Friday, September 24, 2010

Jelly Beans

we found a little resolution today, I do not know how well it will work, but here is our two victories today:

Jelly beans, I sat next to minion #1 as he worked through the study island and scantron series and gave him a skittle each time he carefully answered a question correctly. blasting through and not working them out is not our objective. that was good

he started out extremely frustrated, terribly irritable and in tears because it is taking so long to delute some bad scores in Study Island, the biggest pet peeve that I have, they get 10 wrong, go back and it takes like 100 rights to get to 80% so he is beyond frustrated.

I gave him jelly beans and make reference to ear wax and vomit flavored (harry potter reference and the mood improved significantly)

I am not a candy fan, but today it worked well and we are on task.

the other one is not a candy fan, so we are doing something different

the noise from minion #1 was acerbating minion #2 SPD threshold so he is downstairs alone working at the kitchen table, with a walkie talkie

he is chatting with me while he is working and I am chatting with him, making it a more pleasant day. how much work he is getting done, remains to be seen, but pleasant work is better than angry work IMO.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Add in Typing as well

Play Desert Typing Racer Now
NEW!! Desert Typing Racer. Looking for adventure? Like the thrill of driving down the highway at supersonic speeds and jumping over cars in your way? Let's play!

Math Celebrity Homepage
Read Clocks Screen Shot [View Page]

Square peg into a Round hole

one thing leads to another at my house, I never know what I will be call upon to do next.

While I was shining my kitchen sink, I reflected about scheduling:

4th grade CORE schedule

Math: 5 lessons a week

Science: 3 lessons a week

Social Studies 5 lessons a week

Literature: 5 lessons a week
-Composition 3 lessons a week
-Spelling 5 lessons a week
-Grammar 2 lessons a week
-Vocabulary 2 lessons a week

Health 2 lessons a week
P.E. 3 hours a week
Art 2 lesson a week
Music 2 lesson a week

( 4 hours) STUDY ISLAND / Class Connect:
Blue Ribbons:
( .33 hours) 1 math
( .33 hours) 1 language arts
( .33 hours) 1 science
Class Connect
( .75 hours) math
( .75 hours) language arts
( .75 hours) science
( .75 hours) assessments

4th grade Magnus actual schedule

( 4 hours) Math: 3-4 lessons a week

( 3 hours) Science: 1 DVD / 1 experiment/ read 1 Unit a week

( 3 hours) Social Studies 2 DVD Episodes a week / Read1 book chapter /Oral assessment

( 4 hours)Literature: read about an hour a day, 1 lesson a week
( 2 hours) -Composition 1 lesson = Monthly: type 100 words / grade (4th grade: 400 words) to a prompt, week one rough draft, [week two, week three, week four] edit draft
( 1 hours) -Spelling 1 list a week (Spelling City)
( 2 hours) -Grammar 1 lesson a week
( 2 hours) -Vocabulary 2 lessons a week

( 1 hours) Health 1 DVD / lesson a week
( 3 hours) P.E. 3 hours a week
( 1 hours) Art 1 craft a Month / 1 trip to Pearl a quarter
( 1 hours) Music 1 Piano lesson a week (1/2 hour lesson / 1/2 hour practice different day)

( 4 hours) STUDY ISLAND / Class Connect:
Blue Ribbons:
( .33 hours) 1 math
( .33 hours) 1 language arts
( .33 hours) 1 science
Class Connect
( .75 hours) math
( .75 hours) language arts
( .75 hours) science
( .75 hours) assessments

what I learned then and now: is how or materials day goes:
first we get 83 lbs of materals, that is just insane, but since this is a turnkey system not everything will fit every child, pick what will, and set aside will not so that you and your child are not overwhelmed.

what we ended up with is 3 books / 7 work books. that is all. they would all fit in a backpack if need be. then we break those down with post it notes, work to this point and stop. work to this point and stop. we start on Monday, and we work for a couple of hours and we stop. take a break. work for a couple of hours and stop. do some one the computer, watch a DVD or Netflix, and stop. run outside, go to the store, go to the park, and stop, we do some baking in the kitchen and that is the best chemistry set in the world, we eat our homework. before we go to bed, we do some reading, in the kindle, something we like, talk about it, and go to bed. happy that we had a wonderful adventure. we do enjoy being a child while we are still children, but we build into that the fact that there WILL be MELT downs, there will be days that we just flat our can not focus. we have fallbacks, DVD's and online 'games' that help keep us learning. brain pop, spelling city, kahnacademy, everywhere you look is an opportunity to love learning. sitting in a classroom for 7 hours a day and force feeding data into an ity bity brain is not a solution, finding out about science down in the bayou by HEB, now that is aquatic science to me. and perfectly acceptable.

the hardest most difficult part was giving myself permission to trade one lesson for another, but now, I just answer the questions myself, and move on, it is my personal sand paper to get a square peg to fit into a round hole.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I got to thinking about this, the words 'ridiculous amount of time' jumped out at me.


then I realized, we are home schooling ourselves HOW to home school. A significant number of us have never been home schooled. we didnt go to school to learn how to home school, we are all being self taught in a baptism by fire methodology.

so the learning curve for us as Learning Coaches is even more significant than it is for our children.

We were raised to follow the procedures, you go to school, you get your diploma, you get a degree, you get a job, you get married, you have kids, you put them in school, they get a diploma, they get a degree..... you get the idea.

but at some point we screamed out, I so totally did not sign on for this. now we have Learn how to Teach, we have to Learn how to think outside of the box so that our children can Learn to THINK outside of the box. this takes a lot of hours of research on top of the hours we are investing to teach one, two, three or more kids. it is intense, there is a fear of failure, there is a fear that our children will not be socialized, there is a fear that we will break them. we really are burning the candle at both ends.

last year I was a freshman in homeschooling university, and I worried and stressed and worried some more. I think I got the beginning stages of an ulcer I was so worried that we would end up at the end of the year an the education police would do a pop quiz and BAM someone would figure out that I had no clue.

let me tell you a secret, PROFESSIONALS do not have ALL the answers.

my son was educated by the 'best' and he still has issues with SUBTRACTION. it was not like he was not exposed to it, but he didnt 'get it' and they moved on.

if you do the same, your children will not implode, they will not forgo any chance of ever seeing the material again. it is virtually the exact same stuff each year, I KID YOU NOT

the health books and information is virtually the same for 3rd, 4th, and 5th because seriously we have one body and there is one message, you have a brain, you have a heart and you have lungs, take care of them. ;-)

if they do not get it this month, you can always come back to it, you do not need to stress and struggle over it, even if they say MASTERY, what they mean is not PERFECTION, but that they get the GIST of it.

so it is the GIST'ery program, and when you get to the UNIT EXAM, if there is a GLARINGLY problem, go back and review those items that are an issue.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

oh my

This excerpt from Terri Mauro’s book The Everything Parent’s Guide to Sensory Integration Disorder offers some excellent advice for siblings of all challenging children regardless of diagnosis or issue.

“It’s one thing for you to understand your child’s sensory integration problems, but getting your other children to extend appropriate understanding and sympathy is another. Depending on the age of your child’s siblings, you may be able to give them a little bit of an explanation as to why their brother does t hose strange, annoying things. But any special treatment you give him to compensate for his sensory challenges is liable to meet with cries of “No fair!” from the others.

You’ll be doing your children a service to teach them now that fair doesn’t mean equal treatment for each person. It involves each person getting exactly what is appropriate for her. Talk about some ways in which your other children “get” things that your child with sensory integration disorder does not. Does the sibling participate in more activities? Have more friends? Have an easier time in school? It’s not fair that your child has this disorder, it just is. 'Fair' means she gets what she needs to be safe and happy and comfortable, and your other children get that too.”

Terri Mauro is the guide to Parenting Special Needs Children and is a member of Sensory Integration International. Buy her book through

Check out her website for adoptive and special-needs parents:

Friday, September 17, 2010

First Month's Progress

This year is going much more smoothly than last year, he is more comfortable with working independently. He is less likely to complain these days and he shows more initiative to try something on his own.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

the good, the bad, the ugly

fun new site about energy

Sunday: Pizza
Monday: Mac n Chez
Tuesday: TACOS
  • 1/2 lb of chicken with seasoning salt
  • slivered onions & bell peppers cooked until 1/2 caramelized
  • 1/2 lb of ground beef with pico de gallo
  • corn
  • salsa
  • 10 flour tortillas
  • sour cream
  • avocado sliced
  • shredded mozzarella and jack cheese

Wednesday: Soup n Sandwich
Thursday: Spaghetti
Friday: Fish
Saturday: Crepes

Monday, September 13, 2010

Math Monday

Math+ Red Path

Unit number: Unit Name

1. Whole Number Sense
17. Whole Number Division TX Supplemental
18. Fractions and Probability TX Supplemental
19. Decimals and Money TX Supplemental
20. Algebra Thinking TX Supplemental
21. Mathematical Reasoning TX Supplemental
2. Whole Number operations
3. Applications of Operations
4. Lines, Angles, and Rotations
5. Fraction Sense
6. Measurement
10. Probability and Data
12. Geometry
15. Perimeter and Area Formulas and

Saturday, September 11, 2010

all my books

right where I need them

Friday, September 10, 2010


i have finished all four packets

Thursday, September 9, 2010

oh holy cow!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Reading is Fun

Lightning Thief, The
Pages: 375

Sea of Monsters, The
Pages: 279

Pages: 150

Ironing out Wrinkles

math help

reading a good book

Any solutions for pre-lesson drama causing lack of progress?

Trying to get from Plan A to Plan B?
Video Programing
problem solving

I was sooo stinking frustrated by week three last year because I was struggling through the OLS training and they said not to teach until I had completed each training segment, it was so irritating.

We ended up trailing behind 3% all year and I hated that, I am super nervous to begin with so that didn't help.


I tracked my progress, I figured out where I needed to be by the end of each week and my son has adjusted to my teaching style, which is much more laid back than the brick and mortar that are spoon feeding all day. now I have my other child home and deprogramming him from the spoon fed education to the here is the topic, here is the direction that I want you to start exploring, and keep me posted as you discover new things and make progress.

We are not in our comfort zone yet, and I still occasionally screech and beller, but over all, we are working out the wrinkles of which direction I want us to be pointing each day so that we make the 3% destination by the end of the week, and they have finally learned that if I am not satisfied with EFFORT not perfection, they can owe me a Saturday school to stay on target.

I did a lot of reading last year and dictation while my reluctant learner listened and dictated his response. It was give and take on my part to guide him down the garden path while he matured into a situation that we had ignorantly put him in.

He is a summer baby, and we pushed him ahead without realizing that while there is a benefit, he is smarter than the average bear, there is a consequence, he was not mature enough to forage for his own dinner so to speak.

I relied on others to do my talking for me:

Youtube is great for lessons, preview them at night after the kids are in bed is good when starting out, and then make a playlist of links in an email to yourself for the next day.

Martin Sheen and DK Eyewitness DVDs has put together EXCELLENT videos for science for various topics.

Netflix has streaming for my social studies taken care of, we have romans, greeks, Pharohs, and vikings all taken care of by history channel

Math is covered by Khan Academy

Here in Texas, the first weeks are land mass's and map reading.

Mountains, valleys, basin, plateau, pennensula, piedmont, and coast, rivers, lakes, oceans, and so forth, all things that you can get from a youtube clip. ;-) save your voice for ordering pizza. ;-)

Last year, was my first year and there were some serious anxiety because just about everything we did was REVIEW and I just knew at some point I would have to start teaching and it would get much harder than it already was.

and then we hit make change for a $5 and that was the first issue

then it was fact families.. 3rd grade, not wholly unexpected..

YIKES.. but okay, I am calm, I can handle it.

I knew last year that I had to reteach the concept of RESEARCH materials. that means the trusty:

Encyclopedia, Atlas, Dictionary, thesaurus and GOOGLE. fine, I am prepared. I can handle this.

After all, subtraction doesn't come up every day... he is only 11, what would he need to know that....

(wait for it)

okay, he scored COMMENDABLE PERFORMANCE on the TAKS.. one would assume that was because he had a COMPLETE education thus far

So this year, we pulled our 5th grader and on week one I discover, no, he is not familiar with pesky things like nouns and Proper Nouns that are CAPITALIZED, but he is not so good at subtraction and skip counting on a number line.

maniacal laughter ensues.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010