• Attendance

    January 2014
    M T W T F S S
  • The “Class”

    Avery, Naim, Aaron

  • Subjects

  • Portfolio

Dec-Jan, 2014

Third grade is halfway over?!? I know that I have to give myself a break, here. Kids are learning and happy and healthy. But this four jobs thing is just really difficult. It is the hours, yes, but it is more that I am doing 4 completely different projects with no overlap, plus just the usual house/laundry/trying to stay healthy. It is just very hard to keep track of everything and keep on top of it. Things go by the wayside. I get tired. Hmm hmm hmm…this blog is more about me, isn’t it. Since my main blog went on hiatus, I have been keeping up a bit on a WW blog. I try to keep that to my own health and keep it pretty brief, but it is a closed system and as usual I am prone to ramble some. For this, I want to stick to my lovely, beautiful and smart and funny children.

Like every homeschool mom, putting them back in school during this hard time has crossed my mind. First of all, there is no free school for Avery, yet. Although we might now qualify for Head Start again or child care subsidy. He is still in Goddard for now. Aaron is probably the best candidate for school, and he would eventually do OK there, but it would be a rude adjustment for him because he cherishes his freedom so much. I do not worry about academics with him, but I do worry about the social influence. He has a wide-eyed and enthusiastic innocence about him that I am loathe to ruin with the cynicism of the machine of public school. He is also very suggestible to peer pressure and media influences. He does so much better with the calm, peacefulness of the homeschool kids. I do realize I cannot shelter him forever, but I would like to shore up his maturity and his critical thinking skills and his faith in himself before he has to face all the elements of the world.

Putting Naim in school would be an unmitigated disaster, for all the reasons I have outlined several times. We are still on Chapter 1 of Reading Horizons, but we have gone over and over and over it and have not moved on until he is at about the 90% automaticity range for each lesson. For example, we have been working on letter names and sounds since he was 3 years-old if not earlier. Just before Christmas, he finally for the first time was able to name and give the sound for every letter in a stack of letter cards. Dudes! It took only 6 years. He still mixes up b and d, but we can finally move on more confidently to other things. Next is being able to identify words, not just isolated letters, and even that is getting better. His list of “sight words” is growing. And once he knows something, he knows it. Meanwhile, I am able to help him read enough to be able to do grade level work in all of his other areas. He would fail everything in school due to his reading. And then he would get teased. But he is the one that really needs to go out every day and in some ways would like the routine of public school. I think if I had more money, I would do reading and math with him at home and then send him to VH or classes every day.

My first priority has to be them. Has to be homeschooling them. I mean, if it gets to the point where I can’t even feed them unless I work a traditional day job and have to put them in school, I would do that. I mean, hungry kids are not kids that can benefit from homeschooling. But so far we are not there yet, so they have to be my priority. It is very hard to shuffle what everyone wants me to do, though. Nik is bound and determined to do this business, and if that was my only other thing, helping him with it, I think I would be fine (and that is where we are trying to get to) but for now, I am the one making all the money with my other work…plus homeschool, plus helping him get this thing started. Its just very hard. It is one of those things where I feel like I am on the brink of failing all of it because I can do none of it well because it is too much. It is hard not to be angry at the people who did not fulfill their end of their role properly and who contribute to our difficulties (obviously we made mistakes as well, but we have always tried to handle them with contrition and restitution, and a ‘let’s work through this to everyone’s satisfaction” attitude instead of being vindictive asses.) We could have thrown some blind people under the bus to save us, but it just didn’t seem worth it. And although difficult now, I think in the long run, we will be proud of how we handled this bumpy road. The others, well, I am just glad I don’t have to live in their minds. But apologies for getting cryptic and off-topic.

Love in, love out. It is my new breathing meditation. A positive take on the “Garbage in, garbage out” meme. See the love that is coming in, concentrate on that. Turn it into  loving actions that you put out. And then my old standbys: chunking things into small, manageable pieces and taking things a day at a time. We will get through this. Although it is a time where it is especially hard to hear other people’s mundane problems and entitlement. But I try to keep in mind that to millions of people in this world, I would sound just as entitled.

Sooo, I will get to the past month’s highlights here. I did have some health issues, a trip to the ER for low potassium again, CONSTANT bleeding for the past 3 months and having to be VERY careful about diet to keep potassium and iron levels up due to that. There is probably a surgery coming my direction soon, but need to get health insurance crap straightened out so that is being put off until at least March. So, pacing has been key. And putting health up high on the priority list has been extremely necessary.

But we have had several highlights this last month. Let me look at the pictures and see what I remember.

We had trips to Zoo Lights, a Tour of the Portland Tram, a couple of visits to  Outdoors In. a river boat cruise, Naim made a Gingerbread House again with Ruoda, Grant came to visit and much UNO and geeing out ensued. Christmas and New Years came and went. It was lean, but nice. There was one visit to D’s house. There was movie watching with  The Christmas Story (and then we saw the Leg Lamp downtown), there was visiting the Christmas Tree at pioneer square, there was Christmas Eve at church, and a couple of visits to WeVillage.

Naim was featured in the Portland Family Magazine. It was basically a regurgitation of his TriMet Story, but he was excited about it. Here is Naim’s story featured on the TriMet blog. I think I forgot to post it earlier.

Academically, lets see.

In math, we have finished the last chapter except for the test. Then there is a cumulative review that we should probably do before we move on to the next book. So, two or three more days? Then their usual day off and then it will be on to 2A.  How bad do I feel that they just turned nine and are only in book 2A? I don’t know? Not terribly bad? I mean, they are moving along in math. They get it, they are learning things at a much more thorough level than I ever did. In some ways they are probably behind, but in others they are ahead.  I will just keep on chucking out singapore math.

As I said above, in reading, Naim is still working on Ch. 1 in Reading Horizons. To put that in perspective, there are only 6 chapters in the whole program and each chapter has about 20 lessons. He did all 20 on the computer before it became clear to me that he was not learning them that way. So I went back and started teaching each lesson by hand and not going on until he learns, learns, learns them. This includes ALOT of repetition and drill, which is not my usual way to teach, but Naim likes it that way and it does seem to work. We are now on Lesson 7 by hand, and then I use the computer for a review at the end, instead of being the whole thing on computer. I guess the best thing I can say is that progress is being made.

Aaron is chugging along in HOP Master Reader. He has finished the lessons from Orange Level (so 30) and is now reading the third Chapter book in the series. So he only has one level and one more book to go. He has also started reading other chapter books on his own. He read the Magic Schoolbus books he got for Christmas and now is reading Pokemon choose your own adventure books from the library. After he finishes HOP, I think I will just let him have reading time while I work with Naim.

They are both on Lesson 9 in Grammar. They both continue to work through their Sylvan books. Naim is skipping around in his 1st grade book. I try to make the Sylvan pages he does correspond with what he has done in reading. Aaron plods along in his second grade book, even though it is really too easy for him. I think what it is giving him mostly is spelling and writing endurance.

Aaron finished his handwriting book that was the last printing book in the main series in HWT. He has just started the cursive book. I thought I was going to have to work with him more on it and do some chalkboard work, but he is doing fine on his own.

Naim is still, still at the tail-end of finishing the K ZB book. I think he might have 3 or 4 more pages to go. I need to work with him on the placement of his letters. I would like to find a big (lap) chalkboard or white board with the ZB rule on it.

I also think we have done at least one music, one passports (Iceland) and some craft projects.

Avery’s Goddard school is not doing the printed DARs anymore. They just started electronic versions. Let’s see if I can put one up here, now. OMG! I can’t do it! Well I can, but I can’t without showing my email address. This might even be harder than the scanning. Maybe I can cut/paste the text. Interesting!Print all

Daily Report for Avery – Thu Jan 16


DAILY REPORT – JAN. 16, 2014


Weekly Theme: Sweet Treats


1:25PM – 3:05PM


Lunch – all of the Crackers, all of the Pasta


Language Arts

We enjoyed reading If You Give a Dog a Donut by Laura Numeroff.
Cognitive Development

We practiced counting as we played a number scavenger hunt game.
Creative Art

We freely painted with delicious colors such as yellow and pink to express our creativity.

We developed rhythm and tempo as we sang “Peanut Butter and Jelly.”
Motor Skills

We developed our gross motor skills as we played “Red Light, Green Light” outside.
Science/Nature Studies

We explored cause and effect as we mixed baking soda and vinegar and watched the outcome.
Computer Lab

We practiced typing our name as we played “Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo” on the computer.
Social Science

We freely discussed and listed our favorite “sweet treats” during circle time.
Memorable Moment

Avery had fun in martial arts today
Sent via Tadpoles

OOOOky-Doooky, then! Have to play around with that. But that is what Avery did today, I guess.Moving on, since I don’t remember much, I wanted to outline the next ten or so weeks.I am really starting to think that the kids need school in the AM and then classes or some kind of activity in the afternoon. Or vice versa, although I think we do better with school in the morning.What I have so far is like this:

Monday: AM Homeschool/ PM NWCT for Naim/Art for Aaron, Avery at Goddard

Tuesday: AM Homeschool/ PM Gym for swimming or something and my WW thing.

Wednesday: VH all day. Naim has Explorers, Schoolhouse Mashup (cross subjects with Dori, who is really good with him), World History, and Fun Sports. Aaron has Explorers, Cool Contraptions, Something or other about Pirates and Lego Building Club.

Thursday: We are trying homeschool PE through Parks and Rec, it is held at a gymnastics club.

Friday: Homeschool and that’s it. It seems like Naim goes on a lot of field trips with Ruoda, though.

Saturday: Make up day for school.

Sunday: I think I need to get them back to church.

When does one who has three other jobs do them? I dunno…D is mainly at night from about 8-11. So it doesn’t impede with the schedule much, it just makes me tired. Then I have UU and BAT (the code name for the new biz) and I need to fit that stuff in. Then I need to also have at least some time for school planning, home office work, laundry, shopping, meal prep, housework. Kill me now.

I need three more of me. And geez. So far only two of these jobs pay.

If I could get our business plan done, and set up quickbooks, I can turn over the company to Nik for the next little while, except for a bit of ongoing paperwork. D is what D is. I need to make sure to allocate UU time. Maybe Friday afternoons or maybe I can do some of it Monday while kids are in class or Wednesday while they are in class.

When the kids are 12, two things should happen. First, Avery should be out of Goddard, and they will be able to watch him sometimes so childcare will go down. Second, I think I will be able to consider letting them go to some of their usual places on transit on their own. This will free up SO MUCH TIME. And geez, If I can get Naim reading by then? I’ll have even more time because I will be able to let him go off and do some of his work on his own without spending hours sitting there walking him through every little thing. That’s three years…can I make it for three years? A lot can change in three years.

It will work out. It will work out. It will work out.


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