Saturday, August 20, 2011

1st Week of School

The kids finished their first week in school.  Our very driven and enthusiastic learner, Katie, loves 5th grade.  Her only complaint is that everything is a review so far.  She wishes they would start learning something new. The goals we have for Katie this year are to slow down and write neatly and to make new friends.  We’ve been talking with her specifically about being a friend to others.  She is the type that if you’re mean to her once, she figures you are not a good friend. She is in no way interested in being mistreated.  She also figures if someone doesn’t like the same things as she does, she might as well not be friends with them.  She tends to hurt a lot of feelings that way.  She has her 2 or 3 good friends and she is fine with that.  What can I say?  She’s a work in progress.  We are encouraged with Katie because she is very grounded.  She will not participate even if everyone else is doing wrong.  We feel this is a wonderful quality in a child who has leadership qualities.  We hope she will use this quality to lead others to do right.

Our social butterfly, Haley, loves 1st grade so far.  She is excited that she got Miss Meads as a teacher like her two older sisters and some of her current friends are in her class already and is making new friends.  We have two goals for Haley this year and these are for her to read aloud with confidence and to not get in trouble for socializing during class.  I got a call from her teacher on Friday where she said, “Haley had a great first week.  I haven’t had any problems with her (insert sigh of relief here).”  Then she finished her thought with, “Wow, Haley is very outgoing compared to her two older sisters.”  It’s funny because at the house we barely hear a peep out of the kid.  She doesn’t chatter on unless she is one-on-one with Tim or me.  I guess she comes out of her shell at school or when she is not near her older siblings.  Haley has always acted so much older than she actually is.  She has a maturity about her that really makes us laugh at times.  It is rare that she is not sitting poised with her legs crossed like a grown lady.  The way she thinks and talks sometimes makes you feel like you are talking to a peer instead of a small child.

My two 3rd graders are the ones that are going to be the challenging ones this year.  Kylie is my homebody.  It doesn’t matter what school she attends or who her teacher is, she would much rather be at home with her Mommy every day of the year.  I don’t recall her ever saying “I’m bored” or “Where are we going today?” in her entire life.  Home is where she is loved and accepted and she thrives on this. She struggles with making friends.  She would love to have just one friend that always just hangs out with her.  She actually had a girl last year say, “I like you as a friend, but you really need to make other friends because I like a lot of people and not just you.”  The cold, harsh truth hurts sometimes.  Kylie is our super sensitive child that gets her feelings hurt very easily.  While all of this crying and drama could be very annoying, we recognize that she is also our most caring child and by far the kindest of the pack.  If you ever need a shoulder to cry on, a hug or someone to tell you that you are beautiful, Kylie is your girl!  Our goals for Kylie are to make new friends and to have a good attitude each morning when she wakes up for school. 

Then there is Brandon.   The poor kid hates school.  It doesn’t matter that his teacher is awesome.  It doesn’t matter if he is in a class with a lot of his friends.  He absolutely, 100% HATES to have to sit at a desk and work.  He hates having to line up and be quiet.  He hates having to read aloud.  He hates having to cut his hair short, to tuck in his shirt, to wear long pants and to wear a belt. Besides all that, he is also very much a homebody. So he very much hates that our family is all scattered apart throughout the day. He is happiest when the 6 of us are all together at home or when he can be on a soccer field (or playing any sport) while we watch him and cheer for him. The homebody part is because he’s never had a real family and now that he does, he really wants to be near us.  I think his hatred for his desk at school could be because he’s never really had to learn.  They didn’t have 7 hour days of schoolwork where he was in Ukraine.  They played outside a whole lot more at the orphanage.  His school was in the actual orphanage and his small amount of work was simply copying words or math problems out of a text book into a notebook.  He was not tested or quizzed on what he was retaining.  He just had to copy it.  So, as a result of all that copying, his handwriting is exceptional!  Unfortunately, however, most of the things he copied he did not retain.   He’s really going to have to work harder than most kids this year to even pass 3rd grade.  We have many goals for Brandon this year in school.  First, we want him to learn English and learn it well.  Second, we pray that he will begin to love learning.  We want him to advance a few grade levels over the next year or so.  It’d be ideal for him to be in Katie’s grade and graduate together one day.  He so very badly wants to be in school with kids his own age and size.  If he is lazy or does not have a desire to learn, we worry it will get very awkward in a few years when he will be so much taller than the other children.  Right now he is 3 years older than the 3rd grade kids and because of the nutrition he is getting in America he is catching up quickly to his own age with his size and height. 

For now we just have to take it day by day.  I have to remind myself not to stress out over this.  We have so much to be thankful for.  If this battle with schoolwork is all that we have to deal with Brandon, we consider ourselves very blessed.  I have read many blogs and many stories of families who adopted older children that have had far more issues than just schoolwork.  We are grateful for our beautiful, loving son and so happy God saw fit to lead him into our family.  I am truly honored to be his Mama! 

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