Friday, May 30, 2014

Last Day of School 2014

Today is the last day of school.

I'm very glad.

I'm so ready for a more relaxed schedule and time to just hang out with my kids. I feel like our lives have been way too rushed, way too busy for a long, long time. Sure, we've had beautiful adventures and have accomplished good things thanks to all that busyness. But it feels so good NOT to be taking off on a cross-country road trip like we were at this time last year. We're ready for a mellow June full of simple un-planned fun combined with our "Loosli Adventure Camp" (read about that here if you want). I'm excited to just hang out with these fun kids of mine and follow our interests and whims a lot more than we have in a long, long, time. I'm scaling back on Power of Moms stuff and other committments so I can work with Eliza on Violin, read with the twins, go on walks and hikes, spend individual time with kids as much as possible, take a few day trips, and really live in the moment.

Then in July we'll be at Bear Lake most of the time and in Ashton, Idaho part of the time.

Day before yesterday I sat shivering (what's up with over-air-conditioning???) on a hard metal chair through a LONG awards ceremony at the middle school (I've got a few ideas I'm going to pass on to the administration about how they could improve this very tedious event that I think could be a fun celebration of what the kids have done rather than a 2.5 hour reading of names...). Ashton got an award for getting a rare perfect 30 on his writing (he's really a great writer) and Isaac got a Presidential Award for academic excellence. Plus they were recognized for being on the volleyball and soccer teams. But it was hard to see some kids get recognized again and again and again and others not get recognized at all. I sat there feeling frustrated that I didn't know about some of the different things Ashton and Isaac could have been involved in - why weren't the boys pro-active about getting involved in more things? Why didn't the school make sure parents knew about more of this stuff? Am I being as involved as I should be? What am I doing wrong to make it so my boys didn't get more awards? Are awards a good thing anyway? I took notes on things to follow up with the boys about and realized I need to be more pro-active in encouraging the boys to be more pro-active when it comes to school activities. Those are just a few of the rambling thoughts I had while sitting through that long long assembly - I had plenty of time to think.

Here's the only photo I could get that sort of showed Ashton and Isaac - they were both up there to get their awards for being on athletic teamsq (I couldn't get them to look my way...)

Eliza's school's award ceremony was yesterday and it was thankfully much shorter and most every kid seemed to get an award for something - much more positive experience for everyone, it seemed. Here she is getting the Presidential Award for academic excellence and an award from her beloved science teacher, Ms. Singleton:

Eliza happily looked my way and posed for pictures frequently (the diference between her and her older brothers - is it an age thing? girl/boy thing? personality thing?)

Presidential award - see her there on the back row, seventh from the right?

Science award:

Yesterday Ashton had a bunch of friends over for a party - trampoline jumping, playing guitar and singing together, watching a movie, eating pizza, talking and laughing. He's developed some great friendships this year - and has had a chance to go with many of these kids on awesome school trips to Havasupai (last fall) and Southern Utah (last week).

This year, Ashton's had great teachers and has learned a lot (quite a bit of it the hard way) about getting good grades. He's grown a whole lot this year in so many ways. As he gave me a rare hug last night and thanked me for the party, I couldn't believe that my little baby is now way bigger than me.

Today I did one last story time in the twins' classroom and it was hard not to be emotional as I looked at all the beautiful 3rd graders I've known since Kindergarten. They're getting so big! I love that the twins still have to give me big hugs when I get to their classroom and when I leave. I love seeing their faces light up when I walk into the room. I love knowing and loving many of their friends.

After my storytime, I got to see the kids learn to do the Flamenco from their teacher who is from Spain. It was pretty cute watching them.

Next year they'll be in different classes for the first time and they'll be switching around classes a lot more rather than being with one teacher the vast majority of the time. My babies are really growing up. Forth graders are seriously big kids. I remember forth grade - really well. How can it be that my youngest children are already at an age that I feel like I was at not so very long ago?

Then Isaac and Eliza had their end-of-school parties today after school - one party right after another.

Eliza and her friend jumped on the trampoline, made artistic arrangements out of flowers and leaves and had me judge them, had chips with guacamole and smoothies, played hide and seek and giggled and talked. Such cute girls.

Isaac's still got his friends here. Only girls showed up. But Isaac didn't seem to mind one bit. These are some great girls. They've been jumping on the tramoline while spraying each other with the hose (it's HOT!), eating the delicious cookies Isaac made for the occasion, playing with the neighbor's cats, and playing some pretty tame truth or dare (one dare was to give me a compliment - which really wasn't half bad...). Plus Isaac has been showing off his unicycle skills and helping is friends try out that crazy thing.

Next week, I'll be sitting down with each child to go over the piles and piles of stuff they've brought home from school - deciding whether each piece should be trashed, photographed and put into their digital "special things folder" or saved physically in the special things folder they each get for every 2 school years. Trying to be cheerful about this upcoming task...

Hmmmm. Now what shall I make for dinner? We were going to do pizza but Ashton wanted that for his party last night so we all had pizza. I want to do something special and celebratory. But Jared's getting home from work late and I'm just tired. Going out to eat might be the right answer. But then maybe that takes more effort than just eating something quick and easy here...


kms said...

The boys each got two. Some got none. Some several. Were they upset they didn't get more?

At this age some kids have to pick one thing over another. They want to be in everything and do everything but there is just too much in the schedule that conflicts. Or transportation is required to get them there and they know a certain day of the week, on of the obligation days, it's just not doable at home. A sibling has a conflicting activity or a parent works later.

2 1/2 hours is long. How on earth did they manage to keep the kids sitting still for all that time?

Dakota Boyle said...

I think your going to rub some parents the wrong way with this post. I feel it came off as really ridiculous sounding that all kids couldn't get awards...I'm sure that is not what you meant. "What am I doing wrong to make it so my boys didn't get more awards? " is really an off putting comment from such a deliberate mom whose kids are so awesome and do so many things well. It begs for the comments, " that's not true, you're an awesome mom" etc

Megan said...

It seems like your family has been super busy over the last year and in this post you actually referenced it. Do you really want your kids to be in more activities? Were your boys upset they didn't get more awards? At the end of the day they got two and their mom was able to be there to see. I think that is great. I used to be the kid who got most of the awards and while it was nice in the moment, those moments were quickly forgotten. The awards were put in folders or on a shelf for years until my last trip home and I threw them away. I couldn't even tell you what awards most of them were anyway. The point I'm trying to make is they really aren't that big of a deal. Yes, they might help build confidence but so do a lot of other things. I wouldn't worry about them and I certainly wouldn't try to come up with more things you can do in order to get more awards. You guys are doing great as it is.

MaurLo said...

I think this is such an interesting post. It made me think of this post I read on the hands free mama blog. Thought you might enjoy it.

Saren Loosli said...

Thanks for the helpful and thought-provoking comments. I know it's not realistic for all kids to get an award at an awards ceremony that was already too long as it was. But sitting there for all that time gave me plenty of time to think about awards and how they make kids and parents feel - plus think of ideas for how the year could have been wrapped up by an event that had to do with celebrating the great year everyone had rather than sitting through a tedious ceremony (maybe awards could have simply been mailed or emailed out and this assembly could have involved simple demonstrations of some of the cool things kids did this past year like snippets of video of sports teams in action, school trips taken, the robotics competition, kids in class and in the cafeteria, etc.).

In this post, I shared some of my rambling thoughts about my kids' recognized successes and that of other kids and I really didn't come to many conclusions. I think most moms wonder sometimes if they're doing enough to push their kids in the right directions and feel a bit worried that perhaps good opportunities are passing their kids by.

I want to remember and share the times I felt insecure and unsure, not just the times things went well.

I think the kids had a good year with some really great teachers and some good opportunities. I think a couple of my older boys' classes weren't that great and that there were a couple of in-school opportunities they might have enjoyed and missed. Now that I know more about what's available, I'll try to help them further maximize their positive exeperineces in school next year.

Anyway, I'm learning more all the time. And sorting through my worries and feelings mostly offline - but sometimes I throw some of those thoughts and feelings into blog posts . . .

Camile said...

This was a thought provoking post (and comments as well). The award thing is a hard balance - try to make each kid feel special while not promoting a feeling of entitlement (I'm sure there are some kids who really don't care if they get awards and some kids who really did nothing to earn rewards). I liked your ideas for a shorter and more interesting awards ceremony.

Also, I get how you feel about your kids maybe not being as involved as they could have been. It's nice to see your kids busy with things that bring them happiness and expand their circle of friends. But it's hard to know how to be involved and encouraging without being an annoying helicopter parent.

Looks like your kids had some fun after school parties with friends - you have the perfect backyard for some fun get togethers.

I hope you thoroughly enjoy your more laid back summer with your kiddos!

Nick Karam said...

I understand where you are coming from and didn't read your thoughts to seriously mean that you are on a quest to have your kids get more awards. I also don't feel like you were looking for compliments about your parenting skills. It is hard sitting through those things and feel like a balanced parent. I took it at the musings that went through your head during a very long (and possibly dull) ceremony. It is hard to know when to push and when not to when it comes to having your kids try new things or activities. I have found that middle schools are big on having kids be responsibility for their own choices and mistakes and while I wholeheartedly support that approach, I think school can do a better job of keeping parents in the loop as to what is offered, deadlines and such. Middle schools are managing a lot of new responsibilities at once and if your boys are anything like mine, sign up sheets etc... get lost in backpacks or lockers and don't always find there way home. I want the information so I can engage in a conversation with my kids about their options--not make the decision for them, but help them evaluate their choices.
I agree about the awards ceremonies. I think it is disheartening for some kids and maybe overdone for others. I agree that video highlights of different programs and some other creative ways of highlighting the work of different groups would be far more interesting.

Brooke said...

I understood where you're coming from- some children have talents that are harder to measure and thus harder to recognize sometimes.

Our new school director did a great thing at our "awards" assembly. She asked the teachers for names of kids that fit into several categories that aren't your typical award. For example:

Enthusiastic Learners
Kids who do the right thing when they think nobody is looking
Forgiving students
Those who give 100% effort to all they do
Being a friend to everyone

Those were just a few examples. What was really great is that we had 8-12 kids in each category who were recognized. And I think the teachers tried to look for kids who might not get another kind of award or recognition during the year.

Obviously in a school of 400 kids not every single child can be recognized at an assembly but it was a nice moment for some of those kids who aren't on student council or don't get a 4.0 or are occasionally tardy/absent so don't get perfect attendance awards.


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