Friday, June 5, 2009

The Incredible Isaac

I decided to write up a few posts that each feature one of the children. They are all doing such great things lately and have so much going on. I thought it would be fun for me and for them to have a post completely devoted to just them!

I'm going to start with Isaac. Sometimes I think the poor boy is missing out on some of life because he only has sisters. But he's a good sport and he a lot of times he plays along with girly things (against his wishes) just to keep the peace.

Isaac's been up to a lot lately. School has been keeping him busy and he's been working hard at being a good student. His hard work paid off last month when he found out that the was Super Citizen for his class in May. Daddy happened to be in Utah when they recognized him, but Juliana and I were there to celebrate with him (and Abby was in the audience, too).

And this week marked another celebration - Isaac graduated from Kindergarten! He was super excited for this, since I didn't have him participate in the graduation last year (since he wasn't moving on to 1st grade). He was up at 5:45am and by 6:15 he had gotten himself dressed in his "Sunday Best" without any help. From then until 6:45 when I got up, he was in every 5 minutes asking where his tie was. See, his teacher, Mrs. Saizon, gave all the boys in the class Eagle Scout/Missionary ties. {Yes, you can do that sort of thing in this community and totally get away with it. It's kind of cool. I'm pretty sure everyone in Isaac's class, including Mrs. Saizon, is LDS. I'm sure Mrs. Saizon wouldn't have called it a missionary tie to anyone who wasn't.} Isaac was really excited to wear it, but I didn't want to put it on until we were in the classroom at school, since he had to eat breakfast still. ANYWAY - he was ready.

The ceremony was yesterday (Thursday) morning. And after it was over, he got to come home. And the girls still have school today, so that was special, too (though I think he's already bored and it's only 9am).

Here's Isaac shaking the Principal's hand, Mrs. Voorhies.

Here's Isaac with his teacher Mrs. Saizon - after the donning of the leis. Isaac ended up giving his kukui nut lei to her - he wanted her to have one. It was super sweet. {The kukui nut one is the one that looks like black and brown beads.}

Isaac really loves Mrs. Saizon. He actually started out in her class last year. I told her up front that I was planning to hold him back for a second year of kindergarten, simply because of his birthday (Christmas Eve - he was only 4 when he started kindergarten). She really wasn't too happy about that, but didn't make a stink because I think she figured we'd deal with it later (and secretly I think she thought she would talk me out of it). Well, they formed a new kindergarten class in about November that year and he ended up moving to that class (they just moved the last 20 students to register to make it fair). I think that was one of the best things that could have happened to Isaac. His teacher last year, Mrs. Ah Sue, was much more laid back and less rigid with the students - that's what Isaac needed then. She was very supportive of having Isaac repeat Kindergarten, not because she thought he needed to, but because I wanted to. She definitely went to bat for me with the administration. They were not happy to have a Jr. Kindergarten repeat - it was kind of a matter of pride that since the program had started a few years before that all the Jr. Kindergartener has moved up to 1st grade.

{Side note - Jr. Kindergarteners are any students who were not yet 5 when the school year started. They were not in their own class, they were just mixed in with everyone else. The theory is that the students get started earlier, which is supposedly better for them (especially in a lower economic status area, which Laie definitely is), but if they need the extra year repeating kindergarten is a option for them. However, like I said, it was a matter of pride that Laie Elementary had always moved all the Jr. Kindergartens up to 1st grade. I had talked to one of the teachers when Abby was in kindergarten and she was concerned and felt really pressured to pass all her students, even though there were a few she didn't feel comfortable having move on. I didn't want Isaac to be one of those. I wanted him to be ready for 1st grade without haven't to play any catch up later. I would rather he be a little ahead of the game instead of always feeling behind. Make sense, right? OK, back to the story.}

Anyway, Mrs. Ah Sue let the administrations know my concerns. I talked to a councilor about it briefly and after getting a little flak about if, I guess they finally decided it wasn't worth the argument, because they let me have him repeat. And I found out at the beginning of this school year that after I choose and succeeded at holding Isaac back that 6 other students (well there parents) decided to go the same route.

OK, that took way to long to explaining - what I'm really getting at is how much we love Mrs. Saizon! I was excited that Isaac was assigned to her class again this year - we was ready for her. Mrs. Saizon is a most amazing teacher. She instills responsibility, honesty, hard work, all the values that you want your child to have. And she does it in such a loving way. She's a more structured (which is why Isaac needed something different last year), but in a kind way that helps the students to learn how to learn and to be in charge of their learning. I don't know how she does it - she has an amazing talent for working with children. {If I could do my student teaching with her, I would do it in a heart beat.} Isaac learned so much more from her than just academics. He's always saying her motto - I think she had them say it everyday at school:

"To be the best that I can be, the choice is always up to me."

I mean seriously people - kindergarteners that now only know this - they understand and believe it. I just goes to show the power of a good teacher, especially in the early years of schooling.

I asked Isaac what his favorite thing about Mrs. Saizon is and he said:
"She's nice. She let me be Super Citizen (obviously this was a big deal to him). She gives the best hugs."

My favorite thing about Mrs. Saizon - besides all that I've already mentioned - is that anytime she brought up something that needed addressing with Isaac, she always supplemented it with something that he did well. For example, Isaac has had continual problems with staying focused in class (and at home,too). We would have regular conversations about this, discussing things that have worked to help him. Always somewhere in the those conversations she would mention something that Isaac did really well. She was impressed with his ability to build contraptions with Legos and constructor sets that she had in the room - not just the things he build, but that he could describe all the details of it and what everything did.

And when it came right down to it, she wasn't afraid to say that though it wouldn't have been her choice to do so, she did agree that Isaac greatly benefited from staying in kindergarten another year.

OK, this post got HUGELY long. And I've wandered from Isaac and his accomplishments.

I have one last picture of Isaac and his special guests. Grandma and Grandpa Peterson made the trek out the Hawaii for Abby's upcoming baptism and a stay at their timeshare on Kauai (which we get to stay at, too, super excited about that) and they just happened to arrive in time to attend Isaac's graduation. I think it just made it that much more special for him and I so happy that they were able to make it (without even planning ahead for it). Here is a picture taken after the festivities (and it's a good shot of his special tie).

Isaac's really such an amazing boy. He's very loving - I don't know many six year old boys who still want to give their mom (and baby sister) a hug and a kiss (in front of his classmates) before they start their school day. He can climb anything - trees, swing sets, monkey bars, poles in random places. He has an amazing imagination and definitely does not lack in the creativity department. He is a budding artist, who I hope will continue to develop those talents - and I hope that I remember to keep helping him with that, too.

If there's anything you want to add about the Incredible Isaac - leave it in a comment and I will pass it on to him.

Up next - the Jubilant Juliana...


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post. It was great to get to know Isaac a little more, esp. because we don't get to see him very often. I"m looking forward to the other posts you'll do of the kids and what fun titles you'll have!

And congratulations Isaac! We're very proud of you. Cousin Luke doesn't graduate kindergarten till Thursday, so you're lucky! :) Great job Isaac!

Karen Lambarth said...

I agree w/Jessica, great idea!
You mentioned one of the cool things: that he can climb so well!
Also he is intense in the present, with what he's doing right NOW! Maybe not always be very often. If he's talking to you, then it's just you and him. It's an excellent quality because people feel special when they get that intensity.
(good luck explaining that to Isaac!)
Again thanks for the post. . . . .

Lynne's Somewhat Invented Life said...

What a handsome boy and how wonderful that he has chosen to be a good boy. He will succeed in life with such a great attitude.

What on earth does Grandpa have around his neck? I tried to enlarge the photo but my computer has alzheimers and forgot what it was doing. It looks like he's carrying around a little snack. Either that or that is the cheapest lei I have ever seen. You should feed him. Grandma looks darling, as always. Well, Grandpa looks darling, too.

Gramma Julie said...

Isaac is just a great very active boy. He is the best climber I know. I hope he doesn't climb high mountains for a long time. He is sweet and loving and a great student as you can see.
The kindergarten graduation was so darling with all of the many kids singing and filing by to get their diplomas. What a fun class for you Isaac. We love you!!!!

Grandma Julie July 12, 2009