Dear Caleb’s Future Wife

Dear Caleb’s Future Wife,

Do you know what Caleb said to us yesterday? I hope you laugh when you read this. So cute:

“One day I’m going to make kids all around the world. I’m going to have 22. I mean 200. 2000!”

This is Caleb, holding up his Alabama poster. Caleb is seven, not even seven and a half.

I want you to know that Caleb already thinks about you, though. Once, we passed a field of yellow tulips, and Caleb said, “One day I’m going to give my wife hundreds of those.”

You’re welcome.

Only I can’t really take credit. Each boy is different, and Caleb is his own little man. This just is who he is. Right now he yells, “Ew!!! Girls!!!  Go away!!!” when girls come near our backyard, but rest assured, this is all for show.

Now as for the 2000 children. I don’t know what to tell you, but I thought you might wish for some warning. Sponsor an orphanage maybe?

Love, Your Crazy Future-Mother-in-Law with a Blog, April

artwork by Caleb

 

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Don’t forget that I’m nominated for Most Influential Blogger, and I’m starting to fall behind. Last I checked I was #8 (wahoo!), but that could change any second.  Thank you!!!!!

 

An Exciting Day for the PTA

staples steal

I mentioned on my recent post, about Caleb and his ADD diagnosis,that my friend Maureen sent me a thoughtful note in the mail that also included a Staples gift card. (Thank you again, Maureen!) I thought this was so cute. She said to consider it a donation to our PTA. 🙂

So…..tonight I cashed in. Check out these puzzles that I found for…….du du du………Woot!  50 cents a piece!!!

You might say I was kind of excited about this. I bought one of each kind of puzzle, two of the US states ones, since that is something we are working on a lot, and I happen to have two boys that are both learning their states and capitals.

Receiving an unexpected gift from a friend is something that will just make your day, isn’t it? Even a note or an email–just knowing, hey, there are people out there who are thinking about you–it goes a long way. This is a good challenge to me to make sure I do thoughtful things for others too!

As you can imagine, I’ve been thinking about the ADD thing a lot lately. You can bet there will be a post soon on good teaching strategies for ADD students. In the meantime, I’m experimenting.  I’ll tell you what doesn’t work: standing up at the board and talking to them…….total waste of air…..Joshua is excellent at concentrating on his work and staying on task. He just has a listening problem. Caleb, however, I’m still trying to figure out.

Today I decided to just ask him.

“Caleb, do you have trouble concentrating on what I’m saying when I’m talking to you, like at the board, in school?”

“Yeah! It just hurts, like right here. Right here (pointing to his eyebrows), when I’m trying to look up at the board it just hurts, and I can’t see it good, and I just can’t do it.”

hmmmm  Now there’s another thing that I should mention here. Caleb has sinus troubles. They come and go constantly, and they are definitely aggravated right now.

I also have sinus issues, and when I do, I get a headache in my forehead, in the eyebrow/nose bridge area. So, I can relate to what Caleb is saying. I’m going to need to give that poor boy some tylenol and some Mucinex before school. Tylenol is no problem, but I don’t have any Children’s Mucinex right now. If only going to the store were easier!!

I should probably also look into getting Caleb’s vision screened. We’ve had Joshua’s done, and his is perfect. Phew!

I think that Caleb, like Joshua, learns more by doing than by listening. I’m going to have to drum up some more hands on activities for Classical Conversations. CC has a lot of memory work, and that is hard for someone who doesn’t listen. There are two things that Caleb needs help with right now:  CC work (memorizing capitals, Latin, etc.) and Spelling. I switched his spelling program to k12reader.com. It’s free, and I was able to pick a list that is right for his level. That has helped a TON. The thing is, I’ve noticed he doesn’t internalize the word spellings from writing them, only from really discussing them with me, and spelling them out loud.

Don’t discount Caleb yet, though. He has many subjects that he excels at. He aces every math assignment I give to him. Goodness knows he LOVES science, and he has caught up on reading, too. He’s also really good at puzzles, cursive writing, and art. Caleb makes very clean, straight lines. His thoughts are very organized. For example, we gave the boys these design-your-own toothbrushes. Joshua’s looks like mine would look: a mess of stickers all over the place in all directions. (I understand, Jman, I do.) Caleb’s looks like Alan’s would look: everything on it is in parallel lines–perfect–no tape that stuck to itself, no disorder at all.

Here’s a cute picture that Caleb drew this week. He drew this just for the blog. It’s a scene from his FAVORITE book series, Elephant and Piggy:

“Caleb A (as in he gave himself an A–ha!)  Let’s Go for a Drive”

So far this is what I’ve learned about ADDish kids:  They don’t learn from listening. They learn from doing.

If I’m at the board, they do all the reading and writing. I just tell them what to write. My part has to be pretty minimal.

I’m learning more every day about this. It’s exhausting. Some days I randomly get these mystery fevers. I have no idea what’s wrong with me. I’ve started tracking it on my calendar and have found no pattern, other than sleep deprivation. Alan’s mother said that she used to get fevers when she was sleep deprived, so I’m seriously wondering if that’s my problem. Have any of you ever dealt with this sort of thing? It’s been going on since during my pregnancy with JD, but happening more lately.

I’ll leave you with this photo of Caleb, hard at work. I make them do all of their most consuming, not fun, work first thing in the morning, while they are still fresh. That has worked really well. They do their math worksheet, writing, spelling, and character lessons during the 9-10am block, every day. I’m starting to find ways to ease some CC memory work into their writing assignments.

Of course, Daniel finishes anything I give him, crafts included, in 15 minutes and then asks me for more work. This kid will be starting his K4 books in January. I don’t care if he is still 3. He is ready. Don’t you love his war paint? It’s just part of the package, ya’ll!

Okay. Now I really must go do this:

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”

Matthew 7:7-8

Work, work, work, work, work

He takes about 10 steps a day, but he still crawls most of the time. Apparently JD is a gradual, gradual, gradual learner. 🙂

We were hoping to go to Moss Landing today and check out the whales. But not so fast. My friend Sarah found a used fence for sale for me, so instead, Alan is digging fence holes today. We bought a chain link fence. It’s required in our neighborhood to put up a trampoline, and you know my boys have to have their trampoline.

Seriously, if you have little boys and room for a trampoline, there’s nothing I could recommend more highly. We get the kind with the safety net, and they spend hours on it.

I don’t do fence holes, so my goal is to catch up on laundry and maybe unpack a box.

I’ve noticed that I tend to exaggerate towards the negative. The truth is we only have 4 boxes upstairs and one downstairs left to unpack. It’s been that way for a week. We do have about 10 left in the garage, though. Alan needed a bucket today, and we couldn’t find one!

So here’s what’s new with us this past week: the craziness on camera

That was all during “seatwork” time. I met an angel in disguise at the curriculum fair where I bought my A Beka books. She said, “Now your schedule is not going to look like your friends’, and that’s okay. When those babies take their nap, that’s when you are going to teach the math and the grammar. Those are the things where the big ones will really need your undivided attention.”

I have treated that as gospel truth. There was one day where I tried to do Caleb’s phonics and reading while JD was awake: huge mistake. JD wanted to practice walking to me and get lots of cheering, but Caleb really needed me to listen to him read. Lesson learned.

This is what seatwork time looks like when all is going well. 

The modern method for teaching writing, which was used at Caleb’s last school, worked great for Joshua, but failed Caleb completely. They have open-ended questions that kids as young as kindergarten are supposed to answer and just spell their words phonetically.  Since Caleb couldn’t read and didn’t have a good grasp on phonics, he would just panic and not write anything at all. Therefore, Caleb was learning nothing about writing at school for the past two years.

Instead, I am using the Classical method of teaching writing. Caleb writes all day, but not from his head. He copies. He copies, and copies, and copies. I give it to him in attainable chunks. This way he is learning through actual writing. He is seeing how words are spelled correctly. I think this will pay off big time.

Even if I send my kids back to public school in the future years, this could be used to help a struggling writer in the after school hours.

Daniel tossed this puppet in the trash can about 5 minutes after we finished it. Oh well.

I know I’m his mom, but I was seriously impressed with Caleb’s snail drawing. Way to go, Caleb!

So two weeks down!!! I was definitely a nicer, less stressed person this week than I was last week. I don’t think I handle heavy stress very well. 

I have tried everything to get JD to sleep better at night. Nothing has worked. Finally, two nights ago, I gave it over to hard, devoted prayer. There are many ways to pray: half-hearted, absent-minded, and then there’s the hard core prayer: where you are begging God for help. He listens really well to that last kind. For two nights now, JD has gone from sleeping 5 hours straight only, to sleeping 8 or 9 hours straight.  My prayers were answered. I’m going to keep praying.

Do you know what the hardest part about living here is? I know that this amazing ocean full of sea mammals is minutes away from my door, and I’m always too busy with work to get out there. It’s calling my name, and I cannot answer!!  Yesterday I had two errands to run: Staples and grocery store. I snuck off to the beach on my way. I only stood on the sand for 5 minutes and watched the waves crash into the shore, but it still helped!!  I VOW to take all of my family to that beach before Labor Day Weekend is over. 

Yesterday I just reminded myself: No, I do not have free time, and life is a whole lot of work right now. But you know what? I have something way better than free time. I am important. I am needed. I have an abundance of purpose. I remember when we first got married, and I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do or be. I felt like I had no purpose. I can’t even imagine that now. This craziness, these children, this life is the greatest blessing I will ever have. Praise the Lord.

 

 

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