Wednesday, June 10, 2009

End of First Grade Thoughts

First off, I was going to do a Happy Birthday post to Shayla. She turned 8 on May 20. Unfortunately, life happened.

So happy belated birthday, Shayla girl!

We recently finished 1st grade. I admit sometimes it's easy to get discouraged, with the progress we've made.
In first grade, Shayla has begun reading. Actually reading! At the beginning of the year I worried about dyslexia, but I think she is ok. There are days when her allergies are bothering her and instead I will read aloud to her asking her questions, so she is getting reading comprehension. If the allergy problem bothers her for several days, we get out the colored transparencies and she reads a little anyway.
Her writing has blossomed this year, too. Although she still may not write as well as a typical first grader (although I think she is close), I'm still pleased. Three years ago, when we exited the public preschool system, it was estimated that Shayla's fine motor skills were functioning at about an 18 month - 24 month old child. She had just turned 6. How disheartening! But, we haven't given up hope, we believe she is getting the best education with the one-on-one.
This year, in addition to worksheets, she wrote and memorized 20 Bible verses!
Social Studies, science, music, and art are all subjects she loves! Sssh! Don't tell her we're actually having school!
Spelling, she did well in, until she started having long vowel sound words.
Math, she likes it, but she is the exact opposite of me. She does better with seeing a visual. She likes to count candies. She loves storybook problems. Memorizing facts, not so much. The number line didn't work so well with her, either. She is still having problems writing her numbers, but she is making slow progress there.
This was a big year for working on character qualities, too. We had home therapy time about proper ways of behaving. We addressed her unwillingness to try new things, anxieties, and a whole host of other behaviors.
We continue to work on the "socialization issue." We are continuing to set goals and working on her issues. We finished a whole year of weekly Girl Scout meetings and Wee Discover programs in the fall and spring. We attended many Children's Theater Days and we also have become more active in participating in the children's ministries at church, programs at the library, and about any other fun things we can join in on.
For anyone who has ever homeschooled, especially a special needs child, you feel like you are always schooling. Nothing comes easily for my little girl. We are still working on life skills, too. Dressing herself, taking care of her own hair and teeth. She has made much progress in these areas, too. But, still has a long way to go.
Another life skill we've been trying to work on with Shayla is chores. Like any child, sometimes she'll do them without grumbling and complaining (and the right way), other times, well, not. We will continue to work on these, too.
Sometimes it feels like Shayla is a turtle coming out of her shell. Her progress is typically 2 steps forward, and 1 step back. But, it has definately overall been a fun year!

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