Monday, August 1, 2011

Week in the Life - Day 2

Continuing in my Week in the Life project today (you can find my Day 1 Post HERE). I took plenty photos today but wasn't as good at writing down the details as I was yesterday, however I think I got enough to get a nice overview of our day and I will probably remember most of it as I type up this post...

A nice wholesome breakfast of Frosted Flakes at 7:00 a.m. after seeing Joel off to the gym and then work - played it safe after yesterday's egg debacle. (and yes, Dean's pajamas are pretty much just underwear).

Headed to Dean's first day of Kindergarten at Pomaika'i Elementary School. Technically, today was just assessments, but as far as Dean was concerned it was the first day of Kindergarten. He was SO excited (and full of fake smiles for the camera). We're really excited about Dean's school, which is the only Arts-Integrated public school in the state of Hawaii. If you're interested, you can watch a short video about the school and it's Arts-Integrated program HERE. The only bad news of the day was finding out the kids have to wear close-toed shoes to play on the playground at recess!! (BAD news as Dean does NOT like to wear shoes!) - but they don't have to wear shoes inside the classroom. We were told most of the kids wear their slippers (flip flops for you mainlanders) to school, take them off at the classroom door, bring a pair of tennis shoes in their backpack to change into at recess, then change back to their slippers to take back off at the classroom door! That will probably be our plan. I'm trying to figure out if Keens or Crocs will work for close-toed shoes??

The assessments seemed to go well, although Dean didn't tell me much about it other than he had fun. He was excited to see his friend Sienna. He played with her a bit before the teachers came to collect the 7 kids in our assessment session to take them to a classroom separate from the parents' waiting area for their assessments. When the teachers came into where we were waiting with the kids playing, they said "Ok friends, say goodbye to your Mommies and Daddies and come with us, we're going to go play in another classroom". Some of the other kids ran to their parents and didn't want to leave, others waved and looked apprehensive. Dean didn't even look my way - couldn't even spare me a glance, let alone a wave goodbye. He took off for the door and happily went with the teachers, no hesitation at all! It was a proud but somewhat bittersweet moment!! I'm really glad he's so excited!! While he was in his assessment, the parents received information about kindergarten, lots of paperwork and schedules, and were able to ask questions of one of the PTSA board members and the school's Parent-Community Facilitator. It was very helpful. Here is Dean playing nicely with Sienna in one of the classrooms.

We stopped by the school office after the assessments to pay for school lunches and to pick up his school supplies, which I opted to order from Akamai School Supplies. I'm sure I ended up paying a bit more than if I had purchased the items myself, but it was completely hassle-free and the company donates 10% of the cost to the school. The school told us that they raised almost $800 this year through Akamai! The company delivered the box of supplies to the school office and we picked them up today and will take them with us to Parent Orientation next Monday when we get his class assignment. I'll definitely be doing this again in the future!

The assessment took a little over an hour and then we had a few errands to run (I had taken the day off of work so we could make it a special day). I had told Dean that we would go out for a treat after school to celebrate and we could get any treat he wanted (within reason). He chose Krispy Kreme, so Krispy Kreme it was!

After our treat, Dean had some independent arts and crafts time at the dining room table. He made a "Puzzle Picture" - I'm not sure if this is something he learned to do at preschool or if he just made it up, but I was impressed.

While Dean was occupied with his craftiness, I got busy in his room and started clearing out some things that I knew he wouldn't miss if we got rid of them (toys mostly). I got everything reorganized, including his closet, and filled up a large box with "Garage Sale" items.

Yesterday I spent some time revamping our My Job Chart page (this is a website we use for tracking daily "chores" and rewards with Dean. It's a great site and it's helped A LOT) and we implemented our new "system" today. Dean has been wanting to spend WAY too much time on the computer and playing computer games. He really mostly plays just educational games, but still - there needed to be some defined boundaries set as school was starting. So Dean now has not only some well-defined limits to both computer and TV time, but he has to "earn" that time through the accumulation of points on My Job Chart. When he wants some computer or TV time, he logs onto My Job Chart and has to "spend" some of his accumulated points. We think this is teaching him several valuable lessons including time management, accountability, and even some math skills in the addition and subtraction of the points (we set up the point value for different "chores" and how much it "costs" for the computer and TV time). He also has the option to bank his points and redeem them for money, so it teaches him some early money management skills too. And as a 4.5-yr-old, most of his "chores" are pretty basic - he gets points for things like brushing his teeth without arguing, eating a serving of vegetables (always an issue with Dean), helping put his laundry away, feeding the cats, clearing the table, and the big one is that he gets a large number of points when he reads a book out loud to us (in fact, right now reading a book out loud to us equals 10 minutes of computer time). Dean is able to read chapter books now, so he quickly figured out to pick the easiest books in his stash that he can read the quickest. He's been picking books that are not at all challenging for him, but that's fine. The point is that he's reading out loud every day (and we spend a few minutes after talking about the story to make sure he's comprehending). He can accumulate as many points as he wants in a day, but for now we're putting a limit of 30 minutes of educational computer or TV time per day during the week. He can have a little more than this on the weekends or holidays. We're not really sure how this will work or if 30 minutes is the right amount, but we'll try it and tweak it if we need to. He does still love to play outside and is super active, but he just doesn't really play with toys or seem to PLAY inside. We're wanting to encourage more DOING even when he's inside (getting him outside isn't a problem right now, which is good, but we want to keep it that way). So anyway, I wasn't planning on all of that detail in this post, but oh well. Here he is earning some points by reading one of his easier Diego books to me, and then he did spend some points today and played for 15 minutes on

After Joel got home from work, we moved some of the furniture around in Dean's room so it's ready to go when his desk arrives (hopefully later this week). The desk will go basically where the train table is (that's the black table thing on the right side of the photo. We have the table top turned upside down as Dean mostly uses it as a table to do arts and crafts on right now). It doesn't look like it in the picture, but there's lots of room on the other side of the bed between it and the wall system and there should be plenty of space between the desk and the bed as well. I think this setup with work really nicely. We'll move the train table out of the room when the desk arrives. Dean seemed to like the new arrangement and played and read in his room until it was time to eat dinner.

After dinner and bath, Dean brushed teeth and got ready for bed. We're also working on a more regular bedtime and evening routine now that school is starting - we've strayed a bit over the summer.

We're shooting for an 8:00 bedtime on school nights. We almost made it tonight. Dean was in his bed by 8:15, ready for stories (even though he can read perfectly well, we still read to him almost every night before bed).

Once Dean was settled in bed for the night, Joel and I kicked our feet up on the couch to enjoy a little Daily Show with Jon Stewart to end the day.

1 comment:

Jan Crider said...

Jennifer, this is a wonderful story of Dean and his journey into school! I really like some of your ideas and will pass them along to Jenna as her boys are 6 and 10. They have worked to establish rules with television watching playing the wii, but earning time sounds like a great plan! I have been wanting to ask you how Dean did last year in school, but keep forgetting when I'm on fb. Now I can keep a close eye on him! Sure wish there were many more parents like you and Joel! jan