After I wrote this post I realized it was full of lists.
So, in our quest to figure out and hopefully improve Alden’s attitude where school is concerned, we’ve done a couple of things lately that feel like the right thing to do, even if there aren’t immediate positive results (like, Alden jumping out of bed thrilled to go to school.)
Wait– have I mentioned here that he ain’t in love with school? We’ve heard a lot of “what I don’t like about school is…” and “Do I have to go to school?” and “I just don’t LIKE (fill in the blank.)”
He has friends. It doesn’t feel like a mostly social issue. He (when asked) says he likes his teacher and has written notes to her a few times. It seems like what he mostly isn’t excited about is that a) the whole day feels like being told what to do, and having to do the same thing as everyone else, all the time and b) the stuff he has to do? is boring. (When I have explained points a and b to people, I have been depressed to no end to have most people laugh ruefully and say, “well, YEAH, it’s SCHOOL!” Ok, one, I NEVER (almost never) felt that way abut school. and two, so far, at either of his preschools, Alden never has either.
So. We are trying not to overreact and trying to do a few things PROactively instead. Like grownups.
1) He balks about taking the bus. OK, we are working on developing a schedule (over which Alden gets some say — not ALL the say, but some say) of “bus days” and “take-you-there” days.
2) We are trying to accentuate the positive in conversation with hi9m. If we only really engage about the “don’t like” stuff, that stuff is all we’ll keep hearing about!
3) I am going in to the school once a week to volunteer, and Alden’s teacher asked me to come during reading time so I can read one-on-one with kids. Which, today was the first day of that.
I have a few take-aways from today.
* Oh, my goodness, I really, really enjoyed it.
* The children were, without exception, so dear. Proud of themselves, interesting, interested, full of the awesomeness that is being five years old.
* There are SO many different ways to learn to read. Each child I worked with had a slightly different process at work. Some went straight to sounding out each word. Others tried to memorize what I had read and give it back to me — the meaning if not the exact words. Others only looked at letter clues when they weren’t sure what word was next in what they had remembered, others looked ONLY at the words, and used the pictures if they got stuck. Some knew a fair number of words on sight. Every one of them was thrilled about becoming a reader.
* Alden does in fact read at a more advanced level than anyone else I worked with today. (ahem. sorry for the brag.) I say this because I KNOW that means his teacher is really, really hard-pressed to alter what goes on to meet his level. It’s just really hard.
* Alden reads really differently in different contexts. He chose a book that was very easy for him (few words on each page) and read it very deliberately, emphasizing each word. The, cat, is, in, the, house. Then he chose a book with fuller sentences and more complex vocabulary, and he read it with the fluency I am used to hearing from him lately. It’s funny; it’s like he knew that’s how you’re “supposed” to read an easy reader!
* Alden was really happy to have me there. That’s a good thing, no matter what, I think. I can’t wait for the next time!