Thanks again to Melanie for hosting!
I have been very derelict this week in typing up notes. Most of my free time has been consumed by all of the local drama. I'm sure we've talked and been very educational. Right? But I do remember a couple of things from the week.
First, Olivia and I read one of her school readers one night. She has just moved up a reading level and was struggling. It was late in the evening which didn't help. She would see a word she didn't recognize and try to sound it out, but the "sounding it out" was mostly guessing at the sounds she thought the word might be while looking at the picture instead of actually sounding out the letters. Very frustrating for me, anyway. "Olivia, look at the word. That letter isn't there." After several pages of this, I would just tell her the word if she started to struggle because I'm patient like that.
Second, we had a conversation with Grace about group punishments and group responsibilities. She was upset because her class was due to miss nine minutes of recess the next day because her teacher found nine pencils on the floor of the classroom. Since there was no way to identify who all the pencils belong to, the whole class would have to miss time. Grace knew this was Not Fair!
They weren't her pencils. How is the teacher supposed to know that?
She then launched on an elaborate explanation about how since two students were assigned to be the custodians of the room every week, they should be the ones punished for the pencils on the floor instead of the whole class. What's that, you say? She said that the custodian job should work the same way that her room responsibility works at home. At the end of very day, if her room isn't clean, it is her fault and she takes the consequences whether she made the mess or not. Hey, at least she understands the expectation! Her argument is that the classroom custodians bear the same responsibility so if there were pencils left on the floor and the custodians did not pick them up, they should be the ones punished instead of the whole class.
We explained to her that it wasn't exactly the same situation and that the student custodians should not be the only ones responsible if the classroom gets too trashy. Would it be fair for the school custodian to get in trouble for not having clean bathrooms if some students decided to throw toilet paper all over one of the bathrooms? No. The same thing applies here. The student custodians are supposed to keep the regular classroom messes in check; they should not be held responsible when fourth graders decide to throw an unreasonable number of pencils on the floor. Since there is no way for the teacher to know who is leaving pencils all over the floor, it is reasonable that the whole class miss a little bit of recess for each pencil until the situation gets better so everyone understands he is responsible for picking up the floor when necessary. She maybe, reluctantly, agreed with us but still wasn't happy. I told her that if she didn't want to miss some recess time, all she had to do was pick up the pencils off the floor whenever she saw them. As long as that happened, no recess would be missed and it wasn't a terrible imposition to pick up a pencil. She humphed. Turns out all this angst was for nothing because the nine minutes were just empty teacher threats letting the students know that they ought to be grateful someone picked up their mess, otherwise they would have lost some recess time. Anyway, I liked hearing Grace apply the rationale from one situation to another similar one.
Last story. On Thursday Olivia didn't want to eat breakfast before school, then got motion sickness on the way to school, and ended up throwing up on the bus before she got to school. When she got sick, she called for Grace who was a few seats away and then a couple of boys jumped in to help her and take control of the situation. Grace was highly offended! Olivia is her sister! She should be the one helping her and going to the office with her! Those boys had no business telling someone else to do it. Her job! She told them so and went to the office with Olivia after they got to school along with the child appointed by the boys on the bus, the nerve. Dave was called and picked her up from school. Olivia was fine the rest of the day, just a little embarrassed to have thrown up on the bus.
Great discussions, and really the essence of our parenting these discussions
I used to feel guilty about supplying the word when a child is struggling to read it, but then I watched a video my homeschooling hero Melissa Wiley took of her sone reading to her. She supplied the words whenever he stumbled. That helped me to relax about trying to make the girls sound out every single word. I think especially when they are tired it helps them not get too frustrated. I note the words they struggle with and try to spot patterns so that I can address any underlying issues or rules they aren't getting.
I love Grace's application of the home system to school. Such a strong sense of justice.
I am really impressed that kids on the bus jumped to help a kid in distress and then followed through when they got to school. Of course I would have been embarrassed, too! But how nice that someone helped.
The boy who really took charge of the situation and handed out orders is one of five or six kids. I don't really know the family, but I see them playing in their yard all the time when I drive by. I suspect the family dynamic has a lot to do with why the boy was so willing to help.
To make a sweeping generalization, it does seem like families with five kids would put more emphasis on everyone helping out. It's a survival skill when you have that many kids.
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