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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Elementary years - Kindergarten and part of first grade.


As a child I always loved school.  This post is about the first year and a half of school which I attended at a public school.  After that I was home schooled for much of my youth.

I have a lot of school memories:

  • Making Valentine boxes and giving valentines
  • I played chess and we had a school competition I really enjoyed playing chess
  • At a school carnival we had a karate studio come in and do a karate demonstration I first started karate after this
  • I really enjoyed singing and singing time and play time were some of my favorite school memories
  • In first grade we had our first reading competition, I determined to read the Book of Mormon as a 6 year old and was told I could count each chapter as a book.
  • Speech therapy
  • Like many children recess was one of my favorite times.

I will expound on these and just share memories in this post.  This is mostly just to have a record of some of my school memories and to pass that on.  For others who enjoy this it will simply be some interesting tidbits about my younger years.

One memory I did not put in the list but which impacted me and is a bad memory during this time was that during kindergarten I once had an accident and it was horrible to me.  We had a rule in kindergarten that we needed to wait until after the lesson to use the restroom.  I really had to use the bathroom this day and when the lesson was done much of the class raced to the two restrooms between the two kindergarten classes that shared a room.  As I waited in the line I was really struggling... and to make this short and sweet did not make it to the restroom before losing control.  I had to have my parents bring me a change of clothes from home and I sat in the restroom and waited for them because I didn't want to be with the class.  I do remember some mean comments after the fact and some bullying. 

The previous story kind of leads into my desire to defend myself.  I had always been taught not to fight and to be kind to everyone, my parents started to change their tunes though as I was getting beat up and bullied. 

Part way into the year we had a school carnival.  One of the strong memories that stands out is that I wanted to go on a hot air balloon ride with my parents, but we couldn't afford to go.  My family was sad about this, because they thought it would be a lot of fun. 

Another big memory from the carnival was that they had a few presentations.  There was a man that trained hawks and falcons and eagles.  He brought in a few and they flew around us in the gym and I always liked birds of prey since this time in my life.  I have often wanted to have a falcon or other bird even now I think that would be really awesome.

The last presentation I remember was a karate demonstration.  It was for dragon style kempo karate and because of the earlier events my parents found a way to get me enrolled.  I went for a while and they decided a closer studio would be better, so I started doing tiger style kempo at another studio and did that for a while as well.  At one point in first grade I remember a group of boys (they considered themselves a gang) would often pick on many of the children. 

One day they were chasing some children and I stepped in.  They started chasing me and I ran and then stopped and tripped the leader of this group.  He fell and got hurt and we both had to go see the principle.  I was commended for helping the other boys and this group got scolded.  The next day I was told the leader of this group had brought a knife to school and was playing to stab me after school.  My father came and got me on his motorcycle and we drove home together.  This was a rare occurrence since I normally walked and the experience sticks out for this reason.  The next day I was taken out of school and was home schooled until I went into a part year of 5th grade.


Now I would like to share some of my other memories of school and shed a little light on some of the things I enjoyed as a child. 

The first thought that comes to mind is going to speech therapy.  I believe I struggled to say my r's and so once a week I would meet with the speech therapist.  I believe we only met for one year.  Many things were done to help me, but the thing that stands out the most was that we used hypnotherapy at least for a little while.  I thought this was really cool and whatever we did worked, because I have no problems with speaking distinctly and clearly to this day in any manner.

I also remember we used to sing songs, a few of the songs I really like come from this time in my life.  "Why are there so many songs about rainbows...",  "Once there was a snowman...",  "This land is our land...", "Over the river and through the woods, to grandmothers house we go..." these are just a few of the songs we sang.  I think this was one of my favorite things to do was to sing. 

As I have mentioned previously we didn't have a lot of money and we struggled to do many things.  When we had Valentines day boxes that we needed to make for valentines day I made one at home as well as making each valentine for the class from colored paper and hand wrote each message to the members of the class.  I remember getting mocked for this, and often I was mocked for my clothes, the kids would say I was a DI (Deseret Industries) boy and talk about how their clothes came from normal stores.  I never knew much of a difference and don't think anyone could tell a difference, but it was just a part of my life.

I have always been one who got along well with teachers and loved learning new things.  I learned to play chess while in kindergarten and was a decent chess player by the time I was in first grade.  We had a chess club for the school and I was allowed to play with the club.  I really enjoyed this and was considered on of the better players.  We had a competition and I made it a way into the games until I was beat at the end of a round by a player because I missed a small move I could have made and beat myself up over it for some time.  Now I think it was a great learning point for me because I realized that everyone makes mistakes and learning from them is very important.

I will share two more thoughts and then I will wrap this post up.  In first grade we had our first reading competition.  I loved reading and enjoyed this very much.  I was one of the kids that went home and would read all the time, from school to bed and any break I got.  When the competition started I asked my teacher if I could read the Book of Mormon for my books, she thought this was an odd request, but decided it was above the reading level of most of the books the other children where reading and told me I could count each chapter I read as a book.  I committed to reading and finished the book of Mormon for the first time in my life during this competition.  I also read many other books.  I loved going to the library and read many books during this time.  Doctor Seuss was one of my favorites.  I remember finding a large book full of Doctor Seuss books and reading the whole thing.  When the competition ended I had read over 300 books and won the competition by over 100 books more than all the others in the competition.

This helped me early on to gain a great love for the Book of Mormon.  It also helped me understand the language of the scriptures early on so that as I read throughout my life I have been able to better understand what the prophets are teaching, without struggling with the varying language used.

The final memories I would like to talk about are those of being outside and very active.  I remember being very fast.  I was short and I was a lot like my son Joey is now.  I loved running and all things either sports related or playground related.  Monkey bars where a favorite and I would always try to skip more bars until I would launch myself into the air between bars to get farther.  My obsession with new and active things even went to where I would Spiderman up the brick walls of the school.  Using my fingers I would get between the cracks in the bricks and climb the one story to the top of the building then jump to the ground.

Being very active was something that carried through most of my life and has blessed me in many ways.  Field day was a day I loved and being able to run all the way around our play yard at the school many times was great fun.

As I think back on these years I have been extremely blessed.  I could never write in a single article all the things that I remember even in this simple year and a half, and many memories I cannot touch on now run through my mind as I write this article.  I hope this becomes precious to my family and children and that others can find use in the words and memories.

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