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Archive for July, 2009

D is for .....

July 28th, 2009 at 12:45 pm

When you want to work on a letter sound with young children, you don't need full alliteration, you just need lots of words that begin with a certain sound. Suppose you start with D. Any kid can be prompted to come up with Dog, or Daddy. Most can follow clues to dragon, or dream. If you read Dr Seuss you of course go with Donald David Doo dreamed a dozen doughnuts and a duck dog too.

House rules will differ for each house, but in ours, whoever comes up with a word last wins. So saying half a dozen in a row to use up words is common. We also have very lax rules for the kids; they can repeat any word, while Mom and Dad must use new words. Oh and using any outside help, like google is cause for disqualification. Other than that, we just aim to have a fun discourse full of the letter of the day.

After an hour or so we have used up dreary, darning, disco, dwarf and all the compound words like doormat, doorknob, or daytime, daylight, and daylong. So we move on to bigger words like destroyer, destiny, declare, and deviate, or derivative.

Somewhere around lunch time we get desperate and decide to try all the places we know, like Denver, Dorchester and Dormont.

Then we start to borrow foreign words, like derriere, or dormir , dos , and deux.

By dinner time we start to get desperate and decide all words have various forms, so dine, dined, dinner, dining, dines, and diner all count as new words. Back to that French, conjugation is now fun. Je Dor, Tu dors, il/elle dort, nous dormons, vous dormez, ils/elles dormant. (And that is just for present tense, which is all I know)

By the time we head to children’s choir practice the other adults want to know we are fighting over who can conjugate the Latin Deo first, which essentially means remembering all the different forms sung in any song we heard, because neither of us knows Latin very well. (Dona, Donno? Domine, dues?)

If this is all done with the giggles and excitement of a couple parents competing for fun, kids will learn something. From how to compete (don’t get all worked up, it is for fun!) To how to graciously lose, kids are learning. Not to mention since you repeat the sound “d” so many times and “D is for desist!” at every word any young child has to pick up some letter sounds.

Now I decidedly must decamp,and deliberate some other kind of delectable drivel to delight the dedicated readers of my decidedly disaster of a drawn out note.

Education

July 26th, 2009 at 01:48 pm

Kids will always learn, they are designed by God to learn. We as parents just get to direct them toward useful information. Or we try anyway. Somehow Starwars quotes and sports statistics crop up along with math and reading!

Every minute of a child’s day is learning, from the moment they are made till something ruins it, a child is learning, waking hours are spent noticing the world, cataloging, and filing away tidbits of information, sleeping hours are spent organizing and sorting through those tidbits.

I think the single most important thing parents can do is delight in the learning with our children. So stop and notice the worm, take a moment to see how high you can count in binary, or just read a good book. You don’t even have to read it to them, just enjoy it yourself, nothing makes a kid want to read more than seeing someone else chuckle and yet not be able to explain it. Many times I have said “You have to read the book to get it”.

We read constantly throughout the day. Before nap, before bed, while cooking dinner, and during nap time (which is an hour of enforced silence for the older two) books abound. Mom reads when she wants a break; Dad reads online how to fix a computer, or the latest sports news. While Google is the source of all answers, someone has to read those websites for the info. And even when seeking professionals, we still read. You didn’t think I paid long distance rates to talk with Grandpa, of course not; that’s what gmail’s IM is for!

I did long ago swear my kids would not grow up reading at the dinner table, not because reading is bad, but because I grew up where a family dinner meant 4 books brought to the table. So for those times we talk…generally about what we read during the day! Most topics begin with “I was reading today…”. Or “did you read about…”. Then there are the story reviews by the kids. Not some fancy format, but simply a child sharing what they read or heard that was worth sharing today.

We run most of our adult conversation through a filter to see what lesson the kids are learning. Not that we script anything, just that before we start or at least before we finish we think about the lesson. So yeah we talk about the sports scandals, and then we talk about how they could have avoided the situation, or what politicians should keep their noses out of. We talk about science, or history, or current events, all with an ear to the lesson. I am sure plenty of bad lessons seep through, but when we can, we aim for a good one. Even a conversation on winning the lottery can be educational…politically or mathematically.

Many conversations include math. Most adults use math every day without thinking about it. How many times a day do you check a clock? Whether we are checking to see if we are late, or to see how long before dinner, we use the clock and add or subtract time. Of course cooking uses plenty of math, from counting scoops, to converting fractions. Paying bills, or balancing a checkbook is of course math, why not skip the calculator next time and see if you can write it down like the kids? Go ahead and check your answer with a calculator, I do! So long as we do the math out loud with no complaint, children see that math has many uses. Though we need to not blame the math for our decision, math is not the reason we avoid yet another donut with 300 calories, the empty sugar and fat is. Math is not to blame for our bank account not having enough to buy a new playground set, the daily need to eat is.

We build the house to be educational; every little thing is another tidbit for them to sort through while they sleep.

Our Frugality is hurting the kids education!

July 25th, 2009 at 01:26 pm

You see when asked what someone would pay to finance a couch for a year, my son couldn't wrap his number crunching head around the problem. He didn't know what financing was!

He also apparently doesn't know how to capitalize properly, nor what a colon is.

But he does know enough to pass his test in the 97th percentile, so I am happy. (though a conversation or two is in his future regarding capital letters and colons!)

servant or more clothes

July 24th, 2009 at 09:24 am

Sometimes in reading old books I wonder how so many 'middle class' families afforded servants.

In a way it seems they spent more on 'help' and less on clothes, food, dining out, and other simple things.

given a choice I would take a maid over clothes in a minute!

But now a days, clothes are cheap, maids expensive.

I wonder why? From my reading of fiction (so not to be confused with real history) A maid once employed was frequently given, roam, board and some small amount of spending money. Course the details of room/board are a bit different today. That and no one under 18 can seek employment really. So you have to pay a gal (or guy since we are so enlightened these days) who is old enough to start their own family if you want a maid, and they certainly expects to be able to raise a family on that wage.... Considering modern cleaning 'stuff' I would think it is easier to be a maid today than back when you had no vacuum, no washers, and no swiffers. So why do they cost more?

Servants quarters ranged from dorm room type to hovels, to a room in the stables, to a trundle bed in the kids room. Now a days if you had live in help they would expect their own apartment...with AC and cable TV of course.

I think we would have less unemployment if we let folk do unskilled labor for unskilled labor wages. Not to mention paying the neighbor kid to cut my grass shouldn't be a federal offense.

Gold thoughts

July 22nd, 2009 at 09:41 am

"What if we saw gold for what it is?" he says meditatively. "Gold is pretty but virtually useless. Somebody decided it has worth, and everybody accepted this decision. The natives in the Americas thought Europeans were insane because of their lust for such a useless yellow substance."

from guy living in a cave

I don't begrudge him his cave, but living like a raven, on the discards of others, is hardly a Christian life. Though if it floats his boat, it certainly doesn't hurt me, so have at it.

The comment on Gold however I agree with. I see not use for the stuff, pretty occasionally, but usually..it is more trouble than it is worth. (really worth, not what some guy in a suit will pay for it.)

And BTW, I have never said 'I will just die without X'....Either women of ancient times were idiots, or the writers of history only remembered the idiots. "I'll die without Rapunzel lettuce", "I shall die without more gold, this gem, that life sent away".

I have read "I shall die if you don't' more times in the past week than I ever care to recall again - from Genesis and old fairy tales.

Wish them enough

July 21st, 2009 at 12:42 pm

I was thinking on how different folk want 'the best' for their kids.

I don't. Oh don't get me wrong I could think of quite a few good things to do with a spare million, but truth is them being better people than I is more important than them having more than I do/did.

I want them to have financial skills earlier than I, but am ok with them not having more money.

I want them to be better educated than I, but am fine with them not wanting a degree. (certainly no need of a 'brand name' one)

I would like if they could travel more than I have, but I don't need it on chartered jets. A mission trip or the like would do them better.

All the things I want for my kids, are not cheap, but are also not so costly that we cannot manage them.

And the biggest things, are free. Lessons in honesty, love, integrity, compassion, history, peace, empathy, cultures...

free but not easy. Would be easier if all I wanted for them was a fairy tale childhood.

Lazy day Sundays

July 20th, 2009 at 11:20 am

Some folk get things done on Sunday, others do nothing. I fall into the nothing category, I wish I had some sort of drive to get tons of things done, but in general that has to wait till Monday. And quite frankly I could sit on my rear end all day if left alone.

I wonder what makes some folk driven and others a well Lazy?

Though Lazy or no, things must get done.

I think I should like a terrarium

July 18th, 2009 at 11:01 am

We have a number of frogs out of doors in the yard (one advantage to not spraying for weeds)

And the kids find them very interesting but it is very hard to study them at length, cause they naturally run, err hop from kid!

Anyway I was considering how to keep and observe them without endangering them, and I think a simple tank terrarium, or bowl would be ok. I just have to either make sure the kids let them go after a day, or find out what they eat (I guess flies?)

I have no desire for a pet resident, so not looking to spend a lot of money (or any if possible), I just want a temporary holding device that will last for a day or at most a week (though next year I mean to take the kids down to the creek and hunt for tadpoles early if possible-those we would keep till they morph, so long as we manage not to kill em)

Anyway, been racking my brain all morning, somehow a collection of computer parts doesn't lend itself well to a terrarium.

Why does NC require me to spend my own money testing my kid?

July 17th, 2009 at 11:15 am

Why do I have to shell out $50-$100 of my own money on top of the tax money sent to test other kids?

If the gov't is so all fired curious just where my kid falls compared to average 7 year olds why don't they test him?

They do have these days set up for just such a purpose in the public school year, which my tax dollars fund not only the electricity, the supervision, and the grading, but also the salary of the person who decides what to do with the scores.

But will they share any of that tax funded time/space/grading with me? nope, require me to do it, but not one ounce of assistance for the process.

Not that I want gov't interference, just that I wish they would keep their grubby noses out of my business when all they want me to do is spend money.

What will I leave behind?

July 16th, 2009 at 11:46 am

The article on the SA blog about being careful with your fortune made me consider just what I am leaving.

As of right this minute, a pile of dirty laundry, pile of patching, pile of papers/cards that aught to be mailed out, pile of photos, pile of dirty dishes (yes I already did a load of dishes and 3 of laundry today) Not to mention piles of books, and computer equipment.

Stuff wise I don't think I have any need to be careful with things. Not that I plan on abusing them, just that I have very few items kept but not used. Not much chance of hiding them. I do have a teddy bear of my mothers (and one of my own) that I hope is kept, plus a doll of my mothers (that I loved as a girl) and one of my own, that I also hope are kept. Among other trinkets. nothing of value to an outsider.

Of course fire could ruin them, but I highly doubt any thief would want the truly important 'things' in my house.

Having so much stuff with history is one of the reasons I don't like to get too much new stuff in...if my daughter has 10 dolls how will she ever know how special it is that I still have mine and my mothers? and where am I supposed to put them all!

Though I have been itching for new plates in my kitchen, something that doesn't easily break, but looks better than plastic..my old plates are looking rather old, but my two mostly unbreakable ones that I have had since I moved out look rather nice still. I wonder if they make anything like that anymore.

had to use a book

July 15th, 2009 at 10:47 am

So my internet wasn't working well yesterday. I normally spends 10-60 minutes with the kids looking up interesting topics.

So I went with the old fashioned book...seems those paper bound things do have interesting info Smile

Learned a bit about the Mercury and Gemini missions. Hope to read more on Apollo today.

In some ways it is easier to be really poor than just mostly...

July 13th, 2009 at 10:40 am

It has been commented by others that we always have fruit..an expensive commodity, but one we feel worth paying for along with whole wheat foods.

We also feel homeschooling, being home with the kids, and church going worth the cost.

Then there are the bills, electricty, gas, house payment, required savings, retirement and so on, all pretty important.

When that was the extent of my paycheck, life was easy.

Now that I have a small amount to spare..what do I do with it?

Piano lessons? or Swim lessons? Karate, or Dance? Should I pay for more homeschool books, French, Spanish? or maybe I should go organic for at least some of our foods? (That huge bag of apples we buy every week..) How about a nature class, or science special. Or maybe I should put it away for a bigger trip next year.

Life is simpler when lack of money dictates you Must do it one way. But then it would be simpler if I had all the money in the world and could do all I wanted (including invent a time machine so I had time to do all I wanted!)

Farmers Market

July 11th, 2009 at 11:11 am

We spent the morning at a local farmers market, everything was grown/made within 50 miles. and most was organic.

Which means most of it was expensive.

Now I would prefer local foods, in season foods, and organic. But prices were seriously twice what I normally pay for food. Course I don't normally get local, nor organic.

I am curious what the costs do at the eend of the day..do the grass fed beef prices drop? From what I saw the food was rapidly being sold out. (one stall gone at 8:30 am already). So I am not sure there are any 'end of day sales.

My husband wants me to grow more at home, but in case you hadn't noticed the only thing we grow are flowers...some folk call them weeds.

Next year though I promised to try zucchini and peppers. And promised to try the carrots again, this time reading up on them more.

My so called yard

July 8th, 2009 at 05:53 pm

Rabbit eating dandelions



I have no idea how to rotate, now that it is uploaded..

Zinnia, and Marigold


not all great, but not to shabby

I don't have a good picture of the sunflowers, but here is the 'hill'


there are also blackberries but half are being taken over by honeysuckle.

'don't be alaemed' from either visa, mastercard, or half a dozen others

July 8th, 2009 at 01:45 pm

I recieved a call just now, started off "this is your CC company, don't be alarmed' then proceeded to tell me I might be eligible for reduced rates on my Mastercard, Visa, and several other cards.

Now if this really was my CC company, wouldn't they know which type of card they were?

it finished with 'press one for more information, or press 2 to be removed from this list'

I pressed two of course.

edit to add, my husband tells me pressing two is bad, I should have hung up.

So when do you give up on a pair of jeans?

July 7th, 2009 at 01:36 pm

I am putting the bazziliionth patch on a pair of jeans and I can imagine what folk must think. At this point the patches hold the jeans up as much if not more than the original material..but, I am patching with a holey shirt, unwearable.

Since I can't exactly sew a new pair of pants, I use the old shirt and old jeans. I wonder just how long this will last.

The pair I am sewing, has managed to hold old patches and make new holes in new places. But the pair I am wearing has holes in the knees, that were patched up. And new holes above the old patch! since it is summer I figure the holes are 'breezy'. but come winter I will have to patch the patch Smile.

Quickies

July 6th, 2009 at 08:03 am

First, I don't even like quickies, in general if you are going to do a thing, take your time and do it right, but I have nothing big to say.

*Why do we no longer call it independence day? It is 'Happy 4th". Are we trying to forget our independent roots? With all the non freedoms and restrictions we have today I can see why we would want to forget.

*Back home, glad to be in my own bed, but not so happy about my own laundry/dishes to do.

* Received a 'canceled your card due to inactivity' notice today. Haven't used the card the whole time I knew my husband so not to surprised. Though husband is considering using his oldest card just so it has activity and doesn't get canceled, I don't think it is worth it personally.

*Sewed up the wetbag again. I had bought it for my mother to use with wet swimsuits (she would love the flower pattern) but needed one on the way home, figured one wash wouldn't hurt, well it ripped on the side. I asked and received a replacement, but different pattern Frown. Not sure what to do with the original, I was encouraged by folk to sew it and use it. So I did, but after a dozen washes it split further up the bag, so I sewed it again, this time I went part way up the non ripped side, hope to prevent further tearing.

*Taking it easy today, hope to get a family nap in to recover from staying up so late so many nights in a row.

*Plans to go back to PA over Labor day, Ren-fest and family picnic, though we might pick a different weekend.

How can one weekend cost as much as a week?

July 3rd, 2009 at 03:20 pm

In general our trips to PA are not too expensive, we stay with family we don't eat out much (least not on our dollar) and we don't go anywhere fancier than the science center.

BUT...we generally have a picnic planned with other family, and we always bring food, fruit and veggies and cheese, things I know my kids will eat wherever we may go.

I am always surprised at how much fruit, cheese, crackers and a few veggies can cost! Especially since we are buying to please the average, with minimal work, not in season, nor anything that requires prep. (or even containers, or silverware)

This weekend is worse than average with two picnics and a holiday weekend at that.

Well I guess I will do it myself..

July 1st, 2009 at 11:04 am

Since that co-op isn't working out for me I got together with a couple moms and worked out a mini option on Tuesdays. Still have something bigger in the thought process for Thursday..prolly not gonna do it right off the bat though.

Should be a good chance for the kids to get a few topics in and happens to be right before the GS meetings will be in fall. decent timing.

Though does make Tuesdays full!