Category Archives: Kids

4th Grade/G.A.T.E.

Em’s day was full of firsts! First day at a new school, first day in a school uniform, first day as an upper-grader and first day of G.A.T.E. (Gifted And Talented Education). And she was excited, for lack of a better word.

20130821-103633.jpg

20130821-105155.jpg

20130821-104829.jpg

Last night we packed her backpack to the brim with all of the supplies from the list I was given last week. She commented that it was heavy and I told her that it gets worse when she goes to middle school and has one textbook per class. When we arrived at her classroom this morning, many of her classmates had rolling backpacks, so we just might go that route. Especially since there was a gift for each child on their desks. Books, books and MORE books! I’m hoping they only come home occasionally.

20130821-104037.jpg

Luckily her school started on a Wednesday, which means session is over at 12:25, so we have time before gymnastics to go shirt shopping. The information the G.A.T.E. parents were given at orientation and the registration packet I received last week never mentioned that the uniform shirts are to be purchased from a specific vendor due to an embroidered school logo. So now we have to return all of the shirts I ordered 5 weeks ago and buy new shirts in Anaheim. Yay communication…

I’m sure Em will have a great time in her new class. I just hope school-to-parent communication improves as the weeks go by.

Lazy or Efficient?

I hate shopping. I’ve said it before and anyone who’s gone shopping with me knows it all too well.

So now that Em is changing schools and moving up to the upper-grader world, I had a TON of shopping to do to prepare her for G.A.T.E. in the 4th grade: school uniforms and classroom/school supplies. As soon as I knew Em was accepted into G.A.T.E., I did some research and found that Walmart has a section on their website that will tell you what colors your school has deemed appropriate to wear. So with the exception of a couple items (which I found at Target’s website), I had all of Em’s school uniforms for the next year ordered; they’ve been in her room for weeks, waiting for Em to return from her dad’s house.

Earlier this week I got a call from her new school asking me to come by and pick up her registration paperwork. Included in the packet was a list of things she needs on the first day of school and things the teacher needs for the classroom. Knowing that Em returns today and school starts this coming Wednesday, and knowing our combined schedules, shopping for – and FINDING – everything we needed was going to be a challenge if not a stressful experience for me. Remember, I hate shopping.

So, I went to my beloved Amazon. I don’t know why I delayed for so long enrolling in Amazon Prime, but it was one of the best decisions I made this year. Because when you get a school supply list one week before school starts and you HATE shopping like I do, Amazon Prime quickly becomes your best friend.

  • Small Post-it Notes
  • Red pens
  • 2″ binder
  • Highlighters
  • Stapler
  • Blue Pens
  • Pencil sharpener with lid
  • Binder dividers
  • Colored Pencils
  • Scientific calculator
  • Two-pocket hole-punched folders
  • Scissors
  • 1″ binder
  • Pencils
  • Markers
  • Lined paper
  • Black pens
  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Kleenex
  • Erasers
  • Spiral-bound notebooks
  • Printer paper
  • Pencil pouch (no boxes allowed – huh??)

Most of these items were eligible for Amazon Prime. I ordered all of them on Wednesday, it took me all of 15 minutes while I watched a Doctor Who episode. And all but 2 items will be on my doorstep before school starts Wednesday morning.

Call me lazy, but I like to think of myself as efficient. I know what stresses me out and I know how unhealthy that is for Em and me.

Constructive Consequences

Consistency is key in parenting. If you make a rule, you have to stick to it. Every time. When your child is in school, you should try to stick to the teacher’s rules and methods, too, if possible. As much as some of us (ok, a lot of us) thought homework to be a punishment, its design and purpose is to teach something new or to reinforce something recently learned so the lesson will hopefully be retained for a long time.

Today, Em forgot to pack the homework her teacher assigned. Em was supposed to study in preparation for a science test tomorrow, so in addition to having double homework tomorrow, she’s also just learned how important homework is for her success in class. For punishment at home, Em will have to mark a negative on her behavior chart for not completing her homework correctly and we will not be going out to watch Oz The Great and Powerful as I’d planned.

After explaining to Em the importance of and reason for homework, I assigned her my own homework – NOT as a punishment, but to keep consistent with her afternoon routine. I asked her to read 3 chapters in a particular book she has on her Kindle and write at least 1 paragraph for each chapter summarizing what happened during each of them. I also explained the purpose of this, to make sure she stays focused on her reading, to make sure she understands and remembers what she read, and to help her work on proper sentence and paragraph structure. For Em, reading is never a punishment, but I made sure to emphasize that this is just in place of what she should have been doing for class.

I’m bummed that Em and I will not be able to go out to see a movie tonight and I’m sad for her that she will not be able to study properly for her test tomorrow, but I am glad to see that she understands the importance of bringing home the assignments from her teacher and is willing to accept my consequences as well.