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.