Saturday, November 27, 2010

Happy Humming and Turkey!

So we are humming around here a lot these days.  This was picked up while at the hospital this fall and continues with us.......but she does it when she's happy, so I guess the Humming Turkey Day is okay!  Thanksgiving was the best ever in terms of food and fellowship!  The happy humming girl went to spend the night with the  Nans and Pops (AKA Nana and Poppy AKA Bumpa!) and life is good!

Today, Den's Aunt and Uncle came in all the way from MN to spend some time with us.  Wes wasn't doing too well so we ordered in for dinner.  We had much recollecting on the D family's past years as well as a few of my memories of spending T day with my M family.  I sincerely miss running into my Grampa's house, grabbing coffee with a lot of creamer and sugar and a cookie out of the box, quickly finding a seat and seeing how long you could stay there before you had to pee......see seating was a premium at Grampa M's and if you peed then you might stand or take a lesser wanted seat for a while.  I remember that I preferred sitting with the adults at the large Oak round table as opposed to going outside with my cousins. 

Now in the summer, there were grapes to check for ripeness on the vine or Garter snakes to scare younger ones with....but fall and winter?  Yup, sitting till ya had to pee was the way to go.  The adults played cards and told stories about things THEY had done as kids.  I loved all the stories!  They were like little tidbits of heaven.  Hearing how "Butch and Rusty" (My Dad and Uncle Russ) would have their jeans slung so low that they would get in trouble, and their cigarettes rolled up in their sleeves while on the prowl in downtown Hastings!  Or the antics of Marion and Shirley.  One never knew what stories might spill and I for one did NOT intend to miss a single one!  You never knew when a good one would emerge!

I remember all the smells; food cooking, cigarette smoke so thick I'd have to go out in the snow bank for a while because my eyes were burning, laughter, sadness, waiting for the bathroom, waiting for a chair (luckily everyone had to pee at some point!).....Christmas traditions like the "white elephant" auction!  There was a Buddha lamp that made the rounds for years!  Such joy was always in the air.  I was always happy there!

I wish that Mac had that big of a family around her.  We went there every Sunday afternoon like clockwork.  Cousins, more cousins, Aunts, Uncles, assorted friends, always at least thirty people.  I am really missing Gramma and Grampa M.  I think this year more than ever.  I see Mac growing up still with the White Elephant fun but without tons of family around.  I wonder if it will affect her.  I wonder if the family traditions will fade with time.  Will she keep them alive in her family?  Will Chelsie and Brit?  I think so.....I hope so.....I wish I could sit around that big Oak Round Table one more time and listen to all the laughter!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Finding out just how much damage was done....

Well, after a couple of weeks "homeschooling" with an internet school, I've come to the very sad conclusion that my daughter's previous school has not given her the education she deserved!  I really wonder where she would be if we hadn't pulled her out when we did!  Basic things seem to be missing from her knowledge base.  Things that I guess we hadn't noticed!  We knew there were issues with math, but she doesn't know where to position letters on the lines, which makes her capitalization difficult to decipher, and her knowledge of punctuation is so-so.  I guess because she's been typing on the computer since three might be responsible for a lot of it, but WOW!  Shocker!

I keep explaining to her that I'm not MAD at her for not knowing this stuff, that I'm frustrated that she wasn't taught correctly, but to her it seems like I think she has flaws.  It saddens me.  The good news is that she tested out extremely well on all subjects thus far.  I think it's that it's safe to say that due to her intelligence she's going to be fine!  I'm just glad that we're teaching her.  I'm feeling less overwhelmed about this teacher role I find myself in and happy for my OWN intelligence.  I see now that I can do no worse than the AZ Educational system.

Didn't we know how to tell time on a clock face by fourth grade?  Didn't we know how to write out letters and numbers?  Hmmmmmmm.......I think in some ways technology isn't such a good thing!  Happy Thanksgiving.  I am thankful for a daughter who has gifted intelligence and a DESIRE to learn.  Without it I wonder where she'd be!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Day by Day...........

So we're having good days and not so good days in this new adventure.  Some days Mac is just not able to focus on school work.  Other days, she just rocks it out!  I am so happy on those days.  I'm thinking of adding Saturday for a couple of hours of easy stuff....and shortening the 5 hours during the week to about 4.5.  That would mean 2.5 on Saturday.....but I think that would be okay.

I still think she's learning more at home than she did at school!  Den's taking over teaching the social studies portion (after all he's got a teaching certificate in that subject!)  I'm doing math right along with her, problem by problem........and she's working it.  She's going to ask her teacher if she can do most of her "writing" on the computer as opposed to writing it out.  She does much better that way.

It's all good!  Oh, did I mention I am getting a two hour massage tonight?  Yeah, that's how Mama survives!  Have any of you ever read about massage for kids with ADHD and/or BiPolar?  I've heard that it really helps with calming kids down if they receive regular massages.  I'm thinking about getting her started.  What do you think?  Let me know.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

So, we've found a new school!

So after seeing my happy, go lucky daughter turn into a couch potato (I actually called her a pig in a blanket because she was all rolled up in a beige blanket at my Mom's Sunday morning...doing nothing after an overnight stay.)  Mom said she really didn't want to go anywhere (they were going to see a movie) or do anything.  She'd been like that for DAYS.  Just moping around.....sadness in her eyes.  I would send her off at school and watch her:  head down, walking slowly............looking so lost and sad. 

So Sunday when I saw her on the couch I said: THIS IS IT!  I stayed up all hours of the night researching new schools, weighing the Pro's and Con's....trying to decide if I was just going to pull her out and home school her...but then I'd have to do curriculum, buy books or other materials, be the "bad guy" with lessons.  UGH!   I didn't really want to go that route!

And then, out of nowhere.......this little Google search turned up AZ Distance Learning Academy. It's LIKE home schooling, but it's considered a charter school, so she's still enrolled.  They sit down with you and your child and figure out a curriculum designed for YOUR CHILD after TESTING them!  There are several different ways to deliver the material, again customized to hour your child learns best !!!!!  The teacher issues home work and tests, which you proxy at home.  The teacher can do Skype sessions for one-on-one tutoring and you send in attendance on Sunday night.  25 hours a week of study are required. But you do it all at home.....or anywhere with high speed internet access!  She can go from our house, to Nana's to Amy and Chelsie's!

Mac can go as fast as she wants to through the material!  She will be tested on-site four times a school year and she has to do AIMS testing there as well (state tests).  The best part?  They'll pay us $150 a semester reimbursement for private music or art lessons!  Plus all books and materials are free if returned.  WOW!

She found an Arts school she wants to go to in 7th grade....and we're going to talk to them about maybe going the year she'd be a 6th grader instead.  Her therapists both think skipping one grade is fine for she may only do the Distance Learning for a few years, which is great. It's a solution for the in-between years left!

The good news is I found a school that we don't have to get her up for at the crack of dawn (which has been the main reason she's lost so much time historically!) as she can do this schooling from noon to 5 or 9-2 or 3 to 9: any day!  So we can do school on the weekend if we so choose!

When I told her that this would be her last week at her school, she started backpedaling, with the "well, I don't want to leave.  I'll be fine......." but after a wonderful session with Dr. Beth, who assured her that those feelings of anxiety were NORMAL for leaving a situation, she's doing a bit better now.  Still very anxious, she hasn't sleep well at all and has stayed home more this week than going.  But she's going to go tomorrow because she talked with Dr. Beth about closure....and how important that is.  So we are going to take treats to school and tell everyone that we've found a school which is better suited to Mac's needs and that she will miss (some) them. (Really, only one,  but we'll be nice!)

The new school called and I just need two more documents submitted and then next week we'll start the testing.  I'm going to fax those docs now so our adventure can begin............YEA to new beginnings!