Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Word Families

You learn them when you are starting to read.  We have flash cards to teach them.  But as adults, experienced readers we tend to gloss over our words, reading them to fast and missing the little things.  

I texted my mom to ask if she wanted to go shopping because I needed a new Griddle.  She was excited to go so later that night we were at Kohls together.  My daughters took off to the clothes and I told my mom I was gonna head to the kitchen section.  She said, "I thought you were here to buy a Girdle?" Of course we had to see if it was me who misspelled or her who misread or if my autocorrect got me.  Here she was excited to go buy a Girdle and I wanted a Griddle, something she is not excited about seeing as how she does not cook.  

Those word families will get you every time.  

Monday, August 29, 2011

School: Organized

This is how I organize the kids school work.  With 6 kids in 6 different grades, all doing a minimum of 5 subjects I need a way to keep it all organized or I would have no idea what I am doing.

Once I know what curriculum I am using I decide when we will have breaks and make my calendar around that. I always give time off for Thanksgiving and the day after.  I give at least 2 weeks for the end of the year and one week at Passover (Spring break/Easter).  This year I didn't write the days of the week on their schedule cause I knew we wouldn't be here some days in the middle of the week and they would have to make it up on Sundays. So I just did Day 1- Day 5.  You can do more or less, whatever suits your schedule.  I do know someone who did school 6 days a week.  I figure out how many pages per day they would have to do to get through the book in a year/semester/etc.  The 3 biggest kids do both Science and Health.  So I break it up between semesters.  My oldest does 2 semesters in Science then 2 in Health.  The other 2 do 1 in Health.  My oldest is doing Half the year in Latin and Half in Art.

I have the schedule arranged so that they can check off the work as its done.

 I made a copy for me and instead of checking it off I have a spot to record grades.  I also keep progress reports and a report card for each semester/yearly total.

 I color code their notebooks.  So I can just grab a book instead of trying to figure out whose is whose and what subject they put in there.  So Red is Math, Green is History, Blue is Science, Yellow is Spelling and Black is Misc.  

All their books are kept in a back pack.  This serves 2 purposes: It keeps kids out of the school work and they can just pick it up and go when they need to.  Working at grandmas today?  Just grab it and go.

I keep all the answer keys, quizzes, test etc in a drawer system.  Honestly I need bigger drawers.  A filing cabinet would be better.  But it is what it is.  I have a box under my desk for all the extras they will need throughout the year.

I copy all their reproducible stuff, some has to be copied because it is meant to be cut and pasted and you would lose the stuff on the other side if you didn't.  But I have learned that its better to keep a hard copy so you can make more for redos and also because next year that book might be out of print and you are out of luck.  So it might be time and money to copy but in the long run it saves me a headache.  They keep all those types stapled together or in 3 ring binders depending on what its.  All color coded of course.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

We went on a Field Trip

And school hasn't even started yet.  We couldn't resist.  Its so hot in Phoenix we had to leave town to cool off.

If you are ever so inclined Sharlot Hall Museum in Prescott, AZ is beautiful and very educational. There are several buildings and they frequently have Living History presentations there.  Of course we had to check out the one room school house.  Its about the size of my dining room.  If my family were to have gone there we probably would have had to build an addition.  We took up the whole place.

And today we are building $100 million dollar schools.  I will refrain from commenting *cough*.

I loved the Heirloom Garden.  The kids really want to do their own and I might have to let them, cause its really cool.   I do have to say all those hours spent watching documentaries has finally paid off.  I knew what Heirloom seeds were and could explain it to my kids.

And I had to get a picture of the period shoes they had on display.  My one foot is bigger than their two.  Either they just had small feet back then or we have all turned into Hobbits.

Of course there was the Rose Garden with the Sundial, the Koi Pond and the crab apple trees, and we can't forget the mummified mouse.  Sorry, no pic of that, you will just have to go see it for yourself.

So glad to be going into the fall season.  There will probably be many more trips like this in the months to come.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Because Stay at Home Moms are Dumb

About 10 or 12 years ago my  brother in law said of me being a stay at  home mom, "Why did you bother going to college then?  You are wasting your education."  This from a man who manages a Bob Evans.  Which is a great restaurant and all, but really hes probably wasting his college edumacation. You can bet that statement didn't go over real well with me.

I was reminded of this comment when reading that book; Spilled Milk.  There were a few comments in it about how women wanted to keep working because they needed the mental stimulation.  They didn't want to be a stay at home mom and have their brains turn to mush. Well that ticked me off.  Cause I find being a stay at home mom particularly challenging mentally.  So either I am a dim wit who can't hack even the least strenuous of mentally challenging jobs or she was just woefully misinformed about how much it takes to be a stay at home mom.

Then wouldn't you know it I got even angrier when I read an article about how Chinese women are faring better now than before the 1 child policy because they can actually go to college and have jobs.  Where before it was just assumed you would be a mother and not need to be educated.

Ok, granted its China.  The country isn't synonymous with women's rights.  But it is the prevailing attitude about stay at home moms.  Its not as if I need a degree to change a diaper.  But thats about where the mindlessness ends.

How many parenting books are there? Books on weaning, books on potty training, books on how to teach your child to read.  Books on discipline and how to talk to your child (which I have read by the way and its not a very good book.).  How many television shows are there dedicated to problems parents face?  Super Nanny, Nanny 911, Positive Parenting Radio...and the list goes on.  Frankly, I find it to be the opposite.  Women are scared to be stay at home moms because its too hard.  Of course lots of women have to work.  But if it were a choice and they tell me want to work because being a SAHM is mind numbing I would probably laugh in their face.

I could have used more education.  There are some problems I face over and over again.  The same solution doesn't always work for different kids.  I could use more ammo for those problems.  And to women who found being a stay at home mom boring, you know you can read.  You can go for a walk or talk to someone, get involved volunteering.  You don't have to sit around being bored.  Might I suggest you have a few more kids?  That should liven things up for you.

Now that I have that off my chest, I have to go figure out how to get my 2 year old to take a nap while I have a migraine.  That should be enough challenge for the rest of the day.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Using DVDs in Homeschooling

I think homeschoolers tend to get stuck in a book.  Sure, reading is important.  But its also time consuming and not every kid is gonna be a reader.  Some things can be taught better through watching.

Art is meant to be enjoyed through hearing or seeing.  As much as you can read about Beethoven it doesn't compare to actually hearing his work.  Aside from going to a concert or a museum you can learn about art via cds, mp3s and DVDs.  Art 21 or Sister Wendy  are great examples of learning through media.  If you don't have Netflix most can be borrowed from a library.  Its also easy to go through these DVDs in a short time.  Covering more than if you would if you were reading.  Supplement your existing lessons with a DVD on Van Gogh  or Impressionists.  Learn about the different types of music through both listening to the music and watching how it evolved.  Blues, Jazz, Classical and Folk music is best appreciated by actually hearing it. I can remember 4th grade learning about the Mozart and the other masters and falling asleep during class.  Might have been the Benedryl but it was the only class I fell asleep in...Every time.  Some music would have helped for sure. 

History, Science and Math can be enhanced through DVD as well.  Face it you aren't gonna be able to nor will you want to do every science experiment in your house.  Watching a clip on youtube will be much safer and cleaner.  And just as informative.  History can come alive with dramatized videos.  Math tricks are easy to teach once you have seen them yourself.

How about creating videos of your homeschooler doing a project.  Make a video of Hannibal crossing the Alps using Lego people.  Or make a mix cd of rock music that employees classical music.

The idea is mostly to get out of the book.  Liven things up.  You children will thank you and you will feel good knowing they are getting a well rounded education.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Keep Them on Their Toes

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  Parents are insane.  I would put money on that fact.  Every parent tells their kid to do something expecting them to actually do it.  The kid almost never does it.  Take the statement, "Go clean your room."  What do they do? Clean their room?  No, they go in there, shut the door and read.  Or play a game.  Or jump off the top bunk.  They never actually clean their room. Parents need to get smarter about this.  We can't just keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  You have to change it up.  Keep the kids on their toes.

If they don't put away their clothes, start hiding them.  Put a shirt in their pillow case, put some shorts in their back pack, put some socks in the VCR (what are we the only people who still has one of those?).  Keep them in your room.  Eventually they will run out of clothes and they will put them away.

Won't clean off their dresser?  Go throw everything on the floor.  All their toys, papers, collectibles.  I bet they will clean it up then. I know mine did.

Won't eat their fruits and veggies?  Give them a plate of mixed veggies and tell them they can have their main course when they eat a serving.

Won't take the garbage out?  Gather up all the garbage in the house and deposit it in their room.

Won't do their school work?  Print out some school work for yourself, a book to read, a sheet of math to complete, anything and then race to see who gets it done first.

Won't make their bed?  Seran wrap it.

Won't brush their teeth?  Offer them some of that blue staining gum.

Eventually they will realize they are dealing with pros. Hey we were once kids, we should be experts at this.  Play their game and win.

Now, I must go short sheet someones bed.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Book Review August 2011

Last month I read 3 books: If These Boobs Could Talk, On Writing by Stephen King and Spilled Milk.

If These Boobs Could Talk was an ok book, I would give it 3 of 5 stars. Its good to have in your diaper bag for nursing sessions when you are out and about or if you are looking for something easy in between 2 my involved books.  It might make a good gift for a baby shower to throw in with something else.

Spilled Milk by Andy Steiner drove me crazy.  I would give it 2 stars out of 5.  She wrote in the first person but had quotes from other mothers thrown in here and there. It was difficult to know if she was talking or the person she was quoting was talking.  She restates things over and over as if the chapters were originally meant to be stand alone articles rather than a book.  Like she will state over and over again a persons profession and credentials. She also jumped around talking about how she hopes her 2nd time nursing will be better, to how shes nursing her 2nd now back to how she is expecting her 2nd.  From a breast feeders stand point she focused on problems more than anything else.  I honestly felt that her own bitterness was coming through.   I just did not care for the overall attitude of the book.  

On Writing by Stephen King has been by far my favorite book in the last 2 years, a 4.5 stars out of 5.  It by Stephen King, how could it not be?  Hes a fabulous writer.  This book is more memoir than how to, but has enough tips in it to give you the confidence to get started writing.  It was well written, followed a good time line even though right in the middle is when he was hit by a car and had to take a long break from writing it.  It does not feel jerky at all.  I laughed quite a few times, especially at the beginning when he was talking about his childhood. If you don't care of swearing you probably will be offended by this book, to which I will say, get over it.  Its a great book.

Next  month I hope I will have 3 more books done so I can review them for you.  On my nightstand now is License to Pawn, Decision Points and The 101 Most Influential People Who Never Lived.

Monday, August 22, 2011

What I did today

Emptied boxes of clothes into nice clear plastic bins my mom gave me.  Hurrah for being organized!

Pulled a screw out of an outlet.

Furiously printed out progress reports for the kids school work which starts in a week.

Picked up random items around the house that needed put away including: 2 screw drivers that my husband keeps replacing because he thinks he lost them when he really only left them where he was last working, a ladle, an empty coke can, a package of bologna, a floor fan that for some reason my 2 year old dragged into the foyer and 2 items of clothing that needs fixed.

Talked to my aunt who says she is coming to visit in October.  Good thing she gave me a warning as it will probably take me that long to clean this place up.

And look, I blogged!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

There is always more to the story

A few days ago I found a coke can in the chest freezer.  I questioned the kids and no one claimed responsibility. I knew one of them was lying.  Either that or I had done it on accident in one of my sleep deprived hazes.  I couldn't be sure which.  I had taken the can out and left it laying on the floor of the garage for the dh to see when he got home.  Its not everyday you get to see a can of coke turned inside out.  So I guess its my fault that it never found its way to the garbage and I really should know better than to leave stuff like that laying around.

A few days later my 7 year old found it laying on the floor of the garage and set it on the chest freezer.  Being all turned inside out like it was it didn't stand well.  It fell over and rolled off the freezer, landing on the garage floor and exploding.  Scaring my 7 year old so bad he dropped his yogurt which also exploded.  The car, chest freezer and fridge all got a soda bath, not to mention the floor and ds's legs.

At this point I kinda figured out who has done it and my suspicions were confirmed when my 10 year old told me he put it in the freezer to see what would happen.  Of course I had found it before it could explode in the freezer.  Which is what would have happened if I hadn't found it.  Instead it ended up exploding all over the garage.  I explained to my son that if he is ever curious about "what would happen if" he should just google it cause someone somewhere has done whatever it is he wants to do.  And its way less messy that way.  And then I told him to go clean up the soda.

Surprisingly this was less messy than the time the fire extinguisher exploded all over the garage.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Let Them Eat Cake

If you have an addiction to sweets then finding a large family to be friends with (or having your own large family) is a sure cure.  What you need to do is get yourself invited to all their birthday functions.  Just say, I would love to stop by for some cake and ice cream.  We'll be more than happy to have you because if there is one thing a big family hates is when there are 3 pieces of cake left over and 8 kids to fight for it.   And we will send you home with all that cake, month after month.  Pretty soon the mere thought of cake makes you sick.  When you drive past an ice cream shop you will need to look the other way.  After you get sick of cake and ice cream you will start to get sweets like giant cookies or brownies instead, and soon those things will start to lose their appeal.  In fact instead of craving sugar you will start craving celery or lettuce, heck - anything that doesn't have a hint of sugar in it.  Or at least thats how I feel right now, as we are in the midst of birthday season.  Only 6 more to go.  Heaven help me.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Learn from the Pros

Kids can be annoying.  When they ask something over and over again, "Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"  or when they like a certain food this week but not the next and vise versa.  But being annoying can be a useful tool for adults too.  When you want to get your point across for instance.  Say when your brother forgets your birthday.  You can use those annoying tools for your benefit.  Maybe act stupid so he has to repeat something over and over again because you are just not getting what he is saying.  Stand in the kitchen and ask where the knives are.  When he says 'Over there.' point to a drawer on the opposite side of the kitchen and say, "This one?"   He will stand there like an idiot and say, "Over there."  Louder because sisters who have their birthdays forgotten must be deaf.  Repeat the question, "This one?"  while pointing at the next drawer.  Keep going till he becomes exasperated and says, "You spend too much time around kids." and walks away in a huff.  Then tell him, "If you had just showed me instead of standing there saying 'Over there' I might have figured it out."

Or on his birthday text him every 20 minutes through out the day wishing him a Happy Birthday, and don't forget to gift him a bag of underwear 2 sizes too big.

No body should mess with a mom with a lot of kids.  We are way better at being annoying because we have so many pros to learn from.  Not that I am bitter or anything about someone forgetting my birthday.  Or 5 someones.  Not bitter at all.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Words that Don't go together in the same sentance

...Part....1 million something

"Who put blocks in the babies diaper?"  Thankfully it was only a peed in diaper.  That could have gotten messy.

"Why is there a towel in the garbage?"  Thank-you Luc.  He feels the need to throw away everything.

"If you look really close, America is an elephant."  My 7 year old.  Its true - just squint.

"Babies are like worms.  And by that I mean pink, fat, squirmy and droolly."  My oldest.

"Why are there tuna cans taped to the wall?"  Apparently they were making some sort of phone system for the house? I try not to get too many details.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Good Mom/Bad Mom

Here are a few ways to tell if you are a Good Mom, a Normal Mom or a Bad Mom.

Good Mom: Peels and cuts apple into slices.
Normal Mom: Tries to convince child that eating the apple with the skin on is better than not so she doesn't have to peel apple.
Bad Mom: Opens a can of apple pie filling.  Hey its already peeled and cut.

Good Mom: Buys multiples of childs favorite outfit and makes sure there is always a clean copy for them to wear.
Normal mom: Lets child wear same clothes for 2 days in a row so she doesn't have to fight with them to get it into the washer.
Bad mom: Lets child wear clothes for indefinite lengths of time.  Hes dressed, what more do you want?

Good Mom: Documents the mess, with pictures and details of time and date for the baby book.  Cleans up with a smile and counsels child on how to ask for help next time.
Normal Mom:  Yells some profanity.  Scrubs up the mess after texting pics of the disaster to her husband and hides the cause of the mess from her child.
Bad Mom: Leaves the mess because it blends in with the decor so well anyway.  Or instructs the child to eat the mess off the floor, cause its their dinner for the night.

Good Mom: Arranges a play date with like minded families. Serves a snack and syncs calendar with the other mom so they can schedule the next play date.
Normal Mom: Takes kids to the park and hopes there are other kids there for her child to play with.
Bad Mom: Figures there will be kids at the parole officers waiting room the next time she goes.  That counts right?

Good Mom: Has movies, snacks and a schedule of games for a sleep over.  Gives detailed report to other parents the next day during pick up.
Normal Mom: Lets kids watch movies and eat popcorn, do their hair and pass out sometime around 3 am while she is hiding her head under her pillow.
Bad Mom: My kids are where?

Good Mom: Journals the time between nursing sessions, duration of nursing and every poopy and pee diaper, just in case.
Normal Mom: Feeds baby on demand and changes all poopy and pee diapers when they happen.
Bad Mom: Still trying to figure out how to get the diapers to weigh 8-12 lbs, they always fall off before then.

Good Mom: Composes a book of poetry on her love for her child and has it self published.
Normal Mom: Tells her child she loves them.
Bad Mom: Wait. What were we talking about?

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Latest Craze

Have you heard about the latest No Children Allowed craze?  This won't be a post about why stores should allow kids in them or why you are a horrible person for not wanting kids in places.  What this post is about is all the other things that should be banned by these obviously conscientious store and restaurant owners.

1. Women in low rise jeans wearing thongs.

2. Men with droopy drawers and their butt cracks hanging out.

3. Anyone with any kind of political, satirical, or offensive in any way t-shirt or hat.

4.  Anyone with any kind of gang colors on their clothing.  (we should all be forced to wear tan and white quite frankly)

5. Old people who are hard of hearing requiring everyone speaking to them to shout.

6. Men who are wearing socks with their sandals.

7. Men who are wearing white belts. (Do they do this because they can't see the brown or black ones?)

8.  Men in shorts with knee high socks.

9. Women in clothing so tight that it will pop off if she tries to sit down.

10.  Anyone speaking in a foreign language because how will we know if they are talking about us?

11. Assistance dogs, we could be allergic you know.

12.  People wearing strong perfume or cologne or who haven't showered in a week.

13. Cell phones.  Period.

14. Complainers.  Way to ruin my dinner with your outdoor voice when you complain about EVERY dish the server brings out.

15. Parties over 6.  Save some tables for the rest of us.

16.  All radio programs.  Because every station and genre has the capability of offending SOMEONE.

I would be willing to bet money there is some lawsuit somewhere about one of these things, if not several.