Monday, December 31, 2012

Welcome 2013

Again I have a failure to meet my deadlines.  I wanted the new school house to be ready on January 3rd but it is a job I cannot do alone and do not seem to have motivated people to help me. 

OH well, guess we will move on with welcoming in the New Year with a few friends at the house with a beautiful, heavy, wet snow coming down.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Only 24 Hours in a Day?

I think I need more.  Not really, it all manages to get done and I am exhausted by 6pm every night so I am not sure I would want more hours.  I could use a double that can help to get more done but then I am afraid I will not really feel the experience if my double was to be the one in the experience.  Gee, the thoughts could go on and on.

We continue to make progress in our learning.  I think that I do not always see it as it is so often small, subtle steps that are easily overlooked.  Specific to both girls are map skills and a continuation of the Continent of Australia.  We will begin the lapbook creation of this study next Monday. 

Our KTM (kitchen table Monday) has turned into a bit of Grandma's bed Monday as well. Guess we can call it GBM in the middle of KTM.  Our lessons on the continent of Australia were not fully met to our needs in just a Hands of a Child lesson, so we have library books we are using as well.  Those are best experienced within our GBM portion of the day.

We are gearing up for Christmas!  The house remodel all completed has made my home beautiful this season.  I cannot begin to tell you the comfort of my home now. 

Owen has begun hanging around for portions of our day. Here is a picture of the little guy, poor thing, as Faith placed him on a toy bin to sit and not disturb her important work.  Her work began as some clock drawings but while my back was turned changed into some Alice in Wonderland style of clock art.
I also have been tending to the newest grandson, Graham, as his parents have headed back to work.  This is only a short term thing, as they live 25 miles away and I have to pick him up at 5am then get him back to them when they get home.  I hate that they live so far from me but I am not a young chicken and don't think I could last long if he was here everyday along with the schooling kids.  I applaud you homeschool moms who teach and nurse at the same time.  I cannot imagine the distraction it would cause if this was an every day affair.


 
Besides the school agenda we are busy planning a huge Christmas Party for the Girl Scouts of our service unit.  It looks to be a lot of fun coming up.
 
So off I go, the girls will arrive any minute now and I need to get ready for school.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Just stuff to tell you.

 
So after all my comments you probably have come to think that I am a stick in the mud and just trying to teach just like every other school.  Well, I decided to post this picture.  It is not actually typical but yet it does show the spontaneous flexibility we can have in the midst of our lessons.  I had to laugh as I felt that Faith's doll at least gave her more fingers and toes to count with.
 
At this time we are still working at our kitchen table. BUT the good news is that the schoolhouse can now be completed. I have had it filled to the brim with housing items as we have done a huge redo of our flooring and a little paint job as well.  Since my children have left I have been without extra beds as well so now we have a room just for grandkids and a triple decker bunk bed (bunk w/ trundle).
Here are a few pics of what we have done.
 
Hardwood floors in dining room, living room, hall and one bedroom
 

                                             Ceramic in laundry room, bathrooms and kitchen

                                                     Gabe liked the cool floor
My dream fridge!
 
I cannot seem to find the picture of the kids room but we put new carpet in that room and my bedroom.  Those are the cold rooms of the house and I wanted a warm floor to step on.
 
 
Now that my computer issues are resolved I can catch up a bit too.  I will talk about our vacation we had next time.  I hope to get the one room schoolhouse painted and floor done in the next few weeks.  I have all the items needed as well as new work tables for each child.  Last item needed as a heater for the room and hubby got that yesterday.
 
As far as school goes, all is well in the world.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Pet Peeves about HomeSchooling Families

This is a riot as I myself am a homeschool family.  I have met many people in my life and often they can be clumped into one or another subtitle. Such as, Generation Xers are a group of immediate gratification brats, or Baby Boomers are defiant to their hippie parents ideas and create corporate greed and of course the Hippie Generation full of ideas and no real follow through but cave into society demands eventually.  BUT you homeschool families run the gamut of ideas and lifestyles.

There are those who homeschool for their religious freedom. Great folks, I believe in that idea 100% but many focus so much on biblical memorization and studies that they do not approach the core subjects with enough vim and vigor. Their child cannot stand comfortable in a Spelling Bee .

There are those who homeschool because their child has specialized learning needs. This is by far one of the most important reasons to homeschool and you say what pet peeve could you possibly have about this group. Well, many that I have met (not all) never take the time to learn exactly what it is that delays their child's processing of information so they do not learn how deliver to them the tools they need to succeed as they are able to.  Speaking as a mother of a child with language skills deficit, related to an anoxic brain injury, I must applaud the teacher that taught me how to help my daughter and give her the tools to help herself.  The peeve in this group is the fact that I do not see progress in the children I have met, just parents that further delay development thinking that they will grow into it some day.

Homeschoolers are flexible.  You bet your bibby!  It is important to teach them to be to be flexible. Life will give you lots of unexpected surprises and knowing how to land on your feet comes with encouraging and supporting flexibility. BUT, once again I find many, actually very many, homeschool families so flexible that they drop everything rather than learning how to see a task through and have patience to tend to the  next task or situation at hand. An example of this is the "field trip" experience. OH yes, this is the most pet peeve issue I can think of.  No place in this life can you commit to something and then not follow through. I have seen seventeen families respond to a field trip that would be at a local small dairy. That would be 2-7 children in each family.  Only five families show up for the experience. This is not just the free opportunities, but those that would have a fee involved as well.  All of a sudden little Tommy got behind this week so we are not going to attend or we just did not sleep well so the rest of you can just forget we were going to come. UGH!!

Yes, that is my biggest homeschooler pet peeve.  I adore the flexibility but it seems to come at a cost to many.

Then the final one that just ticks me off in a big way would be those who find it acceptable to tell me what I am doing wrong or how I could do it better IF ONLY.... perhaps I am not their kind of Christian, or by taking on what God has asked me to do I am enabling my daughter and her husband, or instead of homeschooling I am schooling at home, or what ever they feel empowered to state.  You see, I would never say such a thing to you just to justify my views or homeschool style. But there are so many pompous, self-righteous, women that I come in contact with only to discover that generally, I do not like women much either. 

OK  I said it!
Now to focus on a review of lessons so that I am prepared for tomorrow.  That's right, tomorrow I am going into the day with a plan. Some days I fly by the seat of my pants and other days I am a different sort. I always have a goal and expected outcomes. Goals are something to reach for and an outcome is a way to measure the effectiveness of the goal. My nurse in me always has a way of showing up in my day.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Recommittment Is a Daily Need

I recall the day I committed to teaching Grace.  I recall the day that Faith began wanting to come to school too. I recall why I wanted to do this.  I also recall the day I understood what Jesus had done for me and that I wanted Him in my life every day. 

I quickly realized how difficult it is to face the world each day without keeping the commitment to learn, follow and exemplify the Lord.  It seemed that that I had to recommit to Him on a daily basis to keep the evils of this earthly world away.  Teaching your grandchildren/children is very much like that.

Some refer to homeschooling as being flexible. Yes, that is right but if you are not careful and do not keep some kind of track about what you do, set goals with time frames and recommit daily then you will get lost.

I understand that a lot of things entered our lives and managed to distract us in the name of flexibility.  What if we were in public school when life happens?  Kids still have to go on and try the best they can to succeed. I do not think that would have happened for Grace.  I know she would have gotten lost. So, it seems we are back on track. Making daily progress and meeting goals.

Grace has made it to the third grade math book and doing very well. She continues to do fourth grade reading work, although she can read higher level. Still, she is nearly finished with her third grade language book, spelling is always a challenge to teach. I try to let her strong phonics skills guide her. 

Faith is making great progress in her first grade work. She is right on track with our goals and will likely finish things up in spring.

The house repairs are winding down and we will begin creating our new schoolhouse. It is way behind!  I hope to be in it in time from Christmas break.  Go figure!

Back to my original thought.  Commitment is a difficult thing.  I know I am not the "typical" homeschooler. I have some real pet peeves about the things fellow homeschoolers do. I am going to make a post about it next time, I think.  No offense intended but I am an older generation, the end of the baby boomers.  I have some very traditional thoughts in the midst of this nontraditional methodology.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Geography Lessons Begin

I am horrible at geography. Simply put, it was not taught to me in public schools decades ago. I do not want this for the children I teach. I watched the Geography Bee and noticed that few from my same culture participate in it and do not excel in the topic. I let the girls know today that much of the information I will teach them will be new material to me and if they have a question we will often have to seek the answers together. 

The first thing we did days ago was to identify the continents. Enchanted Learning had great color in activities to help learn the material. Today we began the download I got called Geography Through Art. I love this study as it explores more than just geography.  We took a moment to learn a bit about cultures as well. The project for today was Aboriginal Dot Art.  We have looked at the map overall and identified the region on the globe of Oceania and the the land located in the area. We touched on on the bodies of water a bit but have so much more to do on this topic. While doing this learning unit we will combine it with a Hands of a Child lapbook about the continent of Australia.

We have separated Grace and Faith in their history, science and health subjects as Faith just was not interested yet in the more detailed material so I am getting creative with her needs. I can't repeat the same book with her that we did together so we touch on review of that material of other printable worksheets and discussions.

Last day of gymnastics class. We are pleased that it is coming to an end. The home school coop, SCCCHE, that we belong to is just not the right fit for us after all. At first we were thrilled as we felt that there were resources that would enhance the experience for all of us. We read their statement of faith and it is in keeping with our belief structure but felt not hesitancy to sign it and join. We participate in the Master's Lyceum but are disappointed with the experience overall. This semester very little is offered that will enhance our semester. Sure they would be with others but the classes had little to offer them. I just do not see the benefit of a class that twist balloons or makes things with duct tape. Fun, sure but not educational. They can get better gymnastics than the ML offering.  I don't understand it as the classes I conducted were educational on many levels. Then there is the control issues that the "leadership team" has. I could go on and on but overall I thought a coop meant that we share ideas with each other but found out that any ideas I have or communication I offer must first go through a handful of people who are the coordinators of the group or else we undermine the effectiveness of the leadership team. WOW!  I thought a coordinator did just that while we are all self lead (with God's Hand).  I know that many feel the same way but are willing to take advantage of all the free work done by the handful so that they can benefit. We just feel it is a matter of principal and perhaps we should walk away. I know this does not make sense when spoken in the general terms but I have serious doubt about the direction of this group.

Well...off to class.....

Friday, October 19, 2012

A long, long time ago there was

blog that kept up with our progress and activities. Then an evil monster named Too Busy began to slowly make it disappear. One day in October, the teacher called Grandma stopped and watched the leaves fall and the branches blow. She realized that Too Busy had taken her away from the blog and was even halted some progress with regular educational needs. Grandma did some talking to God about this thing called Too Busy. She talked to Him for hours about it.

You see, Grandma was at the pool in the middle of October and was finally draining the water and pulling out the leaves that had already fallen into the waters. It seems Too Busy had kept her from doing this at the end of summer so she had to do it in the cold. She could not get the water as low as she wanted without standing for hours at the pool and holding the large flexible tubing that she had created a suction with to drain the waters. Each time she released the hose the end would float upward and she would loose suction. Grandma watched the tall, old trees and their branches blow in the wind the entire time. Each time the light would hit a red leaf or a golden glimmer would catch her eye she realized that this year she was even missing the beauty of her favorite season, Fall. 

This would not do!  Grandma looked at what had been accomplished in school so far as well. Although the girls were learning she found that the progress that she wanted to see and that the girls needed to make was shamefully slow. Others comment all the time about the flexibility of home school. They talk, write, and post about it as if to give permission to shift focus each day. Agreeably there is some value to that idea but flexibility can not be the excuse every time one turns around. The world itself is structured and the whole purpose of raising a child is to mold an independent, effective adult. It seems that the flexibility also leads to something that others either deny or do not see for themselves. It creates children who can manipulate the situation as well. Grandma, being an insightful soul, adjusted her mindset a bit and took inventory of what all has been taking place.

As it turns out, the house has been under remodel for way too long. The deck work is complete but the floor layer, as talented as he is, is a bit lazy. The floor layer always finds a reason that he cannot finish up something today, just yesterday he ran out of nails for the nail gun. Really?!  How does a person run out of something as critical as nails when laying a hardwood floor or placing floor molding?  Lesson learned here as the carpet still needs to be purchased but if the house is to be put together anytime soon it will be necessary to find a way to have a "real" company lay the floor. The mess that the house has been in has truly been a distraction to the learning process. Not to mention that the floor layer does not respect the lesson time and is constantly interfering and causing girls to get goofey and distracted.

It seems as we go through life everybody finds Too Busy wanting to ride along. Too Busy can be a real distraction to a person's thoughts. The day flies by and because we invited Too Busy along with us for the day we do not get to lessons that need to take place so some degree after a trip away.  On Monday the crew will go to the Missouri History Museum for a "Who Was the Real George Washington" theme. Now, the MHM is a welcome distraction to the day as it is honestly a valuable learning experience but it will be necessary to keep Too Busy away when we are finished. We can pack a lunch and eat it in the car on the way home. In the reflection of events it is clear that lunch break after field trips is a huge time eater and next thing you know Too Busy has hitched a ride. 

There is not Master's Lyceum this semester and to be honest it is not missed at all. We have all been too busy with Too Busy to miss one more event.  One may wonder what we have done since the last post. Well, the answer to that is that we have been to Disney World, corn mazes, zoo classes, Magic House, wildlife education centers several times, MHM, Girl Scout office, doctors offices, birthday parties, swim lessons, gymnastic classes and so many other things that one brain cannot remember it all. 

Just a final note, today was a pretty good lesson day. Distracted by floor layer who only works 5 hours or less each day.  Big excitement today was Grace's start of a new health lesson that began teaching about the human body. When she learned there were 206 bones in the body she was amazed.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I have decided that I was wrong about school into the summer months

This teaching through the summer really stinks. I dislike it immensely. I had thought last fall how much I wanted my fall time weather but it is just to difficult to me to do this in the summer. Heat drags me down. I want to be in the pool. I can't sit out on the deck to teach anymore. Now, if we only went until the first two weeks of June I would be fine so the idea of beginning at the end of Sept. would still work.

With that said, we are making progress toward the end of the school year for Grace. For both but again I do not plan to get Faith to the next grade level. Grace is so on the edge that I intend to see her over the wall.  I have done math test every day this week and they are doing well. Faith is getting it all correct and Grace is scoring 94-100%.  Her two mistakes today that she added instead of subtracted. Had it been an addition problem she would have gotten it correct. 

As I type they are participating in the local library summer program. They did the one in their community and now doing the one in my community.

On another note: only 24 more days before we all go to Disney World!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Day 1 of Completion Study

So today I began completing the school year.
It was time for Grace to take a Language test on plurals. I offered her the ability to review in her book but she felt sure she could do it. Later it turned into an open book test. I was not thrilled but overall she understood the material and an open book test encourages independent research and work.  She did well.  Then I gave her a math test right off the bat and she got a 97%.  She still stresses and hates math but she knows the material we expect her to know. I will spend all week giving her math testing that is long overdue and see how well she retained the material. When she struggles I will resume there and not where we left off in the book.  I expect to reach the same level however, she really knows this better than she thinks.

Faith did so well today. Her written work was very neatly completed. I also will test her along in math. I did two test and two time test with her today and of course she did not miss a single problem. We talked about our goal for her grade and she is in full agreement that she wants to still be in first grade so she is about the same as her girl scout and other friends her age. I looked at the book and calendar and she will be in second grade near Christmas. She is fine with that. Faith still seeks attention so it is getting bad when I am teaching Grace something while I expect her to finish her work quietly as she says everything she is doing step by step and it gets real annoying.

Their bloodhound is about to give birth so the house is preparing for that.

I am still in remodel nightmare. I have the new doors in and the new deck and porch but waiting for floors to be laid. Once they are laid I will we will begin in completing our "one room schoolhouse". We have tons of ideas and I am eager to have them here full time for school. We had been doing class outside on the deck but now it is too hot so today I went to their house again. My house is just to torn up to do anything.

So that is it for now, we are once again off and moving. Let us hope I can complete this school year sometime before the next one is suppose to begin.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Still Kickin'

We are STILL not finished with this school year. We started up full steam as the dust began to settle in our lives and then two little girls began to cast a cloud of impossibilities over us. It was not Grace or Faith but two girls who Kelley was going to care for during the summer. It was a live and learn moment and one that has now ended. Knowing that it was going to end and not stress the environment we declared a summer break while Faith and Grace attended Girl Scout Day Camp. That took two weeks as they did not attend the same one. Then we ran into the week of Independence Day.

So, you may ask how I intend to get these girls school years completed. We will go full force for the next four weeks, then we have a Disney World vacation planned. Followed by four more weeks and then a two week break. At that time we will be prepared to begin our new year.

I do not expect Faith to go on to the next grade level as we are taking it at her pace right now. She tends to have a natural arrogance about her and it would not be in her best interest to be five years old and in second grade. When she gets together with her new Daisy Troop she needs to be first grade as well. I to expect we will go on earlier however.

Our new curriculum is mostly here. There is a back order on the 4th grade language package but all other items are here.  We are remodeling and in a halt mode. Waiting to lay the new floors in my house as all the doors and plumbing work is done as well as the new deck and front porch. When my floors are laid we will paint the one room school house that we are making in the old jacuzzi house and laying a new floor. The new doors are completed to that house as well. I look forward to seeing what our new learning environment will look like.

Over the next few weeks I will also create a new class for Master's Lyceum. I have a great book about weather and creating a weather station that I am going to use.

So this little moment I had to myself has been spent updating a blog. I am going to go have a relaxing cup of hot tea and thank the Lord for the rain He sent us last night.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Summer Reading

So here I sit, in the local library, during the summer reading program. This morning I am at the library in the community the girls reside. Later, we will also attend the one in my community library. I think the girls will enjoy it better but for now we will be doing two different reading programs. Kelley and her family live outside of their community and it really is between hers and mine. So there are a few changes that are taking place.

Kelley is going to be a leader for a new brownie troop that Grace will participate in. Long and dramatic story but it will be what is best for Grace overall. Her current troop is doing NOTHING on a routine basis and a hit and miss program is pretty useless. With that said, I will be a leader for the Daisy Troop that Faith will be in. I thought I had paid my dues in this organization but will once again begin a ten year commitment.  Let's pray I can stay alive that long! 

We are still not done with our house remodeling project. I sure wish I was married to a handyman sometimes. Yesterday we saw something on TV about polygamy. I told him I need a handy-husband as my second husband. One that once all the work was done I could loan out elsewhere.

We continue to teach through the summer but find it hard as Kelley has taken on care of two children for the summer. I feel as if I am mean when I exclude the other girls but I cannot effectively teach when the other children do not live their lives in the same manner as we do. Kelley has discovered that the average town person has an effect on her children.

OK so I am listening as I type to the library program. The theme is "Reading is Delicious" but they are talking about the flag. AND WOW>>>>>it is boring!!!!  Lets face it, these kids are 8-12 and have learned this. OH...I just heard Grace telling the speaker about the first flag and how it is different from today's flag.  The speaker ask a question that she does not intend to have them answer as she keeps on speaking and telling them the response. Grace keeps raising her hands to answer but she just keeps talking in a monotone voice.   OH OH OH    now we are going to watch a video rather than read a book about flags.

Gonna go now, I am getting headache.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Mixing Summer with School

I think I am doing a pretty good job at this. I am finding most class time is on the deck, under the huge shade trees, using my new patio table. We seem to have completely forgotten about the desire to have a recess time between major topics but move right through it all so that they are playing for a long period of time.

The obstacles are the two additional children Kelley is babysitting. They are a distraction. I know that many would say....they need to be able to work in distractions too.  But it is more than that. Grace seems to feel very inferior to her friend when it comes to her lessons. It really ticked me off when the friend said "duh that is 13."  I found myself telling her that not everyone is the same and some area Grace has to think on more to answer. I found it a bit revealing however when she wanted to do some of the same math problems but missed more than half of them.  Additionally, she had never been introduced to Roman Numerals yet.  Unfortunately, I could not point this out to Grace as it would not have been the right thing to do.

So we move along. All subjects most days. Our butterflies have emerged and we will release them tomorrow. I am still remodeling a lot and so all is out of structure but we are making it through anyway.

That will be all for now. Faith began a girl scout day camp today and I am exhausted.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Away Too Long

I cannot believe that my last post was almost two months ago. What a wild two months it has been!

No surprise if you look back to other post that we will indeed be "doing" school through out the summer. I anticipated several little breaks with Kelley's high risk pregnancy but I did not anticipate an infection, a baby that did not thrive, several weeks of flu, or this new complication. Kelley, as it turns out, has needed a very extensive surgical repair for an abdominal hernia that was caused by the infection destroying the abdominal wall fascia and "obliterating" the muscle. She is now almost one month post op but has strict limitations and will be wearing an abdominal binder for six months.
So the girls and I are back on a roll again and making great strides in education. It would be impossible to put it all here for the past two months but I can discuss the here and now.

We are back and forth from their home and mine. Doing most lessons at the table rather than our traditional environment. I have a huge remodel taking place and finally will have that one room school house done that I had been dreaming about. Kelley wants the girls classroom to go back to a room for toys that have small parts. That way Owen can be there as well. He is getting all around the place these days.Soon to be crawling.

In school we are observing our caterpillars and keeping our journal. Grace is progressing nicely in math and we still have some frustration moments but if we keep doing it on schedule she does fine. It is those times that we miss a couple of days due to doctor appointments and such. Her reading of course is great. I purchased her entire next years program this week. She is going to do every subject EXCEPT for math at the fourth grade level. Faith is making great advancement as well but I am letting her take it step by step. I do think that she will be moving into the second grade material by November.

Faith is excited that she is joined girl scouts. I am going to be the leader for her Daisy Troop. Not sure where to place her, Kelley decided that the first grade daisy level would be best. It is so hard at times to remember that she is only 5.5 yrs old because she performs at a higher level than that, but then in moments of play it is clear that she is indeed just a little girl.

I am going to stop here and try to get better again at keeping my blog updated. I know Jean is missing the postings.  Now, I will go catch up on my other homeschool friends' blogs.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

So Much A Happenin'

So here we are, one week into April and I know that we have months left of school. No worry on my end as I know that what the girls are getting is a top notch experience. So you wonder what we are up to this past week?

Yesterday we did an entire field trip day. I planned it to fill one entire day so that it would not take too much away from our book learning as well. It began the night before with a sleep over at my mother's house. The girls then get to spend time with great-grandmother. Then in the morning we went a few blocks down to a llama and alpaca farm. I was not sure what to expect but found it was by far one of the best experiences for them. The observed two teens (who are home schooled and come there to learn) shaving an angora rabbit. The girls then picked out the leaves and particles from some llama fleece. The learned how it was washed and died and then they saw a young girls with a foot pedal spinning wheel make it into usable yarns. They walked through the fields feeding carrots to each animal and spent time in the barn with chickens as well. The day ended with a craft, it was a walking stick and decorated with beads and llama and alpaca fibers.  Faith was a sweetheart when she noticed the two toes she shared with me that it was an even-toed ungulate but then a dozen mothers asked her age and did not know what an ungulate was.  I laughed and told them neither did I until I had to teach it but I worry sometimes as many of their children were 10 to 14 years old.

Secondly, we went to a friends farm to have hands on time with the new colts. We keep trying to catch the birth but we have been unsuccessful so far. There are still ten more colts to be born in the next month or so. The learned about impressing a human handprint to the new colt. At the end of the day a two day old colt came to Grace with little hesitation. We stood in the corral with seven horses--all trotters-- and four of them had new babies. One had just been born that morning.  While there we also gathered several goose eggs.

It seems our duck eggs are about to hatch. The beaks are visible in the air sacs and there are small vibrations noted. When they hatch we will add the goose eggs next. 

Grace's approach to math continues to be a huge success again. Today she shocked me with some of the independent work she accomplished. She is getting rather bored with he language but still loves to read. I know that the language is helping her as today her sentence structure was great and had some real substance in them. No telling what they will be like tomorrow but I expect consistency there soon.

Faith is doing well in all areas but she is upset that we are not further along in her books. I reminded her that I do not expect to see her go to the next grade level this year but maybe part way through next year. I then remind her that she cannot begin kindergarten until September in the public school. 

Next week will be back to the routine again. Lyceum will resume after a few breaks.  There are only four more sessions of  Master's Lyceum this semester. 

On a final note, great-grandma got Grace a hamster for her upcoming birthday. She is excited!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

New Math Approach

I will try to put into words what is inside of my head. I have gathered lots of ideas from mothers and regular education teachers about Grace's particular block in math. So I have devised a plan:

Step on is to use a calculator that will permit her to immediately check her work/guess. The one I am using is not a cheapo as it will retain the equation in the upper left while showing the answer in the lower right.  The rationale to this is simple. At the age of almost eight Grace is able to recall only a small portion of addition facts without using number lines, dots, or adding on. I think adding on is fine as long as you can do it fast but she is not always fast as she stares at the problem trying to decide where to begin 3+9. 
So today she faced a small number of equations at one time and was encouraged to think only for a moment try to tell me what it is then enter it into the calculator and guess what.........she was correct each time and all were sums of 11-15.  No fingers, no abacus, no number lines or adding on..(well she may have added on but if so she did it with lightening fast speed).  The calculator gave her immediate reinforcement and lets face it, the current young adult generation X is all about the NOW movement so should I expect it to be different from a modern tech student. 

Honestly it was great to see her accomplish it and check her answer. Not a single one incorrect which means she is recalling more than she or I ever imagined.

Step two: sandwich several problems between other stuff like constant reinforcement of time or measure. So after two times and two measurement toss in two more simple addition facts followed by complementing subtraction facts so that she can keep moving toward the more complicated issue of borrowing. For instance 11-7   followed by 21-7.  She will have just experienced the first equation then not be so stress about borrowing and the ability to recall the subtraction fact.  It lets the focus be on the operation more than the fact. 

It is my belief that this will enable to to reinforce the facts she knows and learn the ones she does not know. It will promote success in the operation by easing the ability to find the solution.

I do not know if this is making any sense to anybody but in my mind it is perfectly clear. Sadly, I will now have to work harder to make math a coordinated subject while still using the curriculum that we have.

She is also going to spend five minutes each day with her flash cards again. Not to tell me the right answer or her mother but to know for herself. It will require her saying it out loud and turning the card or if she wants check it on the calculator. 

It also means a bit of page hopping back and forth so no telling when we will actually finish the book.

OTHER big plans include a creation of a new one room school house for them. The house is there and measures about 30x20 so now we get to make it all we want. The computer will move out there and we will get in some new floors, furniture and revitalize some old furniture. New doors and air conditioner to be installed. Not so worry about the heat as our Eden Pure does a great job and it will be all I need out there. Will have to maintain climate as there will be so much stored school things as well. I do not intend to put this all together again. I pray that Owen will do well with what the girls have used so far. No new lessons plans as I am essentially a lazy school teacher.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Visualizing the Early Stages of Life

Our duck eggs have life. We candled them and we have eleven with signs of life. Eight of them were not fertile and two of them did not proceed maintain life. We candled them all and were amazed that several of them were clearly more advanced that some others.

Both girls were amazed. You can actually see the blood vessels and in most of the eggs there is clearly movement as well. I did not intend for it to become a lesson about when life is life but God seems to have made it one. Both girls, especially Grace, see a living creature. Grace actually referring to it as a precious life.

No band wagons about right to life issues here as that is not my soap box. Just an honest conclusion to what the girls see and how it makes them feel.

Friday, March 23, 2012

I Just Cannot Understand People Sometimes

I know that there are many different ideas about life, love and religion so I expect to find that diversity is the spice in living.  Yet I am so often baffled at the actions of others who do things that causes a negative impact on others. Once again I have to announce that I am a follower of Jesus Christ and His Father believing in the Holy Trinity.  Not because it is something I must have heard but because as I begin to type my views of the day and the emotions that it has left behind I may need that affirmation to control my tongue and try to imagine WWJD (haven't used that one in a long time).

As I begin one will imagine that I have embellishing on words to hide the true nature of Grace. I will tell you that I am not going to do that. I am going to be 100% about her conduct.  It has been stated before that Grace does not respect individual space well. That remains true but she has made remarkable progress in that area. Still, Grace is energetic, joyful and busts at the seams to show it. Grace is shy and introverted all at the same time.  How can that be?

In general daily life when she is not expecting anyone to be watching her she will break out in a song with me and even dance. If she feels that she may be seen she will not do so and if she realizes that someone is watching us she stops faster than fast.  If she was to stand up to tell her name you could not hear it clearly with a microphone but her daily speech is so loudly presented that we had wondered if she had a hearing deficit. She giggles like all little girls her age. When she is overwhelmed with joy she actually will stiffen her arms to her side and tense up with so much excitement. (I had a son who use to hold his sides really tight and do the same thing).  Although she can be rude to a person it would always be by accident through lack of understanding unless it was her little sister or occasionally her mother.  She has a tender, gentle, loving heart that is deep in her soul. She is vocal. She is vocal. She is vocal. She wants her view to be heard when she is trying to offer it. NO exceptions!  If she has something that is important she will not rest until she has had her say. Not a nasty manner but to be sure she is heard when it is important. I read this as I type this and it sounds like she is a brat. She is far from that!  We have always encouraged her to be heard and speak up for herself. Well, she doesn't do it yet.  She wants to be sure that Kelley, Matt, or myself understand her view she does not ever conduct herself with such confidence in other situations.

The danger of that final sentence is that sometimes she submits too easily to an person of authority and feels like she is a horrible person when they correct her. 

Today it became clear to me in the early morning that there is a person who does not appreciate her for her unique energy.  Several back to back comments directed her way out in the parking lot with an unpleasant tone but a smile on their face. All I could do was to openly reply that Grace is full of energy and excitement for what the day holds.  The girls and I continued to unpack the trunk of the car and carry our items into the church for another day at enrichment program. They waited outside of the doors as directed as we dodge the raindrops so we did not melt on our way in. Deep breath at the door and all reminded it was now time to settle down and go inside. They both immediately complied with my request. 

Later that morning I mentioned to a friend that this adult sure seems to dislike Grace. It is not the first time I felt that way but after the "entitled" verbalization outside I was not certain.  Bite my tongue. Bite my tongue. Why do I permit the passive aggressiveness I come across so often in this environment?  I know that answer. It is because I am not there to get into the petty female games that such conduct presents. I am there for my kiddos to have an enriched experience that is blessed by God.  So when I come across the very specific stereotyped Christina female who uses her words and smiles to manipulate the conversation I tell Satan to step behind me and I rise better to the occasion. God is always working on me.

So back to the impact on others. Today I discovered that Grace was prayed with to encourage a corrective action. I am thrilled that someone would take the time to pray with her. She discussed with me the event however and I was baffled. She left not feeling uplifted but feeling singled out and humiliated yet once again in the class. --OH LORD help me choose my words here.  It seems that it was not this one single event but a habit she has displayed about complaining in the class. WHAT?  I can't imagine that coming from Grace. 

You may ask what she was complaining about? Well, it seems that in her tumbling class she is often physically pushed to stretch those muscles. Her joints are limber but her muscles are indeed tight but also rather short.

She complained about the discomfort of the muscles in her belly. She complained about a muscle hurting when she jumped on one of her feet today as well.

SO now I have to tell you my view.  Pain is given to us by God to tell us to stop before we cause some serious harm to our bodies.  I have heard this type of "complaint" from her in this class before.  It is not a complaint about an action from a teacher or student. It is not a complaint about the enrichment program. It is not a complaint that should effect anyone at all. IF anything it should make the teacher or proctor who is working with her to encourage safety while encouraging duration and trying the skill.

Humiliated again? I said the word again up there. Yes indeed. A couple of weeks ago as Grace prepared for the class I realized she did not wear the correct underpants so they were showing from the bottom of the leotard. I told her when we began the class to pull them high up and try to keep the tard positioned to cover.  So it seems that her panties became a laughing issue. I was talked to about the issue as well and honestly cannot disagree that she needed some shorts but we did not have them when this issue presented itself. I reassured all that we would have shorts in the future BUT the real issue here is not a seven year old girl displaying a corner of her panties. The real issue should have been a cluster of children who felt power in their numbers and a display of nothing short of "mob mentality" .  The actions of those children should have been corrected.

So on now one may ask, "what is your overall point," and I can answer it simple.  Today Grace felt as if she was singled out as other kids say the same thing from time to time when they are trying a skill or stretch. Grace was pulled out of class and prayed with by a person that all children feel is an authority figure. Faith enquired from Grace what she had done wrong to get in trouble. So statistically, ten others children will wonder the same.  Grace was made to feel singled out once again as a "bad girl" (in her words).

We have a family goal to improve Grace's feeling of self worth. If you ever read my first blogs you would know that is the SINGLE reason that her parents took her from the public system.  One teacher and the people of entitlement did a big number on her little tender heart. We are seeing the old Grace but some of it was destroyed and cannot be found. So you bet your britches that I am concerned about others who have contact with her and from there kind heart feel that they are doing her some good but the reality is this. IF,, IF,,,IF,,,this has been an ongoing habit that needed to be addressed then it SHOULD have been addressed to me or Kelley. It was not an infringement that altered the flow of the class.  The teacher of this group has always felt comfortable to discuss any issue with us before.

So what is different?  The difference is one person. The same person that I had said before verbalized across the parking lot to us.  So after the day ended Grace wanted to discuss it. At first she felt as if she was bad and required corrective action. I had to encourage her to stop when pain says stop. She asked me why God made pain. So I gave her an analogy of placing your hand in a flame. It hurts and you pull back really fast. If that did not happen you could be severely injured. The same goes for her developing muscles. When the stretch is painful you are too far. Come back just a bit until you feel a stretch but not the pain. 

Can you imagine if this was not correctly identified by me.  She would stop "complaining:" about the pain and could potentially hurt herself. 

Now my next voice to be heard. I run in a circle of Christians so I know we all pray to the same God and in the name of Jesus Christ.  Pray with me. Pray with my grandchildren. But do not force your idea of what a prayer is  upon us.  As I discussed the situation with the adult it was explained to me what her intervention was about but it was also clear that she insisted Grace say the words out loud. Grace rarely prays out loud. She will tell me what she prayed about but not necessarily the prayer.  She will tell me when I pray that she will follow along in her head. That is fine by me as most of my most earnest prayers are silent ones. But she had to pray with this adult out loud. As it was explained to me I could feel the emotions inside me knowing how hard this had to be for her. But I was reassured that Grace asked her to help her pray out loud.  I believe that if you are going to require a spoken prayer she is going to ask for help. I also know this person honestly felt compelled by God to pray with Grace.  I am thankful that someone cares enough to pray with her. I do wish it would have been a more positive experience for Grace.

Then comes the car ride. The one with tears in her eyes when she can relax. With very little encouragement it is shared with me that it "just did not feel like my prayer" and I shared how special it is to have someone stop and pray with you. I really tried to have her see how wonderfully special she was to have a person to pray with her and to pray out loud with her. Then she lost it. She cried.  She tells me that God hears her best when her prayers come from inside. WOW!  WOW!

So do you see how she thinks?  She seeks approval but everywhere she turns she finds disapproval. 

Solution: She wants me to be in that class with her from beginning to end for the remainder of the semester.  She wants me to be her voice for when something is too painful to continue.  Really Grace?  Yes, no one will listen to her as she is just a little kid.  So what she is telling me is that she does not feel secure and safe. She is telling me that she has lost some trust. I am so glad she can communicate with me so well.  I will be there. I will stay the entire class. I will also stop accepting the passive aggressive communication that is being offered to me and begin telling other my view if it becomes necessary.
Yes, I am a protective grandmother. I cannot trust others to love them and foster them in the same manner as I can. Maybe I have somehow completely misunderstood this but I honestly do not think so.

So Lord, lift me up to be a better person and reveal to me what you want me to do. AMEN.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Honest with Grace

During a conversation, recently, Grace discovered that I often have to learn the information before she does and that sometimes we are learning together.  I told her that I did not ever learn about penguins the way they are learning about them. She thinks it is really great that we sometimes learn things at the same time too.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Remembering Math Frustration

Oh it seems so far away now but today I got a taste of the old time math frustration. I recently gave some advise to another person about the same thing and found myself reinforcing my own words.

"Grace it is OK, I see that today you immediately felt angry when we opened the math book" I said.  I will ask God to give me patience and lets work out each problem is what I sort of told her. (cannot recall exact words).  So we worked on the first few issues and then I brought her to a different part of the page that I knew she would feel successful in. It lightened the burden she felt she was carrying.  So of course we had to move on to the next difficult area for her again and she approached it without the face in her hands and the knees to her chest.  As I turned the page she was continuing to be successful and had to think some things out to determine what to do. When we got a big success I STOPPED!  There was more to the page but we do not have to do it today. I want a good attitude and feeling of success so that we have learning taking place and not locking one of us up in a closet.

This seems to work for us. No more anger and frustration and it helps her to approach math without so much frustration at the beginning.  I think the reason she felt it today right off  is because we have been away from the math workbook for a week.  We have done some math games and "shopping" with our money. 

I would like to see all frustration with math go away. I even tried the famous MUS that others swear by. Well it is not through her inability to see and understand the concept and she hated the manipulates that we borrowed when we tried it. To be honest I disliked it very much.  She gets the concept but she is not a memorizer and that makes a world of difference. On the flip side Faith is great at memorizing so she loves math as it does not require the same effort as it does Grace.

Other tasks done today included letting Grace mark my ballot today. I will let Faith mark it when we vote for president.

Monday, March 19, 2012

How I Have Come to Love Mondays

Another Monday has passed and it was once again painless. We continued with the lessons about penguins since Faith had requested it a few months ago. We have now spent time watching the movie MARCH OF THE PENGUINS, visited the zoo for the specific purpose of going through the penguin display. It is amazing how much more we all enjoyed the display with a lesson prior to going. The display of written material made me look really smart too.

So last Monday we worked on some globe issues and found where each penguin lives. Today we read and reinforced the material so that we could begin a lapbook. I love the "Hands of A Child" lapbooks that I come across but I also have found lots of other material that are lesson related to enhance the experience. I imagine it will take two more weeks to complete the lapbook.

We discussed it and feel that perhaps it would be good to learn about Arctic animals. There is a new series on Discovery Channel called Frozen Planet and I saw the premier last night. Girls think it sounds like a great idea. Lots of books to get in from the library as I rarely pay $20 for a book but found several at the zoo we all liked.  I tend to write down the ISBN and then go look it up. I can often find it at a much reduced price as well if I choose to buy it.

Today we also did a homeschool class at the zoo. One of the classes at Lyceum includes bird study and recently we took a great field trip that introduced the girls to bird nesting habits. They seem to be pretty fascinated with the topic as well right now. You know if I teach them how to have many irons in the fire now they should learn the skill of multitasking.  SO they attended a class called BIRDS FOR BEGINNERS and loved it. It got them into a classroom environment totally away from a parent. They made a book of observations, they handled three different kinds of birds and made a cute set of binoculars. The class for both girls (using my zoo membership) was only $32.  Of course, this is not something we can do often so we generally take advantage of the free stuff at the St. Louis museum scene. 

Duck eggs have not begun to stink so I imagine we are free of any rotten eggs and the experience will be a positive one. I must get the chicken coup repaired as I am suddenly down to only three chickens left out of thirteen. This is disturbing to me but fortunately the chicks are cheap right now. (ha ha to myself  ..cheap cheap little chick) 

Other projects we have recently done to reward the days work is to plant the strawberries. They are growing and in one more week the roots should be settled enough to hang them as they are intended. I also got a roll out butterfly garden that we will put around the tree when the get their work done this week.  I will plan to do this on Thursday with them. These things cost little as I get lots of things from the dollar store or plant starts from friends. 

I cannot express the joy I feel getting this opportunity to teach the girls. Soon Owen will be crawling around and of course learning begins with play.

OH yes!  We are absolutely going to move school back to my house. The classroom is going to be a toy room for the girls things that Owen will have the potential to get into. It was a toy room before it was a classroom.  I have a nice sized out-building that is attached to my back deck. We are going to make it into an old fashioned one room schoolhouse but with modern technology. I have Internet so they will have access to lots of things. I have a large wooded yard that is near much to explore. They have a nice big yard but it is surrounded by corn/soy/wheat fields and it use to be a wheat field. Their swings and toys are fun but recess here will be OK too.  The room will have storage as well so that items can be saved and brought out in cycles. I am excited as it means that I will stay here and they will need to come to me. I know it is a whole eight miles lets face it. I am not getting younger and walking down to their basement lately has been more difficult for me.  I am playing with some floor plan ideas to place things. 

Lyceum is all ready half over and I am working on enhancing the class I have planned. I am pleased with the content so far but find one boy not so enthused. You know that means I need to find a way to touch him.

That is all for now!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Duck Eggs

We have begun the process of incubating some duck eggs. It is a huge surprise activity for us. First, we do not know for certain that the eggs are fertile but have a certain degree of certainty that they are. Second, we do not know which type of ducks we will be getting if we succeed. Finally, they should hatch on Easter! Grace and Matt did not look at the calendar to see when they would hatch when they finally put them into the incubator. 

Grace is keeping track of the temperature and turning them as we do not have a fancy turn yourself incubator. She is too young for judging a 4H project yet but this is nice practice for her so that when she does her skills of record keeping will be better. 

Today I got nine more eggs so we marked them and added them to the mix.  This should prove interesting as we have not done this before.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Photos of some activities discussed in prior post


Grace at Nature Institute in an eagle's nest


Lewis and Clark interactive display at Magic House Children's Museum


How old is the tree?


Grace watches as they tap the Sugar Maple tree then later make maple syrup


climbing Jack's beanstalk


love that beanstalk


New baby Owen came to Magic House and he sat in the Oval Office display


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Upcoming week

Tomorrow we will have a KTM with some discussion of penguins and a review of butterflies. We are watching the movie March of the Penguins and going to do a lapbook as well over the next several Mondays.

This week we will finish up the book Who Was George Washington with Grace and order the next one on Adams. If you have not tried this series I really do recommend them. Not only are they good books for specific historical figure lessons but also great lessons of the period. 

WE also will be going to the Butterfly House this week for MARCH MORPHO MADNESS on Wednesday.  WE have learned about butterflies in the past be reinforcement is always great. It also makes them feel very wise when they know the answers already.

I have made several good choices with my money in joining the St. Louis Zoo and the Missouri Botanical Gardens. It permits us to participate in member only events like the Morpho Madness presentation.  Next week Grace and Faith will attend a homeschool class at the Zoo at a decreased rate as well.  Without intending it, we have learned about birds and nests in general. One of the classes at Lyceum that they attend is beginning the bird component and the zoo class is "Birds for Beginners".  I find Grace being pulled by some force of gravity to the books about birds and their nests recently.  I hope to find an eager learner in Faith soon. So far she continues to be an easy learner but could care less if she sticks with the entire lesson. I keep reminding myself that she is only five years old but she tends to act so much older--then suddenly I am taken back by a typical five year old behavior. 

They have begun the duck egg incubation experiment. We are making sure Grace keeps records of the event. I think it is good practice for her to try this. I expect her records to be fragmented but it is a good step forward.  I may be surprised! 

AS the weather is becoming nicer I hope they will be motivated to get early start so we can have an early finish.  WE will plant strawberries tomorrow as well.

So I will wrap this up for now as I am actually at work and having a "slow" day.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Long time between posts

It is not like me to be away this long. It seems that I am forever busy and when I have a moment to play on the computer I find myself on the laptop working on my Master's Lyceum lessons.  So let me see if I can summarize what has taken place in three weeks.  I will begin at the current and work my way back.

Yesterday Kelley gave all class instruction while I saw my physician. I then grabbed the girls and took them to a friend's house to get them acquainted with the lay of the land. She has a huge horse farm and is expecting several new colts.  The plan is to spend the night in the barn and experience the birth of a horse. While there Grace gathered eggs from the hen house and found several duck eggs as well. She has brought them home and we will put them in the incubator for our surprise. Debbie, the friend, has several different varieties of chickens and ducks. 

Back another day, Kelley and Grace took a field trip to tap Sugar Maple Trees and make homemade maple syrup. They seemed to enjoy the event greatly. The group that held the event is a very nice, warming, and accepting group of women. Some also belong to our co-op but not all.  It was a different atmosphere indeed as there are not any noticeable "clicks".  I stayed home with Faith and Owen. I am getting a bit old for the baby stuff but he is only three months old so took a great nap. During the nap Faith and I had school time together and played games. It was also National Read Out Loud Day so I read her all the books that she wanted.  My mouth hurt by the end of the day.

Last week both girls and I went on a field trip to learn about bird nest and hike to observe several different types of nests.  It was with the same group I had just mentioned and the quality of the trip was remarkable.  I love it when they clearly learn and have fun.


We went to the final homeschool Monday at the Magic House as well. I had recently injured my foot so I sat on a comfy couch and played with the baby while Kelley and the girls enjoyed the day together.  Grace was excited to find that they had updated the pizza place to a vet clinic.


We have also attended the Mammoths and Mastodons homeschool day at the Missouri History Museum.  It was a crowded but great day.  Only Grace was able to participate as the last time I took Faith her behavior was so poor that she was not permitted to go to this event. I do believe she learned a lesson. Additionally, Grace was very engaged in the activity but she missed her sister.  I find that funny since she feels her sister can be such a pest.

So that brings me to around my last post as far as activities go.  In class we are clearly far behind for the year since we had so much going on. Faith got the flu during this time as well and had a terribly high fever. The rest of their household became ill but the severity was controlled by Tamiflu.  Speaking of which, $500 to treat the entire house with Tamiflu!  (and that is with insurance)

The girls continue to make progress. Faith's reading has once again begun to flourish. For a while there, she seemed to stall but these days I am pleasantly surprised each time she sits down to read to me. He comprehension is also doing very well. 

Currently we are in week four of this semester's Lyceum.  I am teaching two classes. Each revolving around material the Illinois Department of Natural Resources has available. The younger group seems to enjoy the class, the older group has been on the edge of enjoying the class but last week they really bloomed and I think I have figured out how to get them engaged.

The girls are well aware that school will go into the summer but they do not seem to mind. Afterall, they know that it does not take all day to have school and I am sure that the pool and trail hikes will keep them motivated to get the work done.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Unplanned Break

It seems that Influenza  A  has decided that we needed a break from school.  This break will enable me to do the final touches on the lesson plan for Master's Lyceum co-op classes.  It is unfortunate though because Faith has become very ill with the flu.

Fortunately she did make it to the wedding that she was participating in but I am afraid that just eight hours later she became symptomatic with the flu.  Do you have any idea how many people shook her hand or gave her hugs?  Guess how many dance partners she had....  Oh my, we pray others do not get ill.

Her is a picture of her and the bride.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Another Magic House Monday

Within this children's museum is an interactive display that supports our recent lessons on Lewis and Clark.  I told the girls that since that is a topic we have recently studied I would like them to go there first today.  They knew exactly how to get there and they spent one hour in that area.

They dressed in period dress and did all of the activities including a few that they imagined on their own. Overall, it was once again a great experience. Following that area they went to the Magic Tree House area once again and enjoyed themselves very much. While Faith spent most of her time being Clara Barton, Grace spent her time a a Pilgrim and being Sara.  Eventually they made their way to the other story area but did not go through the rest of the museum this time.  They were very focused in the quality of the experience. 

It seems that Grace wants to learn more about Egypt and Faith wants to learn more about penguins so just as I had been anticipating the girls lessons are beginning to separate according to interest and learning ability.

As usual my camera is out in the car so I will post pictures of today's activity tomorrow.

We enjoyed a lunch with friends as well. I sure wish that we did not live so far away from each other but then again we are both so busy with our own home school schedule that even if we lived down the road it probably wouldn't be much different.

On a side note the girls got a good Samaritan lesson today. On our way home a man was a hit and run victim on the interstate and I did CPR until EMS arrived.  I do not think he was going to live but I had to try anyway.  Poor Grace was upset by the blood that I got on my clothes and hands.  Sometimes you cannot shelter them from all of life but there was one lady there that did a great job at talking to the girls and distracting them from watching me.  So they did not see a lot and a few others went ahead and stood right behind me to help shelter the girls from seeing the horrible sight.  I cannot believe that someone would drive away from such a terrible accident. Let's face it, no one expects a person to be in the middle of an interstate so an accident is just that, an accident.

Oh yes, we also decorated the boxes for the valentine exchange with the coop.  I call it a good day.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Some belated pictures of activites

Westward Expansion Museum at the Arch

Looking into a prairie dwelling

I wrote about our trip to the arch but never took the card from the camera.  Funny how in the old days I did not take the film to the photomart and now that I have all these modern conveniences I still procrastinate in the picture department.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

WHY WE HOMESCHOOL

I do not make this post to offend anyone. I want to make it clear as it seems to get muddled up easily.  I teach my grandchildren because I feel I am called to do that right now.  I have been called upon to do many things in my life. Remember, I am a Registered Nurse in an ICU with 30 yrs experience. In those same 30 years I have been a cub/boy/girl scout leader, a homecoming picnic volunteer (yr after yr), an active citizen promoting and using a local civic center and programs for youth, a soccer mom, a dance mom, a kourey league mom, and a conservation worker within our many many campsites.  YES!  I am a Christian and so it is natural that my believes will influence my teaching.  It means that I try to find a  bit more patience when I think I might be at the end. Well, so does any good mother/grandmother, regardless of their religious convictions. 

I teach Grace and Faith because they are wonderful little sponges that have a huge potential in front of them. I teach because they would, could and will get lost in the public system and that has the potential to diminish their future potentials.  I teach because I can foster the natural love for learning that they have and help to keep it on fire. I am not happy just being the kindling but want to be the gasoline on a huge boy scout fire. (old family joke)  Our lesson times are spent making sure that the girls can meet the academic standards that they are capable of meeting. In our everyday life we teach our philosophy that we hope they take to heart and follow as well. In their church the teachings at home are reinforced. I have always openly prayed with them. BUT I am not going to take my lesson time to memorize a Bible verse.  If  there is time to memorize something I want it to be a math fact, a spelling rule, or rules of writing the English language. 

I feel it is more important to understand the message of a verse than to spit out the words my memory. Additionally, the Bible is a huge book and to take one line and think that one line holds all the meaning necessary is just way outside of my box. 

Kelley carefully monitors what type and the amount of television the girls see. She makes sure they learn to be respectful but also is good and teaching them to speak their thoughts as long as it is done with respect and understanding of each others view.  They are essentially sheltered from the many influences that they are simply not ready to receive. But I know my daughter and when she feels they are becoming more mature she will certainly open the world to them more. 

OH ONE MORE THING......  there are many people in our lives that have "alternative" life styles.  We love them dearly and would never think of removing them from our presence. I also want to go on the record and say that there are same sex couples out there who are wonderful parents and would put most to shame.  Be high and mighty about this but I am sure that it is not what Jesus would do.

Well, enough said for now.

BTW we have had a great week of lessons.  Big things happening at Geralds Learning Academy!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Missouri History Museum Trip

Today we all attended a homeschool day put on by the Missouri History Museum at Forest Park, St. Louis.  They conduct a free day most months and wrap it around a theme they are currently displaying.  We have several we intended to participate in but have not been able to do so. Finally, we went to the one today.

The topic was the Lindbergh flight across the Atlantic Ocean. By the time Charles Lindbergh was an adult and began this journey he was a local man and had lots of St. Louis backing so it was natural for the museum to have a gallery and classes.  They have several other displays as well right now but we stuck to the theme. After all, next month will be the Mammoths and Mastodons theme and we will be sure to attend.

So back to our trip. The museum is an original building of the 1904 World's Fair with newer additions of course.  The building alone can be an education process and we did go into the Fair Gallery.  Grace seemed to be truly interesting in the material and was a good student. Faith was not poorly behaved in the museum but during story hour she was horrible and had to be removed. It is clear that her age she is not ready for a lesson in this structure so next month I will take only Grace.   We enjoyed a display and discussion about "Bessie" Coleman from a wonderful woman who dressed in character and told her story from the first person.  We learned about oil spills and how to clean a feathered animal who has been effected. Of course we explored much about the flight and the overall life of Lindbergh.  In the galley there was a replica of THE SPIRIT OF ST. LOUIS airplane that he flew.  This was an entirely new subject that we had never touched on but since we have been learning about pioneers to the west it was still a great blend as we realize that he was a pioneer of his time. 

Later this week is a homeschool roller skating party and next week is another Magic House Monday. I have lots to get covered in lesson times this week. At the end of last week Grace had begun to learn how to carry in subtraction.  Faith is moving forward in her reading and getting faster each day.  We are also reading a book about Sacajawea together as she was fascinated by her in the Lewis and Clark movie. 

I continue to prepare my Master's Lyceum classes onto the PowerPoint presentation and really look forward to the classes. It is time consuming but once they are done I will never have to spend time preparing again when I offer the class in rotation of others I have done.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Day Filled with Great News

Today my newest grandson went to the cardiologist at St. Louis Children's Hospital.  They felt he had a double aortic arch but too sick to further evaluate it.  So he has regained the weight and then some.

But here is the confusing part, they tell us that his pulmonary artery was narrowed on the first echo and that the double arch appeared to be low down and not likely to interfere with his trachea and esophagus as would be the primary concern.  So they do another echo and find that the pulmonary artery is improving and we should expect it to get better as he grows. Then he says some rhetoric that ends with him not having a double aortic arch but at some angles it appears to be there but overall is not visible in the other views.

See, I am not trusting when someone wants to make me "not loose any sleep" but still do not hear a commitment to the NO DAA that he is evaluating.  He tells us in the first few minutes that his specialty is cardiac cath and flow while Dr. Sing, who read the first echo, has cardiac imaging as his speciality.  So I will not loose any sleep and will use my grandmother's intuition.

This post is all about me today

So when I get finished with lessons for the girls I am trying to find time and energy to work on the coop classes.  We know there will be a different venue but I still do not have the schedule or the absolute date to begin.  This is important as my class depends on loan items from our conservation office. 

I am rather good at working "friendly" computer programs and have been creating the class within a PowerPoint presentation.  I plan to connect it to a projector that we have and cut down a lot on the material that needs to be printed.  So far I have impressed myself with the presentation. One can only imagine how good it could be if I knew how to work ALL of the programs gadgets.  I do not have time to get a class in for it but my daughter is very familiar with it. When I have it completed I will seek her knowledge for a few enhancements that I know the program can do.

It is 0200 here and I find that I cannot sleep well tonight. In the morning we will take the baby to the cardiologist in St. Louis.  We will learn more about the double aortic arch and when we can expect surgical intervention.  He has gained weight well with the ease of the bottle and the upright position for feeding.  K continues to pump but cannot pump enough for his intake so he is supplemented with formula as well. 

My body has been fighting off an autoimmune flare and so far I am ahead of the battle. I began a round of steroids and I am feeling better today. Well, except for the fact that the steroids have me still awake. 

I hope to find more energy by the weekend when I return to work.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Can I keep the momentum going?

It has been a very eventful and progressive learning environment at the Geralds Learning Academy.  There are eager learners and a teacher who is on a roll.  Now that it has calmed down again the girls are easily focused on what needs to get done.  So what have we done in the past two days?

Since Monday was Chinese New Year we stayed true to the theme of our studies and did not have our KTM (Kitchen Table Monday) activity. KTM usually involves lots of cutting and we could not use knives or scissors so I had to do something else. My mind wondered what sounded like a spur of the moment field trip and I chose the eagle watching along the Mississippi River around Alton and Grafton, Illinois.  As we drove that way the girls caught a glimpse of the Arch. At the same time the asked me if we could go to the Arch instead.  It did not take me but half of a second to reply "yes".  Eagle watching was going to be a cold event and a long drive to reach our destination. We got a later start as I am dragging on Monday's and the Arch was only ten minutes away from us at the time. 

I know that God intervened in our day as it was a much better choice considering our class time lessons. We have been reading and discussing the move to the west. It was rather light hearted as it was intended to be the first introduction to the topic.  For those who do not know this, you enter the Arch underground and there is a large museum, two shops, and three theatres in that area. The museum is called The Great Westward Expansion Museum.  Lets face it, there were very few people there this time of year. We attended the National Geographic movie about Lewis and Clark. We meandered through the museum viewing wagons, buffalo, bear, yokes, peace medals, typical prairie home layout, and a replica of the wharf of St. Louis where supplies were bought. That is only a small list of what they experienced.  Best of all, it was all  about things we have been learning about in class.

Following the museum experience we continued on with our Chinese New Year celebration by eating lunch at a Chinese Buffet.  The girls were bothered by the fact that the ladies had to work on their holiday.  We did have a discussion of how many times ones culture begins to blend with another when they leave their homeland. But wait, there's more.....they recalled the lesson when the pilgrims first went to Holland and left because of the influence on their children and the Indians and pilgrims who realized their children were influenced by one another and the changes that took place.  OH YES!  It appears we have begun to understand sociological impacts. 

Our class is decorated for the Chinese New Year as well and they made a dragon puppet yesterday. G played with the puppet in front of the new baby and realized he liked it a lot. It was brightly colored with yellows, reds, blues, and other unknown blends.  It also was capable of a variety of motions. 

I feel so blessed to have such rich experiences with my grandchildren. K is ready to return to teaching, so she says, but I find she is still so busy with the business of a newborn, busy house, and grabbing some sleep that I think she should relax and enjoy the fact that her mother is handling it.  Well, that just sounds silly!  She knows we are having a blast and knows she is missing out on the little things that are happening.  She wants to be a part, even if it means a little bit dirtier house or a little less sleep. I do wish she would nap a bit when the baby does but she keeps pushing through each day without a nap.  I do not know how she does it but so many other mothers of many do.  Me?  Well, I spread my simple two children out by six years which is so much different that her experience.

We did hear a little about our Master's Lyceum this semester.  It will be at a different location and will begin MAYBE Feb. 17th.  This is driving me crazy as I hate last minute plans. I love spur of the moment activities but this is too big of an event to have so much dangling this late in the game.  The schedule has not yet been released since they just got the approval for the new location.  I look forward to the semester to teach the classes I have planned. I have heard from several parents who plan to participate if the schedule permits. Sometimes there are ongoing classes that get scheduled at the same time so a choice has to be made.

Well this is a long enough post for now.  I hope others are feeling the winter revival that we are experiencing.

Friday, January 20, 2012

WHAT A BLAST!

We are having a great time as we learn a little bit about Chinese culture and Chinese New Year.  I find that with that dangling in front of them for the last subject of the day they are both eager to move on.

Today they colored in a dancing dragon and did a maze to bring the dragon to the bowl of tangerines. I read about some traditions again with the girls. Now we are ready to get our red envelopes prepared. They also glued on the face to their paper plate dragon. Of course, G had to make hers a bit different from the template. She must be creative with all she does but just once it would be nice to see her follow the norm.

Tomorrow we will create paper lanterns to decorate our class with. First comes lessons then the fun. Gee, if I was a good craft person I could always have them motivated like this.

I have decided to take G to Sylvan this summer and see if we gain a grade level as they promise in math.  She did well today in her math lesson.  I have slowed the phonics with F a bit. I want to make sure I am at her level and pushing her forward not having her try to catch me. Still she is doing well. I just have to keep reminding myself that she is five AND not eligible for kindergarten until fall in the public system.  Still she tells me she wants to go to the six year old class at church.  ummmm NO!

We have finished our Social Studies book so we are going into the health book next. I looked into the third grade History book for next year and found the table of contents. Seems we have done much of that in our independent reading so since G will go to fourth grade language courses next year I am going to go on in the fourth grade history and begin to split the girls in this class. Seems the third grade book covers Lincoln, Franklin, Clara Barton, Daniel Boone and others that we have specifically gotten books from the library to read more than our current books covered. As a matter of fact I have a book on Daniel Boone to take back to the library today. 

I feel so revitalized again today. I hope they keep this momentum going.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

REvitalized

This week has been a productive learning week. My back has been hurting so I have not been to the classroom but we have been at the kitchen table doing our book work. I do not feel it is a good as a whole lesson but actually it seems to be more personal and the girls are responding well to it.  I may sit a chair between their desks when we get back downstairs and keep the same type of lessons going forward. 

We are doing our curriculum but with added material as usual. This week we are learning about the Chinese New Year and making craft decor to put in our classroom. I know they would love to take 15 days to celebrate it and not do any school work but we cannot afford the time away.

G is doing wonderful in her language studies. Seems she is a great proof-reader. F has been very much a five year old lately so I am trying to take first grade material and present it in a kindergarten style. I am not sure what happened to make her stop being too old for her britches but she has made a huge change. Well , actually it is probably the new baby in the house. I am just not use to it. 

G is enjoying the next level of math that we are doing. She likes to carry her addition and I am ready to get into borrowing for subtraction. She seems to enjoy things when they are more like a puzzle to solve rather than straight math facts.

Tomorrow we will finish a dragon mask that they began today. I will take them to the library and we will explore more about China. We talked about some of the traditions and taboos that are observed.  I am afraid Faith will begin to observe a few of them to be honest as it all made sense to her. :)  We will discuss this next week some cultural differences and governmental differences as well. We decided it will include a brief lesson about the Buddhist faith. I think it will be interesting indeed.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Can I Be Called to do Something Different?

I wonder sometimes why God continues to call upon me to do the things I do.  I am a nurse and it just comes natural to me. When I am at work the day just keeps flowing along and no matter how sick my client is that day I always make it through without falling apart at the seams.  I am a mother and it just comes natural to me. When I am doing the things that a mother does it just keeps flowing along no matter how tough the situation can become I always make it through without falling apart at the seams.  God sure put me together with some tough thread!

I feel as if He keeps putting similar tasks in my path.  When my children were young I took on the cub/boy scout activities effortlessly as well as the girl scout activities. I had a philosophy then about the activities my children participated in.  Sometimes I would find it necessary to share that philosophy with others. I did not need to take part in everything to the fullest scale that my children did. I felt that we are all called to do something and as long as we served our community in some positive fashion then we are doing our part. If one parent did soccer while another did baseball then we all support each other as I was doing scouts.  Sometimes a coach or youth leader of a program would make mention that not enough parents are doing their part and I would share with them that we all tend to have our own little part in this play and collectively we are making a difference.  I never intended to become a teacher or creator of classes for our Master's Lyceum but the first semester we were active the opportunity was presented to me and I was asked if I could teach one of the classes that someone had all ready prepared. So I sat in on the first class and then recreated her class a couple of hours later for others. When the next semester came around I had found something I wanted to do with my grandchildren but felt it would be more fun with many so put it together as a class instead. That class filled so quickly that the following semester (last fall) I conducted it two more times.  But I felt called upon to also do a class for older students. One that did not specifically benefit my kiddos but would be for older students. So the poetry class was done.

I am now at the same point this semester. I have two classes that will delve into science from a conservationist point of view. One is for younger and one for older students. I am a strong willed person. Nothing about me is meek and mild.  I try to approach things with open arms, open ideas but still I feel that when I do something I do it intensely. I am afraid that the intensity of my calling is sometimes to strong for others and they form opinions that I cannot curtail.  Why should I care? Why try to mold their opinions?  I do not know the answer to either question.  I do not tend to communicate that these type of things tend to be my calling.  I know that inside I am presented with opportunities like these often in my life. Sometimes I respond and other times I feel that I should step back.  So it is not like a announce to anybody that I AM CALLED.  I just do it.

But why is it that the same type of activities I did back then I am doing again now.  I wonder what else I am capable of if He would just present them to me.  Why can't I be a great housekeeper, a terrific gardener, a political activists?  Why is is always about the children or the weak and helpless?

Well God, here I am!  Happy to do what I am doing!