Today was such a cluster, you guys.
Even though I dutifully rose with my alarm at 5:50, I didn't make it to my (totally dirty and hot, hot, hot-- I left the thermostat turned up to 78 last week and left lunch remnants in my trash) office until almost 10 because I seem to have forgotten how to get myself fed and dressed and caffeinated and out the door-- and I don't even have to feed, dress, or transport the kids on Tuesdays because Ben is home. So I spent like 4 hours on myself this morning. Grrr. Then only 5 students showed up for my over-enrolled class. At first I took it personally, but then I realized some computer glitch made it look like my class only meets once a week on Thursdays, Grrrr, again. Eleventy billion emails later, I absently answered my office phone and was shocked to hear Jack's teacher on the line telling me that he had a 103 degree fever. (Thank goodness Ben was home and could go pick the poor baby up). I finished off the day as a sub for 2 sections of another class, leaving just in time to speed across town and pick up the healthy-for-now child. Blurgh.
This day did have a pretty big bright spot, though. Harry wrote his first word (besides his name):
At parent-teacher conferences, Harry's teachers mentioned that Harry is a little behind the other 4 year-olds in terms of writing skills. Actually, they said, he is behind some of the 3 year-olds. Ben and I were actually not surprised. Last year, Harry was by far the worst writer in his class. He was also the youngest kid by almost a year, so we were not concerned (neither were his teachers). We worked on his fine motor skills, and he became a Lego expert and learned how to draw an awesome H. We didn't push the matter at all.
I was reluctant even to teach him how to hold a pencil because I don't have a degree in early childhood education, and I didn't want to screw him up for life, you know?
At school this year, he has to sign in every morning, and to be honest, neither Ben nor I sticks around to help him scrawl his H and the cluster of unrecognizable letters that make up the rest of his name. We thought that maybe um his TEACHERS would handle it. At conferences, though, they suggested that we take a more active role in sign-in and work on letters at home.
Ben and I had a fight about which one of us was more to blame for the our giant oversight (seriously, we have not worked on letters or writing AT ALL, assuming he was getting enough book learnin' at school because we suck as parents); then we complained to each other about the cost of preschool tuition. Then we printed some alphabet pages and told Harry if he learned to write all of his letters, he could write in a journal and make up stories.
"Or I could make a movie," he told us. "Like Star Wars 8. And Jack can be R2D2, only he'll be R3."
Then he went to work writing letters:
Yesterday and today, he wrote the whole uppercase alphabet twice. He is terrible at C's, G's, and S's, but he had made up all kinds of adorable things about letters-- K likes to kick other letters; R is a runner; M is a queen; N is a king; L is a foot. He was having problems remembering E, but then he noticed 3 lines and called it 3 E to remember.
He has a future as a worksheet monkey-- seriously, the kid is going to LOVE worksheets.
He even likes signing in at home-- and believe it or not, his scrawl has gotten waaaaaaaaay better in the last 48 hours
I feel absolutely terrible for not working on this stuff before yesterday.
What Harry doesn't know is that he has a whole lowercase alphabet to work on next week. And that I bought the old phonics and letter-recognition TV show "The Letter People" (I remember watching the Letter People in kindergarten) on EBay and can't freaking WAIT to show it to him. But what else can we do? Any more creatvie activities for when worksheets lose their charm? (I have a few iPhone and iPad apps, but I want some "old fashioned" activities too).