We have a couple brothers who started Elementary school last week! Charlie is now in 1st grade, and Calvin is in Kindergarten. What big stuff!
They each had a great week. Calvin is in a K/1st combo class, which along with the new "transitional Kindergarten" year for many students, means he is familiar with many of the students in his class from Charlie's Kindergarten year last year. Cal is a guy always rearing to go, and has had a great time so far, with a few small adjustments and warm ups. He told me after the first week that he played in the sandbox at every recess because "I just think three classes of Kindergarten is too much on the playground." I was flabbergasted to hear Calvin having any issues with anything at all (however small it was), but suggested he find a boy he knows from last year, and tag along with him. He did that on Monday and was so, SO proud to tell me he had a great time on the playground playing with his friends.
Charlie is in his special day class for most of the day this year. We are pleased with this change for him as his academic learning most definitely needs focused attention on his part--much easier to do in a smaller class with even smaller work groups. And really, much more emotionally comfortable for him as the introvert that he is. He spends the last couple hours of the day with a mainstream class, and is doing just wonderful in there as well. His classmates are glad to have him back, and most important, he feels very comfortable at school this year. He feels confident.
At the end of his first day I asked Calvin what his highlights and disappointments were about the day. He couldn't think of any disappointments, but he said, "My favorite part was seeing Charlie in the cafeteria at lunch time!" In fact, it is a daily highlight for these brothers who wave and hug in the hallway, and who share many of the same buddies being just one grade apart.
When we were making the decision about what to do for Calvin for school (choices, choices!), we ended up making the decision to make school a family affair. There are so many neat schools and home school groups in our community we could have chosen from, but our reality is that big brother Charlie benefits very much from his educational placement in our local public elementary school. Our reality is that our local public elementary school is a really fantastic school that, in my opinion, is under appreciated in the community. And our reality is, we have an opportunity as a family to add great value to this little school as we invest in it with our efforts, presence, and prayers. We have not yet had a chance to have a physical presence in the school beyond the fabulous addition of two energetic, curious, brave-hearted boys, but I hope very much to volunteer in the boys' classes very soon with the scrap of spare time I now have on my hands (more on that later). In the mean time, I am just so thankful for a new school year that is beginning so very positively. I'm prayerful about the challenges we will face as our guys learn how to make good choices in their lives, as they learn how to love their neighbors and respect their elders, and work hard at the blessing of an education. It is going to be an exciting year.