River's Edge Urban Academy

Homeschooling 4 kids ages 9, 6, 4 and baby while working as a postpartum nurse and lactation counselor.

Friday, November 28, 2003

I'm writing this after a great shift at work. I had a great patient assignment with really fun families. I am so lucky I have a job that I love at times. I really hate when I am too busy to do a good job for my patients but when I have the time to do a good job - it is awesome! Anyway, I am trying to keep this focused on school so back to that....

We didn't intend to do school today, and it was a good thing because the kids and I were having such a holiday hangover. Zeff went from tantrum to tantrum all morning. Nothing went right for him and to top it off the baby was esp clingy and needing to nurse all the time. So it was a hard morning till J suggested we make popcorn in the microwave from the ears of popcorn we got at our CSA farm. So I made a huge bowl of popcorn with TONS of butter (it was NOT a lowfat treat) and salt and we ate that and clementines while I read stories (with lots of popcorn breaks in the reading for me!).

Jossy surprised me by trying to sound out the words on the next page when I got up to get more clementines. When I got back she said "Mom, does this word say Naa-Wuh?" Well, she was doggedly applying phonics as she knows it to the word "now" so I told her what it was and she sounded out most of the sentence with help and even read the most dreaded of sight words "the," I was so proud of her and I was excited that she is so motivated to learn to read. I think my plan to try to pick up the pace in LA by skipping some of the review is a good one, since she is so anxious to get reading. She also worked on her "me" book today and some of her categories crack me up. I suggested favorite food, favorite friend and she dutifully did those, but favorite building (her friend's apartment building) and favorite shell (clam) are categories I wouldn't have thought of!

It sounds like Zeff had a better day after I went to work, I am so glad he gets as much daddy time as he does. I think it is really good for him. Him and Ryan are so much alike in temperament; I think Ryan just naturally understands Z's viewpoints better than I do.

I guess that's yet another reason to be grateful we are able to do the split-shift parenting thing, my kids spend so much more time with their dad than I think the average kid does. Currently I'm working 2 days a week. On those days Ryan comes home at 2 and takes care of the kids till I get home around midnight. It is really nice for them to have daylight time to play during the winter and he tends to be better than me about getting them outside.

I feel like I have the best of both worlds, in doing a job that I love on a part time basis, while also keeping my kids at home and out of school and daycare. So far I am pretty much in charge of school and we have it done way before Ryan gets home. I do hope to get dad more involved, esp when I have two and then three to educate at home. An idea my homeschooling aunt gave me, is to have dad be in charge of certain read-alouds for history or whatever and have him read them to the kids at bedtime. I think that idea lends itself very nicely to our situation.

Well, I better go to bed, the baby is actually asleep so I have no excuse for being up at 1am goofing around on the computer! Darn!

Thursday, November 27, 2003

I am writing this at 1am after Thanksgiving. I am up again, with Mr. Nightowl! Well, I can't blame him, I am still a little hyped up from all the family and fun. My mom is from a very large family. She is one of the oldest and so I have cousins that are not much older than my kids. I am guessing there were about 35 people there tonight and it was a blast! My kids love hanging out with their older (second) cousins who are all really nice kids and do a good job watching out for them. They should! My cousin (and best friend) and I did the same for them when they were the little kids and we were the big kids. So as you can probably tell, we had an awesome day, but I think it blew the baby's mind being passed from auntie to auntie! Not to mention my uncle trying to feed him stuffing!
We did a full LA lesson today and started a "Me" book. I actually hadn't planned on doing school but she was so antsy and excited to go to Thanksgiving she really needed something to concentrate on, she did a great job! She did work on her "sounds and letters" book and realized she had almost 1/2 filled it. She had fun going back through it and reading the things she put in it the first week of school when I actually had her cut pictures out of magazines and glue them in! Now we just draw!! MUCH EASIER.
Tuesday and Wednesday were also decent, still dealing with some other crap (sorry that's vulgar, but it is just exactly how I feel about it) in our life, so school hasn't been on the front burner. We did do a full lesson in LA on Tues and 1 1/2 on Wed. I an getting better at not making her do every single worksheet. Most of the stuff is allready review the first time it is presented, so she probably doesn't need to do 3 more worksheets about it! I am going to hold on to all the stuff we skip though, in case we find later that more review is needed.
I have also been letting Zeff play more computer games. He really likes them - he just seems to be hardwired to enjoy TV, computer, video games more than his sister. I suppose that in itself is a good reason to be very aware of his TV and computer habits. I don't hold the view that TV, videos and computer games are bad in and of themselves and I do think that there is good to be gotten from them, when used thoughtfully and in moderation. Currently he is really enjoying Jumpstart Pre-K. There is a construction vehicle game about matching colors that is just a blast for him. He really doesn't need practice on his colors as he has known them very well for several months, but it is fun for him to practice using the mouse and play a game like his sister plays and be successful at it. My poor middle kid, he is easily discouraged and seems to get frustrated and mad at himself too easily. But he really blossoms with success and praise, so I am trying to praise more and also help him be in situations that he can be successful at. He is such a sensitive sweety. I really have a special place in my heart for him.
Well that's it so far. Current goals: more consistent w/chapter books, less TV (always), outside time every day, do some Science!

Monday, November 24, 2003

Well, I'm back, last week really got hard toward the end! Not only am I back at work but we are having some other issues in our life that are emotionally difficult thus making it hard to keep up around the house and keep working on school, but today was much better!
We got off to a slow start and it was one of those days where it kind of felt like the kids were following me around undoing everything I was trying to get done but we still completed our planned Calvert School (only 1/2 a language lesson), did a virtual frog dissection and read The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats and Snowballs by Lois Ehlert. We also read a couple other non-snow related books. We then got bundled up and went sledding with some friends who are from California. It was neat to see how much fun their oldest child had, as it was his first time ever sledding. We came home and had a very mellow evening, ordered a pizza because the kitchen is a disaster and read our snowy day books again. Jossy also played around with the virtual frog dissection website, she can now identify and state the purpose of the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, bladder, stomach and intestines! She also dissected a virtual owl pellet and looked at the parts of the squids body. She liked the frog the best. Later the kids were discussing spiders (J thought all big spiders were tarantulas) and I remembered that the website www.enature.com has pictures of lots of animals and info about them so we looked up spiders, then lizards and frogs. The kids really enjoyed the pictures and we sent a picture of the single ugliest lizard I have ever seen to their grandpa!
I have stated before that we are not "unschoolers" and we're still not, but I have been coming to realize the unplanned, spontaneous, informal learning of our everyday lives is as least as important as the math and language arts that I feel is best taught through a planned curriculum.
Well, the house is still a wreck, but I felt like we have had our first good school day since last Tuesday! I work tomorrow, so hopefully we can keep it up.
PS As a homeschooling mom I often feel like I should have perfect grammar and punctuation in my written work. I probably should and I could if I really tried, but please forgive my errors when I blog. If I took the time to write perfectly correct I would never blog so less than perfect has to be good enough!

Thursday, November 20, 2003

I am sitting here with a fussy, wakeful, stuffy nose baby reflecting on my 2nd shift back at work since his birth. I will avoid the urge to share how tired I am and how little I'm sleeping, but I am going to take a quick moment to rant about the nursing shortage! It is just not fair to have 12 patients when you are supposed to have 8! It is exhausting, and frustrating and although I never felt the situation was unsafe I did have to stay late for 1 1/2 hours charting since I never had a second to do it the whole shift. I am feeling very negative at the moment about hs'ing and working. We got so little done today, and tomorrow doesn't promise to be any better.
It doesn't help either that dh thought he ran out of breastmilk tonight, so he gave the baby formula (I never wanted that icky stuff to pass his lips). Do I have the baby blues if I almost started crying when I saw the overlooked bottle of mama milk in the fridge?
Well, since the homeschooling blog is degenerating into a whining blog I will sign off. And since it's almost 4am and baby just fell asleep in the sling I don't foresee a very promising report for tomorrow either! I do however, foresee (am I spelling that wrong?) many videos in our immediate future!

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Well just a quick post to say I have started back to work! Last evening was my first shift. It went well, but baby is back to his 3am bedtime so I am really tired today. Sorry, I am realizing the theme to my blog is how tired I am and how much sleep I get!
Anyway, Monday was a lovely day at home. I am realizing that our best days are those when we don't have any classes or outside commitments. We did our Calvert School and then just had a lovely day with lots of stories. Joss took it upon herself to clean the whole basement playroom and she did an awesome job!! I got her started by suggesting she assign certain types of toys to certain toy bins and she was off and running. She did at least as good of a job as I could have done and all with out me standing over her telling her where to put what.
A friend of mine recently said about homeschooling "It's like the more we do it, the more reasons we find to keep doing it," I may have misquoted her but I agree with the sentiment whole-heartedly. When I saw Jossy's drive to complete the project of her own creation, I was grateful that she has so much free time to pursue her interests. Although, I am not an "unschooler" I feel myself leaning in that direction more and more as my kids are learning and growing so much on their own. Hmmmm....
Tuesday was another one of the surprisingly good days we have had of late. We had ice skating in the morning, and I do have to say my 2yo's behavior in public is improving - slowly, but steadily! When we got home it was 12:30 and I had to leave for work at 2. I shocked myself by getting lunch ready, getting everything together for work (took a long time, since it was my first day back in 3 1/2 months!), getting the baby fed and completely changed (messy baby!) and getting school done before I had to leave.
I really like my job, so it wasn't as hard to be back as I thought it would be. I actually had a good time since I had a decent patient load and was working with people that I like.
Of course, I came home and was up with the baby till late so I am still dragging and sitting on the computer with a cup of coffee instead of getting my butt in gear! Well, I just started our science lesson - we are studying sight so I tied a scarf around Jossy's eyes and sent her to do a chore with it on to see what it was like to be blind. We are also going to make the Braille alphabet, and do some things with sight and looking at close-ups.
Well, here's hoping for another good day at work!

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Well the end of our week did not go so great. Ryan, baby Keian and I are all officially sick. I was up till 3am with baby Wednesday, Thursday and Friday night!! Fortunately daddy was able to stay home thursday morning so I could catch up on sleep and I was also able to sleep in Saturday AM. I then ended up sleeping straight through from 6pm Saturday till 6am Sunday am! I'm feeling much better now, thank you!

So - Thursday we jumped right into Joscelyn's schoolwork. We are switching our schedule a little and doing language arts first instead of Math. Math is her favorite and she gets a little frustrated during LA. We ended up doing LA until she got frustrated then switched to Math then finished LA. This seems to work better and we will continue doing it this way. Maybe we can even get back on the same lesson with LA and Math! We have "fallen behind" math in language arts by about 8 lessons. I only mind since one of my favorite things about Calvert is the way the lessons complement eachother. (For instance an exercise in LA might be describing different shapes at the same time as we are working on shapes in Math)

After school Thursday, my younger brother came to visit the kids and I. He is probably being deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan soon so we are really cherishing the time we have with him. I love my brother of course, but the kids absolutely idolize him, especially Zeff. He calls him a "brave soldier" and an "Army guy" and thinks he keeps the bad dreams away! (He has his picture posted in his crib for just that reason!) It will be hard to help Zeff understand when he goes.

When Jon came over, we decided to take the kids to the children's museum. Someday I would like to describe it in full in my blog as it is a wonderful mix of play and learning. Anyone who is interested could probably find info about it by googling "Minnesota Children's Museum" Suffice it to say, my brother, the kids and I had a great time. And Zeff crashed on the way home so it was a double success!

Friday was a really hard day as I again was up late, but Ryan couldn't stay home two days in a row so I just had to bite the bullet, have a cup of coffee and do my best. It was one of those days when I had allready exceeded our TV goal by 10 am and we still weren't dressed or cleaned up for the day. In fact, we had gotten so behind on laundry that I couldn't even dress Zeff as all his long pants were in the laundry!! I finally pulled it together, did a few loads of laundry and got us all dressed by noon!!! We ended up skipping our Friday AM playgroup and it is a good thing we aren't scheduled to do Calvert on Fridays cuz it wouldn't have happened!

Once we were finally ready we headed out to do some volunteer work for our block club. The kids and I delivered block maps and crime prevention folders to most of the houses on our block. Our block leader prepared envelopes with the addresses on them for those who wished to have a block map so I gave Jossy the job of matching the addresses to the house. It was great fun and good practice for her matching the numbers. She also got some exposure to cursive style numbers. We are also working on "reading" two digit numbers. I was pleased as we had a nice walk on a gorgeous day, did a little volunteer work and it was even educational!!
We then went to a friend's house for a playdate, went home and had supper.
All in all it was a good school week considering our illness. I notice a definite pattern of our weeks starting out really well and going downhill as I get less sleep. I will capitalize on this in the future by planning more academics (and other mommy-intensive activities) for the beginning of the week and more field trips and outside classes for the end of the week. That way if I am too tired to do anything but cart kids around by Friday that will be all I HAVE to do.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Today, Wednesday, is off to a rough start. I was up till 3am with the fussy baby. Even when I got to bed it was still hard to sleep as baby and I have colds and I kept coughing and it was hard to listen to baby's stuffy nose breathing. I did treat him with saline drops and then suctioning his nose this AM and he has settled down for a very sound morning nap that is extending into an afternoon nap as well! I guess we're both pretty tired from our late night!
Anyway, the combination of me being so tired and the gloomy rainy, snowy weather seems to have put most of us in a funk. J is being cooperative and pleasant but Z is having an awful time!
Therefore we have been able to complete our planned "school", and read a chapter in our new chapter book (we have two going at a time now, just finished the long version of Sleeping Beauty Sunday night) but that is about all I can report. Zeff has refused any stories and is having meltdowns at the slightest provocation. Mommy is doing slightly better than 2yo in controlling herself from having a meltdown but it's not easy!!
Therefore, I am now on a 20 minute break from the kids and they are watching a movie!! We are at our 2hours of TV limit right now and I am realizing we are going to go over it today. Oh well, I am going to serve lunch in about a 1/2 hour and will set them up for one of their more favorite art projects, afterwards. I will give them each an ice cream bucket lid with red, blue and yellow tempera paints on it. They both love mixing the colors. I'll give them paper too, but in their eyes the painting is secondary, they mostly like mixing the colors. That will be a fun project to lift the mood around here and while they are doing that I will get set up to have them bake with me. I would like to make some hoagie rolls for supper and some pumpkin mini-breads to take to the party we are going to tonight. I guess I'll let y'all know tomorrow if any of my good ideas came to fruition! (I'm all ready bargaining with myself that if we don't make the pumpkin bread we could be lazy and bring chips and salsa!!)

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Tuesday - An incredibly warm mid November day! We hit 60!!! However today was ice skating so we spent the first part of the day in an ice rink that was colder than it was outside!! Jossy is really coming along in her skating. What is exciting to me is that she also is aware of her progress. She was a complete novice at her first lesson and has made measurable improvement with each class. Today she even wanted to stay late to practice. Of course I let her, although it was killing me, knowing how gorgeous it was outside!
Interesting sidenote: Zeff has quite the thing for older girls!! He is absolutely full of adoration for an 8 yr old girl in Jossy's class. He follows her around like a puppy dog the whole time she is off the ice. When she said hi to him he ran up to me to tell me, "Emma said hi to me, she's my friend!" My guilty conscience tells me that this is due to the fact that I was extremely busy with school and work when he was born, therefore he missed out on that bonding time with his mother and thus has a thing for older women! :) Boy, 1 year of General Psych is a dangerous thing! Seriously, I do feel kind of bad about that, but I am able to be home with the kids most of the time now, because of the sacrifices we all made while I was in school.
Since the weather was so awesome, I offered Jossy the choice of doing her school work when we got home, or playing outside till it got dark and doing it after supper.
*Dang! I just got done adding a ton of stuff onto this and I lost it, well, here we go again, just the high points!*
Anyways, we got home, threw supper in the crock pot and headed out on a walk. We had a lovely walk and sang the whole way there. I realized that I have them so trained to hold hands at the corners that all I have to do is put my hands out and they grab them and wait for me to lead them across the street. Go mom! If I had a nickel for everytime I said Hold Hands!!
We sang Old Mc Donald on the way there and just had a really good time talking with eachother. We practiced reading Jossy's most dreaded of sight words: The! on the signs. We talked about directions North, South, etc. Then the kids had a blast of course playing at the playground for almost 2 hours!! I was shocked when I realized how long we had been there. I also put in a little plug for homeschooling, reminding Jossy that all the other kids were still in school (the playground is at a school) and didn't have the option of doing their school when it was dark like she did. I never bash public schools to Joss, but do provide her with the occasional commercial for homeschooling to counteract all the books, movies, etc where everyone goes to public school.
On the way home we sang all ten verses of The Ants go Marching. We saw a full size poodle and Jossy remembered to politely ask the owner before touching it. She then asked "May my brother pet your dog, too?" he didn't want to but my motherly heart filled with pride when I overheard the people commenting on how polite she was as we left. We also spotted a recently chopped down tree stump and sat down (Zeff needed a break) and counted all 63 rings. We talked a little about how the tree made a new ring each year and that's how we knew how old it was. Next time we are in that situation I am going to help them understand how long ago 63 years is. Later I realized it would have been neat to tell them that that tree was a baby when their grandpa was a baby just like our baby!
I was so pleased that Joss got right down to work after supper and we had a very nice school session. She has a tendency to get wild and wound up in the evening, but stayed calm and on task very well. Since it was going so well I pushed it and did a full Language Arts lesson with her (We frequently do 1/2 or 3/4 of a lesson) She really did nicely, I think it helps her and I that I am learning to skip assignments that are total review.
After her school I read to Zeff who is becoming a much better listener then sent him to bed. Joss then got to have 1/2 hour playing a reading game on the computer and then we read more from Little House in the Big Woods. I am sure we will have to read this one again as she usually can't explain to me what's going on. She still likes it, though, so I am trying to slow down and explain things and encourage her questions (I am guilty of shushing her questions during stories I like or when I am trying to get kids to bed!)
Well, here's hoping I don't lose this post! Also crossing my fingers I can keep us on our good streak as I am still awake at 2am with a sniffly, fussy baby. Brief commercial for mother's milk tea <- This is probably the first day of his life that I haven't had any mother's milk tea and he is the most colicky today that he has ever been! Also, I broke my 1/2 cup of coffee rule and had a large cup this AM and we are all coming down with colds which I am sure is contributing to his hard time, as well.
Well darn, I lost what I wrote twice now! Maybe I will learn to hit post whenever I leave the computer!
Anyway, this week is going well so far. Yesterday we were up with AM routines, breakfast and school all done before 11 am!! School is still going well. I attribute my satisfaction with our "school" both to our work on consistency (school EVERY day M-Th) and to our curriculum.

We use Calvert Kindergarten and are on lesson 22 in Language Arts and 29 in Math. I am really liking it. It is so nice to have a well put together curriculum for that first year where you are still learning how to "teach" and incorporate homeschool (and in our case a new baby as well) into your family. I feel like the reading portion of Language Arts is advancing rather quickly, yet Joss is loving it, and keeping up just fine. She gets a little frustrated at the end of the lesson sometimes, but often figures out whatever was stumping her the next time we discuss it.
The Math surprises me in that we are starting with stuff that seems so basic to me (patterns, shapes) and while Joss knows most everything, she is definitely benefiting from and enjoying going over these things formally. I also see how it is helpful to her to learn good work habits (proceeding methodically through a page, rather than skipping around, checking over work) with easier material, so I do stress those things in Math, more than in Language Arts.

After several stories, followed by PBS and lunch we headed out. Our first stop was the park to play. When we went into the park building to use the bathroom, one of the park n rec workers invited us to have popcorn and cocoa with the group that was meeting there. So we had a lovely little surprise snack. After we left the park we went grocery shopping and then as a reward for the kids good (okay semi-decent) behavior at Sam's we went to feed the ducks again. Then home again for more stories till dad got home. I was very satisfied with our calm, quiet Monday. The kids behavior is also improving as we work on maintaining our routines with more consistency.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Well we had a great week! Dare I say - we have found our groove!! We don't do formal school on Fridays as that is the day for playgroup and/or homeschool co-op. Our day started with J's 5yo check up. She is growing and developing fine (of course I allready knew this) but we need to get her vision checked after January when we will start having vision coverage. We are so fortunate to have found out now that we need to watch her vision as dh and I have 20/20 and I was going to forgo the vision coverage that I need to sign up for next week! She also got 3 shots with no tears!! She did cry a little at the 4th shot (it was MMR which hurts more) but again impressed me with how tough she is. I haven't tried to "make" her this way, (I doubt you could)she has always had a very high pain tolerance. I hope that serves her well in the far distant future when she has her babies!
Anyway!!! We didin't go to playgroup because of the dr. appt but had one of our friends from co-op over for lunch.
While that friend was here Jossy "read" to her from her current favorite library book! I have been seeing her doing so much "reading" lately. She has also made a leap in her "sounding-out" skills. It used to be that when sounding out a three letter word she would do it very choppily and forget the first sound by the time she got the last sound, but now is blending so much more smoothly and is getting more automatic in her recall of letter sounds. (She still has a couple toughies) I am really proud! I worry sometimes about my ability to teach my kids, but she helps me have faith that they have the intelligence to learn things on their own, with guidance, rather than having to be "taught".
We had a great time at co-op in the afternoon. The kids played really well together and also did reasonably well during the lessons. They glazed their ceramics projects first and had to take turns at the table. I think this is good for J as she is not accustomed to waiting in lines, etc and can use a little practice in patience.
After ceramics another mom gave a lesson on Sea Monkeys. Poor thing! She hatched sea monkeys twice and twice they were killed by curious children so our kids got to prepare the water for another batch and learned about the things they need to live, where they live and looked at pictures of them on the computer.
The thing I like best about co-op though, is how nice the other moms are. We hold very similar parenting philosophies and values in general. It is great to be in a group where you can help and guide others' children when they need it and trust that others will help guide yours. With five toddlers that is a very good thing!
Anyways, a homeschooling week I can feel very good about. Hopefully, I can take what I have learned this week and use it to continue having fun, productive days homeschooling!

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Another decent day. It should have been better but as the week wears on I get more and more behind on sleep, thus more and more behind on motivation. As I type, the kids are watching a Magic Schoolbus Video. It's TV time but at least its educational! I really do like the series. We accomplished our less than 2 hours in a day TV goal but the kids did play together on the computer for about 45 minutes. It sounds like a long time but the were getting along so nicely and Jossy was really helping Zeff instead of just taking over so I let them keep going longer than I normally would. Ideally, my TV time limits ought to include computer time as well, but we are working on it!!
Once again, we went to the library yesterday and have all ready read all our books. We checked out Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do you See again and both kids are having alot of fun with the rhythm of it. I hear Zeffy chanting his own creations that follow the pattern of the book! Jossy has even been reading that and Where the Wild Things Are to him. She is really getting excited about reading. I have a feeling Zeff will catch the bug even earlier than she did as he seems to have even more of a natural affinity for books.
We again accomplished a full lesson each of Calvert Math and Language arts. I am very pleased with our progress this week in that regard. Jossy is sounding out and blending better but we still need to work on a few letter sounds and those sight words!
Well, hoping our good streak continues...

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Well, after almost two weeks of thinking I would never have time to post in my blog I finally get a few minutes. We have been having a good week. Monday AM it snowed for the first time and the kids were so excited we got dressed and ready for the day in record time and headed out to play in the snow before breakfast. After a huge breakfast we completed a lesson or so in Calvert Math and Language Arts. After some dancing and somersaults we read chapter 2 in Little House in the Big Woods. It was very cool in that it was the chapter thar discussed how they prepared for and experienced winter.
Tuesday was a surprisingly good day in that we (I) actually managed to stay productive after spending the morning getting ready for and going to iceskating lessons. I don't know why 1/2 hour lessons blow our whole morning but they usually seem to. Yesterday, though we ate lunch as soon as we got home and after letting Jossy do art for about 15 minutes while I cleaned up we settled in for a very productive 30 minutes or so of Math and Language Arts. We are working on sight words. The, it, come and can were introduced Monday and Joss finds the and come esp frustrating. On Tues. we played memory with the word cards which seemed less stressful for Joss.
Wednesday (Today) was another good day. We went to the library first thing, for story time, although I was concerned that it would get us "off track" for the day and lead to formal "school" not being accomplished. However we had a lovely time at the library (good behavior even by the 2yo!) and went to the bread store. As a reward for their good behavior at the lib and at the store I purchased 5 loaves of "bird bread". We went home and had lunch. Jossy had no trouble getting down to work after we ate and her and Zeff played with clay for about 15 minutes. She did have a rough time getting through the worksheet working on sight words. She was doing a lot of guessing at the end and required lots of encouragement to finish the page. We ended up only completing a 1/2 a language arts lesson today. Even though the other 1/2 was poetry and she would have liked it, I thought she might get more out of it tomorrow when she is fresher. After the kids played in the basement while I folded laundry, they watched a magic school bus video and then we went and fed the ducks. It was great fun. The ducks are so used to being fed that they swarmed the minivan as soon as we pulled up. I gave each kid a bag of old rolls and it was fun to watch how differently they approached the situation. Jossy doled out small pieces of bread while having a runing conversation with the ducks "Selfish girl, share with your brother" "we're having a feast, duckies, share, share there will be enough for all!" She knows the difference between the male and females so referred to them as sisters and brothers. It was sooo cute. And her bread lasted FOREVER! Zeff's approach was different. He had fun hurling whole rolls as far as he could and yelling "I win!" When his and my rolls ran out (very quickly) he amused himself with chasing the ducks and seagulls. It was funny how they'd run and fly from him but be right back to get Jossy's crumbs. We could also see a bulldozer and excavator working very near us so he enjoyed watching them. We drove over closer to see them better when we were done with the ducks but they were done for the day.
Anyways - that's how things have been going so far this week. I think the main reason things are going so much better is I have made a very concerted effort to cut our TV time(from about 4-5 hours a day to 2-3 - I know that is still not great but it is only PBS and videos), I have also renewed my goal of 1 hour read aloud time which the kids are loving and so don't miss the TV time at all. The other thing I have been doing is playing classical music most of the day. It is good for my mood and seems to improve the kids behavior.