Me and my kiddo

Me and my kiddo

Friday, July 29, 2011

Summer, home-schooling successes!

We've been making massive progress in the homeschooling.  Cameron has done his first multiplication word problems without batting an eye and delved into both single and double digit long division.  His writing is really improving as we practice with hide and seek clues or treasure hunts.  Finally, we're two thirds of the way through American History and he's finally getting into it... still won't admit he's having fun, but he loved showing off for his athlete mentor :)  We had such a special moment the other night after finishing reading Patrick Henry's "Give me liberty or give me death" speech.  The drama was still tingling in the air and we'd talked about the choices being made.  We snuggled and I sang:

My country tis of thee
sweet land of liberty
of thee I sing
land where my father's died
land of the Pilgrims' pride
from every mountainside
let freedom ring.

Seriously precious times.  Due to balking, we paused on music practice and are going to listen to a music appreciation class on our road trip.  Yay for my seven year old wonder :)

Other things to share:

Cute antics:
• searching out "Anthem" from the books by the chair (we read it several weeks ago) and bringing it up stairs gleefully saying, "I. I. I. I." (In the book, the world has lost that word.)

• after getting pinned during some play, "Don't use your talons!"  (Goodness, my nails aren't that long, but we have been reading about dragons a lot lately.)

•Just after reading the beginning and end of The Declaration of Independence, I got this response to some tickling:

"If I'm American and you're American, GIVE ME MY RIGHTS!"

He did request rough housing, but I believe he was interested in reasserting his right to liberty :)

• it's not my kiddo's, but I can so see him doing this when old and crotchety :)

The natural results if you tell the child you don't want ink on the furniture or clothing, but his body belongs to him.
(If I thought this was done in preschool, I was wrong.  This kid just marches to the beat of a different drummer.)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Tug of War Fun

This has been a week of summer, homeschool fun! Not only did we have this spectacular multiplication experience, we also dealt with an anti-writing day by writing out treasure hunt clues, and we've gotten to the American Revolution in history class too (exciting times)!  He has particularly enjoyed when his Dad and I play tug of war with his body to finish off school.  He'll now jump up and ask that we each take one side of him and start yanking :)

This week's Objectivist Round Up.

Cute antics:

• making me worry about his sanity when he stated, "Men should clobber women every day except tomorrow. [pause for a moment] I don't think so really."  (Nice to get the finish, but we talked about topics that we don't joke about!)

• faint praise for a joke, "I barely didn't laugh at that one."

• yelling from the top of the stairs, "NOW I'M COVERED WITH SOAP, MOM!"  (Note, usually that's when you would hope the child stays in the bath tub, but he apparently wanted more bubble soap.)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

For the love of learning

So darn delightful!  Yay for the joy of learning :)  This is after lots of work on the multiplication table over the last few weeks... still cementing that knowledge through application.

I don't think it's possible to watch this without feeling the infectious enthusiasm of a kid relishing their accomplishments.  Here's to the joy of learning!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Thyroid? Migraine?

[For those interested in the health mystery saga...]

So, here was my status five months ago and I'm just going to focus on what has changed.  By April, I had suffered through an unexplained weigh gain of 15lbs which sent me to the doc who again came up with no explanations.  That left me a total of 60lbs overweight, getting ill at least once a week, and wondering what to try next.  I decided to focus on minimizing any remaining stressors (like the sprinting) and keep up the quality foods, while giving the Naltrexone more time (since before this episode it seemed to be helping).

For two months, things went well and then I had three terrible weeks where I got ill 6/10 days.  I decided to turn back to conventional medicine and delve into more diagnostics while at the same time increasing my melatonin for better sleep and removing any source of caffeine (I was drinking very weak, second-steeped decaffeinated coffee).  I made an appointment with a neurologist who specializes in headaches.  Now that I've ruled out thyroid as a primary cause (and my symptoms do match the criteria for migraine without aura), I figure a neurologist might help me find other causative potentials (I'm not particularly interested in patches for the symptoms i.e. migraine medications).  I also have an appointment for a sleep study to see if my brain wave patterns can give any nice clues as to the cause of the insomnia.  Finally, I have a hearing appointment to check if an autoimmune inner ear issue might be at fault since my husband keeps saying I don't hear as well as he does and my dad found some interesting information on these under-diagnosed pathologies.  

I've only been ill once in the last three weeks (clearly there was more caffeine in that weak coffee than I'd thought and I've always been a hyper-responder to caffeine).  Combining this month with the two before that relapse, I've lost 15lbs and am thrilled to be moving in a positive direction again.  I am using the weekly weight training for exercise along with family hikes and play, but no itense cardio.  I am keeping all those scheduled doctor appointments which will occur over the next two weeks.  I am also trying to decrease the Low Dose Naltrexone because insomnia can be a potential side effect.  However, I still want to take it because in the nine months that I've been taking it, more and more studies have come out supporting the original pilot studies' promissing effects of this treatment in both autoimmune diseases and cancer.

So, the saga continues!  Here's to finding my health again.

Goofn' around with my goofy kiddo... still having such a grand time living :)

Friday, July 15, 2011


Who knew getting whipped around in a foxtrot could be so much fun!  That was our whole dance lesson this week!

Other things to share:

This week's Objectivist Round Up.

Cute antics:

• delighting in putting raspberries on each finger and eating them (after sufficient wiggling, of course)!  (My sister used to do this with olives and it's awfully cute.)

• ogling the belly dancer at the restaurant  (very big kid-eyes)

• on a hot day, demanding, "Put on the cold conditioning!"

• instead of saying thanks a million, he said thanks 9642

• commenting in the middle of the afternoon, without any lead up, "I really like raw salt."  (Nope, I have no idea what he's talking about.)

• labeling the smily posters of models as we walked by the make up section of Target, "Ug, I don't like gush girls!"

•  after we were talking about the Reformation and I just asked who the puritans liked, I got the gleeful answer... "Convicts!"
(Um,  Calvanists didn't quite stick :)  I'm thrilled with how much has though!)

• taking off into the 2.5 mile tunnel hike without us! (Speck of light on left is the bicycle coming, just to the right is my independent kiddo.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mommy School 2011

This year's Mommy School is off to such an awesome start!  We had a vacation right after school got out, so we started at the beginning of this month.

This year, I decided to focus on four things.
Math- I wanted him to finish memorizing the multiplication table.  Since he'll be skipping second grade, I think having that solid will help him be able to handle the start of school challenges by being ahead in academics again. That is particularly useful for him in the first month when his social challenges make learning new things so difficult.

Writing- This is the one area that he's not already way above grade level, so I wanted to do all I could to help these skills develop in a positive environment.  It's a fine motor issue along with a profound lack of interest in making his letters look better than barely recognizable.  (He doesn't have the fine motor skill to do typing yet and balks at that just as much as using a pencil, but we're hoping that will change because he's practicing moving one finger at a time while we practice...)

Music- My husband bought a beginning piano book and is teaching my kiddo and I at the same time.  I have a thrilled child watching to catch my mistakes and he's very interested in improvising :)

History- We're giving the History at Our House another try and he's loving it!  Of course, he balked when it came to writing for a test, but we made it count for writing practice and he really remembered more than I'd expected.  He bounces all over the den while listening, but he's clearly absorbing something.  He keeps asking for extra history classes throughout the day!

Here is the schedule that we use and cross off as we go (he picks one from each category):

Mommy School
Cameron Binder- 
practice like third grade choices:
Five sentences about something interesting, like Worms!
Mommy worksheet
Five clues for hide and seek, written in full sentences.
One class
You Pick:
multiplication race
multiplication table
multiplication kahn academy
One lesson
One Day of Life Errands
Play land, gym, park, bike trail, obstacle course, jiu jitsu, back yard, bubbles, chalk drawings, other ideas?

The favorite writing so far has been the hide and seek clues.  We each write five and then take turns hiding.  The key here is writing as well as he can with properly formed letters, spacing, and punctuation.  He's never picked journaling (Worms is a favorite video game).  Here is a sample of the worksheets I make:

Writing Work Sheet
Hobbit 1
Answer the questions with these words:
three eat moon
yes arguing swords
hole no
captured stone
sun adventure
wizard rested
  1. Gandalf is a                      who visits Bilbo's hobbit                        to invite him on an                      .  Bilbo first says              and then he says              .
  2. The first fright they had was meeting                      trolls who ________ them and then wanted to _________ them.
  3. Gandalf tricked them into                       until the              came up and turned them into                     .
  4. In Rivendell they                        and found that the map had                     letters and they found out the name of their new _________.
Write complete sentence answers:
  1. What would you do if Gandalf showed up on your doorstep? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  2. How would you get away from trolls? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  3. What would be your favorite thing to do if you visited elves? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

For math, he first loved watching the Kahn academy videos on multiplication and now we've been working on filling out the table as quickly as possible.  He's getting good!

The life errands idea is to take a break on Wednesdays and do errands where I make him as independent as possible i.e. no hanging out in the car while Mom returns the book or pumps gas.  It's been a full success so far!

He moves his body so much throughout the day, that we've never had a specific body moving exercise yet.  I offer, but the homebody in him usually wins out.

So... we've been having a delightful time continuing learning each morning for about two hours and engaging the rest of the day with various values.  I do lots of reading out loud and I'm hoping to get him into the Eragon series next after we finishing reading The Hobbit for the third or fourth time :)

My monkey on the monkey statue at the zoo :)

Monday, July 4, 2011

San Francisco Vacation

Lots of fun and my kiddo dubbed it the week of ice cream and vehicles because we relished so much of each!

Going across the bridge was gorgeous too though!

Other things to share:

Cute antics:

• going with me to the dermatologist to watch as they took out a few stitches on my shoulder. He was "helping" me find the office.  He looked down this plaque and found the doctor's name.

I asked him, "So, what office do we go to?"
He answered, "M.D."

• Interrupting the answer to his question multiple times with fantastical methods of jet propulsion before listening to Daddy explain (via iPad diagrams, so cool)

• wanting his ears to pop and knowing that I couldn't do it for him, so he directed me to use my "magical powers".  (I think he likes that particular parenting technique of granting a wish in fantasy! I obligingly abracadabra-ed... and offered some more practical suggestions in case that didn't work.)

• developing a new unit of measurement for planes, "one mass-jolt per second".

• showing a bit of a need for more geography learning as he cracked up all the grown ups (add lots of laughter after each answer):
Me (looking at the Oakland Bay Bridge): Do you know what bridge that is?
Kiddo: London bridge
Me: Well, what city to you think London Bridge is in?
Kiddo: Europe 

• after I explained that the curb cut outs were for people in wheelchairs and the raised dots were added to help blind people, he came to the next corner and exclaimed, "Braille dots!"

• delighting in the fourth sweet he gleefully declared, "My name is sugar industries!"

• in classic grumble mode declaring that the choices of outings were "go or don't go" and then, when presented with the conviction that the drive into the city needed to include something besides eating, he added, " We already did something besides eating.  We drank."  (He did enjoy the planetarium in his own grumbly way.)

• when I was trying to get him to say the word "attitude" for our Taboo game, I said "Junie B.'s teacher often tells her to 'Change your blank, young lady!"  and Cameron responded "ALTITUDE"!