Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Creative Play

I always enjoy when the children decide to be creative in their play. On Monday they made a grocery store, taking our empty containers and boxes, pricing them, and setting them up on tables. George came up with the idea of making a cart out of a ride-on toy with boxes taped on. They also made a cash register and play money. They made sure to have soda on-hand for Daddy to buy since we rarely have it. He thought it was quite a deal at $1 a bottle. They also sold some hats and a couple of toys. Re-Pete was the cashier and George was the bagger. The rest of us shopped. By the time they were done the store was cleaned out.

Missy Blue with her shopping cart that even had a place for her baby.

Pete shopping

Tank paying for his items.

Friday, March 21, 2008

A Struggle to Read

In a previous post I have mentioned how difficult it has been for George to learn to read. We started when he was 5 1/2 using Veritas Press Phonics Museum. That was slow going and eventually I changed over to "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" which seemed to really get him on track and help him with blending. So we went back to finishing up the curriculum we started and have been working slowly on that ever since taking breaks when he would get stressed and focused on just reading simple books.

George has always loved books and will sit in bed at night trying to read. Very often I have found that he will memorize the story so that the next time we go through it he can "read it". Otherwise he will look at the picture and guess at what it says. He has always done the typical reversing of the b & d or p but has never really gotten past doing that. He also frequently reverses a short word or the syllables in a word. An example of this is when reading the word cart he would say "crat". After a friend mentioned that her son may have dyslexia I started to wonder about George and began to search online. In talking with my Mom I found that a friend of my grandparents works with dyslexic people and so I contacted her. Nancy's son has dyslexia which they found out when he was in high school and this caused her to take training to help others.

George was tested a few weeks ago and while Nancy can not legally say that he has dyslexia the test leaned in that direction although very mildly I think. We decided to go ahead and have him work with Nancy on a weekly basis to give him the boost he needs and his first lesson was this week. George was not thrilled with the idea at first but when he was done he was quite proud of himself and seemed to have an excitement to read again, which had seemed to be fading due to his discouragement. I am not sure how long we will continue with the lessons but Nancy has said that in working with a child over a summer they often will progress two grade levels in reading which would be wonderful! George may always have a "difficulty with words" but I am thankful that he can overcome that with a bit of help.

In researching dyslexia I found some interesting sentences demonstrating why English is such a hard language to learn. Here is one example...

The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

I also found that there are quite a few famous people who had learning problems associated with dyslexia but all overcame the difficulty -- George Washington, "Stonewall" Jackson, Winston Churchill, Hans Christian Anderson, Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Alexander Graham Bell, and many more.

"Dyslexia is not a disease to have and to be cured of, but a way of thinking and learning. Often it's a gifted mind waiting to be found and taught."

Monday, March 17, 2008

4 Month Check-up

We took Baby to Children's Hospital last week to see how he is doing with his Laryngomalacia (see past post on this). Thankfully they did not need to do a scope this time as one look at Baby and they knew that he was thriving and not struggling with his breathing as that would cause him to burn more calories and not have all of the rolls he does. Unfortunately he does need to continue on the Zantac until he outgrows this which most likely won't be until around 18 months. He is a very noisy baby both when he breathes and when he nurses. If we continue on the Zantac and up the dosage with his weight gain we should see an improvement. I am so used to the noise that I don't realize it until I am nursing him somewhere and people start looking around to see what it is. Once in awhile one of our children will think they hear a dog barking outside and go around looking for it only to find me feeding Baby. Anyway, we are thankful that Baby is growing and thriving as he should be despite this impediment. He is one happy and rolly polly baby that we all adore.

Baby Boy at 4 months all rolly polly (sorry I cut off his feet!)
He is 18# so has already more than doubled his birth weight of (8#2oz)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Wax Museum

Our homeschool club's writing class put on a Wax Museum last night. George was excited about this as he could dress up as someone and it sounded fun. They could write about anyone in history and he selected Patrick Henry. Our kids love to watch Liberty's Kids and have learned quite a bit of history this way. Patrick Henry gives his famous speech in one of the episodes and George enjoys reciting that which is why he wanted to write about him. We ended up renting a custom, which if I would have thought about it sooner could have bought one online. I did buy tights for him and a hairpiece which he was embarrassed about buying but had a great time putting it all on. He was very nervous during practice and would not look up at all. When the actual event came around I began to wonder how he would do as he could not remember his lines even though he had them memorized and could say them at home without a problem. I had butterflies in my stomach for him. As people filtered through the "museum" and tapped him on the shoulder to "come to life" he grew more confident. I did print out the words for him to read which gave him the boost of confidence he needed and he did look up at the most important part. We were very proud of George for doing such a great job! Below is George as Patrick Henry. There is background noise so it is a little difficult to hear. Make sure you pause the music playing on the sidebar.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Show & Tell Friday -- Art Class

Last year a few homeschool Moms from church and I began an art class for our small group of children. We meet every other week with each of us taking a turn to teach. Since our group has various ages it is difficult at times to find projects to meet our needs. Lately we have been taking ideas from online that incorporate a little science and geography into our class along with teaching various art techniques. Our current project was learning about the Toucan, drawing a picture of one, coloring it with pastels and trying to blend the colors together. It took two classes to finish but they turned out great! Our next lesson will be on tigers and learning to use watercolors. That could be a bit more challenging.

Everyone's drawing is based on the same photo of a Toco Toucan.

If you would like to see more Show & Tell's visit CanadaGirl

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Various happenings

The past weeks have been full of various happenings and kept us on the go but we sure learned a lot and had fun doing it! George went on a field trip to meet the Mayor which was probably more enjoyable for the Moms who went along. Later that week the three oldest boys went to their final cooking class where they made Root Beer (or orange flavored soda), Shirred Eggs that were so yummy, and Turkey Potpie using puff pastry. I also enjoy the class and get new menu ideas.

Putting the top of puff pastry on their mini turkey potpies

Saturday we took our annual trip along with my parents and my sister's family to the "domes" to see a model train show in a beautiful garden setting. (Just the shot of "spring" I needed!) The theme was Gulliver's travels this year so there was a large Gulliver and the trains rode around the village of Lilliput. That is always a fun time. Right now I would like to be back in the tropical dome -- despite the fact that the humidity was so high that my hair lost all curl.

You can see Gulliver's feet in this picture and one of the trains at the bottom. I don't have a good picture to show the immensity of the display.

Sunday we hosted dinner for the college students that come down to help out in various areas at church. The children absolutely love to have them come over and enjoy the time playing games and just goofing around after dinner. Later in the day brought Grandma and Grandpa for a visit. They came to keep me company for a couple days while John went on a business trip (to a place it was warm). The children enjoyed it and it was a nice help for me.

Yesterday we took in a bit of sledding before heading to art class. The hills were icy which made it all the more fun.

You can see one patch of ice just below where the chain of children is. They were sledding into what we call a "bowl" as it is a large bowl shape in the ground. On another note -- It is where my high school graduation ceremony was.

Time for a break from activities. Although, keeping busy has helped to break up the seemingly endless days indoors.
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