Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Hanging Out with a Sick Kindergartener, Coloring, and Counting in Spanish: A Grandfather’s Way of Spending a Day

Hanging Out with a Sick Kindergartener, Coloring, and Counting in Spanish: A Grandfather’s Way of Spending a Day

There are times when you get a taste of potential retirement and incredible remembrances from the past. Today was one of those days.
Anna Rose, our daughter, called last night and said her daughter Emiline was not feeling well and wondered if one of us could stay with her the next day. Joanne talked to her first and said she couldn’t do it. Once I arrived home from my pottery class (more on that in a different blog), I decided I could take a day and stay with my little sweetheart Emiline.

Emiline this summer
I arrived around 8:00 a.m. Anna Rose hadn’t left, primarily because William was still in his PJs and eating breakfast. I asked him if he wanted to stay with Grandpa and Emiline. He said he wanted to go to school, but he wanted me to take him in my car. Anna Rose just laughed. Soon, they were off.

That left just Emiline and me. Once she finished her bath and dressed, we began her homework. Because her illness, she has missed a bunch of school. We completed five assignments. I was so impressed with what Emiline did, I thought I would pen a few words about her homework and how much she loves doing it.

Beginning the assignments
First of all, Emiline goes to kindergarten at a place called the Dancing Moose in the Draper area. It is a private school that is very close to Cricut, where Anna Rose works. From what Anna Rose tells me, her teachers are amazing and teach the children a great deal.

The first assignment we did was about weights. We had to choose two objects and determine which one was the heaviest. Emiline hefted a couple pieces of pottery. She knew instantly which one was the heaviest. Then, we tried a couple of other objects. We closed the assignment with me giving Emiline one of her shoes and one of her dad’s shoes. Before giving them to her, I asked, “So, which one do you think will be the heaviest?” She just looked at me with those “You-realize-I’m-in-kindergarten-already-right?” looks.

Which is heavier?

Next on the list was cutting out shapes: circles, rectangles, squares, and triangles. Then, we were supposed to created “things” from them. This looked fun enough that I decided to try cutting out the same shapes.

Making shapes
Once finished, Emiline and created a rocket car,

Rocket car
an ice cream cone,

ice cream cone

a house, 

Emiline's house
 and a hotel—Emiline’s creation. She colored all of the shapes and had a great time with this assignment. I did, too.

Hotel

The third assignment was “Guess the Word.” I had to create a list of words so she could blend the sounds together and then read the word. I created a list with words like b/i/g….d/i/g…..p/a/n….m/a/n…b/e/t and so forth. She was able to blend all of them perfectly. Then, I challenged her with words like s/o/c/k, s/h/i/r/t, and r/o/c/k. Perfect again! Okay, I thought, all short vowels. Let’s see what she can do with long vowels. She didn’t know those yet. But once I showed how they sound, she got it. So, the words n/o/s/e, m/a/k/e, and c/a/k/e became no problems. She is sharp.

The word list

One of the most interesting assignments was called “Counting Pennies.” She had to find some pennies. Well, that was an easy task. She just went to her piggy bank and took out some money. She then sorted through and snagged all of the pennies. Her job was to place them in groups of ten and then count the groups of 10. She had no problem with that. On her third stack, she began in Spanish, “uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho, nueve…diez.” She counted that stack in Spanish. Impressive!


Once she congregated six stacks with ten pennies in each stack, I asked her how many she had.  She looked at me puzzled. Then, I pointed to the first stack and said, “Ten.” Next stack, “twenty.” She caught on, and then counted the rest, “thirty, forty, fifty, sixty.” Once finished with English, I taught her how to do it in Spanish. She caught on.


Stacks of pennies--ten in a stack

On her last assignment that we did together, she had a writing assignment and was able to choose from a list of eight items, from writing/drawing about school events to creating a card to free writing. She chose to make” a special card for someone you care about.” Well, for her that was easy: She chose her mother. We walked downstairs and picked up the supplies. She worked diligently on her card, and it turned out beautifully. She asked me to help her with the words. She told me the word, and I spelled it out for her. There were some, she said, “I know how to spell that.” 

Thank you card to her Mom

 And she did—and off she went writing everything down.

Inside of the card

Five tasks tried and five tasks complete. But she wasn’t done. She said, “Now, I want to write a book.” So, we gathered up the supplies, including a glue stick—where were glue sticks when I was a kid? Then, by herself, she created a book, complete with six pages, including the inside jackets. 

Heartland--the book
The title of her book was Heartland. She asked me to how spell a variety of words, but she completed all of it, complete with stickers, a title on the outside, name of the author—Emiline—drawings, and narrative. She even asked for paper so she could make the insides, and she knew how to glue them together. I never helped her once on the construction of her Heartland book.

All this came from a first semester kindergartener. Now, at this point, I should interject and confess that I never went to kindergarten, but I did go to first grade and did extremely well. But here was a kindergartener blowing me away with what she was doing.

Emiline hard at work
My hats off to the Dancing Moose Montessori School and its teachers who are doing an incredible job. Amazingly, though, Emiline kinda came this way, packaged with the right learning skill sets. Her mother has spent an inordinate amount of time with her in teaching this and that.

Having said all that, I was still impressed, especially with the word blending and her writing her own book. Oh, yeah, counting in Spanish was spectacular, too!

After all this we had lunch: apples, grapes, peanut butter and jam sandwiches, chips, and salsa. Not healthy right? One we slurped down lunch, she had two choices: 1) have the eye drops in eyes, and then watch a movie or 2) no eye drops and immediately to a nap.  She chose the former….She wanted to watch How to Train Your Dragon II. Very cute movie!

Around 4:15 p.m., her dad came home from work. We gave each other a hug and off I went, much wiser than before.

It is important for grandfathers to spend time with their grandchildren, primarily to remember the mothers of these children and the great times we used to have writing, reading great books together, rocking in the old blue rocker, going on daddy daughter dates, working in the garden, coloring, etc. It seems so long ago when these things happened; yet, when you are with grandchildren, those thoughts and remembrances  seem to emerge from the mists of the past and become vivid in the brilliant rays of the current day. 

Overall, we had an incredible day together. She is such a sweet little girl, full of vibrancy and intelligence. Heavenly Father has definitely saved the best for last. And I believe they know that…..



2 comments:

Anna Rose Johnson said...

We are so happy grandma and grandpa live close by! Thank you for taking care of our sweet Emiline. She said that she had a fantastic day!

Hailey said...

Such a great post. They are so lucky that you live close. We are jealous.