Rob is down at his father's until tomorrow morning. He would really like to spend an ordinary weekend at home, but it's not happening any time soon.
Report cards and parent/teacher conferences were Thursday. Both boys got straight A's, which is wonderful. Aaron had some worrisome benchmarks though, so we're discussing some changes to his IEP (Individualized Education Plan). In first grade, none of the tests on which his grades are based are timed, whereas the benchmark tests, which are used to rate the school, but not the students, are timed. The differences were striking. The worst was math, where he had a 96% score for his grade, and a 25% for the benchmark. All the benchmarks were noticeably lower than the class grades, though most by less dramatic amounts. The general opinion is that his writing is the problem. He's slow at it and tends to overgrip the pencil, leading to rapid fatigue, which is exacerbated by timed tests which add pressure while removing time to rest his hand. So his teacher is looking into the possibility of allowing him to take some tests orally, and possibly some with an AlphaSmart (a dedicated word-processor), so that his testing can reflect his knowledge rather than his fine motor coordination or lack thereof. He would continue to do homework and untimed tests by hand, since it's important that he at least be able to write, but nobody sees any benefit on testing him via his worst skill.
We've also started Aaron in our dojo's Little Dragons TKD class. I have mixed feelings about this. I've written about the TKD instruction here before, and I would really rather have him in Isshinryu. On the other hand, he was getting upset and frustrated at having to deal with a class full of bigger, stronger, better coordinated people all the time, even though he still liked the idea of karate class. When we put him in a trial Little Dragons class, he slid right in. They teach 4-7, so he's at the older end of the age range, where size, strength and better concentration can make up for coordination problems. I'm hoping that by the time he graduates Little Dragons (usually a year to 18 months), he will be ready to come into the Isshinryu class. Most of the basic things they're teaching the little kids are applicable to both styles (excepting the Korean, but that's alright). The only thing I've seen so far that we just don't do is an axe kick (well, and the rotated punch, but that's inevitable).
Robbie's taking a cartooning class this month. He's really enjoying it. My favorite of his drawing so far is a little (recognizable!) head of Einstein, eyelids drooping saying "E=mc2zzzzzzzz..."
We're headed out to Great Lakes Games next weekend - an annual board-gaming convention, much fun to be had by all. My schedule gets complicated because Heidi Gauntner's Lennox Legacy Tournament is also this coming weekend. It's the one tournament that Sensei really cares about us going to, and I always try to get there. This time it means getting up at 5am Sat. and driving from the convention to the tournament, competing and driving back, because I am not paying for two hotel rooms in two different states on the same night. It would be a little easier if I weren't taking the seminar before the competition, but Hanchi Duessel is teaching it, and he's always worth the effort. So I guess I'd better know Chinto well enough to do it in my sleep, because that's exactly how I might be doing it!
Other random karate news: Sensei started teaching me Kusanku Sai last night, which is really cool. Though it's a little weird to be learning the sai kata before the open hand kata. Also *product endorsement* I found the most wonderful athletic bras. Title Nine Sportswear makes several different bras that keep me from bouncing at all. I had pretty much resigned myself to kaboinging through karate and Turbokick, but I ordered three bras from this place, and the two I've tried so far really, keep me from bouncing. (For the curious, I ordered the Cuz-She-Said-So bra, the Frog Bra, and the Three Blessings Bra. I've tried the first two, the last is on back-order.) The Frog Bra presses my breasts in pretty close in to my chest and holds them that way, while the Cuz-She-Said-So bra holds them up, but they both work really well. Highly recommended.