Thursday, September 29, 2005

Back After a Long Hiatus...

So my phone and electricity were disconnected on the same day. Such is the life of perpetually poor people. We managed to get the electric back on, after borrowing a significant amount of money from a friend of ours - which I completely hate doing and fully intend to pay back before anything else. The phone took a while to get on again, since I refused to borrow more money. I apologize to anyone who actually reads this blog (but I doubt anyone noticed) for the lack of posts for so long.

I'm still looking for that Ultimate Home Job. You know, the one where I don't have to pay gazillions of dollars to get started or bother the crap out of innocent homeowners while running up my long-distance bill. I'm talking a real job, with a boss, and a W-4. *Sigh* Where IS that job?

Saturday, September 17, 2005

The Spelling Dilema...

For those of you (all, umm zero of my readers) who remember my issues with my son's spelling, I may have found a solution.

After trying Discovery Toys Think-It-Through Tiles Spelling, spelling games on funbrain, crossword puzzles designed for kids, and bazillions of spelling words drilled into the boy's head, a teacher sent me THIS. Scholastic's Spelling Secrets.

It may not be the answer to my prayers, but it sure seems like exactly what I'm looking for. This program addresses spelling concepts with actual spelling rules. After all the spelling practice, my son just misses the point of spelling.

My husband doesn't know how to float on his back. I've tried to teach him a million times, but after a few minutes I'm frustrated and saying, "You just have to lay there and float! How hard is that?" Similarly, I was always a fantastic speller and find it difficult to teach something that for me never really had to be taught. Hopefully (cross my fingers) this can help. I'll let you know (all none of you LOL).

Thursday, September 15, 2005

National Geographic for my Homeschool...

I recently acquired (source will not be named) a teacher's edition of National Geographic Picture Atlas of the World. The version I have is an older one, but thankfully I am still running Win98 on this computer. (Give me a break, we're poor.) Good luck finding such a cd-rom new, but I'm thinking ebay might be a good place to start. In the meantime, you can buy a Kids Picture Atlas from the National Geographic website, which might actually be much cooler than the one I have.

Mine shows a world map, and clicking on any country tells you population, topography, weather, and many other facts about that area, as well as photographs of the people and countryside. There are breathtaking landscapes and even examples of music from that area. My kids have spent hours learning about other places and cultures, and this has become a fantastic addition to our regular world studies.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Grammar Rock...

We had a combined garage sale at a friend's house this weekend. While the men were tending the sale, we ladies went shopping at other sales around town. What's the point in getting rid of all your crap if you can't buy some more crap to replace it, right?

I picked up a cd-rom called Grammar Rock for a quarter (score!), which is a Schoolhouse Rock product. I wasn't sure it would be worth much, considering where I got it (and how much I paid for it), but its fantastic! Bunches of language concepts: sentence structure, vocabulary, verbs & adjectives... you name it. Several fun games and activities. I couldn't be happier with it. You can find this cd-rom as well as a bunch of other learning-related games HERE.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Happy Birthday Noah...

Today marks the 7th year since my Noah was born.

I was 18 weeks pregnant when I started bleeding. Large bursts of bright-red blood. I was at work, terrified, I called for one of the ladies in the office to help me. The bleeding had stopped by the time I got to the doctor's office, and the doctor had no clue what had happened. I was on bedrest, with cramping and more bleeding for the next 4 weeks.

At 22 weeks, I was in the hospital being dosed with as much magnesium sulphate as they could possibly give me. After 5 straight days, my body reflexes were gone, I was delirious and my family was convinced I wouldn't make it through another day. They gave up the mag. sulphate and contractions started pretty heavily. I delivered my son at 23 weeks, unable to survive outside my body. He lived 2 hours.

I still mourn for my lost son. I still miss him terribly. But I rarely cry for him now. My journal entries said, "Thank you God for giving me a healthy child first, so I wouldn't kill myself when you took this one." Thank goodness for the healing powers of time. Now I can smile when I think of him, how sweet he smelled, how beautiful he was, and how lucky we were to spend even those two short hours with him. I will always love you, little Noah.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Regression Into 3rd Grade...

Turns out my son is just plain lost on many of the math concepts in his new 4th grade textbook. Last year, when the teacher gave me all the textbooks, she told me they would be replacing the math book and that I could go ahead and keep that one. Thank goodness I did.

I've decided to review last year's book with my son. If there is something he obviously totally understands, we'll skip on to the next chapter. I was really bothered by the fact that he might be behind (doubted my teaching abilities, doubted the homeschooling thing, got over it), but now I think it doesn't matter if he never gets through the 4th grade book this school year, as long as he understands the material we're covering. Unlike public schools, the fact that he gets it is more important to me that just pushing him along into the next grade. Sure he kind of gets it, but that's not sufficient to me. The first week of school was spent with him crying his way through math lessons, me insisting he knew this material, him declaring he was "too dumb" to do it. No more. Since we've gone back to the 3rd grade book, he happily does his lessons, ask questions about what he doesn't understand and he's learning. Whatever I did wrong last year, I've obviously figured it out this time.

Good luck to us, and to the portfolio evaluator understanding my predicament and finding "sufficient progress" in his work.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Back into the Swing of Things...

A couple of weeks into school and we are moving along smoothly. Mostly my son is reviewing last year's stuff, especially in math. There have been a few things we've just skipped right over, and some things we've had to go over a few more times. My son seems to have completely forgotten how to multiply, even though he did so much of it last year.

Still waiting on those manuals from the school for my daughter, but I have had her practicing some sight words and writing her letters. She knows them all, but I think she lacks the motor skills to write them properly.

The biggest warm fuzzy was my son reading his social studies book, writing about geography and the city he lives in, and telling me, "I like school a lot better now."

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Blogs Are Impossible to Maintain...

I'm starting to discover that maintaining a blog is very difficult. I don't have time every day to post, not like anyone is reading it anyway. I'm thinking those people who have blogs they post to daily, even several times daily, either have WAY too much time on their hands or are some seriously dedicated people.

But I don't do this for public viewing. I do this for me. This is a place for my thoughts and ideas, my complaints and rants. That's what its supposed to be for. I write as if someone is reading, but I don't write for the readers. So if you're reading this and are slightly annoyed at the gaps between posts, get over it. I have a life. And when I have time, I'll write about it.