Tales of the Third Grade Something


Third grade… Three years ago this seemed a million miles away. We seemed so unsure if starting off in 1st grade was the right move or not. We even had team meetings about it. Now Third grade… Well that was not even on the radar back then. But the day has come.

Back to school shopping was pretty easy this year. He only needed 6 new pairs of jeans and only a few new shirts. We took the¬†opportunity and got all new socks and underwear as well. The best find was his red plaid backpack, colorful yet no weird ad’s, logos or cartoons to distract.

As we have done before we called and arranged a pre-meeting with Jayme’s teacher and set up a time for Jayme (and us) to tour his new classroom before all the other kids arrived. Jayme was even able to pick which seat he sat at. It was a big thing for him.

We had a plan for the first day of school; special out to eat breakfast at Biscuits, our yearly first day photo shoot by the front door and then the drive to school (no special needs bus this year). But… last minute Anthony got the call that he had to cover in Salem, so at 5am he left the house. It was a huge bummer for everyone, but no more so then Anthony, who had this own adult meltdown that morning on the way to work.

Joshua did his best to save the day. He cooked Jayme breakfast and took the annual photos. He even took some photos of Jayme in his new classroom for Anthony.

For the last two years Jayme has been enrolled in a behavioral classroom. With a teacher ratio of 3 teachers to 8 boys. But after a great six months of partial mainstreaming in the 2nd grade, Jayme’s team decided he was ready for mainstream 3rd grade.

As bad as summer daycare was is comparable to how good 3rd grade has been. His teacher gets him and her class has lots of structure. She even sends home homework each night.

So far this year, each night Jayme has been looking at the moon, drawing what he sees and then he has to write about what he saw. On the night of the first full moon, his whole class met on the school’s soccer field and with the help of a local astronomy club got to see the moon up close, Venus and the rings of Saturn as well.

But the best part of the night for the Dads was not what Jayme saw, but what they saw. Jayme had friends! He was so excited to see them and they were excited to see him! This has been a huge inner fear of ours. We have a friend who’s son is also special needs, he falls into the autistic disorder spectrum and we have seen and heard how peer friendships have been a real challenge for him. We have been worried that with Jayme’s special needs that he too would have to go through the same types of peer interaction failures and heartbreak. Everything we heard and saw over summer break had lead us to think the same was going to be true for Jayme in third grade, but he HAS FRIENDS!!!!!

The next night was the full school open house. We got to see Jayme’s classroom and talk some more with his teacher. Seems Jayme can be very chatty with his new friends, and this has caused a few bumps. But he is doing great in the third grade!