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I am a very lucky woman with a husband and son who are smart, witty and entertaining. Our son, B, attended public school for two years, and then we embarked on a new adventure in the Fall of 2010 - homeschooling. We don't have all the answers, but we know B and this has been the best thing for him. I blog to preserve our stories and our memories, share recipes, vent and ramble on about our crazy, yet blessed, life. Would you care to follow along?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Third Grade - Day 2

It has taken me a year, but I've finally convinced myself that our "formal" school time does not have to occur in the morning or not at all. I got up this morning, determined to go to the gym b/c my favorite class, a dancing cardio one, is on Tuesdays. B was swimming while I was taking class and I finished first. I was witting on B when the teacher of the next class came up to me and convinced me to take her class of core work. Evidently I was not the only one! She pulled people off weight machines and even stole a client away from a trainer. She's hardcore, this teacher, and I'm so glad she is on my side! It may never happen again, but at least once in my life, I can say I took back-to-back classes at the gym. :o)

It was lunch time by the time we got home; we ate and then showered. What to do, what to do... Since there is no more TV (see yesterday's post: First Day of Third Grade) I announced that it was time for schooling! It's only day 2 and I got the look and the groan followed by the collapse on the floor. Oh, well. Once I got everything out and we started, he was so into it. Until we got to writing, of course. But I had an ace up my sleeve. I told him if he would stop stalling on his Spelling words I had something pretty fun to teach him next.

B: What?
Me: You'll have to finish your spelling work and see.
B: What's fun about it?
Me: The name is going to make you happy and laugh a LOT.
B: Is it "fart"? *dissolves into giggles*
Me: Boy, you are the KING of farts and you know all about them. So why would I be teaching you about farts next?
B: I don't know, but it's funny.
Me: Finish your Spelling!

He FINALLY finished his spelling and we moved onto Onomatopoeia. As expected, at the sound of that word B did the quick head jerk thing, bugged his eyes, shot his eyebrows up and a wide grin popped on his face for 0.66 seconds before he literally started rolling on the floor, belly laughing. I knew I'd get that reaction. I had to repeat it a few more times for him to grasp the pronunciation, but after that I never said it again. Didn't have to; he said it constantly until bedtime. By the end of today's lesson, B's yelling, "ON-a-matopoeia! YOU-a-matopoeia! This whole THINGS-a-matopoeia!" a la Al Pacino in "And Justice For All". LOL!

Do you remember when you learned Onomatopoeia in elementary school? I do! Even if you don't remember what it is (words that describe sounds like smack, pop, meow, etc.) you never forget the word Onomatopoeia. I even remember the sing-songy way our teacher broke the syllables down for us to understand how to pronounce it. OOONNN-a-MOOONNN-a-PEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE-a! (The teacher did not actually teach us to stretch out the PEE syllable; we did that all on our own.) God bless the teachers who have to teach Onomatopoeia every year. They have such patience. They know what reaction they'll receive when kids hear it. And not just the 1st time, EVERY time. And we worked that word into every sentence we could for the rest of that school year and even the next one b/c it was still funny! In fact, I believe Onomatopoeia was brought up at our 23rd elementary school reunion 2 years ago!

And B was no different. And I was just as patient as my teacher was b/c I realized what she knew all along: All that laughing and rolling around on the floor will ensure that he never forgets Onomatopoeia, just because it has the word "pee" in it.

Monday, July 11, 2011

First Day of Third Grade

Last Thursday, the hubs and I decided B had to go screen-free. After sleeping on it, we changed our minds and just went TV-free, letting B earn 30 minutes of educational computer or DS time each day. I have placed locks on ALL channels on both TVs.

The main reason we're doing this is b/c his watching TV is negatively affecting his communication. He is not having real conversations; he is merely repeating lines from movies, TV shows, computer games and even books over and over and over... However, I'm not taking away books. But we are going backwards and losing ground we gained over the last year. This has proven to me that it is time to start teaching 3rd grade now. If he is going to memorize and repeat everything, it might as well all be education-related. It is not healthy to go the rest of the Summer like this.

When I told B on Friday morning he was not going to watch TV the rest of the Summer, I gotta hand it to him, he took it very maturely. None of the expected reactions - no growling, dirty looks, storming off, crying, yelling, attempts at negotiations. 5 minutes later...

B: Can I finish watching The Goofy Movie that I started to watch yesterday? I recorded the rest of it.
Me: No.
B: Why not?
Me: Do you remember me telling you 5 minutes ago that you were not watching TV for the rest of the Summer?
B: But you said TV. THIS is a MOVIE.
Me: It's recorded on TV.
B: Well, can I put one of my MOVIES in the DVD PLAYER?
Me: No. No TV shows. No DVD movies. No streaming shows and movies on the Wii from Netflix.
B: Blink. Blink, blink. Flung himself onto the couch.

For the next hour, he spoke gibberish, non-sense and made lots of noises, very loudly and constantly, hoping to get a reaction. I am the queen of the battle of wills. My mom and and I fought them for years and I will not give in. When he stepped it up to potty words, I thought about stepping in and saying something b/c we don't allow that talk, but I chose to ignore it. Those words only lasted a couple of minutes before he gave up. Phew! Friday afternoon, B and the hubs went away for the weekend to visit my sisters-in-law, so I had no TV battles to fight nor sounds to hear for 51.5 hours. :oD

I didn't sleep well last night and woke up this morning tired, cranky and with a headache. Faced with no TV inside and a code orange day outside, I realized my options were to go to the gym or start teaching 3rd grade. So we started school. It took us 3 hours to do History, Geography, Spelling, Language Arts, Reading - I read to him from 1 book and he read to me from another one, and Science. It took longer than it should have, I think, b/c I was not prepared to start today and had not read through the lesson plans. I will spend time tonight going through it all and getting my ducks in row. After we finished Science I told B that we were all done, but then remembered we hadn't done Math. I decided to skip it. I wasn't going to push it; we'll work in tomorrow.

We had a good time. B and I both enjoyed the readings and learned new things (i.e. the difference between monkeys and apes is that monkeys have tails). B's least-liked part of learning was, of course, writing, but I knew that would be an issue. He loved Science and when our short lesson was done, he begged me to learn more. I told him no b/c I don't what to finish Science by Christmas and have nothing the rest of the year. But, leaving Science for last is a good thing; it will motivate B to work through everything else first.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Wine Glasses and The Graduate

I am a member of my local Freecycle Group. If you are not, or if you do not know what it is, I highly recommend you look into it. You give your useful, but no longer wanted/needed stuff away, and you can receive other peoples' useful but unwanted/unneeded stuff.

A couple of years ago, someone posted an offer of wine glasses on my local Freecycle site. Evidently this member was a wine lover and toured wineries for tastings. When you go to a winery and pay for a tasting, you get to keep your tasting glass and it has the name or logo of the winery etched on it. This Freecycler had approximately 30 wine glasses, each from a different winery and was offering them up. I, myself, am not a wine drinker, but the hubs is so I mentioned it to him. His response was, "I'd like to have those. Ask her if they are still available."

Not only were they still available, the owner of the glasses said that we were the only ones who were interested in them! I can see that; it takes a certain, rare personality (read: cheap and/or I-don't-care-what-people-think attitude like ours) to want to own an eclectic collection of wine glasses. So, I picked them up, washed them up, made room in the cupboards for them and my husband was very happy.

When the hubs has a glass of wine, he uses one of the glasses. Sometimes, when seeing daddy drink out of a wine glass at dinner, B wanted to drink out of one, too. So, on those rare occasions when we have apple, grape or pear juice in the house, we let B drink the juice out of one of these wine glasses. Recently, we bought a bottle of root beer and a bottle of birch beer at a local farmers' market that was a brand we had never tried before. At dinner a few days later, we had a "beer" tasting. All 3 of us had 2 wine goblets at our place and each bottle of "beer" was divided among the 3 glasses. B thought it was loads of fun! This brand, however, will never get us to buy it again. I am a connoisseur of root beers b/c my grandpa used to make his own and a connoisseur of birch beer b/c I am from New England.

Last night, I hosted a Girls' Night Out at my house. Instead of buying plastic, disposable cups for drinking, I pulled out these wine goblets. Since each glass was from a different winery, I didn't even need to worry about not owning wine charms! In addition to the goblets, I also put out my collection of Coca-Cola glasses in 4 different colors, that we obtained years ago from McDonald's, for the water/soda drinkers. I drank my Blood Orange Martini and then my water (b/c why dirty another glass? I'm the one who has to clean it, after all.) out of a wine goblet.

Then the hubs and B came home tonight after spending the weekend with my sisters-in-law at the beach, and us adults drank our dinner beverages out of wine goblets. I felt so...SOPHISTICATED...and...ADULT...which is the LAST word anyone would use to describe ME. So I have decided I am going to drink ALL of my beverages from a wine glass from now on! :o)

I want to read the book "The Graduate" by Charles Webb. I tried to watch the movie once, but just could NOT get through it. I got up to the point where Dustin Hoffman said to Ann Bancroft, "Are you trying to seduce me, Mrs. Robinson?" and I had to turn it off. To me, Ann Bancroft did not look attractive, did not look like someone a college-aged boy would be interested in sleeping with. I had suppressed my gag reflex long enough and had to turn it off. But I've always wondered how it turned out and books are so much better than movies, on the whole. Unfortunately, my county's library system does not own the book. I can't believe it! They own the sequel, published 45 years later, and 2 copies of the original movie's DVD, but not the BOOK. The book is a classic, people!

My parents live in the next county over, so I called to see if they could get it for me. My mom, who REFUSES to learn how to turn a computer on, answers the phone. I tell her I want to read the 1963 book "The Graduate", my county's library system doesn't own it, could she check and see if her library has it? She asked me who the author is, I told her, and she said she will have my dad look it up online for me. Both my county's and their county's library systems allows you to look up and reserve a book online.

Several hours later, my dad calls me. ***SPOILER ALERT!!!! IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK NOR WATCHED THE MOVIE, LIKE ME, AND WISH TO DO SO IN THE FUTURE, DO NOT READ ON!!!!*** "Ya motha (my dad moved out of New England 39 years ago and has not lost his accent) said you want me to get you "The Graduate". I have a question: Do you want the original version in which he, and the girl who is at the church to marry another guy, run away together in the end, or do you want the sequel to that one?"

*Long pause in which I am breathing deeply and counting to ten.* "I was looking for the original, 1963 version, Dad, and thanks for just ruining the ending for me!"

"What?" he asked.

"I've never READ the book. NOR watched the movie. That's why I wanted to check it out of the LIBRARY. And you have JUST spoiled the ending by telling me what happens. I asked for THE GRADUATE. The sequel is called HOME SCHOOL. If I wanted you to get me HOME SCHOOL, mom would have told you that I was looking for HOME SCHOOL."

"Oh. Well...I went to the lieberry's (not a typo, just how a New Englander with no R's in his alphabet pronounces it) website, typed in "The Graduate" and both books popped up."

"I can see that. They are both written by the same author. But they BOTH don't have the same TITLE do they, DAD?!"

*long pause* "OK. Now that I know which one you want, I'll get right on seeing if I can get that for you."

I quickly hung up.

Now that 2 hours have passed since this conversation, my temper has cooled after venting to the hubs. I tried to console myself and make light of the situation by thinking, "At least I am not the ONLY one who puts their foot in their mouth occasionally! He-he-he." But upon further reflection, I have this man's DNA. And I have to face the reality that at 65 years old, I will STILL be putting my foot in my mouth. Yeah.