School Notes : September

{At the park after the first week of school.}

I know, I know. I just posted about the first day of school last week. But, I'm bound and determined to catch up, and stay up to date with this little space. Or at least do my best. One of the things I want to document for each of my boys is their school days and development. Especially now as Spencer is learning by leaps and bounds. (And being in a Montessori setting, very little comes home with him. No reams of paper, no homework, just a couple of sheets at the end of the week.)

It's hard to believe, but September has come and gone. While Spencer was only in school for three weeks of this month, I feel like he's learned so much already! He's still not on board with the whole concept of school in general... but he seems to have a core group of friends, and that helps. As does the fact that they are challenging him more each day. Already, Doug and I feel like we most definitely made the right choice for him in this school. After deliberating for months and months... that validation feels really good! Here's a little bit of what he's been learning. And saying.

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"I've been listening to my teachers!" This is a common refrain around here and—hopefully—true. We've been told that he does participate, so here's hoping he really is listening as well as speaking.

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The Kindergarteners have a specific Science curriculum, and during September they covered "Dinosaurs." (And are still covering it, I believe.) Spencer never really got into dinosaurs when he was younger, so it's just since the start of the year that we've had "all things dinosaur" here. He's learned about omnivores and carnivores and can tell you the differences between them. He's covered the different Jurassic periods. They have learned about six different dinosaur species... what they look like, distinguishing characteristics, if they were omnivore or carnivore, and any other fun fact that comes up. His class has discussed paleontologists and what they do. (And yes, he can say it. Perfectly.) It's amazing the detail he can go into about all of this. He was telling me about some of his favorites the other day while we were driving... and he spoke for 22 minutes straight on dinosaurs. It's crazy. Crazy good that is.

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All students at this school have to fulfill a foreign language requirement. We actually struggled with this when choosing a school. We love the idea of a foreign language. But, we would obviously prefer him to learn Korean. And of course, there is no Korean option. We spoke with some friends and decided to overlook this "con" for the school. He gets a good dose of Korean at the dojang, and really... if he's able to master one foreign language now, we can always take on another one down the road. So once a week, Spencer attends French class. And it is the cutest. thing. ever. Just imagine Spencer in his school uniform greeting you with "Bonjour!" and see if you don't melt. With only two weeks under his belt, he's mastered quite a bit. (I'd love to know how they are teaching him!) He's mastered "Bonjour," "Je m'appelle," "Merci," "au revoir," the numbers 1 - 10, and several body parts. (Think head, shoulders, knees and toes.)

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 "Mama, my teacher asks me to do things politely. You do not." 'nuff said, right?!

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Spencer's school is Catholic-run. So they integrate some prayers and religious studies. For most students, it's not really picked up on yet. But then there is Spencer. The religion seems to have struck a chord, and he can recite several prayers now... There is a morning prayer, a pre-food prayer, and a goodnight prayer that they say at the end of the day. (That seems like a lot of praying when I type it all out.) The Goodnight Prayer is the first thing that Spencer recited for us in full, which was a little shocking... not only in content, but in length! I have a hunch they are also learning the Lord's Prayer since he asked me yesterday what a "trespass" is. We shall see. In addition, he's talked about how he can talk to God by praying, and how he loves him... no matter what. And just when I'm getting nervous that we bit off more religion that we can chew, the following conversation takes place:

Spencer (talking to himself) : "Dear Jesus..." Doug : "Did you learn to say a prayer to Jesus at school?!" Spencer : "Cheese-Its?"

I think we are right where we should be... :)

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"Pardon Me?" <--- My favorite new phrase from school. :)

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{Spencer and his "birthday poster." Our first "family" project.}

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The first couple of weeks at school covers "courtesy and respect." Which explains a lot about what comes home with Spencer in terms of sayings, and behavior. For example, "Pardon Me?" was a new phrase as of day three. I have also been told many times that "There is no yelling across the room. If you need me, you put your hand on my shoulder then make your request." I would probably have been more receptive of this idea if it hadn't been his response after I yelled at him to get dressed. Especially since there had been four nice, polite requests to do that prior.  ;-)

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They seem to be covering some basic math since I hear the reciting of 1+1 is 2, 5+5 is 10, 10+10 is 20, etc. But he's staying mum on the subject otherwise.

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Spencer has learned the seven continents :  "North America. South America. Europe and Asia. Africa. Australia. And don't forget Antarctica!" Just imagine that in a sing-song voice and you know what we often hear at dinner.

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And lastly, they have been covering the history of our country. Spencer can name the first three presidents, along with some little tidbits about them. He seems to know the most about George Washington. And the flag. He knows that Betsy Ross made the first flag, as was requested by George Washington, and that she used one needle per star. (Is this true?!) He can also tell you that we started with 13 colonies as is represented on the original flag. This kind of blows my mind. I'm not sure I ever knew the first three presidents!

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Do you feel like there is a whole lot of learning going on already?! Yeah, me too. There's also been a lot of time spent on "life skills" (think pouring, sweeping, etc.) and there seems to be a LOT of singing during the school day. He comes home singing "America the Beautiful," a song called "In the Fall," and a "Goodbye Friends" song. There are also songs for chores (life skills) and circle time. Songs at snack and lunch. Lots and lots of songs. They also seem to have taught Spencer that singing is not the same thing as screaming. This is a very good thing.

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 And the last school note. Hot lunch is available to all students, even the kindergarteners. (More on lunches in general in another post.) The last week of the month had "chow mein" on the menu, which is one of Spencer's absolute favorite meals. So we figured we would give it a try. That Monday he went in with his order form (lunches are ordered ahead of time) and his money in an envelope. I felt like he was such a big kid! Especially as he turned it in to Mrs. P... he was so formal! The day of "hot lunch" he was unable to control his excitement... telling everyone, talking non-stop. I'm not sure if it was because of the meal or the experience. After school the first thing he said was "I got clean plate club!" He was SO proud of his lunch. It sounds like they bring in trays to the kiddos who order, with real plates and real silverware on them. There is the meal, a side and dessert. When the kids are done, they walk them back to a drop area. He wanted to know when his next hot lunch would be. So we've agreed that he can get lunch once or twice a week. Luckily, the menus have come a long way since I was little and there seem to be really appetizing things on the menu.

I can't wait to see what October brings!

{After school on Friday, a gym day!}