Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Interesting Evening!

Ok, I did it! I went to the school board meeting tonight. It's the first time I've been to a school board meeting I think since about 1975 I think. Back then, a group of about 9 mothers of early elementary aged students went to a meeting and being novices, didn't know about the board and their "Agenda" so when the board president recognized the group of us there and asked who we were and our interest(s), he quickly shut us down at the pass when he found out we were not the happiest parents in the school district with the way certain things were being handled with our kids.

My older daughter was then in 2nd grade and was having a lot of problems with reading. Her Dad and I had told her if she needed more help, to bring her reader home with her and we would read with her. However, she told us that the kids were not permitted to bring their readers home. Hmmm. My initial thoughts were that no 7-year-old was going to start to buffalo me at that early an age so I called the school and spoke to the principal about this. He really shocked me when he informed me this was true. The kids weren't allowed to bring their readers home for two reasons: One, they didn't have enough books to go around and Two, they found if kids did bring readers home, they then tended to read ahead!

Now, I may not have liked the idea of their not having enough books, but I could somewhat understand the restriction based on that. However, to not allow kids to bring the books home they are working with because "They would tend to read ahead" was a piece of logic I didn't comprehend then, nor do I to this day!

The upshot from that visit by eight other parents and myself was that daughter #1 got enrolled in a special summer reading program -in which she learned to read thermometers indoors and outdoors, took several special trips with the kids in her group -including a trip to the Pittsburgh Zoo (and trust me, I'm all for educational things like the zoo trip as well as the others they had too) but they did very little of what she was supposed to be doing in that group - reading! I ended up having my aunt - the one who just passed away three weeks ago - tutor my daughter, two days a week for the last six weeks of the summer so when she returned to school in the fall, to third grade, she was actually taking an interest in reading and doing much better. Sadly, because of the system they were using at the school at that time, by the end of the second grading period, her interest, her grades too, were both starting a backslide. She didn't become interested in reading again until she was forced to read every day by her 5th grade teacher but she always had problems with reading after that. She loves to read now but in comparison to her brother and younger sister, she is a much slower reader and still has "issues" in pronunciation and comprehension of the words at times.

So, ok -now you know -I've not always been a big fan of some of the methods employed in our school district from early on with my kids. My son had no problems with reading but math -and holding his attention were his downfalls. The younger daughter -no reading problems, some math problems but most of the issues with her were simply that she -like her brother, in high school -didn't like to be bothered much with homework. (Although she would at least do the homework and submit it, whereas her brother rarely bothered even doing that. It's a miracle either of them ever graduated ya know!)

I went to the meeting tonight with a lot of trepidation because I hadn't written anything up -if it looked like there was a chance of the drama club issues being discussed further this evening and I didn't want to risk "ad libbing" my issues with what had taken place there two weeks ago.

I walked into the library where the meeting was to take place and the first person I see there, seated at a front table, is the 15-year-old grandson of my cousin! Yep! My favorite young person cousin who has been grooming himself for several years now in anticipation of eventually running for President of the United States! He's quite a character, believe me! A very savvy young fellow who I love to talk to, to joke around with too as he and I both share ver similar traits pertaining to humor -as well as our political beliefs! If I'm still around the planet when he is old enough to run for office, he can count on me to try to garner votes for him from the geriatric crowd at the nursing home then!

I was really glad he was there and that he invited me to sit by him too as he went and got me a copy of the board's agenda for the evening and even signed me in as a visitor for the meeting this evening. However, the only mention about the Drama Club was that there apparently had been a misunderstanding coming out of the last meeting and that the current director of the Drama Club is still in that position! Ok -I'll save my remarks for another meeting then if my young cousin keeps me informed as to when they might be engaging in another discussion along those lines or about "literature" or "the Arts" or disbanding any other really good programs the school has going at this point in time.

I haven't posted anything for some time about Maya or Kurtis -not because they haven't been doing anything -far from that! But really because they've both been pretty well behaved, all things considered.

However, I thought you all might appreciate this one little story from Maya.

Yesterday, Mandy and Maya went to church with Mandy's best friend and her children to a neighboring church in our area. Mandy said Maya did very well with the service there, sat relatively still, was quiet, etc. However, at one point during their service they had a man playing a guitar which completely enthralled Maya -definitely caught her eye and her interest. After church, at home, Mandy was questioning her about what she'd seen at this new church, who had talked to her, etc., and she questioned her about this guy playing the guitar. She asked Maya who it was that had been playing the guitar and her response - "It was God!" To bad we don't know who the guitarist was or we could call and tell him that Miss Maya apparently thought quite highly of his musical abilities.

She's been busy of late on days when it's been nice - sunny, not too chill or anything -and if someone is available to be outside with her -she's been practicing riding her two-wheeler bicycle. She got this bike a year ago Easter from Aunt Carrie and Uncle Robert but last year, though she was interested in the bike, she couldn't quite figure out too much about how to make it move. (It has training wheels, so don't go thinking we were trying to get a three-year-old to ride a two-wheel bike alone!) However, this year, she still has some problems with the pedals but after a little working with them, she can usually get herself moving and she does love it.

So, here's a picture of Maya last week -out on the road in front of our house -riding her bicycle!

And, that's all for tonight, folks! I think little boy's sleep-time antics, of trying to stay up half the night, fussing, fighting trying to go to sleep and such, have rubbed off on me. Now, he's been going to sleep between 9:30 and 10 p.m. -usually - not waking up during the night and sleeping till about 9-10 in the morning whereas I may be feeling like I am going to fall asleep while at the computer but as soon as my head hits the pillow, the eyeballs seem to pop wide open and I can't fall asleep then till 4 or 5 a.m. Then, within 2 hours, I'm awake in need of visiting the bathroom, back to bed again to sleep for maybe another 2 hours if I'm lucky. So, come early evening, most of the time I can't stay awake then and fall asleep which of course, feeds on the I can't fall asleep then when I need to go to bed! Sheesh! Wish my system would finally settle down, ya know!


lattégirl said...

I'm glad Curtis is finally into a regular nighttime schedule. Hope it lasts! As for you, you can't keep up your night owl schedule... why don't you try a mild OTC sleep aid?

Razor Family Farms said...

I sometimes have trouble sleeping, too. I keep thinking of things I need to do, projects I want to start -- ideas. I am an idea person through and through. It has helped me to have a strict bedtime routine: drink decaf tea, brush teeth, comb hair, read in the chair instead of in the bed, quick trip to the bathroom, wash hands and face, remove contacts, lotion hands and feet, go to bed, turn out light -- do not get up again.

I had to break several bad habits: the biggest being reading in bed. I LOVE to read in bed and I HAVE to read before I go to sleep. Have to, have to, have to. We moved an old La-z-boy into the bedroom and that is where I read. I set a limit on how many pages I will read before moving on to the next task in my little routine and stick to it.

Believe it or not -- I've slept better than I have in years!

Blessings and thank you for your comments on my blog!


Beth from the Funny Farm said...

Please get some rest for yourself today!

terri said...

I've had more than my share of battling with schools to make sure the kids are getting what they need, staying on track, etc. I've found the only way to accomplish that is to be vocal and push, push, push until the child's needs are met. It's not fun, but when it comes down to your kid falling through the cracks, it's not a tough decision.

Dianne said...

I love Maya on her bike!

I think we're turning into cat nappers Jeni

I can't sustain more than a couple of hours at a time and it's making me a bit crazy. Well crazier.

Mary said...


Enjoyed your post. It's great that Maya is riding her bike with training wheels. Brandon learned to ride his with training wheels when he was about the same age. However, it was only last year at the age of 11 that he had enough confidence to finally learn to ride.

As for the school board, we are very unhappy with ours right now. I'm not sure if you read the post about Brandon & Jordan being attacked on the way home from school, but the school did nothing. We have told them that if it happens again, the police will be called. The boy threw Jordan bodily into the road and all the punishment he received was to stand in the hall at nutrition break. I called it attempted murder and the principal posh-poshed me. I was furious.

Take care and have a great week.


Travis said...

The young man sounds like a great kid. And I'm so glad the drama with the Drama Club seems to have been reigned in.