Saturday, July 30, 2011

What if I mess up?

the first year was a mix of deschooling.. getting the children to stop expecting me to stand at the front of the classroom and spoon feed them nuggets of knowledge, evolving into a more lifelong learning model of them asking a question, and following it down the garden path to find out who, what, where, when, and why. the second year, was a mix since I added another child from B&M to the equation and he was confused why he didn't see his brother doing as much work as him, because he was still getting deschooled and his brother was quietly working independently and it would just be such a confusing thing for him. Here is my take after 24 months of this 'experiment', figure out what is the worst possible thing that could ever happen? is it that you children will not make as much progress as they were in B&M? that they will stop learning all together, or perhaps forget everything that they ever learned and work for TacoBell? now that you can see the worst case scenario, think about this. In an IEP meeting for a child that is challenged, they set a goal, what would you like to see by the end of the year? would you like to see your child reading on level? would you like to see your child able to complete an entire assignment without you doing 90% of it? would you like to not have homework consume your evenings? now break that goal down by 1/4, what would you like to have accomplished by the end of the first quarter, the second quarter, and so on. find measurable improvements based on what you find in your family to be worthwhile. for us, we really wanted our child to be able to READ, that was the first year goal. to ENJOY reading was an expectation, and to ENJOY READING on LEVEL was the end of the year Plan. if nothing else, if he was able to do that, we had succeeded. we discovered that the first 9 weeks was a lot of review, things he already knew. COOL. at some point I would have to start teaching SOMETHING right? well the second quarter came and went, and we were still plodding along nicely, stressing reading and keeping up with everything else to various degrees. he was gifted in science, he could breeze through it like no bodies business, wow, I had a gifted child right? well, not exactly, if we spent the day doing the fun stuff, then we didn't keep up on the not so fun stuff like social studies and math, so we had to ration the science and balance our day with everything else. the best thing I learned was that everything is cyclic, that means that if you do not get it the first time, do not fear, it will come back around again, that spelling words will be there next year and the year after, that vocabulary will be there, the next year and the year after, that fractions will come around every year until they finally get it and understand what a fraction is. so that means that no matter what, I will have an opportunity to reteach and they will finally get it eventually. the best thing that I discovered is that I had more flexibility to change the approach, to change the technique, to change the direction of a lesson so that my child could benefit from more than one presentation method. say a video game would help, yippee, use it. say a trip to the museum would help, wow, go for it, say you would rather give an oral test, YES YOU CAN. it doesn't have to be all or nothing, just keep plodding along. now say your are keeping track of the clock, what if you didn't make 3% this week in EVERY SINGLE SUBJECT, YIKES, what will happen, you will catch up next week, you have the entire quarter to have everything balance out so find what works for you. if you make 3% in one subject, you can change topics or you can push ahead and do 6%, just keep it balanced 25% max per quarter, and then bring the next subject up to that level, until you have ALL of them at 25% before moving ahead in a 'fun' subject. all the teacher tools have literally a script in there so that you can not mess it up, once you get comfortable, you can deviate and shoot more from the hip and teach off the fly.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How Schooling at home went today

Let's Grow Smart! (Space and the Solar System, Grade 2-3)
Let's Grow Smart! (Space and the Solar System, Grade 2- 3) [Workbook]
Creative Edge (Editor) for a $1.00
on Page 25, we were working on a Letter Scramble:


and we thought, wow, that is hard: but it was talking about APOLLO 8, and reported "after their trip around the moon on Christmas Eve."

so we Googled Apollo 8 Christmas Eve. and got this link: Apollo 8 but it was not until I got to this clip that we discovered the quote. Thanks for your help:
Astronaut James A. Lovell, Jr.

Please Be Informed There is a Santa Claus.

but then we wandered off into the tour of the solar system and discovered Colby. but that was not enough, so we went on a journey to the stars

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It Grew Again

Your sex is male
Your height is 5 ft. 3.0 in., or 160.1 cm.
Your weight is 104.0 lb., or 47.3 kg.
Your birthdate is 09/29/1999, so your age is 11 years 10 months.

Your height is 95th percentile

That means you are 95th in height compared to 100 kids your age and sex.

Your weight is 80th percentile

That means you are 80th in weight compared to 100 kids your age and sex.

Your Body Mass Index is 18.5, which is the 63th percentile

That means that your BMI is 63th compared to 100 kids your age and sex.

The healthy weight range for your height and age is 84 to 117 pounds (38 to 53 kilograms). This range corresponds to a BMI between the 5th and 85th percentiles for your age and sex.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Literacy through Photography

Literacy Through Photography (LTP) is the in-school education program created by FotoFest International to help students in grades 3-12 strengthen basic learning skills, particularly writing and critical thinking skills. It is a comprehensive program that includes curriculum and teacher training. LTP uses photography and visual imagery as tools to stimulate students’ writing, analytic abilities and communication skills.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Course Adjustment

The first year, we followed the recommended schedule, that didn't work. the second year we blocked, Monday was math madness, that worked for Monday, but the rest of the week was awful. We are still going to block schedule, but I think we are going to do FUN things on Monday, like Science and Spelling and knock it out, and save the things that we just detest like social studies for Friday and hope that by then we will be so motivated for making progress that they will be fun.

As for organized: I went to the TEACHER section of Office Max and got hanging hourly project managers. weekly assignments for all subjects, if they are completed by the end of the week, they get the weekend off, if not, then they keep working until Sunday Night and then, done or not, I will mark off the 3% so that the ominous word "BEHIND" does not come up. because that has killed our spirit more than any other word and we just never seem to recover from one semester until the next and I would rather blow off bits and pieces over month than the entire last 10-20% of the year. I use​/ to organize each week of enrichment activities as well as class connects and it helps having a popup / SMS keep us on track

Always remember that failure is not an option. once you get that as a mantra, the rest is elementary. I have 5 children, all of which are in school at some level. two in college, one in high school, one in middle and one in elementary. I have two grand children, one will be in PreK this fall, one that is 8 months, and one on the way, due in February. everyone needs to be nurtured, managed, and fostered. my key in addition to calendar is skype, I can have a meeting with any of my kids and connect to answer questions, work through assignments, and even coach through exams when they are in college 5 states away. Project management is how we break everything down into manageable projects.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Children with Sensory Integration Disorder or Attention Deficit Disorder may not have difficulty forming friendships, but they may have a hard time keeping friendships because of impulsive behavior.

Imagine the joy at seeing a real bond between two brothers that have traditionally agitated each other for years.

Brick and mortar school seemed to foster more agitation instead of co-operation between these two. It has taken two years to see this level of companionship.

Dad did not want me to take this picture, he knew the sound of the camera or the flash going off would break the spell.

It is not a great stretch of the imagination to see how the grouping of children according to birth year can breed envy of those older, contempt for those younger, and alienation from siblings. Spending all day in an institution run by adults (each equally requiring and supposedly deserving of respect and unfailing obedience) can provide competition in a child’s mind and heart for loyalty to and trust in his parents and the family’s own culture and values. The fact that most of our nation’s children are “socialized” in that system defines popular culture on those terms. Parents must be alert and active to combat these pressures, even if the children are schooled at home, and especially if they attend public or private school. The survival of our families and the souls of our children depends upon it.

T. J. ed.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

--Reinhold Niebuhr

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will direct your paths.

Proverbs 3, 5-6

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Summer Reading

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1)
The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Summer Enrichment

Razzle Dazzle Writing: Achieving Excellence Through 50 Target Skills

Razzle Dazzle Writing: Achieving Excellence Through 50 Target Skills

Melissa Forney

Caught'ya!: Grammar With a Giggle

Caught'ya!: Grammar With a Giggle

Jane Bell Kiester

Journaling with

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sam Houston State Park



Tell what precautions must be taken for a safe swim.


Demonstrate your ability to jump feetfirst into water over your head in depth, level off and swim 25 feet on the surface, stop, turn sharply, resume swimming, then return to your starting place.


Demonstrate water rescue methods by reaching with your arm or leg, by reaching with a suitable object, and by throwing lines and objects. Explain why swimming rescues should not be attempted when a reaching or throwing rescue is possible, and explain why and how a rescue swimmer should avoid contact with the victim.



Successfully complete the BSA swimmer test.*


With a helper and a practice victim, show a line rescue both as tender and as rescuer. (The practice victim should be approximately 30 feet from shore in deep water.)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Camp Invention

The SPARK Program

Join us on a W!LD animal adventure and explore the most spectacular and inventive animals on the planet. During the W!LD: Wondrous Innovations and Living Designs™ module, children explore W!LD and wondrous animal inventors. During the week, participants explore how cuttlefish use camouflage to hunt and hide, paper wasps that make “paper”, snails that create iron plated armor, fire beetles that use infrared light, and geckos that climb walls using nano hairs. Mother Nature’s very own inventors are sure to spark your imagination on thisW!LD animal exploration.

Mysterious coded messages have been left at The Curious Cypher Club™headquarters, and it is up to the Camp Invention participants to solve this puzzling mystery. Each day, children solve a different coded message and use the same code to send a message back to the culprit. After working on their codes each day, children work together to build a clubhouse using materials such as PVC pipes, rolls of corrugated cardboard, and other upcycled materials. After a week of solving coded messages and using their engineering skills to build a unique clubhouse, children uncover the culprit, end the message sending, and are awarded membership into The Curious Cypher Club!

During the Bounce! An Atomic Journey™ module, children investigate the science of atoms and molecules by experimenting with bouncy balls! A dynamic mix of chemistry and physical science, children bounce their way through atoms, molecules, mixtures, and compounds to figure out how cool matter (like a bouncy ball) is created. Children gain experience designing and conducting their own experiments and investigations as they explore how atoms join together to make molecules that shape our entire world! Children design high-bouncing investigations, practice moving atoms like nanotechnologists, conduct inquiry-based static electricity experiments, and make salty solutions, slimy compounds, polymer snow, and their very own bouncy ball to take home!

Children shake up traditional games to create new experiences that will have them thinking and upcycling their way to a brand new kind of fun! In the Game On: Power Play™ module, children are challenged to use nontraditional equipment (such as water balloons) to play classic games. Each day features fresh ideas that will have children mentally and physically engaged and completely entertained. The laughter is contagious as children use fun ways to enhance their level of cooperation and coordination in these innovative, team-building exercises. Children's minds and bodies are put to the test as they combine physical activity, creativity and fun!

During the I Can Invent: Edison’s Workshop™ module children walk in the footsteps of Thomas Edison as they create and market a multi-step machine. Creative problem solving is fostered as children imagine and assemble the unthinkable! Younger children work in teams to create multi-step inventions using pieces and parts of broken appliances and other upcycled materials. Older children work in teams to build complicated, multi-step machines that solve a challenge. All children further explore the process of invention as they market their inventions. A participant favorite, children of all ages find this module incredibly challenging and exciting!