Actually, it’s the last week of school here in Portland so school isn’t quite over yet. I’m writing this one a bit early because we’ll be in Iceland next week. The kids are so wild this week, though. They are giddy with excitement when they get off the bus. Summer break is all they’re thinking about. RB40Jr has been gloating all week when I drive him to school. I drive him to school in the morning and he takes the bus home. Anyway, the school year is wrapping up for us. All in all, it has been a pretty good year for our son. He is more familiar with the system so life has been much easier for everyone. Here is how first grade went for us.
First grade was easier than kindergarten
The transition from preschool to Kindergarten is akin to going from high school to college. It was a huge leap and RB40Jr doesn’t handle big changes well. He got into a ton of trouble at school. Other kids annoyed him and he was quick with his hands. He was sent to the principal’s office constantly during the first month of the school year. He gradually got used to it and behaved a bit better after the initial frenzy. It was a rough transition. You can read more about it in my Kindergarten recap from last year.
Fewer behavior issues
First grade was much easier than kindergarten for us. He’s familiar with the school now and he knows the rules. He still gets in trouble once in a while, but not nearly as often as last year. However, RB40Jr is still a highly emotional kid. He’d lash out if another kid keeps pushing his buttons. One time, he shoved a book in a kid’s face and gave him a bloody nose. Yikes! That was the only hitting incident this school year so it is an improvement. Our school is awesome, though. The counselors work in a group with kids who are highly charged. They learn about different emotional zones and how to handle them. This really helped. Now RB40Jr can recognize which zone he’s in and has a few coping strategies in his back pocket.
Sometimes, his emotions still get the better of him. Recently, the kids had a puppet show in class. The teacher told us the show started at 9 am, but RB40Jr told me it started at 9:30 am. It’s totally my fault for not verifying with his teacher. We showed up at 9:20 am and the show was almost over. I didn’t see him until Mrs. RB40 pointed him out to me. He was sitting in the corner crying uncontrollably. He melted down because he told us the wrong time to come and felt bad about it. His emotions won that time.
That evening, we sat down and I told him that you need to keep going. You can’t just break down and cry whenever something doesn’t work out. If he kept his composure, we would have seen the tail end of the play. Some of the other parents couldn’t come at all and the kids still performed. Besides, we’ll be late occasionally even when I don’t screw up. That’s life. Hopefully, he’ll be able to deal with it better next time. The show must go on!
Last year, the audiologist found that RB40Jr has a serious hearing impairment in his left ear. We got him a hearing aid, but it hasn’t helped that much. It doesn’t work well when there is a lot of background noise (when many kids are talking at once) or when it’s loud (music class). He said it’s too loud and the noise gives him a headache. Recently, he’s been turning the hearing aid off during those occasions and then “forgets” to turn it back on. We’ll need to follow up on this with our audiologist. If the hearing aid doesn’t help, then maybe he doesn’t need to wear it.
Our school is really wonderful here too. He is working with a hearing loss counselor. It’s part of an Individual Education Program. I never thought our son would be in a “special” program, but it’s actually really good. They had 5 goals this year.
- Learn how to use the hearing aid. He learned how to put it on, take it off, turns it on/off, and change the battery.
- Educate the teachers on how to deal with a kid who has hearing impairment. They installed an FM system in his classroom. The teacher can speak into the microphone so the all the kids can easily hear her. They also positioned his chair and desk so his good ear (right) is directed toward the teacher’s desk.
- Learn how to advocate. If he can’t hear something, he needs to speak up and ask the speaker to repeat it. I think this one is going well. Recently, he asked a substitute teacher to use the microphone so he can hear better.
- What to tell other kids when they ask about his hearing aid. He says it’s like wearing glasses. Some kids need a hearing aid and some don’t.
- Learn how to control his emotions. Apparently, students with disabilities tend to exhibit behavior that impedes his/her learning or the learning of others. I can understand that. If you can’t hear or see very well, you might throw a tantrum more often out of frustration.
All in all, the hearing impairment doesn’t seem to be a big problem for him. He kept up academically and socializes well with most kids. I think the only big problem now is when it gets too loud. I’m really disappointed with the hearing aid, though. It doesn’t seem very useful for this particular condition.
First grade has much bigger academic component than kindergarten. All the kids liked kindergarten better than first grade. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, kids. It’s going to keep getting harder and harder until you retire early. Ha! 😀
First grade homework is reading for 20 minutes. That’s easy and we put it on his schedule. RB40Jr reads right after taking a bath. That’s quiet time for both of us. This is probably less homework than other first graders get. A kid who transferred from a private school said homework is much easier at this public school.
Anyway, he’s doing well academically compared to his classmates.
- Reading. He is reading very well. His current favorite books are the Big Nate comics. He loves the humor in these books. This summer, we will work on reading books with no pictures.
- Writing. His writing is acceptable. I think it’s at about the same level as other boys in his class. From what I’ve seen, the girls are way ahead of the boys with writing at this age.
- Math. He’s very good with math.
- PE. This is his favorite period in school. He’s a very active boy and he loves PE. That’s great! I never liked PE when I was young. I couldn’t exert myself much because I had mild mitochondrial disease. From what I understand, this DNA mutation is passed down from mother to child. RB40Jr lucked out there.
So far, he’s doing very well academically. We’ll see how it goes in 2nd grade. There will be more homework and we need to prepare for that. Do you have a first grader? What’s the homework like?
Kiddo’s 1st grade writing
No I would not like to be a farmer. Because I do not want to pick up poop. I do not want to where (wear) a overal. I do not want to be wact up (wake up) by the animals. Finally I would not want to be a farmer because al above the sentensis.
Alright, it’s time to wrap it up. I hope you enjoy a glimpse into RB40Jr’s school life. Some of my friends are struggling with the baby/infant stage right now. Hang in there. Being a SAHD got much easier once RB40Jr started school. I have more time for myself and it’s magnificent. I’m not looking forward to spending all summer with RB40Jr, but I need to put a positive spin on this. That’s why I’m taking it easy this summer. I’m cutting back to one post per week until school starts in the fall. We’re traveling more this summer so it’d be hard to blog twice per week anyway. Let’s have fun this summer and get back to school/work in the fall. There are a ton of fun activities to do in the summer so I’m sure we won’t be bored.
Do you have young children? What’s your plan for this summer?
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