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.