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They Are Smart Ones

Posted Oct 15 2009 10:01pm

Today is report card day, and it solidly confirmed what I've always known - my children are nerds. They are set to inherit the thrones of the next generation of World Geeks.

Kyra and Jaiden (3rd grade) both earned straight A's. Kyra's grades ranged from 96-99. Who the hell gets a 99 in math? I sure as shit never did. Jaiden's grades ranged from 92-98. His academic style is such that he absorbs everything as soon as it hits his ears, but he'd much rather speed through his work so that he can get back to reading his "pleasure reading" book that he makes careless errors here and there. He is occasionally off-task in the possible-makings-of-a-class-clown-but-he's-so-damned-cute-with-his-brilliant-min kind of way. His desk is a disheveled mess with books thrown haphazardly inside and papers hanging every which way. He is the one who most reminds me of myself when I was a student, which half charms and half horrifies me. I was a brilliant mind indeed right up until around 4th grade. The brilliance remained (I a m a Smart One, after all), but that brilliance was smeared with a healthy dose of boredom cum procrastination, and by the time I reached middle school, it had morphed into full-blown underachiever status. I do sincerely hope that Jaiden continues with his nerdy but affably-harebrained personality.

Kyra, on the other hand is Miss Priss in the classroom. Unlike her brother, she rarely has time for pleasure reading because despite absorbing knowledge faster than a sponge sucks water, she meticulously double-triple-quadruple checks her work until it is perfect. Her desk has her books neatly arranged a la OCD from bottom to top/largest to smallest on the right half. On the left half of her desk are her personal notebooks and folders, scribble-free and arranged by color. Her pencil box is a perfect arrangement of glue, scissors, crayons (boxed in ROYGBIV order by gradient shades), and assorted writing utensils. Every once in a while, in a Scarlett O'Hara God as my witness tone, she bemoans something to the effect of, "Mama, I had such a headache today because people wouldn't stop talking even though Mrs. Scott told them to stop. I had to focus hard to tune them OUT because my work was my priority and I WILL NOT allow myself to be distracted by people who don't care as much about their work." What I say is, "Good, Sweetie -- it's good that you're able to focus and do what you need to do." What I think is OMG, people are going to think she's a goodie two-shoes freak and she won't have any friends because no one will want to play with the teacher's pet who always blows he bell curve and she'll end up one tease shy of pulling a Carrie and killing a quarter of the student body with just a look of her feline-slanted eyes. I need not worry, though, because she has plenty of friends who love to giggle over scented stickers and chase the boys on the playground. Besides, any kid who writes stories like "The Clumsy Boy" ( new story on her blog ) is bound to be considered One of the Cool Ones by her peers. (Note: I did not edit her story. I simply opened the Compose screen, went to give Kaelyn a bath, and fifteen minutes later,voila- "The Clumsy Boy." That work is 100% Kyra's, and the grammar, writing, and overall storytelling is impressive for an 8-year old, I think.)

Jordan's report card made me squeal because as he is in the first grade, this is his first report card with REAL grades. In my school system Kindergarten students receive grades of DNM (Did Not Meet), Meets, and Exceeds (EXC) for an assortment of skills and concepts, so for me first grade always feels like the true telling of how my kids are handling school. Jordan also earned straight A's, with grades ranging from 96-100. ONE-FREAKIN-HUNDRED, in both Social Studies and Science. He has the same teacher that Kyra and Jaiden did for first grade. She's kind and loving but academically tough.  She treats her 6 and 7 year olds like miniature adults so while you will see her greet them with warmth and love, you won't ever catch her using sing-song kidspeak with them. I adore her. She takes a no-nonsense approach to teaching and challenges her students as much as she can without pushing them to frustration levels, so I know that Jordan isn't exceeding just because she's watering the material down or making it too easily accessible. Jordan is the one who had me showing my personal freak flag when by the age of 3, he showed little interest in learning his letters, didn't give a squat about numbers, and could hardly be bothered to pick up a crayon and coloring book. By the time they were 3, the Twinz could identify both upper and lower case letters and knew most of their sounds, and by the time they were four they were heading into learning sight words and developing decoding skills. Jordan showed little interest in learning too much of anything until he was actually in Pre-K. Then he just SKYROCKETED. One thing that has always been consistent about Jordan is that he is laid back. He was the easiest of all our babies and is just overall a pleasant kid. He's a weird blend of quiet and loud. Introverted and extroverted (but probably more introverted). Bookish and athletic. Sensitive. Kind. Smart. Very easygoing...developmentally speaking, this kid never did anything early, but he was never late, either. Like with walking - he did very little cruising or practice walking. I wasn't exactly worried, but I still had to keep reminding myself that he was his own child and comparing his timeline of milestones to that of Kyra and Jaiden's wasn't right. Sure enough - one day Dani held out a chicken nugget to almost 1-year old Jordan and the boy stood up and RAN several steps to it. Who needs to take one first step when you can run several? And so it has been with Jordan and school. He is running away with it and I am clapping like the village idiot for my MonkeyBoy.

The Teej (4th grade) has grades which range from 72-98, with the highest in Language Arts and the lowest in Math. We are so proud of him, and what's even better is that he is proud of himself. One thing I don't think I ever shared about TJ is the fact that he has Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Academically, he struggles a bit with Math. His understanding of Reading and Language Arts as a whole is stronger, but he's hit or miss with various concepts within those subjects so depending on what skills are being taught, he's either quick with mastery or needs remediation to achieve it. Either way, he works hard and is a dedicated student who truly enjoys learning even though he knows he needs extra help sometimes. Last year got off to a bit of a rough start both academically and behaviorally. On his first report card he had an F in Math and very low C's in Language Arts and Science. We don't have D's here, so in actuality he was just a few points from those also being F's. Those grades didn't come as a surprise as his teacher stayed in close contact with Frank and me throughout. He received extra help both at school and at home and still struggled. The kid just couldn't stay focused well enough to control his behavior (fidgeting, attention bouncing, talking, etc), so it was hard for him to focus on the remediation he received. After much consideration, we discussed it with our pediatrician. Feedback from the teacher and our observations helped him determine that TJ did indeed have ADD, and he prescribed a low dose of Concerta. He only takes it on school days and it has made a world of difference. He still has all the same academic struggles, but at least now he has the attention span to be able to focus on and absorb the help that he gets. So today when upon my arrival at home he ran out of the house waving his report card yelling, "AUNTIE KYM! I DIDN'T FAIL ANYTHING AND I GOT A "SATISFACTORY" ON CITIZENSHIP INSTEAD OF "NEEDS IMPROVEMENT" AND I GOT A 98 IN LANGUAGE ARTS...I'M SO PROUD OF MYSELF!," I jumped and yelled right with him.

It's been a good day for the Nerd Herd.

Do I sound like I'm bragging?

Because I totally am.

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