Sunday, June 17, 2007

Kid News

Caleb has discovered "Alice in Wonderland." I left my copy of the Philosopher's Alice (a version with sidenotes about philosophy and nonsense) on the floor, and he found it and was instantly enamored with the fact that there was a child named "Pig" who turns into a pig. So I got Caleb the other version I have--one with side notes defining the more difficult words and with pictures of the less-common things mentioned in the book. He loves it, but he says he especially likes the second verse of "You are Old, Father William."

We found a fully-accredited k-12 public school that functions entirely online. It is the Branson School. Branson is a small town in Colorado, .3 miles from the New Mexico border, with a population of 77. No joke. But the Branson School Online provides computers and teachers, curriculum, feedback, etc. The kids stay at home with parents as teachers, but they are enrolled in school and provided with all the "stuff" that public school kids get (books, field trips, etc). Because it is public school, everything is free. Because Colorado supports school choice, the school is filled on a first-come, first-served basis. So we applied. It may be just the right thing for Caleb. Because it's online, it is individualized, and they say they want school to fit in the family's schedule, instead of the other way around. They don't do letter grades, but do have evaluations. I am excited about the possibilities inherent in doing a school all online. I hope we aren't seriously disappointed. If we are, there is another --the Colorado Virtual Academy that is both charter school and virtual school, all online, and based out of a suburb of Denver, so they also have regular outings and stuff. How did I not know about all this before?

Anyway, on to the other kids:

Anda is reading well now. She won't do it on demand, but likes to read to herself, and, when questioned, really is reading. Most days her name is Baby Kitty. Or Becca (then she makes me be Anda or Tim. Talk about confusing!). Sometimes she's Scruffy the Tugboat (remember when Caleb was Soonle Great? Scruffy is a different character from the same movie). Sometimes she's Perdita, and then one of the others of us has to be Pongo (from 101 Dalmations). Sometime's she's Kiki (from Kiki's Delivery Service). Sometimes she's something else. Talk about confusing. To add to the confusion, sometimes the kids go play in their room, and sometimes they go play on the "Highland Sennec Ship"--their bunkbed, I mean rocket.

Daniel is verbalizing a lot of things, and he sees the world in a unique way. For example, when the Baby's binkie falls out, he says, "Oops! Fell Off. Back on..." and he tries to put it back in. Upside down. He's very consistent about that. One day "Benj'nin" wouldn't take the binkie. He kept spitting it back out. I heard, "Fell off. Back on. Fell off. Back on. Fell off." Then Dan came trotting over to me and said, "Fix it," and handed me the binkie.

A few days later, I took off his very soggy diaper (he always says that, too, "Not poopy, mom. Soggy.") and then got distracted before I got another diaper on him. When I turned around, he was just starting to pee on the floor. I shouted, but my arms were full of baby and I couldn't get a diaper on him just that seconds, so I said, "Run outside" (the back door was open) "and pee out there." So he ran outside, and I got distracted again. About two minutes later, I was finally putting down the baby, and Dan ran back inside bawling. I said, "What's wrong!" and he said, "Doesn't work!" and cried and cried. I finally figured it out--he hadn't been able to pee outside after I startled him, and he thought he was broken!

So that's Dan. Cute as ever.

Benj is getting cute, too. He smiles more and more, and loves to have a two-way "Conversation" of goos and coos. He likes to talk to his painting of black and white flowers that hangs over my rocking chair. And he seems to have respiratory allergies. I spent several days trying to pinpoint the one thing it probably was. Then I realized it was probably all of the things--the cottonwood fluff, the pollen, the dog that came to visit, the perfume in Relief Society, the mold that we found in the swamp cooler pads, dust, etc. Poor kid. He's only 7 weeks old, and he's already smashed with hay fever. He'll probably have asthma, too.

Now all the grandmas and aunts and uncles have been duly updated. You can go back to reading your email again.

1 comment:

C. Wilson said...

Hey Becca,

I was happy to hear about your finding an online school. The one that we use is the same online k-12 program that the Colorado Virtual school uses. Because the program also registers the kids through the district (if you want to get the free stuff), you also get to participate in the outings/field trips.

Beth-el has had the opportunity to do lots of fun stuff, plus she still gets to enter the school contests, etc, if she's interested. All in all, we've enjoyed the program, though at first we didn't like the teacher "evaluations (a weekly e-mail inquiry from a supervisor/coordinator)." We worked it out so that it wasn't intrusive though. We also really loved having all the materials shipped to us for free. The program helps take the pressure off of me to design and organize a curriculum for Beth-el.

We are going to do it again for next year, though we have chosen to do Saxon math instead of their math program (luckily, they're flexible enough to let you pick and choose which subjects of theirs you want to do), and we also aren't going to do the music program (we're using a different method).

The only thing that I really didn't like was the evaluation that the parent was required to fill out at the end of each and every lesson. We adapted it so that I wasn't really making Beth-el answer all their questions (too much like a test). I evaluated her learning myself through the lesson naturally, and then filled out the evaluations when I had time. They also kept track of attendance--though you don't have to have used their program that day to count attendance--as long as your child does some sort of school or learning during the day, it counts as attendance. But filling out the attendance and evaluations seemed daunting sometimes! I only got around to it every week or so.

The program is flexible enough that you can also just use their provided curriculum as a guideline--if you don't like the way the lesson goes, just adapt or change it. I never repeated or reviewed things with Beth-el as often as the materials suggested-- she would have been completely exasperated with me! It's a nice tool to have at your disposal though, and getting weights, scales, microscopes, manipulatives, art supplies, reading books, etc. for free is really great too.

Anyway, good luck with it, and let us know how it goes!