Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Intense Parental Micromanaging

This school year has been tough at the Hoy House. All three Hoy kids are requiring an intense amount of parental micromanaging.  In related news, these are my 3 most frequently used bitmojis right now.
"Seriously?!?" is quite often mumbled under my breath too
Alyssa has become a full out teenager, albeit not quite yet 13, who is struggling to manage her responsibilities of school, her extracurriculars (swim, piano, and saxophone), and her blooming social life. My most frequent (& greatest) piece of parental wisdom to her of late- "The best way to get me out of your business is to take care of it."
Her phone now has parent controlled screen time limits,
which seem to help
Jackson's bare minimal effort on school work has finally caught up with him in 5th grade. At the parent/teacher conference, requested by the teachers-because he "needs improvement on effort", confirmed our greatest scholastic concern for him-- "bright but unmotivated".  My most frequent piece of parental wisdom to him of late- "The learning will happen. Before the grade, I am not involved. After the grade, I am."  I have been involved much too much this school year.
We are all more productive with a list
Then, there is Matthew. The school work coming home in the first 9 weeks was abysmal. After several meetings with his teachers and (at home) identifying the best learning practices that work for Matthew, he is making progress again- on his SPED goals and the 2nd grade curriculum. It requires a high level of accommodation and intervention. At home, 
  • He has 2 sessions of tutoring with a reading specialist weekly. 
  • Every morning, he listens to the weekly story that I record on his tablet.
  • He completes his weekly math word problem(s) with the help of manipulatives (100s chart or base 10 magnets) and a parent supporting him to break down the steps (e.g. "what is in the ones column?").
  • He reads his weekly reading book, retyped in huge font without pictures so he can concentrate to read it.
  • He verbally responds to his reading homework questions while a parent transcribes his responses.  
This is after his 7 hours at school and 2 hours at the YMCA after school, and without the benefit of his ADHD meds. It is intense. I think I now know the 2nd grade standards almost as well as I know the objectives for the classes I teach at the high school.
The turkey ran 25 feet, 35 feet, and 46 feet
Last week, I felt like we had a breakthrough. Though I am glad we have a holiday break this week, I would have liked to have seen the upward trajectory continue before we took a week off. I am hopeful we will get in a (positive) groove after the Thanksgiving break, for a few weeks (before the Xmas craziness kicks in) anyway.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Rhythm of the School Year

I don't do summer well. I used to blame it on the kids-- that they needed the routine of the school year-- but really, it is me. Though I love our summer experiences, seeing family and friends, I need the routine.  I love what I do and miss it during the summer. I long for the rhythm of our school days. 

So when the first day of school comes, I hum "Its the most wonderful time of the year" to myself all day. For me, it really is. New beginnings & freshly sharpened pencils. 

Though, every year, I forget how long it takes to get into the rhythm. We are 4 weeks in, and we still haven't found the beat.  New classes, new expectations, new routines. We are still figuring it out here at the Hoy House. I know it will come, that we will one day find ourselves in the rhythm of the school year. Today is not that day. Tomorrow isn't looking good either.  Hopefully soon.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Oh, that face

I recently read an article that asserts that facial expressions are inherited, not learned. I found this research fascinating, and giggled when I saw these facial expressions on Alyssa. I guess she comes by it honestly.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018


My students are well aware of my affinity for progress.  As are the Hoy kids. 

Reflecting on the progress of the Hoy kids this school year, I am mostly content. Alyssa was a mess the weekend before she started middle school, but from the first day on, she relished the opportunities it held.  Jackson matured as a student throughout the forth grade, taking my threat seriously.  ("The learning will happen. Before the grade, I am not involved.  If after the grade, I will be involved.")  Matthew, too, made progress this year.  His final report card had a few first grade standards met. Not all of them, not linear, not easy, but it is progress. 

I love progress!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

The Youngest

Though I would like to pretend this isn't true, it totally is. Matthew gets away with far more than we ever let the bigs. Part of it is that Matthew has unique challenges that necessitate us doing things a bit differently with him, but the other part has to be us.  

A few examples of how he gets special consideration--

The book series Junie B. Jones was banned in our house starting when Alyssa was a kindergartner.  The main character, Junie B., is a bit naughty, and the grammar in the book makes me batty. We held that rule steady from 2011 until Valentine's Day 2018, when Junie B. came home in Matthew's backpack.  I've read Junie B. to him every night since. To allay my reservations, I correct the grammar when he isn't looking, which is most of the time.

During the week, screens are banned in the Hoy House. Very few exceptions. Until... Matthew lost 5 pounds in 3 months while on his ADHD medicine. The sweet paradox is that when he's on the meds, he's not hungry, and when he's not on the meds, he won't sit still long enough to eat. He needs those meds AND needs to gain weight, quickly. We need this boy to eat. To mindlessly eat. So, he gets to watch his screen in the morning, while we put as much food in front of him as we can before he catches on, or runs off.  

These are mild compared to our overall parenting style changes. We were 100% common sense parenting converts when the bigs were little. Following the approach outlined by Boys Town worked wonders for Aly and Jax.  But, very little about parenting Matthew is common sense, and we have found that the tools we used with the bigs have been rendered useless when dealing with Matthew. So, he seems to get special privilege (or consequences as it may be), but really we are just searching for the right tools- ones that work for Matthew.

This parenting gig is hard, and humbling.  Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Four Favorites

These are my four favorite things this week:

1. I finally feel like writing again. It has been a long time. 
2. Spring has sprung-- yippee for baseball and bluebonnets! 

3. Though our kids are older, they still can't be left alone with my phone.

4. Connecting with family and friends, near and far, reminds me that, in addition to being unbelievably blessed, technology is an amazing thing.  

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

8 Years

I can't believe it has been 8 years!  

This boy loves-
baseball, both playing and watching
french fries
dogs, especially Rey
being read to at bedtime, right now he loves the Junie B. Jones series
time spent with family
pizza with friends on Friday nights
and school, especially his friends and p.e.

And we love him!