Archive for January, 2014

In Pursuit of Independence


Cisco is getting more independent.  He scoots on his belly or uses his walker to explore his house from one end to the other.  He also makes us hold his hands to walk where he wants to go. While we visited family for Thanksgiving for two weeks, he did so well because we took his walker with him.  He checked out everyone and their homes and chased the dogs.  He came back home ready to try a more traditional walker and with new sounds babbling like crazy.  He started using his push toys and leaning his back to stand alone against my legs or a wall and using the two wheeled walker the PT left him but unfortunately it was tippy and scared him when he almost fell and he didn’t want to use it again.

Now lets move forward about a month and the PT finally found us a moire stable walker with four wheels.  It is a little tall but upped the independence yet again.  He is practically running in it at times.  The tires are a little bigger and make a huge difference in the terrain he can go through including going through the grass with just a little help from mom.   It is also lighter and foldable so we can take it with use more easily.  We went to our first trip with the walker to a public place, the library, this weekend.  I was chasing him everywhere.  Can’t wait to go again.

Click HERE to see Cisco in his Ottobock Busybee Walker

The Learning Pod


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With a little idea searching on my part and the woodworking capabilities of my hubby, Cisco got an early 2nd birthday gift this weekend.  My wonderful husband made Cisco what I’ll call a ” Learning Pod” inspired by the popular Learning Tower and its European “cousin” the FunPod.  

Cisco has become increasingly interested in what we are doing in the kitchen and wanting us to hold him at our level while there.  I started putting him in his Keekaroo highchair (another great invention) by me in the kitchen but really felt he needed to be more a  part of the action.  I started to remember a friend that had a Learning Tower and it seemed perfect except it has a huge footprint that wouldn’t work too well in my small kitchen and it also was very open.  The latter would be a benefit to an “average” developing child for the accessibility of crawling in and out but my little guy is just not strong or balanced enough for me to feel comfortable with him in something so open nor could he crawl in and out at this point.  Then I found the FunPod.  Perfect except the price tag so I was able to convince Dad to make it with Big Brother as a birthday gift.  It took them a day and a half plus about $80 (over 1/2 off a FunPod) to make and it is perfect.  He’ll deny it if you ask him but my hubby is so handy!  

Cisco is loving his Learning Pod.  He has especially enjoyed access to the drawers so he can empty them.

Violin Book 1 Graduate


Another big accomplishment at the end of the year was that after 4 years of study, Big Brother graduated Book 1 of Suzuki Violin. He had to graduate each piece at a Book 2 level and he did it beautifully and ended it with a great group concert with his studio. I really feel he has a great foundation now. It was, however, bittersweet. For predominately financial reasons but also for changing goals we have had to switch to a studio that is more conventional. We miss our old teacher that was the example of every good Suzuki teacher and group classes (well, brother does but I’m glad to get my Saturdays back) but we have found another great teacher for different reasons that seems to be a better fit right now.

Big Brother is now studying Suzuki Book 2 (he insisted on continuing with the his beloved Suzuki songs), note reading and fiddling. Overall we are operating at a less intense pace that is resulting in less stressful practice sessions and more ownership by Big Brother. Violin had become a point of contention even though Big Brother insisted on continuing violin. We recently enjoyed a fiddle session with the new studio followed by observing a group of more advance students work on a Bach piece. Even dad participated. It was great fun. I’m feeling more balanced and hope it continues to be a good trade for Big Brother.

A Week in the Life of a Homeschooler


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I have gotten a little more flexible on the days of the weeks we do things so I’ll start with our weekly assignments this past week:
1. Daily Math 5-a-day problems to practice
2.  Introduce Division in Math (although he know division verbally)
3.  Complete  Primary Language Lessons 24 & 25
4.  Practice writing by writing names for envelopes we are sending to family
5.  Practice reading in everyday life
6.  Ch. 13 of Story of the World 
7.  Start Triop experiment for “Show What You Know Fair”
8.  Practice violin daily
9.  Go to violin class weekly
10.  Enjoy afield trip to the American History Museum
11.  Listen to books on tape in the car:  We just finished the entire “Little House” series and we finished “The Incredible Journey” this week.

What we actually did this past week:

– Math Practice
– Listen to SOTW3, Ch. 13
– Primary Language Lessons 24
– Mom read
– Read to little brother
– Practice Violin
– Tae Kwon Do
– 4-H – Settle Exploration in the woods
– Watch “Downton Abbey” 

– Explore frozen bubbles and ice (abnormally cold day)
– Work on Mayflower model
– Play Professor Noggin “North American Animals” and “Human
– Math practice
– Violin practice
– Read
– Watch “My Cat From Hell” episode

– Math Practice
– Mom read 
– Practice Violin
– Learn/review Division
– Build a special LEGO for the show what you know fair and realize researching and growing a triops is a better option.
– Mom had an appointment with the shutter contractor.
– Violin class
– Watch documentary on the filth of London during the plague and great fire on Discovery Education
– Watch “My Cat from Hell” episode

– Brother read to Cisco in Spanish
– Math practice
– Practice Violin
– Tae Kwon Do
– visited the America History Museum and ran into friends

– Practice Math
– Practice Violin
– Do Primary Language Lesson 25
– went swimming at the indoor pool
– started Triops experiment

I thought I would also note, every day generally includes Big Brother independently reading graphic novels (he comes home with a new pile each Sunday when we go to the library), and building LEGOs.

How is our Schedule Doing After the Holidays?


Our established schedule from the fall worked pretty well.  We have had some nice breaks with 2 weeks visiting family for Thanksgiving and the 2 weeks of a stay-cation with dad for Christmas.   

We had a good time with family for Thanksgiving enjoying the country with Grandpa and Dad’s family, and visiting all our family in the city getting early Christmas gifts, late birthday gifts for Big Brother and lots of love.  Then for Christmas we dedicated our time to a family movie each day (we rotate who gets to choose) and regular boardgames including a 4 hour complete game of Risk.  I was so impressed that Big Brother completed the game and enjoyed every minute.  We also helped Dad make Tamales twice and enjoyed Christmas dinner with longtime friends we call our local family.

As for school, “Math on the Level” is still a wonderful fit for us, and we are progressing well with “Primary Language Lessons”, “Story of the World 3” and “BFSU”.  Although things were considerably slowed down with all the vacationing, I feel that we learned so much about each other and the world around us while not doing formal school.  Big Brother also did a lot of LEGO building as usual.  I use to resist this but it is a true passion and he learns so much while building, following directions, as well as creating his own things.  He wants to be a LEGO engineer when he grows up.