Sunday, September 22, 2013

Reading goodies

Carrie at The Parenting Passageway is talking about visual challenges and reading in a two part series. I am on the edge of my seat waiting for part 2.

Renee at FIMBY has a child who was a late reader and in this week's post talks about a collaborative approach to learning (and essentially how she works with her kids until they are ready to work on their own).

From my own research on the topics of late reading, dyslexia and vision related reading problems, here are a few resources I found helpful:

The Well Balanced Child, by Sally Goddard Blythe

Better Late Than Early, by Raymond Moore

Primary Phonics Storybooks, Sets 1-6

Monday, September 16, 2013

Reading goodies

  • More wisdom from Lori Pickert this week on the value of self-directed learning. This is an area I'd like to pay more attention to myself:
I’ve seen parents mention how fun it was to pull together books and activities for their child’s interest — totally oblivious to the fact that their child could have had that fun. - See more at:
 "I've seen parents mention how fun it was to pull together books and activities for their child's interest--totally oblivious to the fact that their child could have had that fun."
  •  A Poem a Day!? Does that not sound delicious? My friend sent me this one this week and I read it with tears running down my cheeks. I am going to spend some time reading here.
  • Due to a nasty cold that struck me this week, I had to put reading aloud to my kids on hold (a serious tragedy here). My oldest two took over for me and did the nightly reading with the littles. So sweet to hear! Jack and Annie stories seem to be a good compromise: enough pictures for the littles and an interesting story for the bigs.
  • And while the bigs were reading to the littles and I was miserable in my bed, I did some reading of my own: The Prodigal Summer, by Barbara Kingsolver. I haven't read that author since before I had my kids. Another little return to myself. 
**As a side note, the study of Rome continues into week #7! THE BEST to see a kid wanting more and more! Loving it!

I’ve seen parents mention how fun it was to pull together books and activities for their child’s interest — totally oblivious to the fact that their child could have had that fun. - See more at:

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The cost of perfection

The house is officially on the market. And my well-lived-in house needs to look picture perfect given an hour's notice. The odds are against me. Four messer-uppers in the house and two cleaner-uppers. You can see what I'm up against.

Keeping the house completely clean all the time when there are four kids in the house is challenging. Keeping the house completely clean all the time when I want to support my kids in being active, creative and imaginative.....clean up is my full time job right now.

I know I could put them in front of the TV or the computer. It would minimize the mess. And there are desperate times when I have done this and will continue to do this (like when the realtor calls and says we have a showing in an hour and the kids are doing more fighting about who made the mess than they are cleaning up the mess).

But the rest of the time, when there are no showings scheduled but we are just mindful that at any moment we could get the one hour warning, I just want to keep living my beautiful life. So, the play dough is still out, the paints are still out, forts are still being built in my basement, dinners are still being eaten on my screened porch. And at the end of the day, the two cleaner-uppers make the rounds with the vacuum and the glass cleaner and our home will go back to looking like no one really LIVES here.

I have a renewed understanding of what it takes to keep a house so clean. It means my kids are either not around much or they are watching TV instead of building Lego cities or puzzle museums. It means that instead of reading or doing yoga at the end of my day, I'm vacuuming the kids' dinner off the screened porch floor and wiping their finger prints off the glass door. It means that instead of visiting the farm on a Sunday, I'm pulling weeds or moving gravel around the yard. It means that instead of snuggling with my husband and unwinding from the day, we are running around the house to make sure each room is clean before we crash out, exhausted.

There are times when priorities need to shift to accomplish a goal. My hope for us is that our goal will be accomplished soon and we can get back to what makes our lives rich and wonderful. Because when we are so focused on appearance, much of the substance of our lives is missing and we aren't really LIVING the way we like to.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Reading goodies

Continuing our study of Rome, my son and I read In Search of a Homeland: The Story of the Aeneid by Penelope Lively. We enjoyed the presentation of the story of the fall of Troy and Aeneas' journey to Italy. The illustrations in this book are incredible!

Through our study of local history, my daughter and I discovered this artist who has been photographing and researching root cellars in the Flint Hills region of Kansas. We had the opportunity to hear him speak today. His photography is incredible and it added to my enjoyment of his artwork to hear him speak about his interest in this topic and the way he sees and thinks about the work that he's doing.

Jim Trelease was mentioned in several books that I have read lately, so I picked up The Read Aloud Handbook at my local library. Because I love, love, love reading aloud with my kids, I got very excited about this book, especially the first chapters where he describes all the reasons why it is important to read aloud to kids and all the ways kids benefit from read-aloud time. There are also many reading recommendations for kids of all ages. This book is worth owning!

In the bedside book basket this week: An Illustrated Treasury of Grimm's Fairy Tales and The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman.