Reflection

As we near the end of our first semester of homeschooling I am beginning to look back over how we have evolved our learning style, and how far Jack’s knowledge has come. His failures and successes, as well as my own as a teacher.

I am not the most doting mother, and with that I guess  means that I am not the most compassionate teacher to my dear child. He is so very smart, but he is also so very stubborn. Gee I wonder where he gets that? But this means, that when he thinks he doesn’t understand the lesson, he is going to fail. And it’s going down in a blaze of glory. He will fight me tooth and nail that it’s too hard and he’s not smart enough. But we always break through, it’s just a matter of finding what works to teach this lesson. And since we’re still very fresh at it, this is still hugely experimental. Though I imagine that even the most seasoned homeschooler-mom’s have to be creative every now and then. 😉

Writing is still the great Nemesis in this house. Just getting him to write a simple pen pal letter can take a week or two. And that’s no exaggeration! He’ll draw and color happily. His handwriting is neat enough when he’s concentrating. He’s bright enough to think of even the most mundane commentary, but he just hates the act of writing it. I can’t fathom this. I love writing, both by hand and by keyboard. Writing is cathartic to me, even if I just babble and don’t really have a point. Like now!

We are behind on our Public School requirements, and I honestly don’t give a crap about it because guess what. They’re writing assignments! As you can imagine I don’t feel the need to force anymore writing upon the child. But perhaps when Dad is home for the Holiday’s we’ll take advantage of the extra focus and cooperation that comes with having both parents there to guide and support you. As it is, we were supposed to turn one in on October 2nd and a second on December 3rd. Oops. Again. it’s not high on my priority list!  If a virtual school feels the need to test the child to make sure they are the ones doing the work, then they need to find another way. I don’t think elementary school children should have to know how to write a functional paper at the age of 8 years old. It’s not that the concept is too hard, it’s that they don’t *usually* have that kind of focus and concentration. I think it’s enough that we have to show up for the CRCT’s in April.

We recently changed the way we go through our lessons, and are trying to complete two History and Science lessons every other day (history one day, science the next). And in doing this, we have managed to have a ‘projected end date’ of mid March for these two courses. Which is fantastic! That will free up some time for us to study and practice our “in school test taking skills”. We have also recently had a discussion, just Jack and I, about getting more work done, and trying to have a longer summer break. So we are “assessing ahead” through Math and Language Arts. We will have to do the spelling tests separately, but we can get through Grammar and reading a little quicker when we put our minds to it. But it’s Math where we’ll see the ‘projected end date’ get closer sooner. We are usually able to complete 4 lessons before I actually need to teach him a new skill. All that is required is that he gets at least 80% on the assessments for us to skip the lesson. Which, honestly, is not a problem when the math is straightforward. It’s the stupid little “lessons” that give you the background for other skills. He needs his Science lessons broken down like this, not the Math. He’s too smart for it!

Well, I should end this and get to the teaching! I hope you all have a great week, and seeing as my blogging tendencies have once again slipped off the radar, I hope everyone is having/will have a fantastic Winter Holiday!!

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Happy Birthday Mr. J!!!

    to my son!!

to my son!!

8 years ago today I was woken with a phone call. My husband, a Marine, was still in bed with me and this was unusual. It was Monday morning, he should have been gone at 6!!!

It was my doctor on the phone, my 2nd set of lab results was back in and they goofed the first time! Protein is way high, need to induce today and meet the baby!!

We took our time getting to the hospital. I packed the car slowly, while my husband showered, I was terribly nervous, I had wanted to avoid being induced at all costs. But it looked like I was pre-eclamptic and it was the best way to ensure that baby and I were both healthy.

When we arrived at the hospital the nurse asked if I was sure of my dates, I believe she said that I looked to only be about 5 months along. She said she would have to call my doctor to verify her orders. I assure you I was 38 weeks and 5 days pregnant, I was not there to try an induce a premature baby!!

Finally after about 30 minutes room was available and the first nurse I saw had me change my clothes, and I didn’t stand up for myself to wear my own clothes. I wish I had fought harder. I was put on a monitor and contracting  every 6 minutes already. The first doctor came in and started listing off all the things he was going to do ‘for’ me. An IV to start the labor and a second bag to control my blood pressure. And then a catheter. I protested and started crying. I wanted to move around, not be confined to a bed, I don’t want the catheter. Apparently the crying scared him off he left to get the attending on the floor.

He came in and sat down and explained to me why each of these things was ‘necessary’ for my labor, and I consented to the induction but refused cytotec before he could utter the words. “Why?” He asks, ‘It’s a fantastic drug, works every time!” I told him why. He told me that because I was already contracting, and already 3-4 cm he couldn’t use it anyway.

The induction started around 12 (when they put the bracelets on and I was officially admitted. Around 4 the same doctor came back to check me, and with out removing his hand asked if he could break my water. I agreed just to get him out of there, it hurt. I did manage to get his butt wet though Warm fluid filled the area around my bottom, and the next contraction was noticeably different. My best friend arrived shortly before this with Popsicles and lollipops for me 

At 6 pm, my blood pressure was scary. They were concerned I was going to stroke or lose conciousness. So they talked me into an epidural, but I had to refuse the internal monitor. The nurse was a real witch, and yelled at me and my husband. He held the external monitor for the procedure and we never once lost the heart tones. Luckily it was shift change, and our new nurse was MUCH more kind. She wanted to check my vitals, including my temp, but was suddenly nauseas and couldn’t open my mouth. She patiently waited and looked at the read out from the monitors. She asked if she could check my cervix again, and I consented. I was complete!!! I asked her to turn off the epidural, and she called them back to turn it off. I think they waited a while, but it’s all a blur. The magnesium sulfate makes the majority of what happened difficult to remember,but, mostly the emotional aspect is lost.

I started pushing right away, it felt better than doing nothing, though I had no urge to push. I lay flat on my back for a while, but this did funky thinks to my blood pressure so the nurse helped me get into a side lying position. After the first hour, we still couldn’t see him, but apparently I was making some progress at getting him under my pubic bone. I was on my other side now, pushing for a few minutes before he slipped under. Once he was under the pubic bone, I was back on my back, O2 mask on my face in between. (I hated it during contractions, and the nice nurse let me control when I had it on and when I had it off. She also stopped counting after the first few pushes and was reminding the new nurses coming in to “help” that “Mom doesn’t want us to count” which I can’t tell you how much I appreciated.

Suddenly the CNM and the same doctor from earlier in the afternoon came in. CNM asks me if I’m getting tired, “How are you doing mom? Getting tired!? It’s been about 2 hours, would you like us to help you out…” she goes on to re-explain the vacuum extraction. I agree to it. I was doing great, but she HAD to mention the time. Suddenly I wasn’t doing as well as I thought. It only felt like half an hour total.

Two pushes with the vacuum and it pops off, scaring my husband. But his head is mostly out, and so is his LEFT ARM!! Well!! “Look dad! He’s reaching for the keys!!” Yells the OB. I push again, finally feeling an urge. His head his born, another push and I’m sure they’re pulling, and he’s born! 9:53pm!!! Welcome to the world little man!!!

Brand New Little Boy

Brand New Little Boy

He was later the ‘hit of the nursery’ all the nurses loved him, loved his name and thought he was just the cutest little guy. He was pretty popular with the ladies, and he still is!!!

This story was written on his actual birthday, 9-24. And for those of you who know the birthy side of me, I hope to soon be writing about parts of his pregnancy and then his birth story on my other blog, purely for discussion. His birth is what lead me down the path of Normal Birth, doula work, and a dream to be a midwife…

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Tellus Museum

The kids and I drove out to the Tellus Museum yesterday, so thankful for not only something to do outside of the house, but that we are members and it was practically FREEEEE. I did spend some money on snacks and a little in the gift shop. I also got LOTS of good birthday/Christmas gift ideas. I may need to run up there soon since little girls birthday is ON FRIDAY!!!

We had heard there was going to be a Mineral field trip but we missed out and it was cancelled. But we went anyway! We spent some time in Big Back yard, wandering around the fossils, and minerals, and then I let the kids go dig for fossils and pan for gems. We got lots of gems (no pictures of them panning because of all the water!) and they each found fossils!! Misplaced fossils at that.

We met a couple other homeschoolers there, but my kids, having seen the museum a few times now, weren’t too interested in staying with the group, and I was developing a headache, so I wasn’t too keen on trying to stay in the adult conversation/teaching all the kids/wrangling mine to stay put. Once I said “ok we can go over to ___” they chilled out and cooperated.

I tried to teach, and use the world of learning that is this great museum, but the best I got ouf of Jack was a review of the continents as we watched this giant globe transform from Pangea into the Earth we know today. He did really well!

Hopefully I’ll be able to take the pictures off my camera later today and get them on here 🙂

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Gardasil Researcher Cautions Parents of High Risks and Low Effectiveness

http://www.colleenhammond.com/blog/2009/08/gardasil-researcher-cautions-parents-of-high-risks-and-low-effectiveness/

(Yes, I used the other blogs headline)

This is more than worth passing along. SO PLEASE pass it along!!!

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Minutemen, Italy and Subtraction…

On Friday we started a book called “Sam the Minuteman” and it’s about a 7 or 8 year old boy who goes with his father to help stop the British soldiers from reaching Concord. We were only ‘supposed’ to read the first half of the book, and answer a few questions.

Well, the kids weren’t having that, we had to finish the book. It was a bit intense, and if I were them it would have been a real cliff hanger! So we finished read it it, and had to do a bit of review of the second half for today’s reading assessment. He enjoyed the book and made a perfect score on the test 🙂

This evening was the (hi)story of Romulus and Reamus, and a little (very little) Italian geography. Once again a perfect test score.

I threw him for a loop this afternoon and he didn’t catch it! I need to mix it up a bit. We started Unit 2 in our Math book, already, sheesh,. It was subtraction, so when he added 8-2 he was surprised when I started calling out the answers and they were all very different from the ones he gave. “OH NO! MOM I added!” Poor kid had to start all over. But he did it in record time and, drum roll…. yeah, another perfect test score.

I think I am going to be sending his teacher an e-mail and ask about ‘assessing out’ of the math he knows. I have heard of other GVA parents doing something similar. So…we’ll see. It would be nice if he was slightly challenged. We’ll keep going with the Language Arts and not skip ahead in that because I want to make sure he really masters grammar. It is very easy for him and I know he remembers a lot of it from last year, but I don’t want to assess out. We’ll stick to Science and History as is, because it is new material for him, so YAY.

On top of that, we made a trip out to the grocery store, it’s been a long day! Time to get ready for our family reading and then bed. This month we started reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone for the 2nd time. I read it to the kids when they were 6 and 2, so it’s not like they really remember that much. And we’re all enjoying it again. My son really hopes we keep this up, because I agreed to read until he said it got too scary. Which means we could be reading Order of the Phoenix, which I was a bit wary about. But we’ll make sure to put the girl to bed before cracking that one open 😉

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Calling All Artists

We need your help!! My son wants our school mascot to be a Dragon! We love this idea, the only problem, none of us are artistic enough to create a dragon that we can use for things like our blog, our website and t-shirts!!

SO…if anyone out there is creative, artistic, and would like a free t-shirt, send some Dragons OF YOUR OWN CREATION this way!!!

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Welcome to Coventry Academy

Home of the Dragons!!

Welcome Parents, Students, Friends and Family! This is the first blog post for Coventry Academy. Some of you may have gotten here from “Off the Hook”, my other blog. If you did, then thanks for reading there! I appreciate each and every person that reads any post!

A few days ago when thinking about my poor neglected blog, I thought, geeze, I should separate them. Off the Hook was intended for crafting, which has been pushed aside by my garden, which is nearly finished with all of it’s wonder. With school in session I could just see OtH being taken over by schooling once I got back into blogging, and I didn’t want that to happen. SO! Here we are!

This year our family took on the adventure, or challenge of homeschooling our oldest child. Jack is a very excitable and distract-able child…but is he also very smart. He attended public school for 2 years, where he learned successfully to read and comprehend, to write and to do some mathematics. Which is fantastic! He did well academically, almost as if it came perfectly natural to him. Of course we were pleased and proud of his progress through learning, and he ate it up! He loved reading so much that by the end of Kindergarten he was reading at a mid-year first grade level. By the start of first grade, he was reading near the end of first grade, almost 2nd grade level, and it goes on from there. In the first grade his (very small) reading group actually read The Wizard of Oz. I still haven’t read that!!

While he is very smart, and motivated to learn, he just can’t quite sit still. He is nearly incapable of sitting still for 20 minutes, much less the entire day. So, it was to be expected that he had ‘behavior’ problems. Well, we, like many other parents, just hoped he would ‘get used to’ school and learn how to follow the flock and sit quietly during learning times. But by the end of first grade it was clear this was not the case with Jack. He just would not do it. Which I can understand, who really WANTS to do nothing but sit in a desk all day and learn. Follow the whole class around in a line. Well, you remember school.

About half way through the year while Jack was home with the flu, I was looking into what our options were for schooling. I mean, if he were home schooling, maybe I could get him to do a small work sheet or something each day he was sick. Maybe? If not at least I wouldn’t have a HUGE PILE of make up work, and trying to teach two lessons a day to catch up. It was amazing the amount of work he brough home with him. It did take us all week to catch up, and then some. It was during this time that I learned of K-12 (www.k12.com) and their Virtual Academies. I got a call from a representative of K-12 who told me all about Georgia Virtual Academy (GVA) (www.k12.com/gva) and how it was still a public school through the state of Georgia, but with the flexibility of schooling AT HOME! I was hooked! And, it just got better from there. IT’s FREE. Yes, that’s right, all our text books and other supplies were completely free.

I tried to learn as much as I could, and presented it to my husband and told him that I really thought it was the way to go. No more putting Jack on restriction because of a ‘bad’ behavior report, and no more stressing if he was going to mess up big! (One day he was running in the classroom and knocked over a bookshelf (that was not standing against a wall, instead being used kind of like a ‘room seperator’ to make the entrance to the classroom a little like a foyer…which was a bad idea if you ask me…an unsecured bookshelf in a 1st grade classroom??? Maybe something a 5th grader can handle.) And we talked about it until just before school ended for the year, when we finally decided we were going to pull him out of the Brick and Mortar school and teach him at home.
School officially started on August 17th, we have had his books and materials since early July, and access to the online school since August 3rd, which is when we started. We built up, one lesson a day for the first week, then 2 for the 2nd week, to 3 during official week 1. Now we are starting week 3 officially, and are up to 4 hours of schooling a day. It sounds like a lot, and it IS, but it’s set up very nicely. It didn’t take long for me to find my way around the OLS (OnLine School), and figure out how to go about our day. We start each day with Math, then Language Arts. Then Science and History alternate. If we aren’t teaching a lesson of Science, we review the previous lesson, same goes for History.

I want to use this blog to talk about our days, and maybe share some of the neat things we do. I’m sure there are plenty of eclectic homeschoolers who have more fun than we do, but we hope to reach that level some day. That’s all for now, I hope you enjoy what I hope this blog becomes 🙂

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