May turned out to be FULL of reading. For personal and for work. Let's dive right into it, shall we...
They've all made diet and exercise changes -- well, the ones who reversed pre-diabetes claims made changes. The ones who switched to artificial sweeteners and meds to control things are just needing ever higher doses of meds to maintain -- and they definitely have full-blown diabetes now.
I'm cool with dietary changes, but I'm less cool with extreme exercise. Honestly, I've done the hour+ long workouts for years. I had great muscles. I didn't have much else, including a life. Now I've got little kids at home and less time than I ever thought possible. Hour+ long workouts are behind me for the foreseeable future.
Which leads directly into the next book...
Aside from the weight gain and inflated spare tires, on the days that I drink a soda I get mood swings -- bad ones. It's like I used to be quite regularly when my blood sugar would drop and I'd get all hangry. When I avoid the soda and sugary snacks, no more hangry.
I'm going to continue with this new eating method. It's working for me and I am seeing results -- maybe not a lot of weight lost but the stable moods, increased energy and mental clarity, and a less bloated figure are all highly desirable to me.
So, Homeschooling, left me thinking this process would be good, almost easy... and then I read 3 other books which gave varying information that I could either laugh along with or made me want to throw in the towel before I even started.
The Everything Homeschooling Book and The Homeschool Toolkit both made homeschooling feel possible. I mean, if the only thing I ever had to do was read about homeschooling, these two books would make me feel like I was succeeding at it.
If you live in a state that requires a lot of documentation, or ANY documentation, Low Cost/No Cost is probably well worth reading. It's definitely overwhelming though -- or at least thinking about curriculum in terms of goals and objectives broken down into neat little grids seemed that way to me. I'm guessing that my thinking is a bit higher level and board and that this book appears too much as a result.
I appreciate the author's honesty and realistic viewpoint. She's not seeking to prove that homeschooling is best (unlike so many other books on the topic). She's pretty much just trying to tell it like it is and give you, the reader, a dose of truth about it. Of the homeschooling books I've read, I'm liking this one the most.
For June I plan to read several books on marketing -- specific to book marketing as an author. Let's try and get me accountable by listing out my top 3.
As a reminder, I routinely BORROW books from the library to keep my costs down. I highly recommend visiting your local library to access these books. Of all the books I read this month, only Don't Waste Your Time Homeschooling is on my kindle app. The rest are all library borrows. (For June, 2 of those books are on my kindle app.)
And, because I don't want to violate any terms of service, here is my Amazon Associates declaration since ALL of the links are back to Amazon:
I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, as affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
Links to Prior Months
Lately I've been making my girls little skirts out of fabric pieces. It's like a skirt a month around here!
Other than thread and elastic, I'm trying to use only what I already have at home. This is also me attempting to reduce the size of my fabric stash. Here are the 2 skirts I made in April.
My youngest found this gauzy stuff in the clearance section of Joann's. It's Frozen themed with Elsa on it.
It's also awful to work with -- which is why both girls got waist bands made out of knits with the gauze gathered inside.
I cut my eldest's skirt at an angle to give it a dropped side effect. I hemmed the bottom with lace (because this stuff is seriously prone to fraying apart).
These are totally play skirts. I expect them to get ruined. They each took me about 2.5-4 hours to make.
I'm not going to lie to you and say, "Oh, these are easy and can be done in an hour."
I'm sure if you've been sewing a lot your entire life, they will be faster. Like, if you're my mother. She makes sewing look easy-peasy. She put the larger of the Cotton Fairy skirts together in an hour.
Yes, I had help on that one. Granted, it was AFTER I'd spent the better part of the day working on the smaller one!
I'm learning quite a bit with each of these and am very proud of how they turned out. I'm planning to create a few shirt modifications for myself in May. I'll tell you about those after I get them done and that's assuming I do get them done...
I remember going in for a parent/teacher conference a full 6 weeks ahead of the normal first quarter parent/teacher conferences. I figured this meeting would be about her continued need for speech therapy.
I was wrong. Way wrong.
Instead I learned that my child was behind in every subject, but mostly phonics and counting to 50.
The counting to 50 was easiest to fix. I cut 3x5 notecards in half and wrote the numbers 0-50 on them. We started going through them, well at least 20 of them, every night. Within a week, this issue was fast receding as an actual issue. Well, except for 11-19. Those numbers don't follow any real pattern which makes them harder to memorize. Still, 0-50 was looking pretty good.
Phonics versus Sight Words
Phonics... you've heard of them, right? You've heard how amazingly important they are to your kid, right? Well, honestly, I think phonics are important and overrated at the same time.
I never learned phonics. Whole words were the "learn to read" method of my time and the schools I attended. I went through my entire adolescence without ever learning them. AND I SURVIVED!
I know, you're totally amazed and in awe of me. I'll give you a minute to process it all....
Go ahead. Snort and roll your eyes at me. It's fine. I get it.
My eldest was/is learning phonics and struggling with it. Here's what was happening:
There was a disconnect between the letter sounds and the actual word.
The situation frequently become frustrating on both sides (parent and adult). There were tears. Soon my eldest was claiming, "I hate reading!"
It was a bad scene every night at our house. Homework caused so much pain. Phonics helped not one bit. If anything, phonics was making things worse.
Our kindergarten teacher wasn't helpful. To her way of thinking, phonics was the solution. But it wasn't working for us. Repeatedly focusing on phonics was causing too much stress.
We were lucky though -- and that luck appeared in a most surprising way.
During PreK-4 my eldest received speech therapy at our local public school. We had a relationship with the speech therapist, Ms. Amanda. Since speech therapy was still needed, I called up Ms. Amanda to have a meeting.
Now, in our state, when your child attends a private school, they receive services at the NEAREST public school. I tried to force my local public school to provide the services, but the superintendent was firm (stubborn and I'm still POed at him). We are still getting the necessary speech therapy though, so it's a win.
At the meeting with Ms. Amanda, the primary school principal and reading specialist were also present. The reading specialist assessed my eldest, said that she did need reading help, and provided us with a list of games and methods to improve her reading. We were grateful and they worked. (I'll post about those soon.)
The principal listened to me talk about where the breakdown was in phonics. She laughed. "Some kids don't get it."
I stared at her, flabbergasted. But she nodded and explained that she'd taught K, second, and fourth grade. In her years of experience, some kids simply did not "get" phonics initially. She claimed that comprehending phonics was not a teachable skill so much as a learned skill. Basically, she suggested we continue with the spelling and speaking of letter sounds, but allow our child to memorize the words. In other words, increase the number of sight words our child was learning.
With more words memorized, my eldest started to overcome her reading issues. Knowing more words increased her confidence and she was willing to try again. The tears stopped.
It wasn't perfect, but it was working.
Then the books came home.
After winter break, my eldest began bringing home 2 books per night to read and return. It was part of the class Bookworm Club. It was MORE homework.
I'm just going to go on record and say that homework in Kindergarten sucks. Big time.
The frustration and tears returned. The difference this time was that I wasn't willing to put up with it. If a book was too hard, we simply put it away. I told my daughter to tell her teacher it was hard and she needed a different book. Her teacher 100% supported this policy and willingly allowed book swaps.
But I took it one step further and asked my eldest to write books with me.
I made her an author!
Yes, I made her an author at the age of 6. And she loved it! Together we've written four books and are working on more.
Basically we pick a theme, like zoo animals. We write one sentence using sight words and then we sit together scrolling through images and my eldest picks the image she wants to use.
We are slowly publishing them so every kindergartener out there can read them. Plus, if we can do it, any kid can do it. Reading is something everyone can love. Our hope is that you will love reading as much as we do.
Introducing the I See Easy Reader Series:
Currently these are all print only. I published them early -- before the school year ended -- so my eldest could take them to school and show them to her teacher and friends. The ebook versions will release starting in June 2018.
We both hope you enjoy them and that, if you are learning to read, you have an easier time of it. It was our goal to make reading fun.
What do you think of how we've handled our reading challenges? Tell me in the comments below.