Sunday, February 19, 2012

Science Fair

Congratulations to Eva for getting an opportunity to be in her school science fair!  She did well there and moved to the district science fair, where she won the opportunity to be in the Region Science Fair at the U of U.  Way to go Eva!  Her project involved photography.  She used Vince's new camera to see how the flash was affected by different materials.  She has been at region before as a sixth grader and the whole experience was a bit stressful for me.  We didn't know anyone else going and I had to leave her there (alone) to be interviewed by judges all day.  I hated leaving her there all alone.  It turned out well but her school did well at district and there are 18 kids going--I'm pretty sure we can arrange some carpooling this time and I won't worry knowing that she'll have friends there!  :)

Ethan also had a project this year and he did great.  At the elementary level the kids are judged by volunteer parents and he was given a 0 in one category because his science board was green, and given another 0 by the other judge because they didn't notice his bibliography on the board.  I've judged those projects before and it's a tedious amount of work.  His teacher and the principal were disappointed and frustrated for him (as was Ethan) but these things happen.  Ethan did an osmosis project involving eggs.  Ivy is looking forward to working on a science fair project for next year.  I really hope/wish/dream they would just do them in the summer!  I'll admit to never looking forward to science fair!  Eva especially loves science but I never have--I think the whole thing is kind of a pain.  Luckily for me Eva loves it so much she's willing to help with the others!!

It's Solo & Ensemble season and I'm busy accompanying.  I love it--it's a great hobby for me and I look forward to it all year.  This year I am accompanying 7 students at the high school.  I predict that at least 3-4 will go to region, maybe more.  At region I will pick up an additional 2 students from a neighboring high school.  Luckily, region will be held at our local high school this year, which makes things so simple!  I often wish I could substitute some of my teaching time with accompanying time.  I have one student whose parents pay me to accompany as part of her practice time once or twice a month and I LOVE that--I wish I could find more of that kind of work!!

I've been contemplating going back to work to get my Masters degree.  There is a Therapist in my ward who has been encouraging me to get my Master of Social Work.  USU has recently made a Master's program available in my community and he even offered to provide the supervised clinical hours I would need to get the degree.  I thought the suggestion was kind of silly and laughed it off but Vince didn't.  I thought there was no possible way we could pay for that but was then remembered of some legitimate hometown scholarships that would help.  I still think it would be pretty impossible given my current schedule of teaching, working, and speech.  I can't give any of that up yet, as the teaching and working is helping to pay for speech and we can't change that for now.  But maybe when speech is over....  If I had my degree and worked in my field we could afford for Vince to get his master's.  For now I think I've decided to try to take the GRE this summer, or at least start preparing for it.  Then I'll wait until the time seems right.

Speaking of speech, it is IEP time at the school and so Nathan has been going through a battery of tests to see if he qualifies for services at school.  When the kids turn 8, the government says they must have a real "diagnosis" and not just "developmental delay".  Nathan's testing very well!!  So far he only qualifies for services because of math (no one is really concerned about his math--it's obvious he had an 'off' day).  This may change when they finish testing.  He may not qualify for any services.  This is bittersweet for me.  I'm sooo relieved and excited to see the results be so great but I worry about him not getting services.  I feel like it will  be completely our responsibility at home and while we generally take on that responsibility anyway, I'm not comfortable with it being concretely something we deal with ourselves.  It's scary because I'm not certain we have all the knowledge and tools to give him everything he needs ourselves.  To add to the angst, the speech therapist is even saying he will likely not even qualify for speech services through the school, much to the surprise of everyone else who works with him!  (The resource teacher even said that if that happens but that she still gets to help Nathan she would like to have language goals for him--I'm grateful for her--I know that language goals are not really her job.)  I don't think highly of the services they offer here but it has been a small comfort to know that if for some reason we couldn't get him to Salt Lake for services, at least he would have something here.  Maybe not so.  I feel discouraged that we may be 'forced' to continue what increasingly becomes more of a burden to get our son the help he deserves.  I'll admit that it was comforting when the mother that we are carpooling with me said last week, "I do not understand how you have been able to keep this up for so long.  We've only been driving once a week for a month and it's been a major adjustment.  I don't know if we could ever do what you've managed."  I wanted to hug her.  I know I complain about it a lot but that's because it really is so hard.  And yet we know it's so necessary so we keep plugging through it.  It's made all the difference in the world for Nathan and I know I should be grateful that we've been able to find all the resources to make it happen but it's still discouraging to know we're not done with it and we can't even see when the end will be.  And that we really may have NO option or help from public education.

Friday, February 10, 2012


This morning Ivy was recognized by her teacher as a Chief Example to Others (CEO)  Her teacher, Ms. M writes:

"Ivy is a great CEO student.  She has a true thirst for knowledge, and will not be satisfied until she knows ALL of the answers.  She tackles all problems head on, and is creative when finding her solutions.  Ivy is passionate about her learning, and will defend her answers to almost no end (we're still discussing/debating some answers).  Her resourcefulness in the classroom has proven her point of view many times!  She also is a model citizen in our classroom.  She listens to others and has thoughtful insights to add to writing, problem solving, or discussions.  Never let your passion for learning, and that drive to find the right answers, leave you.  It's powerful stuff!  Every teacher will love it!"

I'm very fond of this teacher.  She's new to our school and very young but I love pretty much everything about her teaching style, organization of the classroom, interactions with the students,...  I was impressed this fall when I first met her as Ivy's teacher and the more time I spend working at the school the more I find to like.  She's quite remarkable!  She's been great for Ivy who has literally blossomed this year.  She's matured so much and has learned to love learning--she hasn't always--I believe she's inspired by this teacher.  We're noticing a difference at home, too.  Like tonight, for example.  I had to drive to speech because the other car in the carpool was broken.  Generally, I'm home Friday when it's Ivy's night to cook.  I forgot to remind her this morning that it was her turn and I also left the cell phone at home so I couldn't call to remind her.  I didn't see her after the CEO meeting before school and I also didn't leave a note or tell her where any of the ingredients I purchased for her meal were.  So I was prepared to let everyone have sandwiches tonight and supervise Ivy's cooking tomorrow night.  I was so pleased to come home (and it's been a looooong day--one of those days) to find a warm meal on the table, which was set and ready for the family.  She baked chicken drumsticks, oven potatoes, cooked some green beans and added salad.  She had to wash, cut and season those potatoes.  We're very proud of Ivy!  It's a blessing when the kids become more responsible than their mother--maybe I don't need the cell phone anymore!!