Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Life Lessons: Time Management for dummies

     Do you ever have days where you feel like the White Rabbit? "We're late! We're late! We're very very late!!" says the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. Yeah, that white rabbit. Not the Easter Bunny. 
     These days I find myself contemplating time and how I spend it. A typical day consists of us leaving the house at some point with me saying how we're running late, spending chunks of time in the car because we live in the middle of nowhere, most likely eating out because I wasn't prepared or forgot something in our haste, and then feeling frustrated that I haven't taught the kids the things I wanted to on any given day. I could use a hand in the time-management department, obviously. 
     I've been making small changes, trying to bring our thermos's when we leave the house for example, in hopes that small changes become habits for us all. Having cool water and a cannister of grapes got us from today's activity to home without complaints of thirst or anyone actually dying of hunger. Only being 11 minutes from home also helped -  the kids didn't even have time to annoy each other on such a short drive :) 


Friday, April 1, 2011

March 2011 Reading List

Sometimes you get what you want. And sometimes you don't! How true. Such a simple story with a big message. I think I'll find myself saying this phrase instead of the standard "Life isn't fair" that has already been beaten to death and lost it's meaning to my children. 

A Place for Zero proved to be entertaining for both kids, which kind of surprised me but in a good way. Zero doesn't know where he belongs, he feel useless and is unsure of where he fits in. Count Infinity helps him find his place if addition, but he still thinks that there is something else out there for him. He tromps off to the castle to see Kind Multiplus and asks to be multiplied. He finds a new use for himself, but still looks for more. In simply standing next to another number, he sees how big he can really be. He can change a 1 to a 10! Great book about both math and belonging. 

I liked this book so much that I'm putting it on my Amazon shopping list. It combines art with math, giving kids a sample of several famous artworks while asking them to count. Creating several combinations to add to the same number was not as easy at it looked from first glance, as Nic can attest to. This author is a new favorite of mine and I'd like to have all of his math books on hand for the kids!

I really enjoyed reading this one aloud. The repetition was fun and also kind of a tongue twister. The artwork was also really vibrant and I would definitely consider framing some of the pages, if this weren't a library copy. 

The Magic Tree House is a series, but we started on #2, The Knight at Dawn. During last months bookclub we heard all about #1 and it reminded me that I had this book, purchased a couple of years ago and left to collect dust on the bookshelf. Nicholas had said that he wasn't interested, that he had read one of these books back in public school days. I know they are beneath his grade level now, but it made for a fun read-aloud book for both kids. The sentences are simple and the story is short with just enough new vocabulary and educational stuff thrown in to make it appealing to both kids. We have the next 2 books in the series on reserve at the local library, and I'll try to just stick to the order from here on out.

Here is our current chapter book. This story is told from the viewpoint of a 10 year old boy, a fictional character named James, who is onboard The Beagle with Mr.Charles Darwin. Nic seems to enjoy listening, but Sydney insists that she doesn't like this one. She still listens though, just while she plays with puzzles on the floor, and jumps up for an opportunity to see the pictures. I like that the story is told from a child's perspective but deals with true events. 

On more book related news, both kids participated in what I am deeming the "Book Report Club". Nic and I worked on writing an actual report for one of his club penguin books, and this helped IMMENSELY with his confidence in speaking in front of others. His report was short and sweet, much like his book choice, and he also added a picture to help explain his book. I was really proud of him!! Sydney made a Fancy Nancy picture to go along with her report on Fancy Nancy and the Posh Puppy. Once we were there at the meeting she decided to "read" her book to the group. She has the whole thing memorized because she chooses it as her bedtime story so often! I thought they both did great and I'm planning on going back for more meetings. Great practice for speaking in groups, I think that's a pretty good life skill :)