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Friday, September 3, 2010

It was a fun day

We started our day out with our devotion. Then, I moved JD into his math lesson. I used the graph paper again. Weird thing happened here. I had to take extensive notes to figure out how JD was “doing” his multiplication. Turns out he was doing it backwards. If the math problem was 234 x 15, JD would use the top row numbers and multiply them by the bottom row numbers: 4x5, 4x1, then 3x5 and 3x1. Totally backwards. I showed it to Jeff to see if he could interpret for me. He was unable to. I suggested Jeff teach JD multiplication since they talk the same language.
We finished up the other five planets cards in Science today. We also finished the solar system labeling. We learned so much cool information about all those planets. We didn't know Jupiter (16), Saturn (18), Uranus (15), and Neptune (8) had so many moons. We also learned the four planets closest to the sun and inside the asteroid belt were rocks and the planets outside of the asteroid belt were gas planets. The only thing we forgot was the prominent rings of Saturn.

In Social studies today we did a review of the longitude and latitude lines. We also finished the homemade globe. We put degrees labeling on each line and identified all the major lines.

English was probably the easiest for JD. All I had him do was to draw a shield for our school. I already had one that I made on the computer, but I thought it would be cool to have his drawing on our school shirts. Turns out the t-shirt logo would not look good. So says the guy who does t-shirts. I sent one shirt in for a graphic to be applied. If it looks good, then I’ll get the rest made.

There is no school Monday because of Labor day.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Another good day

Sorry it took so long to get this day's blog out. I noticed this evening that I had not been taking attendance or keeping a record of our classes since we started this year. Attendance is required, and records of classes or activities are recommended. I just received my "We noticed you're a homeschool...would you mind filling this out so we can come visit you?" I'm armed and ready now for a state visit.

Today was another good school day. It started with our devotion. Next, I had him do one math worksheet. It was adding and subtracting whole numbers. I had him write the problem in graph paper AND keep each number in it’s individual cell (like a prison cell). This helped tremendously with the sloppy math problems. It also helped him “keep track” of the pesky carry over numbers.

The next lesson we did together. It was a social studies lesson on two kinds of deserts. One was the Antarctica and one was the Sahara. One of my goals this year is to teach JD how to take is own notes. This will of course come in handy for college when he’s out from underneath my wings. I managed to teach JD how to “take notes” by abbreviating words, making symbols to represent words, or draw pictures of the fact or information given. Most all of JD’s notes during this lesson were in pictures. This lesson took SO LONG to get all the notes, but it was a success! I really should have timed it, but I didn't. I kept repeating important information and asking him, "Do you think you need words or pictures to remember that information?" After a discussion on how he was “going” to draw it, I kept encouraging him to stop telling me and do it quickly. I said, “Your college professors are going to lecture you on a topic and you’re going to have to draw pretty quickly.” He did draw detailed pictures of the facts and information as he saw it in his mind. I was worried he wouldn’t be able to recall the facts with what he drew, but when I asked him later what all those pictures meant he was able to tell me. This idea came from a Dr Linda Silverman who co-authored a wonderful book called Raising Topsy-Turvy Kids: Successfully Parenting Your Visual-Spatial Child.

JD and I had a great time in science today. We started the individual study of each of the nine (oops now eight) planets in or solar system. Funny quote from JD…“All of my life I grew up learning about nine planets and that’s what I’m sticking with. How dare they kick out Pluto.” (…All of my life?…) I found a detailed, interactive, kid friendly website at http://kids.nineplanets.org/ . I pre-typed basic questions and cut them information sheet down to 3x4”. All JD had to do was fill in minimal info or circle info for each question. The info was: What they are made of, their size in one word, location from the sun, any visits by American spacecraft, temperatures, if they had water & ice, the # of moons, any features like mountains, valleys, plains, craters, volcanoes, and their symbol. Once JD finished a planet I glued that info sheet onto either a brightly colored green or orange index card. The rock planets were orange because they are close to the sun and “hot” planets and the gas planets were green for the green fog one has after relieving gas. (Not my choice…that was ALL JD.) Visual spatial kids remember things that are either or both humorous or colorful. (Again, Dr. Linda Silverman.) We only did the “inner” planets today, and we had fun sitting side by side tag teaming the would be long task.

The last lesson of the day was in Language Arts. I had JD type a poem about something he has fun doing like: swimming, playing on his scooter, or playing video games. He chose to type a poem about his dog Tater Tot. Here it is…
Tater Tot
I like to play with Tater, because she is a cool nater.
She has so much energy, she always catches up to me.
She is a funny little beagle, we got her from the pound, she’s legal.
She’s just a sweet pup, not yet all grown up.
She was born in December, and that’s all I can remember.

I’ve made a strategic move this year in lesson scheduling. We do the Language Arts lesson last this year. I did this to use the amount of time something takes to do as parental leverage. If he takes too much time to write or type what he needs to then it’s HIS time he’s burning a hole in and not mine. All I say now is, "Once you're done with this and I check it over, you are done for the day." It’s amazing how quickly things get done. **Note to self…move the math worksheet lesson closer to lunchtime.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Productive day

Today was a pretty good day. Other than the tone JD takes with me occasionally I think we’re settling in to school mode. I was VERY productive today both in school and my household duties. I managed to teach 5 lessons, AND clean my house, AND mow the entire front yard, AND exercise, AND cook dinner, AND make homemade chocolate chip cookies, AND type my blog. (Sorry ladies…I’ve set the bar pretty high.) Now I don’t mean to make any of you jealous, but I still fit into my earrings from high school. (Tee/hee)

Today we started the day our with our devotion first. Amazing how when you put God first how smooth things will go from there. It almost felt like cruise control today. (However, my body feels like I was hit by a train.) From the devotion JD went into his math lessons. I’ve doubled up on the easy lessons so if we need to take extra time for the more difficult lessons we can. JD starts out with a worksheet with less than 10% of the problems highlighted. No sense boring him with repetition if he already knows how to do it. So today he reviewed rounding and estimating whole numbers and another type of lesson about estimating whole numbers. Thus far he is doing his quizzes independently. So today he scored an 80% on one (10 questions) and had to take the other one three times in order to score a 90% (with my help.) The problem was using “compatible” numbers. I won’t bore you with the details of compatible numbers, I‘ll just say its STUPID. No one does math that way!

From math we went to social studies. We almost completed our homemade globe. We’ve glued the yarn on for the latitude and longitude lines, as well as the equator, prime meridian, and the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. Then, I sat with JD to do a review on early map making. Then, the next lesson was global addresses. It talked about degrees, latitude, and longitude. So it all tied in together, AND JD did a hands on project to remember the names of all those lines. We worked together on the chapter quiz and only scored a 70%. I was taught him earlier this week about note taking, but his notes we not real efficient for the quiz. Live and learn.

I instituted an exercise program at Faith. Today after lunch JD and I threw on our shoes. (Both JD and I love being barefoot.) We ran around our front yard and then walked around. Then ran again, and walked again. It didn’t take long at all but my legs were tired.

The science lesson was also hands on today. JD made the solar system (to scale) out of Styrofoam ball halves he painted, and for the asteroid belt he glued pebbles on the black construction paper. We will only spend about one week learning about our solar system.

The last lesson of the day was the English lesson. I’m trying to teach him the proper mechanics of writing, so we started on capitalization since the paper he wrote the other day included many capitalization errors. Then, I had him write three more sentences today. The fist sentence was the topic sentence from his first paragraph from yesterday‘s beach trip writing…etc. He did really well when I allowed him to type but seemed to have forgotten all 12 hours of keyboarding skills learned in the fifth grade. (One step forward, two steps back.) Ugh.

JD’s doctor called today about his blood work. Out of five tubes of blood, the only thing she saw was an increased L.D.L. It was only 105, but it should be under 100. So she suggested minimal fatty foods and EXERCISE! (I’m all over that!)

Well, enough for now…so until tomorrow…

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Better day

Today was a much better day until the very end of school. It started out by JD fasting (while he slept last night) and onto the clinic for his complete panel of blood work. It went amazingly well. JD even looked at the butterfly needle being inserted into his arm. The female technician missed the first time so the male technician tried and got in after a bit of searching. They filled five tubes with blood. The whole time JD was very inquisitive about this or that. The female technician praise JD for being so very brave. Then, we moved to the pharmacy to get his Concerta (ADHD meds.) I had JD take one ASAP because he was very talkative and distracting me. We moved to the water fountain for his Zertec pill when I placed the Concerta on the water fountain to dig out the allergy meds. We left there and went to the bank. JD checked on his “spendable” balance. When we walked out of the bank JD said, “Give me my money.” There’s a commercial here for a lawyer named J.G. Wentworth, who works to get clients their lump sum from structured settlements. It was kind of funny that he said that and would come into play later in the morning.

We left the bank and had a hardy breakfast at Burger King. We were slowly sipping on our coffee when JD noticed the word “Caution contents hot!“ This was definitely a teachable moment. We continued sipping our coffee (mine was caffeinated and his was decaf) while talking about frivolous law suits. I told him of the lady (who I called Mrs. Smith) burned herself by spilling her McDonald’s coffee. She sued McDonald’s because the cup did not say the “contents were hot.” She won a structured compensation settlement for (I guessed) $1,000,000. I asked JD if this was fair. This opened up a can of worms for a verbal math lesson. I said, “If she is (hypothetically) 65 years old when she gets the deal from McDonalds that they will pay her $5,000 per month for the rest of her life and she lived for 10 more years how much would she get (before taxes)?” Then, I added this, “She decides that’s not enough for her claim and calls J.G. Wentworth for a lump sum settlement. J.G. promises Mrs. Smith she’ll get her $1,000,000 up front instead of payments; and if they win the case JG will get 10% of her $1,000,000. Notice I said $1,000,000, not the after taxes amount. Then I asked “How much will J.G. get before taxes? How much will be taken from the $1,000,000 because of taxes if tax rate is 37%? In the end who really pays for the $1,000,000 lawsuit? (The customers) And how do they pay for it?” (McDonald’s raises the price of a cup of coffee.

We got home at around 12:00 pm when I noticed I didn’t have JD’s medication. (Bummer!) That means we had to turn around and go back and get the lost “Controlled Substance.” I was so embarrassed. I found it at the pharmacy. Someone found it on top of the water fountain and turned it in. (Thank goodness.)

We finally started school at around 12:30 pm. JD did a short math quiz consisting of ten question related to comparing whole numbers. Then, we worked through a worksheet I typed up about Mrs. Smith’s law suit and compensation package. We did not do a social studies lesson today. We moved right on through to science. It was a short lesson about our solar system. (Did you know the planets rotate counter-clockwise around the sun?)

The last thing JD did for the day was read for 30 minutes. He did not read for 30 minutes because he finished his 188 page book of The Adventures of Robin Hood. When I finished mowing the backyard I came in and asked JD to turn off the TV so we could do a verbal book report. This is when the day got hairy. He was mad that I stopped him from watching TV to do the book report. (Technically he did not read for the full 30 minute time period, but then again, technically I said, “The last activity of the day would be to read for 30 minutes and then he would be done for the day.”) So who is correct? Who knows. When I asked him questions about the plot and character I got nothing but attitude! I stopped him and told him to watch his tone. I reminded him I was not one of his friends that he could mistreat like that. I was the parent and deserved respect. After that short talk things went a little more smoothly.

Football practice tonight was not good either. JD seems to get hurt every practice. I have no doubts he may have gotten hurt before or during the practices and he’s suffering from a legitimate pain, but more over he’s masking the fact that he’s scared of hitting and getting hit. He’s not alone according to Jeff. I told Jeff that I’m running out of pep talks for JD to “shake it off and get back in the game.” Hopefully JD will learn to hit and be hit and successfully make it through this season, and look back and say “That wasn’t so bad and I want to play again next year. (Fingers crossed.)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Frustrating day!

It was a busy day today and it was not a pleasant day for either of us. It started out on the wrong foot when JD did not get up. I finally had to go military "T.I." on his little butt to get him "up." He actually wanted to argue with me about the meaning of "get up." (Ok, Bill Clinton..."get up" means get up off the bed and start your day. Not wake up and watch T.V. or get off the couch and lay on the floor.) Once he knew "get up" meant he did get off the couch and he actually had the nerve to lay on the floor. "Well, I'm off the couch." (That's about the time I went all T.I. on him.) The day only escalated from there. At one point I told JD I was ready to put my fist through the wall. (It was during the writing portion and yes, I took a break.) All of this was probably escalated because the three of us were exhausted from our beach trip. However, I wanted to set the pace for “middle school.” I have been warning JD about his role in middle school all last year and through the summer. The schedule this year will be slightly modified from last year. Almost everyday will consist of the following: devotion, reading, english (grammar, writing, comprehension), science, math, and social studies. Today we accomplished most of them but because of his lack of actions and debate rehearsals it was a LONG day of both school time and homework time. (Yep, you saw that correctly...homework.) If he didn’t finish (or start in some cases) it turned into homework. He dragged his feet, became easily distracted, argued, and did not give me his “best” so those actions turned into homework. Today we did roman numerals and whole number problems for math. It included homework. Social studies was a lesson on early map and globe making without homework. The lesson taught him about map projections. There are advantages and disadvantages to all of them. We did not do a science lesson today. We forgot to open with our devotion so we did that next. The last topic of the day was English. It was supposed to be an easy and relevant writing lesson. He was to write one paragraph about things he liked at the beach. (3 sentences.) The next paragraph was things he did not like about the beach vacation. (Another 3 sentences.) The last paragraph was things he wished we could have done at the beach. (3 more sentences.) Jonathan took forever to get started. The ultimate delay was “How long do the sentences have to be?” After much discussion I told him, “Don’t be concerned about the number of words per sentence, just write a descriptive sentence.” Only after he threat of any unfinished writing would be completed on Saturday did JD finally finish his writing assignment. JD's homework was partially completed in the car on the way to football practice and then after football practice too. (Did I mention it was a LONG day?)

JD had a routine Dr’s appointment for a medication renewal. The doctor refilled JD’s meds and ordered a blood panel. I requested one 6 months ago but JD was too anxious to get it done then. The doctor informed me that JD gained 15 pounds in the last 6 months so she agreed to order a complete blood panel. There she can possibly detect any reason for this weight gain. He also has a complete physical scheduled for the morning of 16 Sept. The doctor noticed it has been a couple of years since his last one. (Good maybe we can see if he has a hearing problem, a q-tip problem, or a disobedience problem.) I waited for 40 minutes for his medication before I left realizing he couldn’t take his meds until after the blood work.

I will take JD first thing Thursday, 31 Aug for his blood work. Of course I won’t have the results for a while unless something is wrong. I had the laboratory technicians do a walk through with JD today so he won’t be so nervous tomorrow. He asked questions and wanted to see the needle, but he seemed ok with the process. I reminded him of all the things he used to be scared of (like the blood pressure cup, immunizations, and allergy needles) but now he can look back and laugh at it. This should be the same situation.