An Object Lesson

August 31, 2011

In an effort to help Kiddo maintain control of herself, I took her out on the deck today and told her a story.

We sat on  the deck with our feet dangling over the edge.

Me: “Why are we safe here?”

Kiddo: “Because of the railing” (motioning to the rails that she was leaning on)

Me: “Would we be safe without them?”

Kiddo: “No, we could fall.”

Me: “Do you remember hearing about the lady who fell?”

Kiddo: “No.”

Me: “She was sitting on the edge of a tall cliff.  It didn’t have any railings.  She was drinking something when her cup slipped.  She reached out to try to catch it and lost her balance.  She fell over the cliff.”  (This really happened not to far from here.)

Me:”Do you think that her cup was expensive?”

Kiddo:”I don’t know.”

Me: “I don’t know either.  Do you think that she should have tried to catch it or should she have let it fall?”

Kiddo:”She should have let it fall.”

Me: “Sometimes our attitudes are like that.  Go stand by the door.”  (Kiddo walks over to the door.) ” When you are happy and having a good time it is like you are way far away from the edge, but there are lots of things that can make you move toward the edge.  When your brain is tired, it is like taking a step toward the edge.  Math was hard yesterday, so it was like taking a step toward the edge. ” (Kiddo took a step toward the edge of the deck.)  “Spelling was hard. It made your brain tired.” (another step) “If your body is tired, that can be another step toward the edge.  Last night you went swimming.  Step forward as many steps as that made you tired.”  (She takes several large steps.)

Then I have her sit down, and I go on: “When Honey stepped on your foot last night, that was like the cup slipping out of your hand.  You could have let it fall and forgiven her, but you chose to reach for it and you slipped over the edge.  It wasn’t a big cliff last night, though.” (I give her a big hug.) “You could have let it go and forgiven her.”

Next I get out a gift bag that I have on the deck.  I let Kiddo look inside.  She pulls out a very badly tarnished silver cup.

Me:”Would this cup break if you dropped it over the edge?”

Kiddo:”Yes.” (Not the answer I’m looking for, LOL.  This is real life folks.)

Me: (dropping the cup a few inches onto the deck) “I don’t think so, what is it made of?” (handing her the cup)

Kiddo: “It’s made of metal, but it would break if you dropped it over the edge of the deck.”

Me: “We are not going to really drop it, but it is not like a china cup.  It wouldn’t break.” (I didn’t say that it would probably get dented pretty badly.  That didn’t fit my story.) “This cup is kinda like your attitude.  It is pretty dirty now but, with some work it could be very pretty.”  (I take out the silver polish and a rag and put some polish on the rag and hand it to Kiddo.) “If you rub hard, you can take away the dirt.  It will be hard work, like changing your attitude can be hard work.” (Kiddo starts rubbing.)

Me: “When you need some time to back away from the edge of the cliff, why don’t you take out this cup and polish it for a while. ” (Kiddo grins.)

 

I don’t know if my little story will help, but I hope so.  One of the things that I have read is that it is good to have a common vocabulary.  I tend to say that Kiddo is “On edge,” but I never really defined what that means.

Early this afternoon, a couple of hours after this conversation, Kiddo started to get worked up again.  I pulled her aside and told her that she was getting close to the edge. Her reaction was much different than normal.  She grinned and ran upstairs.  About 15 minutes later she came down stairs very calm.  Later I asked her if she was working on her cup, and she said that she was.

This could be a good thing.

 

Second full day done, and I’m exhausted!

August 30, 2011

Another day done!

Kiddo managed to get into her whiny, fussy mood by our second subject.  We really did have a few weeks of almost no whinyness (spell check doesn’t think that is a word, but I do, LOL), but it is back full force now.  By writing about it, it helps me to see how often it is really happening.

During EHE (Easter Hemisphere Explorer, our History/Geography workbook), Kiddo totally lost it.  She was frustrated because I had started helping Honey and Kiddo didn’t even have her computer turned on yet.  My thought was to find the right place in the World Book Encyclopedia article and then I would be able to tell Kiddo where to look.  But it just wasn’t happening.  Kiddo ended up in her room and had to do EHE during “recess.”

On the bright side, math went VERY well today!  It was still a bit confusing for her, but she allowed me to repeat/vary my explanations until she understood.  I guess that we are making progress.

On a side note, Honey scraped her food on a nail(?) last night.  I was at the grocery store, so I didn’t hear about it until this morning.  I was relieved when I heard that it bled a lot.  Weird, I know, but if it bleeds well then it will wash out any infection causing bacteria.  We already had one badly infected foot, don’t need another one.  Honey’s foot is looking a lot better, but I do plan to keep an eye on it.

For Honey’s math game today, we didn’t do much.  She laid out her new flower covered blanket and jumped on flowers as she did the flash cards.  Maybe I will come up with something better tomorrow.

 

PS  Did you know that 4 cup measuring cups can run as much as $15?  Yikes!

Our first full day of school. (Math game at the end.)

August 29, 2011

To be totally honest here, our first full day of school went really lousy.  It wasn’t the new part of the day either, it was the very first part.  The part that we have been doing for two weeks.  It was Kiddo.  She was a bit on edge today.  She had a few episodes of whining, but the big problems came with math.  She didn’t understand what they wanted her to do the first time I explained it.  I had explained it rather badly, but there were no second chances, it was too hard and she couldn’t do it.  I kept at it and she kept whining.  I finally told her that she would have to do another page because she couldn’t stop until she had a good attitude.

The first page was about cups, pints, quarts and gallons.  I had gotten out my measuring cups to help understand the concepts.  With the help of the measuring cups and more explanation from me she was able to finish the page.  I thought about putting the cups away, but I didn’t.  Last week she broke something of hers because she was upset.  She didn’t mean to, but being upset she was too rough with it.  I thought that she had learned her lesson.  (Silly me.)

We started the second page of math.  She needed the rods to do the page so I asked her to get them.  She got them off of the shelf and slammed them down on the table.  I told her to put them away.  Once they were away, I asked her to get them out nicely.  (Good parenting move, huh?)  She did so and set them on the table (not gently, but not too roughly).  For about 1/2 a second, I was relieved that we wouldn’t have to do this 10 times then she shoved the box.  Guess what was behind the box?  Yep, the GLASS measuring cups.  All three of them landed on the floor, but only the big one broke.

She was sorry.  I know that she just shoved the box, and didn’t think about the cups behind it.  For once, I was able to stay calm.  I guess that I had known that it was a possibility.  She cleaned up the broken glass (with help, of course), and sat down to finish her math.  She will have to buy me a new one out of her money.

Dearie also had some issues today.  Issues like not wanting to practice piano.  I had decided yesterday that if I could just get her to SIT at the piano for 20 minutes, I would consider it a good thing.  It took repeated requests from me, but she finally sat down at the piano.  She even practiced her songs!  The first part was a pain, but the ending was good!

Now for the MATH GAMES!  Last night I asked Honey what kind of game she wanted.  I was not surprised when she said that she wanted a horse game.  Of course!  She also said an active game and no math games, LOL.  I told her that it was for math, it would have to be a math game.  She said that she only wanted to do addition, no subtraction or multiplication or division.  Well, I had decided to start with addition so no problem.  Here is a picture of the math board that I made:

It is just the felt square numbers that I made waaaaaaay back when I was in college.  A few are missing, so I just put masking tape on some blank felt squares and called it good, LOL.  I made flash cards with the facts that I wanted to review.  I figured that I could pull them out of the pile if she knows them quickly and easily.  Then I showed her a card and she had to jump on the answer.  For answers like 14 she put one foot on 1 and one foot on 4.  (Maybe I should have had her do 10 and 4 hmmmm….. have to think about that one.)  Every time she jumped on a number I put a penny on the felt square.  If it was a number like 14 both the 1 and the 4 got a penny.  At the end, I had her count up the pennies and figure out how many nickles to trade them in for.  (Had to sneak in one division problem, LOL.)  It wasn’t much of a game, but it did give her some much needed practice in addition.

I think that we will do something with horses tomorrow.

Salsa, Salsa everywhere, but not a bit to eat.

August 27, 2011

I spent yesterday with a friend making salsa.  We worked from 2pm until 9pm (with an hour break for dinner).  We made 25.5 quarts of salsa.  It was a lot of work, but it should keep us both in salsa until time to make more next year.  There is bad news however.  Because we made pickled salsa, it will Christmas time before it is ready to eat. 😦  The good news is that I still have some left from last year, so we won’t be short of salsa.

On the school front, things went pretty well this week.  The girls have all chosen to design an island resort for their project.  We have looked at real island resorts (on-line of course), and they have had a lot of great ideas.  Honey is really getting into this.  On Thursday we studied the type of houses used in the pacific islands (modern houses like ours, or round or oval traditional houses).  On Friday, both kinds of houses appeared on her resort.  On Friday, we learned a little about traditional dances, and later that day a dance floor showed up in her resort.  It is so cool to see her using the info that she is learning.  Her resort is beginning to look like a “Where’s Waldo” book.  There are lots and lots of details.

Kiddo’s resort is being drawn in a notebook.  Each page is something that she wants in her resort.  To look at it, you would think that she had just scribbled on each page, to listen to her tell about what she has drawn, you can tell just how much she is learning.

Dearie’s time to work on her project is after lunch.  Since we don’t start doing school after lunch until next week, she really hasn’t started on hers yet. She has started talking about it though, so I’m sure that hers will turn out great too.

Honey finished her math book yesterday.  (She only had a few pages left when we quit for the summer.)  She gets a week off from math books, so I will have lots of great math games to share next week (as soon as I think them up, LOL).

 

A day off…

August 24, 2011

Yesterday turned out to be the day that we took off.  We went to an amusement park.  It was a lot of fun! Kiddo and Honey will ride anything that they are big enough for, (which is almost everything).  Dearie isn’t into scarey rides as much, but she rode a lot more this year than she did last year.  Last year all we could get her on was the scrambler, the bumper cars, and a couple of kid rides.  This year she rode those as well as the Zepher (swings that go around at an angle), the log flume, white water canyon (twice), and shake, rattle and roll (a 3-D version of the scrambler).

My favorite ride was the new Wind Seeker.  It was amazing!  30 stories high, but not fast moving.  No fast drops, or fast corners.  You just go up (and up and up), go around in a circle and come down.  It was really cool.  Dearie even thought about riding it.  (I won’t force her to ride anything and I even tell her if I think that one will be too much for her.  I told her that it would be a bit scarey, but I thought that she would like it.)  She decided against it.  Maybe next year.

The biggest surprise to me was that Honey wanted to ride the Drop Zone.  That is a very high ride that drops you down very quickly.  (I don’t even want to ride that one.)  For the last ride of the day, Honey and Kiddo both rode it.  They got off with the biggest smiles on their faces.  They really liked it.

 

Today turned out to not be such a great day.  We decided to do school on a “one hour delay.”  Everyone needed to sleep in after the big day yesterday.  Being tired also made for lousy attitudes today.  Kiddo was the worst, complaining about a lot of her work.  I bet that tomorrow will be better.

More resistance

August 22, 2011

Just as I expected, Dearie put up a bit of resistance to Math, Science, and English.  For math we just did a few problems to figure out where to start (we will back up just a bit from where we left off).  That wasn’t too bad.  Then came science.  She certainly didn’t want to do it the way I wanted her too, but I think that we worked out a good compromise.  After all, the idea of science is for her to learn the material, not to learn how “I” study.  If she doesn’t do well on her tests, then I will insist that she try some of my study tips.  If she does well on the tests, then she can keep doing things her way.  I did insist that she do one written lab report per unit (approx. two weeks long).  She would rather not do any, but such is life…

She also didn’t like what I asked for in English.  Right now her English textbook is just reading.  The practice exercises come later, after she has read the first unit in the book.  I talked some more about my study tips for helping her remember the material, but of course, my ideas didn’t fly.  However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that she did try to learn the material.  She came to me when she was done and told me about the things she had learned and the methods she had used to memorize the material!  Maybe we will make it through this year after all.

The other two girls seemed to enjoy the second two hours of school.  They liked their new art curriculum.  Honey did well reading to me, and Kiddo enjoyed her reader.  They also worked on their projects for Geography.  This two hour block doesn’t have a lot of heavy work for them.   Overall, the day went pretty well.

After “School” we watched “The Inn of the Sixth Happiness” on Netflix.  It is a good movie about Gladys Aylward, missionary to China.  It is a 2 and a half hour movie, but everyone liked it.  It does have a bit of violence in it as it is set in the middle of a war between the Chinese and the Japanese.  To be honest though, Gladys Aylward saw a whole lot more violence in her life than is shown in the movie.  It is a fine line to walk to give the setting that the people are living in and giving the viewers nightmares.

I still don’t know which day this week we are taking off (it was going to be tomorrow, but now maybe not), but we do have some fun things planned.  Life is not all about school.

 

 

One week of school down!

August 19, 2011

Today, school went well.  Everyone has adjusted to the fact that they have to do Bible,  their geography workbooks, and math or current events.  Next week we add in math, science, English workbooks, and Spanish for Dearie; Art typing, reading aloud to mom, and project time for Honey; and Art, reading, project time, and piano practice (she has been doing this, but now it will be in the schedule) for Kiddo.

Wow!  I didn’t realize that all the core subjects for Dearie will be added this week.  I don’t expect her to like any of them right now.  She will get used to the new schedule, but I bet next week will be a hard one too.  Honey and Kiddo are not adding in anything that they find difficult, so they shouldn’t be too much of a problem (I hope).  They both get to try the new art program that I bought.  They are looking forward to that!

Overall, this was a good week. I read somewhere that if you can get everyone in the right place at the right time, you had a good first day.  Today, actual learning went on.  Can’t ask for more than that!

 

A better day

August 17, 2011

Today’s school still had some grumbling, but overall was a lot better than Monday.  The girls had to pick a project to do.  They are studying the Pacific Islands and there was a long list of projects to pick from.  Dearie and Honey decided to design an island resort.  Kiddo decided to learn to play some island music.  They have a few weeks to work on these projects and I hope that they put a good bit of effort into them.

Honey made some discoveries in math today.  She was very proud of herself.  Once you figure something out for yourself, then you really understand it.  I think that she understands fractions a bit more today than she did yesterday.

Maybe the week is look up…

A new school year

August 15, 2011

We started school today.  Fortunately, we only had two hours of work to do.  Unfortunately, it felt like 10 hours of work.  In reality we were done by 10:30, but it seemed like it should be lunch time.  Lots of screaming and yelling.  Not so much about the work, but attitudes were awful.    I am rather glad that we have tomorrow off.

Yep, you read that right!  We are taking the second day of school off.  It really couldn’t be helped.  When I went to pick a date to start school, about every Tue. had something scheduled.  I realized that waiting an extra month just so that we could get in a full week seemed silly.  I thought about starting mid-week, but ended up deciding not to put it off any longer.

As to only having a couple of hours of work.  I decided that I wanted a head start on a couple of subjects, so we are easing into school this year.  This week school is 8:00am to 10:00am.  Next week school goes till noon.  The third week we will do a full school day.  This also gives me a chance to work out the kinks in the schedule as we go. Part of the reason we went late today is that there was a lot of introductory stuff that won’t normally be there.  That and a few computer glitches.  I tried to have everything set up, but I didn’t quite get it all.  I’m sure that Wed. will go smoother.  (I hope.)  I’m glad that I don’t have to do the introductory stuff for all of the subjects on the same day.  That could make for one looooooong day.

 

I know that I haven’t posted in forever.  Maybe I will do a bit better this year.  Maybe….

 

 

More damage than I thought

February 23, 2011

Turns out that we do have some damage to the roof.  There are two or three baseball sized holes.  You can see daylight from the attic.  So now we have containers in the attic to catch the rainwater that comes through the holes.  The workmen were supposed to come Mon. to fix it, but it was raining.  They came yesterday, but the needed more stuff so they came back today…  But the roof still had ice on it, so they are coming back tomorrow.  Maybe they will have it fixed by the end of the week.  Maybe.

Crash! Bang! Boom! Rip! Scrape! Tear… Thud!

February 3, 2011

Before the ice storm hit the other day, my sister asked me to post pictures of it.  She said sometimes you can get really pretty pictures in an ice storm.

Somehow, I don’t think this is what she meant.

 

You can see the neighbor’s play house in this one.

In this one you can see that while the fence is toast, the gate is still standing.

Below is a picture of the tree a couple of years ago.  The picture is deceiving because the tree on the left is about 10 feet from the camera while the big one on the right is about 50 feet from the camera.  The big one is on the other side of the creek, but you can’t see the creek in this picture.  There is a good sized tree behind the big tree and it is still standing.

We had talked about taking this one down, but both Dh and I thought that we would lose branches from it not that it would come up from the roots.  We try to get the dead trees down so that we don’t have this problem, but this one was only half dead.  I guess we learned our lesson.

Overall, we have a lot of praise to give to God. The tree did not hit the house more directly.  It could have been much, much worse.  As it is, I think that the thing that got the most damage was my nerves!  I was on the other side of the wall (where it hit) when the tree came down.  I heard it hit the house and scrape its way down.  Very scary!

We have people coming later in the week to inspect the roof and see just how much damage there is.

 

She’s Reading!!!

January 29, 2011

I’m almost afraid to post this.  I have been here before.  There have been times where I thought that Honey would be reading on her own in just a few weeks…   but it never happened.  This time is different!

She is reading to me for about 20min. at a time.  She makes mistakes, to be sure, but they are not the kind of mistakes that would affect comprehension.  She even asked me why I am allowed to put words in a different order while I read, but she is not. (How did she know I do that!?!)  Another really telling sign is that she reads things without realizing it.  Someone picked up a book the other day and Honey read the tag line on the back of the book (big print).  It took me a minute to realize that she had actually read it. This is not something I would ever have expected her to do. She also no longer needs a card under every line and a finger pointing to every word.  She can keep her place as she reads.

For now, I have her reading really easy books.  She has a lot of catching up to do.  (Do you have any idea how many books we have in this house?)  So every day she reads 2-3 easy books.  This will help her to build fluency.  This will help her to build confidence.  I have tried harder books (3-4 grade chapter books), but she is really not ready for them yet.  I bet that she will be soon.

She is not seeing the difference.  To her reading is hard.  It has always been hard and it will always be hard.  The fact that she does not complain about reading anymore, or the fact that she laughs and talks about a book as she is reading it is lost on this 9yo.  But I believe that her impression of reading will change over time.  A lot of time to be sure.  Reading HAS been hard for her for the last 5 years.  (She sounded out her first words at 4yo.  She has been working on reading for 5 years.)  A month of change is not enough for her to believe that there is really a change.  It will come with time.

The last three years have been really hard for me in this department.  I love to read.  Dh likes to read.  Dearie loves to read.  And in the last year, Kiddo has learned to love reading.  What about Honey?  It was about three years ago that I realized that something was wrong.  I did research.  I took her to vision therapy.  It helped, but it didn’t solve the problem.  I tried several different reading programs. I bribed her.  I scolded her. Finally, I took her to The Reading Doctor and she sent us to another doctor for vision therapy.  The first few months, I thought that I was just wasting my money.  I couldn’t see any difference.  In fact, it wasn’t until Honey’s eyes tested BETTER than normal that she really began to take off. (I don’t mean how well she sees, but how well her eyes work together.)  It has been a long three years of trying to figure out what to do, but I am so glad that I didn’t give up. Honey is a really smart kid, and I can’t wait to see what comes next!

 

 

 

 

Anyone want to get a jump on birthday gifts?

January 20, 2011

I ran across a great fundraiser/gift idea for Christmas, now someone else is doing the same fundraiser.  They are selling hooded towels for $25, and they get to keep almost half to help fund their adoption.  (This family is trying to raise money to bring home three (yes three) kids from Bulgaria.)  I have been following this blog for quite a while, and they have had a host of delays that mean cost increases.

The towels are really wonderful.  Very thick and well made. Very much worth $25.  They are big enough for Dearie, and with the hood on they come to Kiddo’s knees.  We got pink ones with block letters on them, and it really helps with keeping track of towels.  (If one is on the floor, now I know who it belongs to.)

So anyway, if you are interested hop on over here: http://10kidsin2010.blogspot.com/2011/01/kicking-it-off.html

(You might have to cut and past the link into the address line to get it to work.)

If you have any questions, just ask!

It broke the news!

January 10, 2011

The other day we were sitting at the table eating dinner when Honey said that there had been a bad accident on the freeway.  I asked her how she knew and she said that it “broke the news.”  Well, it was “breaking news”…

Gymnastics

January 3, 2011

Its time for Kiddo to start gymnastics again, and Honey is going with her!  Honey didn’t seem to excited when she pulled the leotard out of her stocking.  Even when I explained it to her, all I got was a shrug, but in the days since…  Honey and Kiddo have been playing “gymnastics” almost everyday.  They get dressed up and practice the things that Kiddo has already learned.  We had a warm day a few days ago, and Honey went out to practice climbing the rope.  She managed to get up about 6-8 feet off the ground.  (High enough for me, LOL)  She seemed rather shaky, so once she gets better at it, I wouldn’t be surprised if she goes higher.  I’m not sure how to put a limit on it.  (Its not like I can climb up the rope and paint a line on it. LOL)  She may not have shown it at first, but Honey is very excited about her chance at gymnastics class.  She put her leotard more than an hour before class.  I put all that excitement to good use, and told them to clean their room before gymnastics. 😉

 

They both had a great time at gymnastics, and are looking forward to next week.

 

Happy New Year

January 1, 2011

It has been a while since I have posted anything (a loooooong while), sorry about that.  I will try to better this year.

Everyone is doing well here.  I have a lot of things to write about, but I don’t want to do one big long rambling post, so I will spread it out over the next few days.

 

For today, I will tell you a little about our New Years Eve party.  We were invited to a friends house for the evening, and being New Years Eve we were taking games.  Dearie wanted to take her new game (Telepathy) because, “There will be people there who have never played it before, and I will be able to beat them!”  She has not really complained that everyone seems to beat her at this game (even Honey), but obviously she wanted to win.

(She did beat a couple of people, so all was good.)

 

 

Doctor’s Appointments

September 2, 2010

We have had a busy week, and it is not even finished yet.  Honey had an eye doctor’s appointment on Mon.  Yet another doctor in our quest to help her read better.  I was expecting more vision therapy, but the doctor said that glasses were the way to go.  Evidently Honey compensates pretty well for her astigmatism and her far-sightedness, but it takes a lot of work and she wears out quickly.  The last eye doctor we saw noticed both of these things, but said that they were minor and didn’t need any treatment.  This eye doctor said that it didn’t look too bad until she dilated Honey’s eyes, and then she could see that Honey really could use glasses.  The glasses may not be forever, but for now we hope that they will help.

Honey brought home a book from the library yesterday and sat down and read it to me.  She read well for the first 3-4 min. then she started skipping words and having trouble and wanted to quit.  This gives me hope.  If the glasses can keep her from wearing out so quickly, maybe she will be able to stick with it longer.  (When we were doing school, reading was in the middle to end of the day.  Maybe her eyes were already worn out and that is why she had so many problems.)  She should get her new glasses next week.

Kiddo was the next to see a doctor.  She went to the ENT.  I really didn’t want to take her as the ENT is a surgeon, so the way they fix things is by surgery.  Of course I was right (didn’t really want to be in this case), he wanted to do surgery.  Kiddo’s tonsils are enlarged.  She comes by it honestly as she is at least the forth generation in our family to have this problem.  (Not every kid, but at least one kid in each generation.)  The thing is that they don’t get infected, so I wonder if they really need to come out.  She does snore, and maybe even has some sleep apnea issues that would be helped by taking them out, but I am still not eager to have them out.  The ENT suggested a sleep study to prove to ourselves that they need to come out.  That sounded better than just taking them out because they are big, but it could be an expensive study.  Why are these decisions so hard (and expensive)?

Dearie’s Blog

August 27, 2010

Dearie now has her blog up and running.  For now she can post on it whenever she likes, but after school starts (the day after Labor day) she will have to post something everyday.  I’m sure that she would love it if you would stop by and say hi!

http://modernenglish101.wordpress.com/

I decided to go with a generic name for the URL (what you type in to get there) and then let her pick the name that goes at the top of the site.  Don’t be surprised if it looks different every time you visit her site.  I’m sure that she will spend a lot of time figuring out how to make it look the way she wants it to.

Kings Island

August 26, 2010

We have had a very busy summer and it is not over yet.  We won’t start school until the day after Labor Day.  On Tuesday we went to Kings Island.  Tuesday is the day that most of the schools around here started (though I did hear of some that started on Wednesday).  It was a GREAT day to go to Kings Island.  There were NO lines (well we did wait about 15min for a tram like ride in the kid’s area).  Most of the time we walked up to the gate and got on the next ride.  A couple of times we had to wait through a ride, but that was rare.  On the down side, the park closed a little earlier than normal (8pm instead of 10pm) and there were not any shows (at least that we saw).  Seems like a fair trade-off.

The kids really enjoyed it.  The little ones were the ones that most surprised me.  They were game for ANYTHING.  Honey and Kiddo both rode everything we suggested, even the Beast and Vortex!  Yep, 7yo Kiddo rode the Vortex!  Neither one of them really liked the upside down part, but they said that they would do it again next year.  Dearie didn’t like a lot of the rides.  She wouldn’t ride any of the roller coasters, and it took a lot of coaxing to get her on anything that went up in the air.  After she tried some of them, she liked them and wanted to ride them over and over. (Figures!)  The Scrambler was her favorite.

We just might have to make Kings Island a “Not Back to School” tradition.

Birthday gifts

August 21, 2010

Parents used to stay up all night the night before Christmas putting bicycles together.  What do they do now?  Stay up all night trying to figure out how to make the electronics work, of course.

Honey got an MP3 player for her birthday.  I wanted to load several books on it for her to listen to, but when I tried… I just couldn’t get it to work.  So I asked DH (the computer guru) for help.  He managed to come up with a few ideas, but it still wouldn’t work.  We finally sat down together and figured out that the player that I bought would not work with the software that I was trying to use.  What a pain!  DH ended up finding an old MP3 player of his that we were able to load with the books that I wanted to put on it.  So we weren’t up all night, and Honey didn’t get the cool looking pink MP3 player, but she did get the stories that she wanted to listen to!

Both girls got a lot of great gifts, but I think the biggest hits were horse-back riding and gymnastic classes, and everything relating to said items!

A Praise!

August 19, 2010

God is so good to us.  For Honey’s birthday, I have been planning to take her horseback riding.  There is a park not to far from here that offers hour long rides on the weekends.  I looked it up in the spring, and then forgot about it.  I honestly thought that we could just show up and pay for and get a ride.  Silly me!

Yesterday, I looked it up again and saw that you could get reservations. I thought that it would be easier if we had reservation so I called.  As I was calling I thought to my self, “Sun. at 2:00pm is what I will ask for.”  I finally got to the right person and she says, “Let me see… How about Sun. at 2:00pm.”

I told her that was exactly the time I was thinking, and she was very surprised.  She then told me that that was the only time they had left all summer long!  :0

I’m very grateful to God for covering my mistakes so that Honey can have the birthday present that she most wants.   Isn’t God good!

Chores going better and other stuff

August 17, 2010

Chores went much better today.  We have been rather slack around here this summer with baths and brushing teeth and brushing hair.  Getting back into the swing of baths was no problem (a little bubble bath goes a long way. 🙂 )  But getting everyone to do their teeth and hair, well that was another story.  I think that they are starting to get the idea though, and after only two days!

The only problem with chores today was when someone thought an afternoon chore was a morning chore.  (She was ready to unload the dishwasher and didn’t take to kindly to being told to do the trash instead.)  Hopefully by the end of the week, this will be second nature to everyone.

Dearie will be starting her blog when we start school the beginning of Sept.  (Haven’t decided if it will be Aug. 30 or Sept. 6, probably Sept. 6 as we have a bunch of appointments the week of Aug. 30.)  Since she has to write everyday, I figured that I would try to do better with my blog.  She still hasn’t come up with a name yet (any suggestions?), but once she gets it going I will post the link.

Speaking of appointments, we have a couple coming up.  Honey will be getting her eyes checked again.  This doctor does a complete exam, then dilates the eyes and then does the exam again.  Then they compare the exams and can tell which muscles are not working right and can give exercises to help those muscles work better.  If it works as well as they say, it should really help her reading.

Kiddo has an appointment with the Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor.  Her pediatrician recommended that she see one a while ago, “to rule out any structural issues affecting speech.”   I figured that if we went they would find SOMETHING, and she seemed to be doing fine so I put it off.  Well, her orthodontist recommended the same thing as he saw that she had a small airway.  He even guessed correctly that she snores.  I have a friend that has a ENT that she really likes so we will be going there.  I hope that they don’t see anything, but I bet that in for an education.  I don’t even know what I don’t know, so I have will have a lot to learn.

New Schedule

August 16, 2010

We won’t be starting school until Sept, but we have already started the non-school parts of the new schedule.  Every year I make a schedule for school.  It is a pain, trying to figure out when and where everyone should be, but it is well worth it.  I can’t have a kid doing Spanish and practicing the piano at the same time because the computer and the piano are right next to each other and the person doing Spanish on the computer wouldn’t be able to hear anything if someone was trying to play the piano.  It is these little details that having a written schedule helps me to see.

Starting the non-school parts early is a new thing this year, but I can already see that it is going to be really helpful.  The kids are balking at their new chores and getting them used to that ahead of time will lessen the battles on the first day of academic stuff.

Hopefully it will get us all used to doing the things that need to be done, and doing them quickly.  It took us till almost 11am to get chores done this morning!  (We are supposed to start school at 9am.)  After lunch was even worse.  A combination of chores that are hard because they have not been done in a while and kids who didn’t want to do them.  (When the door to the bathroom won’t open because no one has picked up in there in… I don’t know how long, it takes longer than if it was cleaned yesterday.)  I know that eventually the kids get to the point that they do the chores because it is time to do them and stop complaining.  I hope that we get to that point soon!

Well I gotta run!  It is time for my chores and I guess that I need to set a good example ;).

A review – Oxford Illustrated Children’s Dictionary

July 19, 2010

What a nice children’s dictionary!  Kiddo (6yo who reads well) just sat down and looked through it.  She really liked the bright colors and the pictures (one or two per page).  She was disappointed that it did not include the word ‘ballet,’  but she did find the word gymnastics.  She spent some time reading the front pages that tell about grammar and how to use the dictionary.

Honey has an electronic dictionary that works well for her, but I think that this just became Kiddo’s new dictionary.  It has 50,000 words in it and should work great for now!  I don’t know if it is because it is a great dictionary or because Kiddo is just weird, but she did just spend 15 min. reading it.  I’ll go with it being a good dictionary, cause I keep flipping through it myself.

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this book to review.  Even so, I write whatever I want to about it.

Long Time, No Blog

June 17, 2010

I’m still alive, it has just been a very busy few weeks. So how about a catch-up post?

My nieces and nephews came to visit a couple of weeks ago.  They spent nights at my Mom’s, but were here all day.  I had forgotten how much work it is to keep a 1yo out of trouble.  With my sister’s kids and my kids, the ages were 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, and 10.  Somehow it seemed easier to keep everyone out of trouble if we went somewhere else, so we spent a lot of time on the go.  We went to the library, the children’s museum, half-price books, the park.  I also put sand in the sand table, cleaned up the basement so they had a good place to play, got out the sprinklers, and made sure that everyone had a bike or trike to ride.  It was a very busy week.

The first 4 days that the “cousins” were here we were also doing standardized testing for Honey and Kiddo.  (My mom didn’t bring them over until 10:00am, so we did a couple of sub-tests every day.)  I got the results back yesterday.  I was a bit surprised.  Kiddo scores were the same as Dearie’s first grade scores (very good).  Honey on the other hand didn’t do as well over-all as I had hoped.  Her scores are good enough for me to turn into the state, but worse than last year.  She is really going to have to work hard next year.  I’m not sure what else I can do to help her, but I am going to have to figure out something.

After the “cousins” left, we had a couple of down days and then we were off to the National Beginner Bible Bowl competition.  The kids did very well in the Round Robin on Monday.  On Tuesday (double elimination) they had a bye the first round, won the next two rounds, and lost the next two rounds.  They tied for 9th place (same as last year).  We had fun at the indoor water park that was attached to the hotel and it was a fun time.  (No one likes loosing of course, and there were a few tears over that, but over-all it was fun.)

Finally, I will leave you with a funny:

Yesterday, Uncle J came up so that we could take him to the Airport.  He is interviewing to be the director of a Montessori school in Alaska.   He would be the budget/fund-raising guy.  Anyway, we get him to the airport and I turn and ask Honey what she would say if I told her that Uncle J was flying on United.  She pipes up with “United Breaks Guitars! and Uncle J is wearing a guitar shirt!”  I told her that it was a good thing that he was flying American then.  All of the kids were pretty sure that Uncle J’s shirt would be ruined if he flew on United.  (If you have no idea what this is all about, watch this You Tube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YGc4zOqozo

Well that about catches you up on everything.  Hopefully I will do better at posting over the summer.

Standardized Testing

May 29, 2010

Its that time of year again.  Time to do our yearly standardized test.  This year only Kiddo and Honey have to take the test because Dearie took the Explore test a couple of months ago and I will use it as her test.

I got the test for Kiddo and Honey a couple of days ago.  I looked them over, and even though Honey is 6 months younger than Dearie was when she took this test I think that she will do just as well.  There is nothing on the test that she doesn’t know or can’t do.  The only question is to see how well she takes tests.

Honey on the other hand is harder to gauge.  I’m pretty sure that she will ace the Science and Math sections, but everything else is based on reading so that will be a bit more tricky for her.  My guess is that she will be close to grade level, at least I hope so!

As far as the state is concerned, as long as they get above the 25% mark for their composite (average of all scores) there is no problem.  I’m sure that they can get above 25%!

Dear Kiddo,

May 22, 2010

Dear Kiddo,

I’m sorry that I laughed at you yesterday.

Well, I didn’t quite laugh out loud, but I wanted to.

You were trying so hard.

You were doing your best.

It wasn’t very nice of me.

But when you said, “YOU’RE THE MEANEST MOM IN THE WORLD!” I couldn’t help but to give you a genuine smile and say, “Thank you, that means that I am doing my job.”

I know that it wasn’t the response that you were looking for.

But I really do see that comment as a compliment.

I wonder what other compliments you will come up with today.

Love, Mom

K’Nex Ball Machine

May 20, 2010

Today we have a guest blogger.  Dearie is going to tell us about her Christmas present…

This is my K`nex ball machine.

 

It is about as tall as I am.

There are three ways the balls can go.

The track,

 

The knock and fall thingies,

  

And the chute.

 

A conveyor belt type thing brings them up to the top,

 

And a flipping thing determines which way they go.

It takes them to the bottom, and they go on back up.

Sensitive Kid

May 18, 2010

Last week we were at church for a baptism.  Our home group has a member who lives in a retirement community and runs a Bible Study there.  One of the members of his group wanted to be baptized, so they came to our church to baptize her there.  They had a little service first, and then while she was getting ready, we sang a couple of hymns.  I enjoyed singing the first one.  They didn’t have hymnals, but I knew the words.  I knew the words to the second one, but I couldn’t sing it.  It was “In the Garden.”  As I sat there crying quietly, Kiddo looked up at me and said, “I know why you are crying.”  I smiled at her (though my tears) and looked away.  A few days later she brought it up again, “You were crying because they sang that song at Grandma’s Wedding.”  I really had to laugh at that one.  Funeral Kiddo, funeral!  She just said, “I mix those two up!”

Why I love All About Spelling: A Review

May 4, 2010

Last year when I bought All About Spelling, I planned to use it as a reading program.  It turns out that it has been a great reading program, a great spelling program, and so much more.  Honey is learning Reading, Spelling, Grammar, and Handwriting.  All from one spelling program!

All About Spelling teaches phonics rules.  While the rules are listed as spelling rules, it is not hard to use them as reading rules too.   To help Honey’s reading, I have her read the word cards that come with the program.  I also write out the phrases and sentences that are meant for dictation and have her practice reading those.

For Spelling, she spells all of the words as well as the phrases and sentences.  Sometimes she uses the letter tiles that come with the program to make the words, but often she just writes them.

I know what you are thinking now.  “That’s all good and well for Spelling and Reading, but how can a Spelling program teach handwriting and grammar?”  Actually it is a lot easier than you think.  When we started the first book of All About Spelling, one of the first steps was to have the Honey write the letters as I said the sounds for them.  I would read the sounds that each letter made and she would write them.  I decided that just making the letter wasn’t enough, she had to make the letter correctly.  She would bring her handwriting book to the spelling table and for months she had to look at how to make many of the letters.  But guess what?  She now has the best handwriting of any of my kids.  It was actually this feature that made me decide to use All About Spelling for Kiddo.

At first I was worried that if Kiddo did All About Spelling that she would quickly pass up Honey.  I would hate for that to happen, but honestly Honey wouldn’t care that much.  Then I realized that Kiddo would need lots of practice with the handwriting part of the program.  This will slow her down, and Honey has a year and a half head start on her.  Maybe it will work.

Now for Grammar, how about that?  All About Spelling does not just teach how to spell words, it teaches how to write sentences.  Each lesson has several phrases and several sentences for me to dictate to Honey.  Now Honey knows that sentences begin with a capital and end with a period (or question mark or exclamation mark), but when it comes to actually doing it she often forgets.  We haven’t gotten very far into the program, but at some point I expect the sentences to become more complex and include more grammar.  I may have to fill in the rules, but the chance to use them is inherent in this program.

I have heard that there will soon be an All About Reading, and I wish that I could have used it, but I must say that I am very happy with All About Spelling.