Wednesday, August 15, 2012

first day of school

 The girlies headed off yesterday to their first day of school--second grade for Abigail and kindergarten for Juliet.  This year has had a lot of decision-making behind it.  Abigail tested into the high-ability class for second/third grade, and Juliet was offered a spot in kindergarten, even though her birthday is after the cut-off date (and they offered her a full-day spot when what I really wanted was half-day).  So lots of praying and worrying about things for this year.  I was nervous about Abigail's class, because I know it is super intense (there are 956 1st grade students in the district; they tested 303 for admission into the class, and for Abigail's school, which is the biggest, they had 22 slots available between two classrooms, including those offered to incoming third-graders who tested in this year.  Very much a big pond for little fish.)--they asked us not to pull our kids out for at least the first six weeks because the adjustment is pretty rough.  And I didn't want Jules in full-day kindergarten, but the school was eliminating the half-day-only classes (the principal told me that out of 300 kids, only 8 had opted for half-day).

We felt like Juliet would do well in half-day, so I spoke with the principal and we are able to send her in the morning and then pick her up before lunch.  She misses out on recess and the "specials" (art, gym, music, etc.) and at first I felt really bad about that, especially since the school pushes full-day very hard, but...then I thought about the fact that she gets much more individualized attention at home, and I didn't feel so bad about it.  (And it also helped a LOT when I realized that Abigail is at the top of her class, and she was in half-day too, so I'm not exactly jeopardizing Juliet's educational future, which is kind of how the school made me feel.  I LOVE their elementary, but they definitely make you feel like full-day is the one and only path of truth.)

So...they both had a really great day.  Abigail took Julesie to her classroom, and when I picked Jules up she told me that she wanted to stay the rest of the day--except then she realized that we'd biked over and so she'd get to ride back in the bike trailer and then she was so excited to go home!  She was really nervous in the morning and worrying about throwing up, so I was so glad she had a great day (although both of the girls had the evening meltdowns that I'd anticipated.  It's a really long day; fortunately this time around I knew to expect the puddles of tears and just planned to have a low-key evening and put everyone to bed early).

And I'd been pretty nervous about Abigail too--her teacher had mailed her a homework assignment, and I ended up having Abigail do a second draft of it because I really wanted her to do her best work from the very beginning (as opposed to the way she sort of skated through first grade because she could give it a half-hearted effort and get 100% and lots of praise from her teacher--by the end of the year she kept sneaking into corners and reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and I think her teacher just didn't want to interrupt a kid who was so in love with reading).  But she came home and told me that she spent the first part of the day being nervous, and the second part of the day loving it.  They had a writing prompt about whether they thought a triangle or a square was stronger, and then they experimented with building all kinds of shapes out of straws and paperclips to test their hypotheses, and then she brought the building materials home and spent most of the night creating new shapes.  And they had a long time for silent reading, so she was in heaven.

I'm excited for this year!  I think it will be a demanding one for all of us, but from what I've heard about the high-ability classes, this could be a really wonderful thing for Abigail in teaching her to give her very best effort and stay on task.  I'm looking at this specific opportunity as a blessing that we would not have had if Neil had already finished his Ph.D., which helps me to feel more okay about the fact that we are still here (I won't get started on what I think about how long his adviser keeps his students).  We love it here and I really will be so sad to leave.  (Excited for a real income and a bigger house, but really, I will be so sad when it's time to go!)


Meghan said...

Sounds like its going to be an exiting year for all of you! We've been thrilled to read your posts and feel connected again.

Andrea said...

Wow! Two kids at home? You won't know what to do with yourself. I'm glad we're still not there...Eva would be heartbroken! Happy for Juliet though. I'm sure she's enjoying K! Fun for Abigail that she gets to do the 2nd/3rd class. Like you said, that's an awesome opportunity. Here they group kids within the classroom accordingly. Not sure which I would prefer? It's fun to finally catch up on things there!

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