I don’t want to….

“I don’t want to get beat.”

“I don’t want to get killed.”

That is what my little Professor told me when he knew I was angry.  I had tried to hide it.

“Professor, if you are going to poop on yourself, you’re going to have to clean it up.  Stand in the tub til you are clean.”  I handed him wipes and a Wal-Mart bag.  I walked out.  He cleaned up pretty well.  Of course, there was poo in a few places despite my trying to contain it.

“{Adult Daughter’s name}….argh.”

That is when he looked up at me, in the hallway, and said it.  It was so matter-of-fact.

ETA:  I thought maybe I should finish this story when I told hubby about it.  It might not surprise you that not long after all this, Professor pooped himself again (how come kids who don’t poop over-much generally can poop so much when they need it to say something?).  I put him him the tub with wipes and a Wal-Mart bag.  He “cleaned up.”  He had poop ALL over him.  I put him back in the bathroom and told him to clean up, giving him more wipes.  He comes back out clean-ish. I walk back to the bathroom to put him through a quick shower and saw it.  Poop smears all over the carpet.  Goodness.  My daughter steam cleaned the carpet.  I started him bathing.

Then we went to the park.

I had planned to write about something else today, but this made me cry.  I walked out the outside trash with his wipe bag and wondered if I can continue doing this.  How much more heartbreak for my kids can I handle?

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OB: House Rules

Originally posted on Old Blog on February 10, 2011

Okay, so one of the forms we have to fill out, for each child, is one that outlines the rules as well as positive and negative consequences associated with those rules.  It is my opinion that rules should be general and that everything falls under one of a handful of rules. Actually, they probably all fall under, in some way or another, the first one, but…  And of course, I completely get that littles will need plenty of time and exposure to understand what these big words and concepts mean. We obviously did pretty well teaching the first two so I’m pretty confident with the next set 🙂 So here are the rules and consequences for our home:

Be Respectful

  • of yourself,
  • of your parents,
  • of others, and
  • of property

Take Responsibility

  • for your chores,
  • for your education,
  • for your choices, and
  • for your behavior

Be Safe and Helpful, including

  • follow directions
  • use walking feet inside
  • When in doubt, ask an adult!

Positive Consequences:

  • Appreciation
  • Praise
  • Recognition
  • Encouragement
  • Additional opportunities

Guidance-based Consequences:

  • Problem-solving, Solution-finding
  • Making amends
  • Practice helps us remember
  • Tighter boundaries

Neato :)

So schooling is still not going the way I want it to.  Sometimes, though, I think that is just as much of a blessing as it is a problem!  

In the past week, Professor (age 3) has learned almost every letter sound.  As of yesterday, he had a little trouble with e, i, u, and l.  Those make sense to me really.  First, vowels for Texan children just *are* harder. We simply say them strangely.   And L can be a challenge, especially if you don’t use the “la-la” version.  But in a week to get 20+ is just so cool!   

So I decided to try a few simple words.  I ran up against the same thing with him that I had with T-lo.  Letter sounds all day long; but /c/ /a/ /t/ never turned into cat.  

BUT!!!!

But T-lo got it!  I decided to use more easily blendable sounds like M and F and S rather than C, B, and P.  And now T-lo can do them all.  Once he got the idea, he just took off!  I figure we may still have a few issues. This morning he was writing words like pig and hug (though we started with just /at/ words).  YAY!

So other topics of interest:  

  • counting by fives and telling time (obviously the latter is a little harder than the former)
  • multiplying small numbers
  • multiplying with zeros (3000 * 200)
  • place value (where *does* that comma go?)
  • adding for the boys
  • ocean animals
  • dinosaurs
  • geography (you’ll notice this is always a fave.  BTW, Professor is doing great catching up with the others on that also!)
  • writing letters (though Tumbler likes to write stories, lists, etc)
  • Swimmer is reading well but still working on confidence and speed

Obviously we touch on a number of things in a day.  

So part of me says that is a fairly full course of study over the week.  The other of me says I still wish we sat down more/longer and “did school” a little more formally and systematically.  I don’t think it is absolutely necessary at these ages (2-7), just how I would prefer to homeschool.

Then there is Heidi. She’s a superstar too!  Her heel is beautiful once she gets going.  She is doing her job around the house a bit more.  She loves playing outside with the kids.  SHe’s jumping and mouthing a LOT less.  She’s 8½ months old and all puppy, but a good puppy 🙂  

Lots of learning in the H household.  Actually, I think I may be learning the most.  Professor and Doc are giving me a run for it.  They have some real issues going on.  They’ll come along, but I think it is going to take them a little longer than average, maybe, to trust they are safe here and they aren’t going anywhere.  I’m going to learn some patience as well as how to reach these individual kiddos.

 

How Busy Are We?

I lost  half of this post and now it has been three extra weeks so I’m going to try to write this another way. Hopefully it gives the information I want to give 🙂

So three weeks ago, we got new kiddos.   Their official blog/board names are Professor (the 3yo boy), Doc (the 2yo girl) and Little Lamb (who turns 4 months next week).  So what is it like at the beginning of a placement?

First, obviously you have the children.  These ones seem so young, but being advanced probably actually makes it harder for them.  Where preverbal trauma of being removed from mom and dad may be worse in some ways, especially long term, it seems that children like these struggle the most because they can understand some aspects, but not enough to make sense of it.  They tend to be more verbal about it, more questioning, more anxious.  Or maybe it just seems that way because they can verbalize it.  But behaviorally, these kids also tend to be a bit tougher.  At least that is my experience so far.  Obviously comforting the children, giving them what they need, helping them the best we can is duty number one.

But unfortunately, in the first days, there is a TON of work to be done.  Let me outline some of that.

First, I have to put together folders for each child for all their documentation.  I start with placement papers and medical consenters.  I got a few other documents with these kids.  Some kids come with a lot. For example, I had a whole folder worth with my (now adopted) children.  Some kids come with court papers.  Others come with nothing extra.

When children come with medication, that has to be dealt with also.  Medication logs are printed out and filled out with pertinent information.  All I have to do is initial and put the time for each date for each medication after the paperwork is set up.

Whether they come with any items or not, inventory needs to be taken.  Most of the time, that means going shopping in order to have the minimum requirements of things like socks and shirts and pajamas. When kids come with a bunch of mis-matched stuff that doesn’t fit, it makes it a little tougher because all that has to be documented but they still need the minimum requirements of what they *can* wear.  So right away, you’re trying to give them a wardrobe and document it.

We also have to have, posted, a schedule and home rules for each child.  Now, of course, we have general rules such as “respect property” and “respect others,” even more detailed such as “use polite words” or whatever.  But for each child, there has to be personalized rules.  Well, except you’ve known the kids 24 hours at this point.  How do I know whether we need to focus on polite words or keeping hands to self?

Then there are appointments:

  • Placement exams are scheduled as soon as possible.  In these children’s case, I needed in to see the doctor regarding the one immediately because I was worried she was eating and breathing well enough!  Turns out there was a lot regarding that but we did beautifully.  Also, one child needed a “sick child” exam right away.  
  • Dental exams are also scheduled as soon as possible.  The baby won’t get hers until 6 months old.  The 2yo will have one every 3 months.  The 3yo is on the regular every six month schedule.
  • The placement worker at the agency needs to come out immediately.
  • Our home’s agency worker needs to come out about day 7.
  • The CASA sets up an appointment to come out.
  • The children have a lawyer so needs to come out
  • ECI does evaluations for all children under 3 years old.
  • A psychologist does an evaluation for all children three years old and older.
  • Visits with parents start as soon as possible (investigators here are supposed to give the parents at least one visit and they often will do a second in order to make it easier for the regular worker after the 14 day hearing).
  • Any appointments that are child specific have to be taken care of.  This is where we got hit bad this time.  The baby already had a team of doctors and appointments set up.  Additionally, because the parents didn’t make their last visit, the surgical team set up a team meeting for us a few days into care so she would still be able to have surgery on time (next week).
  • We waited this time, but we ended up setting up play therapy also.  Oftentimes, I set up play therapy before the children even walk through the door though.

Add that we actually had 8 hours of training set up for the week the kids got here too.

I had to, also, do end of care documentation for the last set of kids since they left the same day these kids came.  For example, that meant I had SIX monthly reports to do (one for each of the three who had left and one for each of the new three).

Additionally, supervision and discipline is a little different at the beginning of a placement as kids have to learn how we do things, we have to learn how they do, etc.  These kids didn’t listen AT ALL at first. They still often need you to be ready to help them comply (or at least pay attention so they can comply).  The older two put a LOT of things in their mouths A LOT.  The 2yo also puts stuff in every other “hole.”  We also have never had two kids bicker as much as these two do.  And then they weren’t potty trained so we had to do that which went really well until visit last week when Professor started having issues with it.

And of course, don’t forget we have a life.  I have two young adult children. I have six children under the age of 7.  We have to play a lot.  We homeschool.  We enjoy the park a lot and gymnastics.  We still have to cook and clean like anyone else (well, actually, I guess it is really more than most families, huh?).

And on top of all this, I got sick the weekend the kids got here.  Now, ideally this wouldn’t be a big deal, but it has turned into one.  I am hoping that the doctor figures out what is wrong soon.  I actually do think I feel a little better this morning. I hope!  I did set up for Doc and Professor to go to another foster home for today.  I’m hoping that helps a little both during and after Little Lamb’s appointment. Maybe one more day of rest before I get on with our week will work well for me.

So I have a couple more partially written posts too.  Hopefully I’ll start getting them posted.

iTooch Apps by EduPad – A Mosaic Review

So another review we’ve been working on is for iTooch.  For other reviewer’s opinions, please click here.

iTooch is by Edupad.  They actually have quite a few apps on a variety of subjects and levels.  Here are just two of the five screen shots I could have taken from the app store:

photo (3)

photo (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The program also comes in Windows 8 and Android.  Actually, as I was reading some of the reviews, it sounded like the Android versions were actually a little better in a few ways.  I’ll try to mention those as I do this review.  Again, please see the other reviews if you want to consider which system to use these on.

So if you want to do high school math or French or 5th grade language arts, you can.  THere is also a program called Recess for playing.  I really enjoyed playing that one, actually.  There are two games.  On one, it calls out a color and you tap that color bubble.  If you miss though (the bubbles are moving!), you’ll end up with another bubble, another color, which will mean it takes you more time to clear the screen which is the goal.  The other recess game is a math game.  It gives you an equation and you have to fill in the missing digit and operation.  Here is a screen shot of each game:

image_9 image_10

So my daughter is 7 so I had her try out the Elementary program and we downloaded the 3rd grade math and language arts trials.  There were lots of options though: image_8

So my daughter liked the program in general.  It is appealing visually.  The “little dude” is fun. From reviews, it seems he is even more fun on an Android device. My fave “little dude” was when he turns to stone because you’ve sat there so long.  However, the moment you move the iPad, he isn’t stone again so I couldn’t get a screen shot!

The app gives positive feedback along the way.  The biggest issue I had with it for my daughter (who was getting irritated about it) was that the student has to actually choose to go from practice mode to the evaluation mode.  Obviously, not all 7 year olds or 9 year olds know when that time should be.  Additionally, the test questions were exactly the same as the practice questions.  The only difference was that you couldn’t look back at the lesson and that there were a limited number of test questions.  Now, this is one area it seems is not the same on the Android version.  Another reviewer talked about it moving the student from practice to testing.  

Here are some screen shots to give more information:

This one is during the test.  As you can see, there are only going to be six questions total.  It is timed (the yellow bar on the side).  There is positive feedback when you get it correct

image_6

This shot shows a positive response during the practice mode.  On the side, it looks like there is a limited number of questions. However, you can keep doing them forever.  Unfortunately, my 7yo did!
image_5

Here is a a screen when you make a mistake.  It tells you the right answer.  It is nice and low key which is nice for younger students.

image_4

The below is a lesson screen.  The student can come to this screen any time during the practice session to go over the lesson.  image_3

The following two screens are just of me playing with the work space.  Again, not intuitive for a young student and actually unnecessary on the part she was working on (language arts).  However, if you needed to do double digit multiplication or were learning how to do basic multiplication, needing graphics, this page is a nice way to work.  Have I mentioned that I love that the blackboard looks used instead of perfectly black?
image_2 image

Lastly, there is the evaluation screen.  I like that it is color-coded.  If the circle is not yet colored in, it means the student hasn’t taken the test on it yet.  If it is orange (or is it red?), it means the student scored a B- or lower.  Green is B+ or better.  A yellow star is for 100%.

image_1

So this gives you an idea of what the app is like.  I think with a little direction, most 6-9 yos could do it without getting too frustrated.  And an older child probably would have been just fine with the less intuitive parts anyway.  I do like that the Android version seems to have automatic evaluations though as well as even more cute graphic activity.  

I give these apps a thumbs up.  If you’re looking for a cute, fun, educational app, you might look at the iTooch apps by Edupad 🙂

 

 

 

Math Mammoth – Mosaic Review

So I’m a math person.  I love math.  I enjoy math.  I find math exciting.  I find math relaxing even.  I like math.  My first two kiddos were math people also.  One could see the math of a rain storm. My daughter learned multiplication when we ran out of toilet paper so used paper towels.  She was 3 at the time.  She was multiplying fractions with an 8th grader I was tutoring.  She completed all of another curriculum’s 3rd through 6th grades in 4 months at almost seven.  She used my mother’s college algebra book at 7 and graduated high school a year late (at 16) with Calculus II and Statistics under her belt though I believe in using multiple math programs, not just one.   The other actually struggled with algorithms initially because he could just see math.  At four, he was doing pre-algebra programs. We’re just math people.

But I adopted three who aren’t mathy people.  There is no pulling out word problems for fun or teaching a little brother how to do FOIL.  In fact, it seems that K-3 math is really going to make us sweat.

Blue-Series-books-s

Enter Math Mammoth.  Now, full disclosure, we already own and use (in our own way), the full Math Mammoth Light Blue program for grades 1-6.  So for this review, I decided to get the Blue Series, Math Mammoth’s math topics curriculum.

For my review, I received the following:

  • Introduction to Fractions
  • Early Geometry
  • Measuring 1
  • Place Value 2

Let me start by saying how incredibly affordable these books are.  The most expensive book I saw on their site is only $7.50.  The Place Value 2 is only $2.25!  (***Note:  The prices are raising by 5% this month).  So if there is an area you need to supplement or focus on for whatever reason, the price is definitely right!

Second, I like that there are so many different activities.  There are hands on activities, ones where they have to continue along a line of thought, ones where they need to think about real life objects to figure out a concept.

One important part for less mathy kids is PLENTY of practice.  Of course, sometimes that is good for mathy kids also.  For example, when *I* was a child, I would have loved doing one problem after another.  But my daughter would have hated doing so much.  So she could have skipped some.  But my “new kids” (adopted in July 2012) need more practice so do most problems in each set.

I also like the scaffolding.  The fractions book is a good example. There are dots to guide the child.  There are directions to tell them exactly how to do it a certain way.  Questions lead them from what they’ve already told them to another part they were previously told.  For example, a question may say, “Divide this into fourths. Color 1/4.” Then it will ask how many little squares in 1/4 as well as how many little squares in the whole rectangle. They start small (1/4 or 1/2) then go to bigger numerators (3/4, 7/12, etc).  Then they move to the number line and later word problems.  Slow and steady, the student moves from super easy to much more challenging.

Another thing I really like is that my children had fun with the materials from day one.  One of the first things we did was the beginning of Measuring 1.  They went through the house measuring things with various objects.  In the below picture, they used their big brother’s shoes and their little foster brother’s shoes (seen by my daughter’s feet).  That really made units real to them!

MMMeasDay1

But let me say that my favorite part was how my children were able to run with the information.  I’ve been fussing with my daughter for over a year about Place Value.  She simply could not grasp it for whatever reason.  Though we haven’t finished the materials, she has been able to extrapolate further (at least able to know what questions to ask which is huge!) and to USE the information she has.  It isn’t just memorized information, but she truly has the concepts.

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