my little ostrich

First grade is no joke. I feel like we breezed through first grade with Gunnar but maybe because I have a 3rd grader AND a first grader I am noticing a difference. Not to mention Gunnar's homework is NO joke this year. He's in the gifted math and language arts class and let me tell you, No. Joke. His math and language arts teacher (he has a separate homeroom teacher) is challenging these kids and I love it. I have to relearn what a rhombus and a parallelogram is and how many vertices a pyramid has and what a subject verb agreement is. I'm telling you I am learning a lot this year! You can find us doing homework every day but Friday until 4pm. Greta even has her own little workbooks she does while I sit at the table with the boys because otherwise it's chaos. Sawyer's teacher this year, his kindergarten teacher from last year is super academic and creative so although she gives more projects, Sawyer never complains because they are really fun. They just finished an animal unit and the kids had to do an animal report. They had to pick an animal they didn't know a lot about, and as soon as Sawyer walked in the door from school he announced he was going to study the ostrich. Ok. Ostrich it is.

The kids had to all come to school dressed up as their animal and do an oral presentation. I cannot wait to see the group photo of these kids, peacocks, kangaroos, pandas. The project was completed on a cereal box with one side being the family group the animal belongs to, one side the habitat, one side a picture of the animal, and one side the report. Sawyer really loved this project. And he learned a ton doing it. And it was good for his bordering-sloppy writing, just like his brother. What is up with boys and their sloppy handwriting? The content amazing, the neatness atrocious.

The outfit had to be not costumey, but handmade with items you would find around the house. Love it. So here is my ostrich on his way to school. I had every intention of spray painting his beak but lost that battle due to our crazy weekend. Notice the pink neck we did manage to complete on his shirt.

So proud of himself. Not pictured is an egg we made with tin foil and it was the actual dimensions of an ostrich egg and then Sawyer painted it white to use as a prop for his presentation. I heard the egg was a big hit since the kids didn't know quite how large an ostrich egg is in real life. The arms are actual ostrich feathers and we just attached the feather dusters with velcro straps to his arms.

I'm a big believer in kids' doing things themselves. I never have helped my kids draw things, even when they are little. I really think it's important that they take pride in what they can do, and not feel bad about what they can't do. Whatever they envision in their mind is what I want them to believe they just drew. I remember Sawyer's cows he would draw at 3 years old, man were we proud of those crazy looking cows, and he was so convinced they looked just like the picture in his head. Which is what it's all about. I absolutely love how Sawyer's ostrich picture came out, he worked so hard on it and came up with the whole googly eyes and pipe cleaner legs idea himself.

All my kids know that skating by is not acceptable in this house. Minimum is never allowed. This is a constant battle between Aaron and I, we come from two very different philosophies. And my philosophy wasn't even one I was necessarily raised with. My parents never pressured me to do homework or study because they didn't need to. I was all over that all by myself. And I want to instill that internal desire for success in my kids. I don't want to hold their hand or nag them in high school while they write an essay, I want them to be self motivated. I am a firm believer that starts now. Right now I feel like I am setting up the pattern they will have for the rest of their life. Are they going to walk in the door right after school and complete an assignment/homework, or are they going to become a procrastinator who gets to it after dinner or in the morning before rushing out the door? And I've heard more than once that I'm a bit hard on them, and it's because I expect them to do the best they can, and I know exactly what that is. They can't fool me into thinking that they aren't extremely bright, and I don't do lazy. I am not lazy and I won't raise lazy kids. If they do their best, that's all I ask for. But I know what their best is, so they don't get away with much. Reading at 3 is not required, but if you CAN read by then by all means, we WILL. And so far I've got two boys who absolutely love to read with such a passion, that some thing must be going right. And I do believe Greta is on her way. And don't think Romeo is going to skate by either, he will be a bright, successful, responsible, creative little boy too! Yes, he will probably get in trouble for talking too much at school, but that's okay, I'm a firm believer in expressing yourself, and I have a feeling this little bean is going to have a lot to say. I am passionate about learning and raising responsible children who will become responsible adults. Wow, talk about a tangent. Back to scheduled programming.

Here's his report and I just love it, so proud of my boy. He worked so hard on it and all I can say is, thank god it's over.  Now on to Gunnar's huge report due in a week. Anyone know how we can demonstrate a wire kite getting hit by lightning? :)