Saturday, December 26, 2009

Money Math

So far this year, we've been cruising along with our Math U See books. Both boys have finished with lesson 7, so I decided to start some 'other' math. I have MOTL and one of the things I wanted to start working on with them is counting money. Pooh, although 12, still has a terrible time with money. I just don't think he's especially motivated with it. So, we're going to be working on it for a little while, then I'll drop it, then we'll work on it again. That's how we do things with Pooh that are difficult for him. He needs breaks in between to process what he's learned. It seems to help when we get to his edge of understanding/ability, leave the subject, then come back to push it again later. It has worked with shoe tying, bike riding, speech and reading. I figure it should work with math too.

The first thing I did (a suggestion in MOTL) was about two months ago when I set up a box for each boy for their money. In it we have envelopes for them to put their money into. The envelopes are labeled as follows: Spending, Bank Savings, Donations, Gift Giving. I thought that was sufficient for my boys' ages and the amount of money they receive ($10 per month). If your children are older and/or receive more money, you may wish to add more envelopes. Some make an envelope for different expenses such as the care of a pet.

Their allowance isn't based on chores, it's just for being part of the family. (It saves me having to say no when they ask for things--they learn some money management--they can learn to buy gifts for others, etc, etc) However, they started to realize how long it was taking for them to earn money for things so we instituted some 'Work' they could do for extra pay. They can earn $1 for each wheelbarrow of pine needles they rake, pick up and take to a designated spot. The King paid them $5 each (a little much for my taste) to spend the afternoon helping shovel snow off the the driveway. A cool thing the King did with that was treat them as employees. Pooh, especially, have I been trying to make understand that certain behaviors and attitudes aren't acceptable for people in the real world. You can get fired. He ended up with two warnings while working with Dad and almost got fired. He stuck with it though and I guess it worked out between them because no one came in with an attitude problem. Some other chores we've worked out prices for are:

Vacuum van-$1
Pulling weeds-$2 for each wheelbarrow full
Poop patrol-.50 each bag full
Window cleaning-.25 for two windows

I'm sure we'll be adding to these over time. I'm trying to be careful that they don't expect to get paid for everything they do. I may still ask them to help me paint gates in the summer or whatever and that's just going to be part of the family chores. However, if they are ready to earn some extra money and are willing to do the job I assign, they will get paid.

Both of them tend to want to buy something on every field trip we participate in. I'm trying to teach them that they can wait and save up for the bigger items they like as opposed to the gratification of getting little things on a regular basis, but right now it's an uphill battle.

This week we've been actually working with change. I borrowed a book from the library called The Coin Counting Book by Rozanne Williams. She very gradually takes them through the value of pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, half-dollars, dollar coins and a one dollar bill. Through the photos and the actual coins I had (yes, I did have a half-dollar and dollar coins) we made change in various ways. We practiced counting by 5's and 10's. We counted to 100 with pennies. I think we took about 4 days to go through all the pages of the book. You could go slower, but we went through about 4-6 pages a day depending and I think it was an ok pace. It's interesting that Tigger is able to understand the value of money even at his age, so I have some hope that Pooh will pick up more on it this time. One of the things I tested was whether they could understand that 25 pennies and one quarter were the same. I asked them which was more by holding them in each hand. They both got confused so we counted it all out with a couple of different situations to try to make them understand better that you are trading coins as opposed to getting more/less money. We hopefully understand a bit more about working with change. LOL Tomorrow I'm hoping to put all that into practice by setting up a little store. The boys thought that was a cool idea! I hope it goes well.

Update: We tried the store thing and Pooh was freaking out trying to count the change all together. Sooooo, we've backed up and each day we've been just taking some change and practicing counting it up all together. I do some too that involves adding enough money that I have two or three dollars plus change. I think he's finally got the .25, .50, .75, 1.00 down! Whew!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Autumn Nature Sights

Some type of nest as of yet unidentified...
The towhee I only see once or twice per year. And, yes, despite the snow it is autumn in this photo.
The Great Blue Heron that I used my new camera with---big time zoom needed he was so far away!
We saw a little group of Hooded Merganser at that same pond.
My guys on a family walk.

A walking stick battle ensues!!!

A protected marsh area with the city stores you can see in the background. I haven't seen much wildlife over here the last couple of visits. I'm hoping the beaver is still around and that the ducks still visit.
A strange fungi.

Checkout a close up of it--very different. Can't identify it yet. Is it considered a mushroom???

I love this one! It looks like you could pluck it off the tree and use it as a fancy ladies hat. LOL

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Thousand Words

Trouble shooting having to vacuum. Pooh thinks it's a little too noisy so he finds some ear muffs. LOL

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

You Just Have to Laugh

I mentioned van issues the last time. Well. I'll start by saying that the original problem is probably no big deal. A hose needs replacing--it's old, expanded and doesn't grip like it should. The King discovered this when he came home that day. He's planning on a tune up for both vehicles now.

In the process we managed to create a comedy skit. Hub works on van in the dark when home from work--tells wife to take van for a test drive---wife begins backing out of the driveway---hub watches wife back into his truck---truck is ok---bike rack on back of van puts enough pressure on back window to make it implode.

You just have to laugh.

I got the window fixed-$100 later. The glass man scared me so bad about all the things I couldn't do with the van for about 72 hours that I just drove the King's truck around for the next two days. After which we ended up caught in the Snowstorm of 2009 with 6 inches of snow! I was traipsing around town in hub's loud (needs a muffler and some other part to make the squeaking stop) truck hunting down sleds. I could only find snowboards in my first go round so I got two of those for the boys and then did end up finding a plastic sled and circle sled. Which was great for them. Not so great for the mom who decides she'll try snowboarding.

Sigh. I fell HARD on my butt and ended up with my hip out of place. The next morning I got my period and was sick coughing hard enough to make my muscles hurt each and every time. Plus you know what happens to female bladder control after two kids, right? Coughing!?! Not fun!

You just have to laugh.

We were seriously thrilled we got the snow. It is rare to get a good snow in these parts, especially in December. Here are some photos of our Excellent Snow Adventure!

Tigger's Snow Canoe

Pooh and The King

My littlest snowboarder. He did great!

Pooh tried this more than once!!! Even though he fell down halfway down the hill he tried it about 4-5 times. Excellent, Dude!!!

Laying out in the snow.

No, there are no photos of me falling on my butt. Sorry to disappoint. LOL

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Homeschool Day at Biltmore

We took this trip the beginning of October. You get a FABULOUS deal when you go on homeschool day! I had a dinky camera the day we went but I don't think there's any way to show in just pictures just how immense, beautiful and cool this place is anyway. I will definitely be heading back there some day--if nothing else than to just enjoy the gardens.

Creating a coat of arms. (part of the special homeschool activities of the day)

Trying on period hats.

Having fun sitting on an old tractor at the farm (where they made some ice cream and had samples!)

The Kitchen Gardens--an area I'd love to return to in 'season'.

Can't remember if this was bocce or cricket. Anyway, they had some nice outside activities as well.

At the ponds. Mom is praying that Tigger doesn't fall in.

A side view of the house. Also, you can see the little tents set up with different activities for the kids. There were table etiquette rules, writing skills demonstrated, period toys, etc.

Holding his first baby chick at the farm.

Tigger running with some of the chickens. They had so many different kinds that were very funny looking.

Wanna go now? I thought so. :D

Monday, December 14, 2009

Crazy Day and Field Trip Photos

Well, today was eventful. It started out pretty normal. The boys got their morning routines and chores done while I took care of family finances and some other computer business. We had scheduled to meet with some homeschoolers for a Board Game day (we all bring board games and the kids just play the ones they want). A friend showed up early to my house and we were getting things together for me to take off with my boys and one of hers, when my van decided to stop working. RPM is not holding like it should. So we all piled into her vehicle so she could drop us off at the meeting location. I couldn't get a hold of the King because they had rerouted his phone calls to some weird new voice mail. I finally just dialed a similar number that I knew would reach someone in the company and asked the nice lady to find my husband for me so I could talk to him. LOL Then I get there and have a 'discussion' with another mom who insisted she knew which way was North (she was wrong). ;D Her "internal compass" must have checked out for the day. Hee Hee Thank you Charlotte Mason! I'm observant of direction because I'm teaching it to the children. A Formidable List of Attainments for a child of six?!?

Anyhoo, I'm home now. I managed to avoid a Pooh meltdown too. I thought he would have a cow because he couldn't look at books at the library today (we were waiting to be picked up by the friend whose son I was watching) but he handled it. He showed appropriate disappointment and that was it. Now I need to get in gear for dinner and kitchen duty for me.

Here are a few photos of a field trip we did this fall at a local military park and education center.

All the boys preparing for their own battle.

Finding cannons in the woods.

After that we did a walk/bike ride for a few miles up and down some great hills (if you had a bike anyway).

Preparing for another battle with little men.

A little bit of nature thrown in. It was a beautiful autumn day. These swans were munching away in a pond along the walkway.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I'm still alive...

We're all still alive and kicking. I tend to go on a hiatus every once in a while. I guess it's my way of recooping from a busy life.

We're coming down off of Pooh being a 'bear' and not in the cute and cuddly way. I did some looking for nutritional supplements, etc and am trying some new things. Phosphytidlserine is one new one and a liquid Behavior Balance is another (B6 & DMG). I've gotten them their oils again because we had run out. Pooh is taking lithium orotate to see if that will help as well. In addition to that, he is on a new homeopathic. He's been better the last couple of weeks, so maybe these things are helping. One can hope.

Truth to tell, I haven't even kept up with reading blogs I normally read. Life is busy and I am less motivated to read and write about stuff. I did get a new camera and got a fabulous deal on it, so when I'm able to get a post in I'll be able to include photos. Yeah! LOL In fact, let's just include one for the hay of it.

There were also about two weeks the beginning of this month that I was dealing with extreme fatigue myself. That put a big damper on what I got done around here, which wasn't much. I'm not sure of the cause, but I'm trying to watch my diet better.

School is plugging along despite everything. The boys have plenty of activities to participate in (drama, atheletics, field trips, art, etc). We have a wrinkle coming that we'll be getting used to. The King will be working from home some as part of a pilot program to see if that will work for the company he's with. Having Dad home could be a big distraction and since it's starting this Thursday be prepared for some screaming on my part. On the other hand, it can be handy to have Dad around too. It'll definitely be one of those adventures that you just have to experience to see how it's going to go.

Well, that's my update for now. I'll try to post some photos of the boys' activities soon.