Tag Archives: NIDES

Surprising Thursday

With the schedule (ha) in place for this year, Thursday can drag.  Nothing “planned” until late afternoon, when Mr. D. goes to Ninja class.  Yes, Ninja.  Martial arts (Ninjitsu) crossed with lots of acrobatics and gymnastics.  Small classes so far – which suits us even if it doesn’t help the family teaching the classes – and lots and lots of energy required.  Marvellous stuff.  Mr. D. loves it, too, which helps.

Today that changed.  Thanks to another wonderful homeschooling Mother in the Comox Valley, a newish shop in Courtenay is holding beading classes for home schooled kids; such was the demand, there are now four different groups going.  Class will only be once per month but that is just fine.  It is cheap.  They make something.  They make something pretty (Mr. D. likes his pretty).  The shop is called “Shipwrecked” and there is a pretty strong pirate/skull theme happening inside.  Woot!  Mr. D. was right at home.  Made a beautiful string of beads today, with charms, on brass wire and with brass clasps.  Teacher explained about brass and its connection to sailing vessels and this made our lad super-happy.  Mr. D. has always had outstanding fine motor coordination (even when he struggles with writing) and he loves the fiddliness of projects like this.  At the end of class, Mr. D. of course wanted to buy everything in the shop; he is our proto-consumerist (where did we go wrong?).  He ‘made do’ with a new winter hat – made in Nepal and in Nepalese style but with a skull pattern on the front!

This morning was different, too.  Hubby took some time out from work and he and Mr. D. sat together at the dining table to take apart my old computer tower.  They only got so far today – no small components undone as yet – but it was a good start.  Our natural born tinkerer was in heaven.

To fill in a small amount of time, we turned to a book provided by NIDES called Cornerstone.  We read a poem, and a story, then Mr. D. had to crack a code to read a letter.  I got him to crack the code, transcribe the words, then read.  He loved it – codes and our boy go together like peaches and cream.

Just to make our day complete, we found that the photography competition has had its deadline extended; this means that Mummy won’t have to stay up late tonight uploading and selecting photographs, when I would rather have Mr. D. handle the technicalities and make the decisions.  Yay!

Tomorrow holds Museum Science and then tutoring at NIDES, which coincides with Literacy Day.  NIDES will have guest speakers talking about careers in literacy, such as songwriting and storytelling.  Mr. D. will enjoy that sooooooo much and is really excited to be going.  That should be a good start to our weekend.

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Flu Flown

It finally feels as if the stomach flu is leaving our building.  Finally.  We’ve been slack on the home school front during this time.  Lots of movies (War of the Worlds followed the next day by E.T. the Extraterrestrial), more “Merlin”, a haircut, a few play dates, some sentence writing, some Life of Fred, and lots and lots of reading.  This is improving really fast and in no small part due to NIDES and his marvellous EA there who tutors Mr. D. twice per week.  Ploughing through RAZ online reading – started the school year in level AA (still) and now is finishing off C.  Yay!

Science at the Museum has been concentrating on the Solar system and we’ve done some background work on Pluto and dwarf planets.  Lots of posters made.

Greek mythology is being revisited – and the Mensa for Kids mythology unit.  Contemplating Duke University TIP courses online for Mr. D. – there are a couple I think he would like and be capable of, especially those dealing with mythology and with King Arthur.  It would stretch his writing – which is still slow – but we would do this in another medium, perhaps.

Off now to upload some photographs Mr. D. has taken with his camera; NIDES is having its annual photography competition, which is great fun, and this will be his first time entering.  Not sure of the quality of the photographs – I wasn’t around when he took them – but he did take some wonderful photographs with his father’s camera the other day.  An improved camera may have to be on the cards for this year.

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Monday Moaning

Well.  Not all of it has been moaning.

Started the day with a trip to NIDES for some tutoring – as reading progresses (quickly, but slow chronologically) Mr. D. is exploring more about sentences and structure.  Both his tutor and I have him writing a sentence a day (minimum) to keep the momentum going.

Then we thought homeschool gymnastics would be on but turns out the Monday session is full so we will need to stick to our Wednesday session; all fine except it means that every day in the week has something on and my husband definitely needs to take the car for work and, well, the cost of taxis isn’t getting cheaper!

As a result, nothing much planned for Mr. D. today; that really is always a recipe for disaster.  He went with Dad to check out a new (old, but new to us) dinner table and that was extremely exciting because he got to help load the truck, unload the truck, and talk to the previous owners, one of whom is of Chinese heritage.  Mr. D. still madly in love with everything Chinese.  Strange, hubby wanted to be a Sinologist for a while – until he realised that languages weren’t his strongest suit and that Mandarin was not one of the easier languages to learn.

Consequently, Mr. D. has not had enough movement today and is not settling down to much other than running amok.  I am hoping same hubby will fit in a hike with him but there is only 30 minutes until he picks up little sister so probably not.

We did look at our schedule for the day at NIDES (North Island Distance Education School) e-class tomorrow.  Major theme will be Electricity.  Mr. D. has been playing with snap circuits for a while but has been resistant (yes, a pun) to remembering what is happening in the circuit.  As a heads up we looked at one of the websites they will explore in the computer lab tomorrow and it turns out he knew more than he realised! (http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/scienceclips/ages/10_11/changing_circuits_fs.shtml)  He’s still bored.  Woe.

OK – gotta go and organise washing up and dinner.

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Slack Mummy

Boy, have I neglected this blog!

Mr. D has been learning up a storm and mummy has had trouble keeping up with the documentation for the first time.  It doesn’t help that quite a few of the photographs I would normally used are actually stored on hubby’s camera and/or computer system and I haven’t had time to ask him to ship them out via thumb drive.

Therefore, for now, there will be no shots of the wonderful cooking Mr. D has undertaken.  We stick with recipes we adults know or we go with Jamie Oliver; his recipes are generally easy to follow and he is just “easy peasey, wibbly wobbly, chubbly bubbly” enough to appeal to kids.  Looking forward to having a chance to check out Alton Brown on YouTube – his kid’s recipes are apparently a real treat.  So far, Mr. D. has helped with lamb roast – including sliding the large knife between shin bone and flesh to add seasoning; cooked roast chicken, again creating cavities along the spine and over the breast and pushing in butter and herbs; he has cooked Spanakopita and salad from scratch and there are more but I can’t think of them without the photographic prod.  All cooking has included the use of a new utensil or knife of some sort, reminders about hygiene and raw foods like chicken, safety instruction, independent measuring, and new cooking techniques.  If Mr. D. can easily handle pastry at 7, I am confident he will be able to take care of himself when he is older.  The biggest bonus?  He LOVES it.  He loves being in the kitchen, he loves cooking itself, and he loves having a product he can not only show off but that can “do what mummy and daddy do”.  To feed us gives him great pleasure.  Yay.

During this time, Mr. D. has made great bounds in reading.  Using the RAZ reading system (online and paper) he finally conquered Level AA, which has taken 2 years.  Then he completed Level A in one day!  Now he is powering through Level B.  His increased confidence is wonderful to watch and he delights in reading between 2 – 4 books to us and his little sister at bedtime each night.  Now he is not only tackling the graded books but last night took over reading “Aliens Love Underpants” – one of the underacknowledged classics of kid giggles.

At the Courtenay Museum and Paleontology Centre, his class has completed a 4 week study of Octopus, including a lot of classification work and are now nearing the end of their study of Light and Luminescence.  Now that he is in the Advanced Science class, he is feeling a lot better and more confident at answering and participating rather than just trying to dominate.  Improved social skills – yay, Mr. D!

At home, we have been continuing our study of the human body by using the Magic School Bus Germ kit and doing an experiment with growing mold.  We’ve also had great fun with the Glow Germs kit and using the black light to see how effective our hand washing is.  Mr. D. was surprised to see my hands were a lot cleaning after washing – this led to me demonstrating a full surgical scrub.  A lot of hygiene videos from BrainPop and Discovery Streaming followed and the upside?  Mr. D. now washes his hands when asked and has taken a full interest in actually brushing his teeth (flossing and gargling) every night now instead of once per fortnight!

Gymnastics is wonderful, although we are missing today because mummy isn’t well.  He has the right size and shape for gym and has developed amazing muscle control; at 6 he was using the rings apparatus and is able to fleetingly do that nasty-looking cross thing they do that looks as if it will rip your arms out of your arm pits.  Balance beam is a doodle, swinging on the uneven bars is progressing to using both bars, and straddling is becoming easier and easier.  Mr. D’s favourite activity is the rope swing – grab the long, long, rope with arms and legs, hold on for dear life, and swing across a 30-40 ft gap, landing safely on the other side (eventually, Mr. D. likes the swinging).  Not all the kids, especially the smaller ones, have the arm and leg strength to do this, but Mr. D. is at it repeatedly!

Guitar is progressing.  He is learning slide technique still, at his teacher’s request, because his hands are still quite small.  To keep it interesting, the teacher brings in percussion instruments and concentrates on guitar classics like the theme from Spiderman and Marsupial Sue.  I don’t think his playing is improving much – he isn’t there developmentally – but the exposure to music in a non-judgmental environment (teacher is also a music therapist) and the chance to listen to instruction are both priceless.  Like most things, Mr. D. will amble along, not seeming to be paying attention or learning, then, out of nowhere, BAM!  He’ll master it in what seems like nanoseconds.  Just the way he is.

Latin is leaping along.  On the day that Mr. D. completed his A level in reading, he also translated a who page of Latin for me and read it!  Never ceases to amaze me.  Ms. E is having fun showing off her French and Mr. D. is showing off his Latin so they are both learning a lot.  Minimus the Mouse continues to amuse with Latin and both kids have enjoyed learning “mus, exit” when the mouse runs away from the cat!  Random times during the day you can hear one or t’other saying “mus, exit” out loud.  Three cheers for Minimus the Mouse.

OK – have to get lunch happening for hungry lad so I will post more of the photos this afternoon, if given a chance!

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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’.

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Word Jumbles

To strengthen Mr.D.’s reading skills, I’ve chosen an assortment of words (one of the lists of Dulche words), printed them up, stuck them on cereal box board, cut them up and we’ve started playing Concentration.

Now, FASD kids do not have good memory skills.  If they can tolerate rote learning, it helps cement things, but Mr.D.’s style of learning doesn’t really accommodate that.

We have quite a lot of repetition on Explode the Code, the learning programme for reading that we have purchased to use at home – this supplements all the help Mr.D. is getting at NIDES.  Luckily, The Explode the Code people understand how boring rote can get and the repetition is disguised for the most part.

Concentration ended up being a winner.  For this number of words, Mr.D. can use his memory (spurred on by his strong competitive instinct) and he walloped me in this game.  I wasn’t going easy, either.  I had meant to, but then in all the excitement, I forgot where things were.  This is sad in that I had a photographic memory at one stage of my life – especially for visuals – and this game proved to me how much that is a thing of the past.  Here’s hoping we can get our children educated before we lose all our skills to old age!

or Memory

Concentration!

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NIDES – what’s that?

What is NIDES?

NIDES is North Island Distance Education School.

But I thought Mr. D. was home schooled?

He is.

But this says Distance Education – doesn’t it?

Yup.

So what’s the deal?

The deal is the best possible deal for our family – it is wonderful, amazing, encouraging, supportive, financially viable, and all around splendid!

So what is it, already!

Mr. D. is enrolled with NIDES.  As such, he is a Distance Learner but that just means he learns mostly at home.  He does a lot of technologically challenging things and tackles a lot of work online.

What sets NIDES apart from many other Distance schools and nearly all homeschooling co-ops, curriculum groups, etc. is that they hold e-ClassAll hail e-class! This means that for one day per week, Mr. D. goes to school like any other kid.  We drive to a campus, he takes a packed lunch, and he has a classroom.  He also has a teacher (this year, his class of 20 or so kids has two) both of whom are beyond tremendous.

This classroom doesn’t focus on academics; rather, it fosters social skills, encourages good ethics, arranges field trips and other gatherings that provide opportunities for community building.  They have a playground and a gym.  They learn skills, they have guest teachers (artists, musical theatre, etc.).  Parents may stay.  Parents may teach something in class if they wish.

Looking beyond the wonder of Mr. D. being able to experience a somewhat normal classroom without all the usual stuff that hurts and bewilders, there are his fellow pupils.  I hope they don’t mind me saying this but I say it with pride – they are eccentrics – one and all!  There are even other ‘gifted’ and ‘gifted and disabled’ kids on campus.  Elementary school kids one day on campus, bigger kids another.  Small buildings – large green land!

When my boy can say “but Mummy, NIDES kids wouldn’t ever laugh at me” then I know we’ve found our educational home.

Yeah – all right – there is also the bonus of Mummy and Daddy having a day without children in the house.  Just in the spirit of openness and stuff. *g*

For a Special Needs kid with social difficulties and lots of educational needs – well – NIDES is a blessing.

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