Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Random Stuff

Just trying to get caught up with a few things. This post is full of just random stuff that I thought the family (and a few friends) might find interesting or entertaining. Most of it's kind of old. Sorry.

We've been going to the park quite a bit the last few months. Dean has 3 favorites - Keopuolani Park in Kahului, which is really cool but is already starting to show some wear and unfortunately doesn't seem to be kept up as well as it should. This has been quite the disappointment (mostly this is evident when we go there and all of the swings are missing or the grass around the play area is knee deep), but it's still one of the best play structures on Maui if you ask me. Then there's a brand new play structure at a little park in Wailuku just above Wailuku Elementary that Dean LOVES. This has become Dean and Joel's new frequent hangout. And it's always a special treat when we drive Upcountry and go to Giggle Hill and play on the big wooden play structure up there, which is also showing signs of wear, but is still super cool! Dean especially loves the rock climbing wall!

It took some time, but after a few months of kindergarten Dean finally got into the groove of daily homework. He still doesn't like homework, but he does it without too much of a fight. It's definitely easy work for him so that's not the problem, he just doesn't want to do it. He says "I don't want to do THIS work. I just want to do whatever I want to do." He also HATES coloring in pre-drawn pictures (as in coloring books or coloring pages), but loves to free-draw as long as you don't try to tell him what to draw, saying "No, I just want to draw / write / do whatever I want to do". We've tried explaining that life isn't like that and he better get used to it now, but he's having a bit of trouble grasping that. Only child syndrome? (I have to say this has gotten easier and I do think that Pomaikai's curriculum has helped with Dean's independent nature. But man, that kid is STUBBORN). We've established a pretty good homework routine of snack then homework immediately after school, then we do our reading before dinner and then a fun story before bed. So far that's working pretty well.

And I thought I'd share this scanned homework that made me laugh. The instructions say to "Look in your BEE book and write the sight words you can read". Dean's answer? "I can read all of them". It's true, but kind of a smart ass answer. I didn't make him correct it. It was too funny.

I think I've mentioned a few times on here how much Dean loves music. Specifically, my strange child loves classical music. If we're driving in the car and I'm listening to my personal preference, Classic Rock, he asks me to "change it to the real music Mommy", which means he wants me to change it to NPR where they're playing classical music. Weird, I know. He also has a knack for remembering and recognizing music - like he can hear a bit of classical music and identify the song and composer. Anyway, we've been keeping an eye on Craigslist for a piano for quite awhile and finally something decent that was in our price range came up last month and we grabbed it! It's old and needs to be tuned, but it's had one owner and is in really good condition and was really well cared for. Most importantly, Dean is super excited!! I haven't played since high school I think, but it all came back to me (at least the basics did - I know the notes and can still read music. I better after so many years of lessons and band!!). I've been VERY slowly working with Dean to teach him a few really basic things about the piano and reading music. He already knew some it, I think from watching Little Einsteins, and seems to have a natural ability for grasping the concepts. He doesn't quite have the motor control in his hands yet to hold them correctly at the keys, but that will come. I think we'll wait awhile and then get him signed up for lessons, although I've already heard that same "No, I just want to do whatever I want to do".

It's also been amazing to see Dean actually "writing" (drawing) his own music. He's been doing this for about a year now and obviously it's not playable, but it's so cute! And it's neat to see some elements that are popping up there that we've talked about (like the sharps and the crescendo, etc). I especially love that he wrote a H# and then realized that was wrong and crossed it out!! So cute.

And finally, one of my favorite ideas Dean's had lately...Dean loves to make lists and charts and lately he's been really into rocks and minerals and crystals and gems. He has a big bag of "gemstones" (which are really just these cheap little flat-backed multicolored rhinestone things from the craft store) that he likes to sort and label. Several weeks ago he decided he wanted to make a chart and asked me to print him a blank table to use. He told me what he wanted each column to say and I printed it up. He glued in all the different "gemstones" in the first column and then used a couple of different books to look up what he though each one was (he listed things like Peridot, Garnet, and Aquamarine) and named it, then there was a column for where each one was found and he wrote that in (he had things like Earth's Mantle, Sedementary Rock, and Igneous Rock), and then the last column was a number for the hardness of the gemstone and he wrote that in (some of those he wasn't able to find in any of his many books about rocks and minerals so he just wrote in a question mark instead). He was SO PROUD of his finished table and pinned it up on his bulletin board when he was done! And of course I loved that it kept him busy and quiet for a good hour and a half!! :-)

LinkAlso, I wanted to mention if you haven't checked out Dean's teacher's blog lately - What's Going On in B104 - be sure to go check it out!! Their class has been doing some really cool things. I especially loved the post about their time planting recently in the School Garden, which you can read HERE. Have I mentioned before how fortunate we feel that Dean gets to go to this amazing school!? I've been volunteering in Dean's classroom a few days a month and each time I'm there reinforces our decision to go ahead and start him in Kindergarten this year (most of you know how much we agonized over this decision) and to go with our neighborhood public school.

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