Only a few days until the end of school term here.
The end of Skunky’s second term at school.
He’s changed so much since he started school. In the year before he started school, try as we might, we could not get him interested in learning to read or write anything. Kindy could barely pin him down long enough to scratch a crayon on a page a few times. There was too much running and jumping and climbing to do to be bothered with all of that.
Just before he started we convinced him to try writing his name. We managed to get him to sit still long enough to make a vague approximation.
When he actually started school we were pleased with the fact that he loved it. He loved to sit and be well behaved and listen to his (gorgeous, seriously, I am so thrilled that he got her) teacher. We heaved a sigh of relief, we had been worried she’d be unable to convince him to sit still, let alone learn to read and write. We were worried that school might not be a great fit for him.
Turns out he’s a rule follower though, just like his Mama. He actually might be too much of a rule follower, he thinks it’s his job to police the “bad” children who don’t follow the rules so carefully, but that’s a post for another day.
From the beginning he’s adored the idea of reading, of learning about sounds. Within a few weeks he was sounding out all of his words rather than just speaking them. Hardly irritating at all*.
Despite his apparent love for sounds, the reading just hasn’t been clicking like it did so easily with the two big kids. He’s been learning, for sure, and making slow progress but it seems to have taken a little bit longer for him to have that light bulb moment that hails the beginning of real reading momentum.
We weren’t that surprised, after observing his learning style over the years, we kind of expected it might take a while. He’s a slow and steady sort of guy. Still, after the other two kids, it’s been a new thing for us. Especially in a household where reading is everyone’s favourite pastime.
He gets frustrated easily and doesn’t like us to help in any way shape or form. Tears come easily if we try anything other than just sitting by him as he works at it.
Writing has come even harder. As I said, he’s never been huge on the fine motor tasks. They’re just not his favourite. He had some extra help from the class SSO in term one but when more new reception kids started this term he was on his own. He’d made some good progress by then but we still didn’t feel like he was really getting anywhere fast.
We’ve been really happy to let him take his time and his teacher has too so we’ve just continued to sit by him as he practices.
In the last couple of weeks he’s suddenly had those moments of leaping forward. He’s literally taken the pencil out of my hands and said “I’ll write that for you mum”, when I’ve been filling in his reader chart. He’s written his own list of things he wants for his birthday.
He’s reading things that are not school readers. He’s making jokes about things that he reads, using word play.
The boost to his self-confidence has been a beautiful thing to see. He knows he can do it. He’s starting to feel that buzz that independent reading can give. I hope he is able to feel that for the rest of his life.
Today he brought home a page of colouring in. Lots of tiny parts that he’d coloured in beautifully, all the elements in different colours instead of grabbing one colour, waving it at the page and moving on to something else.
It may not sound much but it is. It is huge.
He puffed up his chest and lifted his chin when I told him how lovely it was. I always tell him this, about everything he brings me but obviously he felt that way about his work today too.
Today we received his first ever school report.
His teacher echoes all of the things we have been thinking. I really wouldn’t have cared if she didn’t. It’s only a school report and yet, it’s a first, he’ll have many, many more but this is the first.
I was so proud when I read it, I told Beefy we should frame it.
I knew he would get there, of course, but I can’t seem to stop smiling about it.
He’s getting so big, my boy.
*After a week I was ready to tape his mouth shut.