable.  He could read it, he just didn't care about it. But then I started noticing he was reading non-fiction twice the size.  He recently told me he loves wierd non-fiction.  I said, I can tell, Ripley's Believe it or Not books, Creatures of the Deep Sea.  The wierder the better for him. There are two reason for his non-fiction love, one he just doesn't care much about much fiction stories, second he doesn't like reading a book start to finish.  He likes to jump around, but he will eventually read it all.  J has since moved up reading levels three times.  He is now in chapter books from the teacher.  Recently when I was helping I noticed he read an extra book with the teacher after his book group was over, it was a longer book, with chapters.  She looked like she was genuinely enjoying the time with him.  I was relieved, not because I want everyone to know how smart my kid is, I take no credit, its just who he is, but because he is a fun kid and its fun to read chapter books with such a young kid.  He loves learning, and reading, so its fun.
Yesterday we had some friends over, J was reading A.A. Milne's Poetry, I'm not sure if he was reading Now We Are Six, or When We Were Very Young, but the none the less he was reading it to himself.
He is a fun smart kid, but he can also be pretty stubborn. The child is amazing at writing and penmanship, but we literally had to force him to write his last name on homework.  He and his dad love to do math together, sometimes they do simple addition, but they also get into prime numbers and division, but when he asks to play the computer and I ask him to read a face clock and tell me if it is after two, you would think I was trying to pull his fingernails out.  He knows how to tell time, they just haven't covered it in kindergarten yet, so he doesn't want to do it.  If Miss K hasn't told him to do it, he sees no reason to do it unless he wants to.  He wants to add, he wants to manipulate mini marshmallows into groups (division) but read the clock, you would think he was being torturer.  Although he is a fabulous kid and super fun, he doesn't like doing anything that is not easy for him, which is why he told me and his preschool teacher for months he couldn't read, when we would watch him read. It is also why he doesn't like telling time, he doesn't like to count out the minutes, he wants to just look and know.  Which is also why the child was writing completely sentences before he could write his last name. Sure he was capable enough to write it he just refused.  Eventually with his last name his dad said enough is enough, and fed his sister marshmallows until J spent the 20 minutes to learned.  Then J got the rest of the bag.
He is super fun, he has elected the last two nights to read Diary of a Wimpy Kid to himself instead of having us read to him.  We just got him three more books for his series.  He also likes Knights of the Lunch Table.
And like I said, anything weird, creepy, and about the deep dark sea.  He loves biology non-fiction, as long it is involves no big mammals, except for humans. He loves, plants, bugs, protozoas, fungi, human anatomy, reptiles, fish, birds but anything I would find exciting at the zoo he has no interest.  Elephants, apes, etc  Surprisingly he did find the giraffe interesting, but not like the flamingos, or penguins, and definitely not like the aquarium.
Here is an interesting antidote to finish of this long post.  Supposedly girls are better in school.  J's reading group which is the top in the class has five boys, and no girls. Not a single girl in his 25 student class, has made it to the highest reading group.  I don't know how these demographics will change as he ages, but for one I will say, his school does an excellent job of providing non-fiction.  He has only ever gotten 2 fiction books from the school library, and there is enough non-fiction in the class room library that he can bring home a different non-fiction book for months without repeating if he so chooses. About once every few weeks he does bring home a fiction, and he does repeat his non-fiction but he tells me its because he wants too.
Can I just say, I love his school librarians.

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