New Week, Not the Same as the Old Week

It was just a fantastic weekend – a good ride on Sunday, all day with a beat up pickup and a load of compost on Saturday, and a concert in the mix, too.  But, all good things do come to an end.  Come Monday, it was time for school again.

Day One

John has a positive day.  “It was a nine on a scale of one to ten,” he tells me at dinner.  “No, it was a 9 point 1.”

Today’s special is science.  That is good, because John has been waiting for it since our visit 8 days ago during parent’s open house.  The science curriculum in North Carolina is designed by the state.  Teachers have no choice in how they teach it.  Today, though, John’s in luck, because the first module is on rocks.  Perfect!

Day Two

John went down for breakfast early.  “I need to write a letter to my teacher,” he said.  Indeed, when I get downstairs, he is at work on the kitchen table with a pencil and a blank sheet of white printer paper.

The note reads, “Mr. Dodyk – Today I want the other kids to listen more.”

Ah-ha.

John comes home excited.  John had the gym special. I guess that, along with recess, made for a high energy day.  Gym was underwhelming, though. The exercise consisted merely of picking up a hacky sack-like bag and dropping it in a basket five feet away.  Then, turn around and tag the hand of your teammate.

Day Three

John is upset today.  “Chris ran over me,” he reports. “He never turned around until right before he ran right through me, and then he got up and never said he was sorry.”

I ask if he and Chris went to the “circle of understanding.”  That is where you go in Montessori after there is some kind of incident.  Then the victim and transgressor engage in a pre-determined dialogue that involves not only apology but also an agreement on how to make it better afterwards.

“No,” John say, “he didn’t know about that circle.” John looks through the window.  It looks like he is seeing about four blocks down the street.

Still, he is turning a corner at school.   We are going camping this weekend, but John is asking if we can wait to leave for the mountains until after school is over.

John brings home three worksheets. It is apparently the new state math curriculum.  The math lesson is opaquely expressed in a discussion of patterns. There are five dots in one.  The dots alternate between red and orange.  The goal of the exercise is to determine what color dot comes next, after the end of the existing row of dots.

Day Four

Technology is not boring today.  “We played a video game.” I asked if that means they tried typing.

John attends an evaluation for the gifted program.   From what I can tell, this consists of reading, and then answering some riddles.  John says it was easy.  “They had me read words like ‘dog’ or ‘cat,’ you know, stuff like that.  I suppose I could read the Glass Castle in five days.”

Speed is John’s metric for skill when it comes to reading.

Today is the long-awaited day for chicken fingers.  We deposit six dollars in John’s lunch account.  That will get him three meals.

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