Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Into a Routine

For some reason, it's been a lot harder to get back into the school routine this year. I wasn't ready for summer to be over. I wasn't ready to start getting up at 5:05 and having everyone out the door by 6:10 a.m. I am still functioning on auto pilot that early. I normally don't get to bed until about 11:30 so 5:05 feels like the middle of the night.

Yet, that's the way it is. Back to homework, teacher conferences, IEP meetings and science fair plans. Right now Jasmine is working to get 60 3x5 note cards filled out with information about friction from six different sources. Then she has to write a three page typed report, conduct her experiment--three trials minimum and design her board. We already have the scientific plan sheet turned in. It looks like this:

Experimental Plan/Proposal
(Must be approved by instructor)
All responses need to be typed

Student’s Name: _Jasmine Cassel  Teacher: Mrs. Dolittle

A.     Question/Problem
How does road surface effect car speed?

B.      What is your research topic?

C.     Hypothesis:
If the road is rougher then the car will go slower because there is more friction

D.    Materials
·        Board to build race track
·        Dividers for lanes
·        Nails
·        Sand paper Fine P 100
·        Sand paper  Medium P 60
·        Sand paper Coarse P 40
·        Sand paper Extra Coarse P20
·        Glue
·        Four different style of matchbox cars
·        Stop watch
·        Notebook
·        Pen
·        Assistant

E.     Procedures
·        Build a ramp three feet long and two feet wide, divided into four lanes.
·        Cover each lane with a different coarseness of sand paper.
·        Time car #1 on each lane using a stop watch.
·        Record the times for each lane.
·        Repeat steps 3 and 4 with car #2.
·        Repeat steps 3 and 4 with car #3.
·        Repeat steps 3 and 4 with car #4.
·        Repeat the experiment three times for consistent results.

F.      Experimental Design

·        Independent Variable: Type of car, the roughness of the sand paper

·        Dependent Variable: Car speed

·        How will your dependent variable be measured? With a stop watch

·        Control: The sand paper extra coarse p 20.

·        Constants: Length of ramp, incline of ramp, weight of the cars, surface condition of the ramp

How many trials will you conduct? Three times

I was planning to put Kaleb in the other branch of the charter school next year from the one where Kayla is, but realizing that in two years they will start science fair projects and history fair projects, I am now planning to have them at the same school so they can work together on them!!

It's been a tough pet week here. Tuesday the 9th we gave the dogs their monthly trifexus (@ $18 each!). Scrappy was having problems breathing and was walking with a limp. By Friday his back  legs were not working at all, and he was laboring to breathe at all. Rick took him to the vet, but there was nothing to be done. They said he would never be able to use his back legs again. His heart was giving out and not doing his job, and he could barely breathe. He was at least 15 years old, maybe older. So we lost our buddy that day. We got him when Jasmine was about 3-4 months old. So she and the twins have grown up with him, and Adam doesn't remember life before him.

Travis, 19 months old
 We have to crush up the trifexus and mix it with canned food. They have to be fed one at a time so they don't take each other's food/medicine.
Sasha, seven months old

Scrappy, 15 years old

Caspian, 3 years old

Our daily schedule is pretty workable. On Monday evenings Jasmine has county Christian Youth Choir. On Tuesday Kaleb has tumbling, but we are dropping it at the end of the month. On Wednesday Jasmine has hip hop. (Jazz was moved to Thursday so we decided against doing it). On Thursday Jasmine has marching band from 2:45-4 and the twins have gymnastics. Nothing on Friday or Saturdays because we don't have anyone in soccer or baseball. They are all out the door by 6:10 a.m. and everyone is back to the house by 4:00 (which is a little long, but they are trying to work out the bus situation.)

Adam is playing city soccer on a church team on Thursday evenings.

Jessica is working at Applebees and counting down to the wedding--just over five weeks now. She is trying to go to open tumbling for adults on Thursday evenings (same time as Adam's soccer games of course!)

So, everyone has at least one extracurricular activity. And it seems to be going well so far. And that's pretty much our routine for now.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Learning Styles

School is back in session, and if you're like me, your child is already swamped with homework and the dreaded science fair project.

 On my blog for girls here, I posted about learning styles today and included a quiz from The Christian Girl's Guide to Me: The Quiz Book to help them figure out their learning style. It's just a fun quiz, though, and there are better online quizzes published by professionals in the field.

I thought for this blog, I post an article I wrote about kinesthetic learners several years ago. Leave your thoughts about learning styles in the comment section.

     As a mother, foster mother and former teacher, I've had the chance to interact with children from a variety of backgrounds. At times I've been told that a child doesn't have much potential. This isn't true. Every child has potential and can learn, but each will do it in his own way and time. When we discover how a child best learns, we can make the process easier and provide more chances for success.
      If a child isn't learning, have ears and eyes checked first. A child who can't see the blackboard or words a page won't learn well. A child who can't hear instructions has little chance of getting things right. Request testing to eliminate special learning disabilities such as dyslexia.
Learning styles
     If everything has been ruled out and your child still seems to have trouble learning, take a look at his learning style. There are three kinds of learners:
     Auditory. The auditory learner does best when things are explained verbally. He enjoys books on tape more than reading books, and he may need to study with music in the background or learn his multiplication tables by singing them rather than writing them.
     The auditory learner does best when traditional teaching methods are used such as teacher lectures, explanations, and discussions.

     Visual. The visual learner gets his information from books, charts, and graphs. He does well with worksheets and workbooks. Films, overhead transparencies, and things written on the blackboard benefit the visual learner.
     The visual learner does well with to-do lists, calendars, and written assignment pages.

     Kinesthetic. The kinesthetic learner has the toughest time at school. He needs to touch, hold, and manipulate things to learn. He needs to count beads to learn to add and subtract and to perform a science experiment to understand it.
     The kinesthetic learner does well when he can perform an experiment, act out a story, or go on a field trip.

The traditional classroom
     Most classrooms benefit the auditory and visual learners. A teacher writes things on the board as she explains them. She hands out a worksheet with written instructions that she also reads aloud to the class. The kinesthetic learner is the one who has the most problems. In preschool and kindergarten, there are many opportunities to touch and manipulate. There may be a sand or water play area, plastic bears to use for counting, and all sorts of things in a science center to touch.
     Once a child is past these early grades, the kinesthetic activities are reduced. Often touching and manipulating things is discouraged. The kinesthetic learner struggles unless the parents and teacher can work together to produce an environment that allows for the child's learning style.
     If your child doesn't seem to be learning well, observe him and try to figure out his learning style. Then ask yourself, "Does my child's teacher teach in a way that benefits my child?" If you suspect that your child's learning style isn't compatible with the teaching methods in his classroom, schedule a conference. Ask the teacher how the classroom work could be modified to help your child learn. You may have to do some brainstorming and offer positive suggestions to the teacher and even the principal or administrator but the effort will be worth it when you see your child come alive and begin learning.

What kind of learner is your child? Check out the quiz on my other blog using the link above.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Trying to Hang on to Summer!!

I'm just not ready to be back into the school routine. It's still summer. Unfortunately, the school system sees it differently. This is our third week of school.
In spite of school getting in the way, we went to the pool which is open another two weeks.

Climbed the pool climbing wall.

Looks like Kayla tried to change her mind at the last minute.

Then we went to Taco Bell.
Sunday afternoon we went to a beach an hour away that we haven't been to before.

It's on a peninsula so it has two sides--Gulf side and bay side. This is the bay side--shallow and sheltered.
This is the Gulf side--wild, crazy waves. I am mourning the loss of my (expensive) prescription sunglasses to the waves. The side pieces were too thick for a band, and I underestimated the waves!

Wipe Out!

Wipe Out!

Along the highway

We pulled off the side of the road and let the kids climb for almost an hour.

Didn't lose any children.

We stopped at a little park on the way home.
On Labor Day we had a group of 18 at the bay--Rick, me, the twins, Jasmine, Jessica, Hunter, a neighbor family, Adam and his best friend, his girlfriend and three of her younger siblings. Another little boy (the red head at the left edge of the picture) came over to join our group because I guess he thought we were having more fun than his family.  I was pulling people on the tube most of the time so didn't have a lot of interactions on shore.

I was not and am still not ready for the school routine. 5:05 is still the middle of the night to me. I'm all for spending the day playing in the sun, not doing science projects and math homework.

Who's with me?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Best Christian Books for Preteen Girls

I'm compiling a list of the best books--devos, non fiction and fiction--for 8-12's. Some of the books are exclusively for girls and others are for both boys and girls.

What books would you add to this list?

Best Christian Books for Preteen Girls

Devotions for the God Girl, Hayley Di Marco
Each one-page devo contains a scripture verse of the day along with a brief reflection that unpacks spiritual truths about becoming a woman of God. And in each entry Hayley challenges girls to choose God's way in every area of their life--with their thoughts, actions, and daily choices about everything from friends and fashion to faith.

God's Girl series, Karen Whiting
Each book sparkles with faith and fun as the girls learn about Bible women and create a cool craft to go with each one. Each book is packed with tips on how to personalize their crafts as well as space for journaling their deepest thoughts. Both inner and outer beauty will be celebrated by the girls as they learn to be faithful Christians who enjoy God and life.

Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions for Kids, Sarah Young
Devotions written as if Jesus is speaking directly to a child's heart. Based on her original Jesus Calling, this version has been adapted in a language and fashion that kids and tweens can relate to their everyday lives. 

The One Year Be-Tween You and God: Devotions for Girls, Sandra Byrd
The book emphasizes that tween girls can have a relationship with God and that they can share their intimate thoughts, fears, insecurities, joys, etc. It lets girls know: it's between you and God. 

The One Year Book of Bible Trivia for Kids, Katrina Cassel
This One Year book features 365 trivia questions that lead into meaningful devotions about the questions. Each devotion also includes a For You section, which gives a simple application to kid’s lives. And the answer to the opening question wraps up the devotion and gives readers biblical references to read. This book will keep curious kids on their toes and give them a reason to open their devotional and Bible daily.

The One Year Devos for Animal Lovers, Dandi Daley Mackall
Each devotion begins with a fun or interesting fact about an animal; this fact then introduces a concept of life and godliness that is reinforced by a scripture verse. The devotion concludes with an activity to do that day that relates to the devotion; there is also a sidebar with more fun/interesting facts.

The One Year Devotions for Girls Starring Women of the Bible, Katrina Cassel
This devotional features women of the Bible and how their stories apply to tween girls today.  In 365 days, girls will know more about the women in the Bible who faced the same troubles and issues girls today face, and they will be more committed to following the godly examples and avoiding the ungodly ones. At the end of each day’s reading, girls are encouraged to “Think It Through,” a section that asks them questions related to the devotion and prompts them to apply the lesson to their lives. After each week of devotions a full page is devoted to activities utilizing information from the prior week’s devotions (puzzles, quizzes, etc.).

The One Year Father-Daughter Devotions, Jesse Florea
Each of the 365 devotions begins with an introductory story, then daddy-daughter time provides discussion questions, activities, or other practical applications of the daily lesson.

The One Year Mother-Daughter Devo, Dannah Gresh
The devotion will strengthen mother-daughter relationships as well as their relationships with God. Topics for the devotions are centered around issues that the best-selling author (Dannah Gresh) is known for addressing through her books and mother-daughter conferences. 

Promises for God's Princesses, Katrina Cassel
This devotional book is full of Scriptures about God’s love, protection, and promises. The book’s 100 devotions tie in the Scriptures to help young girls apply them to their lives. This diary-style book will attract the growing girl while still making her feel like a princess, a special child of God.

Non Fiction

Between: A Girl's Guide to Life, Vicki Courtney
Through colorful articles, quizzes, games, and lists, girls age eight to twelve are encouraged to grow spiritually and socially in every major area of life.

Body Talk, Nancy Rue
Body Talk gives you the information you need on all the really weird body stuff—and shows you how all this weird stuff is actually part of God’s plan for the beautiful, confident, grown-up you!

The Christian Girl's Guide to Being Your Best, Katrina Cassel
God wants girls to do their best and be their best. Encourage preteen girls with this fun how-to manual for living out God's plan for their lives. Through stores about real and fictional girls, Scripture, journaling, quizzes, crafts and other activities, girls can explore what it means to be their best according to God's special plan for them. 

The Christian Girl's Guide to the Bible, Katrina Cassel
Take girls on a wonderful walk through the Bible! Preteens will marvel at God's Word as they make their way from Genesis to Revelation and discover the beauty of God's message for them. Puzzles, crafts, quizzes and fiction add to the creativity of this special guide.

The Christian Girl's Guide to Me: The Quiz Book, Katrina Cassel
The quizzes in The Christian Girl's Guide to Me: The Quiz Book are jam packed with all kinds of advice to help you discover who you are and who you are meant to be. Learn how you can make more friends, how to get closer to your family, and how to let God do totally amazing works through you! 

Everyone Tells Me to be Myself But I Don't Know Who I Am, Nancy Rue
If you think it’s easy to say “just be yourself” but it’s not so easy to do it, then this book is so for you! It will help you figure out who you really are deep down inside. You’ll learn to be that person no matter who you’re with through surveys, helpful tips, and places to write down your thoughts. You’ll learn to be the young women God created you to be!

A Girl After God's Own Heart, Elizabeth George
Upbeat and positive, Elizabeth provides biblical truths and suggestions so tweens can thrive. She reaches out to girls where they're at and addresses daily issues that concern them. 

A Girl's Guide to Best Friends and Mean Girls, Dannah Gresh
A Girl's Guide to Best Friends and Mean Girls springs from the life and example of Jesus, a tween girl's true BFF. It helps her explore questions such as: Who should I choose for friends? How can I keep my friends? How can my parents help me? What do I do about jealousy and hurts in my friendships? How can I be Jesus' friend, and how do I introduce others to him?

A Girl's Guide to Making Really Good Choices, Elizabeth George
Discussing such topics as attitude, friendships, crushes, parents, school, and avoiding bad situations, Elizabeth helps girls see that the very best choice of all is a choice to live within God’s will. Perfect for individuals, small groups, and mentoring.

Heaven for Kids, Randy Alcorn
The book features ten chapters of questions, and answers based on scripture and written in a style relevant to today's kids. The book also has a summary of the Gospel for those who want to be sure they are going to Heaven someday. Randy encourages kids to live “in Light of Heaven.”

The Middle School Survival Manual, Katrina Cassel
With the manual, middle schoolers will learn to: Give grades a boost, Make testing as easy as 1, 2, 3, Face life in a new school, Set goals, Deal with old and new friends, Live their faith at school, Plan their own activities, and lots more!

My Mini Dream Room, Karen Whiting
This book is about having fun by making little things. Why? Because the littlest action matters to God. In My Mini Dream Room dive right into these mini crafts and devotions to make furniture, curtains, baskets of flowers, pillows, teddy bears and other total amazing decorations. Let your creativity shine by making your very own dream room.

You! A Christian Girl's Guide to Growing Up, Nancy Rue
In this book you’ll discover all the really weird body stuff you’re going through is actually part of God’s plan for the beautiful, confident, grown-up you! In addition to health and beauty tips, you’ll find answers to some awkward, changing-body questions, ways to create a unique style all your own, and most importantly, you’ll discover the true beauty that is revealed as you grow closer to God in this fun, inspirational and interactive book.

The Backyard Horses Series, Dandi Daley Mackall
Book One: Fourth-grader Ellie James has a great imagination. She spends a lot of time daydreaming of owning a black stallion show horse and winning trophies in the horse show. But when the answer to all her dreams and prayers gallops into her life, will Ellie be able to recognize it? Join Ellie and her quirky family in their exciting, horse-loving adventures.

Boarding School Mysteries, Kristi Holl
Book One: Twelve-year-old Jeri McKane knew that attending boarding school hundreds of miles from home would be hard, but she never imagined anything like this. The school bus carrying Jeri’s roommate Rosa mysteriously disappears. A natural sleuth, Jeri knows there are leads to be followed and follows her instincts to discover new dimensions of faith and courage. 

The Carmen Browne Series, Stephanie Perry Moore
Book One: Carmen Browne is a ten-year-old African-American girl beginning fifth grade. With her family moving to a new city, Carmen is anguished to give up her friends and comfortable home. As her family adapts to a new location, Carmen learns that finding new friends and fitting in is not easy. Part of her doesn't even want to try. Family issues become complicated when Carmen's brother learns he is adopted. Dealing with unpopularity, fitting in, and cultural differences are Carmen's issues in the first book of the Carmen Browne series.

The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis
C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia has captivated readers of all ages for over sixty years, enchanting them with a magical realm where worlds come and go at the toss of a ring, where boys and girls become kings and queens, where there are more talking creatures than people.

Dragons in Our Midst, Bryan Davis
Book One: A boy learns of his dragon past; a girl has known of hers for years. They combine their faith, courage, and love to overcome evil, a slayer who seeks to bring an end to dragon heritage, forever.

Girls Only Series, Beverly Lewis
Books 1-4: Jenna, Livvy, Heather, and Manda strive for their best in their respective sports: gymnastics, figure skating, ice-dancing, and downhill skiing. Their ultimate goal: the Olympics. As each girl struggles with life's challenges and rejoices with each triumph, the encouragement of the other Girls Only club members and their faith in God give the girls the moral support needed to push their limits and learn important lessons.

Grandma's Attic Series, Arleta Richardson
A young girl’s discovery of her grandmother’s keepsakes inspires heartwarming tales of her grandmother’s childhood and the lessons learned on a nineteenth-century farm.

The Lily Series, Nancy Rue
This best-selling, biblically based fiction series for girls—with a fresh new look and updated content—addresses social issues and coming-of-age topics, all with the spunk and humor of Lily Robbins as she fumbles her way through unfamiliar territory.

London Confidential Series, Sandra Byrd
London Confidential is a new series where British fashion, friendships, and guys collide, and where an all-American girl learns to love life and live out her faith.

Mandie Series, Lois Gladys Leppard
First five books set: Readers will discover anew the charms of the impulsive Mandie Shaw as she faces the ups and downs of first losing her father and then finding her long-lost family in Mandie and the Secret Tunnel. Many more mysteries follow for Mandie and her friends in Mandie and the Cherokee Legend, Mandie and the Ghost Bandits, Mandie and the Forbidden Attic, and Mandie and the Trunk's Secret.

Secret Sister Series, Sandra Byrd
Book One: After a lonely time in the fifth grade, Tess Thomas dreads the beginning of the next school year. Then the exclusive Coronado Club invites her to join. She thinks she'll do anything to belong--until she finds out just what "anything" means. How far is too far to keep a friend? When does belonging cost more than you should pay?

Sophie Series, Nancy Rue

Book One: When future film director Sophie LaCroix visits Williamsburg, Virginia, her imagination sends her straight into the eighteenth century. An unlikely heroine, Sophie’s forced to use her new-found war tactics to foil a heinous plot and save a friend from impending humiliation by the popular girls. 

What books would you add? Leave a comment below.