River's Edge Urban Academy

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

Thursday, May 27, 2004

We have had two really great days. Yesterday Ryan stayed home to fix his truck. It was really cool cause the big kids could hang out with him while he was working in the driveway so I got lots of stuff done with just baby inside. He also was able to keep Zeff out from underfoot while Joss and I did another 2 Calvert lessons. We skip the review and I amp up the stuff we do. Example: on one style of worksheet you are supposed to color the pictures that end in the _at sound or whatever. Joss does not care for coloring much so we call those worksheets "spelling tests" and she writes all the words that end in _at. For math she was supposed to cut and glue sets of 11. Well instead she figured out several different ways to make 11 with her cuisenaire rods and wrote them out in "number sentences," I am getting more and more comfortable in tailoring the curriculum to her.
In the afternoon the kids and I got tons done in our garden. Joss transplanted 8 annuals in our small circle garden completely independently! She needed a little reminder to dig the holes deep enough to cover all the roots but did a great job. She planted all the like flowers together where I would have intermingled them but hey, she was really proud. Zeff planted a marjoram and a parsley plant in our herb garden. He is so adorable: he decided the marjoram was a boy and parsley was a girl and they were friends. Today we bought a chamomile for that garden and that is a boy and is also friends with the others!
Another Zeff milestone: He has really started to enjoy singing and learning alot of songs! He is singing along with Robot Parade by They Might Be Giants right now. BTW their CD, "No!" is awesome. Very listenable kids music. Funny lyrics.
Huge Joss milestone yesterday! She can independently ride her two wheeler!!! She can start and stop and everything!! She is so proud of herself that she was just shrieking "Hooray! Hooray!"
Also very cool: Joss (and Zeff although he wasn't supposed to) were in a production of Stone Soup with our hs support group. There were 3 or 4 other kids and it was tons of fun. Well, it was really fun and a good experience for them and I but I gotta run! Man, these kids keep me busy!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, May 24, 2004

Hi All!
Well it was a rainy weekend around here but no severe weather so thank goodness for that! We spent Saturday at a friend's house. Sunday we missed church again for the fourth time running. Ever since they spoke against gay marriage I cannot stomach going, although I had planned to continue attending until after VBS when we will start the search for a new church. I had found a way to accept that I was going to church with prolifers but that was the final straw. I am sad as they are a great community of wonderful people, but these issues are too important to me to overlook. I didn't realize how important they were to me until I joined and was confronted with those who believe otherwise.
Soooo, we spent a very nice rainy sunday morning at home. Cleaning, doing a Calvert lesson, Ryan playing video games with the kids. About 2pm we were sick of it though, so went to my arch-nemesis: The Mall of America. As much as I hate it, it is good for running off some steam so we hung for 2 hours, went on one ride for each kid, played at the puzzle store, watched the alligator at the Rainforest Cafe and had ice cream. It was cheap since we bought huge tickets of rides when the baby was born and dole them out one at a time, so the only expense was $11 for ice cream. And gas to get there. Not so cheap!
Today has been lovely. The kids started their day by being "Sasha" and "Christopher" and performing a most elegant ballet to the classical music station. They then drew pictures and told stories about them on large pieces of newsprint. Zeff's was all about his "best friend, Zeffydragon," the red dragon his cousin gave him. I wrote captions for the different objects he drew, including dragon tracks, a boat, a cave and a present for the party he was planning for himself and his dragon.
Joss then flew through two Calvert Lessons bringing us to lesson 107 (of 160). I have been unsure what to do about school this summer. I think we will do 1 lesson a day on the weeks she is not doing other activities. That might have us finishing by fall but I am trying to let go of caring so much about that.
On math review days and also for fun she can choose to use her cuisenaire rods or her abacus. Today it was rods and she was having fun seeing how many different ways she could equal a larger rod. Lots of fun, and also known as the commutative property of addition. (I did not know that term off the top of my head, I read it on the CR poster). Zeff and his dragon also enjoyed the rods.
They then had free play while I fed and bathed the baby. It turned argumentative so I sent them outside for a 1/2 hour since it wasn't raining at the moment. Then Zeff had a bath, I laid the baby down for nap and then I served lunch during the animal show, Zoboomafoo.
Well, I am enjoying my "break" during nap and TV time, but I should do something productive with it as well. In a moment of insanity I created two more gardens in my FRONT lawn (nothing like public humiliation to get a project done!) that I must now work on! What was I thinking! Yeah, that's what I needed: one more thing to work on and maintain! Oh well, if I ever get the grass out of the big circular one, I will plant lawn chamomile in the middle and a teepee of scarlet runner beans around the perimeter. Nice plan, huh! Oh well, sometimes I get very motivated with garden stuff, it really is a hobby I enjoy if I can find the time to feel like I'm not totally neglecting it. Well, as we used to say in junior high: Love, peace, hairgrease!
Katy <-who is glad that there is no GPS: Garden Protection Service
PS I have been meaning to mention something very cool about my big girl. She spends an hour or so per day, every day, at the living room table "inventing" sometimes much longer. Right now she is using rubberbands and chopsticks and a paper plate to make I don't know what. I am not sure she would have time or energy for that if she were in PS. I LOVE how imaginative and great the kids are at amusing themselves.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

I have been really busy lately. Working alot of crazy hours but things should be settling down for a while in that dept for a little while. Pretty soon though, I hope to train to the nursery so will probably need to pick up a few shifts to work on that. I find it difficult to train to a new area or skill when I only work two days a week, It really needs to be 3 or more for me to get it.
School fortunately has been such a breeze lately. We are doing two lessons a day most days very quickly as Joss is progressing rapidly in LA and Math on her own. Lately I feel like my job is to follow up all her self led learning with a review of the basics to make sure she didn't miss anything. She really has fun using her abacus and cuisenaire rods with math and almost always plays with them after school. Sometimes building and making patterns, other times reviewing and expanding on concepts we worked on in school.
She also completed a 1st and 2nd grade Reading Computer Game. She does just as I remember doing, figuring out how to win without always practicing the skill she is supposed to be working on. Oh well, that is a type of critical thinking in itself and she's still leraning some reading by doing it that way.
Monday, our PSed cousin was off school and my cousin (his mom) just graduated and quit her job so we decided to spend the afternoon together. We visited North Mississippi Regional Park and got one of their great bird knapsacks. We saw lots of great birds and had a really good time. This place has been a great find. I really like to do more of a nature appreciation at this age than "science" and this place fills the bill perfectly. Lots of hands on and observational learning, we can hardly wait to take the classes they do there over the summer.
Well, I should run, hope everyone is well.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Well, it has sure been a while since I blogged. Since it is nice we are spending 3-4+ hours a day outside which helps keep me off the computer! Unfortunately, I have a hard time remembering to do the housework if it isn't staring at me so I have gotten really behind on all that, too! I have also been working a ton and odd hours too. I worked Thursday 3p-3a and Saturday 7p-7a. The all night shift was soooo hard on my body. I slept for about six hours Sunday. Ryan did his best to keep the kids out of my room, but there are three of them and one of him and they are just not accustomed to having me home but unavailable like that! Sooo... at four I gave up on sleep and got up but developed a horrible headache and had to lay down at eight, I got back up after it got slightly better but took all the kids in my bed and crashed when Ryan took the dog for a walk at ten.
Wow, fascinating, a whole chapter about my lack of sleep - it's true, I think alot of moms are a little obsessed with how much sleep we aren't getting.
Cute baby moment. Keian is getting too interested in the world to just crash when he's tired. He had a bath and then watched us play outside all afternoon. When we came inside I set him on the floor with a teething biscuit. Five minutes later I looked at him and saw him teetering back and forth with his eyes 3/4 shut. I laid him in his car seat and he gave one halfhearted cry and promptly fell asleep.
HS-wise, we are zooming through Calvert, I tweak the lessons to make them harder and skip the review. We are doing two lessons quite easily some days but have also skipped a few days of school lately for various reasons. We are playing around with the cuisenaire rods but I have decided to save the workbooks for Zeff and just use the activity guide to supp J's current math. Joss also started her 1st and 2nd grade Reader Rabbit CD-rom today and is doing surprisingly well. Reading is coming very easily for her I think. I also think Zeff is getting some sort of rudimentary foundations in it too from watching her play games and being read to by her. Well, I better figure out what we are having for supper!

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Highlights of the day:
#1 Filled my tank at 11:45am for 1.79 a gallon, drove by six and a half hours later and it was 1.95!!!! I won!! for the moment I suppose.
#2 $20 off grocery bill in coupons. Kind of inflated by one of those big coupons that only make things cost what they OUGHT to cost. Still, good.
#3 Ryan offers Zeff a taco. Zeff says "No, actually broccoli." Ryan, "Really?" Zeff "Just kidding!" (He's just three so it was really cute, he's just starting to tell jokes.)
#4 Joss decorating her arm with the bright colored bandages that the phlebotomist gave me to give my kids when I donated blood. "Look dad, I'm a give-blood-er!"
#5 Nice walk this AM with Z, pet two cats, saw one cardinal, said hi to one 3yo and mom, put baby to sleep. Aaaahhh!
#6 Last day of Gym n Swim and Joss got an adorable report card from her swimming instructor. It talks about how brave she is. How she should keep working on kicking her legs and getting her face wet. She got full marks for two of the sixteen categories: listening to instructors and displaying YMCA values, respect, honesty, something, something. "Needs to work on" and a couple "almost mastered" for the rest. I am so proud and so is she. I'll never tell her she failed Polliwogs. :)

Monday, May 03, 2004

What a fun weekend! Friday eve at work I got to be "gopher" which is an opportunity that doesn't happen often (it was a wierd night for staffing), but that I thoroughly enjoyed! I did about 5 sets of discharge teaching (my favorite thing to do), settled a new mom (actually it was her fourth baby) and baby in their room checked 'em over, helped them get going with breastfeeding and later got to bathe the baby. Also helped a couple other moms with the BF'ing, including one who totally got it once I explained to her how to latch the baby on and said "Thank you so much, this doesn't hurt! I didn't know it didn't have to hurt!" FUN!
Saturday AM, we made Maybaskets and delivered them to neighbors. At work that evening I actually got to care for one of my friends who had her third baby! It was suck a coincidence too, that of all the days she could have her baby she did it on a day I was working, on the shift I was working and was assigned to me instead of the 7 or 8 other postpartum RNs working that day.
Sunday was a very big day! We had our final goodbye brunch with my little brother. He flies to Afghanistan on May 9th so this is probably it. It was very nice seeing him and we had a great meal.
The afternoon was the highlight of our whole spring though: The Mayday Parade! ( Joss and I have spent the last month working 2-3 days a week on our costumes and the pinata we made. It was in the shape of an anatomical heart, painted a few different shades of dark red and had painted on it the red cross symbol with a green $ overlaying in and an inequals sign on top of that. In case the symbolism wasn't immediately obvious we also painted Healthcare Inequality on it as something we wanted to bash. Joss and I wore pinata hats and she wore a shiny blue dress cut "fairystyle" (zigzag) on the botttom. I wore an orange, green, purple, brown, yellow and red shiny 70's style gown slit up the sides. We also wore clothes underneath cuz it was cold. We had a blast dancing the 12 blocks or so.. I had to push a grocery cart full of pinatas to break although they never broke mine. Joss was such a hambone!! She twirled and tipped her hat and danced non stop, bowing whenever people cheered for her and yelling Happy Mayday. She would also chase, be chased and play hide and seek with the three adults dressed like Fools. We also danced and sang "Dale, dale, dale" (a spanish pinata song) with our leader, a mexican artist from Oaxaca. We will also be going to see her art show next month.
We also had a great day today. Tons of learning. We discussed symmetry in math and Joss just went off on it. She made symmetrical castles with her magnet board and is working on coloring in a very detailed butterfly symmetrically. She also learned the life cycle of the butterfly as that was what was on the first butterfly printout I could find for her at enchanted learning. We wrote in our pea journal and watered them. Tons of other fun, learning activities have taken place here this AM. This is one of those days that could make me believe in unschooling. Awesome. Well, gotta get ready for work. Hope everyone out there is well and enjoying their kids as much as I am TODAY.