Monday, December 1, 2014

May- December

This photo was taken May 8, 2014, a week or so after I decided to style TR's hair every two weeks.

This photo is December 2, 2014
This photo was taken around June 8, 2014 when I began mixing my own hair treatments.The bottom is December 4, 2014 with the same dress and after a treatment and using wen shampoo.

While I was busy trying to get TR's hair growing I cut my own! I love my cut.

The below photo of TR's hair was taken sometime in October. I have been consistent with my homemade hair concoctions but I fell off on tracking growth.

TR got her hair braided the 2nd Sunday in November and today we took the braids out.  Her hair has grown and thickened.  Yesterday I oiled and massaged her scalp with olive oil, coconut oil and Jamaican Black Castor Oil.  She loved it.  I had planned for the braids to be in at least another week but I had a phone call and when i was done, my assistant had taken 1/2 of the braids out. I plan to have it rebraided.  

Sunday, November 16, 2014


My assistant began on last Wednesday and began organizing the mass of papers in the room.  She did a great job.  My hope is to train her to do the administrative tasks that are vital but that I dislike doing and that take me away from tasks that make money and grow my business.

Now I need to write out our budget.

The week end was busy.  On Friday, Girl Scouts had a Star Watch party at the school that TR attended for kinderarten.  Before that event TR had karate.  Prior to that TR had a private gymnastics lesson that I missed. Procrastination is my enemy.

Saturday was a Girl Scout Stem Career Fair at NASA AMES.  It was great if you ignore those rude, pushy, bossy girls that were present.  I will go again next year and just be mentally prepared to expect bossy children who do not know not to push in front of other children.

Saturday Night we attended  Cocktail Theatre.  It's a great event!  Fun times.

TR's kindergarten teacher was at the Star Party and asked TR to name books she was reading. TR named a few books including Gingerbread Man in English and Spanish and then began using conversational Spanish with her former teacher.  We are doing Spanish in home school. TR had an amazing kindergarten teacher.  We were doing 10's for Singapore Math and TR told me she did it in kindergarten.  The math  we are doing is foor 2nd grade and she began the concepts last school year.   It is good to have a teacher with high expectations for students.

TR told me she could read before going to kindergarten.  That might explain why she was able to
read books by October of kindergarten.   

Curriculum and Instruction

We have been homeschooling about 6 weeks, so we are still finding which curriculum is best suited
to our educational goals.  TR was assessed at 3 so we knew she was advanced and now we learn the challenge of finding curriculum suited for an advanced academics but still suited for a 6 year old.

TR can read and comprehend pretty much anything including scriptures and she loves reading, but
she struggles to keep her place if the print is small.  She can write a complete story with paragraphs but she still has to practice handwriting.

 I purchased Language Arts Curriculum called Grammar Island and Sentence Island.  The publisher
of this curriculum designs for gifted kids.  The print is large and the books have colorful pages.  TR cheers when it's time for Grammar.

We mostly finished working on a 1st grade grammar/language arts program that was tedious.  TR did the work fast, correct and did not like it. Grammar Island is very interesting. I am pleased we found it.  Grammar link. The nice thing about home school is our ability to choose curriculum that fits our needs and goals.

TR starts doing private art lessons on Monday.  The teacher has an art studio in back of her home.  I plan to take TR once school goes on break because he loves art and recognizes himself as an artist.  My other goal is to find more activities close to home.  We are all tired of driving.

So we have:

Language Art/Grammar - Michael Clay Thompson
Math - Singapore Math
Spanish -
Reading Comprehension - the book is by Newark ( I don't like it.  It is too low.  We are going to complete it and try the grade 3)
Spelling-  we are going to do Latin and Greek roots to have challenge and understand the roots of words.  I have to find a program for this
History/ Geography - the world around us and various books
Reading- lots of books from "The Educated Child"
P.E.- Mr A
Economics- bills and shopping
Music- me
Art- Mr. A and private teacher
Cooking - Mr A

Now I need to get to that budget.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

my life - together

I am going to get my life together.  Right now I am operating in a bit of chaos and I need a system.

Managing my kiddies is systematic and a great deal of my effort is on them.  I like to keep them organized and in a routine because I want them to have stability.

Business has grown rapidly and I struggle to keep up with all that I have on my schedule.  The more money the less time.  Having staff rely on me means I cannot slow or stop work like I used to do.

Moving toward solutions

1st- organize file all stray papers
2nd- reduce papers by returning files to clients for closed cases
3rd- hire assistant to help me do task 1 and 2
4th- hire housekeeper
5th- look at my calendar daily
6th- file mail as it arrives

Keeping 2 kids, a business, a husband and myself organized is more than a full time job but it's better to do it daily.  It's a cinch by the inch, hard by the yard, a trial by the mile.

I shall get our budget together. I know we should have more money left each month but we have not been saving anything.  Housing/utilities, education, kids activites amount to a total of about 37% of our monthly income. Food is .05%, Gas is .04%.   We usually pay 10% tithes.

The next check which is large due to a hearing I won, we shall tithe, reserve about 30% for December bills and put the rest in savings.  The next check after that will be a little less than 1/2 of typical monthly gross and we will tithe and fund vacation for QT birthday, maybe Christmas spending, kids activities and maybe Mr A and I can each keep a few hundred and save the rest.

After that we should be in a new year and we can tithe and save 10% of all income off of the top. Of course hiring an assistant means my monthly income will reduce for a few months, but if she works well, I will be able to do more work and she will be paid from that increase in work I do. January is also a more costly month because everyone wants dues.  Bar due, sorority dues....

Sometimes in my head I think about the money I need to make to pay people and wonder how anyone could feel secure in a private sector job.  If business goes down, money for salary goes down.  The government gets its money from tax so it can raise revenue by raising taxes but private does not have that luxury.  Fortunately everyone who works for me understands how the money comes.  I don't have a magic pot of cash,  and they know their earnings are based on their work.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

granola mommy

I had always intended to be at home with my kids.  Prior to having kids I designed a career that would allow that.

I wore my babies because it made sense and I knew they would be warm.  I liked knowing they were next to me and I could look at them and chat with them easily.

I breast fed because it made sense to me.  My milk was free and always handy.  All I needed was a few diapers, wipes and a bib.

I became an advocate of allowing free play after seeing how well my kids and their friends who played developed in multiple domains.

I started shopping organic when both tr and qt got diahrea at 1 and 3 and we later got notice of a recall on eggs.  After that we only got cage free and decided to get milk without hormones if we were buying free egs. Now I like my farm fresh cage free eggs.

Home school started because I accepted my kid didn't need to mold herself into an average box when she is able and wanting more challenge.  I really enjoy homeschool and I think it makes family life so much easier and relaxed.

Sometimes I look at how granola we are, and realize we didn't begin that way, we just did what worked for our family and what made most sense for our family goals.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Suddenly Homeschool

TR is now a homeschooled student.  QT still is in kindergarten and says he wants to homeschool next year.  I told him if the school gets a good teacher TR can return.

The school is looking for a teacher to split the grades but homeschool makes sense for TR.

Last week we met with the teacher and school superintendent.  I had a list of concerns with the instruction.  A teacher is supposed to speak to the children and allow them to speak to help develop oral language and verbal communication skills.  If th teacher is speaking using proper grammar the students model that and they learn turn taking, listening and how to participate in group dialogue.  TR's teacher did not speak to the children.  The woman told them the next assignment, and never had dialogue.  She did not explain any material or review any work.  She put the answer sheet on the overheard/smart board and the kids self-corrected.

TR was bringing home grammar work sheets so I assumed the teacher was covering grammar.  The teacher was not, she had them do the sheets independently and never explained anything about parts of speech or constructing a sentence.  So I am beginning at the beginning of everything.

TR and her classmates would spend much of the school day writing and passing notes or games back and forth.  I discovered last week that the 1st graders do not get reading books until the end of the year.  Right now they read little books with 2 and 3 letter words.

The teacher told me, most of the kids in the class do not read.  I feel like they were casting us as the parents who wanted our advanced child to be focused on.  I only want a teacher who knows how and wants to teach.  The teacher should be able to expand or reduce assignments to meet kids needs.  Her only strategy was letting kids read once done with their work.  The teacher also gsve out bunches if dittos but those dittos don't go home.  The dittos are just busy work.

I had been suspecting nothing was being taught but I was hoping she was waiting to get the kids familiar with the rules or her class room methods.  I just accepted that the woman is there for a check and the school won't fire her.

I have been informed that multiple parents are complaining and meeting with the superintendent.  We met with him but we met just to explain to the teacher why she was failing in her jobs and that TR was done in her class.

Back to honeschool 

My mom did an academic assessment on TR and she is at a 3rd/4th grade level.  We are beginning homeschool with 1st grade materials because I want to be sure she has a foundation in everything.
We started spelling in 2nd because I cannot torture her with 1st grade words.

Today we started with a math assessment and it indicates we should do 3rd grade math.  TR's favorite subject is math, so we spent 1.5 hours on it.  Part of math was reading a story called Bigger, Better, Best about measuring area because, a brother and sister were fighting about who had the bigger window and room.

We read Strenga Nona and discussed the problem and solution, we then moved to Spanish.  I am using 'Teach Them Spanish" the kindergarten book.  We did phonics, grammar/language  and identified nouns, we used a dictionary and .we did reading comprehension and TR took notes on narrative text.  I did not tell her to take notes.  She wanted to.  We discussed diagramming stories and purpose of  narrative texts.  She wrote about her first day of homeschool.

It is only the first day but I like that I don't have to beg a teacher to educate my kid.  I will save my tuition and ensure she is thoroughly educated.  I wish she could have the school experience but being stifled and forced to sit and do nothing in a classroom would be a disaster.  Fortunately she has football, gymnastics, karate and girl scouts to socialize with kids.

We read a story

Friday, September 26, 2014

Here we are

We are into the first month of school.

I don't think TR has an effective teacher so I am pondering what to do.  QT has a great teacher, so I intend to let him stay but I cannot let TR spend two years with a teacher who is blahhhhhh.

TR had such an excellent kindergarten teacher and it breaks my heart that she now has to deal with a mediocre teacher.

I offered to volunteer in TR's class and the teacher said she did not need help. What teacher cannot use help?

So I volunteered on Thursday and she had me work with 3 2nd grade boys. 2 of the boys could not read, one did not know how to space his words when writing, or spell and the other just kept saying things were hard and he could not do it.

The third boy was just a slower reader but he was focused.  TR's teacher taught these boys in 1st grade, so it seems she failed to teach them.  I also wonder about the parents.  Even in private school, I do no expect the teacher to replace a parent.  Parents have to ensure the kid is progressing.

I need to figure out what the teacher has planned because I can homeschool and save that tuition.  I like the 3rd/4th grade teacher so TR can return then.  QT is also doing well and if this teacher does not retire I cannot turn him over to her to fail.

It is quite frustrating.  I wish my mother would observe for a  day and tell me if teaching was
occurring and if the teacher is so useless as to cause regression,

Friday, September 5, 2014

school things

I am still evaluating my feelings on this new school.  QT is happy. He is also 4.5 doing kindergarten work.  TR's kinder teacher was amazing and only had 3 students.  So TR is ready for 3rd/4th grade but doing 1st grade work.

Mr. A was voted to lead the parent association. He is a trained leader and a natural leader so it makes sense.

The A's on the first day of school 2014

The last time I gave TR a bananna and honey hair smoothie her curls stayed.  She wore it down for about 4 days and then I finger parted it and went with this.  When I get time this weeked, I will dampen it and section it and twist it/braid it.