Saturday, February 25, 2006

Habitat Day

We went to an event this morning put on by our local waterfowl association. It was titled Family Habitat Day. The event was held at our tiny mall and the children were able to build wren, bluebird and wood duck houses for free. (I still don't know what a wood duck is -- next stop, googling wood duck.)

The event was fantastic with a great turn out. There were unattended kids everywhere. I was surprised at the amount of parents that just dropped their kids off. Both my husband and I stayed with our son.

Now for the gripe. I always have a gripe, it seems. We get there five minutes before the appointed starting time and of course they had started already. People everywhere. We found the registration line and waited a good ten minutes to sign up. After that, good luck. There was absolutely NO organization to this event at all. A bunch of the disgruntled parents formed a line to try to get some organization. When we finally got to the front of the line, one of the volunteers handed us all the wood and told us to go to a specific table. He even walked us over to the table. My son put his wood on the table and the volunteer running the table screamed -- and yes, I do mean SCREAMED, "Get back, there's not enough room here, only TWO at a time." He shook his head in disgust. We went back to the front of the line and warned the people behind us about the madman there.

At this point I had had enough. The registration line was gone so I went to talk to the lady at the registration table. I told her of the need of someone organizing the masses. I told her people were cutting in line, *parents* were going out of turn, volunteers were screaming. Her response? This is the way we do it every year. Okay. Thank you very much, this will be our last year attending then. I don't come to an event to get screamed at.

A majority of the parents stayed were the "me first" type. They were pushy, bossy, and rude. The volunteers didn't know what was going on. It really saddened me to see that -- but it's nothing new. Kids seem to understand order, patience and fairness better than parents do.

I am going to write a letter to this organization thanking them for putting such a wonderful event. In that letter I am going to tell them to do two things. One, have a volunteer to direct people where to go -- show them which line is for which bird house. Two, have that volunteer watch and control three lines -- one for each bird house. It's that simple. It would have made the event so much better.

Both my husband and I were really ticked off about being screamed at. My son was hurt. We did not go back to that table and brought the wood home to make that kit here. The other volunteers were all more than helpful, though.

In the end, it was mostly a good morning. I just don't understand why people that take the time to put on such a wonderful event do such a piss-poor job of pulling it off. I know those men spent hours of their free time cutting out the wood and getting it ready. It is just such a shame that they can't think ahead a little to have some organization.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


I came in from a break to find we had a new pupil. He demanded a front-row seat, right next to the teacher.

Kitty didn't think much of spelling. He got in trouble for flopping his tail on my son's paper. It's not good to distract the other student.

Kitty really had attention problems when it came to reading. He was looking out the window at the birds.

Kitty got really annoyed with the other pupils. He wouldn't even let the other cat come into the room. Here he's telling the dog to back off, becaue it's his territory.

Kitty really didn't care much for grammar. That tail of his was a constant battle all day. He just wouldn't listen to the teacher's rules: Keep your hands, feet and tails to yourself.

We had a really fun day. Usually the cat is in the room but stays on the floor. Today he just had to be part of the action. We had lots of giggles. We even managed to get everything done. Maybe kitty was good luck.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Monday, Monday

Monday Monday, so good to me,
Monday Monday, it was all I hoped it would be
Oh Monday morning, Monday morning couldn't guarantee
That Monday evening you would still be here with me.
The Mamas And The Papas

Okay, take out the evening and replace it with afternoon.

We were having such a good school day, everything from attitude to desire to work ethic to understanding was going right. Right in the middle of our homeschool bliss, darn, the kid down the street rang the doorbell. School was over in a flash. DS had his coat on, was precariously hopping to the door while putting shoes and socks on. Who am I to stop a perfectly good "socialization" opportunity? lol

On his way out the door I just had to do it. I yelled, "We'll be starting biology tonight, dear, and you need to finish your grammar yet, too. Have fun." What a snot mom I am. I'm sure both boys rolled their eyes or better yet, completely ignored me.

I wanted to report that we started our Lial's Basic College Math today. While DS could always read numbers into the millions and billions since he was in kindergarten, he had to do it slowly because he was counting them out in his brain. Today's lesson was on numbers and "click" the light bulb went on when the book discussed "periods" as opposed to just groups. Good grief, that kid could read big numbers faster than I could write them. So then we looked up what came after trillion (really, I didn't know or care) and so on. We were writing numbers bigger than I can fathom. He was reading them faster than I could think them up. He was writing them faster than I could dictate. Honestly, he kept saying "More, mom, more." Obviously we took it to the white board and were going above and beyond the book.

I am very pleased with the explanations in our first day's lessons. Looking ahead, I think the whole book will just click with DS. Yes!!!

Wow, I think success was the theme of the day.

The question remains: Will I really make him do biology and grammar tonight? Ha, ha, ha -- YES, the evil homeschooling mom WILL. Only because nothing good is on TV tonight. lol

Math Spelling List

Math Spelling List

0 - zero
1 – one
2 – two
3 – three
4 – four
5 – five
6 – six
7 – seven
8 – eight
9 – nine
10 – ten
11 – eleven
12 – twelve
13 – thirteen
14 – fourteen
15 – fifteen
16 – sixteen
17 – seventeen
18 – eighteen
19 – nineteen

20 – twenty
30 – thirty
40 – forty
50 – fifty
60 – sixty
70 – seventy
80 – eighty
90 – ninety

spelling for tens place plus ones place numbers: add a hyphen between the tens and ones




Sunday, February 19, 2006

Happy Presidents Day

Happy Presidents Day.

Had to put a Mt. Rushmore photo up because I lived a hop, skip and jump from it for 11 years. I've seen Mt. Rushmore more times than I can count. Don't ask me my opinion on their updated facilities.
Because we had too many days off last week, we'll be doing school. Even though public school has Monday and Tuesday off. I hope DS doesn't find out because he will whine about it. lol

Today I was feeling much better. I left the house fairly early and drove around for about 40 minutes with my window down so I could get full sun. It was still too cold to walk or be out for very long plus it was so windy. Luckily it was a bright day with lots of sunshine. It really helped -- sunshine is like a magic happy pill. It's amazing how well and quickly it works on low spirits.

We might have to do a little car school tomorrow for more sun. We're about to finish up with our SOTW III CD's. I think we'll start over on III because DS has found it very fascinating.

My husband and I have been having lots of talks about homeschooling this weekend. He tells me I'm trying to do too much. He thinks reading a text or spine for history, plus one book on topic is more than enough. We've already read four books on the Salem Witch Trials. He says it's overkill. His theory is this: a 4th-grade education is like a handful of mud. Throw the mud at the wall. Some will stick, some will fall. That's all you're aiming for in the 4th grade -- some of what you cover to stick. Mastery isn't what you want.

Interesting theory. Goes against my grain. I think he may be right -- or maybe somewhere in the middle. All I know is it takes us an extremely long time to do American history -- but we really do enjoy it.

Joke of the day

Q: How do you keep your husband from reading your e-mail?
A: Rename the mail folder to "Instruction Manuals."

What we use in school

Our Curriculum

Math -- Starting Lial's Basic College Math on Monday -- formerly Singapore

Math Facts -- We do math facts separately from math. We work on them daily. I usually make 100-problem worksheets from a free download found at

English -- Rod and Staff

Spelling -- Sequential Spelling

Vocabulary -- lots of workbooks from Spectrum to some from Prentice Hall I got off ebay. Also use Vocabulary Cartoons

Writing -- Have done some exercises in Writing Strands III, have done some Evan Moor books -- Writing Paragraphs, Write a Super Sentence. Have Logos Writing Trails in American History. I have decided to put formal writing off until 5th grade. DS does write in a journal, though. He also writes stories on his own. I have Evan Moor's Write a Story book and we'll probably finish that before the year is out.

Reading -- We read a wide variety of books. Some classics, some that go along with what we are studying, and some I think my son will love. I just bought him some Pokemon books -- Twaddle -- and he devoured them in an hour. We do reading comprehension occasionally with McCalls Crabbs.

Science -- We have RS4K but the chemistry was overwhelming to *me* We have been doing a unit study on the human body from Konos and a study that Doc provided on her blog. We'll finish up with that soon and we are going to start biology in RS4K.

American History -- Hakim's History of Us as a spine, but we do tons of reading. We're currently studying the Salem Witch Trials and reading Tituba of Salem, but will read others. We go very slow with American History because we read so many books with it.

World History -- SOTW CD's. We do car history -- working on volume 3 in the car. In the house we listen to SOTW I. We have the activity books but don't use them.

Typing -- Baron's Easy Typing. DS has done computer typing programs, but he's learning more with the Baron's. (Speed, accuracy)

Geography -- We have no formal program, we just study geography with our history. DS has requested a formal geography program, though, as he loves it. I am open to ideas.

Music -- I am doing a poor job of teaching DS to play the piano. Am thinking of formal lessons. We also listen to a wide variety of music in this house and we talk about different styles depending on what's playing.

Art -- Artistic Pursuits -- DS doesn't like this, I switched to How To Teach Art to Children -- DS thinks this is too juvenile. I think it was Mull-Berry who recommended Abeka, which I think I will switch to -- or else have DH go to Barnes and Noble and pick out some books.

Foreign Language -- We play with the flashcards I purchased with English From the Roots Up. (We have the book EFtRU but never use it.) We run in spurts with this as time permits. We also play Rummy Roots. DS wants to start Spanish and I am looking for something that will fit his learning style. I want a textbook/workbook program with pronunciation tapes. Ideas?

We also read an idiom every day. I read some poetry to DS but he is just like his mother, he hates poetry.

We play games such as Simon, perfection, concentration type games. We play these games for fun, but also to improve DS's short-term memory and speed. DS also has to do a Suduok once a week. We were doing them daily but we just don't have time.

We will be starting logic next year. I haven't chosen anything yet, but will probably go with something from Dandylion Press.

Next year we are going to change our focus from history to science. I'm putting together a bunch of unit studies for DS, looking for spines.

My husband and I have also been discussing text books. It is his suggestion that we look for entry-level college texts that can be modified for DS's abilities. My son is a very unique learner. We've done all the formal testing (privately) because he wasn't working to his potential in public school. He was officially labeled twice exceptional. His weak areas are processing speed, visual processing and short-term memory. The majority of the subtests of the IQ test he hit the ceiling on. While testing results did not confirm this, I believe DS has dysgraphia. He has a very difficult time with handwriting. We recently bought an AlphaSmart because it is portable and cheaper than a notebook computer and he's working on his typing speed. This is another reason we haven't started formal writing yet. He will do all his writing on this when he is typing well.

We have a membership to Family Pass for DVDs. We watch a lot of videos from Standard Deviants to biographies. We also watch discovery channel, science channel, etc. My son (dh and I, too) finally became addicted to Myth Busters after watching a marathon recently. We also watch How's It Made, animal shows, etc.

Things we don't do that I would like to incorporate: Memory work, narrations, copy work -- an area of weakness for DS, note taking, how to study, outlining, etc. There's so many things I want to do and not enough time.