Thursday, January 26, 2012

Jonathan and school

I've given updates on my other two school boys. Today is Jonathan's turn for an update. I started Jonathan last August in Kindergarten. He was doing beautifully. He was strong in math concepts, super strong at learning to read, and did beautifully with handwriting. His weaknesses became obvious very quickly. He struggled with listening to read alouds. This is not surprising to me at all. This will be an area we really need to work on as Jonathan gets older. We pressed on through a few weeks of school and I was encouraged at his progress except for one thing.
I noticed that Jonathan was melting down over the smallest details. It was incredibly disruptive to our flow each day. I told Jonathan that the "tantrums" were not acceptable school behavior. Now granted, 
we did have a fairly rough start to our school year considering my Mom's accident and spending so many weeks in Virginia. I thought that maybe Jonathan just needed a break, and that once we got home and back into our routine, the meltdowns would fade away. That's not exactly what happened, though. After giving it much thought, I sat him down and told him that we did no even have to be doing school this year, and that he could have the rest of this year to play with Rosalie each morning. He thought about it for a minute and then calmly agreed with me that we should wait a while.
I am very happy with this decision. Jonathan is a smart little boy. There are two things about him that have been working against him instead of for him. First, he is incredibly strong willed. Second, he is a perfectionist. If he didn't get something perfect the very first time he would try it ... he would melt into a puddle on the floor. He not only wants to do things well ... he is not satisfied with just so-so ... he wants it to be perfect, and anything less just would not do. I love this about him. I really do! However, he needs to mature a little bit, so that his frustrations do not end in a tantrum.
I was completely on the fence with starting him anyway. So, I am not sorry that we gave it up for this year. I am all for starting a child later. (especially boys!)
I also got to thinking that if I start him a year later (he will still be 5 when we start ... but almost 6), I will be able to combine Jonathan and Rosalie in the history spine,science, Bible, and all the extras! Combining has just not worked for me with any of my other children. Since Jonathan (with the fall birthday), is the older of the two, it should work out well to combine them once J is in 1st grade and R in K. It will require that I start Rosalie a little early - but she's showing signs of being a lot like Aaron was at his age. Heart of Dakota  is so easy to tailor to the specific child and gives extension possibilities for the older child. I am excited at the possibility of combining a couple of my children. Of course, they will still be in their own math and language arts levels, but the other concepts can be combined easily. Combining children has advantages and disadvantages, so the only thing I can do is try it and see if I can make it work.
Jonathan is my biggest helper during school hours. He completely occupies Rosalie for me. I am able to get through most of Martin and Aaron's lessons without very many interruptions by noon almost every day. (my part takes about 3 hours between the two of them)
So, in August, we will start K again with Jonathan and I look forward to it!
For now, I spend time with Jonathan several days a week doing the normal Cubbies handbook, and his extra Cubbies workbook. We memorize scriptures, color, and do special projects. He loves it and we enjoy that special time together. (Rosalie almost always does it with us too!)


  1. Thanks for sharing more about this Larissa. I hated that our conversation last night about this got cut short, but I agree that you made the right decision. I know that my two love our "schoolwork" in short spurts, getting to still play for the majority of the day. Our Cubbie workbook and extra credit book provide just the right amount for us too! Love ya!

  2. Definitely sounds like the right decision made by a very observant, sensitive mom. The right time will be just around the corner for Kindergarten and I know Rosalie loves having a playmate with more time to spend with her! Sorry I didn't get to spend time with her in Puggles this week when I filled in for Cindy. Was really looking forward to having another Holland to love!