Friday, November 20, 2009

E is for Effort....

I had made a list of my concerns.

I was pumped and prepared.

I was "going it alone" without hubby - cause I was going to "handle it".

I was off to kyle's.............da da dunnnn........PARENT TEACHER CONFERENCE!

Kyle comes home from school every day ."How was school today buddy?" - "Good" he says. Then sometimes he elaborates if he has a complaint. Some of his complaints are that this kid said this, or everyone distracts me in class so I couldn't finish my work. He even told me that one of his teacher yells at him if he doesn't use his reading "strategies" correctly. When it comes to homework time, Kyle tries everything he can think of to stall, or get out of it, but eventually finishes 4-6 workbook pages a night and then we read a story. Truth is, I hate it just as much as he does.

So I had it in my head moments before this parent teacher conference, that I was going to question a few of her teaching methods.....I was going to give her a little insight on what makes kyle tick....I was going to suggest that Kyle be given some special time for show and tell or something...anything that would make him look forward to going to school once in a while.

but about 30 seconds into the conference, right after our his main teacher, plus the extra teacher in the room that helps the reading groups, plus kyle's extra extra reading help teacher that he has to go to 3 times a week... I would have rather been having a root canal.

This is my third Parent teacher conference since his school carear started. At his Kindergarten conference, I was expecting to hear about some behavior issues. That wasn't the case. His biggest issue in Kindergarten was the teacher. She couldn't make up her mind weather she wanted him to color in the lines, which he started to do, or hurry up and get it done because there was a time limit! I was so happy when Kindergarten was over. First grade was a breeze, he loved his teacher, she thought he was such a pleasure, reveled in his imagination and his love for nature and science. Apparently every year is going to be different!....... I need a crystal ball - cause I was caught off guard this year- let me tell ya!

it's amazing the way we feel about our children. No matter how frustrating Kyle can be at home on a daily basis, or how infuriated I get when he doesn't listen,... I love him. I love him so much. As a mother, you can overlook these things and see the best in your children. not to say that I don't recognize that issues need to be taken care of and he needs to be taught lessons, but for me to know these things and have these thoughts in my head are one thing - to hear his teacher spout off her disappointments in my son and that her concerns for his reading level are dangerously high because he refuses to put forth effort....that they are just at a loss as to how to get through to kyle....That they weren't going to let him sit there and think his cuteness was going to cut it in her classroom!
well this kind of talk makes a mama bear want to protect her baby!

I first thought that I could combat her accusations of Kyle's laziness with my thoughts on how her classroom is run. I voiced my concerns about distractions and boring lessons and ......then it became no use. She described Kyles typical day, how much effort they put into trying to teach Kyle, and how much extra time they have put in one on one with him hoping that something will finally click, but that he has exhausted them. ...... I didn't have a leg to stand on. the behavior she described, is the same behavior that drives me nuts at home too... I had to put aside the feelings I had of defense. I had to sit and listen to 3, not just one , 3 teachers tell me that my son puts forth no effort at all when it comes to reading. He will simply not complete assignments or tests if he feels it is too much writing. He "pretends" he doesn't know the answers in hopes that he won't have to try. She even had charts to prove his "NON-progress".
It was really hard to listen to

So as we continued to discuss his problems, she assured me that she does not believe Kyle has a learning disability. She is sure he is smart enough to achieve the reading level he needs to strive towards. but she had the nerve to try and pin his absences (aka a Disney vacation) on me as contributing to his delay. I didn't let her get away with that. I agreed that we needed to have a discussion with Kyle. To come to an understanding that this attitude toward school was not going to make reading just go away, and we were going to set goals.

I think I heard some positive remarks come out of those women.....they were few and far between, but they did mention that he has a science vocabulary of no one they have ever heard at his age. they were very impressed with his use of the words translucent and transparent during a few science has always been his interest, and therefore is definitely his strong subject......but to explain the 51% average he has in science right now? - he wouldn't complete the unit test because he had to read it and answer the questions with sentences..........UUUUUGGGGHHHH! I took the teacher's e-mail addresses and assured them that I would be in contact with them soon- I wanted to be more informed of Kyles progress so that come spring, I am not in the dark on weather my child will be moving on to 3rd grade, or if he has been sitting in class doing nothing for 9 months.

I barely left that classroom before I was in tears.......I cried the whole 6 miles home. I don't know if I was feeling that kyle's behavior is somehow a reflection of our parenting...I think that was part of why I was upset. But mostly I was worried that Kyle was so far below his grade level for reading that it was going to take a miracle for him to catch up. On top of that - I was just plain frustrated! - I couldn't go home like that. I couldn't let him see me crying about it. I had to pull myself together - so I stopped at my mom's.

I walked in her house and burst out crying again - I said "it is so hard to hear such negative comments about your kids". Of course my mom made me feel a little better about it as she reminded me of a few parent teacher conferences she attended on my behalf where she was informed that I spent too much time in the class bathroom checking my hair and playing with my earrings and talking too much. a few report cards were brought home with comments like "does not work to full potential". She assured me that "this too shall pass". Kyle is just seeing how far he can play the teachers. - well I pulled myself together and then headed home to have a talk with my little wise @$$. He was going to realize that I now know what has been going on....and his teacher and I have now opened the lines of communication.

I couldn't believe that I had to explain the importance of school....again!....but I did. He looked ashamed when I told him of what I had learned. I assured him that both his teachers and I KNOW that he is definitely smart enough to learn to read.....and that it was time to show them just how smart. We came up with some goals for him to reach. First goal being, to work hard enough at his reading to get out of ONE of the extra help classes. The next goal will to be out of all the extra help.
I have to tell you I am not above bribery. I told him that if he meets his goals, he could earn something special. But I also told him that he didn't show improvement, he would be losing privileges. ie: his DSi, his turn at spending the night at Meme's and the T.V. and those times will be made up with more time reading at home

I am happy (yet still shaking my head) to report that in the last 2 days of school, Kyle says his teachers told him he was "on fire" in reading class.....and his extra help teacher told him he might not have to come to her anymore very soon................don't worry, I will be e-mailing to confirm these reports. and if they are true, I may strangle him for putting on such a silly ACT at school. doesn't he know you are supposed to ACT smarter? - not dumber than you are? Yes ladies and gentlemen....our children are our pride and joy. no matter what.

Friday, November 13, 2009

They can't be fooled.

Last time I was at the Grocery store, I found a box of pierogies in the freezer section. not a big box, but I wanted to get it so the kids could try them ( cause I know I like them ). One problem.....Pierogies are like pasta "pockets" filled with mashed potatoes and cheese and such......Vivian hates potatoes. (so she says without giving them a real try).
Anyway, Last weekend it was just me and the girls. Kyle was having his overnight at meme's and Gary was working. I showed the girls the box of pierogies and explained that they were for dinner. I also "fibbed" and told Vivian they were filled with just cheese.
So I went about sauteing them in butter and veggies. When they made it to the girl's plates, Viv and Kerrigan took a BIG bite. VIVIAN looked right at me and said - "i don't like them!"
Miss Kerrigan took about 3 more bites and then also let me know she did not like them.....but she added " I taste POTATOES!" (normally Kerrigan likes potatoes, but she was following Vivian's lead of course)
So I learned I can't fool the girls into enjoying a pierogie. Next time I get them, I will try them out on Kyle. I saw a recipe for pierogies and shrimp that I think he would like. If not, More for me again!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


We are back! - I am sooo tired and sooooo busy at work - I don't have the time right now to give you the play by play.........So for now, I will just be posting our lovely pictures. believe it or not this is only a few - I took a ton! Hopefully soon I will be able to tell you some of the funny and memorable moments.

the anticipation of their first airplane ride.
everything was smooth as butter!

look at the troopers carrying their own luggage through the orlando airport
Kerrigan made herself at home on one of the bunkbeds in our Cabin.
we stayed at the Fort Wilderness Campground
First park we visited was Animal Kingdom

Safari Ride

Great Parade
The next day we were off to Magic Kingdom. Here we are on "it's a small World"
Tuesday we went to Epcot. That park turned out to be the most fun! We Loved Epcot!

Nemo was fantastic - great entertainment for Kyle

The light show around the countries at epcot was also a highlight
Meme, Gary And Viv
The princesses on their way down Main Street USA in Magic Kingdom - On our way to have Breakfast with Cinderella - in the Castle......a Definate Highlight for Kerrigan and Vivian
Dining with Sleeping Beauty
What a doll
Pony rides for the girls - Kerrigan's first

Hollywood studios was thursday's event - 90 degree day - fffeeewww
The kids really enjoyed Honey I shrunk the Kids play area
Hanging out at the Campground!
Downtown Disney with the family made of Leggos
Great Lunch - very entertaining in the T-REX Cafe Trick Or Treat
And One last Disney photo op at the Orlando Airport before we board the plain back to home sweet home!