River's Edge Urban Academy

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

Monday, March 29, 2004

Well I had a crappy night at work. Two substance abusing patients and two day of surgeries makes for a heavy and stressful load. I also had a rough morning with the kids b4 work. I stayed up too late last night watching a movie therefore having us clean and dressed and at the pediatrician by 9am was no small feat!
Both boys had their checkups. All is well, but Zeff needs to get his eyes checked and the ped confirms he is probably a lefty for life, now. He had used either hand for a while but now has a def preference for the left.
Keian is growing and developing fine as well. He got four shots though and was fussy the rest of the day for me and continued to be so for Ryan.
School was tough, once we got home from the dr. the kids really needed some free play time but I was stressed cause I wanted to get school done b4 I went to work. I also figured the baby would nap at SOME POINT between 730am when he got up and 2p when I had to leave for work but I was wrong!
We got through 1/2 a LA lesson and attempted a science lesson but I am again hating our science. It is so dry and textbooky with nothing hands on. For Kindergarten! I mean there are occasionally projects but I am surprised that it is mostly taught through text and discussion. So we talked about what the earth is made up of today and Joss ended up telling me all kinds of things that she learned during her recent volcano unit. We also talked about the water all over the world which led to Joss standing on top of our couch to reach our maps and pointing to oceans and tracing the Mississippi river down from MN to LA/MS.
So, she learned alot and practiced narrating what she had learned but I still didn't feel like I could check off our science lesson as completed. I may let it slide now that we will be planning the garden and planting it soon. The kids are so observant as well. They spent a good twenty minutes on the porch the other day watching the squirrels and birds in our yard.
Joss made the comment "I like watching the wildlife out in nature" or something to that effect which I found humorous as we live in a very urban area.
I know I have vaccilated on this issue before, and I spose I will keep looking at the science lesson and trying to discuss the lesson and do experiments but I'm not going to get hung up on it.
Well, if I don't want tomorrow to suck as bad as today I should head to bed. Hope everyone is doing well.
And a very happy birthday to my mom and brother. I love you both so much and miss you both.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Wow, it's been forever since I blogged! I guess that's a sign of warmer weather! Weve been outside lots lately. We have also been on a few cool field trips including the Minnesota Valley Wildlife Refuge and the Weisman Art Museum. Both awesome. School is also going well, phonics have gotten a little tougher so Joss is enjoying that again. Math also is going very well. We recently had trouble with Literature but it turned out to be the story (I didn't like it and Joss didn't either - it was very simple and repetitive and J had no patience for it). We are on lesson 67 so are getting close to halfway through (160 lessons total).
Still having trouble keeping up with Science - it is just not part of our routine, and thus way too easy for me to blow off if I don't have the materials for it right at hand. I also don't feel like it is the greatest Science program in the world. Even so, I am formulating a plan to alternate Science and Spanish every other day so we get used to having one more subject after what we consider "school" (reading and math) is done.
Starting to think about next school year. I am definitely planning to order Calvert 1st. So far, I have been very pleased with it for K and have felt it was worth the cost. However, I don't plan to order K for my future kindergarteners as I feel it has adequately taught me what to do in K. We'll see for the higher grades though.
We had a nice day today as our 4 yr old girl neighbor came and spent the morning with us while her mom went to her older brother's school. Joss only got 1 math worksheet done before her friend got here. Oh well, this was the first day in practically 6 months that it cracked 60 degrees. If that isn't worthy of an impromptu day off, I don't know what is! Next week is the Mpls Public Schools Spring break and as a result Joss doesn't have her regular day of classes so we should be able to do some catch-up.
Well, one set of neighbors are watching Joss while another watches Zeff! I should get off the puter and clean up the kitchen! Ooooh, I'm starving and someone is grilling out!! That should be against the law (unless they share!)

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

So far, so good, this week. Monday was a quiet day, we didn't have to go anywhere so we didn't. Joss dutifully did her school as quickly as she could (she had to redo a math sheet!) so she could get to her newest toy, her abacus! She adores it, uses it to make patterns, see how many "2"s are in 10 and 20. Practicing counting by 2s and 3s with it. So she is exploring some basic multiplication and division concepts and thinks of it as what she GETS to do when school is done!
Tuesday was busy, ceramics in the AM followed by a picnic and playground time, then swung through the library to drop off and pick up! I actually left the kids in the car for the five minutes it took to pick up the stuff I had requested online - I could see the minivan the whole time and otherwise we would have had to skip it, as our picnic took up our library time.
The kids looked at the books I had gotten them while we drove to Jossy's new gym n swim class. That was a blast! She started with an hour in the gym playing and learning basketball fundamentals, then went to the pool for her first ever swimming lesson!
Today we played with some good friends we hadn't seen in way too long. My friend's oldest child is in High 5 so we had to go in the AM. Now the challenge will be to get Joss to settle down to school! Oh well, it was so nice to see them!
Well, speaking of settle down to school I suppose it would help if mama got off the puter!

Friday, March 05, 2004

Well, we had one of our best weeks of school ever! We completed 1 full Calvert Lesson per day. Jossy has also been working on writing a book for a contest as well as making a "tab book" from www.enchantedlearning.com on Ireland and St. Patrick's Day. It is written at a 4th or 5th grade level but I am reading it to her and her comprehension is great. She has learned about, colored and cut out the pages for Leprechauns, Irish Harps, Rainbows and the pot of gold, Shamrocks and today, colored a map of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and learned their capitols. She then stood on top of our sofa so she could reach the northern hemisphere of our world map and put one finger on Minnesota and one finger on Ireland. We talked about her grandparents trip to Ireland and my special vase from Ireland.
The part I am most proud of, though, is that I have done "school" with Zeff everyday this week as well as helped him to make major strides in potty training! Together we have made 2 dinosaur books and a green book. Today Jossy painted outlines of numerals 3 and 5 (current toughies) and Zeff painted an outline of a Z. It was sooo cool having them working on the same thing and I could tell Zeff felt like a Very Big Boy!
Zeff also had a really neat experience Monday (which I blogged extensively about then lost!). Ry was feeling a little under the weather so he took Zeff to work with him - okay where's the logic in that?! Actually he decided he would only work 3-4 hours in a very big vacant house where Zeff could run around and "help daddy". It was really sweet of him and made Zeff's whole week.
The kids also got along very, very well this week. They play their own makebelieve games for quite a long time without fighting. On Thursday they were both acting like puppies so I put tape down on the floor to make a 4'x4' "cage" for them. They played puppies in their cage for at least an hour!! I even let them watch the "baby puppy" (Keian) while I went to "work" (the kitchen). Today, they talked Ryan into setting up the playpen for them and that was their "ship" for a good hour. Before it became a ship though, they put a sheet over themselves and laughed themselves silly for about 15" telling Ryan they were outside and he kept looking out the window. I know it is dumb but it was really fun.
So Why did we have such a great week? Two reasons that I can think of. No outside activities this week. That's right, none, zero. Jossy was too sick for her Tuesday activities, our Wednesday coop was cancelled and we couldn't attend playgroup as we had a lunch date with my dad and then went to the Raptor Center for "Raptor Tails" Story Time. I really felt like I had ample time to focus on the schooling and doing all the enrichments and extras, rather than do the bare minimum so we can get to playgroup. The kids have been getting along better, too, since they haven't played with any other kids this week. I guess that sounds awful, and I wouldn't plan for it to be that way but once in a while it is a really good thing. They have been such playmates, this week, Zeff's language skills and behavior have improved to the point where he is really a "kid" and not a toddler at all and Joss seems to realize and appreciate it.
Second reason: We have done a great job of cutting the TV time. We mounted it on the wall several months ago. I have also been turning it off whenever their not actively involved in it and turning it off after one show. This has probably made the most difference. I also told Jossy that scientists found out that more than 4 TV shows (2 hours) a day is bad for your brain! It's true! I'm sure of it! Something else that helps is keeping classical music on most of the day. It helps keep the kids and I both calm and they don't seem to ask for TV as much when it is on.
One other reason that I have been feeling good about our educational progress is www.enchantedlearning.com which has always been a good resource but I had forgotten about it. Well, I almost forgot about it again when I found out it had become a paysite, but after perusing it I decided it was well worth the $20/yr they ask and I have been very happy. Now that Zeff is getting more "preschooly" I think it will be very worth it. They have 1000's of printable worksheets, books, crafts all very, very well organized. It was so cool when Zeff asked if he could make a dinosaur book and literally in less than 5 minutes the pages were printing out for him to color (while I read the paragraph about that dinosaur) and staple together. He has sooo much pride in his books. Now that he has three he sits next to Keian and reads them to him for "Nigh-night story". Yes it is beyond precious!
Well, I am very tired, although still not sleepy but I better at least go try to sleep! Hope everyone else out there is as happy with their life and family as I am now! BTW: This is the reason I blog! So when I have those horrible days I can look back and see it written in black and white that this life is really great some of the time!

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Dang I lost my most recent post. We are doing good, other than a tummy bug this morning that caused Joss to miss all her activities for the day. She was so disappointed. Well, gotta go.