Pencils, Flashcards and Worksheets a Must.

The first month of school is over. We’ve survived the first bout of school-based illness; the common cold. The family is still suffering the after effects but the worst is over. No hospital trips, no trips to the doctor; just plenty of vitamins, rest, fluids and a watchful eye for major warning signs of breathing trouble. It’s absolutely true; once a preemie, always a preemie. Emy is doing good in school on the academic level; not so great with her behavior. At least her behavior issues are much less intense than I had feared despite the few surprises she’s given the teacher. Fire drills, need I say more?

Abby, being the little sister is adjusting to Emy’s absence during the day. The first two weeks I was bring home a distraught Abby from the bus stop. The love between the two girls still amazes me. I hope it will always be that strong between them as they grow up. I’ve started an intense program of education for Abby. I broke out the flash cards! An hour a day we go over ABC’s, colors, shapes and a few basic words. She even does flash cards on my Pandigital tablet. I think Abby knowing she’s doing school like her big sister is helping with the separation.

I’m rather shocked with public school. Kindergarten today is nothing like what I faced at her age. The kids still get some time to play but it’s the kind of education that really makes me wonder. Many of the concepts she’s facing I didn’t learn until 2nd or 3rd grade.  This really means that she’s behind on so much. It’s up to me to fill in the gaps.

I’m pulling a page out of my mom’s playbook; intensive education for reading. Yes, more flash cards. When I was in the first grade, my mom had a fit that the school didn’t focus more on reading, so she supplemented my education. I remember all the trouble she went through with the school board just to get the list of spelling words from the curriculum.  Ah, these were the days before the internet.

My mom succeeded in boosting my reading and spelling. By the time I was in the third grade, there wasn’t much more the teachers could teach me. I spent a lot of time in kindergarten classes practicing my reading; reading to the kids. I’ve kept my love of reading; thanks to my mom.

I took two days of net searching to find several word lists to use for flash cards. I’ve found numerous worksheets for handwriting practice. What in the world is the school system doing teaching the D’Nealian handwriting  It’s crap! It’s hard enough for Emy to draw a straight line, much less a slanted one and then put a curve at the end of it.

Damn it! I’m going to teach her how to print. It’s not going to be taught in school and it’s needed and used far more as an adult than cursive. How many forms require print? Every single one of them. As long as you can sign your name in cursive, print is required for everything else.

I’m very glad that this school system is slowly but surely integrating phonics education. It’s not exactly what I prefer but it’s far better than nothing at all. So phonics will be added to the list of things for her to learn at home.

I need to keep her a step ahead of class. School is a different way of learning than she’s been exposed to. In the past, I’ve done quick drills when she’s shown an interest in a topic. She’s got a good grasp on science and phonics. She’s already reading on her own. Her handwriting isn’t great. It’s taken her awhile to develop the motor skills and it’s taken me a while teaching her that mistakes are acceptable. She has a wonderful love of learning. I’m afraid that it will get squashed somehow. I don’t want that to happen.

Next month, I’ll be integrating these additional routines into our day; right after I write out my lesson plan.

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About Isabella LeCour

She is nothing more than the collections of thoughts placed into the virtual worlds. She is a poet, a mother, a lover, many things to different people. But mostly, she is nothing but smoke and mirrors - some ethereal thing that blinks in an out of existence.
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