Sunday, June 28, 2020

Wrapping up the school year

May began.  Some of these kids had been in school since last July, so they were getting worn out, but there was still school work to be done.  The teachers sent packets of work to do every week until the week before classes were supposed to end.  No one really does school work the last week anyway.  As long as the work kept coming, these kids kept doing it.  I did most of my finals in the early mornings so I could help out with the last couple of weeks of school, but Grandma filled in for me when I had a couple of especially long ones.  Colette was amazing at organizing all of the school work and keeping the schedule.  It is relentless work to keep eight kids on track.  
 Afternoons were still for fun P.E. and science lessons at Grandma's house.  This was a dancing P.E. 
 Sammy got very interested in writing during home school.  He was spending more time sitting and working on school work than he ever has before, and he made amazing progress in reading under the influence of Grandma and Megan.  He started producing artwork spontaneously.  He did this great truck on the white board, and added so many magical accessories and so much technology and bling to it that you can barely make out the truck anymore.  I think you can see how proud he is of his work. 
 The kids wanted to paint, so we got the paint things out.  The temperature was rising, so it was no longer comfortable to do messy work outside in the afternoons. 
 Annie and Eloise had a project to design a taco truck, including a name, a menu, and a 3-D model.  Colette decided to get everyone involved.  Jared got to work on pricing and printing menus.  McKenzie (our other 3rd grader) was put on a team with Eloise and Annie.  All of the kids got to make their own 3-D taco truck, and they earned taco money based on the care and complexity of their design (adjusted for age, of course).  They loved this. 
 Finally, at the end of the project, all of the adults were invited for lunch, and the kids got to spend their taco money on a delicious lunch of street tacos from the Cousin Quesadilla taco truck. 
 The third grade team served. 
 Because these girls all love art, they even decorated aprons to wear in their taco truck. 
 Eloise and Jared's chorus teacher, Mrs. Gerbi, sent the kids music to learn and record individually, which she compiled into a performance that was shared with the whole school.  Here is recording artist Eloise. 
 And Jared, with his technical support guy, Dad. 
 Sammy and Megan (but mostly Sammy) were very tired of worksheets during school work time, so we practiced sight words with bathtub paint one day.  The red paint made the bathroom look like a battleground, but this was a great way to practice reading and writing and making messes. 
 Sammy is going to be mad that I shared this picture.  He has struggled with a serious lack of motivation for bowel control. Since he is clearly capable of being responsible for his own body at the age of five, we told him that he would lose his pool privileges for one entire week every time he didn't bother to make it to the bathroom on time.  I wish I could say that he only had to endure one humiliating week of being in his own pool while the other kids all got to be in the big pool together, but there have been around three weeks so far.  Nevertheless, he is doing MUCH better than he has ever bothered to do before.  I would say, in spite of the heat, being grounded from the pool is a small price to pay to start school in the fall fully potty trained. 
The other kids loved the tiny pool.  They thought it was a riot, and got in line for turns with the tiny pool every time Sammy wasn't in it. 
 During the last week of school work, Sammy mad a countdown to kindergarten.  I have been very impressed with his consistency in crossing off one square every day.  We were down below 30 days left until the first day of school when the school board voted to delay the beginning of the school year by three weeks due to a surge of coronavirus cases in Arizona, so we will need to make another countdown to show the extra time.  These are strange days. 
 Sammy is fascinated by animals, and Jared is a very patient big brother.  Sammy loves to learn everything he can about animals and then shout animal facts at B while they run around the house acting like different kinds of animals in the wild. 
 If I got rid of all of the toys in the house except for the blocks, legos, and stuffed animals, I don't know if anyone would ever notice.  The other toys only come out to be props for block and lego games.  Engineering and construction is a topic in elementary school, right? Well, if it were, these kids would ace it.
 The kiddos were down to one week left of school, but the school work had stopped coming.  I was done with finals, but I had a writing exam to take to try out for a law journal job in the fall.  School was winding down, and we were absolutely wiped out and ready to unwind and celebrate. 

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