Grateful For Graduates – May 2014

Graduation season is upon us and our family celebrated two school milestones. Will moves out of Elementary school and is heading into middle school. So far at their elementary school we have had such incredible experiences and top-notch teachers. Of all of the teachers there, Will seemed to have the best of the best. They were constantly looking to make him reach for higher levels, never just being satisfied with reaching the Common Core bar. They were also a large contributor to his quiet confidence that, in my opinion, is one of his greatest qualities next to his desire to laugh with others. In short, I'm darn proud of, scratch that, impressed by what this kid has done so far with education and his interest to learn.

Charlie is moving on from the loving arms of his fantastic teachers at The Pre-School at the Greenway (thank you Mrs. Janet and Mrs. Melody!) to Kindergarten. Our little guy has grown so much this year. I can't remember if I have spent time on it here or not but Charlie was diagnosed a little over a year ago with Sensory Integration Disorder or SID. While you won't find in the listing of 'Top 25 Most Traumatic Disorders, if undiagnosed it can cause future issues in learning and disruptive behaviors in the classroom. Earlier in the school year he 'graduated' from occupational therapy where we all learned about his need to hone his fine motor skills, techniques to help calm him when his mind starts to spiral into more and more busyness and his need for physical activity. He literally needs to be run. Days of less activity cause his mind to race even more which invariably ends up with some significant, emotional outburst. His therapy sessions with Ms. Casey helped strengthen his core muscles and improve his coordination and balance (which only in hindsight did we notice he tended to fall a good bit) which also help alleviate his restlessness. Although we still notice he can get wound up or “Rainman-like” with periods of immense focus on one subject, he is worlds better since working with Ms. Casey. One of the most interesting aspects of this time has been watching how Cindy and I have had to learn about this and how we had to recognize it could affect our demeanor. It was/is hard for us to not take his struggles personally and feel personally responsible for causing the disorder. At times even harder to work through the techniques to help him versus falling into the trap of fatigue and frustration which only help fuel his frustration.

All of this detail to say we are proud of the boy he has become while at Pre-school and excited to see what is ahead for him in Elementary school. He's going to miss Mrs. Janet and Mrs. Melody, but who in their right mind wouldn't miss being around those loving ladies and their hugs? The excitement he has, while not fully shared by his sister, for going to the same school as Stewart seems to be outweighing and grief he may have from moving on from the Preschool at the Greenway.

Speaking of Stewart, she had a great year in 3rd grade where she seemingly mastered handwriting. I know, it is a 1st grade teaching but given the boat anchor she has from my genes here, I am pretty excited she focused on getting a handle on it. This year she found that if she writes smaller she somehow writes neater. I'll take it. We also saw here stop the habit of racing to be first done on her work and tests. It wasn't until we saw papers coming home with half finished tests (and the score to match!) that we realized she was dong this. It is amazing what double-checking your work can do for one's grades. She's going to try her hand at voice lessons this summer and might even give a tennis camp a try. She's the apple of my eye and it is hard not to always be biased towards her side as my only daughter.

Summer starts off with one of our favorites trips, Hilton Head/Sea Pines with Grammy and Poppy. Wish we could find a way to spend much more time down there as there's nothing quite like life under the hammock of trees.

Click here for a slideshow of the end of year school activities.

Click here for a slideshow of other random May 2014 happenings