Saturday, September 15, 2012

Weekly wrap up: I need some self-discipline...

In regards to self-discipline: if you don't use it, you lose it. 
I am sadly not using it when it comes to games on my iPad (I'm sure the novelty will wear off eventually), blogs and newsfeeds, and endless email.  The iPad and computer are constant teaching companions during schooltime - it's just so hard for me to resist a peek at the other stuff too.  I need to flex my self-discipline muscle more often. 
I'll start with one rep and work my way up from there.
Okay.  Two reps.
Three... tops.  But then I'll need a massage afterwards.
We have had a fairly decent school week.  Monday morning we squeezed in some math before we met up with the Daisy scouts for our first service project of the year - pulling weeds from the sand at a local playground.  I've got to share a conversation I posted on Facebook about our math lesson that morning...
"In the midst of math this morning, Owen walked by Rylan and handed her one of the play phones and they proceeded to have a long, drawn-out pretend conversation. So I put my hand to my ear like a phone and "dialed" Rylan.

Me: Hello? Miss Rylan?
Rylan: (Giggle) Yes?
Me: Can you please answer problem number four?
Rylan: Um... Rylan can't come to the phone right now. Can you call back later?

After a not-so-productive math lesson we headed to the park and we all worked away in the hot sun (it was nice in the shade).  It was reassuring to see all of the girls working so hard and helping each other out.  It's a great mix of girls!  It also gave the moms a chance to chat.  I miss talking shop (homeschool) - so it was a great way to pass the time.  I also have to say that I am one lucky, lucky mom.  Jordan is twelve - and he is the oldest sibling that comes along.  There is only one other older brother, but I think he is like seven.  So considering all of that - Jordan does not complain about it.  In fact, he rather likes it.  He seems to prefer playing with younger kids - and does not mind a bit if they are girls.  The games he comes up with are quite fun - usually involving a chase of some sort - and the little girls love it.  Most other twelve year-old boys would probably give their moms serious grief over having to tag along to a girl scout meeting (unless of course it was for Cadettes...)
We had to dash off to Rylan's violin lesson straight from the park.  During the lesson Rylan practiced several new things - touching her fingertips and clapping out a rhythm (Miss-iss-ip-pi-hot-dog) and singing an 'A' (or la).  Rylan was low on the first attempt, and on the second she hit it.  I about. fell. out. of. my. chair.  Then, after a couple of near-misses, she hit it again.  My mother and my aunt both have perfect pitch (able to produce or identify a given note without a reference pitch), and nobody yet (kids or grandkids) has it too, so far... Rylan's teacher showed us that (if your violin is in tune) if you hold your violin close to your mouth as you sing an 'A', the 'A' sting will vibrate and hum along with you - and it does!  How cool is that?!
On Tuesday we did school and karate and not much else worthy of note.  I kept the tv off and did minimal news checking.  The anniversary of 9/11 is not something I want to dwell on too much - and the little kids don't really need to see those horrible images.  It can wait until they are much, much older.
Wednesday was supposed to be a very busy day with schoolwork, piano lessons, Park Day, a potluck and evening karate and dance.  At 7 a.m. I went out to the garage to fetch something from the car and noticed that all of the interior lights were on.  Right then I should have thought about testing the battery by turning on the car, but I did not.  My mom came and went for the piano lesson and then we decided to skip Park Day.  It was cool and rainy, and plans were falling through right and left.  Afternoon nap didn't happen until 3:30 because Colin fought it every step of the way, so that meant that our plans to attend our homeschool groups annual not-back-to-school potluck was going to be a no-go - there was no way in hell I was taking a small child with only a 45 min. nap under his belt.  He is a holy terror in that state.  He finished his nap, we finished school and the kids got ready for their respective classes.  We were even going to make it on time!  Went out to start the car and nothing but clickclickclickclickclick.  Damn.  So even IF we had wanted to go to Park Day or the potluck, we wouldn't have been able to anyway.  Dean was on his way home in the vanpool, so we just waited for him to arrive home and then jump the car for us.  It was too late to leave for lessons at that point, so the day was pretty much a wash.
Thursday brought big disappointment for Jordan when he found out in karate that he was not going to be able to test for his belt this weekend.  He simply does not have the class time in - and through no fault of his own, either.  Visitation time with his mom plus a couple of scouts outings interfered with his ability to get enough classes in during this past 9 week cycle.  They require a minimum of 14 on-level classes, 3 review classes, and 3 sparring sessions.  Jordan got the 3 and 3, but he only had maybe 5? 6? of the on-level classes.  This makes two belt promotions in a row that he has missed.  He knows that it's just how it has to be, but he is still taking it hard.
Friday brought the most awesome revelation - ever!  As Jordan and I were sitting down to do his math lesson, the thought occurred to me to check to see if I could bring up his math website on the iPad.  You see - the way we 'do math' is that we sit down at the computer for his MEP lesson, and Jordan sits where he can see the computer screen - for the occasional times that I need to swivel the screen in his direction if he needs to see a graphic or something.  I print off the practice book pages for him to keep in his math notebook, but I don't print off the teacher's lessons - that would be 3-4 pages a lesson, for 175 lessons.  No way.  So I just read off the lesson and instruct as we go.  This has limited us to getting math done in the mornings only - and if something is scheduled in the morning, then math does not get accomplished at all.  The office/schoolroom is located directly underneath Colin/Rylan's room, so we can't school in there during naptime.  So portability is key.  Math was not portable.  (I really do have a lot to say about math - I need to get my curriculum posts done!).  So, long boring story short - I CAN get MEP on my iPad, so that means we can do it wherever, whenever.  And - the graphics that I need him to look at from time to time can be expanded with the zoom feature, and we can pass the iPad back and forth as we talk about them.  Case in point - Friday's lesson was about angles - in relation to clock faces, an actual orienteering compass and so forth.  We discussed fractional amounts and their related number of degrees (5 minutes on a clock is 30 degrees and so forth..) fractional compass amounts  (from N to NE is 45 degrees, NNE to ENE is 45 degrees...)  It helped that he could look at the clock and compass graphics as we talked about them.  Thank goodness he has already had orienteering with the scouts - that made it a lot easier to talk about.  We just spread out a map of Arches NP and talked about getting from point A to point B.
I also figured out that we can do IXL math practice on the iPad too - so that means that I can keep more kids going at one time, instead of cycling them through the one computer that we have, one at a time.  Unfortunately, the iPad does not support flash, so we can't do Reading Eggs.  They do have an app, but it is not the same thing.
We also used the iPad earlier in the week to discuss the sun and the movement of the planets in relation to the sun.  Solar Walk is the most awesome app I have ever seen.  It out does any 2-dimensional discussion  - the kids just can't wrap their head around what the rotations look like.  It is like having your own personal Planetarium show!
One more week to go and then a very much-needed break!

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