Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Bed time stories

It is wonderful to relax on TR or QT's bed while they read bedtime stories.  QT keeps choosing Curious George 15+ page stories so it takes mommy commitment to stay awake.

The kids often fall asleep while we are reading to them, but I don't know if they would like it if I fell asleep while they read to me.

Reading and learning to read is such an amazing thing.  QT often encounters an unfamiliar word, says that word and then asks in amazement, "how did I know that word?!"

His teacher uses phonics and teaches sight words.  During bedtime we started reading and letting him say his sight words that appear in the story and now he reads the story and we help him with words or when he requests or if he says it wrong.

I have been reading Mrs. Frisby and the Rats Of Nimh each night.  Mr. A usually reads Aesop Fables, but my chapter book has slightly interrupted that.

HOME SCHOOL

   We use a curriculum called Grammar Island for TR.  It is a very full language program.  We also use a common core language workbook.  TR gets mad at the workbook because some of the sentences are incomplete.  I am not a grammarian, but it appears she is becoming one.

CAREER

   I want to be better at my career, my businesses and as a professional.  I plan to embark on a course of self-study and aim towards my highest potential.  I tend to view myself as an underachiever because I know I can do much much more.  I used to work much harder but after years of doing pretty much the same thing, I work by rote.  I have to get better and not coast.


HOME

  I have rearranged the furniture and the kids love it.  I like it too!  Mr. A also likes it but he leaves decorating to me and I appreciate that. TR and QT try to have input in how to place furniture and how to decorate and when to do it.

Friday, April 3, 2015

break time

I am overjoyed to be on Easter Break. Getting QT to school, doing homework with him and maintaining a schedule that enables him to do well at school is work! We get a break to rebuild. QT took a month off of Karate and I am also happy about that. Taking activities out of the schedule and getting more rest, is a fabulous thing. TR still loves gymnastics. Her current goal is to move to level 4, and go to national testing in Texas. She also wants to visit NYC. Jessie on Disney inspired her to want to travel to that destination. Alvin Ailey is coming to the bay area,so we plan to see the performance. I look forward to it.

 Today we had a new gardner/landscaper start. The place looks beautiful. I need to take photos. Our last gardner kept trimming the rose bushes away. This team pruned the rose bushes and made things look great. The garden colors of spring are in bloom and now we can enjoy looking at them.

TR has been enjoying her homeschool play group and she is taking charge of, what she wants to learn as well as learning and implementing what we teach her.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Here We Go Again

Gymnastics

As soon as I decided to stop stressing over summer camp, TR was invited to a developmental gymnastics camp.  She gets to spend 4 days working with the national team coaches.  Her coach says the camp has other girls her age who are good and she can see that she isn't alone.

I never gave much thought to how being younger than her teammates would impact her.  When she was 13 months she was in the 2 year old class.  When she was 2, she was in the 4 year old class. Now she is 6 and her teammates are 8 and older. She has always gravitated toward older kids, so I didn't think it mattered. She had a meet at the end of February and she was very excited because she saw a little girl doing a back flip on beam.  So it seems seeing other little kids who are at high levels is inspiring.  It will show her what is possible for her.

The developmental camp is in Southern California so now we are looking for a camp for QT in the same area.  We are all going and I want him to do something so he can enjoy the trip.

The camp coincides with our previously planned trip to L.A. so we will extend our vacation.  Once we leave the camp we will head to the beach.  The kids' godfather will be in Atlanta filming and we will be staying at his home.  The south took the film industry.

TR recently had her first level 3 meet.  Her scores were not good and she did not get any individual medals.  She has a great deal of strength and power which got her invited to the elite/tops camp but at these levels seems more about grace.  I plan to sign her up for a ballet class this summer to develop that grace.  At higher levels you need power and grace.

School

I put a bad review of TR's former teacher on yelp.  The review was very specific about what was
being taught and there was nothing about the teacher herself.  The school requested that I take it
down and said they would kick QT out if I wrote another bad review.  QT loves his teacher and the
school and so do I, so I took it down.  I had planned to put it back but after some thought, I figured
that the school just was not a fit for what I wanted and expected for TR.  The class has 17 or so other
kids with parents who must be okay with what is being taught.

   Shortly after we left the school got a new 1st grade teacher to teach the class for 1/2 the day.   The school chose the pastor's wife as the new teacher. I was done.

    Having both kid learn to read and comprehend is a huge load off.  I was expecting both kids to start reading in 1st grade which is when it used to be taught.  I feel like we have time to continue
developing their reading and comprehension without me having to panic about catching up.

   Theron has had a wonderful kindergarten experience.  Finding a school that accepted a 4-year old into kindergarten was like finding a needle in a haystack.

   QT's teacher says he is doing great, none of his work is modified, he does the  same work as all the 
kinders do, and some stuff that 4 year olds are not developmentally able to do-  he can do that too, 
though he works harder to do it.  Apparently handwriting is such an area. QT has excellent penmanship, because he is a perfectionist and he will spend 10 minutes making his letters neat.  If I 
write a letter improperly he will erase it and tell me how it should look.  He also taught himself to write cursive.

   QT is at the top of the class and during the awards ceremony he got every  academic award.  Some kids got those "everybody gets an award so no one cries awards".  I don't like those, because I think not getting the award will inspire some to do more and try to be better than before.

   I had QT assessed for speech and the assessor observed him in class and said if it was not for his size he would not have known QT was younger.  QT also tested at the 78 month old ability level but the assessor says it isn't a good indicator of his ability because the book ends at 78 months and QT didn't get anything wrong. He said if the test book had of continued it is likely QT would have continued and gotten higher scores. QT was the first kid he ever had to go to the end of the test book. 

     QT turned 5 last month and he has blossomed. I think he feels that because he is the same age as most of his classmates, some are 5 and a few are 6, everything is equal.  I love to see him on the playground. Meh tries to help other kids, he helps the, resolve conflicts and puts his arm around them if they are upset and guides them to an adult. 

    I knew he was ready for school and I think making him wait until he was 5.6 to start kindergarten would have disadvantaged him.  He would be frustrating if he was older because he would be more advanced.  It is better to have to work, then for things to come easy because when things stop coming easy, you need to be familiar with working.

   


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Let It Go- sorta

Mr. A tries to support my dreams and aspirations for our children.  If he says 'no' to an idea I will usually go with the 'no' because it is so rare that if he is not agreeable, he has a reason.

Sometimes he will go with a response that tells me nothing,  when he does that I gather he is not on board with my idea but not against it.  I like it when he is onboard.

As I was discussing day camps with him, he was going with his "whatever you decide" type of responses.  Camp has me pulling out hair strands so of course I need more input.  It occured to me that he may not be a fan of camp.

I asked him directly his feelings and he said he isn't a fan.  We don't need daycare, so camp is not a need for us.  So the kids will do gymnastics camp for 1-2 weeks in the summer. I will try to enroll TR in a dance program and we will do family stuff and let the kids
relax. My brain can relax a bit.

Mr. A understands my trauma of seeing teens hanging out at Kmart on the first week of summer and we talked through it.  In my head L.A. kids
 were supposed to be at a friend's house swimming and enjoying the sun for summer.  They weren't supposed to be in the Kmart with a 30-something mother and her kids.

I used to love to peruse the aisles of Kmart when I was in L.A.  Cosmetics, toothpaste, soap, socks, towels, toilet paper, powder and those types of things were fun for me.  I remember taking TR there as a baby and breastfeeding her in a dressing room and then looking at baby gear.

I digress.  I just felt like Kmart was not the place teens would willing spend hours of their time after months of school. I also had concerns about our kids having less exposure than others.  If they don't do that programming classs will they be less competitive?

I will relax, and put what we save into a fund.  The kids  can use the money when they are teens and need summer activities.

I am excited about returning to the California Academy of Science.  We have a week scheduled in L.A. and since we aren't planning camps maybe we can take a trip back to Tahoe for summer fun.


Monday, February 23, 2015

5 and Ski

    QT turned 5 and we hit the slopes for 5 days for his birthday celebration.  The kids had a snowboard lesson on QT's birthday and Mr. A boarded with the kids the next day.  We went ice skating at the top of Squaw and the kids did innertubing one day. We drove to Nevada for lunch so the kids could see Nevada.  Mr. a invited his 11 year old goddaughter and her mom and 18 year old sister joined.  We had a great time and the kids had a great time playing with their god sister.
Mr. A planned a great trip!
   We stayed at the same cabin we used for QT's 3rd birthday.  Both kids learned to board very fast and it was fun to watch. Family vacations feel wonderful because we can tune the world out and enjoy being together.  Kids grow so fast, so I relish these moments and memories.

   I remember being at the Black Enterprise Ski Challenge in the late 90's and seeing the little kids getting lessons.  I told myself I wanted that.  I also saw the couples  skiing together and I wanted to go skiing with my husband.  So I love that Mr. A loves snowboarding and has introduced skiing and
boarding to our kids.
    Years ago I dated a guy and my brother never said anything negative about the guy.  He merely said, " if you marry x, your kids will never get to ski in Aspen."  I realized my brother was correct.  My kids are fortunate I thought about them when eliminating and choosing a mate. I am grateful I et and married Mr. A.  We are a great team.
   

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Summer Trauma

A couple of summers ago, I was a bit traumatized when I took a quick trip to Kmart in L.A.  and saw high school aged kids hanging out.  http://momswholunch.blogspot.com/2012/06/kids-are-expensive.html

Since then, every year around this time I start thinking about summer.  Having lived amongst and associated with the top 5% money holders, I saw how the summers were for children of the monied.  Mr. A's alumni association had annual end of summer shindigs at a beach club in Pacific Palisades. It was a real life Beverly Hills 90210 summer. It is hard to go to a crowded beach after relaxing in a cabana and having bathrooms filled with mints and cloth towels.   We would go to the Beverly Hills Country club with the alumni and see kids in the pool, on the tennis courts, eating great food and relaxing.

We could not access the posh private places on the regular in but in L.A. there was much available to regular income people, and we took advantage of those things.  We joined the Skirball Museum and that allowed us access to all of the children's museums.  The Skirball was amazing!

I  liked to find out what the Jewish people were doing with their kids and I did that.  They weren't spending wild amounts of money and they had lots of play based activities..  When I see how bright and advanced my kids are, I know nature is involved but that early exposure had an enormous amount to do with their current abilities.

My goal was to give my young kids a firm foundation and I think we have done that.  My kids feel capable and confident in their ability.  They are resilient. They keep trying.  They believe in themselves. They are able to self- direct and motivate themselves.

In my business there are many things I have to teach myself.  If I was not confident in my ability to self-teach and to learn my opportunities would be reduced.  I lose cases but I am resilient, a past failure does not indicate what my future will hold.

I believe opportunities are self-created, so I want my kids to believe they can create opportunities and that they can succeed even after a failure.

Summer has value.  We get to spend time free time together.  I knew that the baby years would be quick and now we have 2 school age kids. We made the most of those years before school began.  Summer allows us the opportunity to enrich the lives of our kids.

I wanted my young kids to have an early childhood full of creativity, communication and life lessons and I want summer to be more of the same.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Homeschool 2015

The A family has been enjoying home school.

Our typical day goes:

Memory
Music - I am teaching her piano

Spelling/ Dictionary
Penmanship
Grammar/Language
Math
Reading- comprehension/ writing

We have speech one day a week and art twice a month.  We started a science class that is held once a month. We do cooking and science activities at least once a week.

I am pleased with TR's progress.  She loves Grammar Island and knows the 8 parts of speech and the parts of a sentence.   She also loves math.  She is working on division and Mr. A times her for addition and subtraction, and she loves that.  She likes testing and proving.

QT can read!  A few weeks ago, Mr A and I figured out that he could read.  QT seemed to think he should only be able to read his sight words.  Mr. A had a talk with him and told him that it is okay if he  knows other words or knows how to sound words out. QT got his confidence together and this week he read to me and didn't halt while reading.