We had Finn's conferences tonight and overall, they went extremely well. His teacher has no concerns, which I'll take every time! However, if I had to describe the feedback we received in one word it would be...diligent.
Diligent is NOT a bad thing. It means having or showing care and conscientiousness in one's work or duties. A GREAT quality to have in school. Finn takes time to get things right. He has amazing handwriting because he takes his time to do it right. He rarely gets things "wrong" because he figures it out before answering. He is persistent. All good things!
However, being diligent also has its down side. He can be perceived as being "slow." It isn't that he doesn't understand, I think it is because he wants to achieve perfection (he has ever since he was a baby) and I think he may just take more time to process some things (like his momma!).
One thing she mentioned was that he was a bit behind with his timed words. They have a list of twenty-five words that they have to read correctly in twenty seconds. He is on the second level and should be on the third. BUT...knowing him the way I do and having read with him every night this school year, I know he won't say a word if he isn't 100% sure it is right. While I'm not concerned about this, I am willing to work with him on it (I just hadn't chosen to focus on this).
He loves math and it shows. He is testing as though he were in the last month of first grade (so half a year ahead). However, his teacher feels he is being appropriately challenged, too, so that is good. Finn's class is disproportionately advanced in academics (ironically, very similar to Jim and my class!!). So while he is testing ahead, there are others who are testing even further ahead. This makes me feel better because I know they are considering those that are excelling.
He claims he doesn't like reading, but he does just fine. He is testing as though he were two months ahead of where he is. I think his brain perceives reading differently that it does for math, which is why he "doesn't like it" as much. When we read at night, if there is a word he doesn't know, he just looks at me like, "what's that?" and doesn't try to sound it out (I think for fear of getting it wrong). While it is frustrating for me, his teacher said it is probably laziness on his part and to keep encouraging him to sound it out or chunk the sounds together.
One thing I wanted to bring up was that he performed lower on several things on his report card this last quarter. She explained that in kindergarten, they graded throughout the year on how they should be at the end of the year. Which means they should progress in each category each quarter. However in first grade, the expectations change each quarter and the bar is raised. So if he goes from a 3 to a 3- it isn't that he is falling behind, but rather that the expectations raised slightly more than he performed the previous quarter. Ahhhh! Makes sense. Plus, it is first grade and she said a + or - could be the difference of only a couple percentage points.
At the end I asked for an overall assessment and she said, "no concerns!" I know things could and will change as he gets older but as we were driving away, I said to Jim, "I'm so glad I don't cringe going into conferences like so many parents have to!" I don't mean that arrogantly, just that I appreciate where Finn is right now and that he is doing so well...academically and socially. I anticipate things getting "tougher" as the homework gets harder, as Finn doesn't have a good attitude at home regarding homework. Fingers crossed that we both survive and that his "diligence" continues to serve him well.
Side note: I asked Finn's teacher if she was going back to kindergarten next year and she said she thought so (she looped with his class from kindergarten to first grade). Finn's grade has just under 60 kids in his school and they are expecting Korri's class to be around ONE HUNDRED!!! That is crazy. Based on Korri's preschool size, I figured it would be big, but for our school, that is huge (plus, there is another elementary school in Winsted!). Which means they may even need to hire ANOTHER teacher in addition to Ms. Thorsen going back. Not sure where they will put all these kids. Time for a bigger building?!?!
The cutest part of the night? After Beth and her girls so kindly watched Korri and Mac for the first part of our conferences (which we GREATLY appreciated!!!), Mac started to get antsy. So I had him go "play" with Finn and Korri in the reading/block area. When we were done, we turned around and Mac was lounging in one of the reading chairs with a book!!! I mean, it really doesn't get cuter than that. I wish I'd taken a picture. Maybe his strength will be reading so he and Finn can compliment each other!
Case in point...Mac earlier today:
Nearly half a million babies (1 in 10) are born premature in the US each year which is higher than that of most other developed nations. This is the journeys of our first born son, Finnegan, who was born 14 weeks early and weighed only 1 pound 15 ounces at birth. Of our daugher, Korrigan, who was born a healthy 7 pounds, 7 ounces at 37 weeks. And of our second son, MacKeegan, who was also born at 37 weeks at a whopping 8 pounds, 13 ounces. Our continued adventures reminds us daily how good God is.