The big kids started their gymnastics class on Monday. They both loved it and are excited to go back next week. Watching the warm-up before Cameron’s class, I learned two things about my son. One, he doesn’t know how to skip. We’ll have to work on that. Two, he is a non-conformer and doesn’t care if others are doing something differently. For example, one part of the warm-up is to walk on their hands and feet. All the other kids did the elephant walk with their bottoms up in the air. Not Cameron. He had his hands and feet on the floor like he was supposed to, but unlike the other kids he bent his knees and walked with his bottom down in a sort of cross between an elephant and a frog walk. Bonus he was in the perfect position to do the next part, hopping like a frog. Afterwards I mentioned to him about doing the hands and feet walk differently and he said he knew but he liked his way better and he did after all do what the coach said to do. That’s Cameron. He does everything his own way.

I tend to underestimate her

I teach the 9 going on 10 year old girls at church right now. After the first class I realized I have been underestimating Ani’s reading abilities. She reads scriptures better than all but one of the girls in my class. Interestingly the one girl who Ani does not read better than is homeschooled. One night I spent some time writing words on a chalkboard for Ani to read. She read them all perfectly. She even figured out “pneumonia” with only the hint of me telling her the p is silent.

I’ve also been underestimating her spelling abilities. We gave up on Spelling Workout a few weeks ago because it was driving Ani insane. She kept telling me it was boring because she already knew most of the words before she did the “learning” workpages. She was almost all the way through book C (3rd grade level) when we dropped it. The same night I wrote the words on the chalkboard for her to read I gave her words to spell on the chalkboard. She could spell anything I threw at her including “millions” (the only word I can remember I gave her).

Tonight I discovered I’ve been underestimating her physical skills as well. She did a trial dance/gymnastics combo class at The Little Gym. She was GOOD at the gymnastics. She can do a forward roll and is working on cartwheels. She walked across the balance beam like nothing and didn’t have much trouble going backwards either. She didn’t care for the tap dancing and liked the ballet okay. Afterwards we discussed her options. She wanted to do gymnastics only so we headed to the gym where my cousin goes. An instructor evaluated her and Ani will be starting as a level 2 gymnast on Monday (and Cameron will start as a level 1 the same day).

My husband is insane

Last semester Jamie took 18 credits (not including a couple overlap classes – I think he had over 20 credits at one point going on at the same time). It was way too much and pretty much awful. So we decided that this semester would be easier and registered him for 10 credits.

The semester started on Monday the 15th. Jamie discovered his two on-line classes would be quite easy to finish quickly (the third class is geology and must be done in person). He decided he wanted to try to finish one of them – a 3 credit 200-level college course – within a week. He did it. On Saturday he took the last two tests. This morning he got an e-mail from his teaching confirming he had finished the course and telling him she would be posting his grade shortly. He’s planning on finishing the other on-line class by the end of this week. I have no doubt he will.

Meanwhile, we decided to go ahead and sign him up for two more on-line classes. At least one of them, if not both, will only take a few weeks to finish. NoVA has on-line classes that begin 2/5 and 3/5 as well as 1/15 (they all last 16 weeks, so can take into the summer semester to finish if needed). Jamie has two more classes he needs to complete his ASIT (he finished his AAS in Network Engineering in the fall). He will most likely be able to finish the coursework this semester. So instead of a simple 10 credit semester, he’ll end up with at least 22 credits over the course of he whole semester.

My school allergic son has disappeared

Cameron has always been seemingly allergic to school. If something looked like school to him (workbook, intentionally learning, etc.) he’d practically break out in hives. Now, he’s always loved learning. He loves non-fiction books, videos from National Geographic, History Channel, Discovery, etc., and experimenting on his own. But that’s it. All of a sudden that has changed.

I ordered Handwriting Without Tears on the recommendation of my cousin a few weeks ago. Cameron loves it! I figured he’d like the wooden letter pieces and the roll-a-dough letters, but much to my surprise he’s loving the preschool workbook he’s working his way through. This week he also asked to work some in his Math-U-See Primer book.

Obviously something has clicked. He still prefers the non-workbook type schoolwork (who wouldn’t?!?!) but workbook type stuff is no longer some horrid thing. It’s now becoming enjoyable to him. As is typical for my Cameron, he has come to this in his own time. It’s exciting watching this process unfold.

More Dinosaur Unit

Ani’s been at my parents’ since Tuesday evening so we haven’t been doing school most of the week. We didn’t do much school on Monday since Jamie was off from work. Here’s what we did do this week:

  • Made three vinegar baths (full-strength, 2:1, 4:1) and put chicken bones in to soak
  • Talked about the scientific method
  • Wrote problem, hypothesis, procedure, and materials used for chicken bone/vinegar experiment
  • Every few days we’re checking on the bone to see what is happening with them
  • Read 9 pages of Jurassic Park
  • Predator/Prey math: 10,000 duckbills to 25 T Rexes; did other calculations based on 400:1 ratio
  • Looked at animal cards and discussed their predator/prey relationship
  • Discussed three periods of the dinosaurs
  • Sorted Dino-Mite cards into periods

Hair Cut

Ani doesn’t particularly like for me to brush or fix her hair so it is usually a mess. Also, she is very petite and long hair just doesn’t work on her. So I decided to cut her hair a few days ago. She is very cute with short hair.

And in a completely different topic, my 6 month and 3 day old baby just pulled himself up on the front of the couch and stood there very happily for a few minutes. He started crawling 4 days ago. He’s getting so big so fast!

Thank Goodness!

My sister mailed a package to my parents’ house with some Christmas presents in it in early December. It didn’t arrive. We tried to convince her it could still show up, but we all knew it wasn’t all that likely. My sister was very distressed because, among other things, included in the package was our father’s birthday present, something that is almost a one of a kind. She had managed to get a book written by someone in our grandfather’s platoon during World War II about their WWII activities. The loss of that book was terrible, particularly since it turned out they would have had plenty of room to bring it in their luggage.

After assuming the box was gone forever for the last couple weeks, it showed up back at my sister’s house a few days ago! It was simply marked “unable to deliver” with no other reasoning for why it didn’t arrive at it’s destination or what took so long. The address was correct. My sister repackaged the items in it and sent them to their new destinations (since we’re no longer all at my parents’ house).

Today we got the package of Malteasers my sister and brother-in-law had picked up for Jamie when they were in Great Britain last fall. They had added a picture of the B-2 for Cameron that my brother-in-law (a B-2 pilot) had autographed as well as a B-2 patch to go on Cameron’s bomber jacket. The box to my parents has not yet arrived at their house. We’re hoping it will arrive Tuesday. Daddy still doesn’t know what his birthday present is. He insisted it would show up eventually and he’d find out then what they got him.

“I want to do school!” – 1/11 & 1/12

I never thought I’d hear two things out of Cameron’s mouth. But I heard them both today. This morning I was on the phone with my mom and Cameron said “Get off the phone, Mommie. I want to do school!” And then when we were finished with school, he said “Can’t we do more? I love doing school!” I am thrilled. I have found what works for him. It’s working for Ani, too. And we’re all having fun to boot. In the last two days we:

  • Reviewed meanings of fact/non-fiction and fiction (as we read Jurassic Park we often pause to discuss what is true and what is made up for the book)
  • Discussed Watson and Crick and the amino acids of DNA (adenine, thymine, cystine, guanine) and how they appear in A-T and C-G pairs
  • Completed the DNA model (see picture below)
  • Read 31 pages total of Jurassic Park
  • Looked up the basilisk lizard on-line
  • Labeled a page BASILISCUS using rubber stamps and drew a basilisk lizard
  • Discussed dinosaur and bird toes; looked at a picture of an eagle and discussed how the toes look like dinosaur toes might have looked
  • Traced Ani’s and Cameron’s middle three fingers held out like the eagle toes; kids added claws and colored the toes
  • Looked up Costa Rice on-line and discussed the different animals, plants, and habitats as well as where the country is in Central America
  • Drew and labeled the DNA model
  • Discussed how the dinosaur world was and what oxygen and carbon dioxide are
  • Oral math: $50,000 for two years equals how much per year; discussed easy way to figure the answer by remembering that two quarters equals 50 cents and one quarter equals 25 cents, so half of 50 is 25 making the answer $25,000
  • Discussed how a character in a book can be based on a real person
  • Watched several Discovery News Podcasts about Jack Horner and paleontology
  • Made “fossil” rubbings using fossil plates


6 Month Old Baby!

The Itsy Bitsy Fritzy is 6 months old today. It’s hard to believe that it has already been 6 months since the midwife handed him to me and I discovered the baby I had been totally convinced was a she was actually a he. And now he is crawling and “talking” all the time and weighs 17 pounds 7 ounces and is 26 1/2″ long.