Tag Archives: Life of Fred

Ninja’s and diorama drama

Before Christmas, Mr. D. attended a free Ninja class to see if he would be interested.  Take a guess?  Yup – loved it.  Combination of martial arts lite and gymnastics – absolutely non-stop action.  Wonderful for my ADHD boy!  This afternoon is his first formal lesson – follows the same format so it won’t be shockingly different.  To say he is excited is somewhat of an understatement.

Today so far we have tackled some more Life of FredApples” mathematics – Mr. D. is still loving this and I appreciate the bits and bobs of information he is learning along the way that have (apparently) nothing to do with math.  Yesterday it was a toss-up but I think Life of Fred lost out once Mr. D. discovered the wonderful YouTube videos of Vi Hart, the mathemagician/mathemusician.  He loves her (seriously crushing) and loves that she is as whacky as him.  He is also really happy to see that adults can do more than one thing and be good at them all and turn them into a living.  Yay!

This morning has had a lot of heavy muscle work first thing; one of the best things to do for kids with FASD, the heavy muscle work early allows their minds and bodies to still enough to learn after.  He has carried planks, moved tree branches, toted recycling, swept floors – hard work but with very little complaint.  I think he was proud I thought him old enough to carry out these tasks with no (apparent) supervision.  No bubble wrapping our kids.

As Mr. D. is still a beginner reader and not very confident with his writing – even though it has improved tremendously – we are using a “Grand Slam” book, which asks a question each double page.  We are doing one per day with Mr. D. making his own answer (with his own idiosyncratic spelling where vowels don’t exist for the most part) and then doing a drawing or art piece on the facing page as illustration to his answer.  Today he answered “what animal would you morph into” with …… no surprises …. A PENGUIN!  The penguin love continues.  Did a really neat drawing, too.  His illustrations are improving quite dramatically and he seems to enjoy this side of art as long as there are few restrictions placed on how he wants his art to look.  Reasonable, really.

Whilst I was doing whatever I was doing (I seriously don’t remember), Mr. D. amused himself by setting up the dinosaurs in his  Christmas dinosaur book and creating a new diorama.  There are some photos below, complete with caveat from Mr. D. that I had to show both sides of the dinosaurs so you could see that one side is skin/hide and the other is a skeletal view.  Hard being a mother to such a tough task master!

Okay – after all that – it is time for lunch!  Have to call him in from the yard – he is enjoying our first sunshine in what feels like months even though the yard is a bog and the mud is still squelchy.  I think he is still busy being Merlin!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Introducing …… 2012! Ta Da!

Yup.  Back to home school.  Lucky first day fell on a Tuesday so it was e-class day at NIDES (now called Navigate at NIDES).  Two children both at a brick and mortar school.  Bliss.  Slept on the couch for an extra hour (or two).

Today first day for Mr. D. at home.  Woe.  Parts went well, parts not so well.

We did another chapter of Life of Fred math; we mostly finished a poster of the Greek gods with Mr. D. doing all his own writing; we recorded a version of Mr. D.’s Greek God songs he has created (didn’t get to Jesus, the Christmas Goddess yet but I know he’ll repeat this personal favourite).

After lunch, we visited Fabricland and picked out some wool and needles for Mr. D. to start knitting a scarf – he is very excited about this project.

When Ms. E. gets home from French Immersion then all hope of schooling goes out the window so today they are watching “Back to the Future” whilst I try and update this blog and all my other media.  Snort.

Of our list of projects and topics for today, we did not get to finish the pirate puppet, we did not do his short daily writing assignment, and we did no RAZ online reading.  But hey – he found leaky batteries in his old snap circuits; took apart this Christmas’ snap circuit remote control car which isn’t holding charge so he figures he should start from the beginning again; he crafted a pirate anchor and another pirate map (placed in a bottle, even) and a few other things so I can’t really say his day was wasted.  Just unconventional.  Just how I like it.

Life of Fred was all about ships leaking and large boats so Mr. D. was introduced to the Titanic.  At lunch, Dad got out some ice cubes and put them in a glass bowl with water so it became obvious how much was above or below the water line.  Then he threw in some milk to see what an iceberg would look like with bad visibility.  Thus, Mr. D. no longer thinks that someone just fell asleep but he is big into blaming this on human error without much thought at all.

On a side note, he continues to delight by using his good manners.  This is especially thoughtful on the days when we don’t think it will happen.  Recently, both kids have been to the cinema to see Chipwrecked (chipmunks, d’oh) and with Dad to Mt. Washington to go tubing in the snow.  Both activities organised by Waichay Fellowship Centre – home to the keyworker for FASD in this area.  Quite (sadly) a large group of kids get together for these activities.  Mr. D. has been winning hearts left, right, and centre by being well mannered.  YAY!

Less positive is our lack of playdates lately – combination of holidays, parental illness, kid illness, and just feeling out of touch with people.  We have to rectify that.

Just a couple of pictures to follow, mostly from Mr. D’s choir at the NIDES Christmas Concert organised by the senior kids leadership group – absolutely amazing hard work from all.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Moving along

I’d like to say we are settling into some sort of routine but it wouldn’t really be true.  Sure, we have a structure imposed upon us by all the outside activities.  Sure, I have posted myself a schedule of sorts for different classes.  Sure, I would like to stick with it and that has been hard given I’ve been quite sick.  But really?  Our boy?  He needs some routines but I don’t know if class selection is one of those things.  Part of me thinks he would like to know what is coming up in each day.  The other part of me screams “no” because if we have to change that schedule, for any reason, the transition-demons come out to play and the lad is thrown for a loop for a good 12 hours of so.  Not a fun time for anyone involved.

So, in our muddling fashion, we have done another unit from “Meet the Masters” by Piet Mondrian.  Mr. D. certainly got the idea of colour balance and was able to produce his own Mondrian-style art work and explain the balance to me.  He understood the connection between the artwork and rhythm but did not really understand about discordant jazz music not having a predictable beat.  Have to get hubby to dig into his extensive jazz collection and teach Mr. D. that there is more to jazz than syncopation!

We’ve dipped into Mathletics, but again he is finding “Life of Fred – Apples” much more fun.  The fact that Fred may have a deciduous nose?  Hysterical.  Intro to algebra?  Easy peasy!

On screen, we have been watching more “Rough Science” – Zanzibar.  Poor Mr. D. didn’t realise there was only one series left (Colorado) and thought it was still in production.  He is adamant that we write to “odd-job Kate” and have her organise more of the show.  He isn’t sure he can live without it, my protests to the contrary.

Mr. D. is having a hard time adjusting to a “baby” sister attending Kindergarten.  At a school.  At a French Immersion School.  Making other friends.  Wanting to play with friends, rather than him.  This has been quite traumatic.  We also hadn’t realised just how much anxiety Mr. D. had about changing classes at NIDES for e-class; he had assured us that he was fine but the last few weeks before class were hellish.  Very regressive behaviour, which also didn’t help with the sister situation.  Mr. K., the new class teacher, has been a resounding success.  Unfortunately, Mr. D. also had to change teacher for his extra tutoring session; whilst he likes Ms. P, there is certainly not the same rapport he had with Ms. H, whom he idolised because she knew how to be silly!

In between formal learning, a lot of Lego and K’Nex building has been going on.  Some very creative pieces have come out of these sessions.  Here are a few:

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

How did that happen?

Where is all my time going?  Seriously, that’s not rhetorical – where is my time going?

Well, some of it has been spent on these activities:

Remembering how to count by 2’s and by 5’s.  Repeating how to count out loud by 10’s.  It is this rote work that is the killer for my lad.  Using manipulatives has made it more concrete to him and more like a play activity.

A lot of time has been spent ferrying lad between guitar lessons, gymnastics, extra tutoring provided by NIDES, science classes at Courtenay Museum and Paleontology Centre (lots of Octopus so far), and all sorts of fun things like visits to the Pumpkin Patch!

Guitar lessons are progressing slowly.  When we measure progression we aren’t talking about his ability to play, rather, we combine a few things like paying attention, retention of material heard even if he is moving around furiously while listening, respect to his teacher, and other ephemera not normally the focus of music classes.  After three lessons, he is progressing.  Yay, team!

We’ve spent some time on Dolche words and words in connection with our major interest at present (Pirates, don’t ya know!) and unit studies from ABC Teach and EdHelper and other online resources.  Thankfully, NIDES has a huge choice of subscriptions for us ‘facilitators’ to take advantage of.

In math, we’ve started our Life of Fred “Apples” unit and Mr. D. continues his new-found love affair with math.  We’ve also done some flash card math and made a tiny start on Mathletics for the year.

Our main science focus, aside from the classes at the museum, is a curriculum provided by what used to be Los Banos and it is an elementary, multi-level course on the human body.  We are very, very, close to finishing the section on cells; Mr. D. is in a rush to get to germs and organ dissection, so I’ve deliberately slowed this down so other things can get done.   Another source of great ideas is “Sandwich Bag Science” by Scholastic.  We’ve done desalinisation and attempted replicating a human stomach, but this latter had to be abandoned after the muscular action on the sandwich bag turned into direct squishing of the contents!  We will replicate this experiment in a week or two!

Here are our photos of the ‘action’.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Onward and Upward, troops!

Well.  A new school year is finally here.

One of the best summer’s the boy has had; many camps, many friends, doesn’t remember any of their names!  Nothing unusual there.  We have seen a huge blossoming of his social skills and his confidence.  Finding he was good at joining in at camps, good at games, good at gymnastics, good in the homeschooler’s production of “Wizard of Oz” even if he was a flying monkey named Rascal!  Our lad has forged through summer and now, on the penultimate night before his 7th birthday, we can proudly say he is hitting his stride more and more often.  Yay!

Schooling has started and Mr. D. has fallen in love with Math.  We are using Life of Fred – there is a new elementary series – and whilst the work is easy so far, the concepts behind are not.  Second lesson in and, in a round about way, we’re looking at how easy algebra can be.  Except it isn’t called algebra.  It isn’t called anything special at all.  That helps make it easy, methinks.

Science has been a slower start; lots of reading at the beginning and he really, really, really just wants to dissect the sheep’s brain we have for him.  And the heart.  And the eye.  And various other mammal organs.  Unfortunately, I think Daddy has claimed brain dissection as the one (read that right, one) class he is willing to take over.  Bummer.  I was looking forward to that.

On the sensory planet, Mr. D. is trying more textures of food.  Still doesn’t like the ones he didn’t like before but he is willing to concede his tastes may have changed and that he should try – even a morsel – to see if foods like potato, egg, rice, etc. are okay to eat.  Rice is the only winner and then it is only with soy sauce.  With his preference for bitter, Mr. D. has never liked bland food.  Doesn’t like spicy, either, but he does love bitter and salty.  Bring on the reduced sodium, please?

Labels in clothes are still an issue.  I try and cut them out or buy without but Mr. D. will often still be found with his underwear inside out.  To make it worse, this strange summer has played havoc with his skin and his eczema has been more pronounced.  Woe.

Anyway, in between keeping track of our learning via Homeschool Tracker (free software for the basic model), Mr. D. has been raring to go with the extra-curriculars.  Tomorrow is gymnastics.  He will also do swimming, museum science, and for the first time:  guitar lessons.  Lovely lady who is trained not only as a musician but as a music therapist; she gets that Mr. D. isn’t going to be a straight-forward lesson type of guy!

On our first day of schooling, two days ago, I needed 10 or 15 minutes uninterrupted for preparation.  I sent Mr. D. out into the sunny yard to amuse himself.  He made a bow and arrow – it has been an ambition for a while now.  He deliberately didn’t sharpen the point of the arrow because he only wants to knock apples out of our trees, not actually hurt someone, apparently.  We cheered on his resourcefulness.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized