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Friday, January 29, 2010

Report cards are out!

First let me apologize for the length of the blog today. I have a lot to say and I’m bored…

Very early on in my blog I mentioned producing a fair (subjective and objective) method of grading his work efforts and testing scores. I honestly believe I came up with a fair grading scale. Here’s JD’s grades for 5-29 Jan. Spelling 95, Lang Arts 98.2, Math 94.9, Science 98.6, Health 100, History 96.7, Civics 96.7, Social Studies, Keyboarding, Journal, Art, Reading, Email / Snail mail, Word bank, and Music are all Satisfactory. Yes, I teach all 15 topics (35 lessons) each week. This is why I believe home school is so much better than mushrooms growing under his butt in public school.

Devotion today was a word search puzzle. Today is National Puzzle day. So I read the entry for tomorrow. It talked about when the Life Saving boat was designed. It could save many from a certain death. I guess you know how it transitioned. You’re right, Jesus saves many lives too if they would just accept Him.

The Purpose Driven Life was about The times “When God seems distant.” Oh I’ve been there before. It’s nothing I did wrong, it’s a time he used to test me, to make me mature, or to see if I’ll go on living like he last told me. (Okay, story time…) When I was younger I would get grounded to my room for this or that. If I’m remembering correctly the door was usually shut. Not sure if that was my choice or my mother’s choice. In any case, she would prewarn me that she would be off to run an errand. Usually the grocery store. I knew this was enough time to leave my room and watch TV or to call a friend. But I was normally a fairly compliant child. (Which makes me wonder…what did I get grounded for? Mom?) So when she left did I leave my room? Um, NO! My mother put the fear of “Mom” into me. Her last instructions to me were to “stay in my room and think about it.” (Really? Think about it…Ok whatever.) I used to think she had a string tied to my door knob and attached to another hallway door and if I pulled from my side it would break the string. Then I would be busted. Or maybe…she’s got a tape recorder hidden in the house to hear my movement. No my friends, I obeyed the last instructions she gave me. I try to do the same with God’s last instructions to me in those times when He seems so distant.

We only did one lesson in math today. It was finding percentages for meal tips and discounts while shopping. I like how made the lesson for real life things. It helped JD see the whole picture before seeing the inside of the forest. The lesson was moving so quickly that I had a hard time keeping notes. (I didn’t know THAT math.) At the end of each small teaching point they ask, “Are you ready to move on or should I rewind.” I must have looked so confused…JD looked me over and must have felt sorry for me. Normally he hit’s “Let’s go! I’ve got it!” But today he hit, “Can I hear that again?” I praised him for being so kind to his mathematically challenged mother. We eventually got it but it was longer than expected.

Keyboarding was frustrating for JD today. The laptop keyboard is not ergonomically correct for him so he kept hitting the mouse pad or this that and the other. I tried to hook up the other keyboard but it didn’t connect with the laptop. We ended the lesson early so he wouldn’t blow his top with the voices that say, “Pick me…hit me…no me.”

Every Friday we edit a journal entry and he has to rewrite it in his “best” handwriting. I’m hoping this will prepare him for the annual assessment. Speaking of annual assessments. I have been shopping around for an assessment (test) that will work for us. The teacher of the school (me) has to order and pay for an assessment. I learned from one company today that it is not a pass or fail test. It is to assess progress. That’s makes both JD and I happy. Notice I never say test in the blog. That’s a slam on the brakes phrase for JD. According to North Carolina law I’m required to give JD an assessment annually. We’re not due until Dec 2010 but I’m going to order the assessment this weekend and it will be shipped for a mid May assessment. So no one stress.

In health today JD learned about managing stress. Oh to be so young again. I asked JD what the stressors in his life were. He listed only three things and they were: math, writing, and not winning video games. (Smile.) At this point in his life he is extremely lucky. I’m thankful that it’s nothing like: arguing parents, not enough food, cold house, etc. He also learned about making and keeping friends. Usually ADHD kids have social problems. JD’s is lacking the understanding of how his hyper active behavior can be a nuance to some friends. He also has social interactions issues. It’s easy for him to call someone a friend and then turn right around and say, “He’s not my friend anymore.” He has difficulty getting and keeping perceived friends. I can’t even keep track of the number of times I’ve heard, “I don’t have any friends. No one likes me.” So in this environment I’m able to stop nuances without harming his spirit. I often say, “That’s distracting me” “or “I don’t like that, could you stop please.” So more to come on the friend topic.

What can I say? Our “super speller” earned his first 100% on a spelling quiz. He was so proud when he typed his FULL name for the certificate.

We are busy preparing for our future snow / ice storm. Apparently, so is EVERYONE else who lives in Harnett county. They all met up at the local Food Lion to clog the isles. Many families placed their cart and one family member in the line forming in most isles and then strategically sent off various family members, according to the difficulty of the find, to forage for necessary food items that didn’t need to be cooked on an electric stove. The last big ice storm took our power for about three days. So this is indeed a rare occasion for North Carolina.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

An on-time productive day

Devotion today was about King Edward VI. He was a 9-year old King. Then it transitioned into the 7-year old Joash from the bible who was also a young King. Joash relied on advice from Jehoiada in order to rule his Kingdom. Then it asked are we relying on others for advice or are we making the decision to follow God.

The Purpose Driven Life reading was about “Worship that pleases God” just like mark 12:30 says. We should worship accurately (in spirit and in truth), authentically (genuine and heartfelt), thoughtfully (self explanatory), and practically (by being a living sacrifice.) Makes me think “I’m often times just going through the motions.”

Math went over by a few minutes today but we accomplished a lot. We learned about “estimating decimals” (with compatible numbers and "front end" estimation) and “identifying percents” (from percents to fractions and from fractions to percents.) It was okay estimating, but the whole switcheroo thingy confused me, but JD seemed to take to it quickly.

I’m loving this civics study. It continued from the last lessons on the lemonade stand. JD learned a few more terms and took a chapter quiz. He scored an 80%. From there I had him do some research on a lemonade recipe, and we gathered the prices of the needed items. (Did you know lemons cost $0.89 each at Food Lion? I HATE supply and demand!) From there we made an all water lemonade for measuring purposes, and figured out that one 9 ounce cup of freshly squeezed lemonade from “Jonathan‘s Juice“ will cost approximately $0.75 per cup. That’s with an 11% profit margin. When I ran my lemonade stand I think I charged $0.10 a cup. My goodness how the times have changed. After school ended we went out to the unfinished tree house and gathered scrap wood for a "Jonathan’s Juice" sign. We then put two coats of paint on it. More to come on this up and coming entrepreneur. He’s having a lot of fun designing his business plan.

Email/snail mail was replaced by keyboarding today. He’s now on Level 2, Stage 5. They incorporated the letters W and O. I was doing some lemonade math problems for JD to figure out when he was typing so I didn’t fuss when he looked at the keyboard. I just wanted him to have fun doing it.
Science was six steps to conducting an experiment. He also picked a new experiment to do. Lord be with us...he picked something to do with fire…prayer request time. I'll have to have his daddy help him with this because there are so many what ifs. (Wait, Cheryl, don't you remember the time Jeff caused an explosion under the yard? **Note to self, sweet talk JD to pick another science project. Maybe seeing if popcorn has more or less calories than chip.) Fortunately for all mankind, I was able to talk him out of desperately wanting to build his own explosive device! (Thanks Papaw!)

JD took a spelling pretest today and scored a solid 100%. He and I were both proud that he scored 100% on the quiz. I guess the sentences helped him greatly. So when he scores a 100% tomorrow we get to print out a certificate. Remember I typed before that he has never gotten a 100% on any spelling test. Maybe we’ll buy a frame for that beautiful certificate.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

It was a great day!

It started out “on time” (smile) with our devotion. Of course well all know Thomas Edison invented the light bulb and we know we can’t live without them in our homes today. We should also be needy for God’s word like Psalm 119:105 says…“Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path.”

Then we moved to the Purpose Driven Life reading. I asked JD if he liked the book or would he rather read his own book. He said, “I like that book.” (Yes! I can only hope he will love God forever. Those teen years can be scary you know?) Have I already mentioned this is the third time I’ve read this book? (This coming from someone who HATES to read.) I read it Feb 06 when I was on temporary duty to Alaska, again from Aug-Sep 07 when I was deployed to Iraq, and of course now. Today’s reading was “Developing your friendship with God.” I particularly love this day’s reading too. I relearned we have to be honest with God about all of our faults and feelings. Then, we should choose to obey God in faith. Jesus set the tempo with His example towards His Father. Next, choose what God values. I find it hard to like what Jeff likes (sports, cooking, etc…) how in the world am I going to like what God likes. (Oh “value” …okay, I get it.) Lastly, I must desire a friendship with God more than anything else.

Math was extremely long today. Mostly because of my extensive note taking for later review. He had a minor “brake down” if you know what I mean. We learned (when I say “we” I mean we. He passed me up in math in the 3rd grade.) Anyway, we learned multiplying and dividing decimals. We go the multiplying thing down, but that dividing decimals was confusing for both of us. All those zeros and such. He was trucking along telling me what to write and spitting out multiplication facts until…I asked him to solve one solo. He was unable AGAIN to tell me what he was “feeling” so I could try to fix it. **Note to self, maybe if I show him pictures of emotions he’ll be able to identify what he’s feeling. I’ll try that tomorrow.

It was a sunny day here but still chilly. JD took a break outside on the porch exercise thingy. It’s half cycle, half stair stepper, I guess. He loves “working out” on this. I love that he gets excess energy out. So I agreed to move that rickety old faded thing in the house. We applied WD-40 to noisy parts and he then focused his attention to “working out” like crazy. (Whew…get some turns in for me…smile)

Our word bank words were erratic, combative, and coherent. He likes learning new words but does not like looking them up in…what’s that thing called again?…oh yeah the dictionary. His sentence for combative was, “I become combative about homework assignments. (Um, you don’t think he’s plotting something against me do you?)

Okay, after that sentence I switched gears up for journal writing. Today I picked the topic. It was called “My favorite teacher?” (Hey…I didn’t think he’d write about me…smile) So I dictated for him and this is what he came up with. My favorite teacher is my mom. She makes my lessons fun. She does not give me that much homework. She is not that mean. She lets me watch Animal Planet at lunch. She sits beside me during my lessons. She’s loving and kind and cares about my education. (Being an adopted Southern woman I have to ask you…Do you want one of my tissues? I only used it once.) And to top it off I started my shower and home hair trim at 12pm. At 12:30ish I walked back to his classroom anticipating a “combative child” but instead I heard, “Looking for me?” “Um, yes (as I’m looking at this perfect cursive writing completed! (I nearly passed out.) Of course I told him how proud I was of him. Now for the cherry on the top. I followed the voice and found him in his room carefully selecting his school picture clothes ON HIS OWN! (Seriously, if you don’t see a blog for a couple of days…no I’m not allergic to any medication.) Now I’m wondering, “Did an alien spaceship come during shower time and take my child and replace him with a clone?”

Tonight was school picture night. We had to drive into Fayetteville in order to get a portrait studio. I specifically requested a somewhat close portrait for my package because somehow they always take a “good” picture at first for your package and then WHAM! these close-up cute pictures come streaming through. After looking at the receipt it’s unclear when I can pick them up. I’ll call in a couple of days.

Since math was so long today I just turned on classical music from another blog and JD wrote his journal entry while listening. I have tried music in the past at it does seem to help. It’s just so hard to keep up with all tricks to entertaining an ADHD student.

We did history on the road. Jeff had a documentary called Warriors of Honor, the faith and legends of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. So we popped it in on the way to the portrait studio. It was very engaging and JD loved it.

Side note…up top (on the dark blue bar) you will see “next blog.“ I click on that every now and then and it takes me to someone else’s blog. I saved one of the sites because it crafty and I loved the music on it. Turns out classical music and classical soundtracks are very relaxing, calming, and Z…Z..z…z…

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

You wanted pictures...enjoy!


Click on the "Play" (triangle) button for a wonderful slideshow.

Jeff and I sang the song "All In All" at church on 10 Jan, 2010.

(No, we are not the ones singing it here.)

A lesson on "chain reaction"

Someone is having a hard time waking up in the morning. (Hey did you hear me hit my snooze two times? Okay…I’m busted!) JD also seems to be having difficulty getting up. It’s rather lax around here for us so I don’t mind what JD wears to school but Jeff did comment yesterday on JD’s “school uniform.” You guessed it…underwear. (At least he’s in P.J. bottoms today, per my request.) All I ask is that he wake up, take his medicine, eat breakfast, and brush his teeth before we start our school day. Today I conducted an experiment. My thesis was “Will immediate obedience save time or waste time.” It’s been a chain reaction kind of day. Like dominoes falling, everything starting with waking up late.

Devotion was about a huge 3,106 carat diamond found in Africa. (Easy ladies!) Then it transitioned from this valuable diamond to something valuable in the bible. That is wise speech. Proverbs 20:15 says, “Wise speech is rarer and more valuable than gold and rubies.”

Because it took so long for JD to get out of bed and get ready, we only had time to do devotion. Unfortunately, he had 30 minutes of reading as homework.

During the regular 30 minutes of daily reading JD’s medicine is being absorbed and he’s more focused for lessons. But today his delay in getting out of bed affected math too. We had to go straight from devotion into math. I was worried when he took his Concerta late. This could have potentially affected his ability to concentrate and focus on math. It did not however. He successfully learned adding and subtracting decimals and estimating decimals to do mental addition and subtraction. Some lessons are more entertaining than others and JD brought this up to me today. One lesson is shorter but more like a lecture and the other one is longer but more entertaining. Because he was singing while doing his lessons I just pressed through both of them even though it took much longer to complete than planned.

A long math lesson affected the social studies lesson. I had to make it shorter than planned. I had him pick three states and the task was to gather facts about each one. I taught him the resources available for him to research and answer some questions I typed out. They were a map (capitals), an children’s atlas (nickname and flower), the Internet (abbreviation), and the state coins (date entered the union.) I tried to make it both fun and like visiting "stations" for him. He spent time doing other stuff so that turned into homework as well. (Bummer.)

We did three short letters today for snail mail. He was again preoccupied with something else during the writing time so you guessed it…homework. I took one of the letters and counted all the individual letters it contained. I said, "If you write one letter per second this task should take only 3 minutes and 38 seconds to write this out." This seemed to speed the process up a bit once he saw the math.

The language arts lesson was about finding facts or opinions in stories. He did well with this. I love that he’s finally talking his thoughts out loud. That helps me a bunch, but not sure if it will be helpful in a group testing setting. Oh well I won't have to worry about that because I can order a test and administer it at home.
With the day being messy enough as it was I threw in a wrench. We had our first official "Fire drill." (Crazy Cheryl, seriously?) I'm sitting here giggling as I type because of the look on Jonathan's face. I was at the sink doing dishes and JD was at the computer reading his lesson when all of a sudden I broke out with "FIRE DRILL...FIRE DRILL...FIRE DRILL!" By this time I'm passing him in my very loose bedroom slippers. (I'm amazed I didn't trip over my own slippers as I shuffled along or a dog or JD's bottom jaw. (Giggle) It took him a few seconds to realize (giggle...eyes watering now) that I wasn't joking (maybe the cool breeze that passed him and the dogs scrambling to their feet to find the attacker...giggle) or maybe JD was wondering if I'd FINALLY flipped my lid. (Giggle) Shoes loose...(still screaming "Fire Drill!) get down the front steps without wiping out...check for JD...get both dogs...(Still screaming) meet up at the end of the drive way. (We all four got out of the house in less than 1 minute...but I'm not sure my neighbors want to have a B-BBQ with the Hyder's anytime soon.) The only dilemma we had was what to do next? JD said, "We'll wait for the Fire Dept." I said, "Did you call them? Because I didn't." (Oops)

Today’s science was about experiments. (What a coincidence.) He learned the difference between conducting research and conducting experiments. There was a simple experiment dealing with coins and liquid solutions. We started it today and it will not end until 16 February. (Oh the agony of waiting…)

What was the answer to my experiment? Glad you wondered. Instant obedience is a certain time saver.

Hopefully it won’t take days of experiments to convince JD of this fact (not opinion.)

Here's a picture of my student doing his social studies homework in our classroom. I got that old cracked and peeling desk and chair from the church. I glued it, sanded it, and painted it two shades of blue. (Cute right?)

Ok now a game called "Where's Tater?" Right next to her boy of course.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Love'n homeschool!

Have I ever typed out loud that I love homeschooling JD? Well I do. We think he's learning so much more than in his old classroom. Of course it's at a much more accelerate rate so this may be what's keeping his attention. The dosage of Concerta is also still "acceptable" in my eyes and I have considered (watch out now) trying zero medication. (Ok, Cheryl's losing it.)

Today was another long day. It started with our devotion. Did you know today is “opposite day?” It is and the devotion went on to say for us Christians to do the opposite of the rest of the world.

I have misplaced my Purpose Driven Life book so I let JD read for 25 minutes. He finished his Christmas in Camelot book last week and did a verbal book report already. He’ll have a book report project due by the end of this week. So he’s into another book. It’s one of the Flat Stanley books.

I was about to freak out today when the Internet was still down from last night. I called Jeff and said, “What do I do? Do I call Charter or just unplug and restart.” He recommended calling. I spoke completely to a female computer. She fixed my problem and the school day was saved.

Then we accidentally did a language arts lesson. (Accidentally? Really? Yes I looked at the wrong day.) Fortunately, he has mastered finding the “plot” in stories. I still need to work more on “topic sentences” and “supporting sentences.”

Then he did keyboarding. He was doing well on Level 2, stage 1, but then I looked over from doing the dishes and he was staring at the keyboard. I mentioned that he was looking at the keyboard and that was not the correct way. He became frustrated, but pressed on. This was yet another teaching moment because seconds later he was looking at the keyboard when he thought I wasn’t looking. I said, “You need to have integrity. That means doing what’s right when no one is looking.” This produced a mad young typist. Oh well, there are some things I will overlook but typing is in his immediate future and a skill he will need for the rest of his life.

By now it was 11:00 am and we hadn’t really started journal bucket yet. He picked the topic “If animal could talk what would you ask them? His journal entry was cute. He would ask her three questions: Do you like your name? (Yes) Are you glad you’re my pet? (Yes) What’s your favorite part of the day? (Nap time) This of course turned out to be homework because he took so long to get focused and buckled down enough to even get started. The homework took less than ½ hour to complete. (Funny how “His” time is important.)

He finally completed painting the snowman. Now I can finally pack up the last Christmas box that still resides in my living room. He wanted to paint something else but never found anything to paint. (Thank goodness Tater was not in sight.)

The next topic of the day was math. He learned “which decimal is greater” and “rounding decimals to the nearest half.” He scored perfectly on both quizzes. I had to stop him on only one question.

The next set of spelling words on are the table. It’s a tough set. All of them have silent letters like: align, design, and wrestle. This time I had him write crazy sentences for each word. Ex: wrestle = We Rotate Endlessly So Tom Launched Everyone. Then he drew a picture of Tom launching other wrestlers. He seems to remember the sentences better than just pictures alone.

We were recently talking to JD about the Sunday Funnies we read for entertainment when we were kids. I miss reading them, but they're not as funny to me today as they were then. So ok, I have a pictureless Sunday Funny for you. In case you didn’t know I am the AWANA commander at First Baptist Church. I am responsible for many tasks to include “council time.” I draft children’s council messages and speak in front of all the 3rd-6th grade kids. So the lesson I taught Sunday 24 Jan was about the fruits of the Spirit. I was struggling through the lesson because the kids were kind of talkative. I stopped and squatted in front of two boys talking and invited myself into their conversation. I jokingly said, “Hey guys what are you talking about? Want to share it with the class?” One boy said, “Um this is an A, B conversation and you need to C your way out of it.” (WHAT!? Oh no he didn’t! Breathe Cheryl.) I didn’t skip a beat and I quickly retaliated with, “Um, you need to “C” your way out into the hallway to speak to another teacher. Talk about a real object lesson for illustrating the fruit of the Spirit. I believe I exemplified the ENTIRE fruit isle with this little guy. I showed love (wait, what just happened?) joy (don't laugh in front of the other kids) peace (don‘t jerk him up by his collar) patience (breathe) kindness (he’s a gift from God) goodness (it's a good thing he's not your Cheryl) faithfulness (people are watching) gentleness (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10) and self-control (run for your life little man.)
So while it was a tad bit disrespectful...it was like a parent who hides his/her smile when their own child does something wrong. What's that saying? Out of the mouth of babes...