Friday, December 02, 2011

12/2/11 Report Cards!

I guess I'm supposed to know about this, but I was surprised when all 3 kids came home sporting the famous little manila envelope, with the first report card of the year.

This time, with three, it was interesting to see the different teacher styles in the reporting. Gabriel's teacher, an energetic intense semi-perfectionist, included a letter describing each section and how he graded it. Julian's teacher's ongoing exasperation with him showed, her comments were short and terse and included words like "stubborn" and "disrespectful." She's right, of course -- and what a shame; Julian is brimming with ability but it's trapped by his awful attitude. She gave Julian mostly average grades across all items, including for things that he excels at (reading) and stinks at (following instructions).

Katrina's teacher had a little more variation -- which usually we don't see in kindergarten -- including a rare "Mastery" score on some of the reading items. For kindergarten, I really don't worry about "report cards" unless there's an area of serious deficiency, which none of our kids have ever had in kindergarten. Deficiencies haven't shown up until 1st grade and really peak in 2nd!

The only negative thing noted was Katrina's class participation, but I count that as "that's just the way she is." It's completely consistent with our little non-joiner's personality. Katrina does not like to perform, join groups, or speak in front of groups, or be put on the spot. Around other kids, that is. When she has a small roomful of adults as a captive audience, then she lights up. I was just telling my mother today that Katrina is more relaxed and silly around her classmate Molly's father than she is around Molly -- a sparkly dazzling little girl -- herself.

This is the first time that any of our kids have ever completely aced a report card section, however (though Julian came close in 1st grade with reading once). Gabriel's teacher, who's known for his heavy interest in science, gave Gabriel rare highest-possible scores in science. By 4th grade, this means a lot, especially around here, to be marked "exceptional."

But not in math, interesting....then I thought about it. I asked Gabriel, "Have you moved on from electricity and magnetism in science yet?" "No, Mom, thank goodness," he answered. No wonder. It's like giving honey to a bear. My guess is that when his class moves on to earth science, his science prowess will align more with his general school performance -- a mixture of shining spots and pits of ambivalence.

Perhaps of greatest concern, if there is one, is that Gabriel's "math reasoning" skills were marked as average -- which is fine, but he does have some talent in this area. The teacher noted that this can reflect sloppiness and poor test-taking skills, like not reading instructions or planning his time well. That, I can speak from experience, can be a serious detriment in life!

Julian wins as being our #1 behavior problem still, but even he's managed to avoid the principal's office, notes from the teacher, alienating friends, and suspensions for a few weeks. That, to me, is a great score!


Thursday, December 01, 2011

12/1/2011 The Green Belt

Julian has a new implement -- a sword! I can't believe I spent $48 on this thing, though it is his new prized possession.

He'd said that he'd stop Kung Fu when he reached green belt, but it turns out, green belt is when the fun really starts: weapons! He loves practicing with his new sword.

He likes his sword so much that of course, we've have to put strict rules around it. NO playing with it indoors, NO taking it out when anyone else is within 20 fact, he violated those rules so quickly that I had to put it away.

Still, overall I see he's much more involved with Kung Fu now: he looks forward to the classes, talks about it, and practices the routines. I hope this continues!

(Sorry I've been so inconsistent about posting: I am seriously wiped out by the end of some days and just have to blow it off! I think this is largely because my need to EXPRESS isn't nearly as strong because I'm overall so much happier during the day because of my new job.)


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

11/29/11 Back on the air

If you insist on running a Microsoft operating system:

Stop using Internet Explorer.
Always run anti-virus software.
Keep it updated.

Lesson learned!!

I have my computer back, de-virused and with numerous free anti-virus software packages installed. My Internet Explorer browser works again (though now I'll try living with Firefox again), and even the screwy time has been reset!

When I described my plight to someone at work, and that my computer was once again in the hands of my anti-virus guy, he said, "You have an 'anti-virus' guy?!" Somehow I attract these things so much that now I have an anti-virus guy. And thank goodness for that.

It'll take a few more days to get everything set up, and suddenly things at work have gotten busy (it's like that -- feast or famine), but I think I'm finally on an uptick -- at least computationally.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

11/27/11 VIRUS!!

AGH! Not again! My new Windows 7 computer caught some horrible virus that means the computer is cranking away with some background process that seems to be sending spam or all our personal information to the mothership. Also, my IE browser doesn't work anymore. I'm typing from my work computer, because my own is off the Internet now so whatever infection it has won't get any farther than it is.

Yesterday I took Gabriel to get him his own ski equipment! Skis (used), boots (new but inexpensive), poles (cheap), helmet (not cheap but it will be handed down to other kids), jacket (see note about the helmet). He's SO psyched.

Katrina spent the afternoon in her room playing with all her snow gear, having a "snow party" in "Colorado" and "Alaska," with snow simulated by a blanket spread on the floor.

Last night we all went out to see the movie "Hugo" -- 3D in the movie theatre. It was pretty good! It's so rare we all do something like that together, it was fun.

Tonight we had such a nice evening with Laura and Ryan, who are passing through on their way back to L.A. after an extended visit to Oregon for Thanksgiving. The boys hit up aunt & uncle for a game of flashlight tag, and aunt & uncle agreed even though they'd been driving all day! They're so awesome, the kids just adore them, and of course so do we.

Tomorrow: back to reality -- school and work -- and for me, a big detour to get my now-familiar de-viruser guy to fix my infected computer again. So I'll be off the air for a while.