Tag Archives: education

Tales of A Fourth Grader…


Amani will be going to 4th grade come September.  I am very proud of her accomplishment because 3rd grade was her first year having to take the state exams for reading and math. I knew she had some areas she struggled in and I just prayed everything would work out. And it did. Not only will she be going to 4th grade,she got this as a memento of the third grade:

Most Likely to Excel in Life

Not to mention the two medals she won on Field Day. How could I not be proud?

When I was in 4th grade, I had a strict teacher,Mrs.Rios. I remember she wore this monochromatic pink lipstick that would slide into the corners of her mouth. She had a thick Spanish accent and even thicker black hair. She always had this uninterested scowl on her face but she knew everything that went on in class 401. I was a good student  but my Math suffered and it made me hate Math. I would always let my mind wander during our multiplication drills and I paid for it by having to write the table 1-12 twenty five times each. 

I also kept a juny desk in fourth grade. Every week, Mrs.Rios made me clean out all the junk in front of the entire class. It embarrassed me the first couple of times,which was probably the intent, but then it just became routine. She eventually gave up and let me clean out my desk in my normal spot.  She wasn’t my favorite teacher because she tried to break my hard headed nature. Even now, I still resent her. Here’s to Amani having a better experience!

From My Personal Diary: First Day of School


September 9,2013

Today was Bubba’s first day of school (1st grade to be exact). I was so emotional while walking her to school. Every time I looked at her, tears threatened to fall. She sensed it,I think, and kept telling me she loved me. She is getting so big and sometimes I really miss my little baby girl. When I got her to school, I wanted to just throw her over my shoulder and go back home. But I toughed it out for her sake.

Bubba’s teacher is Mrs. Jean-Charles and she seems nice. She is also very young. I asked Bubba if she was nice and she said yes. I know one of her classmates, Trinity D. I have to admit,I compared Bubba to the other kids as far as looks go bit of course she’s the cutest thing in the world.

Mrs. Jean-Charles sent Bubba’s homework for the week home. I was excited to do homework with Bubba. Her first assignment was to practice writing her heading. It was very hard to get her to write on one line at a time and space her words evenly. It’s going to take plenty of practice because Bubba is not used to writing in a uniform way. She was frustrated with herself and me for repeating instructions and erasing her work. I’m not as patient as I thought and I admit to comparing Bubba to me when I was in 1st grade.

I signed up to be a PTA volunteer and I can’t wait to flex my creative muscles. I want to be SUPER involved in Bubba’s  education because not enough parents are, especially young parents. I want to smash the belief that young parents only care about partying.

This one day of school has me so tired but I can’t wait to do it all again tomorrow and for the rest of my life. Her bedtime routine was a breeze and she was asleep by 9:30. I can’t believe I am the mother of a first grader. Where did the time go and what’s next?

Too Cool for…1st grade?


With all the sadness & grief floating around my house right now,I forgot to update you all on my one bright spot:Bubba!

When September came,I registered Bubba for 1st grade. The secretary who registered her was surprised that I wasn’t her in kindergarten being that she didn’t attend it the previous school year. I was certain that she could handle 1st grade because she’s…well…MY baby. In my head, it stood to reason she would do fine carrying my smart genes. Yeah,that didn’t quite work out. I have to admit she struggled with homework but I just figured she needed a chance to get used to the routine. Plus, my mom had passed away three days after school started and with planning her funeral,Bubba was in and out of school for a few weeks.

But then things seemed to straighten themselves out. I got a letter from Bubba’s school saying her current class was too large and some of the children were struggling. A new class would be formed,made of both kindergarteners and first graders. I didn’t like the idea at first but it was going to happen anyway. Bubba was put into the kindergarten half of this new class& given a new teacher. At first, I was offended. How dare that school try to say my baby can’t handle 1st grade? *pounds chest like King Kong* Whew…lemme calm down.

The Lord whispered in my ear to sit down and shutup,so I did. And what happened next was wonderful. Bubba’s homework became so much easier because it was on the level she could handle instead of the one I thought she should be on. There were less fights during homework time. She really likes her teacher,Mrs.S,and hugs her at pickup time. She’s made friends(and one hater)and has stopped crying during drop off. I can now say she’s a happy student.

I’m glad that I listened to God’s voice. Yes, I have standards for Amani’s education but I have lowered them a bit because that’s just not where she is. I am very proud of her progress. I always say she is a smart child and I have to trust in that. If I doubt her,she’ll doubt herself.

Her school also offers a website for their students. It’s a review of what they’re learning at school and offers the parents a chance to play teacher at home. I love that because I plan on being hands on the entire school year. It started off rocky but I expect to finish strong!

Mommy the Teacher

I think I’ve figured out where to start with Amani’s at home lessons. She sometimes recognizes her letters but I’d like for her to easily recognize each and every letter as well as each and every letter sound. As I mentioned before, I will be using teachmama.com and I just noticed that the grade level for Amani’s abcmouse.com is set to pre-kindergarten and I’m gonna bump it up to first grade level. In regards to ABC recognition, I am going to use the ABC Homemade Alphabet Book. I love the idea because to me, it conquers two different school subjects: reading and arts &crafts.They are books that have a page for each letter of the alphabet: one page with the uppercase and lowercase letter and the facing page with child-chosen pictures, drawings, photographs of images that begin with that letter. Amani will be learning her letters while at the same time independently choosing pictures to go into HER book. I believe that she will be more into it because she takes the lead on this project.There’s also a great way to help her with recognizing her name.Another game I want to do with her is the family playing cards. It’s an excellent way to have her practice her tripod grip. I have decided to maybe start teaching Amani American Sign Language. According to this article that I read on education.com

Laura Berg, a certified teacher and founder of My Smart Hands–an agency that offers information and sign language classes for hearing toddlers and parents–explains that sign language helps to bridge the two hemispheres of the brain. This gives children two ways to access a word and its meaning.

Now, I don’t much about ASL except the alphabet and I have been thinking about learning sign language for myself for awhile. Teaching Amani ASL will help with her vocabulary skills and provide a bonding experience for her and I. It may even give her the advantage in school that I would like her to have. However, I will not get into that until after she has a decent handle on basic stuff. As far as Math goes, it’s always been my worst enemy, but I think I can handle first grade Math. She can count from one to ten with ease but sometimes has trouble recognizing how they look and any number with the word ‘teen’ at the end of it is also hard for her. I want to start her off slow with that and we can practice with a simple worksheet.Once she’s mastered it, then I’ll incorporate some games to keep her focused.

I still don’t have a scheduled time for learning time but I’m going to implement one and stick to it as best I can. I wanted to include structured lessons, games, and free play. I’m going to set up a writing center for her and even a wall for her drawings/ paintings.She’s also talented so maybe I’ll even host a talent show for her a few times and have our family be her audience. I can’t wait to start because I can also flex my own creative muscles of which I have many of.Her learning activities will extend beyond home too. I encourage all of you to consider your own child’s futures and get involved with their education before they even hit the school house.They will appreciate it and they’ll appreciate you for doing it for them.

Higher Learning

Now that I’m going to be spending time at home, I need to focus on getting Amani’s literacy, math, and reading skills up to par with a child going into the 1st grade. Amani is super smart and it doesn”t surprise me because she comes from a family of superior learners(hope that didn’t come out too cocky). When my younger brother and I were in grade school, we were both in gifted classes. I was always one reading grade level ahead of the rest of my class and my brother also did well. My mom is a gifted writer and avid reader as is my father so I know Amani is destined to do well. 
However, I really don’t know where to start with her. She uses a program right now called abcmouse.com. I like it because she can learn at her own pace and have fun doing it. She needs more structure,though.

In the next couple of weeks,I’m going to set up a learning sysytem for Amani. I want it to cover everything she’ll need to know for first grade plus extra stuff that will be ahead of her grade level. I am going to mostly be using teachmama.com as a guide and what I like about that site is that it gives a whole bunch of other resources for ideas that u can use in your own lesson plans.

I’m so excited about this new project. It involves two of my favorite things: Amani and education. She has a thirst for learning as most children do and like a plant, I must water her (I know: mad cliche and cheesy, but still true). I’ve seen alot of moms and dads complain that their school system is failing their children and my question is always “What are you doing with them at home?”

I will share everything I come up with in case you guys want to try it and let me know how it works out for you and if u made any changes, I want to know those to. Together, we can prepare our children to compete with those in private schools. Remember, it takes a village…!