Thursday, December 30, 2010

Results and knitting

The results were nothing, normal, no problem. So they saw nothing unusual in his brain wave. Good news over all. The doc thought the hospital would let me know results but he responded quickly when I asked about them. So we can put the fainting/seizure spell behind us and move on. (Oh and I have been told that it is not a spell or an episode, I'm not certain what I'm suppose to call it in front of the Boy, but I have been told what not to call it, I'm ignoring the directive)

I'm still working on the shawl, I'm nearly done. I have only the trim left but I screwed it up and am in the process of ripping it all back so I can try again to read direction that are clearly spelled out for me. (There is that word again, spell, do you think this is forshadowing for the year to come?) The good part of the frogging is the Boy slept in this morning and I was given a tea pot for Christmas so I have spent the morning enjoying the falling snow, tea and ignoring the headache I'm getting from pulling out 3 rows of 672 stitches each. I have put on Pandora on my Suzy Bogguss station, love me some 80's/90's country music, it really seems to fit my mood today.I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year, my goal for the end of the year is to get our holiday cards out this week. Wish me luck.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

This is the 'No results yet' post.

The testing itself went fine. The Boy did not have a seizure when they did all the seizure inducing things at the beginning of the test. (Bright quickly flashing lights, blowing repeatedly for 3 minutes) He fell asleep quickly when we got to that portion of the test and when I woke him after 10 minutes his first words to me were "See I told you I wouldn't fall asleep" Ha, he was exhausted and slept quickly. He woke horribly as he always does when woken too soon from desperately needed sleep. He also developed a fever after we got home, actually probably had it while there, but it wasn't too high at that point.

He was down with it all day yesterday, but woke this morning feeling much, much better. He apparently was on the hairy edge of a cold and weakening his immune system like that just pushed him over the edge, luckily he is pretty strong and getting to sleep lots over the last 2 days has made all right in his body again.

He did so well Tuesday when we were having to keep him awake. He kept his sense of humor and didn't have a melt down, he struggled a little bit prior to the actual testing but that was less than 2 minutes and trust me he has the endurance to fight for much, much longer than that if he decides to.

He just seemed so grown up all of a sudden. He is all legs and arms at the moment and getting so tall. How in the world did this happen? I'm so proud of how well he handled it. Now I hope we don't have to do it again.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Knitting, testing, and stuff...

I finished the Boy's sweater. It took me less than a month and it turned out pretty nicely if I say so myself.

The funny thing is the whole time I was worried that it would be too small, it isn't. It fits him fairly well, the neck opening is wide enough but the bind off on the collar is a bit too tight. I'll have to fix that next time.

This is the collar, not too bad, I'm still pretty awful at ribbing and so it didn't turn out that great but it's OK. The bit of 'braiding' at the back is the tag so the Boy knows where the back of the sweater is.
I decided to try hemming it instead of ribbing, since as I said before I don't do so well at ribbing. I think the hemming turned out very nicely.

The Boy is going in tomorrow for an EEG to make sure his brain waves are normal. Or what passes for normal around here. heh. We have to keep him awake until midnight tonight, and then wake him at 4 AM. DH & I are tag teaming him during this. I'm going to bed around 8:30 or 9 and DH will stay up with him, I will then wake him at 4 and have the fun of the morning with him.

We had a horrible time this morning because he was so worried about it but didn't want to tell me so it became all about school. He kept fighting me over every single thing we did. Division was too hard, grammar too hard, reading too hard. If I were a better mother I might have clued into the fact that he was worried about tomorrow's test. Not so much that better mother here. So it took me finally breaking down and giving him a swat (I think this was the 3rd time in his life I have raised my hand to him) He was actually dancing around saying I couldn't hit him and acting like it was a game. This was after he had pushed me 3 other times this morning to near tears. Yeah, it was not the best of times around here this morning. I threatened to register him for public school since he was not showing me any respect maybe he would respect a stranger teaching him. Like I said it was ugly. It finally came out and we talked and cried and cuddled. I had never told him I had an EEG when I was his age. That calmed him down. I'm sure we will see more emotion about this as we go through the day tomorrow but for now things have calmed down.

He read to me about black holes and the afternoon has gone much better. Whew.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Ugh, today is not the day I thought it would be...

Well we did not go in for the testing. The Boy was in tears about it, kept telling me, through the tears, that I WAS teaching him to read. I also woke with a killer migraine, and so we canceled the testing and avoided that.

So no info on that front. I'm still struggling with it, he is still struggling with it, but we are moving forward. He is making some progress, I think. He has days when he does great and reads with some semblance of fluency and with inflection, and there are days when he can't concentrate to read the word 'crossing' twice in the space of 3 sentences. (That would be today) It is starting to feel like it might be concentration problems.

I don't know what to think, it doesn't help that today is one of those days where thinking is actually physically painful.

I a book that is a history of the alphabet Ox, House, Stick The History of Our Alphabet The Boy is loving it, and so am I. I am reading a page or 2 each day. I think it helps that we studied ancient history last year, and this year we are reading Vacation Under the Volcano, and learning about word origins from Latin. It all ties in and it all is interesting to the boy. Win, win, win. Yippee.

Vacation Under the Volcano is the book I'm forcing him to read to earn his Lego Mindstorms set. Of course I'm now questioning that logic. The programming language that they use is actually a visual language, all icons and no words. So reading is not a skill that is directly needed to program the robot. Also as DH pointed out if we say it is a family item then no one person will have complete control and anyone will be able to program it. Otherwise we will have problems with my son and his possessiveness. So, since the set came in last night and because I really want to play with it too, and ummm it is educational, and ummm, I want to play with it, I am now trying to think of a reason we can start using it. How about it is educational? Ummm, it will be a great thing to work on over the winter 'holiday'? Ummm, it will be fun?

Anyway, that is life in our school, tonight we are heading out to Bubba Gump's to celebrate the end of the boy's Birthmonth. ;) heh. Actually we just haven't had time to go and he really, really, really wants to go. Not enough to go 'spur of the moment' a couple of weeks ago, but enough that when we mentioned going tonight, he was fine with it. We are so not spontaneous people here.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Lovely bits...

Today is Thanksgiving, at least it is in the USA, so I'm going to list some things that have made me happy and thankful this last week.

My boy did one of the word problems on a restaurant placemat*/menu. It was a secret code type and he had to figure out what the words were. He did it, wrote each letter down then sounded out the word, without help from me! I know that many of you may be wondering why this is a lovely thing. This is a first for us. He has always done the mazes on them, but never anything that involved writing or reading.

He also used the word complement to describe what my wine was doing with my food, or what the waitress said it would do with my food. (She was correct by the way) Now we have been working on the difference between complement (as in a subject complement) and compliment (as in My your pumpkin pie is delicious) this semester. It actually has come up a couple of times in different places. This episode just shows he is understanding what we are talking about in class and can use the information in other places.

These two episodes also highlight why I'm so worried about his reading. An eight year old boy who struggles that hard to read but can use the word complement correctly in conversation needs help. So onto the third thing I'm thankful for this week. We are going to get testing done at the school district on Friday Dec 3rd. We are getting the full battery of language arts subtests for the Woodcock Johnson Achievement test. This includes oral expression, and listening comprehension. So we will see if there is the discrepancy I believe there to be.

Knitting, I'm thankful for knitting. I am about half way done with the Boy's winter sweater. I might be able to finish it this weekend if I just sit and do it. Which I might do to try to force this cold to go away. My shawl is sitting there wondering why I have abandoned it. I will get back to it soon. I just feel the need to finish the sweater before he grows much more. heh.

As always I'm thankful for my DH who complements me perfectly. ;)

*The spell check is saying this should be either place mat or place-mat, I don't agree so apparently I do at time go back to spelling like I live in the 18th century (FB joke please forgive if you don't know me there)

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Review Post...

I’ve been invited to try Time4Learning for one month in exchange for a candid review. My opinion is entirely my own. Time4Learning can be used as a homeschool curriculum, for afterschool enrichment and for summer skill sharpening. Find out how to write your own curriculum review for Time4Learning.

We have been using Time 4 Learning for a month now. It was easy to get started with it. Sign up and everything is right there. You choose the grade level to have your child start with, each subject can be set to different levels. When the grade level is chosen you and your child will have the grade before and the grade after to choose lessons from.

My son would be in 2nd grade in public school and so I started us there with everything. He tried a lesson from each one and then I adjusted the levels for him. Math is the easy one, changed that to 3rd grade and while some of it was review most of it is new and he enjoyed it. Science I raised him a level and this was where I could see that in 3rd grade you are expected to "read to learn" rather than "learn to read" The concepts were at the right level, but since his reading is not there yet I was reading each passage to him. In the 3rd grade math there is the option to have the computer read the text to you, this was not offered in the science lessons.

As we moved on through the month I noticed we had stopped using the Language Arts portion entirely (we had a reading melt down during this month), the math we used regularly and he really seemed to enjoyed it. I used it to supplement what was in our purchased curriulum for math. We also did either a Science or Social Studies lesson or two each day.

The Social Studies lessons were easy for him and enjoyable. They started conversations on what is the difference between wants and needs. Last summer we took a family vacation to Washington, D.C. so much of the national monument and presidential lessons were review for him. He doesn't tolerate repeated lessons well but these had enough new information that while he went quickly through them he didn't dismiss them out of hand.

Overall I think the curriculum is interesting and varied enough that there were plenty of ways for my boy to learn the subjects.

There is a 'playground' area that has many different games to play. One of the things you can do is go to Brain Pop Jr and have full access. This is a site that usually costs an additional subscription fee. It was nice to get to use some of it. They also have action, puzzle, and 2 player
games. As well as links to other educational sites. The playground is set up so I can put an amount of time he must work on lessons before he can go there, as well as how long he can be in the playground.

I was confused by a button that said "This means you have an assignment", which seemed to indicate I should be able to assign lessons for him to go to, but that function doesn't work with Time 4 Learning. It was easy to find the information out in the FAQ. Their FAQ was thorough enough for the information I was looking for. I did not have to send an email in to ask for help.

The one 'problem' I ran into was the only internet browser I could get the site to work with was Internet Explorer. I don't use IE much anymore, so it was kind of a pain to switch to a different browser when we may have been using another site for other information.

Overall I thought it was a good supplement to what I'm doing. I don't think we could use it as a stand alone curriculum. We are too eclectic and I like pulling from many sources. I do think this would work really well as an 'after school' review kind of thing also.

The Boy doesn't want to give a review right now. All he will say at the moment is "It is boring because it is boring". I explained that isn't a review, it isn't helpful information. I will say he did learn and I have seen the melt downs that happen when he is really bored with something, or frustrated with it. I did see it with the reading portions. He was frustrated and did not want to continue. I also saw it when the math was not at the right level and the lessons were about things he already knew. We did not see that with the Math, Science, or Social Studies portions once we found the right level. Reading is our trouble subject and I don't think it would matter what level we were on. The reading program seems to be a phonics based program and repeating sounds it sure to bring on a fit.

My guess is next week or the week after I'm going to face a sad boy again because he will want to do something with "Ed Mouse" and he won't be available.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Does it say something about knitting in the title of this blog?

The bunny is done, it took maybe 2 days total to start and complete. Easiest stuffy I've ever had to make.
The shawl is taking longer, somehow there doesn't seem to be much progress on it when I don't pick it up for weeks at a time. I have picked it back up. We have settled into an easier time with school and I get moments to sit and knit rather than sit and argue with the Boy. ;)

It is getting huge and may end up being too big really, but I'm stubbornly sticking to my plan to use all the yarn I have balled. I really want to see all the colors that I've chosen together is part of the reason, another is I don't know what else I will do with what is left. ;)

I have the yarn to make another sweater for the boy. He choose red and yellow again this year. Much easier to stripe that way. I need to figure out a better way to make it. top down raglan doesn't really work well on him. His head is so much bigger than his neck that using a neck measurement doesn't work well, then he is so thin the rest of it is really, really baggy. I'm going to try to adjust it this time and see how well I can do that. The snow is falling and we already have about an inch on the ground this morning so I feel like I really need to get it going so he has it for this winter. ;)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wow this has been a hard week

I'm usually pretty immune to the 'weekly grind', school is pretty laid back, we do our thing in the morning, then do something fun in the afternoon. (That may or may not involve Sponge Bob.) Things flow around here.

This week has been hard. I made a call to our home school to see what kinds of help we might be able to get from the district to help the Boy learn to read. I am feeling like I need some more tools to help him. That my bag of tricks is empty. Getting help from the district is going to be hard. So I'm looking at other sources of help and I'm going to see what I can dig up on my own. It looks like we will go in and have the Boy's reading level tested with the Woodcock-Johnson achievement test for reading. They will not offer a diagnosis, they will not offer any remediation unless we enroll him in school. I'm not sure I'm willing to do that yet. Definitely not at our home school since they have now moved the teacher I didn't like in K to 2nd grade where he would be at. So we'll do the testing. We'll see what the Psych says in the email she is going to send me. We'll see what the results of the testing are. I have a feeling that they are going to come back close to normal for an 8 year old boy. If we had the full WJ battery, including oral expression, and listening comprehension and compared that with what will come back for the reading portion we would see a huge discrepancy, by just doing the reading portion I'm gonna look like a crazy woman. Sigh.

I purchased about $50 in books on teaching reading from Amazon (this was the day before the interwebz blew up about the "How to be a Pedophile" e-book still not sure about boycotting but I haven't officially purchased after hearing about it, still thinking). I'm hoping there will be some other ideas that the boy will take to.

We did have a bit of a break through yesterday. Boy decided he wanted to study weather, our snowy weather, yesterday. Really he wanted an excuse to go play in the snow. So we went out he wrote notes on the date, time, and conditions we were observing. Then we observed that the snow was really wet and packed very well into snowballs, as the back of my head found out. ;) (really this is going someplace with reading I promise) When we came in we looked up what kind of clouds we were seeing at this site, and we start looking at all the different types of clouds and when we see them and we ran across

Cumulonimbus Capillatus

and I struggled a bit to sound out cah-pih-lah-tuhs, at which point he says "Mom it is Capillatus, see I can say things better than you do" (if I sounded that out wrong and you actually know how to pronounce this please let me know) At which point I tell him, of course he can say it better, I was sounding out a word I have never had to pronounce before. That I use the same techniques I'm trying to teach him to learn how to say new words. It was as if a light bulb was switched on in brain, "Mom has to sound out words! OMG!!!1!!!!!" Our reading session that happened a bit later went much easier, he still got frustrated but he slowed down and read. He just gets so distracted by anything and everything as we work on reading. Ugh!

The time change is playing havoc with all of us. I'm waking at 4:30 in the morning, when the alarm doesn't go off until 5:30. The boy is catching up on sleep after waking at 5:30 on Saturday morning so he could make me breakfast in bed. His allergies also started acting up this weekend and we started him on Claritin again. I don't know if it is the sleep change, the allergies, the claritin, the worry about reading or something else, but he has been having mood swings that give me whip lash. One minute fine the next crying. He spent all day Tuesday hitting a piece of matting with a bat on and off. I guess I should be happy he is getting his anger and frustration out on an unbreakable inanimate object and not me or the cats. Tuesday ended with him in tears about how frustrating reading is, how his allergies are bothering him and how his allergy med makes him feel frustrated. We took a break on Wednesday from school and just hung out, he stopped his allergy meds and things really do seem to be smoothing out.

We'll need to challenge the allergy med at some point, just not the same week as a time change again. ;)

He is now cutting a tooth and for some reason this one is hurting worse than any of the others he has cut. It could be that it is pushing too hard on his front teeth. Braces are not gonna be fun for him. He did agree to take Tylenol and that did eventually seem to help.

So very glad it is Friday. Somehow the week did pass, with lots of emotional stuff but it did pass. Whew!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Carnitas a love story

I tried to make green chile for the Boy's birthday party. It is a staple food when we have burritos for others, when we have it for just ourselves we tend to have just bean and cheese. The green chile did not become so much green chile as carnitas, and luckily found a moment before they became charcoal. So a friend has asked for the recipe. So here it is in all it's ugliness, maybe I'll be able to copy it because they really were yummy.

First you need to hunt through your freezer and see what kind of pork might be lurnking the in the bottom. In our case it was pork chops with bones. They weren't that old, from Sept of this year even.

Boil them with chopped onion (maybe a 1/4 med one), a couple of cloves of garlic, a bay leaf and some salt. I think I used about 6 qts of water and kept the lid on. Let them boil for an hour or until done. Have hubby bone the meat while you work on something very important like sculpting zombies. Strain the liquid from the pot to get rid of the solids.

Add the boned meat and half the liquid from the pot along with a pound of roasted green chiles, 2 cloves of garlic minced, 1 t of salt and a 15 oz can of diced tomatoes. Put on the stove at med low with lid on and ignore for 2 hours.

Basically I left it on to boil/simmer until all the liquid was gone. It really was very good. I'll try it again meaning to do it and see if I can repeat the recipe.

Sadly I don't think there is a picture of them anywhere. Ah well.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Doctor Visits and things...

So today was the well child visit with no shots. My son has my fear of needles and even watching me get my flu shot the day before did not convince him to get his shot.

He ended up having an EKG done that I had put off from this summer. The doc wanted to make sure the fainting spell wasn't due to a heart condition we hadn't seen prior. That came back looking good apparently. 12 leads coming off his body. They offered to give him a print out but he didn't want it. Sigh. I wanted it. heh. We also will be going in to have an EEG done at some point, hopefully before this plan year is done (hint, hint universe). The EEG is to see if there is something odd looking from the seizures and because of the migraines he has been getting.

I also talked to the doctor about the fact that he isn't really reading yet. It is getting better, but if you have ever talked to my son you too would be amazed at what comes out of his mouth and the language he uses and has used since he was 2 and the fact that he does not read. I know he does things at his own pace, I know he has been known to hide the knowledge that he has acquired until he find it advantageous. The thing is, this is absolutely a situation that is advantageous to him. He knows and really wants to get the Mindstorms set, he is trying really hard to read. He still can't seem to figure out some really basic words. His vocabulary is such that he can guess all the big words he runs across but the little words that we have worked on for a couple of years he still can't remember. One example is o-f is of not for. It sounds like I need to find a way to test him. He is really good at bluffing his way through a book. I don't want to short change him by not getting this looked at sooner. So I'm gonna call the school district and see if they will test him.

I'm annoyed that I didn't push harder last year when we were with the virtual charter. They used the Barton system to teach reading to dyslexics and I didn't push, figured we would see if he got it during that year. He didn't. He still isn't and I'm more worried now that I was last year. Unfortunately the Barton system is expensive and I don't think I'm going to be able to get it as a homeschooler. Ugh.

All that aside, my boy, the one that has insisted that I be the one to make him food, and will only take food from his father if I insist that I am too busy, just made himself a piece of toast with jelly on it. WOW!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

How has it been 8 years? Hasn't it been 800 years?

8 years ago I went into labor with what would end up being my first and apparently last child. I can't believe he is already 8 years old. He is has changed so much again this year. He is already getting embarrassed by me. On Halloween I have a time honored tradition of bugging the teens about what their costumes are. I will always give out candy but you may end up with a pop quiz on what your costume is and why you choose it if you look to be 13 or old. So when 2 boys show up one dressed as a knight, and the second looking like a Mormon missionary with a NE Patriots tie I had to ask what the boy in white shirt was. His response "Whatever you think I am" My response back "A teenager looking to get candy" At which point the Boy stepped in told me to go away this was HIS job and then apologized to the boys that "That's my mom sometimes she gets like that" Heh, just wait, I just get better with age.

He has taken on his role of keeper of the hamster completely. It has been a month and he still takes care of her and doesn't complain. I can see how he takes our personalities and makes them his own. He talked to each of the kids as they came to the door, commented on their costumes. Then made fun of the kids who just stared at him. "Their parents told them not to talk to strangers but to ask them all for candy"

He has started to read, on his own, sounding out words and everything. He is like this brick wall that I pounded my head against over and over and over. Then one day down in a corner where I haven't been looking I notice there is a door and it has instructions next to it they just happen to be in a language I had forgotten I knew. So I sit and stop banging my head and I can start to understand them and the door starts to open a little. That is what it feels like when teaching this one. The more I fight and insist the tighter the door closes. The more I sit and try to figure out what he is looking for the door starts to open.

How can it be only 8 years since I became a mother. It feels like I have had this role forever. Was there ever anything before this? I can tell there will never be anything after this. I will never be a person with only herself to worry about ever again.

All this to say Happy Birthday to my 8 year old son. He is no longer a little boy, or a big boy, he is a boy.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Birthday Party

We did a Plants vs Zombies party for the Boy's 8th birthday.
This was more fun, and more work that I thought it would be when we first came up with the idea. The Boy at nearly 8 has definite ideas about what would happen for his party. DH had ideas about what was needed to plan out 2 hours of party. I had ideas of what would be fun for 8 year old boys. Let me tell you the one who knew what would be fun and take up 2 hours of time for 8 year old boys was the 8 year old boy. Need to remember to trust him in what is fun.

My mom baked him a marble cake and then frosted it with the backyard from the game. I had originally wanted to have blue jello for the pool portion but that didn't happen and I think this looks great.

I made the modeling chocolate (easy) and the sculpted the characters
Here is Repeater without his face on yet, well and my old wrinkled hands. ;)

Here is the cake decorated. I let the Boy decide where to put the characters. You will notice that there is only one body of a zombie. Yeah that was much harder to make than I thought it would be. So I decided that a rubber ducky zombie would work the best.
Torchwood is one of my favorite, I love the way it turned out.

Here is the Boy looking so happy with his cake. I'm so happy we did it, I'm so glad I had the luxury of the time to put this together. DH was amazing, he took Friday off work and helped get the house cleaned, the games ready, and let me do the bits I love to do, which included sewing these....

Wallnuts that look a bit more like Tallnuts but still. We used the to play Wallnut Bowling with Zombies.

It looks like I may have loaded all the pictures that Blogger will let me. The Wallnut Bowling game was fun. The boys quickly got bored with throwing Wallnuts at cutouts of Zombies and soon decided that it would be more fun to throw them at each other.

Ok now to do school work for the day.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Anxiety, high and low.

I have put myself into a tizzy twice this morning, both times because I didn't read closely enough what was right in front of me. Sigh, and I wonder why getting my son to slow down enough to read all the words is a problem. ;) I think this week needs to be a reminder to slow down and make sure I'm taking in everything I need to. It is going to be a busy one, between a pack meeting tomorrow night and getting the awards the boys have earned so far today. Seeing if I can convince the boy to try the online curriculum.

I shouldn't have started with one of the literacy pieces at Time 4 Learning.* They use a phonic approach and the Boy HATES phonics. I don't know how to help this. He does not like to slow down enough to sound out the words and is great at anticipating what the words will be next. So I don't know how well their literacy approach will work with him. Today we'll try the math and maybe social studies to see how he likes that. I also think I'll have him try one of the Language Arts extensions to see how he does with that.

We had so much fun over the weekend, one of the Boy's best buddies has his birthday party at a A-1 Scuba to have a snorkeling party. The Boy has been practicing swimming and DH has shown him how to use his snorkel and mask so he was aware of what was going to happen. He was still a bit afraid of the newness of the situation and the fact that he is not a very confident swimmer yet. He can swim across the pool in 3.5' water but get the water deeper and he is afraid that he can't. He did eventually swim across the deep end with one of the adults holding his hand and then back across on his own, but only once.

This is my son. He is anxious about trying new skills, he will watch, he will observe, he will wait. He will then amaze you with what he can do, but will still have high levels of anxiety about it. In this I can see myself so clearly. I can remember things I passed up on because of my anxiety as a child and young adult that I would have enjoyed had I only found a way to try a new thing. I want to try to find a way to help him move beyond the anxiety to the enjoyment. We'll see how well I can do at this.

* I am receiving one month trial of Time4Learning in exchange for my honest opinion.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Announcment of a Review

I've been invited to try Time4Learning for one month in exchange for a candid review. My opinion will be entirely my own, so be sure to come back and read about my experience. Time4Learning can be used as an online homeschooling curriculum, a web based afterschool tutorial or an online summer program. Find out how to write your own curriculum review for Time4Learning.

So we'll see how well the Boy likes it, how well I like it. I've looked at their site many times, but have never taken the plunge. Now looks like the time.

I have been concentrating on math facts and not really covering new material. I'm trying to come up with new and fun ways to get the math facts in his head. I think they are actually there but he freezes when asked on the spot to say how much money he has left if he started with $18 and is spending $9.04. Or how much change he should expect when the item added up to $9.92 and he is giving the checker a $10 bill. He will figure it out if he thinks to try on his own, and is very proud to tell you. I have no idea how he will do on standardized tests next year. Well I have some idea, last year with K12 he had a couple of Scantron tests for math that he did really well on. Somehow, sitting with it in front of him as a test he does ok, standing in the store with other adults watching he freezes. Sigh.

So right now I'm working on how to drill the basic math facts into his head, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. We'll move on when those are in his head.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

How is school going you ask?

Well maybe you didn't ask, but I'm gonna pretend you did.

Last week was nearly a complete loss as far as reading and math are concerned, actually as far as nearly anything is concerned. There was a lot of watching TV and playing video games but very little in the way of something that could be considered educational.

This week has been different. Last year I had a standing rule that the TV could not be turned on nor could there be any video games until school was finished for the day. I have been much more lax this year, as in, the TV was going on as soon as he woke up in the morning, then reluctantly turned off to do some school work then right back on. Last week was just the culmination of really, really bad habits on both our parts.

So this week we are doing things like last year, no TV until we finish schoolwork. I am allowing video games but only specific ones that have something educational in them. We have a math game for the DS (it is awful but the boy is liking it at the moment) and we have Scriblenauts, also for the DS that is forcing him to look up the spelling of words in his personal dictionary.

I also purchased 2 journals for him that have the dotted line paper so he has an easier time writing in. So this week we are working on writing a story. Each day his is adding another detail to the story.

I didn't have the argument I would have had last year, and I'm noticing he is getting more independent as a learner each day. It is a lovely thing to see, since I wasn't certain it was ever actually going to happen.

My knitting project is going very slowly. Mainly because I'm not actually knitting on it. I'm still very happy with it, I just haven't taken the time to work on it. I'm also reading "The Girl Who Played With Fire" and I really want to like it but I'm having such a hard time finishing it. I read the first book in the series really quickly and this one is just taking forever. I'm not taken by all the characters in it and while I'm curious what is going to happen to Lisbeth I don't care about the rest of it enough to read it quickly. Sigh.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The newest family member...

I'm a grandma, kind of. The boy has been wanting a hamster since sometime this summer when he went to Petsmart with his dad to get cat supplies and he saw the dwarf hamsters. I knew nothing, and I mean nothing, about rodents except the odd factoid or two. Factoid the first: Rodents teeth continue to grow throughout their lives and if they don't wear them down by chewing on things they can die. Factoid the second: the capybara is the largest rodent in the world and is my sister's favorite. Uniformed opinion: They are small, smelly and can escape if not watched carefully, I didn't want one in my house.

Why then did I buy a magazine on hamsters? It had articles on how to pick the right hamster for you, what to feed your new hamster, what diseases to look for. We read that magazine cover to cover. We debated the relative merits of the different types, Syrian are not dwarf hamsters and tend to be a bit, ummm, more odoriferous, than the dwarfs, Campbell's (aka Fancy Russian) are the largest of the dwarfs are pretty good about being handled but have a high incident of diabetes, Chinese are a bit smaller, and don't like to be handled, Robos are the smallest of them all and simply won't be handled, they also need the largest cage of all because they need to move.

We sat with this information for a month or so. Talked about it, talked about where the cage would go. Talked about using Sparky's aquarium as the new hamster home, talked like we were going to be getting a hamster.

On Tuesday the Boy decided he really, really was ready to get a hamster. So I said we need to clean his room and get it ready for a hamster cage, and clean the aquarium, then if we still had time before scouts we could go pick one up. We took 3 HUGE bags of stuff out of his room, one of trash and 2 of clothes and toys to give away, plus a bunch of cardboard for recycling. His room looks better than it has in years. In the mail that day we also received a coupon for $10 off $50 or more purchase at where else but PetsMart. I tell you, it was destined.

We headed off and went through the store getting the things you need for a hamster, minus the cage. So we get bedding, we get food, we get a food dish, and a water bottle, salt blocks, and treats (Disney Ratatouille treats, of course), a wheel, a hidey home, and last but certainly not least a ball. Then we pick out our Campbell's (aka Fancy Russian) dwarf hamster. There were 2 in the cage and he picked the dark gray one.

We carry her carefully home, set up the aquarium and head out to scouts. She needs time to get used to her new surroundings and so the boy is going to 'interact with her' only through the glass for the first night.

The next morning he is up and watching her again. She is very awake and active, he gets her new food and water and then we see how she reacts to her ball. She crawls right in and runs around the room. She allows him to pet her and hold her. She is, all in all, a very sweet thing. I had no idea how cute or sweet hamsters could be. She has nipped him a couple of times but it doesn't hurt much and he understands why she did it, once when he surprised her while she was eating her treat stick and once when we brought in her fresh veg and he tried to hand feed her spinach, she REALLY likes spinach.

He toyed with naming her Sparky, like our toad, because she too is a pretty fast little one. He toyed with Little One, since that is kind of the house pet name for all small things. He settled onto Sweetie, because simply, she is one. He feels so proud to be given the privilege of taking care of her. He told me yesterday "Mom, by letting me have a pet that is mine to take care of I have such a feeling of pride and accomplishment, thank you." He really has just taken the responsibility to heart and she is his completely.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Field Trip time...

This has been the week of spur of the moment field trips.

On Monday I found out that the King Tut exhibit here in town had a deal for the month of September you got a free kids ticket with the purchase of an adult ticket, but only until Sept 30th, aka Friday. So I asked the Boy and sure enough he really, really wanted to go. So I bought the tickets, added the audio tour as a lark and we got ready to go on Tuesday. It was not the most 'kid friendly' exhibit I have seen in town there were no touch stations and interactive exhibits, my kid was still enthralled. He had his audio tour and listened to each station, he let me read some of the exhibits to him that we not part of the audio tour. He shared some of the tidbits he learned with me. All in all we had a lovely time.I ended up buying him this mouse pad. It was $2 and by far one of the most affordable bits of tchotchke available there. ;)

Then yesterday morning before we were able to leave for the Art Museum I received an email from my Mom letting me know that the LAS Pathfinder portion of the Orion space craft was going to be at the DMNS on Tuesday and Weds this week. The Orion spacecraft is what is slated to replace the Space Shuttle for missions to the International Space Station. The LAS Pathfinder is the Launch Abort System to be used to help protect the astronauts from problems at launch.I again asked the Boy if he wanted to see this and again a VERY enthusiastic YES. So today we are off to see the LAS Pathfinder at the museum.

Then last night at scouts we had an amazing storyteller come and share with the boys. She was wonderful. She kept the boys enchanted for 45 minutes telling them stories, teaching them songs and dances. It was wonderful to see. She has a beautiful voice and writes amazing songs. If you want to see what she does please go to her website.

So while we aren't getting much in the way of practicing times tables and sitting at the table talking about verbs and adverbs, we are learning lots of interesting things and enjoying our life. Ahhhh, I love this gig. (please don't come over and see the mess that is my house because of these fun trips)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Knitting, learning, and letting go...

I'm still working on the big old lady lace project for myself. ;) I am loving it but am finding I am not spending that much time on it. I have also started knitting a 9 inch square in orange angora to make a bunny for the Boy. He picked the yarn out last year and has decided since it is bunny yarn it should be knit into a bunny. Here is the pattern, it is very, very, very easy and turns out cute. I have made one before but I don't remember who ended up with it.

The Boy has decided to learn to read since he really wants to get Lego Mindstorms and make robot minions. Whatever works to motivate him I will use. Also just have to put in another plug for Timez Attack he gladly spent another 40 minutes playing it today and has nearly memorized all his 2's facts. If only I could find something as engaging for addition and subtraction. Sigh.

I freecycled away the rest of my maternity clothes. The pants I loved so much and basically lived in for the last month of my pregnancy and the first month of the Boy's life are gone. I am ready to move on. I started a diet and I'm working out. I won't be getting pregnant again and I think I have really accepted that. My life is busy enough right now with my one boyo and while I go through moments of mourning not having a daughter to share things with, my son is pretty darn fabulous and teaches me new things and I am having to stretch beyond my comfort zone to encourage his interests.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Tearing things apart to learn

Yesterday I was introduced to the MAKEcation Family Challenge this really is perfect for us. We love MAKE magazine. We have lots of dead electronics lying around the house, no really, I think DH may have gotten rid of the VCR that he moved, broken, from his Mom's house to our first apartment, to our second apartment, to our first house and then to the house we now live in, but only maybe. We have 3 dead computers sitting in our garage, one in the office that is actually waiting to be converted to the Boy's new computer, and the Boy's old computer sitting around here somewhere. We also have various other bits hanging around.
When we got a new cable remote the boy tore into the old one to see what was in there. Now we have a pretty good excuse to tear into something catalog everything (this is where I get excited) and maybe win something. Plus it really will be teaching the boy something new.
I read about it at 4, I told DH & the Boy about it at 6 and by 6:30 there was a computer on the living room floor waiting for its time under the screwgun. There is no before picture to this because they were too excited to get going to stop and take a pic. There are some pictures of the middle bits, and there are a couple of very long videos, that if anyone can tell me what I need to edit them on the PC I will edit and work on making them more viewable to others beyond myself and my family. ;)
So is anyone else thinking of doing this with their kids? Or you know by yourself, or with a friend? Let me know.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Times Tables, Boo Boos and knitting....

In case you couldn't tell by the title this is gonna be random, very, very random. "enjoy"

I had heard for a while about a game called Timez Attack was a great way to get kids to learn their times tables. I wasn't sure if it was the things for us but since it is free to try I thought I would download it. I played it the other day and it seemed ok, not perfect but ok. I was a little annoyed with the interface but it did have an interesting way to do the repetition on the times tables. So I left it on the desktop of my computer and waited until the Boy saw it. He did, the icon is a little green alien looking thing, and wanted to watch me play it, he then wanted to try it for himself. He asked me to stay next to him and give him the answers in case he didn't know them. The game shows you the answer and he figured it out quickly. He picked up the facts quickly and only had a problem when he miss-keyed something and got flustered. (In case you didn't know, no one has ever offered to give me anything free for any kind of review, let alone Big Brainz)

There was a time in my life when I had a hard time finding a band-aid and first-aid cream in my house. It was there, I just didn't know exactly where, and the first-aid cream was most likely well out of date. Those days are long gone. Having an almost 8 year old in the house has necessitated my knowing where these are and actually buying new first-aid cream. He had a boo boo on his toe this evening. So I got the first aid kit out and bandaged him. Do Moms of little girls have this intimate knowledge of their first-aid kit? I can remember when the Boy was 3 and he fell at the zoo. He skinned his knees really bad and was in tears. Another mom came up to me and said "I have 5 kids I always have band-aids in my purse" I thought at the time she must have really clumsy kiddos. I now know she just had kids, and enough of them to warrant constant band-aid need.

As for knitting, I'm driving myself crazy with this shawl. I have started it 3 times now, simply because I can't read a pattern. It is a very simple pattern and I kept ignoring vitally important bits. I have gotten past the worse and hope that I will be able to continue on with this now that I've got the pattern set. My next challenge will be to decide where I'm going to change the colors.

Friday, September 3, 2010

School and knitting

We have survived the first week of school, ok most of the first week of school. We still need to get today behind us and then we will be done, done, done.

Yesterday we took a slightly different route to school. I decided I HAD to have a swift. I had 5 skiens of yarn that needed to be balled up, (more on this project in a bit.) Using the back of my chairs was a pain in the neck and my son and husband are not patient enough to sit for the hour or so it would take to do it by hand. I have been wanting a swift for years now, but at $50-$70 I was not willing to shell out the money, not even my birthday/holiday gift card money. I would rather have more yarn or knitting books than to spend the bulk of my money on a piece of hardware, no matter how useful. So I found instructions online to make one, went to the hardware store and the Boy and I made it yesterday. He worked with tools, did math, and had fun. I love this homeschool stuff.

I'm starting a new knitting project that is just for me. I'm knitting a circular shawl the Super-Spiral Shawl from A Gathering of Lace. Here is the Ravelry Link , I'm hoping it will turn out pretty. I'm using 5 different colors of yarn to make it. I was given a sampler of Knitpicks Shadow lace yarn a few years ago. I don't know why it has taken me this long to realize I can made a multi colored shawl but it has. So I'm going to start it soon, as in as soon as I can find a set of size 10 dpns.

Last thing is I am entering a contest to win a picture on canvas from Freely Educate, here is the link if you are interested in it. It ends this afternoon at 6 so hurry.

Monday, August 30, 2010

We did it....

The first day of school is done, mostly. We did math, counting to 10,000 and recognizing thousands place. He even did the worksheets without too much gnashing of teeth.

We read the first 13 pages of Grammar Island, there was a bit of eye rolling and holding of the bridge of ones nose during it, but we made it through it and I even got a question about what something meant that was answered in the next page. It is as thought the author might know what the heck he is doing. ;)

We read Three Billy Goats Gruff together and then had a discussion that covered level 1 and 2 of Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. (Doesn't that make it sound like I know what the heck I'm doing?) Really we talked about the basic facts of the story and the Boy's comprehension and memory of the basic facts. Tomorrow we will discuss some application questions and then do a bit of analysis, with Weds having us moving deeper into the story with Synthesis and Evaluation.

I then forced the boy to sit and read on his own. There was much gnashing of teeth and crying about having to actually sit with a book on his lap for any amount of time. He ended up sitting for 6 minutes with his How Things Work book, turning pages quickly, luckily it is a big book so he finished turning pages as the timer went off. Tomorrow he will have to sit with a different book for 10 minutes. This is going to be the hardest part of the school year. At least I'm not surprised.

We will be doing some Astronomy tonight. Good times.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The school year is looming...

Last year when ever someone asked the boy what grade or where he went to school he would happily say he was home schooled. He was proud of it and happy about it.

This year he is more excited about it, but when people ask about school he is more hesitant. He knows that nearly everyone else has started school already and that we haven't is different. He knows that although nearly everyone speak about it as if it is the wonderful thing it is, some people will change their tone and start asking me about how he is socializing. (The ones that kind of drive me craziest are the other scout moms who know him and know that he is great playing with their kids)

I think his reactions proves that he does understand how to act socially. He understands that not everyone will approve and so will start the answer with the simple (I'm in 2nd grade) and then if they press about what school he goes to he will say I'm home schooled. Just a fact, not an exciting fact, just one of many about him. Next subject.

We have one week until the first day of real school. This last week of summer break is going to be a crazy one. I'm helping my sister on Monday, we have Join Night for Scouts on Tuesday, and there are things to get ready for that, and therapy during the day. I have a popcorn meeting on Weds night to figure out how much we are going to order. Thursday is open right now (this is not an invitation to fill it) Friday I am going to pick my BIL up at the airport and then hang out with them. I have a feeling scouts will end up filling in all the time I haven't allotted to something else this coming week.

I'm still trying to get the last of the knitting done for the baby set, I'm annoyed with the booties since they don't match but I need to get over it and finish the project.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Oh the fun of a science kiddo...

The boy was so excited to start school last night. He has been asking for weeks when the Perseids were and when we are going to watch them. It was as though asking over and over and over again might make time go faster. It finally arrived and I was exhausted.

My Dad is in the hospital with an ailment and I had stayed late Weds hoping to hear from the admitting doctor what the course would look like and how long he would be there. She didn't show up until 3am, 11 hours after he had been taken to the ward. I then spent the day on Thursday at the hospital waiting with Dad for the specialist to come in and explain what tests might be needed and what the cause of the problem might be. He showed up around 3 in the afternoon (there is a pattern here) to talk to us. He was very nice and explained what was going to happen. I left then and boy & I went home again. I tried to nap, but didn't get to much.

My plans for a picnic dinner to be taken out on the plains didn't happen. The drive out to the plains (ok farther out onto the plains) didn't happen, but....

We did go out and look at Mercury with the telescope, and the new moon. We saw Mars and Saturn. Found Vega, Altair and Deneb and the boy recognized the 'Summer Triangle' Then to the back yard with blankets and a star map and the boy came up with his own constellations, the canoe, the square, and the little triangle. He found the big dipper on his own.

We saw a few meteors, and 2 satellites, and many airplanes. I wish we could have been out away from town. I want to go camping and stargazing with my guys one of these weekends.

Then today the boy played with dry ice thanks to his Grammy (thanks Mom!) Loads of fun and we still had some red cabbage acid/base indicator left from some experiments last week. So he saw that carbon dioxide creates an acid when it dissolves in water.

One of these days I'll remember to take pictures of what we are doing so this can have some colors as well as words.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

We might be planners.....

The boy wants to have a Plants vs Zombies theme for his birthday party this year. We can blame this cake to start us on this path. By the way you will want to skip the rest of this entry if you don't know the game, or well go play it and then get as sucked in as we are around here and then read on because this is a single idea post.

He has an idea to play a live action Plants vs Zombies game with his friends. I'm trying to come up with a way to do it without hurting anyone and making the game a bit more balanced than just letting the plants throw things at the Zombies. I'm thinking I will either hire teens to play the part of Zombies or well I don't know. Anyone have ideas they want to share on how to do this? The plants I am planning on making little canvas balls and filling them with powdered chalk to make a mark on the Zombies. Is that a horrible idea with at least 2 of the boys pretty good at playing baseball and hopefully not going to bean anyone too hard?

Any other ideas for games that would work in this theme? Maybe pin the plant on the yard? I'm lost on any other ideas.

I'm going to start practicing making little models of the pea shooters and the zombies.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Acid/Base fun...

I made some red cabbage liquid to do some acid base experiments with the boy this afternoon. Cabbage was cheap at the store this week and I felt like it would be a fun quiet day activity. It was. If I was a better blogger there would be pictures of the fun. I'm not. So we will all have to use our imagination. Or go look at the pretty picures on the link I just gave you.

This was so much fun, and so very easy. We would pour some vinegar in first then add some ammonia, then some baking soda, then some more vinegar and lots of foaming and fun. I then let him have a glass of water with baking soda mixed in, a glass of vinegar, and a glass of water and some litmus paper and he had his milk. He discovered that milk will curdle with vinegar and that you can bring the solution back to neutral. Good times.

His only question at the beginning was that this isn't school right? HA! of course not, it is simply fun with acid and bases. heh heh.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The excitment is building...

Our first day of classes for this school year is going to be August 12th. I had been planning on not really starting until August 30th, or maybe even Sept 7th right after Labor Day. I figured we don't have CSAP, I don't have to worry about getting enough 'teacher/student contact hours' before the test in, and in my mind school should start after it starts to get more fall like, and that is Sept for me.

What is moving that date up a bit is the combination of my son's desire to study astronomy for science this year and the Perseid meteor show that is going to be brighter, due to the moon being at 3 days new and in the western sky, and at a really great time of the night for us to view it (right after sunset) Here is an article in Scientifics Sky Talk * about it. If you are on the east coast it will be even better for you.

The great thing is the boy just came into my office and said "Yippee school is about to start!" He is so excited. That we are going to get to study astronomy like this and that it will be his only subject for a while.

I'm still not going to start with the grammar and math until August 30th, music who knows when, I'm pretty sure I've convinced my DH that I am sufficiently horrible at music that he will take it over in the evening. Art is going to be photography, and I'll probably start that soonish as well. Have him start taking pictures and figuring out how he wants to compose them in the camera. Then we'll move onto how to use cropping to change the feel of the picture. This is stuff I know how to do, and again he loves using a camera, he is also not too bad at it either.

* ETA I have fixed the link, as someone (thanks David) pointed out I had linked to an old article on the Perseids, they come around every year at this time of year, but really this year is suppose to be a really good one.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Changes in attitude...

I am spending too much time on this machine and not enough time on the things that are important in my life. (Which sadly includes housekeeping) I have become sucked into this world of a shiny new toy that I can use anywhere. (meaning the couch) The house is chaotic, my office is chaotic, and my attention span has come to rival a small gnat. Not a good thing in there.

I think I need to set some ground rules for using the computer. Give myself some time limits as I give my son. When I first thought of this I was thinking I would take a weeks vacation from all things electronic. I quickly realized that wasn't realistic. I have obligations that require me to use the computer on a nearly daily basis. Cub Scouts is just getting ready to start and I'm the Committee Chair, I can't be incommunicado for a week the week before Back to School Night. I also do bookkeeping work for a friends new law office and I can't ignore that either.

So I think what I will do is reframe how I think about what the computer is used for. I will get on for an hour in the morning before the boy wakes and check email, update anything that needs to be updated and avoid FB. At lunch I will allow myself between a half hour and an hour depending on what HAS to be done to check email and update anything. Then another hour in the late afternoon to check once more. I am taking my gmail account off my phone and not worrying about it on a constant basis. It will have a couple of positive effects I will no longer be getting made because it forgets my password weekly and I will stop checking it every 5 minutes to see what new email has come in.

OK, I'm off to check emails, update a database and then join the real world. See you later. (You will notice I have not forbidden myself from updating here)

Monday, July 26, 2010

More preping for the new year...

I spent most of the day letting my boy and his buddy run wild around the house while I did data entry for the Pack. I think we are up and running with the new system. I want the den leaders to look it over before I add the parents as users. It will make things much easier we are hoping. I need to get with our treasurer and set up that side of it as well. One stop for pretty much everything we want to do. We are super excited.

Now I'm getting ready to put all of our books into Homeschool Tracker and see how I like that for tracking what we are doing and when. I'm still working out how to get assignments into it and if I really think that is going to work. One of the things the boy did not like last year was how regimented the schedule was with COVA. I don't want to replicate that here, but I do want an idea of what we need to do to get everything covered in a school year.

Oh in the knitting front I have the jumper done except for the sewing in of the ends and blocking. Now to make the pair of socks and Mama, Papi, and Baby can have the gift set.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Camping, again.

We spent the last 3 day camping with a million other cub scouts. Well maybe slightly less than that, it may have just felt like that when the WEBELOS descended to eat. We participated in a flag ceremony, baked in an open pit fire, shot paint balls from sling shots, ate lunch, canoed, archery, shot bb guns, didn't go swimming, ate dinner, participated in another flag ceremony, slept, ate breakfast (without caffeine), participated in yet another flag ceremony, made a lizard, learned to use a compass, went though an obstacle course, ate lunch and went on a nature hike.

We had fun, this does not include all the free time to throw pine cones, find caterpillars, and hang out with your best buddies.

Things we will bring next year:
emergency caffeine
fewer clothes
not my phone
a watch

Things to remember for next year:
If you wear your class A uniform you will get to actually participate in the flag ceremony. (The boy was chosen each time they did it)
While they may run out of real coffee on the last day, the last weekend isn't too bad a time to come.
Drink your pizza, and lots of it!

I will post pictures soon. We had a wonderful time and I think this may have been the best thing we have done as a family in a long time. So wonderful!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Busy Week...

This week is crazy busy and isn't going to slow down until Monday, and then next week is actually crazy in the evening 3 out of 5 night so next week isn't looking all that quiet either.

I'm trying to pack and make sure we have everything we need for Magness Adventure Camp this weekend. The only thing I can't find is a child size rain poncho, I may end up at the Evil Walmart tonight to see if they have one. I have tried Kmart, Target, and Dick's Sporting Goods. At Dick's they said they had a church youth group come in and buy everything they had. Ugh, so Walmart may not be any better if they cleaned out all the stores in town. Sigh.
I am working like a mad woman on my knitting project since the recipient decided today would be a good day to be born. I'm writing this here because I'm fairly sure her Mami & Papi are going to be a bit too busy to be reading my blog anytime in the next, oh year or so. ;) And as such I'm gonna post some really poor pictures of it here. It is Anouk from Knitty 6 years ago. I have been wanting to knit it for someone ever since I saw it and I finally had a chance! Hooray!

So I have front, back and one pocket finished. I have second pocket half knit then I need to embroider the flower on it, and knit 2 little side straps, find buttons, graft the shoulder, knit the neckline and wash it. Nothing much right? Then I have a pair of socks I want to make to go with it. I can do this I know I can. Let's ignore the fact that I'm away at camp for the next 3 days, then have a busy day Sunday planned and am out with friends/work for 3 of the 5 nights of the next week.

Oh btw if you are in Denver and want to see a fun band Sunday Girl is playing at the Larimer Lounge on Tuesday the 27th. Come on it will be fun!

Ok I am needed to help with a video game, and I know that won't last much longer. ;)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Camping fun...

We spent the weekend at Pueblo Reservoir. It was so much fun. Hot, but fun. The kids had a blast finding toads, fossils, beetles and lizards. We had fun hanging out with friends and just chilling. It was crazy hot, and the wind was trying to drive us crazy at moments, but overall a win.

I reminded DH and I that we need to get out of the house and go camping more often. We live in CO after all. We have beautiful mountains that are only 1 hour from our front door. Why are we spending so much time in our hot, non air conditioned house? Crazy people that is what we are.

So we are going to try to get out of the house at least a couple times a month. We are going to get to go camping again this next weekend. We are going to Cub Scout camp this weekend. The boy and DH are both very excited at the idea of the bb gun range and the archery range that they will get to play at. There is just so many things we will get to do, and we will get to enjoy it all as a family. So happy and excited.

This year is turning out to be pretty fabulous all said. We have visited both coasts, the Capitol of our Nation, spent time as a family. It has been really great.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Dang Missed a day

Oh well, yesterday was a fun day and I ended up not having lots of time online so there you have it.

All of the curriculum I ordered has come in. I'm very, very excited.

I ordered Suppose the Wolf Were an Octopus for K-2 and 3-4 grades. The boy was excited to see that since there was a picture of an octopus on the front. It is "A Guide to Creative Questioning for Primary Grade Literature" The Classics in the Classroom is another book to give me ideas on questions and analysis for literature. It is meant to be used across the K 12 spectrum of books, and has a list of 1300 Classic book in the back, including things from Archimedes to Angelou. It will hopefully give me some ideas to work on with him. Then there is the Michael Clay Thompson Grammar and Language set. It includes thing on grammar, poetry, vocabulary, and writing.

Then we have our math and logic books. Oh and the all important Geometric Shapes. I decided to go with 2 years all at once on the Math program. If we don't get through it all in one year I can use them the next year, if we find that they are no longer working for him we can sell them easily. Either way we are good. I am gather a nice collection of Singapore Math books right now. We have 1-4 all text and work books at this point. The Venn Perplexors are kind of fun, they use nursery rhymes to then work out the logic of how many of each type you have. So fun language and fun math. I think this is right up the boy's alley. The geometric shapes are just cool. He was the most excited to see those come in and made up a game kind of like skeeball with the different sized boxes we now how EVERYWHERE and tossing the blocks, also calling out what the shape was as you threw it. The thing I'm excited about is the slices taken on some of them that can help us understand 2-d projections of 3-d shapes.
So that was the bulk of yesterday's fun. I also had a meeting to learn how/when we will be doing our packs join night festivities. Fun. Lots of interesting information there. Need to get together with our Cub Master to talk about it and update the rest of our leaders on what we are doing. Fun, fun, fun. I'm really excited about this next year and the fun things we are going to get to do with the boys.

Now to go shopping for the camping trip this weekend, oh and get a new wireless router. So excited at the thought of having access to internet in places other than this little room. (Why hello there 21st century it looks like we might be joining you after all)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wow, how long do you think I can keep this up?

So as I said on my facebook status I managed to get a whole bunch of Cub Scout duties taken care of. I turned in my application to hold the position I'm holding. I turned in an application for one of our boys who joined last February (I will not go into why that took so long) I bought my son's hat, belt and book for Wolf Cubs. He is so excited about Cub Scouts. It actually makes all the phone calls and nagging my position requires worth it. Or well mostly it does, the other thing that makes it worth it is one of the people I'm nagging is a good friend so I get to talk to her often.

I also talked with our Cubmaster for an hour and we hashed out some dates for the coming year. Pinewood Derby February 5th, Blue & Gold Banquet February 24th. I need to call the Rec Center we used last year and see if we can use it again this year. I need to talk to my husband about the Pinewood Derby since he is in charge of that.

I'm trying not to stress over the fact that it looks like we will be camping in 100 degree weather this weekend and then camping in 70 degree rainy weather the next weekend. Guess which weekend I will enjoy more?

I received the Astronomy book I ordered for us and it looks like it will be great. The book is called Astronomy for All Ages. It has 51 different activities that are a nice mix of both indoor and outdoor. My only complaint is that all the appendix has lists of the moon phases and the position of the planets for an 11 year period that go from 2000 to 2010. So I need to go online and find these, not that I think that is going to be difficult at all.

I'm also writing this blog entry to procrastinate packing up the computer and monitor to send back to K12. I don't know why I've waited on this. I have no doubts about our choice to not use COVA next year and have no love for that particular computer. It was slow and drove me batty with the babysitter program on it. Really it just need to go back. I think I'm afraid it will break in transport and I will have to pay for a truly crappy computer. I just need to take a deep breath and do it.

Ok off to find boxes that I can pack it all in and then figure out where I can buy packing peanuts. Anyone know?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Summer is here...

We are lazing around the house. Cherries to deal with, camping equipment to check, and a year of lessons to 'plan'.

I have about 10 pounds of pie cherries from our tree this year. A cold hit just as we brought in the majority of them so I am going to freeze them and can them later. Don't need to be coughing and sneezing into the canned cherries, but I don't want to have them in such large containers in the freezer so will get them canned in a couple of weeks. Maybe once tomatoes start coming in and I can just have a crazy canning weekend. Or peaches, yummm peaches.

We are going camping this weekend with my BIL & SIL. It should be loads of fun with loads of kids and fishing, and food, and well fun. I can't wait, but before we can go I have to make sure all our camping equipment is ok and pull it all together. Need to get DH to help me with it. Then I also need to get a food list together and make sure we have everything we need food wise. What do you like to take camping?

I placed orders for our homeschool curriculum with 3 different companies last Thurs & Friday. The one on Thurs packed and shipped it on Friday the one on Friday packed and shipped it on Tuesday. The happy news is they should both be here on Thursday! Happy Birthday/Christmas to me. Yea!!!!

Well we are going to complete a game we found today on Kongregate called CellCraft. Go play it, it is on cellular biology and from my earth science background looks pretty accurate. (That is to say I think it looks good but I could be completely wrong. heh)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Ack Moths!!!!!

The boy told me 2 days ago, with a gleeful voice, that we had 'silk moths' downstairs. I looked confused and then realized he meant cloth (wool) moths. (He knew it was a moth that ate the stuff I knit with and he had heard of silk moths and knows I knit with silk so, yeah anyway not silk moths in my basement) Yesterday he caught one.

Now here is where I tell you I am sorry, very, very sorry that I ever taught him to respect all life and that you don't kill any living thing just willy nilly. I told him to kill it and he looked at me like I had grown a 2nd head and wanted him to sacrifice the moth to the evil goddesses of knitting or something. So I told him to take it outside and release it. (Hoping in my heart that it will starve to death with no wool out there to eat.)

So, what the heck am I going to do???? They are in the basement with the majority of my stash. I could get moth balls. But they stink and are poisonous to us and the moths. I could throw away all the yarn down there, fumigate and never knit again. (dramatic much) I actually have no idea how I'm going to deal with this. Wish me luck.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Ideas, they keep coming

I ordered our math books today and the astronomy book I had been looking at. If I hate it when it comes I'll just return it.

I 'participated' in the #gtchat on twitter this evening and the discussion was on role models for gifted children and using biographies to give them some role models. I was very interested since the boy has been watching too much Suite Life of Zack & Cody. He commented the other day that he didn't want to be a 'brainiac' like Cody when he was a teenager because he didn't want a girlfriend like Barbara. So many reasons that comment sent me to the edge. First I was alot like Barbara and don't think that was a bad thing, second seeing it as a bad thing to be smart is not ok, and third he is basing how he wants to be in the future off a tv show. OMG I have failed as a parent. Well maybe not yet but it looks like I'm on my way to it. Ugh!

So back to the biographies idea. I think I'm going to add a biography or two to our outline for the year. I need to think about it and who I think he will enjoy learning about and seeing the similarities with himself. There were many good ideas in the chat and I will now be going to the library and seeing what I can find.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

What will I teach, what will he learn....

I'm deep in the middle of figuring out and then purchasing what we are going to use for next year.

Math is easy, Singapore Primary Math US Edition. The boy loves it and so do I. He loves it for the pictures and the word problems (he loves word problems) and I love it because it is really inexpensive. A very important fact at this juncture in our schooling. I switched us back to Singapore mid year last year when he finished K12's 1st grade math and we saw that 2nd grade was exactly the same thing with slightly larger numbers. It wasn't pretty.

Language Arts I'm going to use Michael Clay Thompson Grammar Island, Music of the Hemispheres, and Building Language. I have heard really good things about it and am excited to share it with the boy. He loves language and using it to create specific effects (yes this means he uses it to drive me crazy) so I think he will love learning how to get more power out of his words. We'll see, if anything is going to send me crashing it will likely be this.

Reading, ah reading. He has decided that there are things that would be much easier if he could read and is willing to work on it this summer. I found some reading comprehension worksheets for free online so will be using those. Google is my friend. Books to read I'm thinking I will be checking out books from the library at his reading level through out the year and we will read together 4 to 6 novels for discussion and analysis. The books I've picked for that are James and the Giant Peach, The Cricket in Times Square, Stuart Little, Mouse and the Motorcycle, Frog & Toad are Friends, and Little House in the Big Woods.

I just read James and the Giant Peach yesterday for the first time. I don't know how I missed that book when I was a child. Maybe it wasn't presented to me because I was a girl, maybe I ignored it because I thought it was a 'boy' book. I don't know but I'm sad that it took me so long to find it, but happy I finally have. I also read The Cricket in Times Square today. Another lovely little book that I had never read. I remember my sister reading, of course I think my sister read every book in our school and public library at least twice. Next I'll read Little House in the Big Woods, then I will need to find copies of the others so I can read them prior to school starting.

History, he was/is excited to learn about the American Revolution and the Civil War. This is in large part due to our lovely visit to Washington DC & Gettysburg earlier this summer. I am getting the History Channel show America:The Story of US sent sometime this summer so I'll use that and see what else I can find to fill in. Historic Williamsburg has virtual tours that we can do. I need to do more specific research on this to find things to use.

Science, he has decided he wants to study astronomy. His reason is "That way I can use my telescope and call it school" Well yes he can. I'm looking for a book to use as the spine for that. I found this one Astronomy for All Ages but I will keep looking and make sure that is the one that will work for us. He was very excited to learn about it after he had his space camp this summer. I also have a Teaching Company lecture series My Favorite Universe that we will use for part of it as well.

I'm sure I'm forgetting something, you know music, art, etc. Music I'm not really sure what to do. I think I'm going to go to the local music stores and see what they have for music theory books and maybe we can swing violin or guitar lessons for him this fall. Art, well we can go to the art museum and yea I don't know.

Oh and the knitting thing, I am still knitting. I finished a robot for the boy and I'm working on a something for a friend of mine. Once it is finished and gifted I will post pictures of it. Well it and the robot. The boy loves his robot which makes me very happy. Worth it really.