Tuesday, September 29, 2009


this was such a cool experience:
we cracked open the science book and talked about environment, habitat, community, population and ecosystem as it relates to Magnus bedroom (habitat) environment (community) and ecosystem (town) which totally related to our social studies unit. we talked about how populations of different species. If we know that there are 40,000 population of humans in our town, and on average in our neighborhood there are four people in each house, there would be about 10,000 houses, and 1/2 of those have pets and 1/2 of those are dogs and 1/2 are cats, then there must be about 5000 pets with 2500 dogs and 2500 cats. In Science (where we started we moved on to forests and if we know that we have deciduous and coniferous trees and in the book each of those require about 80 cm of rain a year and average 20'C that we can assume that our environment gets 80 cm of rain a year, which seems like a lot until you divide that by 365 days (switching back to math) which is about a 1/4 of a cm a day, and that is not much especially if 1/2 of that or 1/8 cm evaporates back into the clouds and only 1/8 cm gets down to the roots. (back to science). our EXPERIMENT for the day was to grow some yogurt and harvest our Kefir from yesterday.

Yogurt: We set aside 2 Tablespoons of yogurt into a new quart jar, measured out exactly 2 cups of milk, poured it in, covered it with a coffee filter, and rubber band and set it aside by the bread machine to 'grow' healthy bugs for our lower intestine. We took the rest of what we had from yesterday, and put it in the blender, added orange juice, frozen peaches, and a banana and a table spoon of strawberry jam from costco, and puree'd it up. Magnus declared that it was not only happy bugs and good for you but REALLY tasty bugs too. We talked about how those happy bugs were helping his body keep the poop fluffy so that it was not so hard to get it out tomorrow. Definitely a great way for Health class to eat the Science Experiment. They can sit out all day on the counter and then they will go to sleep in the fridge tonight.

Kefir: We drained the kefir and smoothed the curds through the strainer and recovered the grains and set them free in a new batch of milk. They can sit out all day on the counter and then they will go to sleep in the fridge tonight. They will get a new milk tonight, and the old habitat will go in the fridge for tomorrow.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Good Day

yesterday was not a traditional day.

first off. big brother was sent home because of his flagrant disregard for public school policies set in place to keep him safe (Read more: http://www.wretchedheathen.com)

we went to the store and shopped for dinner for a family of four and spent $20 on dinner which was $5 each.

after several painful painful hours of trying to teach the traditional subjects, we went to Collins park and played with other homeschool kids for two hours, that was 120 minutes.

we went to Barbara Bush Library, filled out a form and Magnus now has HIS VERY OWN library card.

Magnus liked Battle Brawlers so much (on Chapter 13 now of reading to self) that he decided to find other books by the same author and checked out three Naruto books and one Pokemon book.

on the way out, we discovered the CHESS CLUB and played two games of chess (group is for 10 - 16 year olds, but Magnus was welcomed and they did not trounce him but gave a lot of points away so that he was engaged the whole time.

Magnus also learned to play a new board game called GO, that was pretty kewl as well.

after going to bed at 8 pm, Magnus was discovered READING to himself for at least 1/2 an hour without any prompting.

I say that we succeeded.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

yesterday was a delight. I felt that we made suitable progress in several areas.

Today, Not So Much.

I am dealing with the evil monster again. He worked on Language Arts (Vocabulary) for 15 minutes and then struggled the next 45. Now we have had a thermal nuclear melt down because he simple can not cope with the concept of reading the chipmunk / bear packet. What if I ditch THAT story, and write my own 'discussion' about the book that he is reading on his own? Instead of handwriting with out tears, I need reading without tears.

I hate living in Seattle.

So after a hour of him sitting in his room without any possibility of electronics (I had control of the computer and the DS. He came in and decided to struggle through the Literature Lesson for the day. He read the story (4 pages long) he read the vocabulary words (4 of them) he filled in the blanks using vocabulary words. He five somewhat complete sentences to answer 5 questions about the story (the last three were more painful that the process of bringing him into this world 8 years ago. He is now released to go eat lunch.

My resolve is that we will have no electronics until he has completed one more literature assignment and his spelling assignment and his social studies today. At some point we should work in an art lesson. This week is sculpture.

Recipe for Sculpture:
in small pan on stove:
1/2 boiling water
1/2 cup salt
in small bowl:
1/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup corn starch
combine in pan and stir until ball forms (happens REALLY quickly)
remove from heat, and cool, roll, smash, keep in zip lock baggie to keep soft.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Eating Homework

A remarkably nice day.

the math spilled over into health, as we used different fruits to represent addendum's (however HE ATE the homework while I was cutting up the rest of the problem.)

then he proceeded to cover the rest of the homework (while I was explaining grouping in 10's to make it easier to add three groups) with yogurt and ate more of the homework, so I gave up, counted out the grapes to go with the banana / plum / peaches. he ended up learning about 1/2 cup fresh servings and 1/4 cup dried servings, and then he ATE that home work as well. he is a mess.

the two snags that we hit was that circle counting that made no freaking sense to me and I may skip it all together and just 'cook up' another assignment.

As for the spelling. I have no idea what is up with that.. he missed as many as he got and we have been over this for 10 days now.

Friday, September 18, 2009

So Utterly Frustrated

Okay, why do I have to be the tough biach to get my child to do his school work? How about him doing it without all the drama?

While we were working on Health, he over heard me talking to another mom about scouts. I was explaining why I needed to be leading big brother and that big brother needed my supervision. And Magnus chimed in, "He needs mom to be there because he doesn't respond well when other kids are not behaving." it was just so observant and intelligent.

So if he can grasp that subtlety, why can he not grasp that school work can be over in 3 hours or he can drag it out for 8? He is making his own torture.

Education Days - Optional

Deseret Homeschoolers
Anticipating group activities, Magnus got a headache. We found a Tylenol, and he did well for about 20 minutes, but then the noise and talking led to the anxiety attack. -
first morning activity was animal yoga.
then lunch. Magnus LOVED Collins park.
first afternoon class: telephones, Alexander Graham Bell and Deafness
last class: earth science.

now we need to learn about T.V... AntennaWeb

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Screaming for Science


I am a huge fan of NASA and this is a great site for kids with loads of animations, projects, facts and real science. Your space kid might enjoy this as much as mine!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


not telling time, but finding the optimal time to learn:
so far our schedule:
8 - 9 - food / kMAIL
9 - 10 - book work (math/language)
10 - 11 - hands on work (music / art / p.e.)
11-12 - food
12 -1 - computer work (Social Studies / Health)
1 - 2 - book work (math/language)
2 - 3 - DVD (Science)
3 - 4 - studying with brother is fun (Math / Virtues)

Monday: Cooking Dinner Class
Tuesdays : Cub Scouts Activity
Wednesdays: Chess Club & Library day

Monday, September 14, 2009

TXVA Houston Zoo Activity

9 - 11 Meet the Teacher, check out the administrators, browse next year's curriculum. Impression: There are a lot of enthusiastic people that believe in this endeavor. The Mission: To deliver a brick and mortar education in a home school environment, the best of both worlds. The growth of this group of excited people was impressive. They have nearly doubled enrollment and doubled staffing. They are serving three metropolitan areas. (D/FW, H, A/SA)

11-12 Lunch

12 - 6 Animals

Male Lions have a long mane, females do not.

Children's Zoo was Magnus favorite (I think it was the water playground, bring a change of clothes if leaving shortly)

Hippo's have a three chambered stomach and are from Africa

Wild Komodo dragons have 57 aggressive toxic bacteria in their mouth. (Zoo dragons do not have this due to diet.

6-7 train - track has increased to 2 miles, but price has increased from $1 to $2.75 per person. yikes.

7 - 8 home

Friday, September 11, 2009

First Paper

[Assignment: favorite summer activity]

How I can win wizard 101
Playing Wizard 101 is a magic game I play online. I like it because it's fun. I select a spell card, choose an undead monsterto cast it on. Sometimes it lives, sometime it dies. If your level 1 and the monster is rank 1 then the power will depend on the pell's level. Your time to choose the spell to attack the monster with is 1 minute.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Magnus for Mayor

Community is when a group of people live together. A Mayor is the leader of the community. A community needs a Holiday.

to pick a holiday, we decide that it would be during school so that the kids can get out. so fall, winter, or spring are left. then we decide what months have more holidays and what months have less:
Spring has Easter and spring break
fall has Labor day, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas
winter has New year, President's day and Valentines

May 1st will be the Holiday Called:
Children's Day off From School

Everyone will have 24 hours, all day to stay inside all day.
1) Play Video Games
2) Play on Computers and Electronics
3) watch unlimited T.V.

the symbol of Children's Day off From School

Good Communities need the following:

Two Good Laws:
Reduce Noise Pollution:
-they cause noise pollution
-they cause smoke pollution
2 warnings
1st offense ->jail - 2 years
2nd offense->jail for 2 more years

Reduce Eye Pollution:
ABOLISH ALL YARD SIGNS (Except for lost/found pets and yard sale and house for sale)
-they are eye pollution
-they can cause pollution
1 warnings
1st offense ->$5 per offense
(I know it is a little cheap, at least it is worth cash (generate revenue)

Money goes toward buy more sidewalks and bike lanes.

A good citizen is kind but not too kind
a good community is safe but not too safe

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Just another day...

of escaping from Spelling to take a bike hike. Granted, we still talk about social studies on each bike hike, mom is so sneaky.
so far today:
spelling (1/2 hour)
bike hike (p.e.) (perfectly sunny weather) (45 minutes)
snack (15 minutes)
social studies (communities) (3/4 hour)
penmanship (printing) (3/4 hour)
wii sports (and now it is pouring down raining) (1 hour)
when I suggested math, he nearly fainted with exhaustion. He had to have a break (3/4 hour), then lunch (1/2 hour), then a break (3/4 hour), and finally I had to shut down his computer. We spent the next 120 minutes working through three (3) pages of fill in the blanks for Health.

I prepared him to study with a fun online interactive review. Then we reviewed in an open book manner of the respiratory system, the skeletal system, the digestive system, and the nervous system.

The vocabulary words were provided on the work sheet. the vocabulary words were printed in the book, the worksheet provided the TWO PAGES that were necessary to answer the painstakingly identical sentences in the book. THE KEY WORDS, BOTH of them were HIGHLIGHTED in YELLOW in the book on the NOTED PAGE. It still took TWO HOURS to get through three pages. His brain was literally HOT to the TOUCH when were done from spinning his wheels in the mud, muck, and mire.

I do not know what happened to his brain but there were no cerebral neurons firing, just a very very dim little light flickering.

We completely gave up trying to even attempt literature, grammar, math, art, study island (State Testing Prep).

I am so utterly exhausted and hopeless about this. It as not fair to have such a good day yesterday, it sure set me up for failure today.

the missionaries came by to give me some support:

Well, the Lord has his own Parents as Teachers Program. It is part of the First and the Great Commandment:

"Hear, O Israel:
The Lord our God is one Lord:
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God
with all thine heart,
and with all thy soul,
and with all thy might."

"And these words,
which I command thee this day,
shall be in thine heart:
And thou shalt teach them
diligently unto thy children,
and shalt talk of them
when thou sittest in thine house,
and when thou walkest by the way,
and when thou liest down,
and when thou risest up. ...
[Deuteronomy 6:4-9 Compare. Dt 11:18-20; Proverbs 6:20-22]

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


I have 5 + 2 +1 (5 birth kids + 2 son in laws + 1 grand baby) and nothing is ever as simple as it seems.

organization, organization, organization.

It has taken us 2 weeks to find our rhythm. Today was a good day at our home education table. Granted this morning I was so exhausted, that the family left me alone to sleep in until 9 am. They played quietly on the computer to pass the time. I needed the sleep so first and foremost. Frequently I have to remind myself :"do not neglect your own health, like the airline attendants say, put your own oxygen mask on first".

that being said. what are our priorities? what are our goals? what is our tolerance level?

Priority: Knowledge
Goal: Love Learning
Objective: Age appropriate completion of the education program
Tolerance: 90%, +/- 10%

for me, 100% mastery was my expectation for the last 2 weeks, guess what, that is unreasonable. and I am OCD about it but I have to LET GO and accept that there may be only 60-78% mastery and only 60 -80% subjects completed each day.

I printed out the weekly plan last night, I printed out the materials for each subject. I realized that I do not have an item for a class, so I 'shoved it to later in the week" and I brought something else up. We were making such good progress in areas last week by chunking, that I planned for it. Some lessons just flowed into the next lesson. However, as we were moving through more difficult subjects, we move until I see Magnus has lost energy, and we put it away. The beauty of the virtual system, no sense in beating a dead horse. Put it away, and move on. However, we did stumble on to two Easter eggs today. One was in the Study Island we switched to game mode and he was much more motivated to continue to play and the second wonderful surprise was San Francisco Symphony helped us out tremendously in our music lesson.
Our goals this month are time management. He took 80 minutes to write his spelling words while I was cooking dinner. When I sat down next to him and wrote them, (parallel play) in the same way that I expected (modeling), I demonstrated that it should only take 2 minutes.

Tomorrow we will practice it again. Sometimes learning coaches will spend a lot of time on just getting a rhythm going, and not as much on actually 'learning'. Magnus and I are having to step back, and realize that I have to teach him how to study, and eventually we will move on to academics in a direct (cooperative) approach.

Monday, September 7, 2009

I was warned - Almost All of it is done

Getting an Education is not negotiable.

Motivating my child to understand that Education is more important than anything.

A man that graduated in 30 years ago went to school to get an education. He would not be trained to perform a job, but to be an innovator that would revolutionized an industry. He needed to solve a problem. We need to re-train our entire society that we all need to be thinking outside of the box on a daily basis.

10 Tips for Learning Coaches

1. You Don't Have to Do it All! - I have trouble with this one.

2. It's all about Mastering the Objectives. I love this one.

3. Teachers are your friend! Reach out sooner rather than later.I have done this one.

4 . Develop Your Community -live, virtual, near and far. I am working on this one.

5. Organize your materials and your day. I had this one done two years ago.

6. Think Outside the Box. This isn't your typical school! This is my whole point.

7. Remember to mark your attendance daily. Not a problem with the electronic interface.

8. Determine your family's best schedule. Sometimes earlier isn?t better! I think this needs to be revisited for me.

9. Remember Why You're doing this. Remember your priorities.I think this needs to be revisited for me.

10. Celebrate Progress, both large and small! I am working on this one.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Friday, September 4, 2009

Baileys Irish Cream

Update on the Mag-ster, today (Friday) was the first day of his old routine (public school) he woke up and was happy to log in some fun time on the computer. 8:10 am and it was time to go to "work". he groaned, he moaned, he whined, he whimpered, he was reluctant to change gears.

He wanted to do science, but we have already surpassed more science this week than I would like (unit 9) and we need to attend to other areas.

We changed locations, we printed out the spelling worksheets, he went to the kitchen table reluctantly, but was prompted, prodded and threatened with consequences (No Friday Night Live activity) he complied but with a horrible attitude.

We skipped the 2nd lesson for this week, and started on the 3rd lesson of spelling (Wednesday's lesson), it was the wrong print out, I gave him a white board to practice lesson one on. He really shut down while I was printing out the correct one and eventually just threw a fit and went to his room to cool off. after 10 minutes called him back to task and with some silliness and reluctance, he was able to painfully completed the fill in the spelling word in the sentences, but was very unhappy with me that I INSISTED that the words be copied correctly from the spelling list to the handout sheet.

As we started to work on the 4th lesson (Thursday's) of the spelling unit he shut down. so I offered him his choice of health or free reading, he opted for health saying that he only wanted to do the free reading at night in bed. fine. his choice.

He was to read pages 14-15. We talked about them. He seemed to need a little more information, we got the DK Eyewitness book and reviewed what we already covered last week, skeletal structure and inside bones, respiratory system and the diaphragm and he completely shut down, and said that he was going to throw up and went and laid down and went to sleep.

So here we are, 3 hours into the school day, and he is already overloaded and wiped out. I am trying to decide of the visuals in the DK book were too much for his delicate nature. If he just hates language arts and this is the trailer of the movie for the year. but Seriously, it took one and one half hours to fill in 20 fill in the blank questions. and after 30 minutes of health he is sick and nauseated.

It will pain me to have to follow through and not let him go to Friday night live, but it doesn't appear that he will be able to meet the requirements at this time. Is the requirements too hard? not if he would just do them instead of making each and every task a huge dramatic production.

He came back down, and we worked on the money lesson for math and he did work on at least a list of days of the week, and months of the year and a sentence to practice his handwriting. As a reward we dipped old oxidized pennies, turning them black. And then we sprinkled baking soda on them, and squirted 9% acidity vinegar and made all shiny and new looking. Science reward for trying.

FINALLY, in a exhausted but state of determination, I printed out the last three assignments, including photocopying the poem in the book, the crossword puzzle in a different book and the assessment from online. I printed out the day's plan, color coded items that were done in green and items that were still undone in yellow from yesterday and today and laid them out on the table.

This showed that he had counted on completing three assignments today, that he didn't complete today. In addition there were three undone from today. I gave him two assignments from yesterday and one from today to be completed in 120 minutes or there absolutely would not be any chance whatsoever going to Friday Nite Live activity at church if it was not done, done correctly and done without drama. he made it through two of the three assignments. the crossword puzzle/ vocabulary words (2 pages), the vocabulary assessment (5 pages) and then he needed skittles to get through the poem for Literature. He got sidetracked and so I calmly told him that it was okay, he was not going anywhere. he cried, we found the skittles, he read the poem, worked through the worksheet I did 90% of the writing, he contributed about 80% of the narratives. and we completed the homework in 105 minutes.

I AM WIPED OUT AGAIN. going to Specks for Baileys Irish cream for my coffee next week.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

things are going well

You know a blogger is not stressing is when they are not typing. So we made some adjustments. Instead of the K12 Music, we are utilizing the Wii Music. MUCH better.
we are finding that we have about 30 minutes of spelling in the morning and then have to eat, 30 minutes of math, and then move to a different room. 60 minutes of Music or sports on the Wii and then 30 minutes of Math or Literature and then switch to Art or Science. Poping in a DK Video for Mammals and one on Insects today was extremely helpful to keep learning without brain strain. We made a lot of progress with the videos. I ordered more from the library.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

2 hour phone conference with the homeroom teacher. My frustrations include, but are not limited too:

overall general academic processes
the online introduction program is designed to teach the basic concept of each subject and add that subject into our program in a cascading process. Which is IDEAL and completely logical, that completely contradicts the daily and weekly lesson plan that is in the first screen that you see each day. That pushes you with a full load of math, English, science, literature, reading, social studies every day as well as the elective classes of art / music & pe / health. This leaves the parent with a sense of anxiety and fear of falling behind. This stress is further acerbated with the heavy admonishment in the parent handbook, the online tutorials, and the weekly live eluminate discussions about the heavy consequences of FAP's.

So the parent starts a process of teaching to the test in order to cut corners, just to keep up. Establishing up a very bad habit that completely contradicts the whole point of leaving public school and going to charter school program. This issue needs to be addressed with a pre-school-year online teaching program to better utilize those weeks we had the curriculum and were excited. SLOWLY breaking into the program rather than waiting until the first day of school and then BOMBARDING with assessment exams, ONLINE lessons, as well as daily basic academics.

ALSO someone in designing the interface really needs to look at a "WEEK AT A GLANCE" organizer so that as learning coaches, we can PRINT OUT a "WEEK AT GLANCE" for organizing. Printing out the MATERIALS list is the current best solution, but that about 15 pages and grouped by subject instead of by day of the week, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it has too many extraneous items. I should be able to access it like a database, and customize my report like you would any civilized database interactive resources.

note to self: can you download the database for 3rd grade homework schedule, and 'SEE' what is coming up in 4 months and PLAN field trips to take advantage of that or are you limited to opening and perusing each book the tactile way?

music program is a dead bore, we are switching to Wii music program.

We are exploring the issue that the previous teacher administered the reading assessment and while magnus was developmentally delayed in two of the four areas, he has to fail in three areas to be considered at risk and in need of additional assistance. To me if you fail in ONE area, you need ADDITIONAL assistance to avoid FAILURE. If I were to take my car in and while the radio was good, the seatbelts were good, but the turn signals and the brakes failed, wouldn't that be a hazard on the road? I do not see why school feel that they can cut costs by setting a ceiling of services based on 75% instead of 25% or 50% failure. Serious issue of bean counters here.

Finally we are exploring the behavior modification aspects to increase Magnus motivation each day. Yes some of this is just change in procedure and adapting to a new program and testing the limits to see what will be tolerated and what will not. But it is an issue that needs to be addressed. Taking 12 hours to complete 6 hours of work disrespects my time and is unacceptable.
yesterday we got caught up on Math, but today we are seriously behind in Reading and Spelling, looks like we naturally do 'chunking' or feast and famine as I have known it all my life. Also probably not a good habit.