Saturday, March 1, 2014

A Good Week

This has been a good week.  Has there still been whining, arguing, and general foolishness?  Yes.  BUT.....
Zadie decided she wanted to try the whole potty training thing again.  She's been in underpants since Monday, and she's had one pee and two poop accidents.  She still isn't telling us she has to go, but she holds it until we take her in, and can hold it several hours at a time.  And whereas she hasn't said "potty" yet, she's using a lot more words - her vocabulary has probably doubled in the last couple weeks.  (She understands everything, but wouldn't talk to you.)  Her [somewhat] intelligible words now include, milk, please, thank you, I love you, baby, more, night night, bye bye, MINE, Dad, Mom, Grandpa, Pa-Pa, and Josh.  (Josh is a friend at church with 3 boys that have adopted her as their little sister.  I think she thinks all of them are named Josh.)
Jacob has had this habit, for a year, of getting up in the middle of the night to potty, then coming to our room to wake me up to take him back upstairs.  If I tell him no (which I have done since he turned 4, and always tell him before bed that I will tell him no), it turns into whining, sobbing, blubbering DRAMA.  I stick to my guns and he goes upstairs and lays in bed and wails, sometimes kicking the walls to get my attention, waking the whole house up.  (Do I need to mention how well that goes over with me?)
Anyhow.  All that to say:  he hasn't done that once this week.  Bliss.
Speaking of night time bliss:  Gideon is sleeping.  I think it's that magical 10 weeks (this week was actually 11, but it started last week).  All the sudden he's been going to bed at night with just a tiny bit of fussing.  He sleeps a solid 6 hour chunk, then I can put him back in his bed (if I haven't been lazy and put him in bed with me).  He cries again when I put him back to bed, but he sleeps til morning and wakes up happy.  I feel like my life has been on hold, waiting for this to start.  The next step will be getting in a predictable daytime nap pattern.
And my oldest..... He wants to read!  I had a feeling the key was finding something he would want to try to read.  I have an old 1949 State of Kansas reader called "Tip" that has lots of repetition.  It's probably a 60 page book of a story about a dog that uses only 20 words over and over.  "Tip.  Tip.  Here, Tip.  Here, Tip.  Tip, Tip.  Come here, Tip."  (It's by Houghton Mifflin, which is the publisher of some readers that my niece uses in her school, which Lurenda passed on to us.  Also similar to the popular "Dick and Jane" readers.)  On Tuesday, Nathan read 25 pages of the "Tip" book, and 4 of the readers from Mackenzie, words only.  (Sometimes I think he's "reading" the pictures, so I typed out just the words.)  That day was the turning point.  He realized - he CAN read!  He's asked to do it every day since, and hasn't argued when I tell him it's time.
He also has learned how to add double-digit numbers.  He hasn't even learned all of his addition tables, but I just put the problems together with ones he does know (doubles, +1, +2).  We showed him how to "carry" and he has that down too!  Really proud of him.
And on that note - I realize there are different ways of learning, but I just don't "get" some of the ways presented in his math curriculum (Saxon).  What's the purpose of measuring something with pennies or linking cubes, instead of with a ruler?  And I get teaching double-digit addition with pennies and dimes, but what purpose is having them "estimate" before they add them up?  They teach +1 as "one more", which makes sense, but they teach +2 as "next even/odd number."  On problems such as 3 + 4, 4 + 5, 5 + 6, they teach it as "double, plus one."  I get it.  But to me, addition tables should be rote memorization, not a process that requires an extra step.  And yes, I'm sure it sets them up for being able to add larger numbers in their head later on, but....  For now, it seems like we're teaching 15 different ways to remember something that is as easy as, well, one plus one equals two.  And Nathan seems to be one that likes memorization, so I think he would do better at memorizing a table.
But on the upside, what I do like about this curriculum is that it covers so many things that I don't think of as being math - at least not at this point.  Calendar, time, right/left, shapes, patterns....  Things that I probably wouldn't think to teach if it weren't in the book.  Also counting by 2s, 5s, 10s, and counting backward.  When I think of math at this age, I think of the tables, but he's getting a well-rounded education of all these things, with daily practice.
Anyhow.  So that's been my good week.  Now to have a good weekend - and get all the crap piled on the dining room table put away!  My life is happier when I get rid of the clutter.