Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Well, it's happened.
Just as it always does. 

Remember my little post about us going back to our last spot of success in math and picking up from there.
Well, a few days of games and what not and my girl decides she's ready to tackle the multi-digit multiplication again. 
Her father and her have a tet-a-tet about the basics of this complex approach to math.
And within a few minutes, she's off and doing the math problems as happily as can be.
Solving them correctly and humming while she does!

Mark my words. 
Write them down.
Tattoo th-  --nevermind.

If you are having trouble in an area of learning with your child, go back to your last place of success. Camp out there for a few days. Remind your child how competent they are. Give them confidence to face the next step. And when you are ready for that next step, break the problem down into smaller pieces. And tackle it one bite at a time.

Go back to go forward.
Quote me on it.

Just don't use it as words on my tombstone.
It will make no sense.

Monday, October 17, 2011

I Just Want My Program Plan to End

I have been trying to write my Program Plan for three weeks now.
Remember my little post back in the day where I made Program Plan writing sound like something any clown could pull off. 
Well, stick a red rubber nose on me and send me to the circus because, apparently, I should take up juggling.
It`s easier than writing Program Plans.
(But I`ll refuse to work for the circus as a clown...because look at the shoes that come with the job. Puh-lease. A girl has got to have some standards.)

Anyway, here is my stumbling block.
It`s the actually GOAL Planning part.

I decided that tonight was the night.
The final performance at Cirque de So-Crazy-Mom.
``Tonight,`` I declared to myself, ``I finish my Program Plans.``

To get started, I distracted myself by listening to my favourite Luke Bry*n song: I don`t want this night to end.
Wrong choice, my friends.
I should have took the tune to be foreboding and telling.
Because....after writing and tweaking and pulling up every possible word I can use to describe the methodology of learning at my house, I am most certain of one thing:
Luke Bry*n--I want this night to end.
In fact, I want my two hours back.
I can`t pull this thing together.

It`s not that I don`t have goals. It`s just that they are all character based. And I don`t really have academic goals. I mean, I unschool. Everything is about learning unfolding at my child`s pace and following their interests. We don`t use curriculum, and for the first time I wished we did. Just so I can write:
The goal of this year in science is to Finish Book A of the Amazing Curriculum Book of Science.

I am floundering, my friends.
I am panicking.
I have my hands up. And it`s nothing like Luke Bry*n`s song. 
It`s not a happy dance.

I realize that putting this out there sounds like I`m certifiable.
Or misguided.
Or just plain not very good at the paperwork end of homeschooling.
I`m ok with that.
I have alternatives. Just start the trapeze show and buy yourself a bag of popcorn. Me and my red nose will be right there.

So, if anyone knows how to write goals for those who don`t follow curriculum then leave me a comment.
Teach me.
I`m sure all that is involved here is me unlearning the `school-y` ways of doing things and approaching this from a different angle.
And if you can teach me, I promise that you will get a front row seat when I perform a unicycle ballet to Luke Bryan`s song at my next circus performance.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Going Backwards to Move Forwards

We brought out the math books lately. 
I've learned (FINALLY!) that we should go back to our last place of success.
For us, our last success was double digit multiplication. 
When I brought it out, we started looking at the problems. Everything was rusty and slow moving for my eldest. So I went back to the beginning of multiplication tables.
And it was there that my daughter realized, "Maybe I need more practice with the 1 to 12 multiplication tables."
So we made a goal to practice and play games for the next two weeks and re-master the multiplication tables.
And that's what we're doing. 
I'll let you know what happens in two weeks.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Much Improved Mind

I was reviewing my old blog today  and found this post.
This post was written before I learned about Mediated Learning and critical thinking skills. It takes you deep into the caverns of a mind that was not fully understanding the many roles that cognitive functions play. 

This is a journey into my mind four years ago. I am much improved now. 
I think.
It's a hard call. I'm typing this while avoiding the laundry pile's staring eyes.

Almost daily, I feel as though I spew out the mantra: "SuperGirl, come back here please and finish what you started." Day in. Day out. Same song, same audience. Every time I walk into the room and see a heap of stuff on the floor, bed, bathroom sink, or entryway I start my familiar aria.

My house has gone to pot...but this time it is my own doing.

I am a walking contradiction to my daily tune.

I blame the heat...because if I couldn't blame the heat I'd have to admit that I am not a tidy person and the A type personality inside me would never let me say such things out loud, so, it's the heat's fault.

I have proof:
Can't sleep at night.
I have no air conditioning and last night it was a balmy 17 degrees at 1 am! 1 am! I may have the fans going and every window in this apartment open but I'm still wide awake at 2am because the place won't cool down! There I am listening to the whirring sound of the fan and wondering about the person who said that white noise will help you sleep (Complete load of bullocks in my situation).
So, lack of sleep.
A complete and total point against me. That's one.

When I did get to sleep, I woke up at 5 am to the birds singing and my bedroom/living room/kitchen (I live in a one bedroom apartment) blazing with the glorious light of dawn.
Of course, all of this was courtesy to the open windows.
Windows that had to be open, may I remind you, so that I could sleep at night.
So, I wake up exhausted and unable to think straight. That's two points against me. And this is how this whole "house going to pot" got started.

Started putting away the dishes as the girls ate breakfast, suddenly realized that I was starving and knew that I couldn't face my day without...hanging my laundry out on the line. Came back downstairs and checked the weather. 8:25 am and it is 25 degrees out and heading towards 37 degrees!
I start putting the dishes away (again) and realize that this is the best time to change plans and go to the lake and sit in the water.
Start packing up to go and remember that my children's fingernails need clipping.
I get the nailclippers and immediately understand this to be the perfect moment to blow bubbles outside while I empty out the van to clean it.
It would seem that these two particular activities don't mix all that well.

I bring in screaming, pouting children who are wounded over the fresh loss of bubble juice to the heat scorched grass. I'm scratched and reminded that I need to clip their nails. I set them down and realize that I have not called my friend who has just had a surgery. But ten minutes later, I'm back to the realization that my wildcat children need their fingernails clipped as I am literally clawed off the phone.

With new, short nails, my children purr and play as I frantically stuff the necessities of beachware into my bag (take 5 minutes to reconcile whether rubber boats and a raincoat would be overpreparing. Settle on not taking them but leaving them on the growing pile of things I'll do later tonight once the kids are sleeping).

We go to the beach.
It's great.
It's sand.
It's sun.
It's summer fun.
Yay Beach Parties!

I reminisce about my fave day last summer spent on a beach in Arkansas with my sister's family, a close friend, my girls and my mom. Ahhh, this is summer.
Then I return home, I open the door and a bomb has gone off in my house...almost literally.
There are signs of every place I've been today:
dishes not put away and put away in peculiar places (cups in the cereal storage bin, huh?)
nail clippers on the kitchen table
At least 4 glasses of water that are half full (or empty) evidence that at some point I thought that if I hydrated myself I may think clearer
a spilled over laundry basket with clothes on the bed. A clever little reminder I set up for myself so that the moment I got home I would remember to take my hanging underwear off the clothesline
left out condiments used to make the beach picnic
a growing pile of things I imagine I will do once:
a) I regain my sanity
b) make the decision to refuse to add anything more to the pile and
c) realize that somewhere deep inside the pile is my frying pan that I put away absent-mindedly this morning somewhere between hanging laundry and being starving

This is ridiculous.
I haven't finished anything today.
It's a miracle I've made a complete sentence come together and end in a conclusive way.
What kind of role model is this?
How can I be an example if this is my thought process?
How can I survive this heat if I have to wade knee-deep through my house?
How can I --oh, is that a chip? I would really like a chip right now.
Several, in fact.
But before I do, it would seem like now is the perfect moment to work on that scrapbook I started in 2001.

The Blue Car

I wrote this poem a while ago and found it today. I feel like sharing:

The Blue Car

Burnt, charred embers
leave marks on my hands
Easily washed off
with the grit of the sand
that stood under your feet
as you stood on my soul
Helpless and lame
Completely unwhole

Rhonderdons blooming
Stars shining the same
Blues music was booming,
To a tune that was slain...
eking a place in my head
For the swallows to sit
For the swallows, a bed

Drip-drops of the coffee
that I never drink
Sing songs of the melodies
that I never think

Questioned the running of time
through the land
of wheat that blows grandly
while slips through my hand

Wondered at silence
Why nothing was said
Sealed up like drum
That beat in my head

Rhythms stopped rhyming
And moods stopped their sway
Time hands stopped ticking
The moon slipped away

Frayed ribbons
Black hats
Scuffed shoes and dark shades
Under the blue car
that drove far away

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Thanksgiving fun

Some turkey-lurkey-doo type of fun of late:

A mom and son turkey handprint painting

pumpkin patch faces

Nature walks and our findings
Crazy gourds
A Turkey Gourd


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pirate Cake

This is the cake that I thought had a conspiracy against me. 
It's a pirate cake. It was hard to make. It was not as easy as it looks.
It was devoured in mere moments...delish!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Workshop 3- A Focus on Reading

If you have recently attended Workshop 3, here are some things to get you off to a quick start:

Remember the Core & Criteria
Remember the Phases of the Mental Act (Thinking)
Click here to read about the Phases

Focus on strengthening the following Cognitive Functions
* Exploring a New Learning Situation *Select Relevant Clues
*Elaboration of Cognitive Categories
*Mental Field

The ONE thing you can do to improve your child's chances of reading

Remember that Reading Problems can be caused by:
-environmental causes
-physical causes
-perceptual: dyslexia
-detecting reading problems

Items found in your workshop notes to help:

Observation Sheet
Process Questions
Reading Placement Test
Detecting Reading Problems
Review Videos
Attend Future Workshops
Dynamic Assessment

Recommended Reading and Resources

The Gift of Dyslexia
How the Brain Learns to Read


*Believe that change is possible
*Make an honest commitment to become mediational
*Be willing to put other things aside in order to mediate