Lots going on!

January 11, 2010

Adrian has just taken off recently. He’s reading a little and he’s really “into” math and grasps the concepts very easily so he’s working pretty far ahead in that subject. I recently checked out a 1st grade curriculum book from the library just to get some ideas and to know what order some things are best to go in (math especially). I’m struggling a lot lately with whether or not to put Adrian in school in the fall. I really, really want to homeschool him, and while his dad SAYS he’s on board with it, he doesn’t take it seriously at all. And I’m not one who thinks a kid needs 6 hour a day/5 day a week instruction at home, but when a kid stays with each parent 50/50, both parents need to be providing good opportunities for learning. I’ve tried repeatedly to get both his dad and his grandma involved, but it’s like it goes in one ear and out the other. I’m also not against a young child simply learning through play. This is what he does the majority of the time at my house. But they are content with him just watching movies and playing transformers. Which is limiting, in my opinion. At my house, he has many other toys and has plenty of opportunities to use his imagination. It’s just frustrating. So I’m going tomorrow probably to tour a charter school in the area. I won’t put him in unless I absolutely love it (and the public schools here are not an option in my eyes), but maybe I’ll at least have something more to consider if homeschooling doesn’t work out.

Adrian is learning to play sudoku. He definitely gets that from me. LOL I love all kinds of number puzzles and he likes to watch me do them. He asked me months ago how to do them and I tried to show him a 4×4 sudoku puzzle but he didn’t get it. This time he got it right away and the 4×4 ones are too easy! But he still thinks they are fun and I’m showing him “variations” like using objects instead of numbers.




I’ve been working on his learning area for a while. First it was in the living room, then it was in his bedroom (where he doesn’t even sleep) and now I’ve moved everything to a corner of my bedroom. He really likes to do “learning stuff” (as he calls it) at night, before he goes to bed. I think it’s because he’s winding down and he’s more focused. Plus, after Charlie is asleep, it’s just the two of us, so we can snuggle in bed with a book or play on the floor with his math stuff.

Here’s the calendar I got from the Dollar Tree. I can’t afford to go and get anything laminated so I did it myself with packing tape. It’s not professional looking by any means, but good for us. I just put a square of tape on each square on the calendar, then put the sticky velcro on.


And here’s his whole corner:


I made him felt play food for Christmas and it was by far his favorite gift. I would have never considered it educational, but he’s learning things like manners (and trying to be “proper” while serving everyone), the food groups and eating healthy, and even writing. His fortune cookie has an opening where you can slip in a tiny piece of paper with a message on it, which he likes to do for me.



He also got puppets and a puppet theater:


He still loves puzzles and he can almost do a 50 piece one himself.


Science experiment: We played with cornstarch and water in a mixing bowl. He’s learned about solid, liquid, and gases so he thought it was pretty cool to play with something that wasn’t quite solid and not quite liquid either.


So Adrian started reading a little bit about a month ago. He’s been able to make the letter sounds for a while, but then out of nowhere he started blending them and figuring out words. So I found a phonics instruction book at a thrift store which has helped me tremendously because I don’t have the first clue where to start when teaching a child to read. We started with short vowel sounds and he’s got the hang of that pretty well, except for the short “e” sound, which he still tries to pronounce as the short “i” sound. I’m sure he’ll get the hang of it soon though because when he’s spelling something, he can figure it out just fine. He can do most regular short vowel 3 letter words and some 4 letter words with blended sounds like “sp” and “tr”. We did work on long vowel sounds some, but he doesn’t yet know WHEN to use the long vowel sound. But if I tell him what words have it, he can sound them out just fine. Overall, he’s doing VERY well for a not yet kindergartner.

We play a game that I made up where we each write a word on a dry-erase card and draw a picture of it next to it. Then we cover up the picture, the other person has to sound out the word, and when they get it right, we uncover the picture. He thinks it’s a lot of fun and since we take turns, he gets practice with reading AND spelling. One funny little story I just have to share: He kept telling me all day one day that he knew bad word that started with “F”. I told him I did too but we shouldn’t say it because it’s not a nice word. Then when we played our word game that night, he wrote “FUK” on his card and had his hand over the picture. I was thinking, “Oh no! What picture could he have possibly drawn?”, thinking the worst. Like a good sport, I said the word, then he uncovered the picture and said, “It’s a little boy sitting in time out!” LMAO

He can read the first 5 starfall books himself and the beginning hooked on phonics books himself. He writes all the time and is experimenting with spelling words even if he doesn’t know them. Which I’ve heard is a good stepping stone in learning reading and spelling. Even though the words aren’t “right” there’s no denying he’s learning phonics well when he writes things out just like they sound.

Lately he’s gotten disheartened with reading and says it’s “too hard” and he “hates it” so because it’s much more important to me to raise a child who loves to read and not one who reads fluently by K, I decided to back off and told him we’d only do a “lesson” when he wanted one, but he had to do a little “silent reading” everyday and he could ask for help anytime he didn’t know a word. This worked out well and he actually started reading out loud again even though I didn’t ask him to.

The curriculum I got from the library gave me some good ideas about social studies lessons. Adrian loves maps and geography, but as much as he studies them, he gets overwhelmed with all the information in front of him. The curriculum started off with learning about yourself, then your friends and family, then your community, then it moves on to maps and larger scale studies. And it’s worked out well. He made an “All about me” page that we put in his folder. It has a couple of drawings, his fingerprint, and how he described himself and the things he likes (he dictated while I wrote). For friends we talked about what makes a good friend and he listed a few friends he has and why he likes them. Then for family we described a little about each family member and wrote it down (this will be great to look back at later!). For our community studies we listed a job starting with each letter of the alphabet, then discussed why each of those jobs are important. We read “Stone Soup” and talked about how people can work together and help each other and it’s often better than working alone. We also practiced telephone etiquette and pretended to call each other on the phone.

We got to maps just a couple of days ago and I drew one of a small neighborhood with houses, a school, a store, a post office, a playground, trees, and roads. I made a “key” and we talked about how we’d get from one place to another. We talked about North, South, East, and West. He hasn’t quite memorized them, but he’s learning quickly. I have to admit, that’s one thing that stumped me in school…I still had trouble remembering which way was East and which was West in middle school. Embarrassing but true. He seems to remember West and North so maybe he won’t have as much trouble as I did. I found out that he knows his left from his right. I never asked him before and never thought to teach him. But he knows it perfectly. I asked him how he knows and he said “I don’t know”. I tried to get him to explain to me how he remembers (like some kids remember that their left hand makes and “L” shape when you hold it up and other write with their right hand” but he says he “just knows”. Okey-dokey. As long as he gets it. I showed him “real world” directions. We stood facing North and I told him if he walked far enough, he’d get to Michigan eventually. Then we did East, South, and West using states he’s familiar with (New York, Florida, and California).

I also got some ideas for science from the curriculum. He understands science concepts easily but some things I never would have thought to go over with him, like living and non-living things. Which it turns out he already knew, but it’s still nice to know I didn’t completely skip over something that might have been an important building block later on. We read “Are you my Mother?” and listed all the living and non-living things in the book. We have a potato soaking on the bathroom counter, held partially out of the water by toothpicks. He checks it everyday he’s with me to see if the buds have grown or if there’s any new ones. We did lots of work with plants last summer so he knows all about seeds, what they need to grow and how the bees help pollinate, ect, but potatoes are a little different so I figured it would be something new and fun to cover.

I’ve been thinking up some new vocabulary words for him to learn and practice using. I try to pick ones that he’s specifically asked about because the ones he wants to know are the ones he’s going to remember. When I’m stumped for ideas, I just open one of his Transformer books. Those things are chock full of exciting new words! Like, LOADED. I can barely read a page before he’s asking about a word or several. I went through one picture book (NOT a chapter book) and came up with a list of over 50 words that we could study. Yikes! I also look to math lessons for vocab words. Last week we did parallel and perpendicular (I explained why “parallelogram” is called that and I figured we may as well cover perpendicular while we were at it). Also trapezoid, pentagon, hexagon, and octagon.

Math. Oh math. I don’t know what I’m going to do with this kid. If I put him in school he’s going to be SO bored with math. He’s just advancing at an amazing rate. And I’m not biased just because I’m him mom. He understands multiplication. No joke. I showed him ONCE what the problems look like and what they mean, and he can do any single digit problem on an abacus or with dots on a paper. He’s stopped using counters for addition and subtraction. Instead he prefers to use a number line. I just started teaching him “Touch Math” the other day and he seems to like that too, so it will be interesting to see what he picks. I never liked all the usual ways of doing math when I was a kid so when they introduced Touch Math in 1st grade, I latched onto it. Almost everyone I know thinks it’s a ridiculous concept when I explain what it is, but I recently learned it’s a real method (not something just made up by my elementary school) and I’ve even talked to other people who use it! So now that I don’t feel like such a freak, I don’t feel like I’ll be hurting Adrian to introduce him to it. At least now he has several tools to work with. He likes fractions and I made up bar and circle fractions on the computer (and cut out and “laminated” the pieces with packing tape, which is my new favorite thing in the world hehe). I also found a really cool book at the library by Hershey, which is basically a whole lesson on fractions using a hershey bar. If any lesson involves junk food, Adrian is game. Just a month ago, he was struggling to count past 14. For some reason, the teens slipped him up. But I bought this $0.70 number board and he started doing much, much better within days.


He got to 19 two weeks ago and then had trouble remembering 20. Once he got past 20 though, he had them all. He counted to 100 for the first time a few days ago and he was so excited he flung himself into my arms! LOL

Learning about place value with toothpicks. We counted out tens of toothpicks and bundled them, then learned to separate the numbers into columns with tens and ones.


After learning about place value, we started some simple addition of 2 digit numbers and he seems to understand, but we only worked for a few minutes so we’ll have to see how fast he picks that up.

Charlie enjoys the abacus too:

She likes to hit the beads and make them clink together. 🙂

I got a Rainbow Resource catalog with my purchase from them. This thing is as big as a large city’s phone book! I see a lot of stuff I’d like but I don’t have the money to spend. I do bookmark the pages just in case though. One thing I thought was cool was the “Handwriting Without Tears” roll-a-dough letters. It basically has cards with the letters on them and you roll playdoh in the shape of the letters. Adrian knows how to make all the letters, his problem is keeping them in the line, or filling the whole line (he’ll either go way above or below, or make them so small they don’t even touch the lines). I was working with him on it one day and he leaned over my pencil just as I flipped it around to erase something and his eye went right into it. And there we were…a handwriting lesson with tears. I thought of the product I bookmarked and thought “Why not? He knows how to use a pencil already, he just needs to remember where the letters go on the lines!” So I made his own little version, with construction paper and….packing tape (this is becoming a theme you see). Here is our finished product:


I love packing tape!

And big news!  Adrian has his first loose tooth!  He’s growing up so fast!



November 11, 2009

We had a great day and a couple of funny Adrian-isms so I was eager to update. LOL

For math, we did a little bit of work on telling time.  He’s still learning to read a clock and he completely understands the hour hand.  Now we just have to work on the minute hand.  We also did a couple of subtraction problems.

He did 2 pages in his alphabet workbook.  He’s known all his letters for a couple of years, but he never caught on to the alphabet song.  He’s just now learning to put them in order.  He did pretty well with that, with only a little help from me.  We worked on the “sh” sound.  He couldn’t figure out the first letter of my name, so I explained why it didn’t sound quite like an “s”.  I told him “sh” sounds like “shhhhh”, “Shauna”,  “shoes” and he interrupted me and said, “I know another one!” and I asked what and he said, “Shit!”.  Ok, hmmm, well done…now, moving along…

For science we studied the polarities of magnets.  He didn’t seem all that interested so I was surprised when he showed me today that he had remembered our lesson.  He was demonstrating with his fingers, pretending they were magnets, and he showed me how they attract and repel.

He played on his v-tech computer for a total of about 30 minutes.  It has a bunch of number and letter games.

He did lots of drawings of Transformers.  He likes to draw them so they “transform” into household items.  So one will be a toaster, another will be a lamp.  It’s really cute.  There’s about 40 little drawings in his notebook…all completely different.  A funny thing about Tranformers….Did you know that the bad ones killed Jesus on the cross?  Well, apparently, that’s what happened according to Adrian.  And he wants to become a “church teacher” and teach that to everyone.  Anyone who know me knows that I’m laughing my ass off at the idea of that. LOL

We were at my mom’s and Adrian accidentally broke one of her pens.  I helped him leave her a note that said, “Sorry I broke your pen.  Adrian”.  My mom thought that was really cute.

Before we went to bed, we read half of “Mummies in the Morning” and learned the words royal, sarcophagus, and hieroglyph.

I have an excuse this time!

November 10, 2009

Charlie has been pretty bad lately and I’ve spent a LOT of time focused on her.  Again…I neglected poor Adrian’s blog. 😦  We do get a lot accomplished, I just never seem to find the energy to write about it.  LOL



Adrian is super focused on perfecting his writing skills.   He’s always writing something.  He asks me how to spell stuff.  He copies things from books.  He traces things.  He does pages in boring old workbooks.  He’s gone from just randomly making letters (including completely random sizing and spacing), to letters that have meaning and fit in the lines!  I’m a very proud mama!




This one is words he picked from Ghostbusters, one of his favorite movies/series of all time.   It says “Slimer”, “Gray Lady”, “Trap”, and Protime Pack”.  I tried to convince him it’s “Proton Pack” but he doesn’t believe me.  So I humored him.  There are a couple of extra letters thrown in because there was a little extra space and he insisted there needed to be something there.  It was his idea to put dots between each letter to help with spacing.  Now he does it just between each word.




We get a little bored with just addition and subtraction around here.  I started teaching him a few things that may be a *bit* advanced for kindergarten work, but he’s doing pretty well with.  First, 3D shapes!  Cones, cubes, cylinders, pyramids, and spheres!   We talked about what each shape looked like, then found examples of each one.  For a sphere, he figured out his ball and globe by himself.  Cube was pretty easy too.  He found a box.  I also showed him his rubix cube that he forgot we had.  Cylinder…paper towel tube.  Cone was harder.  I couldn’t think of anything myself, so I rolled a piece of paper in the shape of a cone to show him what it looked like and he said, “Ohhhh!  It’s like one of those tent things, you know…a teepee!”  Then he grabbed it from me, flipped it upside down, spun around the room and said, “Look a tornado!” LOL  For pyramids, I just grabbed an Ancient History book and showed him the page on the Ancient Egyptians.  I’ll save that discussion for further in the blog post. 😉  Then he built pyramids from his magnets and stuck them all together:


We worked a little bit on fractions.   He understands halves, but I think that’s as far as we’re going to get for a while.  Or maybe the concept will “click” next week…who knows?

He can add small numbers by himself with a counting aid.  He can subtract small numbers with a little help and a counting aid.  He’s *thisclose* to being able to count to 20.  He still skips 15 for some reason.  Once he gets to 20 I’m sure the rest of the numbers will come more easily.



We’ve found a chapter book series that we can both get into and really enjoy.  The Magic Treehouse books can be read easily in 2 sittings and are perfect for keeping a preschooler’s attention.  They are about a brother and sister who find a magic treehouse that transports them in time and distance to see really cool things like dinosaurs and knights.  Each book also conatins some interesting facts about the subject.

Adrian is coming right along with his own reading.  He’s can now tell you what words start with and is getting better and better at sounding out short vowel words with help.  I’ve given his dad and grandma a list of what we’re working on and I think that has helped.  I noticed a huge difference after he’d been away for a few days and I checked with grandma and sure enough…they’d been working on them!


Social Studies!

And now for the whole story on the Ancient Egyptians.  It started out being a math lesson and turned into a history lesson.  That’s one thing I love about just going with the flow.  I don’t feel like I have to stick to one subject.  And switching between subjects like this helps hold his interest longer.  And he retains information better when he has other things to relate to it.  He was still talking about the pyramids the next day.  And the next week.  He’s fascinate now with mummies and their burial rituals.  And his nest book in the Magic Treehouse series is “Mummies in the Morning.  How fitting. 🙂

So, Adrian is still really into maps and the United States.  I’ve been focusing on that to create a whole social studies lesson plan.  We’ve been learning about historical monuments, the flag, some of the presidents, and the national anthem.  We’ve talked a little about the Native Americans and I plan on focusing more on that subject with Thanksgiving coming up.  I’m a little nervous about explaining what REALLY happened to the Native Americans, but I’m sure it will work out.  Kids always understand and can handle more than you think.  I won’t go into great detail, but I won’t sugar coat it either.  I was in middle school before I realized that the settlers and the indians weren’t all “buddy-buddy” like they made them out to be in my curriculum.

When I was Adrian’s age, I don’t think I could have told you very much about our country at all.  Maybe the name of the state I lived in.  I probably recognized the national anthem and the flag.  That’s about it.  So it THRILLS me to see Adrian identifying several states, recognizing and naming the president, identifying and drawing the Washington Monument and the Statue of Liberty, and knows the U.S. and Ohio flag.  😀  Not that my parents neglected my education.  They were great, I can assure you.  But I wasn’t interested in social studies much and more interested in reading.  It just never occurred to me that an almost 5 year old would care about this stuff enough to retain the information.  We were having lunch with a friend at Roster’s one day and he saw the president on TV and said, “Hey mom, is that Barack Obama?”  I was so proud!  I didn’t know who Reagan was until I was a teen, well past his presidency. LOL

Adrian and his map:


Believe it or not, the kid does these things on his own.  I just walk into rooms and find him like this.  I only encourage real “school” stuff about once or twice a week, and only if I feel like I have something to teach him that would actually interest him.  I regularly find him with his nose in a book, or with a science kit out.  We’re not doing full-on unschooling, but I do believe in the principle and I know it’s hard for other people to understand.  Kids really DO want to learn and WILL do so just fine if you surround them with opportunities and give them encouragement.



We haven’t done a whole lot with science lately.  Mostly we’re learning about animals and insects.  He’s catching ladybugs and watching them.  We still work with magnets a LOT.  We did get a cool Solar System kit on the discount rack at the bookstore with stencils and stickers and other cool stuff.  We talk about a lot of medical stuff as always.  He understands more than you’d think about Charlie.  He’s going to have a better understanding of the human body than most adults by the time he’s 5!  I really need to get my butt in gear and organize some science projects for him!  He loves that stuff and it’s the one thing he can’t really do on his own, or come up with on his own.  Nope, that’s my job.  And I’m going to get on it, I swear!



It seems like all Adrian does anymore is draw and color.  He does still sometimes get into his craft bag and this is usually the result:


He loves puppets so I’m really glad he’s getting a bunch for Christmas!

He made another one that was…anatomically correct.  and the boy part was as long as the legs. LOL  And then Grandma got into the spirit and added nipples to hers.  Well, I’m all for education right? LMAO

He’s coloring really well and staying in the lines.  He prefers to color things the appropriate color.  His drawings are usually recognizable and he’s started coloring those in as well.



Well he lost interest in Spanish, but that’s ok.  I’m more concerned abot him (re)learning some Sign Language.  I can’t seem to get him interested again though.  He always really liked the Signing Time videos and I’ve tried getting those back from his dad, but it’s like pulling teeth!  Maybe I can find them cheap on Craigslist or something.  We do have one book that’s really geared towards kids and we work on some of the signs in it a little, but he’s not retaining the information.  This was the kid that knew 350 signs by the time he was 2!



We’re still working to get Adrian to eat better.  The issue is not that he’s picky.  He’ll eat most healthy foods.  It’s just that he doesn’t want to eat…period.  He’ll go until 4 or 5 pm only having water and then just crash.  It makes him grumpy and moody and just….not pleasant.  I’ve been working on just teaching him that eating isn’t optional, it’s what our bodies NEED to grow and be healthy.  He’s doing a little better.  I was really worried about a month ago because he would only *drink* calories for days at a time!

We haven’t really mentioned anything to Adrian about H1N1.  Personally, I believe the panic is mostly media-induced and it’s not really any more dangerous than any other bug out there.  But we’ve been stressing hand-washing a bit more.  He’s a clean kid anyway and has not fought us on hand-washing.  But with a little encouragement, I think he’s even better at remembering than *I* am!

Getting exercise is not a problem for Adrian.  He hardly ever stop moving!  I put up a swing for Charlie, but Adrian claimed it as his own (she does still use it whenever she wants though 😉 ) and he spends a fair bit of time in that, pretending to be a trapeze artist in the circus, or just spinning around and around for an hour at a time.  I think it’ll help a little with cabin fever this winter.  An outdoor activity inside is just what every little kid needs don’t ya think? 🙂


I know! I know!

September 19, 2009

Sheesh I’m bad about this updating thing!  I really need to make myself do it every time I update Charlie’s blog.  My blogging habits make it look like I love one child more than the other.  I don’t…I swear! *whistle*


Our sunflowers got huge! Too big for us to measure….we’re guessing 8-9 feet tall though.


Adrian is perfecting his coloring skills. Just 6 months ago he was still just scribbling and not even attempting to stay in the lines. Now he not only stays in the lines, but tries to make things the “right” color too!


And he’s developing his own sense of fashion. He almost never matches but it’s kind of cute. I’m just going with it. It’s interesting to see what he comes up with. One day he left the house in shortalls and a winter hat. But in this pic…those things on his legs? Yeah, I made those last christmas on a whim. I had extra material so I thought I’d make him something similar to babylegs, but for his arms. It’s pretty cool…he slips them on with a t-shirt and it looks like he’s wearing a long-sleeved shirt underneath. Well, he decided to put them on his legs. Two different shades of camo and Lightning McQueen. Nice.


What’s summer without a trip to the local soft-serve shop? His favorite is chocolate. 😉


Adrian is dying to learn to sew! We went to Joann’s and I picked out a couple of kid’s sewing kits. And he saw one of those kid sewing machines. I asked the sales lady about it and she said to save my money…it doesn’t really work well. He was SO disappointed! She said the best way to learn was on a real machine, but he needs to be a little older. So he’s working on hand-sewing for now.


But he still wants to use the machine. I let him sit on my lap and help me push the fabric along. He brought me some fabric today and had it folded in half and wanted me to sew it for him. He climbed up on my lap and helped me. He told me exactly where to sew. I thought he was going to just have me sew it into a rectangle, but he insisted I leave a “hole”. So I did. And he ran and got some poly-fill and started stuffing it. He got it all stuffed and then asked me to sew the hole closed. He made a pillow!


Here he is…so proud!


And he had big plans for this pillow. It was for his littlest pet shop toys to hang out on.

I’m mostly impressed that he had an idea, knew how to get it done, and was able to communicate it to me what he needed to get it done. Just last week he came into the bedroom, threw down the thing he was hand-sewing and pitched a fit because he couldn’t get it right. He asked me to help but I couldn’t understand what he wanted me to do! It was just a bunch of triangle felt pieces…he didn’t have a goal in mind…he was just stitching them together randomly. A week later he makes a pillow. Huh.

I started reading him Matilda. I felt he was ready for something more advanced than picture books so I hit a few thrift stores and brought home 6 paperbacks. Of COURSE he would pick the most advanced one out of all of them! I’d forgotten how difficult a read it is…..lots of good vocabulary words. Which is great for a 4th grader…not so much for a 4 year old. But he doesn’t mind that he doesn’t know a lot of the words. He’s enjoying the story and he knows there’s a movie too, which we’ll watch when we finish the book. *I’m* picking the next one….maybe Charlotte’s Web.

Looks like I’m better off updating every 2-3 weeks…

August 7, 2009

Since I can’t seem to get my act together!  I also slacked on Charlie’s blog for a while too, and we all know that kid *always* has something going on.

So some pics:


Our giant zuchinni. No, we didn’t grow this. I wish! It got passed around until someone (me) was brave enough to try and do something with it. I shredded half of it and I’m giving the other half to a friend. It weighed 7 1/2 lbs and the half I shredded made 7 cups. I made 2 batches of muffins and froze the rest. Adrian thought it was pretty cool, but he didn’t like my muffins. 😦


Adrian and his corn. Yes, our lonely stalk of corn produced an edible ear. Actually it was more than just edible…it was almost perfect! Everyone thinks this is just too funny. I don’t know why it produced ears…everything I’ve read says they won’t unless there’s enough to pollinate the whole group. So maybe we’ll read up on it more.


We have little pumpkins! We’ve picked 5 and have about 4 more growing. I just let Adrian paint them. He’s had a lot of fun giving them away. 😀


And huge amounts of green beans. My stepdad has a big garden and I don’t know if he got overwhelmed or what, but he asked me to come pick some of his beans because they were just going to go bad. I got there and it was like Bean City. My mom gave me 2 plastic bags stuffed full and I took home about that much again when I picked. Adrian is a good little helper and he’s becoming more confident at choosing his beans. He used to ask me every other one, “Is this one big enough?”, “Is this rotten or just dirty?”. But he knows now and snaps them pretty quickly for a 4 year old.

I’m putting a swing up in Adrian’s room, so that should be fun. I’ve noticed that he behaves better when he can get his excess energy out. Naturally he’s a little terror during the winter months. I’m hoping by letting him be rambunctious in the house he will be a little more pleasant. He got to watch Grandpa drill the holes and put the bolts in. We measured and cut the rope, and sometime next week we’ll head down to Carter’s to get a piece of wood for the swing.

He’s learning more about good eating. At WIC, we got an Elmo DVD about good eating and he’s acting like it’s the bible or something. Can’t complain. He’s quit asking for so much junk food.

Since the weather has been so good (hardly any rain and barely hot) he spends tons of time running around outside. So “school stuff” is on the back burner. He’s learning more from being outside anyway. More important stuff like not going in the street, staying away from the deep puddle, and wearing shoes when there are lots of bees out. He saw me get stung 2 weeks ago so that helps. LOL

He’s really into “decorating” right now. He likes to rearrange furniture and hang stuff up on the walls. He moves little flower pots around and finds things to set on the windowsills. It’s really cute and I don’t mind. He says he likes my house better than dad’s because he’s allowed to decorate. LOL

Last week, out of nowhere, he decided to pull all the weeds along the sidewalk. *I* certainly didn’t prod him. I just pull weeds in the garden. He was halfway done when I found him and he said, “Doesn’t that look better mommy?” Yes. Yes it does. I’m so glad he’s taking pride in his living space. Hopefully he won’t be the teenager that hides 4 week old cereal bowls under his bed.

He LOVES to pretend. His favorite pretend game is Ghostbusters. A little outdated, but that’s what makes it cute. Hearing about Slimer and Proton packs brings back memories. He also loves the movie The Polar Express and acts out scenes from that. He found my filtered water pitcher and started pouring hot chocolate up and down the “aisle”. He was acting all professional, greeting each “passenger” and tipping the pitcher ever so carefully.

He still really like puppets so I’m making both the kids puppets for christmas. If you read Charlie’s blog, you  know that I make most of their gifts. I always made SOME of their gifts, but due to my financial circumstances last year I made most of them and will continue to do so even if I have money, until they start demanding G.I. Joes or something. But in Adrian’s opinion right now, homemade ones are the BEST. Better take advantage of  it while I can. So I’m getting started plenty early.

Here’s the first one:


Isn’t he CUTE!? I’ve made him and a mouse so far. Adrian has seen both, but they are technically Charlie’s anyway. Adrian will be getting a Dalmatian dog, a firefighter, a boy, and a cat. Charlie is getting a cow, a mouse, a frog, and a bunny. I might even make more. They don’t take long and cost me less than $1 each. I’m aware he doesn’t have a mouth. I left them expressionless on purpose. I think it’s hard to act out stories when each puppet has a huge grin on it’s face.

So I found out that the way I was taught math in first grade is a real method! Everyone always made fun of the way I do math. It’s called Touch Math and it works for me, personally. I read the site and it says most people will drop the method at some point and have the addition and subtraction tables memorized. I never did, really. Obviously I can do the smaller numbers from memory, but I still use touch math for almost everything. And I’m quick too. It doesn’t slow me down. I was afraid of Adrian picking up on the way I do math because I always thought it was the “wrong” way….now I’m not so sure. Maybe I should just teach him how I was taught. He’ll just end up doing whatever works best for him anyway. These “methods” are just an introduction into math and as long as he can do it, I won’t screw him up right?


July 14, 2009

If you plan on homeschooling, you may be a little concerned about the cost.  It can be very, very pricey, but a lot of people do it for little money.  I’ve been trying to stock my house with as much educational stuff as possible.  I mentioned in a previous post that I LOVE the Dollar Tree.  Some of this stuff, like books, seems pointless to some people because you can get them from the library and never spend a dime.  I think a little differently.  I think very easy access to basic reference books is important.  We can’t just run to the library all the time because of gas prices and needing someone to watch Charlie.  It really bothered me when he got very interested in anatomy and I couldn’t answer his questions right then.  Of course, it would be helpful to get the internet at home.  I’ll work on that. 😉

After getting a lot of cool things at the Dollar Tree, I asked my mom if she had anything.  She has a basement chock full of all kinds of treasures.  We ened up with:

A human anatomy model, from the 1950’s, new in the box. Unpainted.

A solar system model.

A magnet science kit and also magnets you can build with.

A book with science project ideas and some supplies too.

A book on the solar system with lots of pictures and great for a 4 year old.

Scrabble tiles.

Poker chips.

Window paint.

Sand art.

A book about rain and rainbows.

A travel journal.

A marble board game.

A toy that reflects an object and makes it appear above it in 3D.

A wooden kazoo.

Awesome score right?

I hit the school supply sales this week and stocked up on glue, crayons, paper, notebooks, and folders.  I probably bought enough for 3 years and only spent about $10.

I found things around the house to add to his art supplies.  He’s learning that we should always try to re-purpose something before throwing it away.  How do you convince a 4 year old that we shouldn’t put a corn dog stick in the art bag because it smells like stinky meat?  “But I like how corn dogs smell mommy!”  Uh, no, it still needs to be thrown away.  Ick!

And I went back to the Dollar Tree.  And the Target dollar bin.  I spent maybe $15 and got tons of very useful stuff.  I’m super excited about the dry-erase writing board.  It’s lined like little kid paper and you can doodle on the blank side too.  And we got 5 books from the Dollar tree that are simple yet educational.  They were basic books on science, history, animals, ect.  Lots of picture and fun facts.  Easy to just pick up and read one page at a time.  We got a dictionary (can you believe I didn’t already have one?) and a spanish-english dictionary.  Both for a buck.  I know they aren’t the most comprehensive, but they’ll do for a 4 year old.

Then my mom found MORE stuff.  Now that she knows the type of stuff I’m looking for, I’m sure she’ll be keeping an eye out.  She likes thrift stores and goodwill and if she can afford it, she’ll do anything for both of these kids.  So I’m looking forward to her finds.  I just never have good luck like she does.

So you’d think this would get overwhelming right?  Too much stuff?  Actually, it’s not bad at all.  I’ve separated his educational stuff from his other toys.  I organized everything and put it in the front room, next to the entertainment center.  The cabinet in the entertainment center hold the science kits and book.  As long as I remind him to clean up after himself, it stays pretty organized.  I think I’m just about done buying stuff for now.  He has enough stuff to last him at least a year and never get bored.  His art supplies are overflowing and very diverse.  He has books galore.  His educational “toys” are all very open-ended and serve many purposes.  Dice can be used many different ways.  We can always print out new tangram games.  The food pit is always fun and exciting when we get it out.

I think total I’ve spent maybe $50.   Here’s hoping for a wonderful “school” year! 😀

Maybe as he outgrows some of this stuff we can swap it with other homeschoolers to save money.

Wow I got behind! The last 2 weeks….

July 14, 2009

So this is why I started my blog early….it’s going to take me time to get in the habit of keeping a record. LOL I have no clue how strict they are in Ohio about proving your child didn’t just sit around playing video games all year long.  I don’t want to take my chances though.  We are constantly on the go and learning new things.  This is just a snapshot of our lives.  For one thing, I only have Adrian a little less than half the time.  His dad has him the rest of the time.  And he’s on-board with homeschooling and I know he takes the time to work with Adrian….I just have to get him to record stuff too.   So rather than try to do a post for each day I missed the last 2 weeks…here is is in a nutshell….

Our pumpkin plants bloomed!  We woke up one morning to big, beautiful, yellow flowers.  Which is Adrian’s favorite color by far, so that’s cool.  Now the little pumpkins left behind after the blooms fall off aren’t doing so well, so we’ll have to see what happns with those.  Maybe we’ll get lucky and have a few little pumpkins for him to paint for halloween.


We have lots of beans!  Not tons, but enough for a side dish with dinner twice a week or so.  I taught Adrian to decide when they are ready to be picked and he’s so funny about it.  He studies each one and narrates as he’s deciding, “Well this one is kind of long but not very fat, it can grow another 2 days”, “This one is way too tiny, it needs to be much, much bigger!”, “This one is way too big!  We have to pick it and eat it NOW!” LOL


We visited at Grandma’s house on July 5th.  Adrian’s little friend Bohdi was there.  They get along great and both are kind of laid-back little boys, which is nice.  No breaking up fights or constant screaming and crying.  When they started to act bored, I suggested that my mom get out her gardening tools and let them dig in her dirt pit.  They had a great time.


Then my mom asked if they wanted to help water the garden.  Adrian ended up running through the hose and getting soaked.  Then he went BACK into the dirt pit.  I’m trying to be comfortable with these things.  It goes against my nature to let him get so dirty and not do anything about it.  He’s always been the cleanest kid.  When my friends’ kids are running around in mud, Adrian plays in the sand.  When they dig into their food with their hands, he uses a fork or picks up the food very carefully with his thumb and pointer finger.  Then asks for a napkin.  Lately he’s been acting more and more like a mud monster.  And I’m just reminding myself to BREATHE.  He’s not hurting anyone. LOL  We hosed him off, stripped him down and stuck him in the tub.  And it was all fine. 🙂


He’s having a good ol’ time with magnets.  My mom found a science magnet set and some magnets you can build with.  Yes, he’s holding his crotch in the first picture.  He always waits until the last second to use the bathroom with he’s having fun and playing.  I can’t complain…at least he always makes it.


And these are the magnets you build with.  I have to say, they even kept ME occupied for well over an hour.  I found some more at Target on clearance and couldn’t help myself.  When you find a good toy, you go for it.  These will last for years.  They are technically for ages 6+ because I guess kids swallow them and they can fold the intestines and kill them.  My mom was concerned about that, but at some age you do just have to trust them not to eat their toys.  I know from experience that if Adrian accidently swallows a toy, he tells me.  And that was 2 years ago.  I still know how many is in each set.  If I’m concerned, I can count them and see if any are missing.


We’ve had a LOT of friends over and a lot of playdates.  I’m a little overwhelmed with how much there is to do, how many people we try to see regularly, and trying to have some quiet, home time as well.

We haven’t done a lot of structured stuff….just a lot of living life.  Isn’t that what summer is about?  He does occasionally ask me a very specific question and we have to go look it up together.  He wants to learn Spanish and so I try to offer him new words here and there.  He’s working on his grammar.  Nobody even prompted that…he’s learning on his own.  Last week I noticed he was using “well” instead of “good” in the appropriate ways.  I asked his dad if he’d been correcting him…nope!  I think he’s just picking up on it and trying to speak more like a grown-up.  Which makes me proud that he can hear the subtle rules of grammar and try to work it into his own speech.  Most ADULTS don’t seem to know when to use “well” instead of “good”!

We made a birdfeeder with a Tim Allen wood kit my mom found.  I had to do most of the building because Adrian can’t hit the nail hard enough yet, but he painted it ALL by himself.  I’ll get pics later.  We haven’t put food in it yet.  It was funny…when the paint finally dried and I told him we could take it outside to hang it, he got really excited.  I took the birdfeeder and said I had the perfect place to hang it, on the shepherd’s pole.  He started to get upset, “No mommy, that’s not where it goes….give it to me, I’ll show you where it goes!”  Giving him the benefit of the doubt, even though I didn’t see any other place and we have no trees, I gave it to him.  He ran outside, around to the kitchen window, climbed up on his little tykes toy, and hung it on a tiny hook he’d found sticking out of the frame of the window.  Huh.  I hadn’t even seen that little hook there.  But he was a step ahead of me.  He’d been thinking about where to hang that birdfeeder long before it was finished drying.  AND it’s cool that we’ll have birds come right up to the window (another observation of his).  Gotta give credit where credit is due…the kid really thinks things through!


June 29, 2009

We had a busy day with one of Charlie’s appointments, so not a whole lot of structured learning happened. Adrian still managed to do quite a bit. He played in the playplace at McDonald’s and asked a ton of questions at the doctor’s office. When we got home, he played with his food pit again. Then we made a stage for his popsicle stick puppets. He got right to work, putting together a show. Ever hear the story about the pirates, Jesus, and their dance club? I have! LOL

Subjects covered: Art, PE.
Total time spent: About an hour.


June 29, 2009

I put both of the kids in front of the TV in the morning to watch the signing video I got from the library.  Man, it was booooring!  Nothing like Signing Time, which is awesome.  *I* even find Signing Time entertaining.  Oh well, better luck next time.  One of the things I printed off before was a collection of Ohio state facts….a map, the seal, the bird, flower, and the state quarter.  Adrian is very interested in the states, so I’m going to try to print off these things for a new state each week or so. He cared more about the map than anything.  See, I thought he’d like to learn about the bird and flower.  LOL  Maybe he’ll still learn a little something.

We found beans growing!


Before long we’ll be picking them and learning to prepare them for dinner!

I made a “food pit” for Adrian.  It’s like an indoor sand box.  I put all sorts of dry food in a shoe box size storage bin….lentils, beans, rice, noodles, split peas, barley, ect.  I just put it on a tablecloth on the floor and let him at it.  At first he looked at me like I was crazy and very tentatively put his hands in it.  Before I knew it, he was scooping and dumping and sorting the food.  He hid things in it and squished it between his toes.  I learned online that this is a great sensory activity for kids and was a bit skeptical….would a 4 year old *actually* be interested in this?  YES!  He played with it for over an hour!


After he finished playing with his food pit, we did a science experiment.  I introduced him to the states of matter.  I showed him how water freezes into ice (I actually showed him how I put water in the ice tray before I gave him the food pit so it would have time to freeze) and then we put one cube in a bowl and a few in a pot on the stove.  We melted the cubes and boiled the water until the steam hit the cover and turned back into liquid. Then we poured the water back into the ice tray.  I explained to him what each one was….solid, liquid, or gas.  Then I pointed to different objects around the house and asked him to identify each one.  He got all 9 right!  I asked about a potato, milk, farts (I know, nasty!), a spoon, juice, oxygen (from Charlie’s machine), and a few others.  I was a little surprised that he caught on so quickly, but maybe that’s because this was stuff I was taught in 2nd grade.  When you think about it, it’s not something you need to wait to teach.  It’s pretty clear cut with hands on learning available and tangible evidence they can lear from….just what preschoolers need!

He played with his Leap Pad for about 30 minutes and then we read a book about tornadoes, worked on his calendar (filling it out and marking important dates), and then we made popsicle stick puppets.

Subjects covered: Languages, Reading, Geography, Science, Art.
Total time spent: About 4 hours.


June 29, 2009

Just as a side note, I’ll be adding in other subjects to the “subjects covered” line at the end of each post. It occured to me that I really should be adding in some of the subjects that are often considered less important, like music, art, and life skills. They make up a large portion of our day and it’s a shame to not recognize all he’s accomplished in those areas.

Wednesday was a looong day. It’s funny how some days we seem to do almost nothing and other days he’s on the go all. day. long.

First, he grabbed the new poster I got from the dollar tree (seriously if you have one near you, check it out!). It has the numbers 1-20 on it. Now, Adrian can count to 20, no problem, but it just occured to me while working on learning to tell time that he has no clue what the numbers 11-20 LOOK like. So it was totally worth it to spent the dollar on the poster. He counted, then traced the numbers of each one. No doubt, he’ll recognize all the numbers soon enough.


Then we visited grandma’s house. He played starfall for about 10 minutes. Then I got on the computer and printed out some learning materials. I made up sheets of “word families” for him to practice reading. We put together a huge alphabet puzzle (grandma has some of the coolest toys!).

After we got home, we worked in the garden a bit. He broke up big dirt clumps while I weeded it and then he watered it. I planted a bunch of new stuff the day before. I’m still learning a lot when it comes to gardening. I’ve had gardens before, but they always end up a mess because I get too busy to take care of them. Not this year! Because they are just in the flower beds and I literally just have to step out my door to tend to them, and I have a little helper, these gardens are flourishing! But they are a bit spotty because some things didn’t grow right. I’m replacing things quite late in the season, but it’s ok…it’s all a learning experience. For both of us.

Grandma came over a little later and we played outside. Adrian is learning to swing a baseball bat and he’s getting quite good. He’s managed to hit a small ball once, but we’re mostly practicing with a small beach ball. Then we went inside and did a few workbook pages on phonics and counting. I tried to encourage him to try my word families game, but he wasn’t interested. We played a game of bingo and a game of checkers. I’m so excited that he’s actually starting to understand the rules of games! Before, when we’d play candyland, he’d make up crazy rules and be very offended when you couldn’t understand his unreasonable requests and pitch a fit and refuse to play. But now it’s very enjoyable to play games with him. Before bed, we tried to read the book about the seashore, which turned out to be a little too advanced for him (and me…we both got bored pretty quickly). We read a Click magazine issue. Very nice mag. Very informative and geared to preschool/young school-age kids. We learned a lot about how different animals use camouflage.

Subjects covered: Math, Reading, Writing, Science, PE.
Total time spent: About 4 hours