Sunday, August 28, 2011

End of School Year Review

School ended.  It ended nearly 2 months ago and I let it slip by with nary a mention.  Ideas for this blog come and go as I go about my days, but they don't find their way onto this screen.  My picture taking is down, my scrapbooking nonexistent, documentation of the little things is dwindling.

As I type this, I am sitting in the car heading home from our week at Ocracoke Island.  What a wonderful thing technology is that I have Internet access on a laptop in a moving car.  It certainly helps pass the time.

Ethan is now a middle schooler. Sixth grade looms ahead in the fall.  I remember those sticky middle school years and it makes me long for the next three tumultuous years to pass quickly.  He ended the year with an all A average. He had 2 Bs throughout the year, but they were both one point away from an A, so it wasn't too difficult to turn those into all As for the year. He had some pretty fantastic remarks from his teachers as well, so I feel good about where he is headed.  Stanford scores, once again, qualify him for the Duke Tip program in several areas. He begged to do Math Camp at school this summer...who am I to turn that down?  He still has some maturing to do in regards to goofiness and blabbering, but sometimes I think I am too hard on some naturally occurring irritations of an 11 year old boy.  He is still swimming and enjoying it, but I believe that the craziness of this activity has subsided.  This will be a nice addition to his high school transcript, but he is more likely to benefit from his academic gifts in the future, than he ever will in sports.

Sadie finished our first year of homeschool.  We struggled a bit in the end with completing work and our enthusiasm for learning. However, she learned what she needed and then some.  She showed strong gains overall in her Stanford Testing scores with the exception of Math.  It wasn't as high as last year, but still higher than her class average.  Reading was fantastic and Listening showed a tremendous gain.  Her scores qualify for the Duke Tip program in several areas, too.  I tribute that to the necessity of focusing on me, her teacher, at all times.  The environment of homeschool does not allow for daydreaming.  Although most school work comes easily for her, she just doesn't care about it.  I don't know if it is boredom, or lack of motivation, but rarely do I see Sadie "tackle" school work with keen focus on accuracy and completing her task to the best of her ability.  She would much prefer to be outside, collecting animals to care for and to learn about.  She dawdled about with swimming this year.  Some days she cared, some days she could have cared less.  Considering she probably put forth about 40% effort total for the year, she did all right.  One area in which I never had to prod her was with her piano and participation in the arts (drama and dance).  She practiced without any reminders and seemed always to enjoy being on stage.  I always wonder what Sadie could actually achieve in academics, sports, whatever, if she actually put forth what I see is her total potential.  I don't think this is something I can teach her, but is something she has to figure out herself.  However, I also believe that happiness and joy are always going to be more important to her than success.  Should I really complain about that?  Shouldn't we all be that way?

Lily finished her 1st grade year with very high marks, a perfect report card.  Considering she is one of the youngest in her class and that we were advised to consider holding her back in school, I am pleased.  I think the biggest shocker to me, however, were her Stanford scores.  Not only did she vastly improve her scores over last year, her reading lexile score was 900 (about a 6th grade level).  What a little sneaker!  She can act so incapable of everyday tasks sometimes that I think there might be an issue.  Now, I realize that she just likes to act like a baby.  She still has this amazing sense of imagination and ability at creative play.  She loves to do summer work and learn. In fact, she brought her summer workbook with her to a swim meet to pass the time. She is not necessarily the most coordinated child, so swimming is a good sport for her. It forces her to work on that aspect of her body.  Also, she can go at her own pace and I would venture to guess that we may still only have three legal strokes at the end of this year.  She, too, loved piano and any sort of musical activity she was involved in.  She received the "Friendliest" award this year for her class.  Her enthusiasm for new things never wavers and she is the first to bring along her friends who might not feel as confident.  Lily has no clue she might not be "good" at something, an attitude I hope remains for a very long time. 

It was a solidly successful year for the Dumoulins.  We are incredibly blessed to have been given these three precious gifts.

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