Friday, October 31, 2014

Friday Halloween


9.30a    - Library - picking up music books for piano lessons
              shopping, bank, etc..

1.30p    - break

6p    - Cosume crafting / trick or treating
6.30p    - break

7.30p    - Reading aloud (Winnie the Pooh)
8p    - done

It was a tough day getting things ready for the weekend.  She would  have had a party at publicschool - so we didn't feel bad cancelling most of the 'academics' in the morning in favor of getting party stuff and costume together.  We snuggled on the bed and did some reading aloud, which she showed much better fluency on in several places.  She also pointed out that some of the words were spelled wrong - which was on purpose in the book... *snort*

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Thursday apple barrel

They brought the barrel into the house workshop (downstairs on the concrete) and talked over the project.   She told Daddy she knew what to do - it was in her head.. he asked her to lay out the steps for him, she got to 'three'.. and decided she would write down a plan after all.

We washed the barrel outside and then Daddy cut it down the middle after we marked it.  Then we washed it inside and out again, and used the other half for planning.

We measured with the measuring tape, decided the size of the triangles and the distance between them, got some cardboard and cut pieces out to 'test the theory', and it seemed to work.   Then we drew all of the pieces out on wood for Daddy to cut with the saw.  She had to use a square and a marker to make the triangles (with my help).

She did a great job with the electric screwdriver, and put in seven of the eight screws for the triangle braces.

Testing it out - it fits.

 Trying it out - it works!

We did the project!
And now it is cleanup and rest before we do the more 'traditional' school stuff...

9.30a    - construction project, apple bobbing trough. - moving in, washing, cutting barrel, more washing
10.15a    - break
10.45a    - more construction - planning, trying out theory  marking and cutting wood, starting to construct.
12.30p    - break; trough finished.

After the project we took a small break and when she came back upstairs Daddy asked me if we should do P.E. or read.  I asked her - she said she wanted to do P.E.!

1.15p    - PE (30x 10lb bench press, 10x 10lb deadlift, 
              50 situps, 50x 2lb R&L curls,
Each time Daddy asks her what exercise she WANTS to do, and how many - we ask her 'really?' - and she says 'really really'... and each time she actually DID that many, with some breaks on the situps at every ten... 
After that, I suggested she snuggle up in the knitted blanket on the bed with me and read some - which she agreed to.  She just kept going and going on it.. she really liked this story as it had lots of 'gross' in it.

1.45p    - Reading aloud (Frannie Stein- Frantastic Voyage) 
              She wanted to go on and finish the book - so we did.
2.45p    - done - although she wanted to go play Frisbee outside in the sun and then we had her feed and gather eggs from the chickens, too.

As we were finishing the project she said she couldn't wait - when she went back to school (?) she would tell her friends all about using an electric screwdriver.  We just nodded along - she gets it some days and others she thinks she is going back 'next year'... we'll still have to see.  At this point she would be even MORE bored in that same sort of public school class..and not have anywhere near the choices and consideration we are giving her.  We still make her do things - like worksheets, and not 'drama' ... but we do listen to her and involve her with the day's events... which leads to her learning more about what she can really 'do.'

She told me the other day that she was glad she wasn't at school for the 'when there is trouble and it's my fault, even when it isn't.'... I thought that was an interesting note for her.. she said it kind of off-hand, while watching a Johnny Test cartoon... and that was that.  We didn't elaborate, I just said 'Yea..' and agreed that shouldn't happen.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

a Wednesday field trip

9.30a    - worksheets; vocabulary,
      perimeters (addition and subtraction (perimeter with unknowns))
10:15     - spelling words / copywork handwriting
             - using the website to look at the day schedule
             - White Bear fairy tale (Blue Fairy book) - listening quietly while I told it, recounting facts
10:45      - piano - at her request!  Review and a few new ideas.

11.30a     - break
--get ready to go to town, pack snack, grab purse, dress appropriately etc etc.

12:00p     - library, building towers and squares with blocks
               - counting and vocabulary building while we were building blocks
-----(structural integrity, 'failure' pertaining to building, balanced, unbalanced, 'accomplished' etc.)
               - music store visit (field trip), id'ing instruments
1:15 p - lunch

1:30 p - play park P.E. and throwing/catching football
2:30 p - photography, printing photos (read and learned to use menus on machine)
--- navigating store in lead ('map' navigation)

3:30 p - counting out money for purchases at drug store
-- she even impressed me by counting it out so easily, she had 3.00 in her hand for her purchase, and when told what the tax would be she picked it out quickly.

4:30 p - home

We got several books at the library - the one that I want her to read with me tonight is the original Winnie the Pooh. I read a bit of it to her at the park while she ate her lunch ( we had agreed she would not get up and play until she ate all of her lunch).  She kept asking when the school day was 'over'.. but I told her that on some days we break things up here and there, and that counts, too.  So, she would have to read some with me later, but she does that sometimes, anyway so...   Two LARGE boxes came in the mail today and we have put them aside until she goes to bed and we can wrap them up for her birthday.  I still need to find a good cake recipe as well.

Update : So, it has been since October the 6th? that we signed the paper to do homeschooling.  Mark and I were talking together again and agree it was a very good move for Esme.  We are both very tired - and get little rest when she is home - BUT we are less stressed about what she is learning that she shouldn't be, advertent and inadvertent lessons in anxiety, crowd-control, 'coping' mechanisms as they had said at the meeting etc etc... and we can see real progress in the areas she was learning 'hardly anything' in - her reading, spelling and math - as well as many other subjects that were ignored in school or 'not yet'... 

Instead we see the bright curious girl who sometimes giggles too much or argues too much, or 'drama llamas' about not getting her way etc... but we also get to show her the real world and field good constructive questions and directions for her learning.  A lot of the disturbing anxiety behaviors she was doing from the school have continued to fade - we noted that together, as we trade on and off for my days at home so she gets variety in teaching styles.  She has some great ideas - and even when we aren't doing 'actual school' she immerses herself in activity - physical, educational, imaginational... her excess of energy is being used to good activities and learning opportunities instead of being suppressed and discouraged just for the sake of 'calm and order' in a classroom setting.

Also, doing homeschool, she can have breaks at the end of 45 minutes, or the end of her immersion in a subject (which could be three hours at times, or 15 minutes, depending).. if she has put forth a good effort she can see that - if she needs help, we can offer it constructively... if she just wants to 'play' and 'drama llama', we can address that, too.  And she does get to go to real places, use money, make plans, watch the time, weather and obligations etc etc... and build stuff.  She really, really likes to build stuff :)  Another point - in between and after school (since she has more time overall now not being on such a long bus ride) she gets to see US do more things, talk together, cook, drive, read, write, check the calendar/weather/timer for planning, play a game, do math, clean house, shop, bank, post office, yard work, sewing, animal care.. and ask questions, offer ideas, plan with us for the future etc etc..

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tuesday piano lessons

8.45a    - worksheets; verbs, contractions,  math, geometry (cartesian points)
9.45a    - piano lessons (Joseph Hoffman youtubes, Mama and Daddy both teaching, practice)
-----------She took to the keyboard we have pretty well, and practiced the song over and over
10.30a    - break

11.45a    - "blue planet"
12.45p    - break

2.30p    - reading; dinosaurs book, Frannie K Stein
3.30p    - done

10 pm - retelling of a version of the Twelve Dancing Princesses folktale

Daddy said she was quite grumpy today, and needed an extra nap, of which she took one after the nature show.  Tomorrow will be a library and/or park day after some regular schoolwork at home.. depends on the weather.  She wants us to do some inventing/building as well.  She was fascinated with a magnetic cabinet latch as her invention tonight - was taking it apart and putting it back together during the story.

I've downloaded a lot of free ebooks and am reading through them myself (lots of fairy tales and the like) to find ones that are a good message to tell her.  I am a little inspired to draw some of them, like the princesses one.  I have a toy project to sew in these next few days off, too.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday scrabble night

This morning she came up to my bed and asked 'Can I have a break for cartoons before we start the school today?'  Well, it was a good and complete question!  And she didn't ask 'Do we have to have school today?'

9a    - Worksheets, punctuation, math, shapes
10a    - reading aloud (Bears in the Night, Reptiles book)
10.30a    - PE (30x 5lb deadlift, 20x situp, 50x 10lb bench press)
10.45a    - Writing practise
11.15a    - lunch break

12.30p    - ditch digging (helping Daddy move gravel in front of the garage, and talking about purpose)
1.30p    -
3p    - done

When I got home from work she wanted to make a cake, but we didn't have a good recipe or quite enough butter.  Daddy asked her to explain her objections to going to town all by herself and getting us more butter.  She laid them out pretty well - she can't drive the truck, if she walked the bears will eat her and it would take forever, and she had no money.  There is a brain starting to operate in there!   So, Daddy suggested we play Scrabble - and she helped add up the tile scores, search for words and learned more about how to fit possible words into the ongoing game.  She came in second place out of three :)  Most of her words were short but she made a few good ideas and we pointed out other things to her when she was stumped.  As her vocabulary improves she is going to kick tail in Scrabble just like Grandma :)

We read a few Shel Silverstein poems before bedtime.  She liked the push button one where the belly button just makes burps.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Saturday pipe tent

 8 - 45 degree eblows
7 - tees (or crosses)
1 - has-to-be cross
14 - 2 foot pipes
2 - 3 inch pipes
4 - 5 inch pipes

I need to add some more elbows, tees and couplings to our bucket kit... so when we take this down we can do even more :)  The tent panels are from her old hula hoop tent.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday art day (and skating, later)

 Interesting fashion today :)
We went to the lake and did Frisbee .. tried to do our photography there 
but the small camera was battery drained.  

This is the soda pop girl art project from early this morning.  
Also shown is the 'K'nex' feeling machine she built last night as I was getting home
I think she did a great job on the face, using techniques from her cartooning book Aunt Dot sent.

We did get to the photography later - and she took these photos on her own
to be printed out into an album book at the store for her later.

Our moving target shot - and learning how to crop a photo.

more photo cropping practice.

9a    - Crafting, soda bottle girl
10.30a    - math worksheet double digit subtraction and addition, contractions, adjectives worksheets

----small breakdown about this..not that she couldn't do them - but that the art project had been fun and involving and now we were doing worksheets.  She asked 'If I have trouble - will you help me?'  I said yes, if she would get started and actually DO them.  She wanted to do anything but that - and thought maybe the best way to get out of it was to pretend it was too hard, and cry, and slouch down in her chair and hide her face.  We had as serious discussion about this.  She finished her English worksheets (she said: 'But, where is the Spanish?' *roll eyes*) in less than five minutes flat.. grumbled and groused about the math worksheet - pretended to be dumb.. realized Daddy was getting up from his nap and after pretending a bit more with no response (I started reading a book, claimed if she continued, I'd go downstairs and leave her there to finish with Daddy instead) .. the pencil started clicking and she finished the rest with no errors and hardly any more interruptions.

10.45a    - break - walk to lake, Frisbee, fishing a bit, lunch

12p    - photography, editing and saving pics
12.30p    - reading reptiles book, looking at lima beans, butterflies and peppers in garden with me
1p    - break

1.45p    - reading aloud; reptiles book
2:15 p - done.
4:15-5p - Blue Planet, The Coasts.. she really enjoyed it and saw a lot of the reptiles from her book!

She has asked me more again about how many days until she goes back to regular school.  She said she already knew what the teacher was trying to teach - but she enjoyed the bus rides, which were mostly with older children.  We talked about how the teacher was still trying to teach other kids in her class to read small words,and she said 'and teach me to do math - but I could already do that.'  We talked about how that made her teacher a bit upset, 'because I wanted to play in class - because I knew those things.' Yes.  She understood...but still wanted to know when she would get a better teacher.  I told her we wouldn't know until August.. she didn't really like that but accepted it.

//We have planned for two weeks to go out rollerskating.  She is having a hard time waiting for it... keeps asking when the time is (although she knows)... I'm letting her have the afternoon off now to play video games (old Atari) and wind down until the time does get here.

 She met several kids from her school, and several others, too.
She did very well trying hard, and improved greatly after a few times around.
After she was very hard to get to leave we talked about having
responsibility to leave when she needed to - so we could go 
back again another day.  She cried a lot, over that - and also over having
her torn fingernail trimmed.  I think the moon echoed on one of those sobs.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Thursday lizard day


8:00a - discussion about nose hair, ear hair, tastebuds
       skip counting by 2 and 3 to 30, by 5 to 100
        tossing a ball into moving buckets, dime toss

Daddy stopped by the school and brought home her Scholastic book order.
It included a small color changing lizard that then continued to accompany us throughout the day.

9:00 -  reading Werewolf Watch #31 Scooby Doo, shapes worksheet
      talk about contractions from books, word match sheet
        asked how a holographic image works 
9.30a    - break

10.20a    - crossword puzzle, math worksheets

11.20a    - break

12.50p    - reading aloud; "Reptiles and Apmphibians" book (Scholastic order book)
1.15p    - Clocks worksheet
1.30p    - PE (Walking / running laps around lake)
2.30p    - done

Got home tonight and she is building a 'lizard house' that turned into a 'Feelings Machine' out of K'nex.

Research : I'm reading Focus on the Family's homeschooling book - sent to me by Aunt Dot.

I also realized that many of the books that show up on the Charlotte Mason homeschooling book lists are books we already have - Children's Garden of Verses and the Oxford Book of American Verse ended up in our laps from the flea market and library this year.. Winnie the Pooh, Beatrix Potter, Sinbad, Grimm's, etc etc...

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wednesday portal night


8a      - discussion about words 'exaggeration' and 'superstition.'
    - Friday the 13th, Halloween, black cat, brown bears in woods

9a    - Worksheet; sentence completion

9.30a    -; wild kratts

10.30a    - Blue Planet "Tidal seas"
11.30a    -
12p    - done
7 pm - Family play at game : Portal, thinking exercises etc.
bedtime : The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza - by Philemon Sturges
It would be good to do some work on contractions - She'd and Who'll were in this book and she had to think hard about them.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tuesday library night


10a    - Worksheets; word search, math (more dd addition) sentence completion, coins
11a    - Reading aloud
11.30a    - break

12.30p    - PE (30x 5lb leg lifts, 50x 2lb R&L curls, 20x situp, 50x 10lb
      bench press)

1p    - Shoe tying
2.45p    - break

5p    - Public library (math game, typing game, playing/talking with older girl)
6p    - done

bedtime: read Madame Martin by Sarah Brannen (mom read, she listened), discussed some French words.. discussed skills she needs to learn to be an adult.. she wants to play Portal tomorrow...very hard for her to wait, this led up to the questions about when she is old enough to leave and still doesn't know how to - how will we help her.. what does she need to know...ended in tucking in with Mr.Frog... so many ups and downs on this rollercoaster

topics: wants to learn how to use makeup, wants to learn to play guitar

Monday, October 20, 2014

a letter Monday


10.30a    - Writing "thank you" note; drawing self portrait

12p    - PE (30x 2lb R&L curls, 50x 10lb bench press, 30 sit ups, 30x
      5lb leg lifts, 20x 5lb deadlift)

12.30p    - break

1.30p    - math worksheet,  double-digit addition without carrying, did without trouble
2p    - knex
3.30p    - done

Bit of a fit during the K'nex...the instructions overwhelmed her after a bit while it was getting towards the end of the day.  We had a pear someone had given to me at work, and there are more left over to bake with.  Tuesday will be a library day after I get home from work.  We finished up with Earth to Stella by Simon Puttock - I read it, and she listened at bedtime. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

a Friday and the weekend

Esme's Friday was full of fun and building. We did a little bit of sewing, writing and math and English in the morning for two hours - then in the afternoon Daddy and her built this for about three hours or more...

She had gotten a 'lab coat' in the mail from her great-aunt Dot and was intent on wearing it both Friday and Saturday.  

Their project was to build a bridge that would span across the pool table.  Daddy built one with the mini K'nex set, and Esme copied it with the larger K'nex.  He said she did almost all of it herself, and selected which were the corresponding pieces as well. 

We took Saturday 'off'  I worked much of it, and it went by in a blur.

Today is Sunday and she has had something like a three hour romp out at the park and then a half hour with some kids she knew (which was coincidence) having a drink at the playplace.  We discovered a new area at the park on the walking trail and Esme lost her dinosaur toy to being buried in the leaves by a boy - and then another tiny girl miraculously found it about an hour later.  No more dinosaur toys at the park!

I'm getting ready to finish the last book of the All Soul's Trilogy.  I should take a look at the purple coat I had started knitting her last year (or more) and see if I can get it on the way to being a completed object.  Other than that - we just have birthday organizing to do... did a 'A' order yesterday for some of the things we had planned on.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

catch-up for Wednesday

We took Monday and Tuesday off from 'official' school.. as Esme's school district had the entire week off.
But, Wednesday was planned from the start to be a big day.
I have to work again today, so will post Thursday later today I hope, or tomorrow...


8.30a    - PE (30x 10lb bench press, 20x sit up, 30x 2lb curl R&L,
      20x 5lb lift)

9a    - Reading
9.30a    - Worksheets: math, maze

9.45a    - eeko creatures
    - Statue of liberty quiz

10.30a    - break

11a    - Tractor service, storm cleanup @ grandma's
11.30a    - Potato peeling and cooking

12p    - lunch break

12.45p    -
1.30p    - school journal
1.45p    - done

Then I got home from work at 2:30, left with Grandma for town at 3, and she ran with kids at the playplace until nearly 6:30 pm while we waited for Grandma to finish shopping.  She ordered her own drink,practicing speaking in a clear voice and not being shy - and spoke with several people I knew from work.  She listened well to me, came down from the playplace when I had questions, and when she had questions.

She played well with older and younger children.  We went out to get ice cream and she left her friends okay - was a little sad some of them had to leave before we got back..they were sad, too... but Esme kept her attitude mostly up.  I was impressed that she was very helpful and kind at the Walmart.  She wanted something reasonable on the way over to get Grandma - instead of a toy, because she has toys (nice comment).. she wanted a snack she likes.  I told her that was a reasonable request, and we would look for it before we found Grandma in the store. She was helpful in the line but fell asleep on the way home *heh*.. it was a long day for all of us (I was up at 3:50 am to start this all out.. so very long for me, another one today)

On the way home she asked me how phones were invented.
I think we need to cover just how sound is recorded, first - how it USED to be recorded physically, and now is recorded digitally - and then we can make the leap between how phones were INVENTED and how they work today.  So, science topics!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Mixie Eingeering Primary School core values

thoughts.. haven't gotten these 'approved by the board' yet *heh*
We are still on official break - and tomorrow should be a full day of school again

Mixie Engineering Primary School
is about:
Asking questions:
---and learning HOW to find answers.
---Reading and Writing
---Math and Science
---Building and Engineering
---Art, music, history, learning new skills

Trying hard:
---not giving up
---and working together for goals.

Meeting People in our Community:
---learning from each other
---changing the world around us for the better

"Tell me I can do this again, especially as I have thus already begun."

Being the nature of me, I have worries that we can do this right - get everybody working together and keep progress up.  I've read some unschooling things.. the flavor is right, being child-led, but we still need to direct here and there, especially early on here where her anxiety and fear of failure are still high from the bad school year.

I found a few great reasources to try
Daria world music - they have a water pump idea with Archimede's screw I could see us working on
I remember Esme points at that one Astronomy book every time she sees it in the library..

Audio book reports?  as a step before written ones?
Making a choice calendar big enough where she can reach it - we set some of them - reading/writing park day etc, and she can set others like Art and Music as we go...

Sunday, October 12, 2014


Our friends from my work came over to fish and play Atari etc...  It was fun!  We didn't do anything exactly 'school' today... Esme did some building, and some Super Why games on the computer... played Frisbee outside and played in a cardboard box :)

I am still working on cleaning bits of the house here and there - organizing.. finding some of the other things we had misplaced that would be good for school use.

Found :
rain gauge!, for science
drawing compass and protractor
three packs of crayons
some photo printer paper and labels
A sketchbook with lots of blank pages.
A new K'nex set we had never put together
Composition tablet and some handwriting ruled paper
Containers of glitter we had used long ago

Esme's school is out this week... we're wondering if we continue official school anyway, or let her have a week break.  We're kind of feeling the squeeze from being stressed and wanting a break - but we were also wanting to lay out some groundwork and see what worked and what didn' we knew where we were going.  We've also talked more about birthday stuff....

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Saturday building stuff

We started out at Lowes early this morning to meet up with friends and build the project.
She did very well and did require some help - but did almost all of the work herself.

She was very helpful and mindful at the Lowes store to stay with us,clean up after herself and say hello and goodbye to people - several people commented on her good manners - which only goes to show the school just wasn't handling her right.  She didn't hide behind me at all while we were there!

We got a pumpkin for carving later, some groceries, some lunch, and came home.
Then Daddy set up the Atari system and she helped clean the parts, hook up things and learned how to use it in her DVD area to switch the video input back and forth.  We played PONG, Frog Pond and Combat together.  I cleaned some, napped (while she played Martha Speaks on PBS), did laundry, talked to Aunt Dot about our homeschooling week, and then it was time for dinner.  I cleaned up some, set up some more areas for homeschool (trays and sorter for nature stuff) and then we disassembled the K'nex rollercoaster from last Christmas and played with the K'nex to make a cube, 'birdcage', swing and practice with the rollercoaster pieces.  She was so happy several times today that she didn't give up and things worked out with a little extra effort.

Then Daddy and Esme watched an engineering video about racecars.. and it was time for bed.
We decided that was a day we would mark 'present' as school - because she really did a lot of hands-on building things and was doing a lot of thought while playing the Combat and PONG games about what to do and when, and why.  We discussed the 'ethics' of Combat.. she didn't want to shoot at my tank.. and then we decided to play it like tag and she laughed a lot about the way the tank spun when it was hit... so she got over the freeze-up at the idea of hurting the tank when it didn't disappear.  She hated Combat 2 though, so we went back to the regular Combat.

There was more rollerskating, and weight-lifting, and some running around outside after the rain stopped.  She even made an attempt at tying her shoes.  I didn't make her do a journal for today, though..   Tomorrow, we hope the weather will cooperate and we will invite our friends over for fishing!

transition :  We've talked more, but she still isn't entirely certain why we are homeschooling her.  She doesn't think there is anything too bad about it.. she wants to go places and do things and homeschool actually makes that MORE possible - since she is not gone from 6:30 am to 3:45 pm every weekday.  She really wanted to initiate the building school late tonight, even though it is a 'weekend'..   She has been mindful about expressing her thoughts on seeing friends, thinking about time (discussion of earlier and later, and what happened years ago vs. what will happen in a minute or a second from now).  She discussed, by her initiative, listening when we have to do things, that she had not thrown a fit leaving Lowes even though it was tough leaving friends, trying hard on things, and trying to give us time to do other things (like fold laundry, or write this post) and wait patiently.  All of it is very good progress!  I love to hear her express her reasonings out loud to us again - it shows she is really working things out and remembering what she has learned.

I noted that she had her Indian village playmobil set up inside her spaceship toy (the one she can fit inside and has been drawing chalk graffiti on all of the walls of for months, including the 'best day ever calendar' I saw a few weeks ago)... space Indians ;) We are missing a few pieces but I was impressed as she has not shown much interest in that toy set since last Christmas...pieces were scattered to the wind last I knew about.

Friday, October 10, 2014

End of a long week!

We started out very early this morning with post office trip, allowance spending at a store, grocery store (discussions about refrigeration, how to wear a belt, how to weigh food to tell how much it costs etc..- the scale use was her initiative)  She bailed a little on the actual figuring out of how much the bananas cost, but was with me up until then,and I found the actual figuring of the cost was sixth grade math - so okay. Mark did some triple number addition with her later in the afternoon... she said she was scared everyone would laugh at her if she was wrong.. but he reminded her that the other kids weren't there to even see, and she then started to ask questions and ended up doing every one of them well.

Mark read the local newspaper with her, she wasn't that interested in the articles. However, she unexpectedly zeroed in on the sports section and they discussed the figures and the recordings of the games some.  Lots of rollerskating and some weight-lifting with 5 lb weights she helped pick out at the store and assemble.  She played Starfall on the computer, and they made a caterpillar model with a balloon and pipecleaners, and potato stamps on kraft paper with paint. I will try to get her to make a journal entry for the art, at least.. but she has had a long day and it is nearing 9 pm...

And we've had a long week!  Our first week of homeschooling.. and it was quite tiring, but we realize now just how much we have been missing on both sides of the equation.

I have promised her 'regular kid' weekend.. she can go to the art project at my work, get a pumpkin and decorate it, sleepover at Grandma's house, and maybe play at a park or go fishing again with her friend if the weather cooperates.  She said she really liked the week - it was 'great', but she is a little uncertain still.  She really wants to go to a rollerskating rink ;)

Speech services:  We were offered a chance to look into getting her speech services at the school while homeschooling.  However, we are using the pragmatic speech activity suggestions (real life town tasks, meeting coworkers, friends, elderly adults etc.), audio playback for self-recognition (has helped with the gasping in between words while reading) and perhaps in the near future sign her up for a voice lesson to see how that is received.  She needed 'different' than articulation speech, which was what was offered - and this is a better road for her homeschool course.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Adventure day two and Engineering day

Adventure log drawings

8am - Greater / Less than worksheet
    - Bike parts worksheet
    - Starfall
    - Break

9am - Tongue Twisters
    - word search
    - PE (weights! 30x 5lb lift, 30x 5lb squats, .25mi run (quarter mile), 10 situp)

10am - Outside adventure nature observation walk
     - Writing report of observations

11am - recess

4pm  - Web searches with Rhe
     - Designing monkey bars

5pm  - Engineering: pipes, T and elbow vocabulary
5.30pm - Done
extracredit:      Spider egg case drawing for science , discussion

 journal page for engineering with vocabulary and counting up parts needed

Spider egg case drawing

eating watermelon from a coworker's garden with her egg and cheese sandwich for dinner

the light was almost completely gone and the camera had a hard time getting much quickly... got quiet contemplation and 'super excited'... She had her knee-high socks on and rollerskates on and had been skating for about an hour today on the concrete floor just before I got home...

List of things she wants to do 'soon':
Potato stamps art project
ink blots with paint

Engineering school:
Project requests:
Build a cottage out of wood - bit too much for us at the moment...but possible
Buld a set of monkey bars out of pipe and a ladder.. very possible, need used ladder

We discussed both options, looked it up some for material cost and discussed measuring and how to decide how big a project should be when it's done.  Went to a store site, looked up materials, talked about price sorting and how to check if an item is what you want.  Talked about counting pieces in a design so you don't have to go to the store more than once for materials, and why it would be hard to go back once you were building/working.   Then we practiced using our PVC bag of parts and pipes (from the flea market tent) to build a structure, make it stable, balance and mirror (opposite but the same - she said) parts so it comes together.. how to compare lengths of pieces and find four/eight etc. the same, how to substitute a part if you don't have what you need right at hand... She was very good at keeping-trying and then also about making her drawing, counting, and cleaning up.

//transition //
She asked if she had to go to school tomorrow (Friday) and I said not go 'to' school, she would have school here at home, like the past days since Monday. She said she didn't want to do school at home either (she wanted to skate and play and I had told her it was really time for bed).. but then I said she didn't want to trade her Saturday, did she? Oh no, don't want to do that... She still gets the weekend off like she would at 'regular' school and we had fun things planned for the weekend.. and she gets to plan some of the things she wants to do, unlike at the public school.  So, she planned some things and is ready for classwork tomorrow then a fun weekend with no 'required' stuff.  She then said 'I am kind of tired.'  I said I saw it in her eyes.  She said she saw I was tired in my eyes, too.. Yes, and I have work tomorrow.  She flip-flopped for a few minutes while taking forever brushing her teeth.. by the time I had her in bed and reading a few poems to her she was in a sweet mood.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Adventure Day, writing, reading log

Adventure Day today, with Daddy - in the forest.  Then she had to write about what she saw.  Mark said she was very reluctant at first to write - she has been that for a LONG time, but he got her past the initial huff and some remark about it being too hard and she just kept going after that.
Last night she read four chapters of Franny K. Stein 'The Fran with Four Brains', and we should finish some more of that tonight.  She read Happy Halloween Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt with me at the lake - switching pages here and there for her to read and then I read one.  We've started keeping a reading log on paper and also one here on the blog.

Mark did math with her, addition and place value, a list sorting activity,spelling families from her 1st grade list,  and let her do a find-a-word puzzle. 

Mark said she did have some small complaint today about how hard this is going to be compared to what she thought - and maybe she should go back to her school... but that was short-lived and by the time I came home she was saying 'And we do this all at our home, and it is what we choose, when we choose it!'  After that she told me about playing tigers in the woods, asked me to play Frisbee and ran around the lake area quite a bit.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Setting up the general plan

Esme is working up the plan with us... she had a few things she wanted to do and I had some limits or expansions on it.

School name : Mixie Engineering Primary School (tentative)
She suggested the name - wanted something that didn't sound silly.  She said it had to be serious.
I added the Mixie to make it unique so we could register it.

Esme's requests:  model building times (LEGO and other project based things), lots of physical exercise and nature stuff, books about outer space and science, finding friends on town trips, art stuff

kind of in between : 
---She likes the idea of more math... better math, have to find our way on that.  I'm starting a bit on Khan academy - she dislikes the hard and easy mixed together, but got her to do quite a bit.
---She wants to play with the billiards table more, making up her own games - I want her to learn a bit of physics and math about it while she does it.
---I hope she will get back into her Minecraft, she hasn't spent anywhere near the time she used to for at least a month.. she used to build whole 'worlds' and projects, the Test house, the school practice etc.
---Correcting language in place, especially 'slang' and 'idioms'...there are a lot of things I know other kids must have made fun of her with - or told her was 'ok' to say, jokes on her etc.. I'm hearing more of them, trying to kindly but firmly set them straight.

Social :
Reduce anxiety and 'fear of failure' that has increased sharply since August.
Work on better behaviors for sitting and waiting in line -
----'What are you thinking?  Can you think that without moving your foot/head/arm/body?'
((I got a hug today because I asked her that gently in her ear instead of being harsh or laughing).
Dealing with disappointment and frustration in constructive ways.(trouble at school, underchallenged)
Working on compromises and interjecting ideas in a constructive manner.(trouble at school, underchallenged)
Using proper tone of voice and attention to facial expressions, body posture.(had worsened at school)
Meeting real adults (with us), asking appropriate questions, finding out about their past or work in ways they want to share, being polite and waiting her turn in conversations etc.
Meeting children in environments like library, community center, park, home-ed meetups etc...

Mom's educational add-ons :

Math and science - STEM activities, following her interests and helping her learn to research.

Writing, spelling, new vocab : Using a journal to record what we have done.  She has always been a reluctant writer, but her fear of failure had made this worse the past few months.  Starting small with two to three sentences and notes where appropriate.

Continue with advanced reading, work on comprehension. Do some poetry, fables and myths beyond ordinary library books. Work on nature science and flora/fauna while looking at geography and history combined.  Find out about local events and plan on a calendar things we are going to do.

Dad's educational add-ons :

Building projects, technology lessons, forest and nature lessons
Use of audio and photographic equipment, technology.
Music and expanding her tolerance of some sounds through audio equipment, recording etc.
Speech 'playback' - so she can hear how shes sounds saying things, reading etc..
Thoughts to build more exercise equipment.
Build a larger and more specified desk area for her things and supplies.
Rerun through all of Electric Company and our 'History' cartoons as educational choices
She has access to a large compilation of 'antique' cartoons on her DVD player while riding bike.
Daily responsibilities, chickens, mail, cleaning up after herself, helping with tasks and projects in a constructive way (like when we set up the new printer today).

//Today// (left house at 9:45 am, returned at 2 pm)
We went to my workplace and asked several coworkers questions. We went to the library. She wrote in her journal a date and time of an event, and we wrote down lists of words based on something she had trouble spelling....She worked on a typing program through the first two modules, and saved her progress.  She had been 'eh' on picking any books for herself the last two times (a very bad sign) and today she picked three for herself.  She built with blocks, and put them away.  We discussed where to find a certain type of book with the librarian.  We went to the secondhand bookstore and she bought a how-to drawing book for a quarter.  She went to the thrift store with me and purchased a small toy for a quarter.

We planned lunch, and she played with two homeschool children for about an hour while I read.  Then I insisted we come home and we helped Dad set up the printer, drew a picture and then learned how to use the scanner.  We also did some math on Khan and she put together her new LEGO set I had not given her until today.  She walked to the mailbox and to the lake with us, brought up some sand in a bucket from the lake (which was heavy, but she was stubborn and relentless), dumped it at the base of a tree and played archaeologist for a while.  Now she is pedaling her bike and watching an old cartoon again before we discuss dinner and what book we will read.  I will have her write in her journal again before bed.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Homeschool decision (Mark's side)

Esme's dad has been keeping his own running narrative in his journal - and he has given me permission to post it here to show his side of the experience. 

Dad's view of the events leading up to deciding to homeschool. *he says it like it is*.

Esme started 1st grade on August 5th of 2014. She'd enjoyed
kindergarten the previous year, done quite well on her tests, had the
usual issues adapting to a more formal school environment etc, but got
over them. First grade was different.

Almost as soon as school started Esme showed disturbing changes in
attitude. The little girl who enjoyed doing math problems with her mom
vanished, replaced with "Girls can't do math - it makes my brain
hurt." The pride she took in writing her letters became "I should just
do one or two to show I tried."  We found this unacceptable, and
disturbing, and told Esme we didn't appreciate this behavior; she
became better at home, but not as enthused as she had been before
beginning school.

We tried to be supportive of the school and teacher without being
overbearing. Rhe sent several notes and examples of the work Esme had
been doing at home, to no real result. The second week of school began
with an "Open House" presentation where the teacher invited parents
into the classroom for a presentation explaining her day with the
kids. The presentation ended with the teacher saying, "Any
questions?", at which Esme raised her hand, the teacher rolled her
eyes and said "NOT YOU, Esme". Amusing, but not encouraging, and
apparently consistent with the classroom experience Esme was having.

Esme's daily behavior reports continued to be poor. We'd ask her how
she'd got into trouble that day, and usually hear about "The other
kids made me talk!" ... Which isn't a surprising answer from a 6 year
old, but we kept telling her to be quiet even when others were talking
to her. Rarely there were more details about an incident sent by the
teacher on these reports.

Aug 23, Rhe has a face to face meeting with teacher to make her aware
of some of the possible communication problems and also advanced
skills Esme has.  Rhe asks for more communication to work things
out like we did in Kindergarten.  Teacher does a lot of nodding,
puts the papers in a file.  Behavior reports continue to worsen. 
Teacher states Esme is 'disrespectful', several times.  Teacher
and Rhe text about the reasons for punishment a few of the 'red'
days.. nothing adds  up.  Esme begins to show more and more
anxiety about going to school.

Sep 19th, Esme's teacher called to ask me how her behavior problems
might be solved. It happened to be convenient to have a face to face
talk with her that day, so I did. She raised numerous examples of
Emse's misbehavior that she hadn't personally witnessed. The examples
she had personally witnessed were not severe and were often examples
of the teacher's prejudice; automatic assumption that Esme must be at
fault. She actually told a story of hearing a fuss, turning around and
yelling at Esme because she was one of three little girls involved.

At this point the teacher employed "perky cheerleader" body language
and thrust her chest out a bit with a pose; presumably this was a
"don't think about what I just said, look at tits and believe me!"
tactic that usually works for her. She was certainly stonkered when it
didn't work on me, lost her train of thought.

Several times at that meeting, I voiced my opinion that the behaviors
they were seeing and objecting to appeared to be the result of
boredom. If they couldn't give her more challenging assignments then
at least they could let her read books we've been sending to school
with her. Rhe had sent her a letter on Aug 15th saying much the same
thing, but in more detail and much more politely.  Teacher was urged
to contact us by whichever means at need so we could reinforce Esme's
behavior lessons.

Personally I found teacher non-responsive, reacting with blank faced
incomprehension, to suggestions that Esme's behavior indicated


The next time we talked to (or even heard from) the teacher was the
Sep 30 Parent/Teacher conference. They had a school guidance
counselor attending as well. She helped moderate and mediate the
discussion, and had several good suggestions herself.

We're given a set of tests that are all 100 scored or "showed
improvement" on the reading speed; and then told that Esme's already
into "differentiated learning", which means she's getting to do next
week's material? It's still nothing she has any problems doing. They
assure us that there's no chance she's unchallenged by the academics
there, however, because she's not consistently the best in the class
at everything. She must therefore be "unengaged."

Teacher returns to us an toy Esme brought to school, a small wooden
coin that she was told was important and not to lose. Esme naturally
enough got into trouble playing with it in class, and reasonably
enough Teacher took it from her. Then it was displayed on the
Teacher's table for several days and Esme got in trouble again for
taking it back without permission. This is given to us after Esme's
test results are shown, as the leader into discussing Esme's ongoing
behavior troubles.

Teacher tells us how important following rules is, that it's a
classroom skill and a life skill which "will be important for her job,
later." Certainly there's a point there, but they present it as a
statement of faith, with more fervor than is commonly seen in fire
breathing revival tent preachers. Rhe and I are leery of such fervor
by instinct, and could argue the need to understand rules and question
them for at least as long as these people can argue the need to have

Neither Rhe or I are impressed by reference to Esme's career prospects
in the context of her first grade education. At best it's irrelevant,
it is sad to think this is an effective line for them to bully the
parents of the other first grade children.

Again, Teacher's narration of Esme's behavior is mostly second-hand
stories, or those which cast doubt on her judgement (at least)
when they weren't. This time she told of Esme being gigged for lying
about being in trouble earlier in the day, outside the classroom,
which the Guidance followed up on by saying that the lunchroom things
are handled there, and then are done. Except for Esme, apparently.

Esme had expressed her frustration at one point by saying "I'm so
Angry!" and putting her head down; which is a very characteristic
thing to for our little girl. Teacher felt that was an example of the
general disrespect Esme has for her, and "Even my own kids don't speak
to me like that."

Teacher locked eyes with Rhe and burst into tears while stating she
felt she wasn't getting any support here. We found it disgustingly
blatant manipulative behavior, and she apparently didn't know what to
do when it didn't gain the immediate sympathy she was aiming
for. Where I hadn't reacted to her earlier goto manipulation for
males, Rhe was similarly targeted and failed to respond as she
expected to the female version.

Guidance had a good suggestion about making Esme tally the "redirects"
she got, every time she was called on to focus her eyes and attention
on the teacher. We've been supplying paper and pen to Esme, for her to
have at her desk, to be used when she's done with an assignment or
whenever she finds herself with unfilled time. We're told she can't
have that paper there, and thus the suggestion of working on a
specific problem in a constructive way is dead on arrival.

The day after the conference, Esme has got in trouble again, this time
she says it's because she raised her hand asking to go to the
bathroom. There's no further information from the teacher. The
following two days are both trouble free, but include notes from the
teacher like "Excellent class work.  More lunchroom trouble today,"
which may no longer be class trouble? We're mystified.  Notes are good

if they help us solve a problem.  We attempt to contact the school admin 
twice that week, by email and phone, receive no responses.  Make the
decision together that even if they will skip her a grade, or challenge her 
more in class, it will not solve many things, or fix worsening opinions.


We wanted her to go to public school so she'd have a chance to
interact with the other children, both her age and not; living in a
rural area and in today's climate of caged kids, sending her 3 miles
off to play with the nearest neighbor kids is difficult or
impossible. In kindergarten, she loved that there were other children
to play with, the things she didn't like about school were a
worthwhile cost for having friends.

Now, apparently they're much more regimented even in recess time. Esme
doesn't find it as appealing anymore. She doesn't want to or doesn't
get to play with the other kids because of timeouts, and isn't allowed
to do her own thing, which leaves her misbehaving again and probably
 getting double dip punishment for.

In order for her to go to school she's got to be on the bus at 6.30am,
and wait at school most of an hour before class begins. We're confused
by the reports of how kids are expected to act during this time, and
how much trouble Esme gets in there. She says they're not supposed to
talk, and "Got in trouble in lunchroom" is all but universal in the
few communications from her teacher.

When classes are done at 2.45pm; Esme has to wait again (classroom?
lunchroom? we're not sure, answers were non specific) for a bus ride
that gets her home at 3.40pm. She's spending 9 hours a day to fulfill
a 4hr attendence requirement, and so much of that 4hr is apparently
used for "quiet time" where she's expected to sit and do nothing

We have not been well pleased with the school administration, either;
despite protestations of "our door is always open if you need to
talk", emails to the Principal have gone unanswered, calls requesting
appointments with him have not been returned.


October 6th, we've decided to homeschool. We go to the appropriate
offcial at the school's district office, and there's zero hassle, zero
questions, no fuss or bother. The gentleman responsible for accepting
the forms has one to hand and even goes so far as to fill it out for
us, as well as calling the school to get their process started.

We get to the school and they're expecting us, have already cleaned
out Esme's desk and one of her classmates is on the way to the office
to deliver her personal property from the classroom. Guidance
counsellor who was at the parent/teacher conference wishes us luck and
says she understands. It is the single most pleasant and smoothest
interaction we've had with the school system to date.


I'm still being creatively crude about Teacher. She's a cokebottle
skank, with a wonderful leatherette tanning bed skin tone, who looks
the very prototype of the high school cheerleader 20 (very hard) years
later. Still clinging to the thoughtless appeal and assuming the
Natural Superiority of the Chosen Jock Clique, resenting the younger
prettier girls her career surrounds her with because they've still got
opportunities. Never seeing that she had those opportunities too but
chose to forgo them in favor of easy popularity, fitting in, and
blowing the entire football team.

Perhaps she's a good person with genuine problems, or even just
differing values and poor judgement; whichever reasons there might be
I cannot respect the results. With much effort I've kept from
expressing my feelings and judgements about Teacher in front of Esme,
whcih has led to surreal moments in the past couple of months where
I'm telling my little girl she has to do what Teacher wants because
Teacher wants it that way.

Now Esme's adventure in first grade is over, done with, and we can
begin repairing the damage. I've been writing this to rant; and explain
for others who might benefit from seeing it. Our family isn't the only
one impacted by this teacher or her spiritual sisters, we've profited
by the examples of others in gathering the courage to say "no more of
this" in regard to our child. If others can be helped by this, or even
amused, then it was worth writing.

--So there we are, both of us.  We're getting our plan together for how we know she has to be taught - trying to undo the damage and get her challenged and involved in her learning again.  Stay tuned for updates.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Homeschool Decision

smiling while riding her new "stationary bike" (see end)
This year of school has not been good for Esme.  We have tried to work with them, tried to show what we think the issues are.. and the school was very dismissive or non-receptive of our ideas.  In fact, I upset the teacher because I had a different point of view about the causes of Esme's defiant/disrespectful (as she put it) behavior.  They were also giving her 'differentiated' work - which claimed to be advanced and working ahead.  We asked if she could be moved to second grade twice.. because even the advanced work was far below her.  We were dismissed each time.  She can't be bored, she is 'unengaged' and 'distracted.'  We discussed that a lot of the clash was personality and group dynamic - having to wait for everyone to get seated she was already in trouble before things began for not remaining seated, not looking the teacher in the eye etc etc... They said she had to learn to follow the rules of sitting still and quiet when told because she would use them in her job 'someday.'

 Her home behavior and personal belief in her abilities were suffering wide mood swings that related directly to her behavior 'treatment' at school.  Some days I had to coax her out of bed in the morning with promises of math equations, and tests..   But often she said she just didn't want to go - she would be on red again, and she wanted to stay home rather than be in trouble.   One day she said her 'math was too big' for them... for the math they want her to do,which is 'small math.'  We tried to send her extra work, but they didn't have time for it.  There are days it felt like the extra stuff we sent her were used to get her in trouble for that day... she couldn't be doing that or bringing it to her desk if the teacher didn't explicitly say she could.  The teacher was (acc. to Esme) ignoring her hand because she raised it so much, even to the point she couldn't go to the bathroom.   She was so confused about how she got in trouble, as if it 'just wasn't under her control'..for different reasons, daily. Sometimes it was other kids, sometimes her own boredom, sometimes it was just a disconnect with what was going on or being a bother to the teacher.  The teacher refused requests to write reasons down, citing time issues.  Esme's 'guess' of why she was in trouble was different than what the teacher would say if called or asked at a meeting... then we were left with who to believe?  It was a constant source of stress.  She usually came home saying she 'loved school' but it felt like it was something she was 'supposed' to say.

Sometimes we had no idea why she would say some of the things 'I can only be a cleaning lady - that will be my job.', or 'I can't think about (math/spelling etc) it makes my brain hurt,' , 'girls can't do math', 'can't say something is stupid - that is a bad word', 'I only have to do five - we'll throw the rest away/leave blank etc..', 'I'm not a good singer' or 'I can't try that I'm too shy' or 'The words are too small, kids can't read that.' etc etc..  We thought a lot of it was just her being six and being around so many other different children.  But, more and more - we thought perhaps they also are criticisms or ideas being implanted from adults at the school.  Her language issue - trouble with abstract words and time concepts, gets in the way and causes communication issues.  Her language has improved tremendously - but she still lags behind a normal 6 year old child in being able to tell what she did today, in what order, and why/how.  Contrast this with her intense attention-to-detail on other things, photographic memory and advanced reading ability you end up in all sorts of strange conversations where the adult has to think outside-the-box to keep everything straight and avoid conflicts.  As her parents, we expect the conflicts - interpret and sidestep them as needed, and end up with a working relationship that respects both of our opinions and the needs at hand - from washing dishes to studying math to daily errands to discussing manufacturing, animal biology, volcanoes and more... The short part is.. we consider this to BE parenting, for us - and it is not something that they can do at the school.

Every situation she said she got in trouble for the teacher had some other description - sometimes 180 and sometimes not even related to what Esme thought the bad mark was for at all.  The teacher was resistant to giving us more communication to help us sort out the knots that came up daily, insisting she was disrespectful, she had no time for such things (her kindergarten teacher did, and Esme came to respect her and love her) because she had too many others to work with.  We tried to say she needs more context, discussion - a chance to tell them her view which is often very different than other children her age.  We listened to their descriptions of what happened and understood completely why she reacted the way she did - and they were oblivious and even after we told them the 'key factors' we understood, they blinked and stammered.  I said if they had just asked us - let us know they were having an issue with this,or that...we would have made it clear for them.  Apparently, she is different than almost every other child they have ever worked with.. our suggestions made no sense to them, and our description of motivations for certain behaviors were not accepted as having credit.  How were we supposed to know?  You could have asked.  They didn't have time - shouldn't she just buckle down, straighten out and follow the rules because they tell her so?

The other complaint they had was why does she have to question all of the rules when she is the child and they are the adults? 'Not even my own children talk to me like that.' Well... ours does, and we listen.  Respect earns respect, authoritarian responses and corporal punishment, with this child, earn distrust, disobedience and eventually, a full avoidance whenever possible.  They wanted us to get her to mask her feelings - she can't show anger or tell them that things are too easy or that she wants to do something else.  Why not?  She might NOT be able to do something else - but we do allow discussion in our house unless it is an immediate safety issue.  Then she sees that in our voice and expression and knows that we truly are protecting her and we will explain later.  We were seeing our creative high-energy complex child say 'I can't do this, you do this for me - I'll watch' in circumstances where she used to sit for hours and work on complicated models or computer building programs.  She was opening a book and saying it wasn't her age level, so she couldn't possibly read that.   There were also several situations that were just handled unjustly, in our opinion - even upon hearing the teacher's explanation.  She did not know why we would not see it from her point of view. 

And there are other reasons.
Esme wants to build models - Lego, dioramas, detailed maps and craft supply creations.  When we told her we might teach her at home that was her very first response.  And we can build models? (which they 'can't do' at school)  Yes.  And there can be books about outer space?  Yes,and all other kind of science .. and even use the index in the encyclopedias.  And she can learn math at her own pace instead of having to do thirty repetitive problems to get a gumball...she can LEARN.  We can go places, try things like music lessons, we can see real jobs, research topics she wants to learn about, and budget supplies to do cool things.  She doesn't have to look at the AGE on things she wants to do, she can look at what she wants to do.  And we understand her more of the time - and will buckle down where it is needed, like not bouncing around a project, using proper language to us that is constructive and not disrespectful (which is an entirely different thing to us), use multimedia on every project (computer, photography equipment, audio recording for her speech therapy, video and computer tablet if we get those set up), draw, paint, run, throw rocks outside...

So here we are.
We are getting the papers to homeschool this week.
Before she went  to bed last nigh she traced the calendar days on her wall - and said she didn't have to go to school tomorrow.. she had a soft but slightly giddy tone to it.. she said she could think about MAKING the beautiful toys in her head and the outer space books she can read, and I told her even if she was in the darkest place in the forest she would still have what is in her brain and her heart with her.. that is the most important thing. and she said even the crazy things, like boots dancing, and raccoons.. ha, yes, those too.. dream big dreams.

 Mark thought up this out of our scrap wood in the garage.  It holds Esme's bike stationary so she can watch TV or read a book and still be active.  She was trying to do both at the same time, anyway - so it gave him the idea.  She helped him make it and has been on it constantly ever since.

Back on the bike moments after finishing lunch and watching an old PopEye cartoon.
We also went fishing today, discussed science topics at the lake and played Frisbee outside.
Tomorrow is library and more regular educational things.. I have some leaves and was going to do some experiments with paint and sugar and the leaves with her tomorrow as well.

Mark has audio equipment and has been doing 'playback' with her for speech therapy, so she can see what she sounds like and try to correct things herself.  They did that at the special school with her years ago and it was a great help then.