This week was parent/teacher conference week in our school district. And, as anyone on my facebook has probably noted, I am a very proud parent this week. Both of my boys have done exceptionally well, but today, I just want to take a moment to focus on Jacob. (I’ll get to Ben’s great accomplishments in another post. He’s done well too, no worries.)
Of course, Jake has already had the great honors of being released from the services of our district’s special education system only to be accepted into the same district’s talented and gifted (TAG) program. We’ve never had any doubt about Jake’s intelligence. Between his sheer rote memory and his amazing ability to comprehend and assimilate information, we are well aware that the only thing standing in Jake’s way of anything will always be Jake and his will power. And lucky for us as parents, Jake not only wills to get his school work done, he enjoys and excels at it. (Plus, seriously folks, all of his teachers have been great, but this year’s teacher has done a really fantastic job of recognizing Jake’s strengths and talents and helping HIM realize his strengths and talents. In a political climate of balancing budgets, no matter which side you’re on, PLEASE take the time to appreciate your teachers. Many of them will go on to touch your child’s heart in a way that will stick with them forever. Let’s keep the good ones around by treating them well!)
Jake’s teacher went on to tell us what a joy he is to have in class. She revealed to us that Jake sees math and science as his strengths, and she is inclined to agree. Jake had identified that he feels spelling is his weakness, though his teacher thought that his grades are nearly perfect, and that his performance in spelling was really exceptional. (The trick now is getting him to believe that.) She also pointed out that he is blossoming as a writer, and she was very impressed that at his age he could use humor in his poetry.
Obviously, I’m a writer. Not only because I can slap letters together in a way that is functional, or because I can get other people to humor me and read these words, but because I enjoy expressing myself in writing. Though I love music and art, I am not particularly artistic, and writing is my main form of self expression. For some reason, it was exceedingly pleasing to hear that Jake has a similar relationship growing with words.
But, I’ve been expecting this.
As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog, Jake takes an interest in this blog. On occasion he asks me to read it to him, and he has even done a guest blog for me. (Which was just as rewarding for me as it was for him.) I gave him his own blog, after he proved that he would continue to be interested. I suggest you take a moment to visit it! (Go ahead, click the links.)
But there were other signs. Every night since Jake was very small, either me or his father has read to him. I have read nearly the entire Junie B. Jones collection, most of the Magic Tree House series, Shel Silverstein, Dr. Suess… and my hope was that Jacob would grow to love words. My reward was more than I had hoped for. Now, Jake is very dilligent about catching author’s names, (which I have never been good at) and he brings home library and reading assignment books excitedly, to show to me that he has been listening. After reading Laura Numeroff’s “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”, Jake would bring home other (as he recognizes them) “circle” stories like “If you give a Moose a Muffin” and “If you give a Cat a Cupcake”. On other occasions, Jake has come home with surprises for me, carrying either titles with themes that reflected books we had read in the past, or new books from our beloved authors. I am flattered that he uses his two free books each week from the library visits to reinforce this devotion we share.
After the parent teacher conference, Jake escorted us to the school book fair and picked out 2 books, both of which were authors we’ve been enjoying lately. (And that was after we narrowed his list of 20 or so books down.)
The night of Jake’s parent teacher conference, just after I read Jake a bedtime story, he whispered to me, “Mom, what was your favorite thing today?” I gave him a generic answer about being proud to hear how well he was doing. But really, Jake, should you ever read this, THESE THINGS are my favorite. The little way that you use books and words to show me you love me. And I love you so much, too, buddy.