Thursday, July 30, 2009
I am going to start in on my boxes of curriculum prospects now. I am considering combining a few spelling programs I have for my kids this year. I'm still debating how we will tackle math. My question for you, the followers of this blog, is: Do you have any facets of ADHD, Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, or Auditory Processing Delay that you would like more insight on as you prepare for your homeschooling year? Please let me know and I will do what I can.
In the meantime, I will keep updating on what we are doing on this end ;-)
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
But in all this visiting I am truly struck buy something: cell phones. Or is it I-Phones? We see my (young) sis-in-laws once every few years. They live in Portland area and are product of a late-in-life second marriage on my father in-law's part. Youngest is my oldest's age (15). The other sis is 18 and just graduated. They are both sweet girls and I do enjoy their company.... but those crazy phones!
I think we are breading a generation that will end up cross-eyed or socially mal-adjusted to "real" people because of their insane addiction to these gadgets. I tried to seek engagement via "The UnGame" last night but I did not get a popular response. We ended up playing poker with penny anties and the girls played in for a bit. It was nice to see their shining eyes. However, when the phone buzzed, they responded. All conversation during this visit has seen them sitting among the rest of us, with their eyes mostly glued to the phones with few breaks.
I am thankful that we do not buy into the cell technology with our kids. We have ONE pay-as-you-go for DH and I and only for emergencies. Coming home from football camp Monday I told Z rumor had it ALL cell use, even hands free, would be banned while driving before long. His comment? "But some people HAVE to be able to use it in the car, that is how they conduct their business"!!!! I ask you.... what did society do before cell phones? Well, parents knew their kids better and relationships on a whole were more genuine. It really wasn't all that long ago that people lived without these devices.
Nope, there will be no cell phones in this house.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
At any rate... to get back on track: She posted a blog a few weeks back called Instant School Room. It contains a video clip from a CBS segment showing how to convert a dining room into an instant office. SAHMinIL made the correlation to using this concept for families who do not have a "classroom" and needed ideas for doing school in their dining room without all the clutter.
I do have a "classroom" but as I have said before, it is in a dark corner of our daylight basement... getting NO daylight! I know... beggars can't be choosers! But we do always end up upstairs. I discussed this situation with my husband and his response made me feel like, 'Well, duh, why didn't I think of that!' He suggested I move math, reading, and language arts upstairs to the dining room and then relegate the other subjects to the rec room and the craft table there-in.
Enter SAHMinIL's blog and video. I could convert a portion of my buffet into storage for our supplies. The buffet....
... now serves two purposes! One side has my serving platters and the other side is housing the needed school supplies :-) No longer will I need to cart these things up and down the stairs for our work (though I could use that exercise!)
I will be using one of the drawers to keep the kids' folders and pencil boxes in.
In all the re-arranging/organizing I have done in the last few days I even cleared the craft table and SCRUBBED it shiny clean (it usually has tons of paint, marker, and tape marks on it!)
... aaand... because I am splitting the work spaces, I moved our paper sorter (which we use as a storage sorting shelf) so that the craft table above has more space to spread out on! Now when we do time lines and large posters, we won't have to maneuver around so much stuff! (This sorter was sitting at the end of the craft table, up against the wall)
I am pleased with the progress. The curriculum is sorted into subject relative boxes and I will begin the process of going through that after the in-laws leave next week. Still more cleaning to be done but at least our HOME(school) is steaming down the track to being in order!
In the mean time... check out Catholic Christian Homeschooling and SAHMinIL's blog, Instant School Room, and be inspired like I was!
Friday, July 24, 2009
I know I should not worry about any of this. Where the school things are concerned, yet another beauty of homeschool is having our first day whenever we want! Hmmmmm, I will have to pray on that one! As far as the tidy place for family.... I usually abide by the adage that family visits us not our house! But DH and I agree that this brand of family might be more comfortable with a higher level of clean than we usually hold ourselves to. After all, 4 kids is not conducive to deep clean!
Sure we pick up, keep our kitchen clean, vacuum as needed, dust when the bunnies start to multiply and so on. But I am talking; clean inside and outside of cabinets, carpet cleaning, bring-the-old-toothbrushes-out-to-get-the-cracks kind of cleaning. Who knows, though. This branch of family may someday read this blog and roll their eyes or shake their heads and think.... 'What were they so worried about? We were just there to visit! Not do a white-glove inspection.'
The world may never know... or maybe they will. This body of mine is worn down and I am BEAT! My mood is beginning to suffer as well. However, I need to look at the bright side: I have focused my efforts on cleaning via homeschool organizing. After all, our 'school' is our home and where we learn seems to leak into every facet of our house! With that approach I have managed some revamping in some poorly laid-out but well used sections of our HOMEschool and I am growing excited to use these 'new' spaces!
So, to all of you chasing dust bunnies or wrecking spider homes this month... WE WILL PREVAIL! And to the rest of you enjoying your 'vacation' from teaching/learning... ahhhhh, enjoy some sun for me ;-)
Saturday, July 18, 2009
For those who don't know, I am an avid quote collector. On page 72, when she is discussing actions that can help/hinder her husband, she quotes Ruth Graham, wife of Billy Graham:
We have to learn to make the least of all that goes and the most of all
How simple but yet profound! This one is definitely entering my collection.
I am two weeks and running on this challenge and truly enjoying it. I definitely feel more feminine! I have even been able to match some interesting hats from my collection... something that never really worked well with jeans/pants!
Friday, July 17, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
The other day I spoke about the organizing quandary I am currently praying through. I have been collecting items for many, many years in the hopes of using them in my own classroom someday (not realizing it would be a homeschool classroom!). Staring at the boxes and piles I have pulled and sorted from beyond many nooks and crannies I thought I would never decide on a direction. However, upon putting it into prayer, God revealed the first step to me: DON'T BUY ANYTHING ELSE! Ohhhhh how hard that is though! The catalogs have the neatest doo-dads in them and teaching would be soooo much more fun if I had this or that or.....
But God said "NO". (He says that a lot to me!)
So I have been throwing the catalogs out. It has been hard, but I am being quite strict with myself on the matter. God has spoken and I do wish to obey. I do have A LOT of stuff that the kids and I are blessed to work with. I am stepping out in trust that He will continue to reveal more steps in this process of sorting and determining.... some commands have been slowly coming to light.
Now as far as the piles around my desk right now........ God??
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
It isn't even that my house is a mess... it usually isn't, beyond the toys and stuffed animals my little darlings like to leave everywhere. It is just that I can't keep track of my thoughts! Sometimes it can be because one of my sweeties thought they had a better place for something that I did know where it was (before they moved it)!
My mom used to say that for every child you have, you loose 20% of your mind. I personally think hubbies should absorb 20% as well. At least it would explain why I feel brain-fried most the time. Either way you look at it, the operating capacity of my mind has reached near operational overload!
I did use to know when someone was running out of something. Even with just one or two children in tow, I could forecast the need for more of my husband's deodorant, more of the children's milk (I drink non-fat) was always purchased before it ran out, laundry was washed-folded-put away before drawers ran empty, and I could always find the payment coupon for the water company! All of these things are a struggle C.E. I do try though.
What's more is my need to begin organizing thoughts on homeschooling for the coming school year. As if I didn't have enough in my house to muddle through.... now I have boxes of homeschooling supplies, books, and articles to discern and decide what I will/won't use! Talk about mind boggling!
I know, I know... I am preaching to the choir here. And what a joyful choir we are. Despite all these scattered thoughts and good intentions gone arye I wouldn't trade it for anything, would you? I am learning that, in the midst of this 'noise', I must take time to be quiet.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33
It is easy to loose ourselves in all this stuff, in all the "Mooom... ", and in all that you hope and expect of yourself and your children. We must make that time for our Heavenly Father each day. We need to kneel before Him, give it all to Him, ask His guidance, and listen to His answers. When we do this, the mangled mess in our midst will begin to seem less like Mt. Everest and more like the foothills.
For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Growing up in the Midwest, I loved, and anticipated, the storms we would have each summer. Thunder, lighting, and torrential downpours always thrilled me! In Montana, however, these tantrums of nature are rare occurrences.... until this year.
We have actually enjoyed a cool summer and more precipitation (and storms) than I have seen in the 12 years I have lived in this area. While most of my neighbors groan when the clouds issue forth their torrents, I celebrate! Not just because I love the rain (though that is a big part of it) but also because the more rain we have, the less fires we endure.
Forest fires have been the staple of many summers here in this state. A few summers were so bad I could not even let my children play outside because the smoke was so thick and stifling. We all had to wear face masks.
Here you can barely see the ridge to the north of us! But doesn't my garden look happy to be getting so much attention?! Yes, bring on the rain :-)
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
I know that we do not have as many children as some (and yet we do have more than others) but no matter how you look at it, when we are out at a store and walking down an isle, they tend to fannnnn out and take up a lot of room! I feel bad because we can take up a whole isle (wide) and then some! I started telling my children that we all need to get in a row... like ducks in a row and out for a waddle. "Come on guys, ducks in a row" is what I often say when we are trying to make our way through a busy store or crowd.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Birthdays in our house are extra-special occasions. The lucky birthday person gets to pick their breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as request their favorite cake (and ice-cream). We have 3 birthday "children" in June in our house. I often refer to it as our second Christmas! However, it is imperative to me that they each have their own special day (even though B's is the 6th and Z's is the 8th!) Each his (or her) own cake and attention.
Here are the individual cakes (Z's is not pictured because he requested apple crisp and there isn't much to look at with pie!) I like to get creative and, while I will admit there is plenty of room for me to try improvement, I am getting better!
B, turned 9, still gets excited with monster trucks, though he spends most of his time playing Legos! His request.... obvious, right? Not my best but still fun. Yes, that is Yoda in the stands. A last minute add to the cake, I had Ash grab me all the Lego guys she could find so the rally could have proper spectators!
Ash, turned 11, LOVES horses. She requested horses running in the ocean! I felt the need for a beach front for them to be running off of... she loved it. I can say that I am not happy with the squishy-tube icing you can find in the baking isle at the store. Not the old regular tubes... but the new 'squishy' ones (sorry I can't be more technical than that!). The icing does not do what you want and, as seen here, my green grass, which is suppose to be rising from the 'sand' looks more like green goo running all over it! (yes, the cake was cooled when I frosted it.
This year we also had a joint party for the family to come over... it can be tiring to make the drive to our house THREE times in one month for the purpose of birthdays... and twice in one week! We don't' always have a party, because of the three in one month situation, but this year we went all out and had some fun!
The three youngest were getting much needed new bikes (even though Bk's birthday is in January, she got to partake in the birthday fun this year!) Using these gifts as a springboard I set up our theme: Mountain Biking! The downside is, after looking in every possible store in the valley (there aren't that many) and even searching the web I could NOT find bikes for the top of our cake. I did, however, find pine trees which the baker at our local grocery store was kind enough to give me for a steal!
The kids got excited as I began to describe my cake plans on birthday party morning and brought out all sorts of tid-bits to add to our cake. I only used the Lincoln logs and the bear (he is hiding in the bunch of trees on the lower right side of the cake). Afterwards I realized, a Twix bar would have made a GREAT log bridge! Ash had the idea for the river. The rocks are candy rocks (that look like real ones) I picked up at the candy store. The 'trail' is vanilla wafers that have been put through the food processor.
This is, by far, my favorite cake yet. Even better than B's bee he had on his first birthday and Bk's flower cake for her first! I told B that the "9" was on the other side of the foot bridge because it is on the single-digit side of the river! I explained that next year, he gets to cross the bridge and become a two-digit number!! He liked that idea :-)
The whole party was fun. I set up our tent in the back yard (yes we live on a 'hill'/mountain side so our yard is sloped). We used the tent for gifts/opening presents... which all the kids really enjoyed (even my 15 year old seemed to have fun!)
I also couldn't help myself where the table was concerned. When my daughter asked why I was putting all of the plates and utensils in a picnic basket the only reply I had was, "Why not?" Isn't it more fun to get your dinnerware out of a picnic basket than just straight off the table?!
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
In his book, Taylor suggests using the K.I.T.E. system to "Fly your decision-making!". It is simple. The acronym is:
K - Know the situation you face.
I - Identify or figure out your choices. He suggests you make a few different plans and assess both the good and bad results of each.
When we first started using the K.I.T.E. system for problems solving, I met with further break-downs if I made her write it out so I decided to let her dictate and I would write. Before long we didn't need to write our strategies, we could instead discuss the steps and make clear choices that way.
The K.I.T.E. system is a great tool when dealing with most types of behavior problems. It is particularly helpful in concept when working with children who struggle with perfectionism, especially those with ADHD (visit my post, Perfectly ADHD, for more details). The "I" and "T" steps can be used to set and shoot for reasonable goals. I have used it in this way with my daughter as well and have found great success.
Remember, set-backs are expected but it helps to begin moving forward again when you have a base-line that you and your child can refer back to.
ADHD is often associated with hyperactive behavior and an inability to concentrate. These assessments are accurate. In fact, ADHD often facilitates an inability to stay calm in overwhelming situations. A behavior I have witnessed in Ash time and again. Add to that, when we talk to her she has difficulty focusing for more than half of the discussion. (I can attest to the fact processed foods seem to accentuate these traits.)
What I want to talk about today is beyond the A-Typical associations we make with the gift of ADHD and yet is, in fact, a derivative of these traits. One behavior I often see in Ash, and one that Turkington and Harris have researched and studied with ADHD, is Perfectionism. The first time I heard this term in relation to ADHD I thought, ' Yea, right, she is always making mistakes and messes and debacles of all types!' Nevertheless, when I stepped back and truly analyzed perfectionism and my daughter, I quickly found that it was a huge factor in her behavior.
A perfectionist works diligently towards perfection; it doesn't always mean they achieve it. Once I understood this, I could see that Ash would work towards perfection but her downfall was her inability to focus, take her time, and be patient for the end result. This often produces failed attempts and a discouraged, defeated attitude.
I also began to analyze the time back in her public school days. This is a place where demands are high for the exact right answer or picture or project that looks like everyone else’s and is done in the allotted (small) amount of time. Pay attention, listen to directions, do what you are told now... all these commands are a death sentenced to an ADHD child's ability to keep up. Turkington and Harris's assessments reinforce the fact that an unfocused child is set up for a defeated scenario. They observe that perfectionism [in an ADHD child] may happen because of lack of understanding of "the nature of a task's requirements".
The perfectionist's attitude in an ADHD child is further defeated in the fact that an ADHD child is "often a perfectionist mainly in areas they feel are important but they can't differentiate between important and unimportant." Turkington and Harris go on to describe, "In such cases, perfectionism is another manifestation of the social imperceptions that so often characterizes students with learning disabilities and ADHD." My take on this, based on what I saw happen to Ash, is that they become socially defunct and often rejected by their peers (except for the ones that get them in trouble!)
For all the presumptions, we must also consider that ADHD based perfectionism may also be attributed to other underlying factors. To discover the source of self-defeating perfectionism in ADHD children, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is suggested. Wikpedia defines treatment in this way:
In cognitive oriented therapies, the objective is typically to identify and monitor thoughts, assumptions, beliefs and behaviors that are related and accompanied to debilitating negative emotions and to identify those which are dysfunctional, inaccurate, or simply unhelpful. This is done in an effort to replace or transcend them with more realistic and useful ones.
Hmmm... I like that idea much better than the drugs the school counselor animately and obtrusively persisted my daughter take!
I have tried this type of therapy with Ash in the context of impulsiveness (a key trait in ADHD) especially where it resulted in squabbles with others. I used the "K.I.T.E." system, which I discovered in a book called, "The Survival Guide for Kids with ADD or ADHD" by John F. Taylor, Ph.D. I elaborate on this technique in Flying the ADHD K.I.T.E. I have also used this approach more loosely to assess perfectionist tendencies.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is helpful with self-defeating perfectionism. The success I have seen in my daughter is proof. She has become much less self-critical and more relaxed in her mistakes. Parents, take note that self-discipline on your part is required. We must cue ourselves to not expect too much of a perfectionistic ADHD child. Help them to set and achieve realistic goals. This can be hardest accomplished when your other children do not suffer this problem. Nevertheless, we must realize each child is different and treat them as such. The beauty of homeschool is that we don't have to hold our children to a curve or class standard.
One last thought is to share some final observations our authors have made on the negative feelings, thoughts, and beliefs that can be associated with perfectionism (ADHD or otherwise!). These items are great starting points for managing this behavior. All may not apply, but truly consider the ones that do and use them to direct your groundwork and build your child up so he/she can become self-confident and accepting of life's imperfections they cannot control!
- fear of failure: Perfectionists often equate failure to achieve their goals with a lack of personal worth or value.
- fear of making mistakes: Perfectionists often equate mistakes with failure. In orienting their lives around avoiding mistakes, perfectionists miss opportunities to learn and grow.
- fear of disapproval: If they let others see their flaws, perfectionists often fear that they won't be accepted. Trying to be perfect is a way of trying to protect themselves from criticism, rejection, and disapproval.
- all-or-nothing thinking: Perfectionists often think they are worthless if their accomplishments are not perfect, and they have trouble putting things in perspective. For example, a straight-A student who gets a "B" might think he is "a total failure."
- the "shoulds": The lives of perfectionists are often structured by an endless list of rigid rules about how their lives must be led. With such an overemphasis on "shoulds," perfectionists rarely take into account their own desires.
- others' success: Perfectionists tend to perceive others as achieving success with a minimum of effort, few errors, little emotional stress, and maximum self-confidence, whereas their own efforts are inadequate.
"Perfectionists are often trapped in a vicious cycle in which they set unreachable goals and then fail to meet them because the goals were impossible to begin with.... The constant pressure to achieve perfection and the inevitable chronic failure lessen productivity and effectiveness. As perfectionists become more self-critical, their self-esteem suffers, which may also lead to anxiety and depression. At this point perfectionists may give up completely on their goals and set different unrealistic goals, but this thinking sets the entire cycle in motion again."
Monday, July 6, 2009
Coincidentally I have been experiencing health problems that make it extremely uncomfortable (and sometimes down-right painful) to wear jeans and shorts. So I figured it was time to take the challenge!
It turns out that, while I love dresses and skirts and own quite a few (most via inheritance of my mother's wardrobe when she passed away... she was 48 and always dressed 'young' for her age) most of my skirts were either formal or better suited for colder weather or, to be frank, some were down-right ugly!! A handful of my dresses have spaghetti straps and I have not found them very comfortable lately. I decided it might be fun to make a few skirts.
I started by sewing a skirt intended for the 4th of July. However, I am not a pattern follower and the one I tried to make looked hideous and did not fit right! I was aiming for white and blue with a light, airy material so I wouldn't be too hot. Frustrated, I set the mess aside and grabbed for a pretty blue spaghetti strap dress I have and decided to try something different.
I cut the top of the dress off and proceeded to iron, fold, and pin down a waist line. I inserted elastic and began to sew. It took a few trims and fixes but I finally produced a lovely skirt that comes to just below my ankles (I love LONG dresses but I am almost 5' 9" and they are hard to come by!).
I still tried to fix my white and blue mess the next day with progress but still no success. My husband decided to remind me of our family's favorite saying from Thomas Edison that goes something like, "I haven't failed, I have found 1000 ways not to build a light bulb!" I will admit I had to sleep on my frustration, but I awoke replaying his words and knowing their truth.
I still have not finished hacking at my white and blue mess, but I have succeeded in turning three spaghetti strap dresses into three lovely skirts... the last one more near perfection then the previous two! I am slowly learning all the ways NOT to make a skirt! And as I learn I am building a wardrobe along with my knowledge!
Btw... it feels GREAT wearing my skirts ;-) But I am wondering what I will do when winter comes....
(My third and best attempt yet at spaghetti strap turned skirt!)
Sunday, July 5, 2009
During company conversation yesterday I was deeply inspired to a post I wanted to share. But the problem with company when you are an aspiring writer is that... you can't just up and leave your guests to tap away on a keyboard!! I know, I could have written down some notes, but no... I thought I would just remember (even though deep down I knew better!) When I am inspired the words just flow like magic, weaving and winding together to form something I become quite proud of! And when the inspiration is gone.... well, I clunk out a rock that just sits there!
Oh well... there will be other days :-)
(I know this is blurry... it was a little 4th of July fun with glo-sticks!)