Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thursday 03-31-11

Today started with baking
My daughter wanted to make rolls and I wanted to make muffins.
So we did!
Then mad cleaning and story reading and starfall games
Then my eldest decided that she should make some money. off to the neighbours to sell the rolls-$2.00 a piece!
Then off for a walk
A visit to the library. Our librarians also bought some rolls.
Noah's ark awaits to be filled with all the animals
A stop at the thrift store to pick up some extras
The walk home: sun, wind and blue sky
Back inside to finish our nature walk collections.
A few days ago, we collected sticks while on our nature walk.
Then we glued them onto paper and :
Watercolour mess!
Only a few rolls left
More baking-Saskatoon berry pie
Looking over some of the treasures found at the Thrift store
Discussions on safety
Plan making for an upcoming visit at a friends house
Musings on life and other things
Loving this book.
And ending the day with a nutritional lesson on over-eating via the old woman who swallowed a fly.

Hi and welcome to my house...may I take your order

Drive thru talking, people!
It's all the rage at my house.
And when I say rage, I mean: I'm actually about to introduce it and I'm the only one stoked about it so far.

Drive thru talking is a communication technique that I learned about when I was dating my husband.
He sent me a video on how to communicate.
When we were dating.
It freaked me out. I thought I was dating a psychiatrist.
After my initial shock, I realized that the video had some really good things to say about communication.
And I realized that if my boyfriend was willing to commit to better communication, he fell into the "keeper" category.
So I married him.

And I have been trying to keep communication lines open since.

As I've been looking at various ways to strengthen my daughter's cognitive functions of Expressive Verbal Tools, as well as the Receptive Verbal Tools, drive thru talking is re-emerging as a handy little tool.

Drive thru talking is simple and easy to use (and if you call now, I'll throw in these steak knives for an additional $9.95. Did anybody else think that when I wrote "It's simple and easy to use"? No. Just me? OK)

Well, it's simple and easy to use.
Basically, you are practicing listening and talking to one another.
You repeat what the other person is saying in order to confirm that you heard correctly. Much like the do at a drive thru restaurant.
Hence the term: Drive thru talking.

Drive thru restaurants repeat your order to you because it's a quality control measure. It's their way of making sure you get the hamburger you ordered, instead of a fish stick that may have been in the back of the freezer for one month too long.

Let's take a look at an example that shows us what drive thru talking is not.

Here is a completely fictitious scenario from my marriage:

ME:Honey, can you pick up some milk when you are out? Love you, Bye. Have a great day.
MY MAN: Yeah. Love you too.

1 hour later

ME:Where's my milk?
MY MAN: ( a stunned look on his face and the overwhelming sense that he's missed something)
What milk?
ME: The milk. The milk I asked you to get when you went out. The milk you said, "yeah" to getting.
MY MAN: I don't remember that.
ME: ahhhhhhhhh!

That is an example of bad communication on my part.
It's completely fictitious. Never happened. Because, remember folks, I watched a video once about communicating over ten years ago. I'm a pro and don't make mistakes like that.

Here's how drive thru talking is really done:

Mom: Can you please take out the garbage?
Child: You want me to take out the garbage?
Mom: Yes, and please do it right away.
Child: I can take the garbage out right away.

Yeah! Success is achieved.
Good has been done here.
The garbage is going to be taken out and it's going to happen right away.

Why is this a good exercise for strengthening the Cognitive Functions regarding verbal tools?
Let's go over the points, shall we:

1. I said it is, and since I'm an expert in communication,
(remember, I once watched a video)
it's obvious that I'm right
2. It requires you and your child to FOCUS on what is being said.
When you instruct them and they have to repeat back to you what they've heard, you can determine if their INPUT Receptive Verbal Tools need strengthening. When you have them instruct you to do something, you can determine if their OUTPUT Expressive Verbal Tools need strengthening
3. Over 40 billion served makes a point (Get it? It's a fast food joke referencing Macdonald's restaurant. Did anyone else think that? No? Just me.... OK)

When using drive thru talking, focus on precision and accuracy. Stay away from generic words like:

Opt for more specific terms like:
the catapult
your dryer lint collection
the mini-replica of the space station

And ask your child to do the same.

Now you say:

You know, as though you were practicing drive thru talking with me.
(Did anyone else get that? No? Just me...OK)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wednesday 3-30-11

Today there was some members feeling under the weather.
Naturally, there was a lot of snuggling and storybook reading

The Accidental Zucchini
Let's Do Nothing!
The Green Pocketbook
The Z was Zapped
Stella, Queen of the Snow
The Seven Silly Eaters ****love this one a lot
The Carrot Seed
Spaghetti and Meatballs for All
Norma Jean, Jumpiong Bean
The Five Chinese Brothers *** love this one too
The Flying Hockey Stick
and finally, we all flopped on the couch and listened to the audiobook of All-of-a-Kind Family

Delicious day!

A Fresh Start

We've been learning and focusing on forgiveness at our place lately.

During this past weekend, I attended a few Mediated Learning Workshops. During workshop 2, Therese (amazing lady and opera singer extrordinaire) said that in her home, her family will constantly say to each other: "You get a fresh start."
She mentioned that once they've dealt with an issue, they don't bring it up again. And the only exception to that is if they need to revisit the positive decisions that came in conclusion to the issue. ie." What did you decide that you would do differently from last time ?"
I loved this idea.
Immediately, I got a visual picture in my head about how to teach my babes this concept.

Taking a pure, white, blank piece of paper, I showed them that this is how our day begins.
Then I grabbed a pencil and made angry zig-zags (at the top) and asked them what attitude they thought I was expressing. They answered with responses of anger or yelling. Then I drew the vertical line on the left. It represented being disrespectful or saucy with my words. The squiggly line in the middle represented blaming someone else for why my chores weren't done.
And finally, the loopy script at the bottom is my version of rolling my eyes when someone tried to correct my behaviour.
I then asked: "How am I behaving?"
"Not very good. "
My two year old, holds up a fist and growls, "BAD!"

We then talked about what we could do to turn things around. How could we start heading in a positive direction? What steps do we need to take to make things right? How should we treat the person who behaves this way? Are you a kind person if you are only kind to people who are nice to you? Or is a kind person a person who is kind even when people are being mean? My eldest was curious about where to draw the line with kindness. This led to a great little talk on kindness and not letting people walk all over you, and yet remaining kind as you put up boundaries.
(It sounds really philosophical, but it was at their level).
After discussing Christ's love and forgiveness, we talked about having a fresh start.

Then I pulled out a new piece of paper. Blank, white and fresh. And said, " How about we give each other a fresh start?"
We were in agreement. Then we bridged this idea by asking the question: What does this look like with our neighbours? What does giving a fresh start look like to Japan?
Can you remember a time when someone gave you a fresh start?

So we prayed and started the day all over again.
And after an hour, we started again.
And after clothes were left lazily on the floor ( a growing problem) we started again.
And after Mom lost her temper, we started again.

How beautifully this has unfolded in my home.
I can use a fresh start.
How about you?

"Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “ Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.
Isaiah 1:18

Tuesday 3-29-11

The morning started with apple pie. As we figured out fractions and came up with ways to divide the pieces of seemed to be a sign that today would be a math and number day.
First, we pretended to play store and pie had to be purchased. "Pennies for Pie" was our store and I made a good chunk of change this morning.

Yesterday we decided we were tired of having these weird crayons we had once made from muffin tins. So we decided to cut them up and shave them in order to make pressed wax art.
After we finished cutting and shaving the crayons, we decide that we are sick of wax and want to do something else.
Then the dinosaur was hungry, so we fed him.
Easter egg play
Mad dancing
Tower building
Math-u-see workbook
It's beautiful out! Time to take the dolls out for a stroll
Collecting nature pieces for art
We read and acted out the book Spaghetti and Meatballs for all: a mathematical story.
The story is about a husband and wife who invite 30 people for spaghetti dinner. All throughout the book the have to figure out how to seat everyone. They come up with a plan but the guests keep changing it. Great mediated discussion on planning.
WE followed the book along by making 8 tables with 4 chairs...
Then we followed what the characters did in the book, and pushed two tables together. Mayhem ensues! Where will the others sit?
We continued to copy what the characters did in the book and found multiple ways to seat people around the table. Then we ate some spaghetti.
Using the Family math book we played an Algebra game called "3 Bean soup". Using 3 different beans wehad to come up with various soup combinations. My dauighter likened the game to Brain Benders.
Easter egg art with our wax crayon shavings
The finished pictures that now hang on our window. Pressed and ironed wax art.
more games with beans and a make-it-yourself weigh scale
Art using up all the toothpicks and beans
A walk outside again. Collections and groupings of different nature items. Perhaps we can use some for a craft tomorrow. hmmmmm.....

Mediating Forgiveness

We had a situation come up where it was the perfect opportunity to learn about forgiveness.

After reading Matthew 18:21-25, my daughter said, "I better forgive or I'll go to prison!"
Thus began a mediated discussion on what kind of prison unforgiveness is. To help my babes get the idea of a prison in our heart, I did the following:

First we cut out a picture of someone who needed to forgive.
My daughter cut out Humpty Dumpty. Humpty needs to do some forgiving.
In my craft cupboard, I found the long-forgotten craft grids (or whatever they are called!) that someone gave me once upon a time. They looked a bit like a prison so we placed them over Humpty.
Then we compared how well we can see with the grid in front of our eyes.
The observation was that we can still see things but not very clearly.
Then we kept adding grids in front of our vision. This was the same as remaining in unforgiveness and having our hearts harden with bitterness. They pointed out that it was very difficult to see through the girds.
Much like a bitter and unforgiving heart. We will continue to live life but everything we encounter we won't see precisely or accurately because unforgiveness colors our perception.
Look at Humpty! He can't be seen for all the unforgiveness and bitterness.
We discuss about why it's important to forgive and to walk in love.
We decide that we want to be people who forgive.
and Humpty does too!

Monday March 28

Cutting pictures
Reading books
Christian Heroes: Then and Now-Eric Liddell

lessons on forgiveness--stay tuned. Blog post coming soon
Dancing to music
Paper bag monster invasion...residents run for cover
scrappy art

frame making
reading books
outside play
tower making
These are crayons that we melted and made in muffin tins. We did that months ago. None of us like these crayons as we find them difficult to use. I asked my babes if they thought we could use these crayons a different way. Stay tuned for their answer (tomorrow).

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 the real world

I've been musing over here in my corner of the world.
I read a statement in a magazine where a parent was talking about teaching their children about math by having them calculate the tip for the waitress. The story was concluded with the quote, "I think it's helping her learn that we use math in the real world."

The statement jumped out to me as I consider how often we make our learning (in particular, formal education held in a school building) seperate from life and real life application.
As in, there is learning...and then...there is life.

As homeschoolers, I think we change that idea and say: learning is life.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wednesday 3-23-11

Yay for wooden shapes!

My eldest wanted to make a boat. She got out all sorts of supplies and went to it.
my little guy loved gluing down the beans
the finished boat: The Shark
Yes, that is my table cloth being used as a sail

Snow play
slushie treats
fort making
reading books

Listening to audio books
More reading" The story of Eric Liddell
The Green Pocketbook
Let's Do Nothing
Raiding the art closet and painting window catchers