Thursday, June 20, 2013

Windows to Their Brains

This week for White Knuckle Parenting, I wrote about how much I love going through my kids’ backpacks at the end of the year and seeing all the work they’ve done at school. It really is one of my very favorite things. Reading through my kids’ work leaves me honestly kind of breathless and amazed at what is going on in their brains.

Those papers are like a little window into what they do all day when they’re at school and I am so grateful to be able to peek through that window. If you are so inclined, I’d love for you to peek through that window as well.

(You knew that was coming, right?)

Sadly, the window to Sam’s brain is a little smaller than Jack and Quinn’s because his work is more, “Wow, my kid wrote a really amazing essay on Shakespeare,” rather than, “Let me take a photo of this adorable essay Jack wrote about winter where the letters are having a snowball fight.”

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“My favorite time of year is winter because epic snowball fights…You can go sledding…Go build a snow fort!…Make a snow catapult! That is why I like winter.” Mental note: Beware Jack in the winter.
Sam did, however, have a few nice visual pieces of work for me to show you, including his most excellent historical children’s book that he wrote about a pioneer family moving west.

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His book was fantastic. It was full of facts and drama and humor (his gold-prospecting main character: “I wasted a week looking in small holes in the ground. Unless the price of dirt had risen, I had nothing of value.”). It also featured most excellent drawings of adorable animals.

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I really like the wolf, but the pig peeking out of his pen makes me so happy I could sing. I don’t know why.
Almost better than the book itself though, was the “about the author” blurb Sam wrote about himself: “Samuel lives in Maryland and enjoys Shakespeare, cats, science fiction, and good memories. Traveling West is his first book.”

In comparison, Quinn’s (adorably misspelled) “about the author” blurb from his pamphlet about pteranadons is less…informational: “I like pteranodons and I have no explimation about why I’m writing about them anyway.”

He created a super awesome labeled illustration though:

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Just in case you couldn’t figure out what was the head and what was a foot.
Jack didn’t write any author blurbs, but he did helpfully provide a list of things he is an expert at. (One of his accommodations is that he can have a scribe if he asks for one, which is why the handwriting in this photo is legible—not to say that his snowman letters were hard to read, but…)

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Things I am an expert at:
1. eating
2. sleeping
3. video gaming
4. playing ro-blox
5. cuddling with mom
6. drawing
7. being lazy
8. getting sick
I’m not entirely sure why there are stars next to numbers 3, 4, 6 and 7. I didn’t find any essays on “How to Be Lazy.” I looked. Also, you should know that Jack is an expert about a lot of things that aren’t on this list. He is really good at cuddling with me though.

As long as we’re learning about my kids, let’s go ahead and check out Quinn’s list of likes and dislikes:

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likes: cats, minecraft, hills, trampolines, gerballs, lettice, reeses cups, ice cream; hates: spiders, too cold/hot tepatuars, soda, cinamon peperments, normal toast, mosquitous, termites”
The great thing about Quinn is that, with a couple of exceptions, I could have written this list for him. I was a little confused by a couple of things on the likes list (case in point: he hates lettuce). For example, I have no idea why Quinn likes hills. I kept trying to think of another word instead of “hills” that word could be, but “mills” made even less sense, so I guess Quinn likes hills. Okay.

The hates list though? With the exception of termites, I can give you a story behind every single thing:

Spiders and mosquitoes: Everyone hates spiders and mosquitoes. C’mon.

Temperatures: Quinn is really sensitive to temperature. The quickest way to send him into a meltdown is to force him outside on a hot day. Also, flash back to every photo I’ve ever posted here that features Quinn wearing my coat. There are a lot of them. I give the little man a point for self-awareness.

Soda: This one time at a birthday party, there was Sprite in pitchers on the table and my kids thought it was water and they drank it and started screaming about the “sour water.” I felt extremely virtuous for having non soda-drinking kids. As far as my kids are concerned, bubbles are something you blow out of a wand, not something you drink.

Cinnamon peppermints: Quinn really likes peppermints and is always extremely grabby when they come with the check at a restaurant. Sadly, cinnamon peppermints look almost exactly like regular peppermints—even as little chewed up bits get spit out all over a table in disgust.

Normal toast: Quinn likes toast with cinnamon sugar on it. (I know. Considering the item just above it on the list, this is highly ironic.)

Let’s let Quinn and his weird little self rest for a while and head back over to Jackland and the drawings he had to create for vocabulary words. One of my favorites is the drawing he created for the word “empathy.”

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“I know you are angry.” I wonder what his first clue was.
I also like Jack’s answer to what he wants to be when he grows up: “When I grow up, I am going to be an inventor, because robots/lasers are cool. A second reason is you get to build cool stuff. The last reason is your robot could do your homework/chores for you.”

Here’s something—what if he invented an inventing robot and that robot did all of his inventing for him?

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Or he could just have his assistant do all the work.
And as long as we’re on the topic of science, let’s see how Quinn illustrated the “science” tab of his data notebook:

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If only he could have gotten Jack to draw little angry faces on the cats.
If you’re like me, you always wonder what exactly your kids are telling their teachers about you. I have to say, through Quinn’s eyes, I come off pretty well.

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Happy Home:
M is for magical mother
O is for outstanding overlord
T is talking terrific mom
H is for happy [private last name that certainly doesn’t start with an “H”]
E is for exilent writer
R is for fast runner

Damn, I love that kid.

He loves me too, which I know because when he was asked to fill in an answer to the question “My favorite guest speaker was,” he wrote “my mom.”

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He did have to erase where he had started to write “I do not know what a guest speaker is” first.
I have more. Oh, lord, I have more, but I’ll spare you. Sort of. I’m still going to post photos of some of the artwork they came home with. This way I will feel less bad about putting all of it in a plastic bin and not looking at it again for 30 years instead of framing it and putting it on a wall.

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By Jack. I think it’s probably Minecraft related.
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Also by Jack. I like this one a lot.
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By Sam. So pretty.
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By Jack. This one feels…derivative.
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By Quinn. He wrote about this, “I made it look gloomy and evil.” In case you’re wondering.

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By Jack. Those are some scary ass birds and some tall ass plants.
 
The end. I’ll meet you back here at the end of the next school year for the exact same post.

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