Time for a happy dance! We wrapped up our school year at the end of June. I don’t know about you guys, but by the end of the year I’m feeling as done as my kids! I’m excited to put things away and take a short break. It’s also a great time for me to stop and reflect on how far we’ve come and what we’ve learned over the year. This year we did 1st grade and pre-K. We had a lot of sick days (thank you adenovirus, influenza, and about 8 gajillion colds). As usual that left me a bit worried that I hadn’t quite done enough. Did they learn enough? Did they make enough progress? Did I push them enough? Did I push them too much? Anyone else cycle through about 8 million questions and emotions at the end of the year?
The good news is that once I calmed down and stopped pointing out all of the things I thought I’d done wrong, I realized we had made some great progress this year, both academically and otherwise.
At the beginning of the year, Kayla’s reading was choppy at best and she needed help with a fair amount of the words. She could recognize about 10 or 11 of the 1st grade Dolch sight words. By the end of the year she could read fairly fluently (considering she’s only 6) and could recognize 40 of the 41 1st grade Dolch words! That right there is huge progress.
Kayla can also now comfortably add and subtract small numbers, compose and decompose numbers (fancy teacher talk for being able to break bigger numbers down into parts), is beginning to understand the concept of multiplication and division, can tell time, and knows money.
Last summer Aidan had zero desire to do anything remotely ‘academic’. In fact, last August he asked to draw a picture for the very first time. It will forever stand out in my mind because he went from only being willing to make a few scribbles on paper to drawing all four Rescuebots overnight! He could not write any letters when the year began. Now he can write his name and Kayla’s. He has gone from only recognizing a handful of letters to correctly identifying about 20 of them.
Aidan’s willingness and desire to participate in ‘school’ is probably his most noticeable change. Previously, he was quite resistant to all things ‘school’. No drawing, coloring, writing, story time, songs, crafts, etc. I do still have to coax him into joining us some days, but at least he does now.
By far the greatest change I’ve seen in the kids is their spiritual growth and maturity. This year Aidan asked Christ to be his savior and Kayla was baptized. Two HUGE things for us as a family. Just as much as the big things have been the more subtle changes. Aidan is more willing to admit when he’s done something wrong. Kayla apologizes right away (most of the time) when we point out that she is showing a bad attitude. The kids are memorizing Bible verses and beginning to apply them to situations. One of my favorite moments was when I was talking about how a character in a book showed someone kindness, even when that person was being mean to him. Aidan piped up with, “that’s grace”. Cue proud tears! Turns out he is listening when I talk.
Lest you think I have it all together, let me tell you about my own growth this year. I am learning to plan better and to show myself grace when I’m not able to stick to the plan. Little by little God is smoothing out my rough edges. I lose my temper and yell less. I apologize more. The hardest part for me has definitely been humbling myself and apologizing to my children when I blow it. That and not shifting the blame to someone else when I lose my temper. God is faithful, though, and the more I pray for Him to help me stop these things, the more He does.
As I look back over all of this (and so much more) I realize just how far we’ve come this year. We are all growing and changing in countless ways. I guess our school year has been even more successful than I realized! How did your school year go? What is the biggest change you see as you look back over the year?