Lesson Learned

As we approached lesson 20 (and the first test) of Calvert 7, I kept telling Ani that studying outside of school time is very important and really paying attention to her lessons and taking notes and what not is a must. She’s gotten better about that in the last week or so and that shows in her checkpoint (short daily quiz) scores and in what she did well on her test (pretty much everything recent she is fabulously on).

Unfortunately, Sonlight was WAY too easy and superficial for her. She never had to try to do anything nor did she have to actually learn anything. Basically, she coasted and was taught to do the least amount possible. Unfortunately (well, fortunately, really), that just won’t work for Calvert. Calvert requires deeper thinking and real learning. And, of course, tests every 20 lessons so you can’t just listen, not really learn, and forget everything you heard.

She didn’t do terribly. She got mostly B’s, but did get a couple lower. She definitely could have done better. But, particularly since it was the first test, I didn’t expect her to do an incredible job. She’s never had tests like that before. Now she knows what to expect 20 lessons from now. She learned an excellent lesson about school and studying and learning. And now she’s looking forward to lesson 40 and her next test. She’s sure she’ll ace that one.

Growth Spurt!

Ani has always grown the most in August/September. Some years she has not grown at all any other months. About 3 weeks ago we weighed and measured her.

Yesterday she put on a dress she’s worn recently and it was a lot shorter on her and the sleeves on the little jacket no longer reached her wrists. She’s been complaining about her legs hurting/growing pains lately so I wasn’t surprised to see her outgrowing her clothes.

What I was surprised by is how much she has grown, especially since most (maybe all) has been in the last week. She grew 2 1/2″ and 4 pounds practically over night! Now I’m curious to see if she holds to her typical pattern and doesn’t grow again for the next 11 months.

Another Lesson Learned

This time by Cameron.

Jamie bought 100 feet of rope a couple weeks ago and gave it to the kids. Cameron has been inventing with it ever since. One of those inventions didn’t quite go as planned.

Cameron made an elevator using the rope and a cinder block. I think the cinder block was at one end of a piece of rope and Cameron would use the other end of the rope to be lowered down from his treehouse (I’m not totally clear on how it worked because, as with most dangerous things Cameron does, I go with “I’m just not going to look”).

Well, one day last week Cameron showed his elevator to Jamie and it didn’t work out as planned. The cinder block collided with Cameron’s leg. The result was rather yucky looking.

Cameron, however, only had one thing to say about it: “Thanks for the rope, Daddy!” He wasn’t upset by his injury in the least. And he learned that it is best for the rope to go over more than one branch from now on so as to keep the cinder block a bit farther from his leg.

Primary Program and Stage Fright

Last Sunday was our ward’s Primary program. I always enjoy the Primary program. The kids are so cute and most are so excited to be up in front of everyone performing their songs and lines. This year I had three of my own children in it, the most I will ever have (Ani will turn 12 before the program and so won’t be in it the year Adrian turns 4 and is in Sunbeams and so is in the program for the first time). Ani and Cameron did great. Fritz is another story.

Fritz knows a bit of all the songs, but he barely sang. Not singing is not unusual among the 3 and 4 year olds. He danced and “conducted” along with the music person and punched the air and wiggled like crazy. He even made crazy faces. While this was very very amusing to many people in the audience, it wasn’t until later that I learned just why he was doing all that.

The kid has stage fright. In a major way.

Usually Fritz only uses the bathroom once at the most during church. Last Sunday? Five times in three hours! Before the end of the program, he had gone to sit on his teacher’s lap and then asked to go to me. He said he needed his Mommie. Soon after the Primary president brought him to me he told me he had to go potty yet again. And then he adamantly refused to go to Primary. They had been practicing for the program for two weeks and he was totally sure they still would be. It took the Primary president assuring him the program was over and he didn’t need to do that again (for a year at least) and his teacher picking him up and hugging him for him to go to the second half of Primary.

This week, Fritz has a fever so he’s not going to church. When I told him he was staying home with me, he said, “Good. I hate church.” I told him he doesn’t hate church, he just hated the Primary program and he said, “Yes. Never do that again.” He’s still not convinced they’re not going to make him do it again very soon. Hopefully next year his stage fright won’t be so bad.

Another reason to love Percy Jackson

We love Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Right now between our pet guinea pig and two creatures the kids are currently observing (a rather large toad and a butterfly with damaged wings), we have three Greek gods in our house (Apollo, Aphrodite, and Hermes). My kids interest in those Greek gods became much strongly after reading Percy Jackson.

So there’s one reason to love Percy. He (or rather Rick Riordan’s writing) inspired an interest in learning more. But now we have another reason.

For a long time I’ve had a nagging thought in the back of my head that Cameron might be dyslexic. I kept brushing it off. He is, after all, improving in reading dramatically (okay… so he’s almost 9 and still reading on a 2nd grade level… and that’s after a lot of work and practice for the last 3 1/2 years…). His writing and spelling, though, are not improving even though he can articulate the “rules.” And, so, as it turns out, he is dyslexic. Lists of signs may as well have been written to describe Cameron.

Percy Jackson, and all the other half-bloods, are dyslexic. By writing about these really cool kids who do really cool things even though some things… like reading… are a little harder for them, Rick Riordan has, in my son’s mind, made dyslexia into something not so horrible even though it comes with certain challenges. And that is definitely a reason to love Percy Jackson all the more.

Science Experiments

Three science experiments Ani has done over the last few weeks as part of her Calvert 7…

We put oil on her hands and then sprinkled cinnamon all over them. The cinnamon represented bacteria.

First she tried washing the cinnamon off using plain cold water. Then she tried plain hot water. Then she tried hot water plus soap.

The cinnamon came off the best using hot water and soap. This demonstrated the best way to get rid of bacteria on your hands. Ani didn’t like doing this experiment because the oil and cinnamon on her hands felt really gross to her.

Another experiment she did involved making a model to demonstrate algae growth in a pond. We made lots of green paper punches to represent the algae. Then she set up a shallow dish of water to represent a pond.

She added a spoonful paper punches to represent the first growth of algae.

Then she added two spoonfuls of paper punches to represent the second growth of algae.

And, finally, she added four spoonfuls of paper punches to represent the third growth of algae.

Through this model she could see visually how quickly algae grows since each generation doubled the amount of algae she added to the pond.

The third experiment she did was another model, this time of fungus and how spores are spread. She pulled apart cotton balls into 5-6 pieces and stuffed the pieces into a balloon.

I blew up the balloon for her and tied it off. Then she attached it to a ruler and stood the fungus model up on the floor using a bit of clay.

Then she poked the balloon with a pin and watched the cotton ball spores fly out from the fungus balloon.

She learned from this fungus/spore model just how easily spores spread through the air when a fungus bursts open.

Ani has really enjoyed the science part of Calvert 7. She’s learned a lot and these three experiments have been very helpful.

Homebirth is Dangerous

Over the last two months three of my homeschooling friends have had baby boys. One was born at home, one in the hospital, and one at a birthing center. I have reflected on the births of my kids and have come to two conclusions. One, I am very glad I am done with the growing and birthing phase and have moved on to the raising only phase. And, two, homebirth is dangerous.

Now, that’s probably a strange statement to hear from someone who had three out of hospital births, two of those at home, and continues to be a huge advocate of women being able to choose where they are most comfortable giving birth whether that’s at the hospital, in their own bed, or in the middle of a field. But it’s something I truly believe and the reason is simple. Laws.

Homebirth is not dangerous at all provided a midwife is equipped with the skills and things needed to deal with minor emergencies. Mostly my conclusion comes from women experiencing excessive bleeding following the birth of their baby. I did that with my first three (still don’t know why Adrian was different). Laws preventing midwives from carrying certain drugs make homebirth more dangerous than it should be.

After I had Ani, my only in hospital birth, the OB could not figure out where I was bleeding from. Now, the obvious answer would be uterus, but she didn’t seem to think the obvious answer was the one she should choose. See, I was hooked up to pitocin and they all seemed averse to checking to see if my uterus was clamping down properly (it wasn’t, and that was likely complicated by an overly full bladder). I had torn some and she was convinced that must be where the blood was coming from and so she sewed and unsewed me dozens of times. Once the nurse finally felt my boggy uterus they got things under control.

After I had Cameron, the midwife (CNM at a freestanding birthing center) saw the crazy bleeding and gave me a shot of methergine. Instantly my uterus clamped down like it was supposed to and the bleeding slowed dramatically. After I had Fritz, I was, in the words of the midwife, “flowing.” She gave me herbs. It took a little while, but the bleeding slowed and all was well. How much easier would it have been to give me a shot of methergine which worked so well and so fast after my previous birth? But she couldn’t. Why? She couldn’t, as a CPM (a midwife who is licensed but not a nurse), carry the drugs.

It’s silly, really, how laws make something that is perfectly safe – homebirth – a little more dangerous. I’ve heard more than one midwife ask if doctors would rather they transfer a woman in critical or stable condition or even not have to transfer at all. A shot of methergine or some other drug could make that difference. Maternal death during a homebirth is not common, but allowing a midwife to carry certain drugs could save some of those women.

I really don’t think homebirth is dangerous. I’ve had two of them. They were awesome, safe experiences. My midwife knew what she was doing and handled the bleeding after Adrian’s birth perfectly. Had the herbs not worked in a reasonable amount of time I am sure the next step would have been transfer. An unneeded, in my opinion, transfer to the hospital to get the very drugs that licensed midwives should be able to legally carry with them and administer them as needed. Laws, and lawmakers, need to stop getting in the way and making something safe a little more dangerous.