Last night we attended intake conferences and let me tell you, they are a joy. It is so much fun to go and hear how awesome your kids are doing.
Bird’s teacher absolutely loves her. My friend C. told me that Mrs. G has told her on two separate occasions how awesome my daughter is, which C. thinks is hilarious since it was unsolicited and out of context, other than Mrs. G knowing that I’m friends with C. For the record, Bird loves Mrs. G and is thriving under her structured environment. She is scoring at the top of her class in every subject, loves her friends and is perfectly behaved in class. I couldn’t be more thrilled for her third grade year so far.
Mare’s teacher, Mrs. J, was less gushy but still had only positive things to say, which is totally more her personality and not a reflection of Mare’s performance (I think!) Mare’s math skills have always impressed me – though this conference was not one where I was told if they were impressive to anyone else. I did see where she was at and where she would need to be by the end of the year and there didn’t seem to be any concern on Mrs. J’s part. While Mare has started out at the bottom of the class for reading, Mrs. J fully expects her to catch up and meet the first grade benchmark by the end of the year.
For the record, Mare is starting at the same level Bird did in first grade – I recognize the books that are coming home for us to read. After receiving a letter home from the school saying that Mare qualified for intervention based on her initial reading assessment, I emailed Mrs. J, asking, basically, if I need to be worried. She said no, that if we can qualify for help, we should be happy to get it, even though she doubts Mare will qualify for too much longer.
My strategy of not forcing my kids to learn to read early has paid off with Bird. I never made them read to me unless they wanted to. But I read to them a lot. Kate DiCamillo, JK Rowlings, any Newberry-awarded book that is age appropriate. I believe that the love of reading good literature is far more important than the early mastery of three and four letter words. I can only hope that this works with Mare as well. Until I see her moving along up the reading level ladder, though, I will continue to worry. School letters sent home with the words “IEP” in them tend to generate that level of anxiety.
After conferences, John and I used the night of free babysitting my dad had offered to slip away to a local microbrewery for a plate of nachos and two cold beers. It was nice to have that time together.