With over two weeks of public school under our belts – I wanted to update everyone on how things have been, and how both Em, Dave and I are adjusting to our new norm.
A Seventh Grade Reading Level?!
Recently Em took an online reading test. As her homeroom teacher, Ms. L. explained, the more the student knows, the more questions they are asked. Em scored high, a 212, which equaled out to mean she is reading at a 7th-grade level. Considering she is in 5th grade, and that it took until she was eight before she felt comfortable reading, I thought this was a fabulous score.
I’ve beaten myself up a lot about not reading enough with her – but I think just the exposure alone to books and an advanced vocabulary has helped enormously.
Yesterday I was on the phone when Em came home and instead of coming upstairs, she went straight to the kitchen. I finished with my call and headed down to see her.
I expected that she hadn’t liked lunch and was grabbing a snack – which in a sense she was – but her mind was fully on reproducing a science experiment that her science teacher, Ms. G., had shown them. She had taken the basic recipe for salt dough, and substituted sugar for a majority of the salt (“But not all sugar, because that would have made it too sweet, Mama”) and was busy chowing down on a flour, water, sugar and small amount of salt mixture.
I took these photos and emailed them to her teacher. Props to Ms. G, you are an awesome science teacher!
Our New Rituals
Each morning during the week, Em wakes up at around 7 a.m. Since her school provides breakfast and lunch free of charge, there is only a handful of duties in the morning before she has to leave: make sure Sugar has food and water, brush hair, and get dressed. She often does this as I do stretching exercises on the floor of our workout room.
She likes it when I walk her to school so we walk together to the end of the block and then a kiss and hug and she is off with the crossing guard across and then down the street to the back doors of the school.
In the afternoon, she runs home and barrels into my arms, smiling and happy (except for one day when she didn’t have enough lunch and showed that she is as prone to hypoglycemic attacks as I am).
In the evening, at around 8 p.m. we begin bedtime rituals. A bath first. Then afterward we brush our teeth together and then snuggle up in my king-size bed for a half hour of reading.
Last night, the time got away from us both and it was 8:52 when she asked for us to read together. “I know I need to be in bed, but this is my favorite time of the day with you, Mama.”
And how could I say “no” to that? We read until 9:20 in Mary Poppins.
I’m Finally Okay With This
I will admit it. When I first decided to do it, to put her in school and let go of the reins, I was frustrated, overwhelmed, and very depressed. It felt like a failure like I was giving up.
And in a perfect world, I would be independently wealthy, possess the perfect blend of Mary Poppins and the mom from Leave it To Beaver, and be able to spend my days feeding her curiosity.
But for now, in this time and space and with these teachers (yes, even Ms. W has come round and seems to really like Em), Em has what she needs. And that is such an incredible relief for me. It means that I can focus on work and make things run smoother here in the house and in our renovation projects. It means that at the end of the day I haven’t struggled to get her to do what she needs to do. I’m not worn out from educating and parenting all day long and I really, REALLY love being able to lie down with her and read each night.
All of this has brought us closer – and we are all a lot happier with the results.
A month or two ago, I could never have imagined that it could be this good. I guess I did better than I initially thought and Em is responding better than I could have hoped – both combining into a huge WIN for this little family.