Electric Grandmother

Maggie Croft's Personal Journal young spirit, wire-wrapped
spark electric grandmother
arc against the night

-- Lon Prater
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Last week Rice and I took Avadore in to be evaluated for the coming preschool year.

Avadore's teacher noted Avadore has improved in many ways since May (like how he holds his pencil) and is doing well. She also noted the cool things he builds with blocks, e.g. he took some flat wooden shapes and made three-dimensional objects, stairs, etc., which isn't a surprise -- that's Avadore, that's what he does well.

She also asked him to sing her a song. He did, but she didn't recognize the song. She asked him to sing "The Eensy Weensy Spider" and he said, "I just did."

She encouraged us to work on him with simple songs and nursery rhymes (which isn't a new concept at this house) and then we'll see where he is in October.

When we got home I asked Avadore if he sang to the teacher. He said, "I sang her the special spider song."

Over the past few months it's common for Avadore to sing "his special songs" -- his version of whatever he wants to sing.

Today he and I sang "The Eensy Weensy Spider" twice, and then he was done. He wanted to sing his special versions of songs (that he makes up on the spot) and only those songs. And he wanted me to sing along, too.

I'm not quite sure what to think or do yet. Have you ever tried to make a strong willed four-year-old do what you want them to do when they really don't want to do it?

Maybe if I find a new nursery rhyme or simple song he'll be interested in learning that.

As the teacher pointed out, these early memorization skills are important as there's a lot of stuff to memorize and learn, like numbers and the alphabet, which he's been working on. (He can make an A, I, H, V, and other letters out of sticks, straws, etc.) But he has little interest in memorization and regurgitation, even when they're made fun and come in the form of songs and silly games.


At the end of last year, Rice spoke with Avadore's speech therapist. She mentioned that he has a hard time with his body. She said he leans on other kids a lot and needed to learn to get a better feeling of his body. She suggested we enroll him in swimming lessons or gymnastics. So we put him in swimming, and he had a great time.

On Sunday I think I saw what the therapist was talking about. Avadore was sitting next to his friend. He had his arm around her and was playing with her hair. First of all, it was horribly cute. Second of all, he does that sort of thing with us. Avadore is incredibly affectionate, and has always wanted affection since he was first born. LD is affectionate, too, and he likes to be held, but he also really likes his space. I think it's possible Avadore is (in his mind) being affectionate with his friends and the teachers are quite catching on to that. And not that he doesn't need to learn cultural expectations in terms of personal space, and not that such behavior wouldn't be distracting to others around him, but I am not sure it's not because he's not aware of his body.

Finally, the therapist had mentioned that Avadore has a hard time staying on task, as in he wants to follow a project through to its completion before he stops and moves on to something else. If he's working on a project and the teacher says, "It's time to color, put your pasting project away," it's hard for him to quit and switch gears right then. And I've noticed that at home. If Avadore is really into something it's best if I give him warning and say, "You can do one more thing before you go to bed," or, "You have ten minutes before bed".


And not that Avadore is perfect and doesn't need "work", and not that he doesn't need to learn some things and develop skills, but in some respects it's interesting to me that some of his personality quirks are "issues" that need to be worked on.

Where do we draw the line?

Rice mentioned to Avadore's speech therapist that we had considered homeschooling Avadore. She discouraged Rice from doing this; she'd seen to many socially backward children who had been homeschooled. (And I understand where she's coming from.)

Rice also told Avadore's teacher last week that we have considered homeschooling him because our concerns with the educational system, especially the school where Avadore would go next year. She didn't say anything, but the look on her face wasn't positive. She did point out that her kid attended the school where Avadore would go for one year and that was it.

I'm still not 100% convinced that homeschooling Avadore is the best thing. At the same time, I'm not sure the public school system is the best thing for him, either. Like his parents and grandparents, he's a bit of a different kid, and I'm not sure he'd thrive in a public school environment.

I know Rice and I sure didn't.

How do you find the best educational facility for your wacky kid?

Just keep looking, I guess.

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