Thursday, December 15, 2011

Remember that medical thing from last summer?

Yeah, I'm gonna talk about that so if you don't want to hear about female reproductive organs it is best to move on now.

Back at the end of July my doctor scraped the insides of my uterus and removed a 'lesion' (which, btw, just means something odd in shape, does not mean an open wound as I had always thought it meant) and it was all clear. The endometrial hyperplasia was gone and while she wanted to do another endometrial biopsy in 3 to 6 months we breath a bit easier and get the Merida IUD.

So I got an the IUD the first part of September and life has just gotten easier since. I'm no longer bleeding like I might die each 3 weeks, in fact the bleeding is effectively gone. Everything else is easier as well, PMS is much less intense, cramping doesn't exist really all in all good times.

My doctor sent me a reminder email last week that I need to come in and have the follow up test done. I figured if I just ignored it I wouldn't have to go back in. Apparently pre-cancerous conditions warrant careful followup. Sigh. I keep trying to act like it was/is nothing extraordinary but apparently it is and when I got the results from the test this week, they are normal with no hyperplasia or anything else out of the ordinary but we will need to do follow up in 6 months. What this means is that I'm not out of the woods. This has been scarier and more worrisome than I thought it would be when I got the first diagnosis in May. I'm coming to terms with it. I'm so happy that everything keeps coming back clear but the fact that I have to come back means it isn't really done yet. Sigh. So I'll put it out of my mind for the next 6 months try to forget about it until the doc sends me another reminder email.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

So much time so little posting....

So September took it all out of me, and October ended up being a try to get control of the house and school time and some how I'm now nearly to Thanksgiving and it has been 2 months since I posted anything. I have a couple of posts in my head that I want to get out so I finally decided to just work on one at a time and get them out of me.

My child turned 9 a few weeks ago. My boy child, my heart that walks around the world, that happened 9 years ago. He decided to have a LEGO party and you would have thought that a party had never been planned before and the world was going to end if everything wasn't just perfect, and this time it wasn't me projecting the doom and gloom. It is interesting to see my child have the same anxieties that I have. I don't get worked up about parties anymore so I don't think he has ever seen me act like that you would have thought I did it every time we think of having a party. It was fun to plan it with him this time, he had definite ideas about what they should play and do.

The cake he wanted was not the cake he got, he wanted a LEGO minifig to be standing 1 foot tall. We tried to make it happen and ended up with a collapsed cake and a drowned Mac Book. It was not a happy night. What we ended up with was this...
He is missing one of his arms in this picture .

We used the bag that we got from the LEGO store and the minifig is rice krispie treats and marshmallow fondant. The fondant was easy but getting red and not pink was hard, this ended up being more of an orange color than red but the boy liked it and we were all happy.

The party ended up being fun, it had snowed a couple of days before hand but most of the snow was gone and they played out front for awhile then we did a pin the head on the minifig game and I had them build something with bricks that they could bring home. It was fun and the birthday boy had such a wonderful time.

Friday, October 14, 2011

2 weeks school done and How we give back.

I did my lesson plans, sometimes the morning of classes but I did them. I put them into the computer made them assignments and guess what happened? Things went smoother. I am so very glad I did because we started a new level of the Barton Reading and Spelling program and new levels are always a challenge. New things get added and The Boy does not like change.

Something I love about my boy is that although he is change adverse his self talk is that he loves to try new things. I work hard to accept the self talk and encourage the actual behavior. I know what it's like to want to try new things and be too anxious to actually try them. It isn't fun for anyone at that point.

So reading was a challenge and he has taken 3 hours plus likely another 15 minutes on Monday to finish one lesson, I know it will get better once he is used to the procedures and we have done them for awhile he will settle in and do well. I really like that there isn't a lot of repetition in this, or maybe that the repetition is hidden well enough that he doesn't see it as such. She also works on introducing small enough bites that he can be successful with it about 95% of the time.

Now to the fun thing we did, the really fun thing. We have been members of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science since 1988 when DH gave me a membership as my Christmas present the first year we dated (I knew we were meant to be together forever). Over the years we have increased our membership level when we can and it is one of the 'untouchable' expenses in our budget. It is a place I have taken The Boy since he was born, a place that is as comfortable to him as home. Last night the museum had a behind the scenes event for curator level members. They offered a Halloween themed buffet, and we got to see behind the scenes of Expedition Health where they do testing on the genetics of taste. I found out anytime the lab is open you can go back and participate in their testing, they are looking at if you can taste bitter flavors. Here go to their website and Dr. Nicole can explain it much better. It was so cool and I didn't think to ask if I could take pictures there, we were able to touch a goat brain, and a cow eye. Observe some differences between a goat brain and the pictures of brains we have looked at for my sister's surgery.

Then we went to the big bone room which is some of the old halls of life that are now filled with shelves housing all of their bones. Including some from the Snowmastodon dig they are doing in Snowmass where they have found over 4500 fossils. Here go to that site as well. They also had a T-Rex leg bone and a Triceratops leg bone out to look at and the scientist brought out a T-rex tooth and let us touch the serrations on it. This was the actual fossil not a cast of it that they usually have out for the public to touch. Again no pictures because I didn't think to ask and well really I was loving seeing all of this stuff. If The Boy had been a bit older when they found the Snowmass site I would totally have volunteered us to go to the dig. We talked to one of the women who was on the dig and her eyes just lit up when she talked about what they were discovering, and finding a mastadon femur and carrying it over your shoulder to the examination area. There was plenty of talk about how we can become involved as volunteers and citizen scientists at the museum.

Then we went to the zoology department. The museum has 1.5 million specimens and about 1 million of those belong to the zoology department. They have the largest dung beetle collection in the US. I finally remembered to ask if I can take photos when I saw something that reminded me of the Bloggess and HAD too get a picture of it.
I will get you, No I will get you!
It made me laugh so much and also I now have some pictures of the last of our night and I will let the pictures tell that story, you know so you don't have to hear another 3,000 words from me.

Look it's Perry, no he did not make noise
although that would have been kinda funny.

Scorpions in jars, there are 2 Rowland heads looking intently at them.
The third felt it was better to just take a picture

Beetles, just below writing on the board that said
"Dead Beetle Society, Meets at Midnight"
I did not get a picture of the next area, it was the room where they prep the specimens and clean the bones with flesh eating beetles and was warned that it stinks. As soon as the curator said "flesh eating beetle" The Boy lunged forward and said "Where!" So he and his father went into the room and saw the beetles crawling all over the bones. Of course his father had done some volunteer work back in the 80's cleaning specimens and getting them ready for the flesh eating beetles so had already seen this. 

As we left I made sure to let the woman who organized it know that we had a wonderful time and she said they plan to do something like this every year opening different back rooms to viewing. I said that if it could be the gem & mineral area next year I would be ever so grateful. She at least acted like she would remember it. Heh. 

I love our museum and I will always support it but it was really nice to get to enjoy more of it last night. I know this was a value added experience to try to get new members at the curator's level and to encourage them to stay at that level. I know the economy is hard right now and it is a tough time to be in a sector that depends on the good graces of the public to support it. I am glad that my husband 23 years ago started us down a path that shows our son now that giving to support the community is just something we do. We support our local public radio station, we support our local science museum and our local zoo, we support efforts to help people in other areas that are in need through Doctor's without Borders. We don't belong to a church, we don't give in that way, but we do have a tradition of giving and helping others. I hadn't thought about it but we really are teaching our boy that we help where and how we can.

The boy is saving some of his money to give to The Cat Care Society, and I'll probably encourage him to give it soon during their fall pledge drive. Also this week we were listening to CPR and they are doing their fall pledge drive and on this morning if they could get 1,000 pledges they would receive $10,000. They boy was encouraging me to call in to help. I would have too, with a pledge of $25 or so just to help if they needed it. He was so happy to hear they made their goal and would get the extra money. I'm glad it has become just something we do.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

September is done, the celebration may begin

You know September has always been a kind of low time of year for me. I've often blamed it on a choice I made in September 24 years ago. Then this year I saw this post by Dooce, and I know have something else to blame. The sun.

Now this September felt like a random gathering of bits and pieces that made something close to a crazy quilt on top of just the normal seasonal, personal baggage things I have dealt with. That and it ended with such a cluster of good and bad that I'm beginning to wonder if September doesn't just need to take its bipolar meds.

The last week went something like this....
Sunday bad thing happens to cat, great family time.
Monday Cat needs surgery, DH's car explodes, School goes great, I get house cleaned and dinner made. Overall crazy day.
Tuesday DH has my car, boy finished boat, cub scouts Overall good day.
Weds Boy wakes at 4AM puking all over the carpet, then toilet overflows, then boy gets the other end of stomach problems, DH gets toilet cleared, boy sleeps in bathroom, take cat for surgery, I do a million loads of laundry. DH gets cat from vet(he is doing well) We pick up DH's car late Overall crazy day.
Thursday We finish Barton level 2, Boy wants to go to library to get "something to read", I get sushi & cookies for lunch, boy & I eat them and nothing else for the day. I get library books returned, sold books shipped out and dinner made. Dog pukes her dinner. Overall good day
Friday Boy puked all night long, doesn't want to go to library, doesn't want to sell popcorn, isn't feeling well, dog pukes everything she eats or drinks and starts to get dehydrated, Overall I am D.O.N.E. day.
Saturday, quiet, we hang around the house, cook food, relax, go to dinner with my folks and sister & bil, celebrate The Boy's accomplishments Celebrate the first day of October.

Somewhere towards the beginning of the week, as in Monday, I bought a 6 pack of beer for me and a 6 pack of hard cider for DH, we have each drank 3 of them. Everyone who knows us understands that this is not typical it was necessary.

I'm refusing to talk about what happened today because I makes me think October may be off its meds too and I just can't cope with that knowledge quite yet, but here is a picture from the day.
This is why we tried a practice cake.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Things I want to remember...

That my boy is MY boy right now. He loves his daddy and is starting to want to do things with just dad, but I'm still the one he wants with him. Although this morning when he was sick at 4 in the morning it was his dad that he called out for, that may have been because the toilet was backing up. I'm not sure if he was just puking he would have called for either of us.

So the second thing is this: I love watching him figure out how to be his own person and stand on his own. In the middle of the night when he was sick he tried (and I wish he hadn't because I would have pulled out the trash can instead of having the clean the carpets but I digress). Last night at scouts we saw it also. 2 years ago, heck even 1 year, he would come up and need us to be with him, last night he played with his friends and raced his boat and only needed us to hold it after his race.

Third thing I want to remember is the way he uses language. I worry so much about his reading ability I lose sight of his verbal skills. He has an amazing vocabulary and really, really is starting to understand how to use it to effect. Last night after scouts I said I was wanting something sweet for a snack. I asked if anyone else wanted something and The Boy said "I think you should tell us what you want and I believe I will concur with you."

All this said today he is laying on the couch under his Nemo blanket he has had since preschool speaking in mono syllables and trying hard not to throw up again.

I'm gonna miss that blanket when he takes it to college with him. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

How Homeschool Friendly is your town?

I have become used to the fact that The Boy and I will wander around Brighton and have not a single person bat an eye at us. He is obviously school age and when people ask him if he is enjoying school and his response of I'm homeschooled, is greeted with them again asking if he is enjoying school. Not a batted eye, no looking to me to see if I've suddenly grown a 2nd head, just acceptance and moving on to other conversations we were already having.

This last week we were confronted with 2 different, but both surprised points of view. Neither of these were here in our town. The first was Friday when we were packing my sister up at the hospital so she could go home (Oh, Hey, my sister came home from the hospital again, hopefully for the last time in a very long time) A volunteer came by the room to give everyone a free cup of coffee if they wanted one. (You know I ALWAYS accept free coffee) She sees The Boy in the room and says to him "Why aren't you in school!" He said, "I'm homeschooled" as he always does. She then looked at me as though I had grown not just 1 extra head but maybe 2, or maybe I had grown horns or was a meth addict too lazy to take my child to school, but strong enough to take him to the hospital where I might be able to steal some drugs from my poor defenseless sister. (I might be exaggerating a bit, just a bit, I don't think she felt I had horns) 

The second was at a friend's birthday party, I was talking to another parent and he asked where The Boy goes to school. When I replied we homeschool his response was "Wow, you must be really patient" Ummm, no I'm really not. I am so far from patient it isn't even funny. I will say I am learning to be patient but I did not have it coming in to this.  I wonder about parents who say things like that. Do they say it to explain to themselves why they could never homeschool? I have to admit I don't feel like a real homeschooler. I love my boy I love teaching him but damn I wish I could have some down time. For some reason I have my own misconceptions about this. I think that all other homeschool parents love being with their children all the time, and never have a moment of wishing for something else. In my rational mind I know that isn't true and I know that I can't be the only homeschool mom who is at times driven crazy by the all encompassingness of it all. 

All that to say, I'm lucky with the town we live in. I don't always appreciate it, I often wish I lived somewhere nearer to my family, closer to the city, just somewhere else. This town, though, is very understanding of homeschooling, it takes leaving the comfort of it to understand better the balm that acceptance is. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Two weeks of school

I started school in a good place, a bit intimidated by the things I was going to teach this year, but ready for it. I had planned 2 weeks out, and the first 2 weeks went by really smoothly. Then we had my sister's surgery and all the appts to get ready for that so the 3rd week of school was actually not much in the way of school. The following week (the week we just finished) went something like this:

I didn't have my lesson plans done so while I definitely know what I'm doing with our reading system and math always just seems to fall out I didn't have things planned for History or Science and so those things fell to the way side, as they always seem to. Sigh. I need to find time this weekend to prep for Barton, and plan 2 weeks out with science and history again. It goes so much more smoothly when I do.

The Boy is still HATING the Barton system but I have begun to use bribes and they are working. If he will do the hour of tutoring without arguing and complaining then he will get a small reward. I don't even remember what it was last week but it worked and we got through a lesson without my having to stop the timer or screaming at him. The funny/not so funny thing was when we were talking about this he pantomimed our normal exchange exactly. From his complaining about not wanting to do something to my fists clenched explanation of why he Heh.

All that said  he read something out loud to me, voluntarily, with no tears over words he couldn't read, just asked me to fill them in. It was wonderful and made up for the horrible feeling I felt in the grocery store where I saw a book on George Washington that was obviously for his age level and the reading level was 3.2 and while he SHOULD be able to read that he is no where near able to read at that level. He will get there it will be fine. Someday I'll look back on this and laugh at my worries. Right? Right? Please tell me I'm right.

In news of my sister she is feeling better in some ways but is on her way back to the hospital because she is leaking spinal fluid. Please keep her in your thoughts as they work on getting her better.

Thank you.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The advantage of Homeschool

This week, oh my, this week. We have done nothing that is part of our curriculum. Learning has happened but it has been an education of brain anatomy, surgery procedures, hospital procedures,improvised games, and empathy.

One week ago my sister was given Thursday Sept 1st as an appt for brain surgery. Monday we took her to an appt with her General Practitioner and The Boy learned about the anatomy of the stomach and what a stomach with an ulcer looked like, not because his Auntie has anything like this but because  they had models of this in the room.

Tuesday he learned what the Arachnoid Mater looks like at the neurosurgeon's office. He learned where the brain stem is, what some of the side effects of surgery were. Why it was better to have the surgery than not. What the expected benefits of the surgery would be. Why you want a surgeon who doesn't choose surgery as the first option. He also learned the first bit of the hospital, where the cafeteria is, where the bathrooms are, that it is easy to forget your dog when you have so much else on your mind. (Oh wait that was my lesson not his)

On Wednesday he learned that sometimes you have to let plans go when others can't keep up. That a headache can't always be made to go away with Mama's hug (although she will try)

On Thursday he learned that you can wait for long hours for information when you love someone and they are in surgery. He learned that it helps to have family around you while you wait and to have family greet you when you get out of surgery.

On Friday he is learning that it is better to have to wait to see a nurse in ICU because you are doing so well rather than have the nurses hovering. He is learning that ICU is not a place with a lot of joy but there is hope and again having family and friends around helps to ease the pain.

If he had been in a public school he would not have seen this, I would not have been able to just be here for my sister, my brother in law, and my parents. It has been crazy and worrying and busy, but it has also been wonderful to have family together and seeing that my sister is less than 24 hours out of surgery and already her symptoms that have ruled her life for the last 16 years are gone. Modern medicine is an amazing and wonderful thing.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Week 2 down...

Yeah, the joy of the first week was gone. The acceptance of the Barton system was GONE. There were tears and melt downs, and no they weren't mine.(pththtth) At one point The Boy cried that he just wanted to be NORMAL and be able to read without the 'stupid' Barton system. Sigh. I wish I could find the magic wand that would make it all easier.

We finished up the papyrus this week and I'll post pictures of it next week. I think he has figured out what he wants to write on it. The names of each of us and our last name in hieroglyphs.  That should be really fun.

We finished up Level one of Barton in 2 weeks (4 lessons), and now I have to study up to start Level 2. We'll start up next Monday and it may be just about the only lessons we do next week. We have a lot of things coming up next week and I'm think school is going to be pretty light. I want to get something knit for my sister in that time also.

I guess that means next week there will be actual knitting content on my knitting blog. Who would have thought.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The First Week is done...

and we survived.

Actually, we more than survived we soared. It was so much fun. Also, so much harder.

The Barton System is great, and I can see exactly where he is having problems processing sounds. It is interesting to see it broken down. (the following explanation will make more sense if you know now that C is consonants and V is vowel, I only mention it because I didn't get it at first) He can easily hear CV or VC combos, also VCC or CCV. Where he can't seem to decode is VCV, that middle vowel sound loses him every time. It is interesting to watch because we will fly through some lessons and then once we hit that it takes forever. He makes up the most interesting stories about the non-sense words and they get more and more detailed the more VCV words I make him try to compare or decode. Tomorrow I will be giving Barton a call and see if they can give me an idea of more VCV practice for him.

I also received The Dyslexia Advantage yesterday, so now I have a new book to read. It is fascinating reading. Helps keep me balanced on what I'm seeing in him.  There is an advantage to this challenge and I really want to help him see it. Our hardest moment this week was during the second Barton lesson when he broke down crying that he is dyslexic and he CAN'T read, and will never be able to. It broke my heart, but I know it is partly because he has never had to work this hard before. I have tried to teach him reading before but it felt like flailing about for both of us where this I can see clearly where he is having problems and we can work on building his ear up to hear the sounds and breaking them down slowly.

Something I never noticed that both F & I do and I know The Boy's previous teachers did was add the 'uhhh' sound to the end of the B, D, V sounds, actually and short hard consonant sound. It really impedes the ability to sound out a word if you are trying to sound out bit and you are saying buh-i-t. It also makes it hard to spell a word like 'but' if you sound it out and you hear buh and t sound, after all the word should then be spelled bt right? He HATES being corrected on the letter sounds. We are working through our issues though. ;)

Science was a JOY this week. We went to the stinky, dirty, trashy pond by our house and took samples of the water. Saw frogs, minnows, dragonflies, duckweed, algae, and so many other things. We also came home and looked under the microscope at the samples. So much fun.
Gathering samples of duckweed, algae, tadpoles, and snails.

We have decided that Fridays will be our field trip days and this week we went to Barr Lake with my lovely sister. It was so nice to spend the day with her. We were eaten by mosquitoes, saw a bunny, lots of insects, tracks of many animals and had so much fun. We will be going back to the Fall Birding Festival out there. I took my Canon Rebel film camera, need to get the pics developed, gave Sis my digi camera and The Boy had his own. It is fun to see the different pictures taken from different perspectives.
Very nice gentleman asked if we wanted him to take our picture so we did. 

Bunny picture taken by The Boy

Picture of me I don't hate, also by The Boy.

Another bunny picture by The Boy.

Oriole nest by The Boy.

Grasshopper by The Boy

The Boy, by Mama.

Milkweed seed pod, by The Boy.

So apparently I don't have any pictures taken by my Sis loaded up. I'll have to put them in another post.

We are studying Egypt again this year. He choose Egypt and Rome to study this year, I think mainly because we have been reading the Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan and he wants to study the history of the stories we are seeing in that. Hey whatever it takes. He is a little annoyed that he already knows much of the Egyptian history since we studied it 2 years ago but he is liking some of the extra stuff I've added in. We are making papyrus paper this year, it is a multi-day process but he isn't annoyed with it and still wants to work on it.
It has to soak, then be pressed, then soaked again, then pressed again, then soaked again, etc...
I think he will be happier with the history portion once we move on to Roman history. I want to try to make an arch when we get to that point. We'll see.  We still need to make a mummified chicken for the Egypt portion this year. Dreading/excited about it. I'm thinking the shed is going to be a very good mummification chamber. Also have 3 sarcophagi to make.

Math is fine, it is the easy portion of our day. I keep trying to find ways to get him to memorize his times tables but I'm just not sure how much I'm going to press it. It is one of the weaknesses that come hand in hand with dyslexia and I really do see the benefit of learning them by rote but I'm not sure that this is the year to fight that battle. I will have him work on Rocket Math on the iPad and Timez Attack on the PC each day but I think I want the hard mental work to go towards reading this year and maybe next year we will work on times tables. I also want to see if I can find a narrative way to introduce them so he will have a personal memory to tie to the numbers. See, using a strength of dyslexia to overcome a weakness. Still I need to find the time to locate such a thing or try to create it myself.

I find it really satisfying to pull his curriculum from lots of sources but I will say it is a lot of work. This year I'm trying to get a bit more focused on what we are doing, I think in part because this is the year we will be giving him the standardized test for the state. Plus he is getting older and is now in 'upper elementary' he is no where near ready to 'read to learn' as opposed to 'learn to read' that is suppose to take place in this year of school but we are working on it and we will get there, I know it.

My dream right now is to get the loft area of our house pulled together to hold our school stuff. All the books, a special place for the library books we borrow. A desk for me to work on my lesson plans as well as the work I do for a friend. I don't see us actually doing school work in the space often but I see it being a place for me to plan for the week and a place to store all the 'stuff' that comes with school that right now resides on the dining room table and the living room couch. It is making me antsy and plus I'm certain I'm going to forget some FABULOUS resource I've found at some point and forgotten about because it is buried.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Winner announced

So I ended up getting distracted by first the insurance adjuster on Friday then IKEA on Saturday. Luckily Sunday seems to be for relaxing, while The Boy makes pancakes for the 'whole family' this means he made special pancakes for Honey, the dog. ;)

Anyway I did get around to having the Boy pick the winner and that would be V.S. I'm glad it will help with the kiddos schooling this year.

Tomorrow starts school and this weekend I started knitting The Boy wooly socks for this winter/camping, meaning I should have more fodder for the blog and actually won't be whining about 'female issues' anymore. Yippee. (I do however have one more blog post about that in me so don't feel safe yet David.)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Getting ready for school plus a Music Giveaway

The give away info is at the end and has nothing to do with the homeschool portion of the post.

I spent most of the day getting our extensive book collection into my tracking program. I use the free version of Homeschool Tracker to keep the records I need for the State of Colorado. It offers much more than I need right now but we can grow into it and there is a paid version if we ever out grow it. It is simple to use and while I wish it would let me have a bit more flexibility in bulk entry it works great for the price. ;)

Now the iPad apps that I have download so far. I'll start with the ones that The Boy is willing to play with before we even 'start school' they are all created by Dan Russell-Pinson and he LOVES them.
  1. Rocket Math It covers everything from counting, money, time, patterns, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. But in doing that you get to build rockets and use the 'money' you earn to buy different parts. He loves experimenting with his rockets and building new ones. I'm going to use this to help him get his basic math facts into his head.
  2. Stack the States I downloaded this tonight and The Boy and DH are playing it right now as I type this up. He is learning interesting things about the states and it will tie in with my geography lessons for this year. I'm so happy he is engaged with it enough to learn the facts as well as trying to stack the states up high enough to cross the 'finish line' 
  3. Presidents vs Aliens You take out the Aliens with the Presidents. How freaking cool is that! Really cool that is how much. He was not as interested in the President facts, but he did love shooting aliens with the president heads. ;) 
The great thing about all 3 of those is they have a free version to try it out and even if you want to buy the full version they are less than $2. I can't beat that with anything else I can get my hands on right now.

In the productivity category I have loaded Evernote on my laptop, my Android phone and the iPad. Right now I'm using it to put my lesson plans in including websites I want to use during specific lessons. It doesn't matter what platform I'm on I can access all of it and I can update it from any of them as well. I will say that it is easiest to update lots of type.

Science I have found an app called Science 360 it has many videos on lots of different science subjects. Good content and even better it is free.

That's enough of that, I need to wrap this up now, so now on to the giveaway.

I love music, it lifts my soul up and makes me happy. I can't play it, I can't discuss it technically, and I certainly can't sing but I love listening to it. That said one of my favorite artists is Suzy Bogguss. We saw her in concert last fall with some friends and I bought her CD called Wildwood Flower that is her singing traditional American Folk songs. I love it, I knew she was going to try to get it sold in Cracker Barrel  restaurants. I forgot I bought it, it is called something else now, and well I bought it again. So I have a brand new never opened copyt of Suzy Bogguss American Folk Songbook to give away.
The cover with bonus cleavage.

To get it leave a comment by noon on Friday August 12 and I'll pick a random person to get it.

Also, trust me none of this is sponsored by anyone, well the iPad was sponsored by my Parents but the apps and the CD are all me. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Found Joy

I convinced my husband that we needed to have a trip away. We were able to get away this weekend, to do this we had to miss a family reunion with my Mom's family, miss a bbq with DH's family, pawn the boy and the dog off on my Mom & Dad who had out of town company for the reunion. I can't explain how very grateful I am that my parent's did that for us.

We had such a wonderful time together. We had dinner at an Indian restaurant we used to go to prior to having the Boy. We talked, we joked, we remembered how much fun we have together. How much we like each other and enjoy having conversations. It was relaxing, wonderful and exactly what we needed.
A lovely adult drink

Mushroom, sheep cheese, arugula, grilled thingy, huge and yummy.

My pretty new dress.

The Beef Tenderloin the waiter suggested my husband get that I ordered.

A different fish than what the waiter suggested I get, the waiter didn't get us. ;)
 It is fun to watch waiters and others try to figure us out when we go out to dinner. Usually they will offer DH a beer if he can't seem to choose a drink, (DH does not drink beer, the kindest thing he has every said about beer involved donkey piss). This waiter also kept calling us studious, we enjoy our silence, actually we relish the silence when we can find it (although The Silence scares me). This weekend, even at dinner we allowed the silence to wash over us. The waiter didn't quite get it, I wonder if he worried that we were fighting, heh.

I was able to release the worries I've been holding onto over the last few months and face this week with DH out of town, again.

Joy, bliss, happiness, peace. These are things that I'm carrying closer to myself again. Ahhhhhh.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I'm trying to find happy, I really am...

Today started sucky and even though nothing monumentally bad has happened I'm just not feeling any happiness.

So here goes trying to purge the shit so I can release it and move on. I have made 17 phone calls/emails to the insurance company's financial 'planning' office, my doctor's office, the hospital when the procedures are going to take place and the pathologist's office who will, maybe, be doing the biopsy analysis after the procedures. I need to get the information in writing because we have been SCREWED in the past by not getting medical estimates in writing. As in I was quoted $1,100 for the surgeon's time and he charged us $10,000. While this time is different because we at least have a max out of pocket we will have to spend, and we are basically going to just get to that point, it still feels perilous.

I am questioning if the procedure is really necessary. Do we really have to pay $4200 to make sure they didn't miss something with the first test. If I'm responding to the meds doesn't that mean it really is the hormonal version and not the cancer version? This sucks.

I'm tired, and worn out about this and I have no idea what to do but wait.

I was thinking that I have recieved a lot of information this week and was waiting for answers but realized while I have answers for the dyslexia, I don't actually have any answers to the medical issues, I'm fighting for information that isn't actuallly informational. What do you call data that doesn't inform and is just to cover your ass? I mean each and every person I talked to and each piece of paper has said that this is an estimate and if the procedure takes longer or there are complications the amount will change. So data but not real data yet. I can't pay anything on it yet, I can't use it to learn anything. Ugh.

All that said, I'm feeling better for having written it up. For putting into words that this feeling of being on a hamster wheel really is being on a hamster wheel with no progress.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Test Results

Friday ended up being crazy, crazy, crazy. Oh and a little bit more crazy on top.

I did a business meeting, kind of, way, way down South.(30 miles south is too, way south) Then drove back north to make the meeting with the tester and hope that the crazy, heavy rain/thunder storm was not at our house where Honey was hanging out in the back yard. It wasn't hadn't rained at all yet at home but then Honey was not in the back yard. The short of a long emotional story is she was back in our yard Saturday morning. Maybe someday I'll write it up but I feel like it stole so much of my energy that I can't do it again right now.

Plus I really want to digest the information Joni, our tester, gave me yesterday. DH couldn't meet with us because he was flying home as we met and then had to go directly into the office upon landing in town. I don't think either Joni or I was in the best shape to be delivering or asking for information. Her mom is in the midst of a serious illness and I sat down with her after spending an hour walking all over our neighborhood talking to people and looking for my dog. Yeah, neither of us at our best but I got the basics of the info and I'll email her for clarification as time goes on.

The tests confirm what I thought was going on he is moderate to severely dyslexic and moderately disgraphic. The Boy has asked that I not discuss the specifics here so I will honor that. It was hard to hear the specifics of the results even though none of it was surprising. To hear that he really is struggling and not just blowing me off is good to know but now I have to figure out how to help him.

To that end I want some help with ideas. I am going to be helping him improve his working memory and want ideas of fun sentences to read to him and have him repeat back to me. I have used an oath of one of the lantern leagues or whatever they are called. A friend suggested Shel Silverstein, any other ideas? I'm looking for 6-15 word sentences. Thanks for any ideas.

I'm also looking at iPad aps that may help. If you know any iPad aps that help with dylexic children, working memory, reading, or fine motor skills let me know.

Thank you all.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Optimism you name is Summer

Now don't get me wrong, I don't love summer for the sun and the warmth, I would still rather have a lovely fall/spring day or even a below freezing winter day than the 90+ degree days that are facing me. That said, I'm back in the lovely imagining of what next school year could be. I'm looking through my 1350+ page Rainbow Resource Center catalog. Talking to the boy about what he would like to study for history, science. I'm excited about the possibilities.

I have to remember that the boy does not actually like doing crafty things very much, but I'm trying to convince myself that the cool sarcophagi set that is punch out and slot & tab construction isn't REALLY crafty and you end up with three sarcophagi that fit into each other. Come on how cool is that?!?

Yea, see optimistic that is me right now. I'm meeting with the tester today to go over the results of the dyslexia testing we had done a month ago. I'm glad we did it. I'm looking forward to hearing what she has to say and then seeing how best I can implement it.

The thing I do love about summer is that we are going camping again. We had not really gone camping for years but we have all of our stuff and are going again. It is lovely gets us out of town and I'm really looking forward to August when everyone else around here has gone back to school but we are able to camp still. yippee.

Ok now to clean the dining room so I can have a meeting on it then I'll wake the boy and see what we can do this morning.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Information gathering...

Right now I'm trying to breath and feel my breath in my body. I am in an information gather phase. I don't have answers to anything right now or I have partial answers but not enough to make decisions.

On the dyslexia testing front, Everett completed his 2 days of testing and proved to the tester that having a large vocabulary does not preclude one from having dyslexia. ;) She was surprised that he knew the word sabotage. I'm guessing she didn't use the word I'm guessing he told her in his lovely way that he had chosen not to sabotage the test results. By choosing to not sabotage the results he earned a stop watch from the tester and a $50 gift card to Target from his mother. Which translates to $12.50/hr pay rate I realize but I felt it really was hard work and he did earn it. So specifically how to help him read is not going to happen yet.
The Boy telling me how something works.

On the medical front, I have to get out patient surgery scheduled for a D&C. It will be done under anesthesia (side note the boy heard amnesia and wanted to know how much I was going to forget, yeah his vocabulary is rather large for an 8 year old.) but I should be fine the next day. Probably don't want to plan a camping trip that leaves the next day but I should be fine to putter in the garden and yell at the boy. ;) I have no idea how much this is going to cost me and won't get to know until it is actually scheduled since it depends on where the procedure will take place as to how much it will cost. I'm also very glad I didn't look at Kaiser's information on Endometrial Hyperplasia first. The info I found through Googlefu said that what I'm looking at is not pre-cancerous but instead kind of pre-pre-cancerous and can be treated with hormones and may never progress to cancer. What Kaiser's site says is it is endometrial cancer and what to expect after cancer treatment. The D&C will rule out that there is any of the pre-cancerous cells or cancerous cells. I will continue to believe that this is going to rule it out and not find something worse.

ETA: I now have a date for the procedure July 21st, so forever in the future. Heh.

So I'm practicing breathing, I'm looking forward to camping this weekend and getting to see the Sand Dunes with my boy. I'm going to prepare food and pack food for our weekend today. I going to be much happier once the 'haze' has burned off today and the sun makes its appearance (which it will damn it!) I'm going to enjoy my iris that have now bloomed

My Iris, they make me so happy, even if I am only getting 3 stems this year due to thinning.

Here is another picture of The Boy, my heart, and why my life is truly wonderful.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Exhaustion, in many forms

I'm feeling worn to a nub, as though I have nothing left to give or contribute in so many places in my life.

First I'm so worried about my boy and reading. Partly because I really want him to enjoy the worlds that are opened to one with fiction, be it graphic novels, science fiction, fantasy, mysteries, or literature. I saw this poster by Mary GrandPre (Artist for the American Harry Potter books) and it just reminds me so much of how books take me away, let me live another life. Partly because I really do get that it is really, really hard to get around the world without the ability to read. Partly also because my husband keeps reminding me that he is 'functionally illiterate' and I feel like a complete failure every time I hear him say it out loud.

Second, I'm dealing with 'female problems' (David this is the paragraph to skip) I have 'endometrial hyperplasia w/o atypia' Basically my endometrium grows too much but it isn't pre-cancerous just a hormone imbalance that needs to be put back into balance. I went to have an ultrasound today and it was emotionally exhausting. The last time I had an ultrasound was when I found out my last pregnancy was no longer viable. Add to it that this stuff is all perimenopause stuff and it just points out that my baby days are well and truly behind me. It hurt more than I thought it would hurts more than I thought it would.

Third my husband was gone for 9 days and he will have more travel this summer for work. It is so exhausting to be the only parent and teacher for that long. He does not travel much and so when he does it throws us all off. So there was more fighting and arguing between me and my boy, we did finally find a balance for the last couple of days but it was a hard won peace.

Fourth I now have a dog, a dog that is defacto mine, and I never, ever in my life wanted a dog. She is sweet but she is still a puppy and has decided that the house training she knew is gone. I HATE that my house now smells like dog pee and that I find dog poop around the house, cause that smells even worse.

I know my life is good, I know that we are working on finding ways to teach my boy to read, and that I will be able to slow the bleeding and have a more normal life without having to have a hysterectomy. I'm going to get alone time. I'm going to find a balance in my life again I just need to work on it.

If you would like to see the rest of the posters made for the Scholastic Read Every Day Lead a Better Life campaign you can see it here...Scholastic: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Now for the things I ignored in yesterday's post....

First the test mentioned that ADHD is often co-morbid with Dyslexia and we might want to look at that. She showed us an ADHD 'symptom' list and he has about half the items on the list, and not just the messy room type which I really think is fairly age typical. I've thought about it for awhile but I'm not sure it is something I need to worry about. I mean other than when I'm PMSing and the boy can.not. shut up. At that point I'm ready to try any drug, anything that will get him to shut up and just be for a bit. Then I think about how addictive stimulants are and what a crazy hard thing it is to get this boy to take medication. I really don't know that I have a reason to get him tested/diagnosed or medicated. He is learning (if we ignore the reading thing and he is getting better just very, very slowly) and able to show what he knows. So I have some thinking to do, some more thinking to do.

The other thing is  the boy keeps mentioning how he wants a sibling. How happy he would be if I were to get pregnant. This is such a hard thing for me. I wish on so many levels that I could have given him a sibling. I never imagined having an only child, that was not part of my 'plan', I wanted more than one child for selfish reasons, I wanted him to have a sibling because I know how important my siblings are in my life. I had hoped to have a daughter to share girly things. The thing is it did not happen, we lost the only other pregnancy I had very early and have never gotten pregnant again. I'm actually ok with having an only child at this point, it has taken me years to get here but I'm comfortable here. It no longer makes me cry every month when I'm yet again not pregnant. I think this time of year is harder since this is when I lost my pregnancy 6 years ago, but I'm doing really well now. My family is good we are able to do fun things as a family of 3 that we would not have been able to do if we were a family of 4 or 5. The boy and I are going to try some blacksmithing today that if I had younger kiddos around I'm not sure I'd feel safe doing (yes I will try to blog the blacksmith experiment). Life is good.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The weekend, the week, the tests to come...

Shall we start with the homeschool/dyslexia bit and then move on to other things? Or should I start with our newest family member and then move on to other things?

New family member it is, it works chronologically better anyway. ;) So when we lost Sweetie DH & talked about getting a dog for the boy next. He was very broken up that his pets had all died so early, his toad died early, his triops died early (what you don't know what a triops is or if you do know question it being considered a pet well first for those of you who don't know what a triops is here is a picture...
Now for those of you who would not consider this a pet, well let me introduce you to my boy, the one who loves all his stuffies, all animals and feels they are all his friends, until his is close and they are larger than he is) his hamster died early. He was feeling like he had bad luck with pets. We wanted to get something that was longer lived that meant bigger. He is also old enough and active enough that a dog is a really good idea for him, they could run off a lot of energy together. So we then found a doggie on Petfinder and well...
There she is, she is a little brown doggie. I've decided from now on when anyone asks me what kind of dog she is I will say "Brown" Her name is Honey and while she is a bit nervous meeting new people for the first time she did really well on Sunday at Easter dinner we had 13 people and 7 dogs. We are so happy with her. Last night she and the Boy were both falling asleep on the couch.

They love each other but somehow I've become her person in the house. Sigh, I don't know how that happened, I keep telling everyone that I'm a cat person not a dog person but she does not seem to care.

Now to the dyslexia testing front, we met with the tester on Friday, just DH & I. She wanted to see if it sounded like there might be another diagnosis that would mean we should to see a neuro psych rather than someone who is only qualified to test for dyslexia. She is an elementary teacher who works with the Barton System to teach dyslexics to read. I nearly told her to leave at one point in the conversation but she quickly redeemed herself at least partly. One of the assessments I sent her was his WPPSI-III results showing he was being considered for the G/T school and her first thought was a kid who is being considered for GT can't be dyslexic. So not true and I feel like every time I see those results they are SCREAMING at me that there was evidence of a problem 3.5 years ago and I've been letting is slide. Anyway, she then said as she was looking at the results she saw how much lower his processing speed score was than the verbal and performance scores and that dyslexia is a processing disorder. So we are testing in mid May and will have the report by the second week in June. It will give me time over the summer to read and digest it, figure out what I need to do for next year and get the things I will need.

On Saturday we went to the Save the Children in Japan Concert and Benefit. I helped with one of the booths and brought some of my knitting, most of it sold if I had not had crazy, crazy, crazy weeks I would have had more little chicks to sell. Sigh. It was fun and DH & Honey wondered around the campus and the open space behind it. The boy helped me at the booth. It was fun, there was great food and a good band. We made 1,485 cranes to take to Osh Gosh, for each crane made Osh Gosh is sending a piece of children's clothing to Japan. They also raised over $5,000 to send to Save the Children. Not bad for 2.5 hours.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Learning, not knitting.

I'm slow, I have to learn something many, many times before it sinks in. And sometimes more than that. Let me give an example.

When we first started homeschooling I knew my boy thinks better when he moves. I bought him a bouncy ball to sit on while we worked. He loved it. When we started with COVA it didn't seem to fit the way we were working so it got put to the side. He is now really to big for it. I have slowly moved to more sitting still and learning style, it is how I learn and haven't been able to figure out, or tried to figure out really, how to incorporate movement into the boy's learning. We have fought more and more with each passing month.

Friday the Boy announced that he was going to do school while walking on the treadmill. Ok I thought, we would likely have a fight when it came to the spelling test but we'll work on everything else while he walks.

I ended up giving him the spelling test orally and he did great. It was much faster than when he has to write it down.

I'm thinking I need to get him a typing/keyboarding program. That or check out something like Dragon Naturally Speaking for him. The problem with the voice recognition programs is I've heard they are not good at recognizing young voices. We'll see.

So yet again I have forgotten something I knew worked in the past, the boy's brain is connected to his feet/legs, and find life is much easier when I don't ignore that. Sigh.

Anyone have ideas about teaching a kid that needs to move to think? It really does seem to short circuit his brain to have to be still.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I'm back, or what the heck have I been doing?

Where I've been is digesting the wonderful information you all shared with me. Thank you. This has been crazy and scary and we aren't even that far into it.

We are going to have him tested, with a qualifier thrown in. We are meeting with the tester first and if what we tell her and show her with his work doesn't make her feel 85% certain that he is dyslexic then she won't test. That is fine with me. I have no desire to put him through testing if it isn't going to give us good info. Plus then really the money can be spent on more expensive testing. That will give us info on what else it could be.

We are looking at some different programs to use with him. I purchased one today through the Homeschool Buyers Co-op  called Reading Assistant. (The link will take you to the page describing it.) I'm hoping it will help him increase his fluency. I will continue to use the Phonics Pathways for now. It seems to help a bit and he is getting better at reading. I'm feeling better that we are doing something positive.

Of course now that I've admitted that it might be dyslexia I'm seeing everything as that. Isn't that the way it always is? He has this habit of repeating the first part of his sentences before getting to the main idea. An example from today he was talking to his Aunty and said "He wanted to... he wanted to.... he wanted to try something more positive." Then continued the conversation. This is something he always does. Come to find out this behavior is called Cluttering as opposed to stuttering. When reading the list of symptoms I never bothered to look and see what that meant since he doesn't stutter, or do what I think of as stuttering so I figured he didn't do whatever was associated with it. Heh.

So DH & I have a meeting with the tester in a couple of weeks, she will go over all the test results we have, look at some of his writing samples, and talk to us about our history.

On another front my brother-in-law and sister-in-law are putting on a charity event with the proceeds going to Save the Children specifically for children in Japan effected by the earthquake and tsunami from March 11, 2011. If you live in the Denver metro area please consider coming out and listen to bands, buy some books for your kids or maybe some of my stuffed animals. I'm working on some chicks and maybe some bunnies to sell. They will look like these,

kind of, in the way that they are based on the same pattern but, well they are handmade and so each is an individual. ;) So the Deets on the event...

Front Range Community College
3645 West 112th Avenue
Westminster, CO 80031

from 2:30PM to 5:00PM

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Requesting opinions

So I know that requesting opinions can be dangerous, we may not agree on how I'm dealing with this thing in my life, we may not agree that what I'm thinking is a problem is a problem. That said, I sent an email out to a list serve I'm on and I realized I have a fountain of information in my friends that I use to dip into all the time when my boy was a baby and don't go to as much as he has gotten older. So with that in mind here is the email I sent out this morning and if you have some thoughts or ideas on it (or if you just want to say hi and let me know you are reading) please do.

With Love,

Hi Everyone,

I'm mostly a lurker, we have been at home for 2 years with DS 8 and the little worry at the back of my mind has become a screaming 1,000 lb gorilla at the front of my mind regarding his reading difficulties. 

I've decided to try the Barton Reading and Spelling system to help him and we are now trying to decide if getting him tested and an official diagnosis of dyslexia. When I look at the symptoms listed of dyslexia he has 90% of them and all of the spelling. He does not seem to be dysgraphic, but is very reluctant to write unless I first write the script for him and he has a letter guide in front of him to form the letters. Let me give you some of our thoughts on the reasons to and not to test and let me know if there is something we are missing, another road that may help.

Reasons to test:

He could get accommodations on the Standardized tests we have to give him every other year starting next year for our State (CO)
Same for if/when he wants to take the ACT/SAT for college acceptance.
If we put him back in school we will have a starting point to talk about what he needs without so many hoops to jump through.
It will give me information on his strengths and weaknesses that I might be able to use to help him learn

Reasons not to test:

I can just start using the Barton system without having any info and it sounds like it will work.
We don't know that we will send him back to public school so why would he need to face this now.
College is a long way off (I keep telling myself that let's ignore the fact that I still think of him as 5)
He may not want to go to college and have no need to take the ACT/SAT (yes that rips my heart to write but it could be true)

Reasons I'm afraid to wait to test:

What happens if we decide to just work with what we have and down the road we feel like he will need the official dx to help with something and when we test at that point he doesn't show as severe and so can get no accommodations on things like the ACT/SAT.

So that is most of it, I'm sure there is more rattling around my head but after 2 cups of coffee this is what I can think of.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The worry, the stress, the Guilt!

I have now spoken to 3 of the 4 Certified Dyslexia Testing Specialists from the list I received from Susan Barton.

The first was a lovely, understanding, woman. In other words she did not call me an idiot who just hadn't read to her child enough and didn't know how to teach. (I have no issues with self doubt, no really, well maybe a little)

She asked me a series of questions about the boy, we talked about where his IQ test put him, where he is in math and where he is in reading. Huge disparity. She asked about gross motor skills, she asked if he was on the spectrum, can he tie his shoes, does he know our address. Gross motor skills great, not on spectrum as far as we know, he can tie his shoes (it took awhile but he is great at it now), he does not know our address, but knows my mobile number.

The second tester called, she asked many fewer questions, wanted to know why I was worried about it, luckily the conversation with the first tester really pulled my thoughts on it together so I was able to, fairly, clearly explain what I was seeing in the Boy. She kind of explained the difference between an IEP and a 504 and that we would likely get a 504 for accommodations rather than a full IEP. She then spent a good bit of time telling me which charter schools in my area are the most receptive to and responsive to the needs of dyslexic kids. COVA being one, they have the Barton System that they will loan out to parents to use. The other being one of the charters in our district, but I have a complicated relationship with all of them (in my head). It really felt like she was pushing for us to put him back in public school. Her report was priced as a report only to parents for 1 price and if we wanted a report for the schools for another $100. The thing is even if we don't put him back in school I am going to need something worded that we can use to get accommodations for standardized tests. All that to say I did not leave talking to her with warm fuzzies and I'm pretty sure we won't be using her.

Third tester called a bit later and left a message, was able to get back with her quickly. She was also lovely. She let me know when she does the intake interview some of the things she will check on are things from early childhood and birth to make sure there was nothing that might interfere with a clean dyslexia dx. She talked to me about the benefits of testing now and not testing now. She feels that using the Barton System we could help the Boy right now and he is at a good age to start it, we don't need the testing to start that. What the testing will give us is the ability to get him accommodations on any standardized testing and as a CO homeschooler, that is something we will have to do every other year starting next year. Plus when/if he takes the ACT/SAT for college he will get accommodations on that as well. If we wait to test him until after we get him tutored the results may not show the severity and we may not be able to get the accommodations he really will still need.

I'm kicking myself, I was wondering about this when we started COVA a year and a half ago. I had the conversation with the teacher then. I feel like I didn't advocate enough at that point. He is crazy smart and it gets hidden in this fight with the written word. he is so curious about different things but he can't get it for himself right now he has to use me and I'm ending up being a gatekeeper to his knowledge. I slow him down I can't read to him everything he wants to learn, he can't stand one of the most prominent astrophysicists out there making videos so most of the video lectures I find he won't watch. Ugh.

I look at the reading symptoms and he has every single one of them, same with the spelling. I had not gone back to the list for a year and a half because I thought maybe he wasn't ready yet, maybe he was being 'stubborn' maybe I was giving him too much leeway.

All that be as it may, we're doing something now. I will figure out how to get him tested, I will get to work learning the Barton System. I will see if I can become a Barton Tutor and maybe make up the cost of the system. We'll see, there are answers, there will  be help, he will be able to open the world up to his very curious mind with books soon.

Monday, February 28, 2011

How did the month of creativity go?

Well let's see, I seemed to run out of steam about half way through the month. As it is though I'm pleased with what I did get done. I feel like I proved to myself that I can make things from my brain become real and concrete.

I also got off my duff and actually finished 2 projects I had let slip by me, and actually took steps to figuring out what is really happening with my son.

I got back to working on the books for a business I'm trying to help/work for. (Which reminds me I have more to work on this afternoon) It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be but it did take some concentrated time. Which is hard to come by. The Boy and I made a deal and I would work for 1 hour then play with him for one hour, and so on. It worked ok. I used my ear buds and listened to music so I wouldn't have to listen to the TV while I was working.

The Blue & Gold Banquet went off beautifully and we have a date for summer camp reserved. Life is good.

I purchased an assessment test from Homeschool Buyer's Group and gave it to the Boy. It gave me the info I was looking for. I gave him the reading portion first which caused complete melt down and then he really melted down for the math portion. The thing is even with the math melt down he was able to do really well on the math, much higher than 2nd grade, and the reading showed him well below 2nd grade level. It is frustrating and I just need to find the help with this.

One of our 'beliefs' coming into homeschooling him for Elementary school is that there is nothing in the Elementary curriculum that either DH or I could not teach him. The thing is that was based on the idea that reading would come easily to him. That he would learn to read and nothing would cause a problem with that. The thing is he doesn't and can't. He aced the grammar portion, he understands the rules of grammar, he understands that different words in our language came from other languages, and can explain which they came from. He recognizes the patterns that indicate a word comes from Greek or Germanic, but has a problem sounding out the words pen and pin, big and dig, and din and den. I need to document where I am seeing consistent problems to relate to the tester.

Ugh, so much to think about. I've called 4 different testers and left messages for each of them. We'll see if anyone calls me back.

By the way, have I mentioned a really cool book I found and we loved reading/listening to?

Ox, House, Stick The History of Our Alphabet, it is really interesting to learn where our alphabet came from and how/when they changed from sounds that mean something to symbols for sound alone. If you or you have someone at home interested in how our language became what it is this is interesting easy to understand book.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Changes I'm seeing

So I'm half way through the month of creativity. I'm not sure how well I'm doing at it, but I am branching out, and trying new things. I have sketched, baked, embroidered, crocheted, sewn, and colored. I haven't really knit yet but I will before the end of the project. Weekends are harder for me to sit and just make something for a time, but I will try to do something each day this weekend.

I'm seeing changes in the Boy as well. He is so excited to have finished his 3rd grade math books and moved onto the 4th grade, we spend about 36 hours straight listening to him repeat that he had finished 3rd grade math and was moving on to 4th grade. Let's see if this will keep him on task with it to finish 4th grade math before we finish 2nd grade in the spring. hmmmm.

Besides that though, he has started doing science experiments on his own, without me leading him or guiding him. He is thinking them through and executing them with little help from me. Hoo rah!!!!!! He also insisted I load Crazy Machines on the laptop (that link is to a commercial site to buy and download the game). We've had it for a couple of years and he has played with it in the past but always with DH or I giving him much help in the problem solving area. He has just taken off with his understanding of the concepts and is problem solving on his own. He takes great pride in coming up with solutions that are different than the 'official' version. Can I tell you how much this makes me happy?

On a somewhat related note, I belong to Homeschool Buyers Co-op and if you are considering homeschool it is a great way to get curriculum and assessment tests at a discounted price. (That is not relevant to this story but I realized I had never mentioned them before and I do <3 them so, spread the love.) They are offering something that the teaser shot seemed to say to me was an Unschooling curriculum for high school. Now I think we all know that I am a snarky, judgey woman and could not let that go without a comment to DH. I mean come on and unschooling curriculum? REALLY? No, not really, when I went to look at it, it is actually resources to find different things to learn, so it is a way to allow your teen to decide what they want to learn and then be able to find the resources to actually learn it. I'm certain there are those in the unschooling community who would still scoff at this but I could see it being very helpful. Then again I'm not wired to unschool really so what do I know. ANYWAY, back to the point, if there is one, of this story. The Boy heard me mention it to DH and wanted to know what unschooling was. My explanation went something like this:

Me: Well, with unschooling I wouldn't tell you what to study or when to study an subjects
Boy: Face lights up like I just told him we are going to Disney World
Me: Instead, you are responsible for what you are learning, you have to decide what you will learn and how to get the information. It is completely your responsibility.
Boy: Face falls as if I have told him he has to make is own bean & cheese burritos for the rest of his life (I know this because I have told him this before & saw the exact same face)

Let me be honest here, had I thought that unschooling was a way DH & I wanted to go with the Boy's education I would not have put so much emphasis on his responsibility, and I would have put more on his ability to choose his own adventure (sorry loved those books, they are back in publication btw)

Here is a picture of something I've made this month, this is the bread pudding I made on Valentines Day, it is all gone now, but wow did I love it. Yummy!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Thing-a-Day 1

So today was my first day of Thing-a-Day, henceforth to be know as TAD. I want to prove to myself that I'm creative, and I don't want to spend any money on it. I have an embarrassment crafting supplies. I do not need to go out and spend money on this. I have fabric, yarn, thread, needles (of many sorts). So the goal is to make things that I can enjoy, or others will enjoy, without making us poorer in the endeavor.

 I wanted to embroider another cephalopod for the bathroom. Today's self imposed critter was a squid. First I will say that the internets will lead you astray and show you pictures of cuttlefish and call them squid. I decided on a giant squid, they are simply shaped and well I felt like I could do it.
Squid sketch #1
 This was my first sketch. Rough, his eyes were in the wrong place to begin with and I didn't like the pencil I was using, so onto....

Squid sketch #2

This was my second sketch, and the one I used to make the final embroidery. I darkened up the lines and then copied it onto the muslin fabric.
I left off some of his legs and his legs keep getting shorter cause I wanted to finish him before the sun set. Heh. I'm pleased with him and learned some more about the process.

One thing I've discovered is that I need to scale down what I'm making each day. This took a lot of time to complete. I may break the next one down into smaller pieces. I will also need to figure out some things I can make quickly or on the road for our busy weekends. This coming Saturday I think I might have an hour to make anything at all. Maybe I'll sketch out an octopus for the next cephalopod project.

Monday, January 31, 2011

The weekend I had

I had such a wonderful, busy, filled with people I love, weekend. We have been busier since the new year started than we were all through the 'holiday season'. For some reason I balk at the thought of all the things I 'have' to do during that time of year. I really would rather just hang at home. January see me ready to get things done.

Friday night we, finally, after many attempts and rescheduleings, went to Euclid Hall with my BFF & her hubby. I 'did' my hair and face, something that very rarely happens. Look at what I can look like if I try.
So I cleaned up good. The food was amazing and the company was even better. The restaurant is kind of Americanized German food. They had sausages (made on site), mustards (same deal) schnitzel, spatzel (did I spell that right Angie/Ray), but not traditional. Plus they had the Canadian national dish poutines but with wild mushroom gravy (Dave feel free to correct me on this, you know let me know what the REAL Canadian national dish is)  Oh and tons of beers and whiskey. Much of the food is locally sourced, including some of the whiskey. Yum! Wonderful night, thank you so much Michal & Rich for taking us to such a wonderful place.

Saturday included DH fixing the car, it has needed new struts for, well years actually, but they had gone out completely so it was time. Have I mentioned here how much I love that my husband is not afraid to work on a car. He will go in pull it apart, fix it and it will run at the end of it. He fixed my alternator a couple of months ago, he fixed his struts this Saturday.
My Dad came over with his air compressor and they fixed the car. It helped so much that the temp on Saturday was in the 50's. (Unlike today where our high was sometime this morning before the sun rose and the temp is going to be dropping steadily until sometime on Weds.) While they were fixing that my Mom & I made lasagna, 7 dishes of lasagna.
This was the last 2 waiting for their turn in the oven. I felt like we were all productive. The Boy just kept running from one group to the next, helping at times, making random noises at others, but basically seeming like a happy child surrounded by the people that love him. This is when I really wish we lived closer to my folks. My Mom & I could do this bulk cooking thing together more often. The Boy would see them more often, and so would I. Ah well maybe someday.

On Saturday I had my girlfriends over for circle, I made, kinda, Chinese food in honor of the New Year coming up this Thursday (Year of the Rabbit). It was wonderful to cap off the weekend with friends I share everything with.

Next weekend is looking to shape up to almost the same level of busyness. I'm so happy with it.