• Attendance

    January 2020
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  • The “Class”

    Avery, Naim, Aaron

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May 30, 2013

Avery went to ECSE today. He brought home a painted A is for Alligator worksheet. They use a lot of those paints that come in a sponge tipped container.

Big kids:

  • Read and answered questions about Mary McCleod Bethune in DER
  • Did workbook for MIF Ch. 13, Lesson 5.
  • Each did 2pp. of Sylvan and spelling words.
  • Aaron did worksheets for Lesson 1 in HOP.
  • Naim did bonus book for Lesson 17 in HOP.
  • Aaron did number 4 in Letter School and HWT
  • Naim did letter Uu workbook stuff in ZB
  • Watched and took quizes in BrainPop on land changes
  • Watched percentages in BrainPop

Fred is here so Aaron went to the mall with him.

June 13, 2012

These are Avery’s father’s day and mother’s day gifts from Goddard. I cannot attest to how much he actually had to do with them.

Goddard: He got an incident report because he has a bump on his head from, I guess, leaning back in the chair and hitting a shelf. I did feel a bump, but he seems fine. Says he likes music class. When big kids go to camp in 2 weeks, I will spend a day with him. Avery brought home a father’s day gift. I always wonder if and how much they prep these things before-hand. But I think they try to do a lot of stuff like this to sort of maintain a home/school connection. They had muffins and fruit for parents on Mother’s Day weekend.

Big kids school was frustrating today. Not sure why. Everyone was just not on their game and was getting frustrated with the work and each other. It kind of feeds off itself. One bad assignment can domino into struggles in everything else. It is the mood of it. Have to see how I can pick it up when that happens.

Anyway, accomplished:

  • Aaron read “Wild School” and did the worksheet. I put Naim back on Lesson 1 of Discoveries in Early Reading.
  • Calvert Math, did Lesson 5.8 on symmetry. Cut symmetrical shapes out.
  • Aaron-Sylvan 2pp., worksheets for Lesson 13 and reread story in HOP book.
  • Naim-4 pp. on rhyming with Sylvan. HOP did flashcard words, bonus workbook 2pp. and reread “In the Bin.”
  • Sentence School, 2nd lesson on different shapes of lower-case letters (below line, above line, mid-line.)
  • HWT, -e-.
  • BrainPop-was about parallel sentence structure which was a bit over their heads. We’ve been in the habit of watching one a day. Sometimes they are right where the kids are, sometimes below and above.
  • With Avery, went to playground. The plan was bike riding today, but my dad screwed up those bikes so bad they have not worked right since I rode them around in Target. They are only getting worse. I’m going to have to take them to a bike shop to see if they are salvageable. He made me pay for them (I mean, he didn’t make me, he just didn’t offer.) and then he breaks them before the kids even have a chance to use them because he doesn’t listen to instructions and does everything half-assed. The worse part is, they have totally turned the kids off of bike riding because they have had no success with the things. Then my dad busted the big wheel, too, and still didn’t offer to replace it. But, playground was ok. Kids found another older boy to play with while Avery and I diddled around.
  • Finished Naim’s tie dye shirt. In the dryer now, will take pics later.

Aaron made a wind-up fan with Naim’s snap circuits and made a small demo video.

Naim modeling his Tie Dye shirt he made yesterday at PCM. It turned out better than I thought it might. More colorful and interesting.

Modeling the back, with a perfect model over-the-shoulder glance.


Grampa Fred Visit

We have been sick (Avery, Aaron and I) since Grampa Fred left, and so have missed days at VH. But we did get a bit of school in on Avery’s first day by himself at Goddard Monday. We did:

  • Usborne Book 9: Run Rabbit Run and word bank
  • Sylvan and sylvan spelling
  • HOP Lessons for each kid (gr- and pl- for Aaron and -ip) for Naim. DVD, book and story in book.
  • Word Time
  • Handwriting lower-case s.

Other things we did with Grampa Fred:

  • OOTW Pizza
  • They went to Noodles, and McDonalds like, twice each! Went to mall to get soccer shoes for Naim.
  • Outdoors In
  • Made helicopters
  • Watched a ton of TV.
  • Went to Target to get clothes
  • Went to Church (with Fred! that was Naim’s doing, not mine)
  • Went to Glowing Greens to play mini golf
  • Went to the dog park
  • Went to 53rd street park and played soccer a bit

Here is a link to Fred’s pics and I will add a few more.

VH, Birthday Parties that almost weren’t, Stranger Danger


Avery went to Little Villagers and except for refusing to do the art project, did well. He is getting more comfortable with the routine (when to clean up, etc.) and he likes it.

Discoverers seemed fine, too. All they ever tell me about that is that they played.

Measure for Treasure had cooking science and more gak that Aaron brought home.

Naim continues to enjoy drama. They did this day by themselves, said Nik. He did not see either one till the end of the day there.

Here is the note from Measure for Treasure.

We will spend the next two weeks of class doing some classroom “cooking” in class.  We will make more gak, some play doh, bubbles, and other fun recipes.
Next week, please bring two “servings” of your child’s favorite fruit.  We will put all of the fruit in a bowl to make a Friendship Fruit Salad.  Please bring the measurements for your contribution to the fruit salad (ie. 1 cup of diced apples, 5 Tablespoons of kiwi – the measurements are up to your child – encourage creativity!).

Enrollment for winter term is next Monday. We are already pre-enrolled in everything , but I should double check Naim for Bookworms.

On Tuesday, they are having an entrepreneur fair. This is the kids, not the adults that will have booths and sell things. I’m going to take the kids because they always want to make money but they never like my suggestions for doing different housework projects around here or for D. So I thought this might give them (and me) some ideas.

I spent the ENTIRE DAY at D’s doing attendant work. Well, I actually came back home for an hour or two here and there but went back two more times. It was his birthday and so I made sure I got there early (9:00 am being the definition of early for him) so we could do something with him. Aaron wanted him to spend the day over here. I thought that might be possible as they would not be home until 2. But I could not get him going. I offered to take him out, or come there or have him come here. By almost 7:00 pm, we were finally done with breakfast, getting ready for his BP, which took 3 hours, then rests in-between all this stuff, then getting him up and dressed. He finally got up at just before 7. Kids were hungry and anxious to eat and give their pictures and things to D. So I suggested they come to his house and he wanted to order pizza, so that is what we did. We only stayed about 1 1/2 hours, and he was spaced out or stoned or I don’t know what. He got a bit better after eating pizza, but I was so tired, and I don’t know what is going on there. Is it physiological? Is it long-term narcotics use that is damaging his brain? Is he depressed? I’m not sure, and not sure what to do about it. Nik and I are spending our lives over there, and he never leaves his house EVER. He backs out of seeing the kids frequently and they are starting to notice. There is so much “keeping him alive” that his quality of life seems to be quite low right now. It is hard to know how much of this is out of his control and how much of this is him just checking out.

I told him about going to Stubb Stewart and that the bus we rode had a lift. I said we could go out for a day trip and stay on the paved trails. He is having battery issues with his chair so I suggested that he could go manual and I would push him. But then he goes off on going camping out there together. I’m not against that, but that is a whole other ballgame. And I’m like, I can’t even get you out of the house and down the street to the corner park. Lets take some baby steps here. But then I realized, this is all just fantasy for him. Going for the day, camping, just as far out of his reality, so he just goes off on something that doesn’t make sense. It is weird to have conversations with him now. I will have to think more on this. Should I talk to his dad? Should I call his nurse? Craig Hospital? A counselor of some type? I’ve already tried to talk to him and get nowhere. Part of my job is to monitor his “with-it-ness” and ability to manage himself. I don’t think we have fallen off a cliff yet but we are moving closer to the edge.

It makes me incredibly sad. Its like watching someone slowly fade away and not knowing if there is anything you can do about it. I guess I talk about it here because it does affect the kids most of all and it is something that I am going to have to deal with as a parent. Mostly, I try to be honest with them about what is going on. But it is hard when I don’t completely understand it myself. We have been using iMessage on the iProducts now, and when(if) I get a new iPad 3 next year, we will all be able to do video stuff, so maybe that can help us find new ways to stay more connected.

But, I think there is a few picts on Nik’s camera:

Not the best pics, but we were really crowded in and Nik got a few.

Three candles on a cupcake, for 37? It worked.

One of the few times the six of us (8 if you include Kai and Sully) were together, awake, and in one place. It was gonna happen, even if we didn't get him up till 7:00pm

One more thing, when we left from D’s, it was dark and I sent Naim with some trash to the dumpster, which is only a few meters from his apartment. He didn’t come back for forever, and so I went to look for him. I found him in the hallway of the apartment building next to D’s. They all do look alike. He got lost, he knew he wasn’t in the right place so he decided to stay where he was at. Which is what we have told them to do if they ever get lost.

This led into a discussion about Stranger Danger. Grampa Fred told them not to talk to strangers, which is just not practical when you are a kid riding transit with disabled parents and a guide dog. They/we are a source of curiosity for the public and they have to learn how to manage that. Being the center of attention all the time and also sometimes having to ask strangers for information, it is just not realistic for us to not talk to strangers, and we are always out in the public eye.

Besides, experts like Gavin deBecker and others say that telling your kids not to talk to strangers is stupid and ineffective anyway. It is much better to teach your kids HOW to talk to strangers and HOW to deal with an interaction when it goes bad. Mainly this involved giving them the right and the power to say NO and to tell you what happened and to ask for your assistance in dealing with it. So, we have gone over that, but it is always good to go over it again. My dad telling them not to talk to strangers was confusing for them. I just told them it was an old fashioned thing to say. They actually do handle the multiple interactions with the public that they encounter daily quite well. And have also appropriately referred to us when things got weird. (i.e. a woman on the Max freaked out because they were traveling with Nik and not their mother. At first they answered her, but then they said, “Talk to my dad about it.” They tend to call him “dad” in public, but refer to him as stepdad at home. So they get context and making interactions easier on themselves.)

They also are extremely transit savvy. They know how to identify a bus stop sign, they know which stop things are at on the Max. They understand that TriMet personnel are-whatever the term is-“mandatory safety officers” so that if they ever should get lost and have stayed in their spot longer than is comfortable to wait to be found, they can go to any bus stop or flag down any bus (or press the emergency button on the train) and tell a trimet employee that they are lost (and then give them our name and address.)  We always make sure that we do a count before and after getting on and off any bus or train, but there is always the small possibility of getting separated on transit.

But, I think they are well equipped for their age and are far ahead in maturity about this than many of their car-driven, public schooled, able-bodied so they blend in, counterparts.

Cat Reluctance

Didn’t do much school today besides Naim going to NWCT for his class. Aaron and I came back early and watched a bit by the doorway while they rehearsed their play. Then we got kicked out and the door was shut because we were distracting Naim and some of the other kids (we weren’t doing anything, it was just the fact that they had an audience.) Se we went down the hall to wait.

When I went to pick him up, the assistant teacher Erin came to talk to me and I struggled my way through that entire conversation–hearing wise–so I only got the gist and still a bit confused. Apparently, (according to Naim) they practiced the play 8 times and he only got to practice 2.) Now what I got from her is that he sat out a lot. I’m still unsure if they pulled him out or if he sat himself out. But there was some issue with concentration. So they decided next week that when he came in, he would dump his stuff and then Erin and he would run around the building. Then, he would come back and have to concentrate.

I know he doesn’t like the play too much and he wanted to be the mermaid, not the cat, and other such complaints. At about two or three weeks in, I asked him if he wanted to quit. Saying that he could quit then and it would be no problem, but if he stayed, then he was committing because then they would be left stranded without a cat for the play. I’m sticking by this. I do not care if he does drama or goes there or not. But he asked to go, I gave him an out long ago that he didn’t take, and now he has to see it through. I do need to help him with his lines more than I do, so we have two weeks left and I need to make sure he goes over them at least once a day. But he used to bring them to me, and now I have to nag. (Or I forget, too). So we will definitely be taking a break from NWCT for the winter term at the very least.

He told Erin and I that the problem was that even though he is six, he is really 8 or 9. I think that in some ways he is quite young, he is one of the younger kids and is one of the few who can’t read their own script. But on the other hand, I think he is saying that he has been a bear, a penguin, a pig and a cat. He kind of wants to move on to more real “acting”. Rochelle at VH had him as a Prince, a Farmer and a “Grumpy Old Man” with a lot more extemporaneous lines and characterization. He ripped those parts up so much that I still have people at VH coming up to me to compliment him on his acting and those were last year.

I have a whole ‘nother post to write about Naim and some of the things he says and where he needs to be and how I feel about him after reading “The Last Child in the Woods” which I am almost finished with, but I will save that for another time.

But he still has to commit to the next two weeks and do what the director (teacher) wants him to. If I’m going to let him out of Chinese, (mostly because I can’t help him) I am not going to let him out of this. He hasn’t asked to be let out, but it is more that he is going to have to pull it together and focus on what he committed to rather than blow it off.

Didn’t do much the rest of the afternoon. I did office work and the kids watched TV. Since my dad came and set up the TV antenna for them, there has been a lot of TV around here lately and a lot of nagging about commercials (I don’t know how other families stand it. We have extremely little nagging when they don’t watch commercial TV, but when they do, it increases dramatically and they don’t shut up.) I don’t mind a bit of TV when people need to chill out or when someone is sick or every once in a while, but when they have constant access to TV like they do now, they don’t play as much, go outside as much, read books as much, eat as much, help around the house as much, etc. When we don’t have it, they NEVER, EVER ask for it. It just gets forgotten in 24 hours or so, and everything is a lot livelier and more fun around here.

I think the antennae is going to have to accidentally get knocked out of position.

Tuesday VH, Pumpkins and Apples


Avery slept a good part of the morning. He went with me to D’s for a bit. D had a little app on his iPod that had a picture of me and some other shapes and stuff. Whenever Avery would tap on it, something would appear and for the picture of me he had it say “mama.” Avery liked to make that one appear and did seem to say mama perhaps once. He also watched Play with Me Sesame over there, then Nik got him and took him home to nap while I worked the rest of the afternoon.

Aaron and Naim went to VH where they are filming a documentary called “Class Dismissed.” Nik saw the camera crews and they said they were filmed several times, so we shall see if anything comes of it or if the kids end up in a movie.

I did not hear a lot about their classes today. Doesn’t look like the class blogs have been updated yet. Maybe all of the excitement from the camera crew?

Kids carved pumpkins with Grampa Fred. That seemed to go ok (I was not here.) Aaron decided he didn’t like his, not sure why. It doesn’t light up as well as Naim’s because I think the holes aren’t big enough. Avery did not get to paint his yet.

Kid’s went to dinner at Noodles with Fred. After, we FINALLY did the apple pie activity from Avery’s Buttercup curriculum. We have never had enough apples at one time before. Basically, it was just making applesauce and putting them in little pie pans and putting whipped cream on top. Avery did get into smashing the apples and did enjoy being a part of it and eating it. We still have apple sauce for tomorrow.

Don't know what this is...from Lego class

Making pie with Avery's applesauce

Good pie.

More apple mashing

Naim's Pumpkin

Fred always gets this job.


The Volcano that We Almost Saw

Aaron said the cloud on top of the mountain looks like an alligator coming out of it.

But first, Avery:

Nik stayed with Avery today for Head Start and Danielle. He said (and in her notes) that it went well. She read some books, they worked on farm animal sounds, the old tennis balls in the muffin cups thing. Avery was engaged and interested in the stuff she brought and activities. Nik said it is what he expected Jean to do but she doesn’t. He will start going to the on-site program in two weeks.

So, we were supposed to go to Mt. Hood (I thought). We had briefly discussed going to Mt. St. Helen’s but I thought it was vetoed due to the time it takes to get there. I also thought there would be more stuff to do at Mt. Hood. Anyway, Fred decides to go to Mt. St. Helen’s, but doesn’t tell me so I can look up things and plan. He got gps directions to “Mount St. Helens” literally the summit. I wanted to go to Johnston Observatory and Learning Center were it is all about volcanoes and stuff. But since I thought it was vetoed, I never looked it up. His phone ran out of batteries and my 3G cut out in the mountains. So we got lost, kids (and I) were car sickish, and I had to literally monitor how lost I was going to let us get before I called it quits. I mean, he was going on logging roads, which can be dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing and I did not want to be stuck in logging roads after dark with no cell phones. So, we ended up just stopping at a couple of lookout places and then walked along a trail by a river that seemed to be called “June Lake.” Then went home. A long time in the car for not very much volcano. We ended up seeing sort of the back side of St. Helens, but not much of the volcanic distraction and stuff. I will say that everyone did a good job of making the best of it and being patient.

Just to get out of the car, we found a little place by a creek to park and take a little walk. Kids really like any kind of nature. Naim kept saying it was beautiful. It always reminds me of that book, “The Last Child in the Woods” where they talk about how kids don’t need to learn to share and fight over toys and things in nature because there is such an abundance of everything. There was no end to the rocks you could throw in the river. No end to the water to play in. No end to the trees to look at or space to run in. Nik and I are brainstorming ways we can do more of this. Ride Connection worked well at Jackson Bottom, but did not return my next request for the Pumpkin Farm. Nik talked to D’s medical transportation people today about doing some private work for us. They were very willing but we will have to see about costs.

We are so not used to being in the car, though. All three of us were having difficulties. I thought Aaron was really going to barf, but we all held it together. You never go that fast, that long, and that curvy, low to the ground and closed-in on the bus or train. We have driven in a car so little the past few years, that we completely are unfamiliar with the sensation. Even Avery, who has probably been in a car less than 10 times in his life, was completely like WTF? when we had him in the carseat yesterday. Crazy. Mt. St. Helens feels like a lost opportunity, Fred has no idea how much of an opportunity it is for us to get out of town like that, so he rushes and doesn’t plan. I have no idea if we will ever get an opportunity to go there again and actually see the mountain/volcano side and go to the observatory. But if I do, there will be maps and planning!