Ben’s painting

We were so excited about the start of school this year. Ben has said he hates school since first grade. This year, his teacher seems to be into Art, and we were incredibly hopeful. Yet, when Ben got off the bus, he was morose and discouraged.

It was only the first day, so that’s a lot of just going over expectations, and showing the students where everything belongs. I understand that. He was grumpy and grouchy.

Bean’s painting

Finally, I took his hand, and we pinkie-swore that if he would do his best to pay attention in class and get everything out of it that he can, and really try, that his dad and I will do everything we can to make learning at home fun and exciting.

I’ve been excited by the Core Knowledge books and try to plan my extra-curricular activities around the basic outline in the “What Your 3rd Grader Needs to Know” book. Bean and I work on some other things from the Preschooler curriculum. But what I work on for only about 15 minutes per night is based on these books. I put things in that I think will peak their curiosity – things specific to their interests, that aren’t necessarily part of the books. And we make it fun.

My husband has a t-shirt from an old radio station from another part of the country that says, “SHUT Up & ROCK!” Well, after a few more minutes of listening to Ben moan about another dumb year in school, I quietly reminded him of that line from the radio station, and then said, how about we just “Shut up and Paint?” That changed everything fast.

I asked what style of music he would like to paint to and he chose Jazz. We loaded a Jazz station on our Pandora, and got out paints and made messes and got out our feelings onto the page. It was a great release!

My painting
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