Friday, August 13, 2010

Start of School

Jasmine's first day of school--August 11.

Getting a hand with the shoes.

Ready to go.

She rode the bus since we'd visited her room and teacher at orientation. I handed the driver three forms only to be handed three additional forms that need signed!

The twins had kindergarten orientation for an hour. Jessica went with Kayla and I went with Kaleb.

I didn't really know how much to tell the teachers, and I knew they wouldn't remember it all anyway. I just asked that only the teachers hug them and anyone else high-five them. And I asked that they eat their own lunches and not get any other food from anyone unless it's a class treat that everyone is getting.
I didn't really mention much about behavioral issues because I didn't want to sound negative or to overload the teachers with info. BUT I SHOULD HAVE!

Ready for the first full day.

Ready to go.
The truth of it is, they both have adjusted well, but both have some behavioral issues pretty common in children who've been in an orphanage.
They can both be very stubborn, and although they don't tell me "no" to my face, I recently found out that they will yell "no" right in Rick's face. I'm not sure why this is since there is never a happy outcome.
I'd forgotten my glasses one evening last week when I was going out and went back in the house to get them. The twins had done something, and Rick had sent them to time-out. They were standing in the kitchen screaming all kinds of things at him. When I walked in they ran for their rooms. I have no clue why they will try this with him and not me. We basically handle things the same way. First-time out or time in or in some way removed from the situation. If that doesn't work--go sit on bed for a while or nap. If that doesn't work-spank. Not something I wanted to use, but they are very stubborn. And if they run around and refuse to do either #1 or 2, I'm not sure what's left. It needs to be immediate with them.

Anyway, back to school....

Ready to go with angelic smiles in place.

Kayla's smile stayed in place until center time. There are four kids per center. She wanted the house center but it was full. She went anyway. The teacher tried to redirect her. She wouldn't leave. The teacher tried to get her to play blocks with another student and Kayla started throwing blocks. The teacher tried to put her in time-out and Kayla told her "no" and refused to go. It got ugly, but the teacher won. I guess I should have warned her, but I didn't think Kayla would do this at school on the first day. I figured she'd want to charm her teacher. Nope. Oh well, I guess it's better that the teacher saw that right up front so she knows what Kayla is capable of! Only half the kids were there and the other half are there today while the first half stayed home. And actually, it's easier to deal with the outright defiance than the manipulation and games that are often undetected.
I'm thinking that since the teacher won this first round, things will go better. But Kayla is very resistant to learning for some reason. She's very capable, but I bought the twins some cute preschool learning work books and all they'd do was trash them. Perhaps she doesn't want to acknowledge the fact that there are things she doesn't know. Who knows? It's no longer an option though. Our school prides itself on a demanding curriculum. I don't always think that's good since Jasmine struggles so much with math and comprehension but that's the way it is. So little Miss Kayla will learn whether she wants to or not--or do it over again next year!
The teacher also said Kayla was very protective of her lunch. She didn't want to leave it in her cubby, but wanted it with her. I think she'll figure out that she will always have her lunch and it will be where she put it.

I didn't hear from Kaleb's teacher, so I don't know how he did. He is just as stubborn and since learning comes hard for him (and he appears to me to be much more delayed than Kayla), he may act out to distract from that fact.
Kaleb will also go into a MAJOR POUT if he thinks he has been wronged or doesn't get his own way.

They got to do fun things the first day. The real learning starts Monday.

Our school uses Saxon phonics, harcourt reading and math for kindergarten.
I would love to hear about anyone else's school experiences with their newly adopted children.


Suzanne said...

Kathy, As a teacher I have seen many students (recently adopted, recent to USA, and even homegrown children) come in and test the waters the first day, some wait till they are more settled. I hope Kayla's teacher is consistant and firm with her. (So glad the teacher won the first battle. Hopefully it will not get too much worse before it gets better.) Many students need external/ frequent reinforcement to motivate them to learn, lessened gradually over time. Hopefully once Kayla sees the other children do not know how to do everything also she will begin trying harder on her lessons. If you are concerned I would schedule an appt. with both teachers-individually and explain some of your concerns. Their teachers may not have much knowledge of the needs/issues with children raised in an orphanage. I appreciate when parents are upfront with concerns. It also helps me prepare a sequence of things to implement to help the child succeed in the event behaviors do occur.
My Celina starts VPK in 2 weeks. I have already talked to the school's director about her needs/issues. (although she said I am being over protective.) The teacher seemed receptive to my concerns and jotted down some things I use for behavior with C and about the potential food issue. She is good with food at home and grandparents home, But if in a new environment around peers she is protective of her own and begs for more if I am not around. (We've decided she can keep a granola bar in her pocket- later her cubby to help her feel secure that she has food available, without keeping her lunch with her at all times.)
Good luck next week!

Kathy C. said...


I have my MEd but have been out of education almost from the start. I quit when I had Tyler and never went back--but I use it at home. Even though I don't home school, I do teach at home : )

I had fits with the VPK teachers last Feb-May who decided that since the twins were refugees they should get extras treats, privileges, affection etc even against my frequent requests. The three hours a day with other kids was very beneficial though and I never let them stay for lunch.

kayder1996 said...

I'm with Suzanne. When I taught full time, I always appreciated a heads up about specific concerns. I didn't want a run down of negative behaviors, just some very fact based concerns. For example, saying "I have concerns about my child's frustration threshold being low especially when he is frustrated by other children." leaves a much better feeling than "My child gets mad and hits, kicks, bites, and screams." When you frame it in a negative way, it makes people think you just have a negative view of your child even though you may just be trying to inform the teacher of things to watch for. Kenson and Conleigh are starting a preschool 3 days out of the week on Monday and we had a home visit with the preschool teacher (as mandated by the school district). So that was a good chance for me to voice my concerns about Conleigh, specifically that she not be allowed to "nest" or cuddle up to a caregiver. That's my one concern with her in general is that she develops appropriate boundaries. I always say a brief explanation of how she has had many caregivers and she needs to learn to understand that her parents are different than a caregiver and that a caregiver is different than a stranger, that these relationships all require different responses and she is still learning that. A lot of the behaviors you described are pretty typical for kindergarten. Even though they've been to preschool, it's still different. New authority figure, the whole lunch thing is new, new kids to figure out...just lots of stuff for your kids to navigate. Obviously you don't want your kids to disobey, create stand offs with the teacher or fight to the death over their lunch but I'd give it a couple weeks and ask the teachers for some general updates. And I'd just make sure to let the teachers know you are always open to hear what they have to say, even if it's not positive. Also, making yourself available as a classroom volunteer is a good way to kind of keep tabs on things. You may get teachers who act like you're crazy but keep in mind, most teachers have no experience with adopted kids or attachment issues (which is too bad because I have now seen how quite a few of my problem students probably had some attachment stuff going on). So let them think you're a little're probably not the craziest kook they will deal with! (LOL)

Karen said...

Oh, you have some good reader advice here, Kathy. This is all so new to them, but I know your family teaching and the Lord will help them calm down. Blessings**

Kathy C. said...

I had told the teacher that there were behavior issues but that we'd set an appointment to talk about them. It was orientation so all the parents were trying to tell the teachers everything and I noticed that the teachers were not writing anything down so figured we'd talk in a couple weeks after they'd gotten to know the twins. I guess it's good Kayla decided to act out when only half the class was there. I'm hoping the other students put some pressure on her when she starts acting like that. If she throws fits, hopefully they'll tell her they won't play with her until she stops. She's a smarty and she'd figure that out really quickly.

Christine said...

Wow-- thanks for sharing. hopefully things will get better-- I know that is what I am hoping for with Alex.