Thursday, June 18, 2009

Another School Year is Over!

For most kids, the end of school and graduation to the next grade is a given. For "our kids" it is reason for celebration. At our house we have a red plate that is used for special achievements or occasions. When final report cards arrived, all three made A-B Honor Roll. Charlie, Annie and Marquel got to take turns eating off the red plate.
Chip got a turn at the red plate because he will be starting school next year!

All three received medalions to celebrate their achievements.

is still playing catch up from missing out on 1st and 2nd grade. She has worked incredibly hard. Her A's were in Language Arts and Reading, which is even more amazing. While we take learning English for granted, when you consider that English is the hardest language to learn, and for kids who do not have a good start with Pre-K, Kindergarten and 1st grade to learn the basics, Marquel has demonstrated her determination and inner drive.

Annie struggled with 3rd grade Math. Reading comprehension has been a challenge for her, and 3rd grade Math includes more word problems. We have become much more aware of why some say that standardized tests are a bit unfair to kids from different cultures. They have not been exposed to many of the things we take for granted, so they do not have that "picture in their mind" as they read. They truly do speak a "different language" at home and with their friends, their grammar and pronunciations of words is different. Vocabulary is limited, and words that are spelled the same but have different meanings are very confusing.

We have come to understand how Charlie's ADHD hinders his learning. While he is very smart, the Attention Deficit portion makes it hard for him to focus, and the hyperactivity keeps him constantly on the move. He reads above grade level, but his work often suffers because he either cannot focus on it long enough to get it done, or he feels that since he knows it, why should he bother doing the work. His teacher was very patient with him and helped him get all A's with only one B.

will be in 6th grade next year, Annie in 4th, Charlie in 2nd and Chip will start Pre-K. Chip is already a little celebrity at the school, all the teachers know him. Charlie will have the benefit of the special ed teacher next year to help out when his behavior gets in the way.

Since the kids are spending a considerable amount of time with us this summer, we have the opportunity to read lots of books and do lots of Math worksheets. After lunch each day is rest time when they can lay on their bed and either take a nap or read a book. Yesterday they discovered a box of books that had been donated to us and begged and begged to get them out. Marquel even found a new book that she thought looked interesting.

Annie loves to read, and already has a long list of books that she has read this summer. They might be short little books, but they are books, just the same. She enjoys her chapter books too.

Charlie loves to be read too. Randy started reading the Hardy Boys book #1 to him, and while he read he thought maybe it was too old for Charlie. He soon learned that Charlie was listening intently and understanding it.

Reading is hard for Marquel, she would rather watch movies. I believe it is because she has a difficult time with "making a movie in her head" as she reads.

Chip sits and either recites a book he has memorized because it has been read to him so many times, or makes up stories from the pictures.

We are so proud of "our kids" and we hope that they will keep their love of reading and learning! And a big thank you to all who have given books to the kids. Reading is the key to education and education is the way out of poverty. For those living in poverty, there are few if any books in their home.

August will be here before we know it, and the kids will all need new uniforms for school. Last year Marquel went through 3 sizes! If you would like to help with school clothes and supplies please consider making a tax deductible donation:

Make Checks Payable to:
St. John Lutheran Church
Memo: Thornton Family Fund
Mail it to:
St. John Lutheran Church
PO Box 1081
Boerne, TX 78006

100% of this fund is used for the family needs.
Until next time . . .