Wednesday, August 31, 2016

First Day of School for Emilia and Carson

School started on August 22nd for the older two kids. While everyone else at APA (the kid's school) was waking up early, getting their school uniforms on and carrying their backpacks and lunch boxes to school, we were having a completely different type of day in Kauai.

Truth be told, the kids were sad about not playing with their friends at recess, but their situation was nothing to complaint about. Body surfing at the beach and playing in the sand is not what I consider a punishment.

The hardest part was getting ready for school once we were home. The four hours difference between Hawaii and Utah made waking up in the morning a little hard, but the excitement compensated for it. Luckily the kids only had to attend on Friday and then had the rest of the weekend to adjust back to our normal school schedule.

This year both of the oldest kids are in all day school. Carson was so excited to tell me when he got home "Mom, I have THREE recesses!" He hasn't been eating much of his lunch because he prefers to spend his time playing with friends. So by the time he gets home at 4pm, he is starving.

Carson got Ms. Bodily as his homeroom teacher and Ms. Lamoraux as an instructor.  I met them on back to school night and really like both of them. Ms. Lamouraux was Emilia's math instructor last year and Emilia really liked her.

The year before kindergarten Carson did a program called Upstart. For five days a week, regardless of where we were on vacation or it was a holiday, he would spend 20 minutes on-line playing educational games that helped him learned to read and basic math skills.

I know he is a good reader and good at math, but because of the half-day schedule in Kindergarten his reading and math groups were only with other kindergartners. In first grade, he is actually placed with kids at his same level, regardless of age.

For both subjects his group is made up of a few first graders, second graders and in one case, a third grader. All that hard work paid off. He is comfortable in school and likes going because it's right at his level.

Emilia was the most excited about beginning school. This is her fourth year at APA and she has a lot of friends there. She knew who was going to be in her class but was curious to find out who was in her reading, spelling and math groups.

As a fourth grader, she is now part of the older kids in the school. That means she gets to do some fun things in class, like dissecting a cow's heart, has additional responsibilities and gets to wear a different uniform.

Her first day of school was a little rough for her. Her math instructor was unaware she was supposed to be in her group, so she had to sit by herself in the front of the class facing all of the other students. She didn't like that one bit. She also didn't like that she was going to do homework at home.

Last year she was able to complete all of her homework at school, so I knew this was going to be an issue in fourth grade. The goal of the school is to allow students enough time to complete their work in class, but they rarely finish everything.

I on the other hand, am glad she has some work at home because it helps me to see what she is learning and where she needs help.

After a long conversation with Emilia about her feelings she decided to give school another try on Monday. Nothing had changed in math group but she no longer care and was happy to go. So when the teacher rearranged the class on Tuesday, she was sad that she no longer had a table all to herself. Go figure!

Emilia is also an A student and is doing above-grade work in school.

The family we carpooled with last year was unavailable to drive with us this year so we are now carpooling with the Shewells. They live just a couple of miles up the road from our house and are great. They have a daughter in fourth grade who Emilia hadn't really met at school. Now that they have connected Emilia is excited to carpool with someone her age. They also have a son who is in second grade. He is in Carson's same reading group so the boys get to see each other at school. They also seem to share similar interests and in-spite of the age difference play great together. The best part however is that I don't have to drive to school AT ALL!

The Shewells drop of the kids at our house in the morning on their way to work and Todd drives them on his way to the office. They then pick them up from school and drop them off at our house. I am going to love this school year!!!