Friday, June 1, 2012


Before we get too far into summer--the first week is already over!--I thought I'd take a post to brag about my kids.  They've had a busy school year!

#2 competed in the Sixth Grade Spelling Bee, meaning she is one of the top twelve spellers in her grade, which is a cross to bear because 12-yr-olds don't consider spelling to be cool.  However, she found more success in the science fair, where she advanced through the school and regional fairs and ended up spending a day at the district science fair at BYU explaining her project, eating pizza, climbing a rock wall, and enjoying a magic show.  Woo hoo!  Science is fun!

But this girl isn't all brains.  She's got the moves too!
For her after-school activity, she decided to join a ballroom dance class taught by Provo High's JV coach.  #2 ended up being one of the star performers for each routine mostly because she was the only students who could remember all the choreography for the three routines.  Next year she'll be attending the gifted program for seventh and eighth graders at PHS.  Thank you Freedom Prep Academy!  You prepared her well!

#4 had a good year in second grade.  She tried an after-school Spanish class for awhile, and became more confident in performing at the piano.  I could kick myself for not taking more pictures of her, but here on the right is one from the "American Girls Mom and Daughter Tea" that the school's librarian put together.
As you can see, #4 (on the right) is a sweet girl, and she quickly found a place in her teacher's heart.  She didn't love doing math homework, but she never procrastinated the extra credit projects that came home.  My favorite was the optional assignment to make a poster about Native Americans.  I kept trying to put off helping her with the research until the deadline drew closer; but she was so excited about this project that she worked on it a month early and made a poster about everything she knew on the topic (off the top of her head--it's pretty entertaining):

I like the drawing of North America.  If you look at the far left drawing on the second row, you'll see that "The Indians were so good at planting!"  She drew some corn and some grapes.  When she showed me her progress, I commented that I didn't think the Native Americans focused much on grape growing.  This became a humorous part of the assignment as she crossed out the purple grapes and then emphasized her improved knowledge by adding an entire square saying, "Indians did not plant grapes!  NO grapes!"  (You should click on the photo to enlarge it and see the rest of her vast knowledge on the topic.)  She had fun with this assignment, and was able to laugh at herself when the rest of us found humor in the pictures, too.

#5 started school this year.  I am amazed that nine months later he can read, write, tell time with analog clocks, count change, and sing the national anthem.  Here he is reciting "Hot Cross Buns" in front of his class as part of Mother Goose Day.  He helped me make hot cross buns as a treat for his classmates, too.  (A little brag about myself: I made his hat out of butcher paper, staples, and two grocery bags in eleven minutes!)

For his after-school activity, #5 chose to join a Zumba class.  He was the only boy, which meant most of the choreographed routines they performed centered around him.
After learning to stand on his head last fall, and after watching some parkour videos on YouTube, he decided to switch to gymnastics.  (Our city only offers parkour classes to children eight and older; but we figured gymnastics is a good introduction.)

#5 also reached two other (farcical) milestones.  He went on his first "date" around Valentine's Day--his sisters wanted to play restaurant, so they put him up to this.  I told him no more dates until he is 16!

He also "graduated".  I think it's pretty ridiculous to recognize promotion from Kindergarten, but I have to admit that he looks quite handsome.  (The school paid for the photo.  I never would have.)  Way to attend school #5.

I suppose "graduating" from eighth grade is a little more legitimate, but still....  It annoys me that society deligitimizes (yes, that's a word) actual accomplishment by handing out rolled-up "diplomas" and dressing kids up in cute caps and gowns.  Okay, I'm getting off my soapbox now.

Yes, #1 finished eighth grade and will move on from Freedom Preparatory Academy to PHS next year.  FPA is offering high school grades now, but #1 (and her parents) think a large-campus high school experience will be better for her.  The charter school has been a great environment, and has provided all sorts of extra-curricular activities, in addition to the advanced and creative curriculum.  (You saw her stop-motion film, right?!)  #1 has involved herself in more than a handful of activities:

Last fall she led the cheer squad for the first semester.
She also participated in cross-country.  (She's on the right.)

She was a frequent soloist at choir concerts, and even taught herself to play guitar so she could perform "Safe and Sound" by Taylor Swift.  This was part of her Hunger Games obsession.  (The song is from the movie's soundtrack.)  In this photo, she and her BFF posed after the choir sang "Footloose".  (Yikes!  Did I really dress like that at her public...on purpose?!)

She auditioned for the Mock Trial Team (it helps when your mom is a coach) and became a star attorney.

#1 also auditioned for the school's performance of Shakepeare's "Twelfth Night".  She won a lead role playing Olivia.  It was fun to see her shine in this role as she memorized lines in Shakespeare's English, and then transformed those lines through her acting to bring out the humor and wit of the play.  All the young cast performed impressively well.  Bravo!

She and her sisters also joined the new service club at the school and gave of their time to fix meals for the homeless at the Food and Care Coalition, make quilts for the Red Cross, and clean the nature trail at Utah Lake State Park.  It's been great to get our family more involved in service in our community.  

#3 really blew us away this year!  She blossomed as a student and took off in her reading and math abilities.  When the fourth grade performed their program about Utah, she was the only "Spanish explorer" serious enough about her role to put together a costume.  You should have seen her shake her maracas!
Over fall break, she teamed up with a UVU student to make a picture book that was displayed at an art exhibit in downtown Salt Lake City.
After that, she started racking up the awards:

First, she begged for gymnastics classes, and got a medal (along with all the other students) to represent her progress as a beginner.
Next, she won first place in the Fourth Grade Spelling Bee, and ended up in the top eight in the school spelling bee against fourth-through-eighth graders.  That's her at the podium with the competition narrowed down.  She was spelling words I've never heard of!

In January, she entered a photo in the Inspirations Contest (similar to Reflections, but for charter schools).  She won first place at both the school and regional level, and her photo went on to the state charter school competition.  Click on the photo to see it better.  She made this effect by manipulating the shutter speed and waving light sticks around a birthday cake.  No digital touching or effects were used in the making of this photograph.
In this last picture, you see #3 receiving congratulations from her peers at a school-wide, end-of-the-year assembly.  What was she applauded for?  If you receive the Freedom Festival magazine this summer, flip through and you'll see her picture.  She won the essay contest for her age division, which was open to all Utah students as well as students from a few other states.  Along with a $100 check, #3 gained a better understanding of how our liberty depends on our education, our laws, and habits, as stated by Fisher Ames, Framer of the First Amendment.  (I can email a copy of her essay if you would like to read it.)  I was pleasantly surprised when she deposited the winnings straight to her savings account to save toward college.
Update:  The Freedom Festival magazine arrived in today's mail.  #3's picture is on the second-to-last page, along with a quote from her essay.

Good job to all my smarties!


Mary said...

How in the world did I just spend nearly five hours putting this post together?! I hope you've all had your fill of updates for awhile!

Our family said...

Oh man, now I feel guilty that I encourage mediocrity in order to be less busy. 5 year old can almost successfully wipe her bum. Almost.

Mary said...

When your #3 masters wiping and leaving no skid marks, maybe you should celebrate by donning her with a cap and gown! (Will our children understand that a college degree is an actual accomplishment if we celebrate in the same way then?) ;oP

VickieG said...

WOW - I had no idea my grandkids were so brilliant. They make us proud. I'd like to see the essay from #3.

brian_angela said...

I miss all of you so much! Congrats White Kids, you are all AWESOME! I am pleased to know each of you. I miss that Freedom Academy too.

Charlotte said...

I think the same thing about "graduation". I rolled my eyes when they had an assembly and called them all up (one by one to walk across the stage) to get a rolled completion certificate. I might've had a stroke if they wore cap and gowns.