Fourth Grade, Week Two

Long story short, I think this public school thing is actually going to work for us!

The hardest part about school so far is getting him there. His mornings are still rough: fighting to get dressed, put on shoes, take meds, leave the house, get into the car, and being civil on the car ride. But once he gets there, Mrs. Aide assures me that he does really well and that he actually likes it. In fact, they want to extend his school day by thirty minutes beginning tomorrow. So he’ll be at school approximately two hours a day now, plus the 40 minute combined travel time.

Javan usually comes home from school happy and excited to share with me what he did at school. Here is the snow he made Monday:

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He loves to squish it (and make a mess with it) and nearly a week later, it’s still in pretty good condition.

Here’s his daily report from Tuesday:

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I love these daily reports because we actually get to have good discussions about his school day that he wouldn’t be able to have without me prompting him with bits from these sheets. They sent home a picture of him working on the giant smart board with one of the aides, which I of course am not allowed to share with you, but man alive is that thing cool! It’s enormous, much bigger than our 50″ tv screen at home. And you can use your fingers or a digital marker on it just like you would an iPad. They drew on it a for a while with the marker and even played Angry Birds. I told him I really hope I get to come play on the smart board someday. He told me a little bit about the story sequence, that it was about a father and son building a dog house together. Each story sequence he’s told me about so far has been about fathers and sons, animals, or both, which tells me they are really going above and beyond to find activities that cater to his unique interests.

Wednesday, he brought home tons of work. Here’s a finger maze he did:

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And a picture find:

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And also a rhyming words worksheet:

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He also brought home his first homework ever:

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Which was this picture find:

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They  learned more about George Washington Carver using BrainPop on the computer, and since we’d used BrainPop in our homeschool, Javan was actually able to show Mrs. Aide some things about the program that she didn’t know before. And then the class made their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which he enjoyed.

He did try to stab Mrs. Aide in the eye with a pencil at some point that day, which is, ya know, not ideal, but they just deal with it and move on and keep making progress. That was the exact sort of situation that gave me nightmares thinking about sending him to school because I was truly worried they’d bring in the campus police and taze him or something, but they know how to deescalate situations like this safely on their own. So, in a way, even though I hope this situation doesn’t repeat itself, I’m a little bit glad it happened, because it laid to rest some of my worries over “what would happen if…”

Thursday, Mrs. Aide brought Javan a school t-shirt that matched hers. He refused to wear it, but that was still a super sweet gesture. I hope he’ll wear it this week. Here is his daily report from Thursday:

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He has a friend at school! Mrs. Aide said she nearly cried when Diego accepted Javan’s hug. Apparently, he doesn’t hug people. Like, ever. But he hugs Javan.

Talking about school together, going over the daily report and looking at his work together was especially entertaining that day. He told us that Mrs. Aide had read him a book called “Mouse Builds a House” in which a little mouse builds a house out of a box. The box has a doorway that’s just big enough for the mouse, but not big enough for the cat to get him. Daddy, who’s an engineer, then went on a 15 minute rabbit trail in which he drew Mouse’s house and then drew alternate plans for how Mouse could have made his doorway safer and less accessible to Cat. He compared these drawings to various public restroom designs he’s encountered in which the doors did nothing to prevent the general public from viewing the urinals from outside the bathroom. He keeps us laughing.

Then we moved on to discussing this sheet Javan did about deserts:

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Of course, the first thing out if the engineer’s mouth was an affronted, “Who wrote the checkmark backwards?!” To which I responded with a meaningful look that roughly translated to, “That will be the first thing he says to his teacher tomorrow. You know that, right?”

Then Dad read the excerpt about deserts, which ends in the question, “Can you name a desert animal?” Javan proudly responded with rattlesnakes and gila monsters. He loves desert animals. Then Daddy read all the questions, and Javan reiterated his answers. One of the answers, the one about the desert having a lot of rain, is wrong, which Daddy pointed out. Javan said, “She said I got it right,” to which Daddy promptly responded, “Well, she also wrote the checkmark backwards.” If looks could kill, he’d be dead. Dead. Instead, we had to settle for dying with laughter.

So, then Dad reads aloud the teacher’s note at the bottom, which he hadn’t read yet so he didn’t know NOT to read aloud the part that says, “Says he doesn’t want mom and dad to know he likes school.” Javan’s face…I mean, I don’t think I’ve ever come this close to seeing actual steam escape from someone’s ears. He jumped up from the table and as he was yelling about Mrs. Aide telling his secret and repeatedly opening and slamming the refrigerator door, my husband whispers stoically to me, “I guess you don’t read that part out loud.”

And that is the story of how my husband got fired from homework.

Fridays in Javan’s classroom are called “Fun Fridays.” They don’t do class on those days, they just do free play and focus on having fun. Javan was still scarfing breakfast when he left for school and Mrs. Aide said to me, “Just let me know if he ever doesn’t eat breakfast. We know he likes waffles so we got some in the freezer for him just in case.” Wow. That made me feel more like I was sending him to family’s house than school. They take such good care of these kids! He came home with half a Little Caesar’s pizza because he’d earned his own pizza party in the car on the way home for being good in the car on the way to school. He told me for Fun Friday, he watched Blaze on the iPad. And he told me he likes Diego and he high fived another boy. Sounds like we’re winning to me.

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