Posts Tagged ‘German’

The First Time

February 19, 2012

The first time I remember realizing that I was not a slim girl was in Mrs. Johnson’s third grade class at P.A. Walsh Elementary School in Morgan Hill, California.  I was EIGHT years old, for heaven’s sake.  For some reason… maybe we were learning how to measure things??… she weighed and measured everyone in the class.  AND she wrote the results on a L A R G E chart for all to see how they measured up.  Here we are in all of our 1974 glory.

That’s me in the back row…second tallest…with the tasteful mustard-yellow sweater dress …. without the glasses.  On the larger side of the scale is where I fell… heavily.  Pun intended.  The number 101 sticks out in my mind.  I weighed 101 pounds.  The only other kid in the WHOLE blinkin’ class that also had three digits on the chart was Raul.  He’s the kid in the back row on the far left…. we never said it aloud… but in our minds he was the fat kid in class…. the chart didn’t lie.  We all liked Raul and would never hurt his feelings, but kids do notice extremes and differences…. and triple digits on the chart. Raul weighed in at 103.  Slightly more than me.  Me and Raul…. the only kids over 100 pounds in Mrs. Johnson’s class. Did the other kids consider me the fat girl?  It never dawned on me until this moment. I don’t know. Hopefully they simply considered me “good German stock”… without a trace of German heritage.

Ok, but I WAS TALL for my age!  Height counts for more weight, right?  Right!  And our size didn’t dictate who are friends were at that age.  The girls I remember sharing tootsie-pops with while we swung on the bars were Johanna (pink shirt, top right), and Michelle (in a dress with white socks, front row).  If my fading memory serves me correct, the three of us enjoyed spending time with the three boys to the right of the teachers, Tony, Frankie and Jesse.  I could probably pick up each one of them and swing them around over my head.  I was tall AND strong.

The first time…. and sadly not the last time… I remember weighing more than everyone in the room.  Thankfully, that is over now.  Forever!

4 out of 4… I’m Golden

October 14, 2011

As it happened, I have completed the task every homeschool mother wonders if she will be capable, able and successful at finishing: teaching your children to read.  My first daughter was subjected to a charter school for kindergarten and grade one (that’s how we say it in Canada… not first grade) and I did not have the joy of teaching her to decipher the alphabet code.  But I figured, HEY!  How hard could it be???  Well, son number one, who followed daughter number one, had a brain that was wired quite the opposite of my first child reader.  She read with ease at five years old.  When my son turned five he was quite proficient at spitting, throwing rocks, yelling and doing everything at the same rate as Speedy Gonzales.  Reading was not on his list of interests….. until he was almost NINE!  Made me wonder if the kid would ever read.  Sheesh!  What good is a teaching certificate if you can’t even teach a kid to sound out three letter words?  Or simply remember the letter F?  Eventually some synapses connected in his overactive brain and he could read.  It happened while we were on a three month sick-leave trip touring national parks on the west side of the United States.  It had nothing to do with me.

Son number two actually read before son number one.  Assuming that this would provoke determination in son number one was completely incorrect on my part.  Son number one read after he had successfully toured Zion, Yosemite, Walnut Canyon, Fort Bowie and 14 other parks, caves and forts.  Had I known the national park tour was a prerequisite to his reading ability, we would have taken the trip three years earlier.  See?  Nothing to do with me.

Last week, I had the joy and privilege of teaching the Colombian princess to read.  She has been diligently learning her English phonograms and we have completed the first 26 of 72.  She asked me in frustration, “When am I ever going to be able to read WORDS?!?”  It was then that I realized she probably could with her vast knowledge of phonograms.  I put three phonogram cards together… c…….a……..t.  She sounded them out three or four times before her eyes popped open and she pronounced in her amazing reading ability, “CAT!”  Then we went through run, ran, hat, dot, hop, up, pop, cup, mop, tip, sip, and, hit, and even jump!  She was so excited she could not stop giggling!  I called for her sister and brothers to come and listen to her READ!  Her dimples were showing the rest of the day! It truly is a joy to see her succeeding by leaps and bounds and she hasn’t even been speaking English for 6 months yet.  It is also a true joy to be able to teach her. 

Back in the day when I taught kindergarten to several classes of German speaking kids, they did learn to read and I was proud of them for learning English and reading…. but nothing compares to it being your own kid who has broken the scribble code and can make sense of the English written language.

Four out of four.  I’m golden!