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Friday, March 26, 2010

Pleasant and sunny day

JD LOVED the devotion today. It was called “This is National Make up Your Own Holiday” day. So JD and I came up with “No spelling Test” day. The devotion of course tied this in with religious holidays help us remember what God and Jesus did for us.

We read two more chapters out of “Tales of Fourth Grade Nothing” by Judy Blume. JD really likes this book. It’s very humorous. I also did a verbal book report with him on “Hero’s Don’t Run.” He will have three days next week to produce a creative way of presenting the book report. (With my help of course.)

The geometry lesson wasn’t too tough today. I was called “net.” For example…when you cut a cereal box down until it is all flat and all the pieces are still attached to one another. It’s kind of hard to explain. There were 2-D figures (flat) and we had to figure out what 3-D shape it made. JD did not like this lesson at first but he did when once he got familiar with it. It was interesting to watch his mind and fingers work at the same time. He was folding an imaginary cube to see if the 2-D picture they had would actually fold into a cube.

JD did his Dance Mat typing today. He worked on level one, stage two. Today he learned “E” and “I.” I looked over at him and he was NOT looking at the keyboard. FINALLY! I caught him making good choices and made sure to take THAT opportunity to praise him.

The edit/rewrite lesson time was used to type a paper on “No Spelling Test” day. This is what he came up with. “Today is “No Spelling Test day.” The devotion said “make up your own holiday.” This makes me feel happy because I did not want to do it anyway and because I didn’t study my spelling words. Some kids probably will like it too, because they might not want to do it or they might not have studied their spelling words either. All of my spelling words were in pairs. The first four letters were the same. They were words like growl and growth.” (I had to give him more ideas because apparently “type a paper about the holiday” translated into give me only two sentences. So we collaborated together and he typed the rest. We edited it together and he fixed the errors.

The health lesson today was about “What causes diseases.” It was kind of a repeat from the last lesson covering: washing hands, cooking meat properly, keeping refrigerated items cool, and immunizations. There are only three more health lessons left and then I will use the remained “health” lesson times to do additional language arts lessons. After all, the assessment is right around the corner.

We finished up early today because we declared it “No Spelling Test” day. Spelling has been a big headache for both of us. For me it’s frustrating because I want him to take responsibility to study his words without reminders. For him it’s because he hates doing spelling. I hope I can find a fun way to teach him. When he is typing things on the computer he will often say, “How do you spell…oh never mind.” I have told him repeatedly to “just type your thoughts and go back and edit later.” If he would just catch onto this it would be less frustrating for him.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Threatening day

It was kind of a “threatening” day. The "mom has had enough" button was activated. It was everything from get up or go to be earlier, change your attitude or you will not go outside again today, and writing a snail mail note card or write 20 times “I hate writing.”

The devotion was about William Wilberforce and Thomas Clarkson’s tireless work to abolish slavery. It finally happened in 1833 when Wilberforce was on his dying bed when the Abolition of Slavery Act was passed. Like slaves back in the day we used to be slaves before we found Jesus. If we are without Jesus we are slaves to our selfish desires and sinful nature. Jesus set us free to live unselfishly for him and for others. It's rather hard to read the quote on the picture, so here it is..."It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1

We went to the library yesterday and I found a book that was one of my favorites when I was a girl. Its called “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing” by Judy Blume. I love the way she write. It’s an easy read and very humorous. I read the book out loud today and we got through two chapters. JD thought it would be a “girl” book, but he changed his opinion and likes it.

I had JD do the language arts lesson solo again today. I showered so we could go to the church to pray with a daycare worker that was going in today for a breast biopsy. He finished the lesson up quickly and scored a 100%.

I have not been reminding JD to study his spelling words this week. Nor did we do any form of sentence hints this week. Practicing spelling words is really the only homework he has to do for me. Today he took a spelling pretest on 12 works and scored 58%. I’m trying to have him take responsibility for his work. It’s a slow and very difficult process.

The civics lesson today was more about where our “contributions” (taxes) go. It talked about the military, police, and fire departments. It briefly taught about defending the rights and safety of property and possessions protection. It never named the program but it also hit on government programs that keep a watch over prices and help to keep markets competitive so that there won’t be monopolies. I though the last part of this lesson was neat. It said the government buys up all the farmers extra milk and makes cheese out of it. Then they provide it to needy families.

The short science lesson was about accidental discoveries. They gave examples about dropping objects at the same time from the same distance then asking which one would hit the ground first. It also referenced Galileo Galilei from the 1600’s. He proved that objects fall at the same speed, regardless of their weights. The lesson taught us about air friction. This would cause a feather to slow down while dropping. If testing a book and a feather in an airless room they would hit the ground at the same time.

Because of the church visit at 10:30 we moved the schedule around. I had to shower in the morning and was unable to sit with JD during the normal geometry time. So we came back from the church visit, had lunch, and playing outside before doing geometry. This was a big no-no. If I move lessons around, have errands or doctor’s appointment during school time it messes JD up. The whole day is frustrating and confusing for him. Not uncommon for most ADHD. Anyway today we learned about solid figure sides if you will like: front, back, right, left, top, and bottom. They had a 1-D picture made of blocks and asked us to find it on the 3-D solid figure and identify what side it was. Sounds simple enough but we did not do well on the test. I won’t even mention the score. Once we figured out what THEY were calling right and left or front and back we did much better.

The last task of the day was writing a snail mail note. It really wasn’t meant to be THAT painful and the curriculum didn’t call for DRAMA. But it was present. I asked him to write a nice note that would fill up the very small card. I got three sentences. (Um..no!) I suggested other topics or questions but he was firm in saying, “I don’t know what to write.” I finally threatened him with, “Well, you could write ‘I hate writing’ twenty times. Wow, the small card was suddenly filled with letters. Amazing!

So while we had a bear of a day we still ended it with tender kisses and soft “I love you’s.” And that’s all that matters to me. (Smile)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Busy day

The devotion today was about Harry Houdini the escape artist. He was born 24 Mar, 1874. His real name was Ehrich Weiss. Then, it transitioned into Paul and Silas. More specifically the night the earthquake happened in the jail that they were being held. The doors flew open and the chains from every prisoner fell off, but Paul and Silas stayed put. That night the prison guard and his entire family were saved!

JD read and finished his book “Hero’s don’t run.” It was a cool book. (I read it too since he said there were cuss words in it. I didn’t see any cuss words even though there was a chapter where Adam went through Basic Training and there was ample opportunity.) He will give me a verbal book report tomorrow. Later this week and next he will design a creative way to show off his book report. I finished another book myself. Jeff suggested I read a Max Lucado book called “He Chose the Nails.” I liked it but I needed to read just a chapter a day to let it all soak in. It talked about every aspect of before the crucifixion, the crucifixion, and after the crucifixion. Everything from the walk to the rise. I don’t know what we’ll both be reading next.

The geometry lesson was all about circles. I got it quicker than JD did and because it was completely new information for him he instantly put up a wall and got easily frustrated when he got an answer wrong. The lesson was asking us to find the radius, the diameter, and the circumference of circles. As long as you know one of those dimensions you can figure out the rest with either multiplication or division. Then, they threw in a new term to me but I've heard of it before: Pi. (Oh, not thank you I'm more of a cookie or a brownie girl. No, I didn't misspell it "Pi." That is the crazy looking house thingy and it equals approximately 3.14xxxxx. The formula rules for finding the missing numbers was kind of weird, but we figured out most of them. JD still managed a 100% on the quiz. (With my assistance.)

I had errands to run today so I had the journal lesson easy for JD. I still want him to practice his cursive. I wrote him a letter that told him I loved him and what a special child he was. It also included how I hope he does all that God has for him to do. All he had to do was trace the letter.

We did not do music today unless you count practicing for the Cantata on Sunday. He knows all the words without looking at the book.

The history lesson today was all about Lewis and Clark’s 2-year expedition. It also included a short entry about a gentleman by the name of Zebulon Pike. All those years of living in Colorado and I never knew one of the mountains was named after “Pike.” (See you can teach old dogs new tricks.)

The word bank lesson was completed together today because I was short on time. The words were: ruddy, loutish, and grandiose.

Wow the blog is considerably shorter now that the Purpose Driven Life study is finished. Less typing is nice since we attended church this evening and then had a Cantata practice to muddle through. I write most of this blog before Jeff gets home but I finish it in the evenings. So until tomorrow…

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A nice day

Today was an overall good day. There were bids for less sentences and less reading but the rest was good.
The devotion was about Lewis and Clark’s expedition. They set out on a journey without a map, without directions, and without knowing their final destination. All they knew was they had a mission and their supplies. It transitioned into Abraham facing the same type of journey. He only knew God told him to leave his homeland and go to a new land that God would show him. We may be asked to go to unknown places and we need to respond like Abraham did. He trusted and obeyed.

Sadly today was the last day of the Purpose Driven Life reading. And it ended with some home work. I have already done most of this book/study three times now and this will be the first time I type out my Life Purpose Statement. (Not right now though. It will take some time or so I read.) The book offers questions to answer and they are…1) What will be the center of my life? 2) What will the character of my life? 3) What will be the contribution of my life? 4) What will be the communication of my life? 5)What will be the community of my life? Those are some serious questions and I will need time to write my responses. I don’t know what I’ll share with all of you now that the Purpose Driven Life reading is finished. I hope you all have read it at least once. If you have not I would highly recommend it. It’s a life changer…you know finding out why you’re here on the third rock from the sun…

I don’t know how JD keeps all these geometry names, labels, and terms straight, but he does. Today we did two more lessons. First, was naming parts of a solid figure. All these names…ugh. Names like: face, vertices, and edges. They wanted to know how many faces, edges, and vertices does a rectangle have. (Don‘t stress…I have the answers for you…6, 12, and 8. There, now at least you’ll be able to sleep tonight.) The second lesson was classifying prisms, cylinders, cones, pyramids, rectangles, and squares. There was sorting to do. JD had to be able to what each shape was and more questions about faces, edges, and vertices. I was so impressed with him. He had to take some of his time to teach me on a couple of them. (Whew. He’s beginning to grow impatient with my lack of knowledge. I even had to say, “Well don’t get mad at me. I’m just asking a question.” Yeah, this home school thing is REALLY working out fine.) JD easily scored 100% on both quizzes.

Today in social studies we looked at and learned about the east coast states. We learned the east coast is divided into three regions. They are: New England, mid-Atlantic, and southern states. We learned that they all have common characteristics like: weather, topography, industry, economy, and population. Then we did the state capitals flash cards again. Last time JD missed 36 capitals out of 50. That’s when I wrote 10 states and corresponding capitals on an index card and we occasionally study them. It paid off because JD now knows exactly half of the state capitals. For homework I gave him Alaska, Arkansas, and California to research. He will write down the following facts: state capital, nickname, flower, abbreviation, and date entered into the union. We did not do this last week. He has only completed 15 thus far.

I thought I would make the email/snail mail lesson fun and different for JD. We provide small monetary support to a child named Happy. He lives in Africa. This monthly support enables Happy and his family to eat and have a better life. I had JD type an email to Happy. I offered brief topics of discussion like: weather, school, family, and religion. I said ask him how the weather is there and then tell him how our weather is. I really didn’t think it would include an English lesson from JD to “inform” me that he asks the questions and waits to see if Happy wants to know his answer. (He was just trying to shorten the lesson.) I didn’t give in though. He typed a well written email to Happy. Happy doesn’t have email but I told JD I would ask if he did. (Ssh, it’s our secret.)

The language arts was pretty long but JD managed his way through “All the reading” and scored a 100% on the quiz. The lesson was a Think Aloud, level 2, part 3, based on a fictional story.

The science lesson was short today. It was only the chapter quiz on Recording Observations. JD scored a 90% on the quiz. He‘s also thankful that the lesson on recording observations is complete. He’s getting discouraged with science and the length of some of the experiments. (After all he is an instant results kind of kid.) It is now day 7 on the four slices of bread we set both on the counter and in the refrigerator. None of the four slices has yet to produce any mold yet. But don’t you know if that was the only four slices in the pack and I needed to make two sandwiches it WOULD be moldy. It’s just the way it works. The good thing about the bread is if your roof is tearing up we have a solid crusty piece of bread you can patch it up with. (Smile)
Today was a nice day here. I was able to get out and move my plants around. They seem to multiply every year so I just spread the wealth throughout my "garden." I love getting out and doing some weeding. (Crazy huh?) I find it very relaxing. I can really get into this relaxation mode.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Creative and fun day

Jeff started his new job today. It is a contractor job in Fayetteville. He called at lunch and said, “He was in training mode.” He also said, “It was busy, but the two other men he works with are friendly.”

The devotion today was about the “Power of Print.” In 1455, a gentleman named Johann Gutenberg printed the world’s first bible. He printed almost 180 copies. I wished I could find one of those bibles today. Because they are worth millions! He never made a profit from his printing invention. In fact, he went to his grave penniless and owing money. Thank goodness for men like Gutenberg and Tyndale though. They’ve made having a bible in different translations easy and accessible. They even designed them with maps and study guides. Today the bible is available in 500 different languages. (Is there really 500 languages?)

Day 39 of the Purpose Driven Life was about “Balancing You Life.” Balancing them with the five purposes of our life which were practiced in Acts 2, explained in Ephesians 4, and modeled by Jesus in John 17, but they are summarized in the great Commandment and the Great Commission. To help us stay balanced we should 1) get involved with a spiritual partner or small group. After all we have a lot to learn from one another and pass along to one another. The book also mentioned 2) giving yourself a regular spiritual check-up. We should also be 3) keeping a spiritual journal. Mine will never be as valuable as Moses’ but it will be valuable to me and possibly JD. And lastly, 4) make sure not to skip passing on what you know.

Again with the geometry terms! It’s like learning a foreign language. Today we managed two geometry lessons. The first lesson was “classifying (geometry) objects.” We learned the terms (some of them repeat): polygon, vertices, regular polygon, regular quadrilateral, trapezoid, parallelograms, and square. They had pictures of them and asked us to find the correct name or the lesson would describe the shape and asked us to name it. (Very hard for me, but JD is all over this so good on him.) The second lesson was all about quadrilaterals. A quadrilateral is any shape with four sides like: trapezoid, parallelogram, rectangle, rhombus, and square. The quiz kicked our butts because they described a quadrilateral and asked us to name what type it was. We only scored a 60% on the test. Maybe a little more practice and we’ll get it. Even though we only got a 60% the lessons were still done with a positive attitude which made it fun to work as a team to defeat the last lesson of geometric terms. Tomorrow we tackle “solid figures.”

Even though JD has already been through the keyboarding lesson from start to finish I figured practice makes perfect. So he went back to the Dance Mat typing website and started over with Stage 1, level one. He worked on the home row keys which were: a, s, d, f, j, k, l, and ;. I asked how many times he honestly peeked and he said, “About four records out of 20.”

The on-line art lesson was messing up again so I had to improvise. I have a fond memory of early childhood. I was in elementary school in LaSalle, Colorado and the class was conducted outside. We looked at cloud formations to see what shapes and animals we could see. I loved it. So today I laid a blanket out on the dry lawn and JD and I sat on it and watched the clouds drift by. We identified some objects and animals. The moon was still out at 1:00 pm, but hidden occasionally by the clouds. We made up funny voices for the leaves running or flying for their lives. We didn’t stay out long but we had fun and hopefully JD will remember the fun lesson. Because it was getting chilly we went inside and made homemade Play Dough. We broke the wad into 6 balls and colored each one a different color. JD had fun making the dough and making things with the dough. The differences between boys and girls is SOOO different. I mad a basket with flowers on the side and a cute caterpillar. JD made trees that fell on soldiers. Then he made a spiky club to smash my cute caterpillar.

For the journal lesson I asked what he wanted to write about. I gave JD two options. He could either write about us sitting outside today on the blanket looking at cloud formations or he could write about what we made out of Play Dough. He chose the Play Dough. I typed it, copied and pasted it to the cursive writing website and printed for him to rewrite in cursive. This is what takes the longest. We made a deal that he would write 4-5 sentences and then take a five minute break. Then, he would come back and writes 4-5 more sentences to earn another break, until it’s all done. This seems to help with the overwhelming writing process. I notice he stayed at the table a long time. I went to see how far he had gotten. He stayed to complete 9 sentences! I was so impressed. That was a big step for him.

There are 14 spelling words this week. There are all in pairs such as “doubt” and “double.” The first four letters of the pairs are the same.