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Friday, February 12, 2010

Today was a repeat kind of day

While today was a good day educationally, it was also a frustrating day as a parent. It seemed like every time I turned around I had to repeat my instructions. (Ugh!)

Something must be going on in JD’s body because he is struggling to get up in the mornings. (Maybe sleeping on the coach with the dog almost as big as you is not good. A boy and his dog. I love their bond.

Today was another day where we got started late because he didn’t get up when I called him. So we did not read the Purpose Driven Life. He will read independently again this evening.

We did do devotion though. It was about reputations. Like “Honest Abe” got his reputation for being honest. We Christians have to remember that our reputation reflects on God.

Math today was dividing fractions and estimating fractions to whole numbers. We went through both lessons and both quizzes. He scored two 100%'s. JD made mention today that "we're STILL in FRACTIONS?" I showed him we only had two more days of fractions and that we would soon be in Algebra. (Um, I think I want to stay in fractions.) While talking to that veteran home school mom I said, "Oh math is my worst." She confirmed my doubts by saying, "We're all relearning don't worry about it." I wonder as reader's do you know what I'm typing about when I say what we did in a particular topic. That's why I put in parenthesis what you know it as.

JD had fun with keyboarding today. He's now on Level 3, stage 7. That means today he learned "Y" and "M." There was a new voice that called out to JD when he hit the wrong key. It said, "Hey, over Here!" in a really high pitch. It almost made him make errors on purpose. I actually had to giggle a couple of times and then tell him to focus.

We did the edit and rewrite lesson on the website today. With all the problems trying to focus him today I really didn't want to struggle with getting him to rewrite his paper. Today the lesson showed him editing his own papers. Things to look for: spelling (we're working on that), grammar, and punctuation. When I designed our curriculum I just made it up. So having the website confirm I was on the right track was comforting. I guess today was a lucky day for JD since there was no writing involved.

The health lesson today was "I'm just so tired." I have the freedom of picking and choosing what lesson to pick or skip on the web page. So I thought this lesson was appropriate. It also enabled me to dig deeper into JD's mind. I asked what he dreams about. He said, "The scariest is the black, grey, and white that gets bigger and smaller." I don't know what that means in a dream dictionary, but all that stuff is like horoscopes Anything they say could really fit into your life. JD still has those night terrors where he tries to get free from the house or a person holding him. He won't wake up and stays scared for about 5-10 minutes while struggling to fall back asleep.

Today's spelling test did not go as JD planned. He only scored a 70%. I kept reminding him to study his words this week and he missed two days. I kept this official score to prove a point to him. (Maybe it's time to schedule a parent teacher conference.)

Question bag - The preferred number of books/reports per month was planned as one. Although I don't know if he'll get through this new book in time. The book it called "A Boy No More" by Harry Mazer. We ordered it for him in public school. It's the sequel to "A Boy At War." The first book was about a boy named Adam that was at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked. This book is when he moves to California and makes friends with a Japanese-American boy. This book is 132 pages long. He's already on page 39. (That's fast for him.)

Tonight we are getting snow. Yippie. JD has been waiting for this day. Tomorrow he'll surely be on the skies begging us to find a steeper hill. And to top it off the Winter Olympics have started and he might just get ideas to ski off our roof. (Don't worry. I promise to be the voice of reason in the crowd of onlookers.)

Monday, 15 Feb is President's Day and since public school will be out I am hereby declaring a Faith Christian Academy teacher's work day. (Work around my house!)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

100% Fun day!

While it was hard to get the “night owl” up I did manage to wake him. Apparently at 5:20 am he was asking his daddy if he could play his computer game. I asked what he was doing up at 5:20 am. He replied, “Eating.”

Since he woke up late we got started late and that meant he will read independently for 30 minutes today. But I did do our devotion together. It talked about Thomas Edison again. Only this time it talked about the light bulb being connected to a power source. Everything electrical needs a power source. The same is true for people. Only our (my) power source is God and the Holy Spirit.

Since fractions seem to be rather easy for JD I told him again that he would probably be able to do the quiz without the lesson. Today was multiplying fractions. I just had to jump start him on the first problem to jar his memory. (I was getting the deer in the headlight look.) After understanding the directions he whizzed straight to the quiz. He scored a 100% on the quiz.

The civics lesson talked about the consumers choices. It was a short lesson and after he completed that lesson there was a chapter test. He easily answered all the questions correctly scoring another 100%.

I received a prayer request email from a friend. It asked for prayer for an injured soldier in Washington D.C. Then it listed a snail mail address and said if we wanted to we could send a not of encouragement. So I dictated a snail mail letter for JD and he drew a medal for the soldier. This soldier was hit by an IED and had already had 6 surgeries and is scheduled for #7 on 12 Feb. The medal Jonathan drew was a silver star. This brought a tear to my eye and I had to turn away so he wouldn't see. (I love how genuinely caring our son is.)

I had JD do his language arts lesson on "Inference" (assume the conclusion) while I showered. He was a bit more distracted today doing his lesson on his own. It took a couple of times for me to say "Go do your lesson and focus." He had another quiz to attack. And yes, he scored ANOTHER 100%. (What a good day to boost self esteem and self confidence.)
Science was so much fun today. We started and completed a full science experiment and wrote the report about it. We saw on "Myth Busters" where they tested if a piece of paper could be folded more than seven times. So We did the same thing only expanded our test objects a bit. We tested eight flat objects made from different natural resources such as: paper, material, and metal. (Paper, bed sheet, handkerchief, toilet paper, wax paper, and aluminum foil.) Half of the objects folded eight times. One object folded seven times and then stopped; and three objects only folded a maximum of six times. It didn’t matter if the objects were square or rectangle. It also didn’t matter if we started folding from top to the bottom and then right to left. The number of folds was the same. JD’s hypothesis was half correct, because only half of the flat objects tested actually folded more than seven times.

I forgot to tell you, yesterday was our first library field trip. I get free membership through the Pope Air Force Base library. JD picked up two books. One huge Charlie Brown comic strip book and another war book from the adult section. He's a real book worm.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

It was an easy, fun, and good day

The devotion today was about the umbrella. It is good for protection against rain and the sun when you’re at the beach. Then it told us how God protected David from a lion and a bear. He was protected when he faced Goliath. He was protected when fighting the enemy. He’ll do the same for us if we trust Him, talk to Him, and turn over our concerns to Him.

The Purpose Driven Life reading was about Protecting Our Church. We are to be unified. I love that in Jesus’ final moments before being arrested he prayed passionately for our unity. It was in his uppermost thought during those agonizing hours. We can be united by focusing on what we have in common vs. our differences. We are to encourage rather that criticize. I have been guilty of this a time or two. But where I never tried to get involved was gossiping. You know those things secretly disguised as “prayer requests.” The next thing was practicing God’s method for conflict resolution. The last thing was supporting our pastor and leaders.

Again today Jonathan claimed he didn’t know how to subtract mixed numbers. Yesterday we subtracted fraction and today we just added a whole number to the beginning of the fraction. (Breath…re-teach the first step…) I promised him he could go straight to the quiz and score a 100%, but he wanted to go through the lesson so we did. Once he “remembered” he knew how to do the problems we were rolling again. I’m amazed he can “hold” that many numbers and processes in his head. I absolutely have to write it out or I will loses numbers somewhere. (Maybe they’re with the missing sock pile.) He did score a 100% on the quiz. One thing about his explanation to me today was weird to me. We had to reduce 4 & 9/12ths down to the simplest form. So that would be 4 & ¾. I did it by dividing 3 into 9 and got 3, then 3 into 12 and got 4. JD did 3+3+3 and above it and in the physical picture in his mind he saw a 1 above each 3 and counted the 1’s until he reached 3. Seems lengthy but whatever works.

Today for “Word Bank” I had him look up flippant, fretful, and feigned. He had to give me a definition and sentence. He did this while I was getting a shower. The sentence he used for fretful…I was overly fretful about my dad in the hospital. (This confused me. He didn’t seem too worried the last time Jeff went to the hospital. Either that or he covered it up really well. He‘s always concerned but maybe he shelters his worries from me.)

I found an awesome website that I can type in whatever I want and it produces a traceable cursive sheet for him. So today he wrote a cute story using five out of ten spelling words. It was about a teacher teaching class and he plastic decoy duck came alive and ate her license. Then it choked and died. (Don’t worry he’s not morbid he incorporated the words: decoy, identity, cemetery, reality, and temporary.)

We had a lot of errands to run today so we listened to a children’s worship CD and sang to it for our music time.

Today during lunch we watched the “History Channel.” They were discussing different states again. Today he learned out Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona, New Mexico, and Vermont.

So today was an easy, fun, and good day. After my errands JD and I went to the church to help Jeff cook for the annual Youth Valentines Dinner. I only really helped with the desserts and serving. Jonathan helped out with drinks and so much more. Then we had a very long choir practice for Women’s Day, regular Sunday Service, and the upcoming Easter Cantata. My voice is now strained. (I’m sure JD will be happy if I can’t speak tomorrow.)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Picture this...

Another long blog for those of you with nothing better to do with your days.

The devotion today was about choices. We can’t choose the weather, our families, physical or mental characteristics. But we can choose to have a good attitude and bring honor to God with our good choices.

The Purpose Driven Life was about restoring broken fellowships. It gave seven steps to accomplish this. First, talk to God before talking to the person. Then, take the initiative to start the restoration. Then, sympathize with their feelings. This is a much overlooked step. Keep in mind to use your ears more than your mouth. Another step that’s difficult is confessing your part of the conflict. Next, attack the problem, not the person. Next, cooperate as much as possible. The last step is emphasizing reconciliation not resolution. Reconciliation focuses on the relationship while resolution focuses on the problem.

Math went quickly today because he “mastered” adding fractions yesterday. Today was subtracting fractions. I went straight to the quiz instead of having him do the 20 minute lesson. I opened the quiz and he stared at the first problem like I just asked him to build a stairway to heaven. I said, “What’s the first step son?” “I don’t know. I’ve haven’t been taught this. (What? No! What happened overnight? Does this mean go back to ground zero again? This was mastered yesterday as addition, why not subtraction?) Once I got him past multiplying the denominators he was okay. Then, he started in with that “math foreign language” again. Thank goodness I remembered what the “interpreter” told me yesterday and after two attempts of trying to understand him, I finally got what he was doing. I called Jeff at work because we both did the math “our” way and coincidentally both of our answers were possible choices. I told Jeff, “He’s doing that adding thing again.” Jeff talked to JD on the speaker phone and explained, “Buddy, remember that doesn’t work with all fractions. You have to multiply.” Then, JD started getting his answers faster than me AGAIN! I HAVE to write it out because I don’t see (or hold) pictures of missing pieces in my mind. I see them on the paper. One problem only took him like 30 seconds all in his head. He patiently waited for me while fiddling with the silly putty. I said, “Ok five minutes later I finally have my answer.” He looked up and yes we had the same answers. Then we quickly moved to the adding mixed numbered fractions quiz and sailed right through it.

Social studies was fairly short today. I had him find state facts for Iowa, Hawaii, and South Carolina. He also completed the states and capitals lesson. We’re still going to do three states a week until we’re finished but he knows what each state outline looks like and can identify them in flash cards. He also took two short quizzes and a chapter quiz. He scored a 90% on the chapter quiz.

Today was a good day and I really didn’t want to wreck it with writing. So I gave JD two choices today for email/snail mail. He could either hand write three letters or one email. (Hum … which one will he choose?) He quickly chose to compile one email today. It was short but he accomplished it without supervision. I only asked that he not send it without me looking at it first.

I started JD on the language arts lesson and went to take my shower. The lesson was on “The Theme and main idea on fictional stories.” Leaving him alone was a big step for both of us but I want him working more independently. JD was then forced to do all the reading in order to get through the lesson. I came out 20 minutes later and asked him how he was doing because he was so quiet. Guess where I found him. Right where he was suppose to be doing exactly what he was suppose to be doing. I found him reading his lesson. Together we conquered the quiz. We only scored a 30 out of 50 but each question is valued at 10 points each. (They were pretty tough themes to decipher.) The lesson also offers you a chance to go back and earn 5 additional points for each question missed. So he corrected two missed questions and scored a total of 40 out of 50 by the end of the lesson. (Yeah!)

We had a somewhat late lunch today and we watched “The History Channel.” They were talking about fossils found in the Colorado Rockies. Then they used “millions” and “billions of years ago”…and I tuned out and called Jeff. I asked if the Rockies were formed by God or Plate Tectonics. He said both. I told him what we were watching and he said he’ll explain it to JD. So we focused in on one fossil found called “Ammonites.” This too began a sticking point for me. The small amount of research said they are closely related to squids and other type shell animals that evolved. Ok, too much. I don’t believe in different species evolving like some scientists suggest. So I stopped the research and we moved onto looking at the coins in the glasses from two weeks ago. The water and vinegar didn’t look like much was changing, but the salt water one was gross. It was greenish blue and slimy.

All through school K-5th grade JD’s teachers kept saying he’s not consistent with his work and not working to his potential. I knew he was not consistent but yes he was working at or above HIS potential, not theirs. He always accomplished his homework, but he would start out by saying, “I don’t know how to do it.” I would say, “Didn’t they teach you today? “ “Yes, but I was here or there” or “Yes but I don’t remember how.” I see first hand now what the teachers’ struggles were. I know he’s not consistent with his work because he’s losing information. It’s not sticking with him. And until I find out why or where he loses this information I will have to struggle to teach and re-teach until he makes a permanent picture in his mind to remember. This is part of the reason we chose to home school. If I’m going to have to teach him everything he learned in school that day just to get through the homework, why not home school. Look at the below picture. That is so me and that is so JD and Jeff. (I've got my work cut out for me huh?)

This whole seeing in pictures (or visual spatial) seems to be working for JD. It didn’t work in school because 95% of the students are like me. I learn by writing and memorizing the steps and details. So far he does pictures for fractions, all spelling words, state flashcards that outline each state, and lecture type work like history lessons. I have also noticed he doesn’t recognize or understand multiplication as easily as we do. If I say, “5 times 3” JD says, “5 plus 5 plus 5.” Jeff said he’ll work with him on the “concept” of multiplication.

I emailed my co-op Point Of Contact (POC) and thanked her again for giving me time to ask home school questions. I also told her to let me know about any “mom” things to do, like bibles studies and such. I do treasure all the moments I get to spend with JD but my treasure box has filled up very quickly over the last month and a half. I also expressed this to Jeff. So to accommodate my request, Jeff took JD with him tonight. They went to men’s ministry together and it was just us girls left in the house tonight. It was a nice break, but I’m glad my men are back.
If you're ever wondering what can I do to help the Hyder's do in their home school adventures? It's simple...leave me a positive comment. I thrive on those comments to keep me going. (Thanks Lyndell...for your part in keeping Faith Christian Academy going.)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Break through day!

Today was a good but long day. As you'll find out below we've had a break through.

Our devotion today was from the Boy Scouts motto “Be prepared!” Which coincidentally is also talked about in Matthew 24 verses 1-30 where Jesus is talking with the disciples about being prepared for his second coming. The signs are appearing today in greater frequency and intensity. So be prepared because Jesus could come back at any moment. As for me and my family, “We’re prepared.” (and we serve the Lord.)

The Purpose Drive Life reading was about “Cultivating Community.” To do it correctly we must be honest with our church family about our faults and sins. We should be humble and not prideful to serve one another. We should also be courteous to those “family members” who irritate us. I LOVE how Rick Warren says those people are EGR (Extra Grace Required) people. We should also have confidentiality with our church family. We must meet with our family frequently to build a relationship.

Math today was…you guessed it…FRACTIONS. Today we learned to round fractions to the nearest whole and half number. Then we moved to adding fractions. Jonathan mastered rounding extremely quickly. I’m somewhat embarrassed to type this but super proud of Mr. “I HATE math!” As I was scribbling out the list of three fractions to add them together he would break into my thoughts to state the answer out loud. I would look up and quickly look back down at my paper to finish the problem using “steps.” When I finally finished my answer I would ask for JD to state his answer again. We had the same answer, but he got it a lot faster. I buckled down for the dreaded question. “Ok, now how did you get that so quickly?” “First you add this to that to make it… and move this to that, and round this to that…(blah, blah, Charlie Brown’s teacher…)” (Of course that is exaggerating his answer.) I eventually just gave up trying to understand how and accepted his answer. He was so happy he got the answer first 80% of the time.

We had that Valentines Party at the co-op today. JD had to make a Valentine holder box so of course I “assisted” him in the design. We made a small cardboard locker equip with a flag and bible. The locker number is 316. As in John 3:16. Cute huh? The party was from 11:00 to 12:00. As we pulled up to the new church JD admitted he was scared to meet ALL these new people. I assured him I was feeling the same way. I told him at least we know each other. We put his box on the table with around 60 others. After we dropped a Valentine in each of the boxes we stood off to the side to watch the kids play games. One lady came to introduce herself and was off again. I kept trying to get JD to join in on the games but he really didn’t want to. Toward the end of the party I met a 10 year veteran home school mom. We instantly clicked. Probably the whole military thing and turns out we have mutual friends. We talked for about ½ hour and I really felt like I was doing all I needed to with JD and our home school voyage.

We dropped keyboarding and art today in order to accommodate time for the Valentine’s party. But we did do journal. I had him read Matthew 24:1-30 and write about the end of ages signs. This took MUCH longer than it really needed to. So I had him locate my clipboard and attach his journal to it. He then followed me around the house as I used a Magic Eraser to erase all the marks, fingerprints, smudges, and gross stuff off my walls. JD is still having difficultly understanding paragraph structure. It really doesn’t seem that difficult to me but he truly doesn’t understand the structure. I think some of that comes from frustrated teachers tired of teaching and re-teaching JD and they finally just let him sit there instead of write in his journal. Today JD mentioned the number of journal entries he has thus far. He proudly but somewhat confused said, “This is the most I’ve ever written.” I made sure to recognize his painstaking efforts and praised him for all the entries too. (Self esteem booster…score!)

JD got ten new spelling words today. They are all words that end with “Y.” Since we have adopted the acrostic way to memorize how to spell the words we were quickly running out of words that started with “Y.” One hour later, we finally formulated ten viable sentences. Of course I was moving around the kitchen like a mad woman. I’m trying to reorganize the pictures in the kitchen. They’re not symmetrical and it drives me nuts. I’m also toying with fabricating a bench nook type thing for our kitchen. (More to come on that.)

We finally received our much need math tutoring time tonight. I so wished you could have been there. **Changing subjects** When I met Jeff’s Tennessee relatives I felt like I needed an interpreter. I’m sure he felt the same way meeting my family. **Back to math** Tonight I thought I was receiving a special tutoring session by Jeff but it turns out I was getting a much needed interpreter. This whole math thing with JD and I is like day and night, or apples and oranges. I see it differently than JD and he sees it differently than me. When JD tries to tell me how he gets his answers he leaves me scratching my head wondering if he’s even speaking English. But when JD started telling Jeff how he got his answer Jeff was like, “Oh yeah buddy, but remember that doesn’t work on all fractions.” (Um what? You understood that? Who..what..how?) It was a liberating breakthrough. Jeff then translated to me what just transpired. Oh, okay, now I get it!

Knowing Jeff and JD “see the same pictures” was my open door to JD’s mind. I asked Jeff how he recalls information. I said, “When you see something in your mind is it on a white board, a black board, or like a computer screen.” It was none of these. He said he sees pictures. Take fractions for instance. He sees a hot baked apple pie with the tin, the crust, and…hey! who took two pieces of pie?” Then, he quickly became unfocused on the fraction/pie to “Hey, I want a piece of apple pie.” I found this baffling, but insightful. **Must find JD** I left Jeff in a cloud of dust on a mission to interrogate JD. I found JD on the exercise machine in our living room. I turned off the TV to maximize the small window of opportunity I would have to keep him focused on my trivial and senseless questions. I asked JD what his mind sees when I say, “1/4th.” He said I see a pie. (Get out!) I said, “Describe that pie to me.” He said, “A hot blueberry with apple pie, and…someone took two pieces of my pie!” (I’m not lying!) I was whirling. They have like a special twin-speak thing going or something.

So even though today was a long school day it was well worth every minute of it!