Transition to Fall

We enjoyed the formal transition to fall this week. We had a heat wave yesterday, but many of the other days it's been cool and a little overcast. The most marked change is how much earlier it's getting dark. Which is too bad because the kids on our block have gotten into a rhythm of hanging out after school. They play spy and then spend big chunks of time doing elaborate art projects that involve lots of pipe cleaners and all manner of things made into "police cameras."

Last weekend we headed out of town to a really lovely family-run orchard to pick apples with friends. It was really perfect, just apples, no parking or admission price, just simple apples. We made the filling for apple pie today with H and V and Henry made up his own concoction that baked-up right into a lovely lemon cake. As he told me-- next time we need to write down the recipe so he can make it again.

This Fall also brought Silas' long sought-after soccer class. Unfortunately by the time reality hit it was a little too much change for him to deal with. He's done pretty well transitioning to preschool but you can tell it's still a lot for him. And adding soccer on top of that was just too much. He managed to participate and have fun by the end of class but by the time the next week rolled around he was resolute. We tried a lot of different angles but ultimately i decided it wasn't worth pushing. He's 3, we'll have time to try again later.


Intentional Community

Henry and Silas' transition to school has settled down a bit. We had a difficult episode with Henry over some homework that led to a meltdown. But other than that Silas has found his groove and is loving preschool and Henry seems to be doing well in Kindergarten as well. He was the first person in his class to get into the "100 club," being able to count to 100. Then at back to school night he and i estimated the number of Hershey's kisses in a jar, were closest, and won!

We've been learning more about the boys' school now that Henry is in Kindergarten. At Goethe, Kindergarten has a more similar program to the lower elementary grades than preschool-- which operates semi-autonomously. Henry has library twice a week with a newly hired library teacher (a huge coup for the school), music twice a week and gym once a week. They go outside for recess every day and Henry has a teacher that is clearly dedicated to her kids. I'm starting to learn about the curriculum more, because parts of it feel a little "rote" to me. But i've seen instances of positive things as well--
-at back to school night Mrs. R talked about how studies had shown the positive effects of reading poetry with children and that poetry would be a big focus of the year (each week a poem comes home that we read out loud.)
- after the homework meltdown that involved writing "S" on a worksheet (yuck!) the next night Henry was supposed to count all the spoons in our flatware drawer, homework that feels "right" instead of "rote" to me.
-they use Fountas and Pinnell leveled readers (which i've heard of only because my mother is an educator parexellence; and even then i always thought she was saying Fountain and Spinell.)
-they have time to "read" independently every day and do Writer's workshop daily as well-- a school-wide initiative.

Silas' favorite food: note how all the others have pizza (which was modeled by their teacher). Silas-- not afraid to strike out on his own!

Beyond learning about the curriculum i've found our family life centering much more around our neighborhood and the school. We're meeting lots of new families that have enrolled their kids in Goethe's preschool program. The vast majority of them live nearby so we see new friends at the parks, at the farmers market, even while buying school supplies. Not to mention our block is the most kid-friendly urban block i think i could ask for. The boys now regularly and organically arrange their own after-school play and just this evening spent a blissfull 1.5 hours on our porch with friends from down the street eating popcorn and pressing the 11 year-old to read more stories to them.


Back to School 2010

The boys headed off to school starting this Tuesday the 7th. I've blogged before about how lucky we are to have a wonderful neighborhood school-- but boy do i count my lucky stars everyday we only have to traipse one-block to school. Henry began full-day kindergarten with Mrs. R and Silas started his first year of preschool with the wonderful Ms. Laura, Henry's teacher last year.

The first day of school went pretty well. Both preschool and kindergarten had a shortened schedule so the kids could ease-in and parents stayed in the classroom withe the preschoolers. Henry did amazing and is super excited about his classroom, teacher and everything else. He has a few friends from last year in his class which is nice and i know a few of the other teachers. They have a frog in the classroom which i think Henry is most excited about! After school we played in the playground and the boys were having a grand time filling Henry's backpack with all the acorns starting to drop.

Silas had a very hard time getting up and getting dressed and leaving the house-- difficult transitions for him to be sure. Thankfully his first day started a little later than Henry's so Silas and i had some extra time to cuddle, take it slow, and talk about his feelings. The poor thing had a pretty bad cold and wasn't feeling too well overall. Once we got to school he did really well. It was awesome to watch him take the other kids hands, make a circle, try out the new songs they sing every morning, listen to the story, and have a blast exploring the classroom. He checked in with me often and about 20 minutes before the end of the day he told me he thought "we should go home," but really all in all he was great.

Then the second day came. I could tell he was apprehensive from the minute he got up-- he kept talking about me coming to school and staying with him. I kept telling him that JT and I would both walk him to school but that today he got to play with his teachers and friends and i'd get to hear all about his adventures after i picked him up. He wasn't buying it. Then just as Ms. Laura appeared at the door to welcome the kiddos into the school building Silas' nose started gushing blood. One thing i'm not-- a prepared mama. I frantically started yelling for a tissue from someone just as everyone else is focused on ushering their precious cargo off to their first solo school day. I got a few napkins and escorted Silas into the preschool bathroom. When we emerged all the kids were in the classroom putting their jackets away. Silas immediately started crying and grabbing me and Ms. Laura had to pry him off me. I ducked out quickly and Ms. Laura swore she just held him for a few minutes and he calmed down.

The third day he went in with just a quick kiss and a view of the back of his head. But this morning he was in tears again. Hopefully he calmed down just as quickly this time. Even though Brenda is picking him up from school i think i'll go over and meet him, bring him his bunny and hear how things went. Poor little guy-- hope this transition doesn't take too long to work the kinks out.


Back to School

The school supplies are all loaded which includes a wheelbarrow worth of copy paper and paper towels! And the backpacks are made. Henry starts Kindergarten and Silas preschool on Tuesday. They were so happy to pick out their own fabrics and even helped me sew them together (a little bit of help, a lot of sewing after they went to bed.)

Of course Silas wouldn't model his but he's worn it quite a bit already. Hopefully we'll get some real pictures of both of them on Tuesday. Henry's is the orange polka dots and Silas' is the green swirly one.