Saturday, April 29, 2006

W had a baseball game this morning. My mom, dad, and sis came in from Long Island to watch. They only lost 6-1 (as opposed to last week's 12-0 against this team of mostly seasoned 6-year-olds). It was great to see how much they've improved over the last month. W still gets bored with the game about 3/4 through. He just decides he's done and walks out. But he got a nice hit today and made a few good plays. I think once he understands the game a little more, he'll enjoy it more.

I drove K to her friend's house during the ball game. They went to one of the larger parks with another friend. It's the mom's birthday so I guess she's celebrating outside on this beautiful day.

After the game, B drove J and W to dance. B loves hanging out with all the dance parents and W was on his best behavior for the whole 3 hours. The kids worked on all the stuff for the upcoming competition plus the new finale number for the recital (the one where J will be singing!). W showed off his dance again, totally cracking everyone up. I can't wait to see it on stage! The studio owner was loving that W has great rhythm, timing, and coordination. I think she has big plans for him in the future! LOL.

B and the kids spent the late afternoon out in the backyard, barbecuing. The kids played Frisbee and rode their scooters. B threw some ground balls to W for him to practice catching. I got a lot of cleaning done and I just feel like relaxing tonight.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The girls had a wonderful time today at B's work. They spent the whole day on a different floor than B doing activities centered around the advertising/media business. They also played mini-golf, made banana splits, and got to take home a huge bag of goodies (beach towel, cup insulators, stuffed animals, a DVD, frisbees, and tattoos)

W went on his class trip - I stayed home. I kept going back and forth in my head as to whether or not I should go, but ultimately I decided that he doesn't need me holding his hand all the time. He didn't care either way. I picked him up at 1, as the kids came off the bus. All the kids got a box of Peeps to take home with them (leftover from Easter I guess). Then we went to the eye doctor and I picked up my and K's new glasses. I wear contact lenses, but I like glasses for at night in the house (K, too). W made a nice little house out of the trifolded pamphlets and played with some girl's Pomeranian puppy. We soon found out he's allergic to those dogs when his eyes got all red, itchy, and swollen and his face was full of hives. UGH. He washed up and put cold wet paper towels on his face which stopped the itching a bit. After that, we walked around the neighborhood - big shopping area (I bought a new pocketbook) - and drove to get some lunch.

B and the girls were home when we got back and B took them out to dance. W and I played with Play-Doh and he took a long bath to get any remaining Pomeranian off him.

I found a great new site that give a big list of what's going on for kids in NYC. I'm adding it to my sidebar! NYCKIDSARTS

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

J slept til 10am this morning. In my previous life I would have cringed if I heard someone tell me that. But J expends so much energy during the day, that I know she needs the sleep. And she's asleep before 10pm every night. I know the amount of sleep she gets has a direct affect on how focused she is during the day. But that's probably true for all of us, I guess. She gets up fine, though, when she has somewhere to go early in the morning.

Speaking of which, she and K will be going to work with B in the morning. It's "Take Your Kid to Work Day" (or something like that). His company makes a great day out of it, so the girls are really looking forward to it. W has a trip tomorrow. He decided to take the schoolbus with his friends (ugh) and I'll drive myself there. B and the girls should get home around 3ish.

Today, W brought me a couple of books to read to him. He listens very intently to a story - unlike J at that age, who asked about 50 questions before I could get to the third page. After school, we went to the playground by our house (we're all sick of the one by school) and he found his soccer buddy again. They had their scooters again and we all got cups of lime shaved ice again. We picked up K after that and I dropped the girls off at dance class (J has the class, K hangs out) and brought W to baseball. B got there at 6 and I headed back to dance to get the girls. They were all having pizza and cupcakes to celebrate a birthday. We got back to the ballfield at around 7 and the game was just finishing up. W hurt his hand and refused to play the last half-hour. He is slowly getting better and better at the game, but still prefers tackling the other kids, playing with the dirt, or throwing his glove and cap high in the air. These kids are really funny to watch.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

So, K is back to school. The took her cell phone today and a notice went out that they're getting metal detectors installed. Lovely.

W has been bringing his Gameboy to school - the teachers don't care. They say it's ok, since it's for show-and-tell. They are going on a trip on Thursday. I wasn't picked as a chaperone, so I'll just drive myself (along with W and J). W isn't thrilled with the run-down school buses anyway. He got his PreK graduation pictures back today. He is absolutely gorgeous, as usual, but they dressed him in a horrible white cap and gown - with baby blue BOW TIE - and he's holding a rolled up piece of paper tied with baby blue ribbon (oh and the cap has baby blue tassle). W told me everyone wore the same cap for their picture. Ewww.

J and I have been having relaxing days at home. She is all into making lunch for us brought out on a serving tray. She's been keeping busy with her websites and even helped me with my blog template a bit. We went to the playground the last 2 days - yesterday by school and today by home. Yesterday, W made two new friends and played swordfight, cutting off each others head and stuff. Then I dropped K off at Musical Theater class (J didn't feel like going) and brought W to baseball. He got 2 hits!

Today, he made a new friend and they kicked a soccer ball around for a long time. I got the kids shaved-ice icees from the snack truck and they both had their scooters. W hates that his has "training wheels". It's actually just a 3-wheeled scooter. He's very coordinated and I should probably give him K's old Razor scooter and ditch the 3-wheeled one. J made a few friends today and they played jumprope. K had play practice til 5 then when B got home at 6, he took all of them to W's hip-hop class. I got to have 1.5 hour break from the family (lol) that I spent emptying and reloading the dishwasher, putting on laundry, and straightening up. I have a killer headache tonight.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

It was a rainy, yucky day today. B took all the kids to CCD class and then to the supermarket. J asked to go to church, but we all got up late and then I guess we all just forgot about it. Isn't that terrible? My poor J wants to go to church and her parents aren't making enough effort to get her there. I'll make sure she gets to go next week. K has confirmation prep class that start an hour earlier than her CCD class so we have no excuse not to go to church for the next 4 weeks at least. I'm definitely not a good religious example for my kids. I can even take her during the week if she'd like.

School vacation is officially over. I took the girls to the mall yesterday. K met a few friends and J and I met up with K about an hour later. Earlier that day, I heard K tell her friend on the phone that she doesn't want to go back to school Monday and that she's enjoying her time at home. Did I really hear that? K would never say that to me directly - she thinks I'll jump at anything just to homeschool her. Of course that might just be what every schooled kid says at the end of their vacation. Who knows. I really loved having her home this week, though. After the initial few days of terrible sibling fights, they all got along pretty well. K has been so loving the Grimm readalouds at night, too (we both wonder how many grisly deaths we'll come upon each night). J falls asleep after the first story, but K asks for at least 2 more. I can't wait til school's out for the summer.

Friday, April 21, 2006

I took all the kids to my eye doctor appointment this afternoon. I got new glasses and contact lenses and so did K. W Heely'd around the place and I couldn't even go to him since I was nearly blind after removing my lenses and being examined. He was well-behaved, though - just active. We went for Japanese food after that. K hasn't had the chance to go with us before, so I thought it would be a nice idea. It's amazing how much my kids can eat. The woman remembered us. Everything W did and said cracked her up. She gave him a new food to try and he liked it - I think she said it was some sort of mushroom dish. W likes going over to talk with her and see the colorful sushi display. I love that place.

I dropped K off at her friend's house and took J to dance. I talked with a couple of the other girls at the studio about the Team Rave performance dance troupe J will soon be a part of. She was picked for it back at a February competition and there's a long weekend rehearsal coming up next month. They'll learn 5 numbers, have a photoshoot, and perform throughout the year in venues like Six Flags, South Street Seaport, and Giants Stadium. It sounds so exciting!

I took W to the playground for a while and he immediately befriended a few kids and they all made water balloons with the park fountain. Thankfully, no one got too wet because they were careful to throw them at the ground. I picked up J (and drove her friend, S, home), then picked up K, and headed home. It worked out well that K's friend's house is 5 minutes away from the dance studio. K said they went to the park, ate some snacks, and finished up their science project. At home the kids watched High School Musical (again!!) and danced and sang along. I'll be going in to read them some more Grimm's in a few minutes.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

At dance class yesterday, J practiced her song that she'll be singing in the recital. It'll be cool because the spotlight will only be on the 2 girls singing - with another girl doing a lyrical dance. Then it segues into the rest of the song with the whole company dancing. They worked on that for 2 hours. In the meantime, W had baseball and his team lost 12-0! The coach had mentioned last time that the other team's coach ended up taking all the 6 y/os who were with him last year and our team has all the first-year 5 y/os who are just learning the game. It's not fair, but W has fun and that's all that matters. He did decide he was finished half way through and wanted to go home, but the coaches convinced him to get back on the field.

I dropped K off at her friend's house this afternoon. They worked on a science project about the human body and went to the park across the street. I dropped J off at dance and took W to his baseball game - it's a makeup game since Saturday's was rained out. He played on the other team today (different team than yesterday's) since they were a plaer short, lol, and got a hit which allowed a player to run home. W was so pleased with himself and now I think he'll be more into the game. He even had to call Grandpa when he got home to tell him the good news (Grandpa is a very big baseball fan. His entire basement is decorated in Yankees memoribilia and his first gift for W at 3 months old was a baseball glove). W made it through the whole game today without walking off once - woohoo! He's also making some good friends on this team. I may sign him up for the fall league as well.

I ordered "Algebra Workbook for Dummies" for J. She didn't like the fact that the authors have to be so rude as to call people "dummies", but I explained the whole concept behind the "For Dummies" books, lol. We looked at it together and she liked the sample pages that were shown and really seemed to understand it in the way it was presented, so I got it for her. She's picked up simple algebra (8y-6=26, 7xyz+9xyz=16xyz, absolute value, etc) so quickly already that I'm curious to see where this book will take her.

I've been reading Grimm's Fairy Tales to the girls at night ("complete and unabridged"!!). The less well-known stories are pretty odd and full of characters meeting their demise in terribly gory ways, but the girls enjoy them. I like the old language in the stories (e.g. "This deed of thine shall cost thee all thou art worth!"). Unfortunately, W falls asleep early and misses the readalouds, but I try and make it up to him during the daytime with stories of his choice. He likes the I Spy books lately, as well as beginner readers.

Oh, and I had to get rid of the tagboard - it was acting weird and not loading right. So I guess that means y'all gotta leave me a COMMENT instead!! ;-)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I'm trying to stay off the computer lately and be more involved with everything else in my life. Especially the kids. They're all old enough to not need me keeping them busy, and sometimes I will use that as an excuse to blog and read message boards for 2 hours. Although I love the computer, I can't believe how fast time goes by when I'm on it. So, I've decided to limit my computer time to when the kids are either sleeping or not home - but I'll still get a blog post in at least every other day!

Yesterday, J said, "Do you know why spring and summer are my favorite seasons?".
Me: "No, why is that?"
J: "Because of all the flea markets. Why is it called 'flea markets', anyway? It's such a weird name. Lets look it up!"

She has been looking things up more and more lately. One of the things I've always read about unschoolers is that they become very good at finding their own answers to things. Not only that, but unschoolers are known to be very creative, independent, and have a great sense of self. I see all of these in J. A year or so ago, she was such a different person. I'm excited about having W home, too. Even though his preschool is play-based and only 2.5 hours a day, I see the toll it takes on him. His attitude stinks and he is so grouchy! He wants to finish out the year and "graduate", and that's fine, but then we begin our homeschooling adventure!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Easter was great. I didn't want to get the kids too much stuff, but, as usual, I spent more than I wanted too. We got K a cell phone (I know, I know, but it was only $30 and we're only putting $20 on it a month - like a "pay-as-you-go". She is good at budgeting money and time and knows once the $20 is used up she has to wait til the 15th. With her in the school play and at dance, I already been through not being able to reach her if she or I happen to be late or if she's not where she's supposed to be when I come to pick her up. It's too scary). J got a Cabbage Patch baby - she asked for one last week. And W got Dragon Flyz (Sky Dancer for boys, lol) plus another action figure. And all the kids got some jellybeans and other candy. We went out to my mom's for the day. The kids got some more small toys including a toy golf set for W and Chinese jumpropes for the girls. I used to LOVE Chinese jumprope and taught the girls how to play. J and W collected some earthworms in the backyard, we all played "golf", and B pitched a few balls for W to practice hitting. It was a fun day.

Today I spent the morning lamenting over K's high school situation. I just cannot find one suitable for her. The Catholic schools are good, but expensive (~$6000/year) and I'm still hoping for some sort of scholarship somehow. The public high schools leave much to be desired and every time I think I've found an ok one, someone I know tells me crappy things about it. I learned all about the application process (they revised the process over the last few years) - you can rank up to 12 schools you want to go to and you're matched to your highest ranked school that also matches you. It's a weird, complicated process and of course you know I think the whole thing is a huge waste of energy, but this is what K wants, so I'll do everything I can. Then there's the 8 specialized high schools which are in a whole 'nother category as well as the performing arts high schools. Whew. We'll figure it all out.

We went out to a huge shopping area today and made Barnes and Noble the first stop. My educator's discount card had expired and they gave me a new one with me only showing them my homeschool group membership card. They guy looked at it (and me) funny at first and had to ask a manager if the card was acceptable. Like he's never seen another homeschooler before. Anyway, I got K a TACHS prep book (practice tests for admission to the Catholic high schools) and she knew the answer to every random question I pointed to. She's an excellent standardized test taker so I know she'll do well on it in October. J came running over to me to say that her 3rd grade teacher was over there. She was so excited to see her and almost too shy to say hello. After 20 minutes of coaxing, we went over to her. And guess what. She didn't know who we were. Um, my dd spent 5 months in 3rd grade with her last year and on the last day she went on about how these are "her kids" and how J will be sooooo missed. J just stood there with a fixed smile, but I could see the disappointment in her eyes. Well, if she had any lingering school pangs, they're gone now.

What lightened her mood a few minutes later was finding an algebra book. We looked at a few pages together and she had fun mentally solving for x. We didn't buy it - she really wanted more of a workbook, but there weren't any. She said we could just print them out from math websites at home instead. I can do that - and it's free! K got the 3rd book from "The Clique" series (called The Gossip Girls, I think) and plans to finish it by the end of the week. W got an Ice Age book (the movie, not the era) and at home he read me some stories. He's also been interested in simple addition and subtraction, so I'd like to find (or create!) some mathy games we can play together.

I was thinking about how there's been so many discussions on unschooling vs. radical unschooling and even though I never considered myself a radical us'er, we have always lived that way. For example, I have never set bedtimes for my kids. Never. I just never had to. W falls asleep at 8:30. J will go into bed at around 9 and K goes into bed around 10. Friends of mine struggle and fight to get their kids to bed at those times. It's really true that offering kids freedom and trust can lead to this kind of healthy self-regulation. It's also that way with eating, chores, tv and computer time, and video games. B and I have had this trust since K was born, without ever hearing of anyone else living that way (and boy did we get a lot of rolled eyes and negative comments thrown at us!). And if I had known about homeschooling back then, we would have taken that route from the getgo. I'd sometimes have doubts about our parenting style and thought of maybe implementing set rules on those things (due to family and friends' insisting we should), but it wasn't who I was - and still isn't. After a while, people couldn't believe how "good" my kids were. You know, I really did believe we were onto something - now I'm sure of it.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

K had an awesome day with my sister. The yoga class was 2 hours and K said it was HARD, lol! They just "did the town" today, shopping, sushi, tea and turnovers, and lots of walking around Greenwich Village. She got home about 9pm and everyone dyed eggs for Easter. I spent the day rearranging J and W's room, bringing up a dresser from the basement so each could now have their own (man, these kids have a lot of clothes!). J helped me. We put all her trophies, certificates, medals, and ribbons on and around the dresser. It looks so cool. B ran around today picking up the kids' candy and gifts for their Easter baskets. I sang at 2 Easter Vigil masses with my friends M and L. We do the Hallelujah Chorus (Handel) and I just can't miss that. I got home around 10:30pm and everyone was asleep. I put together all the baskets, hid them, and then hid the eggs they made. We've always done this and the kids really look forward to it. My mom did the same for my sister and me and I love keeping the tradition going. K even insisted on being home instead of sleeping over Grandma's again just so she could be a part of it. I mistakenly thought she might be getting too old to search for an Easter basket and a few colored eggs, but she assured me she wouldn't miss it for the world. I just had to give her a kiss and hug when I got home even though she was sleeping.

Happy Easter everyone!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Mom came early to pick up K to bring her to work. B went a long for the ride, too, since his building is on the way to mom's. J, W, and I stayed in bed til after 8. W found a box downstairs that I was supposed to send my computer back in (we decided not to, since the weird noise we kept hearing was only a build-up of dust in the fan - fixed it ourselves). He took out the foamy plastic inserts, popped them apart, and used them as building blocks. Then he and J colored all over the box and did a puppet show for me - "Oobi" style with pompom eyes on their hands, lol. Later on, J asked to do some algebra again.

It rained a lot today, so our outing plans were cut back to just grocery shopping. I did great - a whole week's worth of breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, and drinks for $104. I'm getting better with the budget.

K had a great day with grandma. As I suspected she bought K tons of clothes and a couple pairs of shoes. K is sleeping over there tonight. My sister is taking her into the Village tomorrow for a yoga class, lunch, and um, more shopping. They know K's having some stress with schoolwork and feel that maybe she just needs more attention - because J is getting a lot more attention with homeschooling and dance. I understand that. I also want to plan a 1-on-1 day with K in the near future. We need to reconnect.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

So, school vacation is finally here! We stayed in today - I needed to clean so we'd be all set for the weekend. W and I did some more letter tiles and he read a page or 2 of a book to me (with sentences like: "I am Tim. My twin is Jim. We play ball with our dog, Slim"). Easy stuff, but he prefers to look at the picture and then make up his own storyline. LOL. J talked on the phone to a few friends and she and K added some different stuff to their websites. J showed me how everything she adds is an HTML code that she pastes into place. And how she makes changes to the codes to make it look the way she wants. She even got a digital video of herself on there. I am still clueless as to how that's done.

We watched a couple of movies and K made some food throught the day. J was very upset to learn that she's not getting back to the dance studio til Tuesday. K is going to work with my mom tomorrow. J went on Monday - she slept over Sunday night after the competition. Mom works in Columbus Circle - right across the street from the Plaza Hotel - and she usually takes long lunches with the kids and does some shopping with them.

B went to our friend's mother's wake tonight. I'm going tomorrow night. This is J's friend's (from dance) grandmother. Her family might now be moving 2 blocks away from us, which would be so cool.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

This morning W, J, and I played a great few games of Go-Fish. W learned the game at 2-years-old and it's still one of his favorites (that and Battleship). We also played with his letter tiles and he made words with the single letters and decoded the words I made with multi-letter blends (like "ight" and "ish"). He had a party today in school and they made Easter baskets filled with candy and chips. He stayed home from school yesterday because PreK had another trip to that bad neighborhood to see another bad show. I was not chosen to chaperone again, and I experienced how much of a disaster the last trip was, so - nope.

I went to an online textbook website to see what they had and looked at some algebra ones. I have always loved algebra and I want to relearn it and see how far into advanced math I can get. J asked about it and I told her that algebra is a math puzzle where you have to get "x" by itself (or as close to it as you can) in order to find out what it is. Then you can check if you're right by plugging your answer into the original problem and see if both sides of the equal sign are the same. We looked at the given problem which was a big one: 0.5 + (4x+3)/2 = 1.5+x. We went through the steps and checked it, and she thought it was amazing. I purposely showed her a hard one so that "smaller" problems would be easier. has algebra games where you type in the answer and it tells you if you're correct. She couldn't get enough. We went to the "2-step" equations page and she must have solved about 100 of them - in her head, and all correctly (such as: 9x-8=64 and 7x-6=36). She really got giddy and kept saying "ok, one more" about 8 times. She's eager to get to harder equations.

We hit the playground for a while after picking up W. He and J found some friends and had fun in today's beautiful weather. And each had a cone of chocolate-chip ice cream from the icee cart lady. W had a baseball game today AND hip-hop class at the same time tonight. He chose dance - which I'm glad about since the recital is coming up and he's a key figure in the number. In baseball, they are still a bit disorganized and W gets bored after 20 minutes. And besides, he has games twice a week. B took him and the girls while I stayed home and got ready for choir practice. My friend and I joined a choir just for Easter week. We know all the alto harmonies since we were in a different choir for over 10 years. Most of the songs are the same. It should be fun, but neither of us want to go back after the holiday.

I called the sup't office today and found out that the student Metrocard is good for 3 ROUND trips! Woohoo! I see lots of Manhattan in our future!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

We're back! We got to the hotel in good time, the kids (and B) fell right to sleep, and I got to go up to another mom's room to hang out. In the morning we slept late, had some Starbucks breakfast, and got ready for solo day. J did fantastic! She got a "high gold", placed first in her jazz category (out of 3), and got the highest score overall for age 9-10 solos. J's solo score was a 288 (out of 300) which is the highest she's ever gotten. She got a big trophy and a small one, plus 3 ribbons. Many of us spent the rest of the evening eating and drinking at the hotel bar, playing pool, singing, and just having a great time. The kids were all making up dances together, playing hotel manhunt (lol), and bopping around from room to room. My kids couldn't think of anything more fun than just being with their best friends all weekend. My mom showed up that morning and I'm so happy she got to see J's solo, awards, and be a part of all the fun.

Today was all group numbers. All of J's 4 numbers got "high gold", first place in category, and one even received highest overall age 9-10 group score (with a 292)! They also received a couple of special awards. So that was another 6 ribbons today (along with group trophies, which the studio keeps and displays). We were all screaming and clapping and so proud of our kids. They love competition weekends! But as much as *I* enjoy seeing J get recognized and rewarded for all the hard work she does, J just loves to be on a stage and dance. I think I need to buy a trophy case now!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

W didn't feel like going to school today. It really is ok with me. I guess he just had so much fun yesterday, he expected every day to be like that. We went down to the (bum bum buuuuum) school regional office today. I swear these people take themselves WAY too seriously. I had to show ID and fill out a form for a security guard, get yelled at because he thought my kids pushed the red alarm button in the elevator - when it was actually someone who was stuck in the adjoining elevator (!), fill out another form upstairs in order to see Mr. D, then wait over 25 minutes for him to get back to me in regard to my quarterly report. Then wait another 15 minutes to get J's Metrocard (subway pass), because the woman with the key where they are locked away safely had an asthma attack right there in front of me. And there was another security guard up there doing nothing but sitting in a chair with an annoyed look on her face. Meanwhile, all the employees were walking around handing out plates of birthday cake to each other right in front of everyone in the waiting area. The receptionist asked me FOUR times who I was there to see. I finally got the Metrocard and my quarterly report "acknowledgement" and left (with both kids panicking that we'd get stuck in the elevator). Holy shit. I cannot believe our city schools are being run by these people. There was not one friendly person there. What really sucks is that I have to go down there 2x a year to get a new Metrocard. I guess it could be worse. I got the kids each a hotdog from the corner streetcart and we were on our merry way.

I picked up K, dropped both girls off at the dance studio and took W to his baseball game. They eschewed the game and decided that a long practice would be better today. W played shortstop again, catching ground balls batted to him by the coach, and threw them all to first base. After 2 hours we drove out to pick up the girls. J said she did some singing today. She and another girl are singing in the recital together which will segue into the production finale number. I wish I was there to see that.

Tomorrow we leave for the competition! We'll probably go around 9pm - right after K's school dance. I need to go through all the costumes and supplies tomorrow, fix what needs to be fixed, and buy anything we ran out of last time. K wants to bring a few girls over after school to change for the dance, so I will be cleaning tomorrow, too. Thank God B is off from work. I'll be back Sunday night!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

W was off from school today so he, J, and I went out to our favorite Japanese restaurant. W loved it! He ate a bowl of miso soup (tofu & seaweed), gyoza (shrimp dumplings), and some chicken teriyaki with rice. While we were waiting for the food, J and W went over to the sushi bar where a man was cutting stuff up. they watched for a while and W asked him some questions. The woman that worked there started telling them about salmon and sharks and W asked more questions, LOL. The old me would have made sure they stayed in their seats and stopped bothering people, but I have really let go of a lot of that over the past year. It was wonderful to let them indulge their natural curiosity. And they seemed to really entertain the staff! They came back over after about 10 minutes and W behaved like a perfect gentleman throughout the entire lunch. I was so proud of them.

Today and tomorrow's dance classes for J will be a "boot-camp" according to the studio owner. They are tweaking several of the dances and fixing up lots of technique. So they'll be there for an extra hour each day. It'll work out great for me tomorrow since W has a baseball game at 5 - and thankfully it'll be a nice 55 degree, sunny day. K wants a few friends over on Friday before the Spring Dance, so she's been cleaning up in there all evening. B had a business dinner tonight at Victor's Cafe - and brought us all home some! I love Cuban food!

Monday, April 03, 2006

W went to school and J and I went over to her friend, G's house. She's J's homeschooling friend who happens to be going to school for the first time this September. She's never been to school and I'm sure she's very curious about it. J thinks G won't like it, but I told her not to say that to her. They played for hours with their American Girl dolls and G's Polly Pockets collection. G's mom and I gabbed away the whole time. I left at 2:15 and came back later with W and K. We stayed a few minutes more, drove home so the girls could change into dance clothes, and went out to Musical Theater class. B had band rehearsal tonight - their playing CBGB's next month!

I'm reading Homeschooling for Excellence. I have to say I really like this book. It's old, but not dated at all - except that there's no mention of the internet. There were the same educational problems in this country 20 years ago as there are today. I like their style. They were unschoolers for the most part, but did require the boys keep a daily journal that was shared and critiqued. It turned out to really benefit their writing skills in the future. Many of their opinions and experiences really resonate with me. I highly recommend it.

Yesterday W brought over his (1st grade) Brainquest cards for us to do together. He knew that n-e-t is "net" and backwards it's "ten", that the first president of the US was George Washington, and that the word "shopping" didn't belong with "soccer", "basketball", and "baseball" because it's not a sport. He knows a lot more than I thought he did. The funny thing is that he learned none of this in school. He seems to have great reasoning and memory skills. I remember J at that age. She had to be at least at a 2nd grade level (in Kindy she hit the ECLAS ceiling in reading at a 3.8 grade level) and was also ahead in fine and large motor skills. W doesn't have the same academic abilities J had, but he seems to have a better sense of the world around him. K was exactly like W, endlessly studying people and places intently. They both always notice things I don't. K still has that. She never forgets what someone was wearing or the fine details of place's interior. And she always seemed to study and internally analyze other kids playing a game or what others do in a situation she's not familiar with. I even have videotape of her doing this when she was 3 at a new playgroup. I was/am like J. K and W are like B. I learn a lot from K, W, and B and totally understand every feeling J has.

I always wonder, though, how K would have used her skills if she had been homeschooled. Her tendencies for deep focus and concentration could probably have opened up so much more "world" for her. I'm trying to stay on top of what she's being taught in school - it's just all over the place without much connection. From algebraic equations to the Louisiana Purchase to the human body - she has to abruptly switch gears every 40 minutes. I just don't think people were wired to learn that way. But that's just me.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

CCD this morning was weird. J was a bit shocked at the content of today's lesson. She said they talked about the 6th commandment, focusing on sexuality. She said "it really wasn't appropriate for children". I asked her to please elaborate and she mentioned things like spouses cheating on each other. I don't know what to make of it since she said it wasn't appropriate. Ugh. K's class isn't much better. Last week they were reprimanded for being unruly and were told their teacher wasn't coming back and they would have to be taught by the monsignor - during the week when he wasn't busy. Yeah right, like I can swing that. The teacher was there today, though, and all the class did was color an Easter picture. These 12-year-olds are really learning a lot (sigh). Do I need this? Do they?

I went to a church choir practice (different church) this morning with a couple of friends. We're going to sing with them at the Good Friday and Easter Vigil masses. It was my first time there and the choir director was great. He's a "Broadway guy" (reminds me of Jack from Will and Grace), big in the theater business and friends with big names (like Kristen Chenowith). One of his other friends who was in Footloose (the B'way musical) is coming down to sing with us, too. Cool. It was good to see my friends (M and L) after a long time. I need to get out with them more.

I cleaned for the rest of the afternoon while B took the kids to the park for a couple of hours. It was a really nice day out. When they came back, B went out to barbecue while the kids played in the backyard with our new neighbor's Golden Retriever. J and W rode their scooters and bikes. W still wears his Heely's every day, lol. K had fun, too, but came up to chat away on the phone while finishing up some homework. After dinner, the girls played on the computer together and talked on the phone to a girlfriend from dance for over an hour. I feel I got a lot of cleaning done this weekend. I'm curious to see what projects J wants to do during the week. When there's no clutter around, her creative juices go into over drive.

Link of the day:
Informal Learning, Home Education, and Homeschooling

Saturday, April 01, 2006

W had his first baseball game today! It was just a practice game, as the season doesn't officially start until April 8th. There will be 2 games a week from now on. They won't have regular practices because they feel the kids learn a whole lot more by actually playing a game - especially at this age. W played shortstop today. The kids were so funny. Most played with the dirt and hit each other with their gloves, lol. He got a hit and made it to home plate with the next batter. He felt like taking a break halfway through and sat out on the bleachers with his sisters. The coach got him back on the field, though. W will listen to the coaches (moreso than B and me). It was a 2 hour game and of course all the rules were bent. An inning was over when all the kids got a turn to bat. Some parents helped the kids bat the ball. And once the coach kick a foul ball back into play so the kid could run to the base. It was fun and the kids really learned a lot about fielding.

I went out tonight to a Park Lane jewelry fundraiser at the dance studio. It was nice. There was beer and wine and lots of snacks. The jewelry was beautiful, but nothing wowed me. I'm not really a jewelry person. I did end up buying a pair of earrings and an ankle bracelet for myself. The fun part for me is just hanging out and talking with everyone.

I'm trying to come up with a loose plan for this week. J has a playdate with her homeschooled friend, G on Monday. I want to get to the library and the eye doctor at some point. There's dance practice and another baseball game, a couple of homeschool group events, and Friday we leave for another weekend dance competition.

Link of the day:
A Different Kind of Education