Sunday, February 24, 2013

Week in Review

I get out of bed a little before 8am, after petting the cat for awhile. I didn't get the schoolwork in Jay's binder switched to the work for this week, so I do that right away, hoping to be done before he comes down for breakfast. While Jay is eating breakfast, Dea gets started on History. After he finishes eating, we pull out our All About Volcanoes kit. Jay is angry that we aren't doing an eruption today. He reads the first 4 sections in part 1 of the book that came with the kit & examines the poster that came with the kit. He then plays until quiet reading time. I head into the kitchen to make lunch & have several issues. I was going to make spaghetti with a meat sauce. However, the meat is frozen solid - a 2lb ground beefsicle. The garlic bread refuses to come apart, & I almost bend a knife trying to pry it apart. Even after cooking for more than half the time, the bread won't come apart. I burn myself on the baking sheet while trying to pry apart the bread & decide it can just cook like that. I'm done trying to pry it apart. I make the sauce, without meat & choose noodles. My day is not off to a good start. the kids have been fighting most of the morning, the whole kitchen is against me, and I'm starting to get a headache.

After lunch the kids go out to play. Jay hurts his finger playing basketball with one of the neighborhood boys. When they come back in, Jay goes on the computer for Math games & MathTv, and Dea does Government. Next, we watch some AoPS videos and do More Word Winks & ASL. He takes a break, I check Dea's Geometry. After his break, we do Latin. We're starting chapter 14, which is numbers. Jay is thrilled! He is literally jumping for joy & considering doing the whole chapter today. Dea is really just moping around. She claims that she did Writing, but has no proof & never actually said she was working on it. Plus, she has spent most of the day on break, which really makes me questions how much work she is actually getting dome. She wants to spend the weekend with her cousin, and is pouting because I said not this weekend. She hasn't been keeping up on her schoolwork or chores, and I think she should put more effort into that before I let her spend the night somewhere. After Latin, Jay does measurement & Writing. During this break, I do my mile walk & start cooking my dinner. The kids get their own dinner.  After the break, Jay finishes school with Grammar & Spelling.

The way it looks right now, he should finish Grammar in maybe 3 weeks. He started chapter 4 in Writing today, and there are only 6 chapters. So, he will likely be done with that in the next 2 months. Spelling will take longer, lasting into the next school year. He probably won't be done with Latin when the new school year starts, either. I'm pretty sure he'll be done with Key to by the time the next school year starts. I won't be able to order school materials until next month, which is driving me nuts. I will only have a few weeks between the materials getting here and the new year starting. I hate having a time crunch like that.

It is a cold day, bitterly cold. The high is only 14 & wind chills are expected around -10. This is the kind of day when nobody wants to go outside. The dog thinks she wants to go out, but everytime she gets out there, she runs right back to the door. It is the kind of day that would be best spent curled up under blankets watching movies. We won't be doing that, though. Dea is still struggling to find & stick to a working schedule & Jay is so close to the end of the year & trying to finish stuff. Instead, I make a pot of orange ginger mint tea, so we have a nice hot drink to keep us warm. Jay does get to curl up under a blanket & watch a dvd for Science. Dea works on Geometry. After his dvd, Jay goes upstairs to play. I head into the kitchen early today. We're having meatloaf, sauteed asparagus, steamed green beans, and mashed potatoes. I am not making just one meatloaf, but two, each slightly different. They will need about 1 1/2hrs to cook. The potatoes are real, which means they need some time, as well. Plus, the veggies are fresh, which means they need some prep. So, I have to start earlier than usual.

After lunch, Jay goes on the computer for fun & Dea goes on to blog. After fun computer time, Jay does Math games & MathTv. Then, we watch AoPS videos. Today's videos are on square roots. He gets 2 wrong (he likes to pause it & try to solve before the guy gives the solution), and I have to convince him that even mathematicians make mistakes. Next, we do Logic. Jay has finished Fun With Logic, as we will now be replacing it with Mensa Whodunits. After another break, he does Grammar, measurement, and Latin. Dea does Government. We finish off Jay's school day with Writing & Spelling.

I get up about 8am (after having been woken several times by the kids, starting around 5 or 5:30). Almost immediately after breakfast, Jay starts arguing. He argues about having to get his dirty laundry together so it can be washed. He argues with his sister about whether or not she has permission to use her netbook. Mostly, he argues about not wanting to do his Geography work. He wants to just play geography games on the computer & not have to do anything else for the subject, at all. He is angry because the work we've been doing the past few weeks for Geography has been "cutting into my playing time!" I then remind him that that playing time is only allowed if he gets his work done early, because technically, we set aside 2 hours for Geography (though we almost never use that whole time). So, it is not cutting into his playing time, it is simply taking more of the allotted time than many of his other assignments. My only real problem with his argument is that he is yelling it at me & throwing a fit, instead of speaking calmly & rationally. When he is irrational, it makes it impossible to get through to him with a logical response. So, I send him to his room so he can calm down. He does manage to get some Geography done before reading time, though not much. Dea gets some school work done (I'm really not sure what) before coming into the kitchen to help me. While I make spaghetti & meatballs, she works on Swedish meatballs for tomorrow's lunch.

Dea isn't great at Swedish meatballs. This is partly due to the recipe she used & partly due to her lack of following the recipe. I can't find the really awesome Swedish meatball recipe I had. So, I search for an authentic recipe. I find 2 that we can work from & print them off. We'll see what we can do with them next time. The meatballs she made this time are in the slow cooker cooking. We'll see how she did tomorrow. Jay does math games & MathTv. We then watch videos from AoPS. Today's videos are on angles (the videos for chapter 10 of their Pre-Algebra). Dea does some Geometry & takes a break. Jay & I do Logic (he's requested doing Mensa Whodunits every day that he doesn't have other Logic to do) & ASL. After a break, Jay does Writing, Latin, Grammar. He is complaining of a headache, so I think I'll let him skip school for the rest of the day. Dea might actually get some school done today, though last I knew she was checking out the site for the Synagogue she is considering attending.

Today starts on a crappy note! The kids start fighting first thing. They are yelling at each other about everything. I drag myself out of bed to take a shower, hoping that the hot water helps my headache. It doesn't. Jay pounds on the door moments after my shower starts, because I can't even take a shower without interruption.

Dea spends some time on Geometry. Jay reads a book on pirates & spends a little time on the computer for History. We have Swedish meatballs for lunch, the ones Dea made yesterday. They are ok. the taste is a little too sweet, & they are not meatball shaped. They spent some time in the slow cooker & basically cooked into one giant meatball that I have to break up for us to eat.

After the lunch break, Jay spends some time on Khan Academy & watches videos on MathTv. We watch some videos from AoPS, half of the videos for chapter 11 of their Pre-Algebra (area & perimeter). We then do a puzzle from Mensa Whodunits and ASL. During the break, I do a 2 mile walk with ankle weights, as well as the hand weights, and my legs have turned to jelly. Jay decides to start the next school session with Writing, but then throws a fit & gets sent to his room to calm down. He is hungry because he chose not to eat lunch (claimed he didn't like it because it wasn't as good as my Swedish meatballs). We are out of snack food, because they ate it all, so he didn't get a snack, either. So, now he thinks he gets to blame me for his hunger. On top of that, he is angry at me for telling him he needs to write the answers to the questions in this part of his Writing assignment. Yes, he is mad at me for making him write for Writing. He is starting the major writing assignment for this chapter. These always start with pre-writing. Often, the pre-writing involves questions that will help determine what to write. He does not want to have to write the answers down, but instead wants to type them. The problem with that is it would be a page of random statements that make so actual sense. Whereas, if he writes the answers down on the page that has the questions, he can refer back to it over the next few days as he finishes planning the assignment & writes the first draft, and he'll be able to make sense of the answers because they will be right there with the questions. All he sees, though is mom making him write, despite knowing that he hates to write. Therefore, mom is mean & making his life miserable. When he is done with his attitude, he comes down & does Writing, Spelling, and Measurement. My headache gets worse. We eat dinner. Jay does Grammar & Latin to finish his school day. Dea reads from The Lovely Bones.

I stay in bed until quarter to 8am. The kids & I are out the door by 8am to do the grocery shopping. We pick up frozen pizza & garlic bread for lunch. It's not the healthiest, but it is quick & easy. After lunch, Jay goes on the computer for fun & Dea just kind of hangs out. Jay does Math games & MathTv. Then, we watch some AoPS videos (the other half from chapter 11). Dea works on Geometry. We then do another puzzle from Mensa Whodunits and ASL. We have decided to stop with the free online ASL that we've been using. They do the signs too fast for Jay, and many of the videos are done from the side, which makes it hard to make out some of the signs. Also, there is no consistency in the videos. There are multiple people in the videos & they all have their own way of doing signs. So, you watch the vocab video to learn the sign & see it done one way, but might see it done differently in a conversation video or one of the exercises where you are supposed to pick out the signs. I understand that not all people who use ASL use it in the exact same way, but when teaching it, there should be some consistency between what you show the student initially & what you expect them to recognize in practice. I had been planning to just use this to finish out this year & start The Joy of Signing in 4th grade. I think we'll start The Joy of Signing next week, though.

Honestly, I have no idea what Dea has done most of today. She says she's going to work on something, but is then doing something else within 10 minutes.

 Shortly after we get up, we head out to run some errands. We go to the store to pick up some household things. We stop at Toys'R' Us so I can pick up card for 1 month memberships to Moshi Monsters for the kids (birthday presents). We stop & eat lunch, because I won't have time to cook lunch when we get home. We head home to get the library books & head to the library. The library is hosting  Star Wars event & my hubby & Jay are going. Dea & I hang out at the library for a while, but leave when creepy library stalker dude creeps us out too much. Creepy library stalker dude is a guy who seems to follow us around at the library for the last few weeks. We see him in the kids' section, though he never has a kid with him. We've seen him in the YA section, where adults are not supposed to be allowed. When we go upstairs, so does he. If we head to the 3rd floor, he goes to the 2nd floor, then comes up to the 3rd floor 2 minutes (or less) later. Also, just so you don't think I am overreacting or ridiculously conceited, he has approached us multiple times.

So, we check out our stacks of books & leave. We wander around downtown for close to an hour. By this point, there is nothing left to look at, so we head back tot he library to warm up. We head tot he 3rd floor. As soon as we get off the elevator, creepy library stalker dude is just standing there staring us. He then turns and walks away. This is especially creepy since, with where he was standing, he could not have actually been doing anything. He wasn't standing in front of the elevators & didn't get on the elevator or go down the stairs, so he wasn't waiting for the elevator. He wasn't at a desk, table, or computer. He wasn't standing near bookshelves. He was just standing in an open space, staring. Since creepy library stalker dude is still at the library, we don't stay long. We go to check on the boys. They are ready to leave the event. We go to Home Depot to get new window shades. While there, Dea starts feeling nauseated & dizzy. She has a headache & is hungry. We're pretty sure it's all related & she just needs to eat. Since she is obviously in need of food now, not in an hour & a half when we have had time to drive home & cook, we stop at IHOP (because she wants pancakes & IHOP is close). By the time we finish eating, she is feeling much better, though still not 100%. Not long after we get home, Jay is feeling ill. His stomach hurts. He ends up vomiting several times. With him feeling like this, we let him sleep in our room, since it is connected to the bathroom. We're pretty sure he isn't actually sick, just having a reaction to something he ate. I am really hoping that he is feeling better in the morning, as we have plans for tomorrow that none of us want to cancel.

Well, he's not feeling better. We have to take him to the ER because he can't even keep down water. This ends up being a rather lazy day. nobody slept well last night. We spend the entire morning at the ER. On the way home, we stop at the store to pick soup, saltines, broth, and juice. Aside from making lunch & dinner, I don't do too much. I spend much of the day taking care of Jay. The chores can wait. Getting him feeling better is the number one priority. He is rather disappointed that we have to cancel our plans today. We had planned to go to a lecture today, at a local museum. Instead, we hang out around the house, just resting.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Math Books

We've been searching the library for fun math books for Jay. Since the only Math curriculum he's currently using is Key to Measurement & Metric Measurement, we wanted to make sure he had something else to fill out the subject. So, I have put several math books on hold each week at the library.

The Great Pyramid of Giza: Measuring Length, Area, Volume, and Angles
by: Janey Levy   Age 10+

This is a short book, only 30 pages. A mathy child, or a child with prior experience with the concepts of area, volume, & measuring angles, could feasibly go through the whole book in one sitting. Others may prefer to take a few days, covering one concept at a time. The book includes some history & interesting facts about the pyramids. This would actually be a good book to add to a unit study about Ancient Egypt or the pyramids. It is not a fun book. It provides information and shows you how to work through the problems. There is no fun story or entertaining characters. If your child is not interested in Math or Ancient Egypt, they quite possibly won't be interested in this book.
The book gives all the measurements in both standard & metric. It also shows you how to convert from standard to metric & asks for each answer in both. While I appreciate that it shows almost all the problems worked out completely, I wish they were worked out on a page separate from the question. By asking the question, then working it out right there, it removes the opportunity for the child to try it before seeing the answer. The info I found said the book was for ages 10 and up, but it could easily be understood by advanced younger students.
This could be an interesting introduction to Geometry or a mild review after a break. It does not provide answers to the last few questions, about the pyramids of Khafre & Mankaure, but does reference what pages to look at if you're having trouble remembering how to solve them.

Manga Math Mysteries Series
by Melinda Thielbar  grade 3-4

My first though was that these aren't really Manga. My understanding is that Manga are supposed to be read back to front, whereas these are read front to back. Regardless, they are fun comic books that involve Math. The books revolve around a group of kids who like to solve mysteries & puzzles. These mysteries & puzzles, of course, require Math to solve. In each book, the mystery requires a specific concept (money, fractions, probability, etc.). They cover typical 3rd - 5th grade concepts, though the kids in the books appear to be a little older than that. The books are short, which makes them a quick read. After reading two of the books, my son specifically requested that I put the rest on hold.

What's Your Angle Pythagoras? A Math Adventure
by Julie Ellis  grades 3-5

This is a story of Pythagoras as a curious young boy. In this adventure, he meets a builder who uses a knotted rope to find right angles to help cut stones evenly. Pythagoras creates his own knotted rope & finds its secrets. Through his investigations, he is able to help some local builders build a temple & help his father find a quicker route to Crete.
Topics introduced include right triangles, square numbers, and (of course) the Pythagorean Theorem. It would be a fun introduction to the topics for young children. There is enough solid information there to be a decent starting point for a Math-loving child, especially with a parent to help them find more information & some practice with the concepts.

Pythagoras & the Ratios: A Math Adventure
by Julie Ellis   age 8+

This is the sequel to What's Your Angle Pythagoras? In this story, he uses Math to help his cousins fix their lyres & pipes so they can play them together. In return, they help him with his chores. The math in this one is rather light. It gives a quick explanation of GCF & simplifying fractions. It also explains that a ratio is a relationship between two items. This might make a fun read for a math-phobic or math-hating child. There simply isn't enough Math there to serve as anything more than a very light introduction to a few concepts, though.

The Grapes of Math
by Greg Tang   ages 7-10

We mainly picked up this one because my son found the reference to The Grapes of Wrath hilarious. This book is full of short poems, each one asking "how many?" Each also has a hint at the bottom to help the reader find a way to the answer that is faster than counting. While the book is supposed to be for ages 7-10, the puzzles seem rather easy for the upper part of that range. Though, it could be a fun way to introduce young kids to the idea that there is often more than one way to find the solution.

Mystery Math: A First Book of Algebra
by David A. Adler   Age 6-10 or grade 3-6

A first book of Algebra is right, with the emphasis on first. First, as in "I wish we had picked up this book when my son was in kindergarten or first grade, because it is far too young & easy for him now, in third grade." Depending on where you look, this book is either for kids age 6-10 or grades 3-6. Personally, I would recommend it for grade 1-3 (at the oldest). There isn't really much of a story to this one. It explains a few basic algebra terms (equation & variable) & provides a few very simple examples (Y+1=7). Then, it walks you through 4 easy problems. In the back, there is an activity you can do with things easily found around the house. That is the entirety of the book.
The book is quite short & extremely easy. If your math program is just introducing simple algebraic concepts (such as when they introduce problems like 3+?=5), this book might help a child understand how those problems will be used later in more advanced mathematics. Each of the 4 problems it walks you through uses one of the 4 basic operations. Even if your child is not yet comfortable or familiar with all of the operations, it should not pose a problem, as it works it all out for you. The problems are introduced as word problems. Then, they are worked out on the next page. This gives the reader an opportunity to try to solve it before they see it worked out.

Edgar Allan Poe's Pie: Math Puzzlers in Classic Poems
by J. Patrick Lewis   age 8-12

This is a book of poems (each inspired by a popular poem by a well-known poet) with math puzzles in them. In addition to the four basic operations, the puzzles also involve concepts such as percent, area, perimeter, and fractions. The poems are fun, especially if the child is familiar with the originals. If they aren't familiar with the original poems, you could read the originals after the mathy version & compare the two or discuss the style of poem.
I wouldn't use this as an introduction to any of the concepts, but instead as fun practice. It includes a decent amount of math. My son loves this book & enjoyed solving all of the puzzles.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Reading Through the Alphabet - D

Jay :
The Cat Ate My Gymsuit - Paula Danziger

The Commitments - Roddy Doyle

Week in Review

I get up about quarter to 7. By 7:15 the kids are up and eating breakfast. They fight over breakfast cereal. That makes a great start to the day. Jay is eager to start school, in hopes that we'll do an activity for Science today. I tell him to go play for a bit. I check in on FB and debate having crab rangoon & egg rolls for breakfast. Yesterday was the Chinese New Year, so we have some left over from dinner. Instead, I walk a mile & eat half an apple. We watch Deadliest Earthquakes: Nova. Dea does Writing. While we watch the thing on earthquakes, I look through the manual for our Elements of Science kit, to see if there are any activities related to Geology. There are a few for Earth & Sun, but they are all just demonstrations dealing with day/night and seasons. We already did demonstrations on that last year, when he studied Astronomy. Since he was the one who performed the demonstrations last year & explained them while doing them, there really is nowhere to go with it. It seems pointless to do them again. So, I look for another activity. I decide on an impromptu activity. Elements of Science has a styrofoam ball & a sticker to put on it that will make it a small model of the Earth. I have him put the sticker on the ball. Instead of then using it to demonstrate the Earth moving on its axis or the Earth's orbit around the sun, I have him mark on it to show the Ring of Fire. The kids have a snack. Then, we get ready to leave. We have an appointment this morning with Dea's psychiatrist. The appointment is at 11, which means we need to stop & pick up lunch on the way home. My husband doesn't have time for me to cook lunch before he needs to leave. So, we pick up Culver's on the way home. After lunch, Jay practices his drums. Dea plays with the dog.

After a short break to let everyone's food settle, Dea does Geometry. Jay goes on the computer for Math games & MathTv. Dea shovels the patio, walks the dog, and then starts her new book for English - The Lovely Bones. Jay watches videos from Art of Problem Solving. Then he does More Word Winks and the first few pages in Key to Measurement book 4. The kids go play outside. I do another mile walk. The kids come in & have a snack - left over crab rangoon & egg rolls from yesterday & some raisins. After the snack, Jay does ASL. Dea lets her food settle then starts work on Government. Then, Jay starts chapter 13 in Latin and the Pronoun section in Easy Grammar. Then, he goes in the other room to play. Dea does ASL. After his break, Jay does Spelling & Writing. He is now done with school for the day. They go outside to play.

We have dinner. Dea decides to rest for a bit before finishing school. Jay decides he wants to do something for History. He finally settles on designing his own pirate flag. He names his flag 'The Flaming Death.'

6am rolls around, and I simply can't spend another minute in bed. I wake up while checking email & FB. Then, I do a mile walk. I get the chores for today & tomorrow written on the chore board. By 8am, I am considering breakfast. We have eggs & bacon, so I could make a big breakfast for everyone. I could also let them all fend for themselves, as usual. I choose to make breakfast & regret it within minutes. The waffle maker has decided it hates me this morning, & the waffles keep sticking. So, I switch to pancakes, because the 2nd waffle is refusing to come out at all. By 9:15am, everyone has eaten, & Jay is giving me attitude about the fact that he has to wash the table today & he doesn't like what I have chosen for us to watch for Science this morning. Really, his problem is that he doesn't want to watch anything, he wants to do an experiment, and he doesn't care that that is not an option for today. I send him to his room until he is ready to speak to me in a civilized & respectful manner & tone. He comes back about 9:45, when he argues with me again. This time, he starts by assuming that he gets to choose what to watch for Science. Then, I inform him that he is not watching anything because he no longer has the time to watch something before quiet reading time. He tries to argue that he shouldn't have to do quiet reading time, an argument that doesn't work. So, I tell him to go find something to do until reading time. While all of this has been going on, Dea has been working on Writing. She then does some work on Geography before lunch.

Lunch is sloppy joes. After lunch, the kids go off to entertain themselves for awhile. At 1pm, Jay goes on the computer for Math practice at Khan Academy & watches videos on MathTv. Dea works on cleaning her bedroom, then goes out to shovel. Basically, she is determined to do anything except get her school done, which will simply mean she doesn't get to see any friends today. Next, Jay & I watch a few videos from Art of Problem Solving. Then, he does a Logic puzzle from Fun With Logic. He then does a few pages of Grammar. The kids head outside to play. Pretty much every spare minute I've had so far today has been spent on planning & prep for Jay's 4th grade year. 4th grade starts for him mid-April, and I'll be buying materials soon, so I'm trying to finish what planning can be done now. Mainly, I've been looking for websites for Science & History.

After they come back in, Dea does Government. She hates the course, but enjoys the games at icivics. So, after she does her work, she plays a game or two. Next, Jay does a few pages from Key to Measurement book 4. After that, we do ASL & Spelling. He then takes another break & plays in the other room. Then, he does Latin & Writing. Dea does Geometry. Dea decides to skip dinner to go hang out at a friend's house. Jay & I have dinner. When Dea gets home (earlier than expected), the kids go back outside to play.

Then, Jay goes on the computer to visit some sites for Science, and Dea works on figuring out a schedule. The kids then go off to play until bedtime.

At 7am, just as I am about to get up, Dea comes in to get the dog. So, I get up and start my day. We're having tacos for lunch, and I was supposed to make the salsa yesterday, but I forgot. So, I make it first thing this morning. After that, I do my mile walk. Jay joins me & Dea joins in halfway through. Then, Jay gets to work on Geography. Today, he's learning about Vasco Nunez de Balboa and Hernando Cortes. Dea works on English. Today's focus is Grammar, Spelling, and Vocabulary.

After lunch, Jay goes on the computer to visit some more Science sites. He doesn't stay on for too long, though. They head outside to play. At 1pm, Dea goes on the computer to work on History. Jay watches Art of Problem Solving videos. Next, he does a few pages in Key to Measurement & ASL. The kids have a snack & go play outside. After the break, Dea works on History some more. Jay does Grammar. He is obnoxious all through Grammar, then argues with me during Spelling. He is sent to his room again. This is at least the 4th time today. He didn't even finish Geography this morning because of his arguing. Dea does ASL. When Jay comes back down, he gets Latin & Writing done. Then, we break for dinner.

After dinner, the kids go outside again. When they come back in, Dea finally finishes Geometry, & Jay finally finishes Geography. They have spent huge amounts of the day arguing, whining, complaining, giving me attitude, and trying to avoid getting their chores & school done. At this point, I'm wishing I had just one room that was just mine, that I could lock myself in, and escape from everyone else. This is partly due to the fact that my sleeping schedule has been off lately, and I haven't been getting my alone time. I need that alone time.
Once all the schoolwork is done, we finish up most of the chores. Dea goes in the other room to finish watching a movie she started last night. Jay takes my Nook and heads into my bedroom.

I start today with a 2 mile walk. Then, I make omelets for breakfast. The kids take a ridiculous amount of time eating. They followed their omelets with dry cereal (we ran out of milk). Jay goes on the computer to visit some sites for History. Dea & I do Spelling. She then looks over some of her supplemental materials for Government & does Vocab. Jay reads a book about pirates. I make burgers for lunch, and Dea calls animal control on our neighbors. Their poor dog is outside, eating from the garbage can, and shivering in the cold. This is not the first time that family has mistreated an animal. They had kittens they would leave outside at the beginning of this winter. Their kids have chased their chihuahuas down the middle of the street. The dog they had when we first moved in was always outside, until it ran away & disappeared forever.

This kids go outside to play. After their break, Jay goes on the computer to do Math games & MathTv. Dea is at her computer, but doesn't seem to be doing anything. Then, Dea goes upstairs & Jay watches Art of Problem Solving videos. Then Dea does Geometry. Jay does a logic puzzle from Fun With Logic, a few pages of measurement, and a few pages of Grammar. He has informed me twice this week that he will soon be done with Fun With Logic & needs something to replace it. I got away with not replacing Logic Safari book 2 earlier this year, when he finished that. However, he really doesn't like the idea of just not doing Logic 2 days a week.

Dea is done with school & goes over to a friend's for awhile. Jay takes a break & has a snack. Then, we do ASL. He finishes his assignment for Writing, and does Latin. After dinner, the kids go back outside to play.

Yesterday was the first day of Parentalia. Parentalia was a 9 day celebration of the dead, in Ancient Rome. A few years ago, we decided to revive this holiday in our house. We have lost many loved ones, and this is a way for us to honor them all. We didn't actually do anything for Parentalia yesterday. We did today, though. We took some time to journal, think, and share stories/memories of some of our loved ones. It was common, in Ancient Rome, to have picnic at the graves of loved ones during Parentalia. This is not possible for us. It's far too cold & wet in February, and many of our loved ones' graves are too far away. So, instead, we share stories & memories, write about them, think about them, try to do something that would make them happy or proud, anything that we can think of that will honor their memory.

I get up a little before 7, and Dea & I head to the store. No school will get done this morning. Jay stays home & watches some tv while we do the grocery shopping. We have chicken kiev for lunch, then the kids go outside to play. When they come back in, Jay goes on the computer for History sites, Math games, & MathTv, and Dea goes on the computer for vocab games & History. Dea then reads from The Lovely Bones. Jay & I watch some videos from Art of Problem Solving. Then, Jay & I go over his Writing assignment for some editing/proofreading. He then has a snack & goes back on the computer to fix the errors. He then does a few pages in measurement & the Pronoun test for Easy Grammar 3. I let him take a longer break, since really all that is left is a logic story & a few games, none of which are essential.

So, the kids play until dinner. After dinner, Jay asks to go back onto the computer for some more History sites. I allow it & spend some time doing chores. We do get around to doing a few logic stories from Mensa Whodunits. We don't get to the games for Spelling & Latin. However, we do play Dicecapades. We then write in our journals, and spend some time thinking & writing about deceased loved ones (for Parentalia).

Last night was more of a normal night for me. I turned the light off at about 2:30am. I woke up around 7, but stayed in bed for awhile because I had a dog & 2 cats surrounding me, and I didn't want to disturb them (plus, it was kind of cold & I was comfy). I get up when the kids get up. We do breakfast & get the library stuff together. We leave at 11 to run errands. We need to get dog food, stop at the pharmacy, stop at the store, take Jay's high hat to the music store to be looked at, stop at the bank, and go to the library. We get home just before 4pm. While at PetCo to get dog food, we make a larger than normal donation for homeless pets (we donate every time we shop there) in honor of all the animals we count among our lost loved ones (as part of our honoring the dead for Parentalia).

On the way home, we start talking about the movie Clue, which then spurs a conversation about Tim Curry. I then decide that I want to do a Tim Curry marathon. When we get home, my husband (for no known reason) has the song Lollipop stuck in head. Him mentioning it gets the song stuck in my head, which then puts me in the mood to watch Stand by Me. I then decide that at some point after my Tim Curry marathon, I need a Stephen King marathon. So, now I need to choose some movies for my little marathons. After we get home, Dea heads over to a friend's house, Jay goes on the computer, my husband plays guitar, and I shut myself in the bedroom for some alone time - just a book, my computer, whatever odd music I feel like listening to, a pen & paper, and me in a dimly lit room away from everyone else. I am quickly joined by 2 cats & a dog. A little while later, Dea joins me, because I am not allowed alone time.

I have them all help me choose some movies for my marathons. We then play some family games - Taboo & Outburst, while munching on a snack tray of peanuts, grapes, bagel crisps, and oven baked cheese. After the games, the kids head to bed & my husband & I get some alone time.

My hair was wet when I went to bed last night, so it is still wet & almost impossible to brush this morning. As I try to drag my brush through this rat's nest I call hair, I contemplate (not for the first time) just shaving it all off & getting a wig. While my husband & Dea are off doing their volunteer work, I have breakfast burritos to make for the week. I might also make some pancakes to freeze, but definitely need to make some more pancake mix. Shortly before they get home, I need to start the nachos for lunch. So, I turn on Pandora & head into the kitchen to cook. Jay decides to join me & help me cook. In the middle of all the food prep/cooking, I take a break to do a quick mile walk. We have lunch when they get home. After lunch, Dea goes over to a friend's & Jay watches Vertigo.

While I'm in the kitchen prepping the several filling options for the pita pockets we're having for dinner, Jay comes in and asks if, after our other 2 movie marathon weekends, we could do a Hitchcock marathon. A little after dinner, we decide to do a family movie night & watch Die Hard 3.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Week in Review

I'm trying out a new way of doing the Week in Review posts. They are usually more of a list of what was done for school. That is because that is how I keep track of it in my notebook, and because a more narrative format will be a much longer post. I'm going to try doing it as more of a narrative & less of a list, though.

A few notes about how our days run:
1) Breakfast & dinner are most often fend for yourself meals. Lunch is our big meal. That is the only meal we can guarantee everyone will be here to eat together. Breakfast is whenever you get up or decide you're hungry. Lunch is 11:30am. Dinner is about 5pm.
2) Dea is pretty much in charge of her day. She has a schedule that tells her what subjects need to be done each day, but she decides when to do each subject.
3) Jay's school is done in sessions. There is a session in the morning that generally just consists of Science, History, or Geography. The rest is after lunch. The afternoon sessions generally consist of 3 things each. Each session is followed by a break. He has 2-3 afternoon sessions each day. How long they take depends largely on him.


I went to bed early on Sunday. So, I get up a little after 4am. Before the kids get up, I pay some bills, get together the tax stuff that we have (still need just a few things & then we can get taxes done), walk a mile with a Leslie Sansone Walk at Home DVD, have breakfast, and check in at FB.

The kids get up & come down for breakfast. They get into a fight while pouring their cereal. Fun start to the morning. I break up the argument, and they sit down to eat. They ask to go play outside after breakfast. I allow it, since it will help use up some energy. So, school starts a bit late. Dea starts out on the computer, though I'm honestly not sure what subject she is working on. Jay & I read a picture book & discuss the literary elements used in it. Then, we watch a documentary on the Ring of Fire on Netflix. After that, he curls up in my bed with a book for quiet reading time. I head to the kitchen to make lunch. Lunch is steak, oven baked cheese, and create your own salad. Have you ever tried to make 4 different salads at once while cooking steak & cheese? It gets a little hectic. Luckily, Dea helps with lunch, getting out & washing all the veggies & fruits for the salads. My sister calls to verify that Dea is still spending the day volunteering at the Dyslexia Center where my sister works.

After lunch, Jay goes on the computer for fun. Dea heads out to shovel. We got snow last night & are supposed to be getting more today & tomorrow. When my sis get here to take Dea, Jay decides he's done on the computer & goes off to play. Dea leaves, I'm not really sure when she'll be home.

About 1pm, Jay goes on the computer to play Math games & watch some videos on Today, he's watching videos on multiplication & division of mixed numbers. Then, we watch videos from Art of Problem Solving. Today, we watch videos on solving linear equations. Math videos are followed by More Word Winks and 2 pages of Easy Grammar. Then he takes a break & goes in the other room to watch a DVD.

About halfway through his break, my sis brings Dea home. My sis & my niece hang out for awhile & we chat. This extends Jay's break quite a bit. After they leave, we do ASL. Jay follows that with Writing and Key to Metric Measurement. This next break is longer than usual, since it includes dinner.

After dinner, Dea heads up to her room. She has theoretically done some school work, but I haven't seen any, yet. After the break is over, Jay finishes off his school. This session is just two things - Latin & Spelling. The rest of the day is free time. Jay watches some tv, reads, and plays. Dea watches some tv, does a bit more school work, plays with the dog, and reads.

I went to bed early again last night, so got up at a horribly early hour again today. I have to make sure I don't go to bed early tonight, so I can get back on my regular sleeping schedule. Since I'm up so much earlier than everyone else, I again get some stuff done done before anyone else awakes. By the time anyone else get up, I have done a mile walk with my DVD, done all my assigned chores for today, finished the dishes I didn't get to last night, checked in at FB, and had breakfast.

The kids get up & have breakfast. After Dea finishes, she goes up to her room (I have no idea what she's doing). Jay & I watch a show on Netflix about volcanoes. After the show, Jay goes on the computer to visit some sites for Science. My husband went to the hospital to visit an old family friend & took Dea with him. When he is done on the computer, Jay starts his hour of reading & I work on lunch. Today's lunch is Italian sausages (turkey sausage for Dea), potatoes, and corn. They get home from the hospital just before lunch is finished cooking. We watch an episode of Sanctuary while we eat. After lunch, the kids go out to play in the snow.

After lunch break, Jay goes on to Khan Academy, then watches videos on MathTv. Dea finally gets started on her Geometry assignment. After Geometry, Dea takes another break. Jay watches some Art of Problem Solving videos, then does a logic problem from Fun With Logic, and 2 pages of Key to Metric Measurement. Then he takes a break & watches some tv. This break is followed by ASL. Jay is then sent to his room to calm down because he is being whiny, rude, and yelling at me. He is back a few minutes later, apologizing & ready to work. I am so happy this was a short-lived attitude. He then does Writing and Latin.

He spends his next break playing on the computer. He then does 2 pages of Easy Grammar, and we do All About Spelling. He is now done with school for the day, just in time for dinner. After dinner, the kids go off to play. After the kids have had time to play & Dea has done some more school work, we have a snack of hot cocoa & fried plantains. While we eat, we read a picture book & discussed literary elements that we find in it. Then, Dea goes off to finish some chores, and Jay goes off to play until it's time to read before bed.

I went to bed early again, but later than the last few nights. In the middle of the night, Jay came down & crawled into my bed. There was a spider in his room. Instead of dealing with the spider in the middle of the night, my hubby left Jay in our bed & slept in the living room. So, when I get up at 6 this morning, Jay gets up too, and I kick hubby out of the living room & into our bed. Jay had breakfast & then used my Nook in the other room while I did my mile walk.

After Dea has had her breakfast & walked the dog, she has a Geometry test to take. Jay starts school with Geography. He has worksheets to read/do on Vasco da Gama & John Cabot. Then, he plays until it is time to read. After lunch, Jay plays on the computer & Dea leaves with my sister. She's going to help at the Dyslexia Center again.

When he is done on the computer, we decide to make it a fun day. We start by watching the Devil's Island episode of Discovery Atlas, which is apparently an episode of Solving History with Olly Steeds. We follow this with a Math dice game, practicing not only addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, but also mean, mode, & median. Then, he goes off to play for a bit. We have nachos & tea for dinner and watch an episode of Mythbusters. The rest of the evening consists of playing, reading, and Jay making videos.

I'm kind of feeling awful today. My bed is very near a window & the cold does horrible things to me. My sinuses were so clogged I couldn't breathe & I woke up at 2-something. I do my walk (despite feeling like crap) and find various ways to entertain myself until someone else wakes up. About 6am I start cooking lunch. We're having stove-top slow-cooked chicken, and I need to get the chicken cooking.

After the kids have breakfast, Dea goes on the computer to do some school. Jay and I watch a show on Netflix about pirates. Then, they go play. Jay is reading a choose-your-own adventure book about pirates. The chicken has fallen apart, so we de-bone it, grab some hamburger buns, and make sandwiches. After lunch, Jay goes on the computer for a bit. Then the kids go outside to play. Once I drag them back in from playing in the snow, Jay does Khan Academy & MathTv. Dea & I go over her Geometry test. Then, she reads for English. Jay & I watch videos from Art of Problem Solving. Then, he does Fun with Logic and Grammar.

He plays during his break. Jay asks for a snack before getting back to work. When he goes to get Dea from her room, she is asleep. After a quick snack, it's back to work. Jay starts with ASL. Today, he finally chooses which hand will be his dominant hand in ASL. Until now I have allowed him to sign with either hand, as long as only one hand was dominant per conversation (he originally tried to switch dominant hands mid-word or mid-sentence). With him being ambidextrous, I wanted to allow him to figure out which hand was more comfortable as his dominant hand for signing. He then does Writing. He has spent this week working on the pre-writing for the major writing assignment for chapter 3 of Flip the Deck. I don't know why, but he is being very annoy today. He is driving me nuts! It's like someone figured out how to bottle obnoxious & poured it in his cereal this morning. I'm getting very close to skipping the rest of school & sending him to his room. Every time I try to talk to him about what he is doing that is irritating, he just does something else that is irritating. He does Latin next, then heads off to play. Dea is in her bedroom calming down. She was trying to figure out what she did wrong on one problem on her Geometry test. All she was doing, though, was getting more aggravated, so I sent her to her room to calm down.

They go back out to play in the snow before dinner. Due to long breaks & whining, neither will finish school until after dinner today. After they eat, Dea gets some dishes soaking & decides to try reading her book for English some more. Jay & I do Spelling. He's now done with school for the day, and will spend the rest of the day playing quite loudly in another room.

After a night of horrible sleep, I force myself to stay in bed until 6am. I get up & immediately wake up the kids. Dea is spending the entire day helping at the Dyslexia center again. Jay is going grocery shopping with me, and I want to leave early. We brave the streets full of morons who act like they have never seen snow before (Seriously, this is the Midwest. We get snow every winter. It's winter. Why do these morons act like snow is something new, every single year?) to get to the ice covered parking lot at the store. We visit two grocery stores and head home. While I put groceries away, Jay plays. He would help, but I want to rearrange the fridge. I have decided to move all the produce to the top shelf because the drawer simply isn't big enough. Jay reads about pirates for his quiet reading time. After lunch, Jay goes on the computer.

I have hurt my knee today (I have no idea how). Between that & Dea being gone, we have decided to do a short day of school. He does online Math games, MathTv, and videos from Art of Problem Solving. Next, we do Logic. Today's Logic is a puzzle from Mensa Whodunits. We are doing Logic at his request. We do ASL, then take a break. He asks to take longer breaks today, since we're doing less work. That's fine, since I'm working on finding something right now & appreciate the extra time to do what I'm doing.

During our break, I decide to do my mile walk, and Jay joins me. Just about the time I'm having Jay get back to work, Dea gets home. I honestly wasn't expecting her for at least a few more hours. Jay finishes Key to Metric Measurement 3. He also finishes the Adverb section in Easy Grammar 4. To finish school for the day, he finishes off chapter 12 in Latin. The kids head out to play in the snow. After dinner, Dea heads to her room. Jay plays & watches some TV.

I  pull out Jay's work for next week & put it in his binder. A headache starts. I have a doctor's appointment in the morning & really need this headache to go away. If it's still here in the morning it'll throw the results of my blood pressure test. I'm hoping the test goes well & maybe I can stop taking the meds. I also have to have labs done, which means that dinner tonight was the last thing I get before my appointment, aside from water.

Friday, February 1, 2013