Monday, January 24, 2011

Not all it's cracked up to be

When we bought this house, it was because it was in our price range and there was nothing that HAD to be done to make the house livable. We painted and changed a few things but nothing that was an absolute requirement. Then a few weeks ago, we started noticing water on the floor of the bathroom after our showers. The first few times it happened, my thought was "damn kid, didn't get the shower curtain closed" Then it happened when I took a shower. We knew the surround wasn't caulked well so I assumed, it was spraying up into the cracks and running underneath and out under the wall. RF checked it by running a tub of water, which ended in a puddle on the floor. Obviously, the tub was the issue so RF and his dad looked at it and found this:

In case you can't see the picture, that is a 5 INCH LONG CRACK in the bottom of my bathtub! You might be asking yourself, how did a crack become 5 inches long without our noticing? Because the people we bought the house from covered the crack with non slip grippy stars. The whole bottom part of the tub is covered with them and a few are overlapped so we didn't think anything of it. And it was fine, for a while. But 6 months worth of using the tub probably extended the crack and caused the stars to not be able to seal it anymore. We've patched it for a temporary fix but it is already starting to leak again so we will be replacing it shortly. Fortunately, for us, my mom was going to replace our kitchen counters for Christmas but hadn't done it yet. They didn't have to be done, I just didn't like the built in cutting board. So instead of getting pretty new counters, I'm getting a pretty new bathtub. We had talked about completely redoing the bathroom with a really nice blue and green scheme but I think that is more of a project than I want to get into at this point.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

School update

You all remember this blog? Occasionally, I update it but mostly I forget to do that so blogs are posted and then months go by with no resolution.

Back in November, I talked about how WF was struggling in school and we were thinking of pulling him. I called the district about having him out for the semester. I was told that unless I could prove that he was going on sabbatical, then there was no guarantee that he would get back into the school for 4th grade. This seriously tilted things because long term homeschooling or having two kids at two schools was not something I was interested in.

So we decided to keep him in school with careful monitoring. We have started scheduling playdates with kids from school to help him make friends. The theory being, if he can talk to them one on one, then in a group, he'll have an easier time talking to them. We've had a couple so far. One was pretty successful, the other I wouldn't say as much about. As for the bullying, I don't know if it is getting better but they are mostly having indoor recess and the bully is in another class so they haven't been interacting much. We'll keep a close eye on it, as it gets warmer and they start going outside again.

On a positive note, I'm pleased to report that his school work has gotten MUCH better. I add up the total number of points the kids could have gotten for the quarter and then what they did get to come up with a quarterly percentage. It makes more sense, in my head, that way and gives me an easy point of comparison for overall achievement. His first quarter percentage was 74%. His second quarter percentage was 87%!!!! His only two 1 (they use number instead of letters. 3 is grade level, 2 is working towards grade level and 1 is significantly below grade level) grades were in handwriting and does neat and careful work.

Right about the time everything else was happening, he got a 504 plan that allows him to use a laptop at school for writing because his handwriting is so terrible. We've done a couple of different handwriting programs, he has worked with the OT at school, etc, etc, etc and it just never got any better. Although the computer doesn't help with the spelling and such, at least the letters are formed properly and there are spaces between the words so I can figure out what he is trying to write. The VERY best part of his 504 plan? He gets to dictate his extended responses on the ISATs instead of writing them!!! If you have ever talked to him, you know the kid has a huge vocabulary and can talk your ears off. As long as he doesn't have to write it himself, he will rock ISATs. It also means that he won't be being graded in handwriting anymore, because he isn't writing. So good stuff!

While I didn't talk about her in November, we just new report cards so I'm going to brag about MF too for a minute. She was slightly below grade level in her reading during 1st quarter. Nothing horrible, just a little lower than they wanted her. By the end of second quarter, she had improved so significantly that even if she doesn't improve one single point for the rest of the year, she will still be at grade level! Plus, he handwriting is already better than his is.

I think there are several factors that contribute to that. Most importantly, she has the DESIRE to learn, where he never really did. Second, she had a consistent preschool experience, while he went where ever I happened to be working at the time. Third, they have different teachers. His teacher, who was super nice, didn't seem as focused on academics as her teacher is. During the whole first semester, his teacher didn't send home any homework, except for name writing work sheets. Her teacher sends home 2 letter sheets and a sight word sheet every week. Now that they have all the letters, she is sending home word sheets. She is learning to properly form the letters from the get go, instead of learning bad habits that he never unlearned.