Thursday, December 10, 2009

12/10/09 Lights!

Julian reminded me this morning that today was the day he'd present his Cultural Poster. We practiced "Hola, mis amigos, mi nombre es Julian" many times, even though he claimed he wasn't going to say that. When I picked him up from school today, I chatted briefly with his teacher, who told me he did a great job on his presentation, and blew away the class with his Spanish introduction. I was very very proud of him, and held back nothing in hugs and praise!

She said overall he's been doing much much better, paying attention and not pestering people when they're sitting on the ground listening. The CDC said the same thing today -- and he's been a lot better at home too. yay!

Another kid in Julian's class did Italy...or did he? The kid, that is. Does it look like a kid did the writing and taping on this poster?

And I know for a fact from seeing class-wide work on the walls that Julian's handwriting amongst the worst in the class -- yet he wrote every word and did all cutting and gluing on his poster. I only helped him with the content and planning where things should go. I know not every kid feels this way, but it would have been unthinkable for me to do his project for him, to take that way from him. He loved doing it.

[ ADDENDUM: I just realized: that poster must be the teacher's poster!! Duh! No wonder it looks like everything was done by an adult!! ]

As regular readers know, I'm not an anti-homework parent, but I'm no advocate of it either. I'm finding that projects have far more value than homework, and non-homework schools do projects too, but in class. I never thought I'd say this, but it just struck me today that for kids who like projects -- and even like homework -- it's almost an odd shame that they don't have the "opportunity." Yeah, you can give them extra stuff to do, but it doesn't mean the same to them. I never, ever expected this from our ultra-putzy boy, but he gobbles up his home-based schoolwork and gets a lot out of doing it. If I were a different type of parent I might even ask for more!

Now, on to lights.

Katrina is loving this season with all the Christmas lights around. "I am so full of LIGHTS!" she exclaims.

So we spent the afternoon outside, under stormy threatening skies, putting up exterior lights. I haven't really done this before, so we don't have our places picked out or hooks installed or methods formed, so it took a while. But it was a lot of fun being out there figuring it out, with the kids running to get me a hook or hold something or help me in one way or another. They played together much of the time too, and it was nice doing something productive with them there with me.

I wish I had more time -- or a little less life -- to really enjoy these moments. I'm constantly prioritizing: was this the best use of my time this afternoon? With a party coming up on Saturday, was this the most urgent thing that needed to get done? Perhaps not, but if there's one thing I learned in graduate school, of all places, it was: do the "extra" stuff first, because when the time crunch comes, you'll still get the "required" stuff done. If you start with the required stuff, that's all you'll get done. This way, I got the extra stuff done, and one way or another, I'll get the necessary stuff done too.

(and I still remember that it's Jason's birthday, but not in time today to contact him, wouldn't that be a trip! My cousin is 33 today, and I sent him birthday cards for years when he was a child.)

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