Archive for September, 2011


A decade ago I was a little over a month away from birthing my first child. I sat, stunned, grief-stricken, and appalled at what was wrought that morning in the span of almost two hours.

I suddenly couldn’t imagine bringing my baby into a world where there was that kind of hate. The kind of hate that could demand the lives of so many people who had done nothing to the perpetrators of that most heinous crime. The kind of hate that, I knew, was going to breed a like kind of hate from my countrymen. A kind of hate that demanded blood for blood.

Why, I wondered, couldn’t we see the never ending cycle we would be falling into if we answered an awful act of violence with more¬†violence? Turns out? Questioning the retaliatory violence was not a popular stance. I was a quiet voice in a storm of yells screaming for blood. It didn’t take long for it to be scary to put voice to dissent.

As someone who has always paid attention, as someone who has always cared way too much, it was difficult for me to move forward while seeing the giant steps the government was taking as giant, unfathomable mistakes. I had to turn away from the world and the news at a time when many, who’d not been paying attention before were suddenly riveted to their screens. I had to focus on my unborn baby, on me.

On 10/22/2001, I discovered what a healing event child birth can be. I discovered that it wasn’t about what the world was like, but how I taught my child to see that world. What September Eleventh taught me was that ignorance breeds fear and people who fear lash out in anger, and once you fall into that cycle of fear and anger, it’s hard to get out of it. What I learned was that if we had even a moderate amount of acceptance of the differences prevalent in the human race, we might live in a peaceful world. I realize that these things are very idealistic and that reality tends to be much starker, much darker. But here I am, 10 years and three kids later, and still I know, deep in my bones, that accepting one another and respecting our differences much hatred and anger would be eliminated from the world.

I hope that one day my kids will be my pebbles in the still waters of the future and create ripples and eventually waves toward a better, brighter tomorrow.

Lamp Post Academy

We just wrapped up our second week of homeschool at Lamp Post Academy and I’ve learned a few things.

    1. Mornings are the best time for school because the kids are more alert and their attention spans seem longer.
    2. Chi has some sort of mental block with doing math problems when they are presented to him in 10 rows of 10.
    3. Pynni is much more advanced in mathematics than Saxon starts out in the First Grade year. Today was day 8 of school and Pynni completed Lesson 26 today. I think she is still beyond a lot of what we’re doing, but Saxon gradually introduces new concepts and spends a lot of time reviewing previous concepts, so when the book started in with addition, I stopped jumping ahead.
    4. Pynni is too far advanced in reading to be taught side by side with Pieces, so I have Pieces stay upstairs, which he hates when Pynni is downstairs with me. I have been able to move Pynni forward by 30 lessons because she knows all her letters and their sounds.
    5. I cannot effectively teach Chi and Pynni math, writing, grammar, and reading simultaneously.¬†For example: I was trying to teach them math at the same time by giving Chi his warm-up worksheet and then doing the lesson of the day with Pynni. Then, while Pynni works on her daily worksheet, I do the daily lesson with Chi. Problem: Chi can’t pay attention when there is too much going on in the room and his noise canceling headphones do not help. With writing and grammar and reading, Chi is too advanced and answering questions based on a narrated passage is something Pynni is just learning to do while Chi can answer those questions with detail and extrapolation in complete sentences.
    6. Pynni was taught to memorize sight words in Kindergarten and is struggling with phonics, but she is actually able to read some Dr. Seuss books only 8 days into school that she couldn’t have read before.
    7. I have come up against the “I-don’t-knows” from Pynni that her subs last year must have encountered. She seems to think it’s cute to get the answers wrong a couple of times before getting the right answer. The REALLY irritating thing is that she KNOWS the right answer. I know this because I hear her mutter the correct answer under her breath before she deliberately, and with a coy little smile, answers incorrectly. INFURIATING.
    8. I’ve instituted a positive reinforcement strategy and award them stickers for completing a subject with no-fuss. They turn their sheets of stickers, which they can potentially fill in a week, for prizes. I’ve had to increase the cost of the prizes, otherwise we’ll go broke.
    9. Right now, due to having to teach each child individually to meet Chi’s needs, I teach Pynni math, grammar, writing and reading before bringing the boys downstairs for joint penmanship. Then Pynni and Pieces go upstairs while I do the same with Chi. I may have to alternate kids every other subject because Pynni gets done with the sitting after math. I’ve tried jumping-jacks after each subject to get her more alert, but it is short lived. I’ve tried giving her gum to stimulate her, but she just smacks it and blows bubbles while planning how to incorrectly answer questions. I just don’t know how Chi will tolerate that.
    10. School time with Pynni can be as short as 45 minutes or as long as 2 hours depending on her cooperation and attitude. This fluid time does not suit Chi at all. I’m planning to start with Chi next week and then transition to Pynni. I let you know how it goes.

      Silly to the MAX

    11. I’m having to take deep breaths and practice “raw spaghetti, cooked spaghetti” to be okay with Chi hopping all over the room during school. He IS learning and paying attention. He IS. (“Have patience, have patience, don’t be in such a hurry…” etc. It’s my constant mantra)
    12. Using white boards, and chalkboards makes Chi much happier than having to put pencil to paper.
    13. Pynni has some sort of visual sensitivity. I’ve noticed some signs of this before, but it hasn’t seemed to effect her in broad terms. These past two weeks she has complained of her eyes hurting and she rubs them during school almost constantly. She rarely looks directly at anything that is in writing. She told me it hurts to look at things so I like it sideways. I’m going to talk to her pediatrician about it and she may not be severe enough to need an OT, but I’m going to need to do some reading on it and see if there is anything I can do to help her. Chi’s OT said that visual and auditory sensitivities are the hardest to address with visual being even harder than auditory so there may not be anything except help her learn to cope.
    14. I really can do the school part of the day at any time if I need to.

Well, it’s been fun and frustrating, eye-opening and challenging. We will add the two new language arts next week and after our break in mid-September we will be adding Biology and History. Should be entertaining at the very least.