Bustin' at the seams
...with pride, that is.
Yep. These kiddos of ours have been up to much lately. I'll start with Caleb.
This past Friday, I had his homeschool portfolio reviewed for his annual requirement. A dear, homeschooling friend hooked us up with a very gracious teacher from our church to review Caleb's portfolio. Since this was his first review, I gave her some background.
I shared with her how he was adopted from China at 34 months and how he came to us with speech and language delays. His separation anxiety was the determining factor in beginning to school him two years ago. I decided to begin K with him early, at 4 1/2, and just took it from there. He did quite well.
We continued on with 1st grade this year. And he handled it like a champ. His math skills soared. I had a hard time keeping up with him, as he's working several grade levels ahead. His reading dramatically improved. His sentence writing is amazing (thanks to the classical approach) ; you'd be hard pressed to know he's getting services through the school. In fact, I believe all the hard work during our structured language arts time is going help him "graduate" from services sooner. :) I work with him every day. So I know how he performs. But it was really nice to sit down with an unbiased observer and hear her echo these same sentiments. He's performing above grade level in every area. *insert heart leap* 'Tis music to my ears. Patrick and I are just so so proud of our precious boy.
And for Madeline....well...
As you all know, she's had a busy summer swimming. Whereas Caleb simply needed to incorporate floating into his swimming, Madeline didn't know how to do a thing. Last summer was spent preparing for and adopting this precious munchkin. So when we arrived home last August, we never considered swimming lessons for her; we knew we would wait until this summer to begin them.
Lessons began five weeks ago. The first two weeks were spent crying while learning to float. That's all Carmen could work on with her because she refused to open her eyes under water, a necessity in learning to swim safely. Carmen finally decided to let her use goggles as a crutch simply because she needed to learn the next skills. It worked. She put her head under water and would swim. Here's a video of Madeline finally swimming without her goggles. Yay!
Next up was the task of combining her swimming and floating into her swim-float-swim sequence. As I mentioned earlier, Madeline did this successfully this past week. Depending on the skills Carmen was working on with Madeline, she would give me instructions on what we could and couldn't do in the pool at home. So needless to say, I was thrilled when she asked me to get in the water this past Friday during the lesson in order to learn some hand signals to give Madeline. This meant we could swim and float all we wanted this weekend. And that we did. She swam in the pool these last three days for 1-2 hours each day. *insert jaw drop*
Here's just one little video we got of her jumping in, finding her float, and then swimming to the wall.
She has simply amazed us. It's hard to believe this is the same girl who wouldn't open her eyes, cried during her lessons and had "crocodile fights" with Carmen in the water. No doubt watching another older boy and her brother perform all these skills has served as motivation for her. Now, she certainly can't be left in the water alone at this point. But I feel totally comfortable being away from her in the water. I am not worried about her falling in the water and freaking out or drowning. In fact, "falling in" has become a bit of game. In the meantime, Carmen will be tweaking some things, like a quieter float and better movement into her swim from her float. But I honestly didn't think she would be doing any of these things this summer. My goal for her was to simply learn to float. Boy, did I underestimate her!
Anyway, I guess that's enough bragging for now. Hey, it's my blog. So I can do that, right? Well, I'm trying to edit a few photos still and have some exciting news to share. So stay tuned.