Thursday, October 27, 2011

My Reading and Homework-Loving Rock Star

I've mentioned before that Connor was enrolled in a reading class this past summer. The class introduced 20 sight words for beginning readers and helped foster enthusiasm for books and reading. After Connor completed the summer reading class, his love for words and reading really took off. He would often ask me to write sentences for him to read at home, and I would sneak in some new words that he usually managed to figure out.

Since Connor started kindergarten, his reading vocabulary continues to grow by leaps and bounds. He brings home his school library books and reads them with little help. While he reads to us, Jeff and I keep exchanging looks because we are so surprised at how much progress he has made in such a short time. I had been told by other Moms about how much growth to expect in Connor's kindergarten year, but it continues to catch me off guard.

Here's a video clip of Connor reading his school library book called Just a Daydream. It's a bit long, but I promised the Grandparents that I would post it!

I think I posted this before, but Connor was NOT happy when he found out he would have homework in kindergarten. He had no idea what it meant, other than a certain brother in his house was always complaining about it so it must be a bad thing. Connor had his very first homework assignment this week: labeling a picture of a scarecrow and filling in letters of animal words. When I showed Connor his homework paper, his eyes lit up and he was so excited! He couldn't wait to complete the assignment and he even went a step further and colored the pictures.

Here's his completed homework, front and back.

Just in case you noticed, I did my VERY best not to correct Connor's spelling on his words. The instructions said to let the child figure it out for themselves. So when he wrote "pockit" for pocket and "puckin" for pumpkin, I told Connor how to correctly spell them after I had already put his paper in his folder. I'm not sure if that's how I'm supposed to handle it going forward?? It's very hard not to step in and help but I want Connor to feel confident doing his own work.

Now... if only I could figure out how to bottle up his enthusiasm for reading and homework until, say, after college??

Here's another related story that I wanted to share. Connor's kindergarten class has writing time every day where they write stories and illustrate them in their writing journals. Connor came home last week telling me that his teacher, Mrs. Hunter, complimented him on his story that day and said she wanted to take it to Mrs. Hernandez. I asked him who Mrs. Hernandez was, and then I remembered suddenly that she is the school principal. I was curious as to why the teacher would want to show the principal Connor's story. Later that night, I got a call from Mrs. Hunter on an unrelated topic. During our discussion, she mentioned that she was so proud of Connor's work that day. It was about a rock star and he had written the story, illustrated it, and labeled all of the parts of the pictures. She was so impressed that she wanted to show the principal how well her kids are learning. When the principal saw Connor's story, she too was impressed and asked, "What grade is he in?" And Mrs. Hunter surprised her when she responded, "Kindergarten!"

Can you tell that I'm proud of my little rock star?!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Connor's Buddies

Since Connor and his friends all started kindergarten this year, it has been harder to coordinate play time with his buddies. Recently we had a school holiday so we jumped at the chance to get together with Benjamin, Timothy, and Lily for a play date.

Benjamin and Timothy spent last weekend with us while their parents were busy packing and moving from Kingwood to Katy. It was the perfect weekend for the kids to spend time and play together. Here are some pics from their fun weekend.

Enjoying popsicles after dinner.

Playtime in our culdesac. There's no shortage of kids on this street!

Playing with sidewalk chalk.

Timothy wanted a chalk outline.

Benjamin - playing so hard his face was bright red.

I laughed when I came across this picture. Benjamin and Connor love hanging with the older neighbor kids.

They all played happily until sunset.

The next morning: doughnuts for breakfast!

Uh oh, is something brewing between these two?

Yep, it appears so!

You know they're having fun when they fall asleep at 10:30 in the morning on the way to Connor's soccer game!

They picked a great game to attend: Connor scored a goal for his team and won the medal for the day.

Later in the day, we met up with Brady and Tanner for playtime at a local play area. All of the kids were so happy to see each other and played so well together despite their obvious exhaustion.

Brady the knight read the boys a story while Connor the policeman cooked dinner.

Kaitlynn entertained herself quietly in the kitchen play area.

Afterwards, we all went to Brady and Tanner's house for a pizza dinner.

Back home, they were WIPED OUT. Look at those faces!

I can't resist taking a picture of them after they fall asleep.

We had such a fun weekend with our 2 extra boys -- Connor is still talking about it! Congratulations to the Aasmyr family on their new house. I'm sure we'll be making lots of fun memories there in the future!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fall Cousins Weekend

Last weekend was our annual Fall Cousins Weekend in East Texas. It is getting much harder to coordinate these weekends now that we are juggling multiple school calendars and hectic activity schedules. But everytime we get together, the kids and grownups alike make so many wonderful memories together that we are reminded of why we continue to plan these visits. Here is a recap of our Cousins Weekend in pictures and captions.

Connor and Kaitlynn arrived at MeMe's house to find Renee and Ryah already there. They immediately ran back to the cousins' bunk room to play together.

Ryah, Renee, Connor, and Kaitlynn after bathtime.

Aunt Michelle gave the kids a fun post-bath activity: filling a pumpkin pinata with candy! They all took turns putting candy in the pinata which was for a party the next day.

Saturday morning, the Morgan clan headed out to Kilgore to the Danville Farm. It has a huge corn maze, pumpkin patch, jumping pillow, hayrides, train rides, petting name it!

We made the kids sit for pictures before they could play.

9 cousins - all girls except Connor!

Here's Grand Daddy with Kaitlynn in the corn maze.

I thought this picture was cool. It shows how huge the corn maze is and you can see most of the Morgan clan walking far off in the distance with Grand Daddy standing on the lookout ladder above them.

Kaitlynn insisted on climbing up the huge John Deere tractor.

Grand Daddy and Marissa. She turned 1 this year and is the youngest of the Morgan cousins.

Next up, the hay ride.

The cousins all enjoyed the corn pit, too.

Kaitlynn acted like she wanted to be buried in the corn...

But Ryah was the first willing participant in that game.

Followed by Renee.

Back at MeMe's house, the kids had a little rest time with a movie.

That night, we gathered for Ryah's 6th birthday party. Remember that ark I mentioned that Grand Daddy was building? Here it is, completely finished and turned into a pool deck and grand pavilion.

The cousins' favorite part are the built-in trap doors leading to the "dungeon" (old pool cavity) below. They played games in there all weekend!

Here's the group with the pumpkin pinata.

It was a fun pumpkin-themed party for Ryah.

And here's my beautiful sister Michelle with her precious girls, Renee and Ryah on Ryah's birthday.

Phew! I'm worn out just from posting about our weekend. Here's to the next one!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Kindergarten Updates

I don't know how I managed to skip this update, but Connor's elementary school had their Curriculum Night last month. I didn't realize beforehand that it is designed for parents and not kids. Connor and I went together, and I'm glad we did because he was able to show me a few things in his classroom.

Here we are before leaving for Curriculum Night.

Connor sits at his desk in his classroom.

I noticed a little poster in Connor's classroom that had all the kids' names on it. I guess they were supposed to sign their name in agreement for being a good student and friend. I thought it was interesting that Connor signed his name way up at the top and all on its own. I wonder what that means? Jeff thinks it means he is a leader. ;-)

Connor has begun buying his breakfast and lunch on certain days at school. I think it makes him feel like such a big kid. He had to memorize his 5-digit student cafeteria code, and once he did that he was able to go through the lunch line. I told him he could pick 1 day each week for breakfast and lunch, and he has chosen Wednesdays for both because they serve cinnamon rolls and hot dogs that day.

One of his favorite things to do is wear his Houston Texans jersey to school. It's his way of cheering on his team before the games each weekend.

Connor hasn't been assigned official homework yet but he often has some take-home papers that he can work on if he wants. He enjoys his papers as long as you don't call it "homework." He has already decided he HATES homework, thanks to the teenagers in the house that have always complained about it!

I took this picture of his paper with his name on it because, to be honest, I have no idea when he started writing his full name. Maybe he did this last year in preschool but I was just proud to see it...Courtright is a tough name to learn, ha!

Jeff and I had our first conference with Connor's teacher this week. It was so interesting to hear how Connor is doing in his class. Mrs. Hunter says Connor is such a "doll" and is an enthusiastic, focused learner. Everything she had to say was positive, so we were reminded of how much we have to be proud of with our sweet boy.

I have been spending a few volunteer hours each week at Connor's school. I have really enjoyed meeting some of the other moms and teachers. Some of the things I've been doing include stapling newsletters, laminating classroom papers, and helping with hearing screening. I've also volunteered to be the Room Mom for Connor's class. We have field day coming up in a few weeks, so I'm about to be busy.