Monday, January 26, 2015

Level 3 Floor

video 
TR practicing the level 3 floor routine.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Word is......,

Home

I have been on what might be called a tour of markets. I have broken up with chain grocery stores and I frequent Berkeley Bowl, Farmer Joe's, Andronicos, Piedmont Market, the weekly Farmer's Market for Farm Fresh eggs and fruits and vegetables the Farmers can discuss.

When we were in L.A. I liked Farmers Markets, but now my week is off if I do not get fresh produce from a Farmer.  I like my apples to be dusty, my oranges to have stems and leaves and my eggs to have grass still on them.

I have stopped shopping at Whole Foods.  It's out of the way and I like my market experience over a chain experience. I have developed a love for milk in a glass bottle Cream Top Milk, so I shop the stores that carry it.

I also discoverd that the milk man still exists and he delivers the glass bottle Cream Top milk I like.  I have requested delivery, so I am hopeful I can get my 1950's regular milk delivery experience.

School

QT is a perfectionist and I am not patient enough for a young perfectionist, so it's rough.  He is doing very well in kindergarten and his teacher said he is a "hard worker and takes pride in his work.".  I suspect that was her way to nicely say, he won't stop until every letter is perfectly written. When TR was 4, we visited a preschool and the director called her anal because she was trying to build blocks perfectly.  I said yes, she is a perfectionist.  My mother is a perfectionist and I expect the kids get it from her.

Homeschool

TR has finished part 1 of Grammar Island and knows the 8 parts of speech and how each part functions.  We will start working on the Parts of a Sentence at the end of this week.  I am excited!

We use Singapore Math and she has done and understands multiplication and this week she began division and 3 digit addition and subtraction.

I really enjoy homeschool. We do piano/guitar, memory/reciting scriptures or poetry, Spanish, math, spelling, reading/grammar, science, cooking, p.e., money/economics, writing, penmanship, geography, art and field trips. I enjoy seeing her learn, be challenged and come up with creative and exploratory ideas for projects.  We watched a Kahn video on the heart and she wants to study and build a model heart.

TR loves home school but sometimes she misses the school environment. I am hoping the science class had kids she can interact with.  Mr. A has plans to take TR to some homeschool park days so she can meet and play with other home schooled kids.

QT waivers between wanting to home school and attending traditional school.  We need a hybrid.

Exercise

TR has been laughing at my lack of  fitness.  So I have been running at her gym while she is in class. Since I am there I might as well utilize my time to ge fit.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Privates and Competition

I have never been in the monied loop so it is only recently that I discovered that people with higher incomes get their kids private tutors for a variety of things.

 When I was in high school, one of my friends had a private SAT tutor. At the time I thought tutors were hired when a person could not grasp a concept and now I learn that tutors are used by higher income parents to make a kid better than what others are doing.

 I read or saw snippets of American Promise a documentary of 2 sets of professional black in NYC who sent their 2 sons to independent schools. Around 5th grade the school offered tutoring and the parents felt it was a suggestion that their sons could not compete with their classmates. Years later they discovered, the other students had private tutors.

 We do Singapore Math for home school and I read the bulk kids in Sinapore all have math tutors. This private tutor thing is eye opening. Last spring TR's old coach told Mr. A about kids getting private gymnastics lessons. One day we were at the gym and saw her teammate getting a private. After that we signed up for a couple. At the school Mr A coached at, the top track runner had a private coach. Now I am wondering why I thought group lessons were sufficient.

  Home School and time management

 We are now doing art twice per month and QT does it 1 time each month. I tried to do speech 2x per month but the speech pathologist said once a week is better. Both kids have made great and quick progress. Gymnastics schedule changed so we now have Wednesday free. Today we went to the zoo. It was nice. I signed TR up for a home school science class, that meets once a month. It is nice to live around science centers. QT took science for toddlers all of last year and now TR can take science for elementary home schooled kids.

 I settled a lawsuit that I filed in 2013, so I feel as if freedom is in my grasp.

Friday, December 26, 2014

M.I.A.

I have wanted to hit the keyboards and blog but with 2 kids, a husband, extended family, and a business, it is a challenge to find the energy once I get the time.
Everyone has million dollar ideas, few have the motivation to execute those ideas.
I have two business ideas. I want to do a special education resource center and I want to do a beauty business that starts sorta like Mary K and I go to bridal showers, pre-prom parties etc. These ideas will be executed. I have sooooo many business ideas but I already have a busy business and sometimes I get lazy.
I am pleased that our current business funds our expensive Northern California Bay Area lifestyle. That makes me feel like The Amey's can build more sucessful businesses. I really want to have a business my kids can work in and expand if they choose. A legacy is my goal. My other goal is to save more.
TR made level 3 in gymnastics and gets to compete in a national meet this winter. If all goes well she can do level 4 by summer. She was set to start competing level 3 last February 2014 but we switched gyms. Having to do level 2 was frustrating for her. It was due to my failures to plan and research. On the positive side I didn't want my 5 year old in the gym 9-12 hours a week. When we moved gyms she was doing 7 hours a week and starting kindergarten, so she was able to enjoy school and do after school activities like dance and cooking class and she had time to free play.
At the old gym, she didn't like the woman who was the level 3 coach and she had begun refusing to go to gymnastics on Saturdays because the coach she didn't like was there. I didn't want her to avoid the sport she loves because of a person. Now she knows that there are other gyms and coaches and she has options.
I really want to do better with money. The kids cost a lot. I've added art and speech to karate and gymnastics. I will probably move art to twice a month to save money and time. The kids love art but the lessons are private and expensive. I am hopeful that we can be done with speech by Spring. That $110 a week is a worthwhile investment because communication is essential but art and speech have added $1k to our monthly expenses. I want to reduce expenses and save money in 2015.
I had a purpose for blogging but this post has taken over a week and I cannot recall what my goal was.

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

Soooooooo.

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.