Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fall Poetry

The closest we got to a jack-o-lantern 

Hunter and I have long enjoyed poetry together, although I realized that I don't often write about it on my blog.

We have been reading some fall poetry lately. Even though we don't get fall here. It is perpetual summer until November and then, around December the leaves will turn brown and fall off. Yes, brown.

But maybe the poetry keeps us closer to home, so at least we can enjoy autumn in our imaginations.

by James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916)

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin’ turkey-cock,
And the clackin’ of the guineys, and the cluckin’ of the hens,
And the rooster’s hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it’s then’s the times a feller is a-feelin’ at his best,
With the risin’ sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.

They’s something kindo’ harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer’s over and the coolin’ fall is here–
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossums on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin’-birds and buzzin’ of the bees;
But the air’s so appetizin’; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur’ that no painter has the colorin’ to mock–
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.

The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin’ of the tangled leaves, as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries–kindo’ lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin’ sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below–the clover over-head!–
O, it sets my hart a-clickin’ like the tickin’ of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock!

Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps
Is poured around the celler-floor in red and yeller heaps;
And your cider-makin’ ‘s over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With their mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and saussage, too! …
I don’t know how to tell it–but ef sich a thing could be
As the Angels wantin’ boardin’, and they’d call around on me–
I’d want to ‘commodate ‘em–all the whole-indurin’ flock–
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock!

"O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth." 
Psalm 96:9
Hunter is 5 years, 7 months old 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Hello, World

"I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother's belly." 
Psalm 22:10
Baby #2, in picture, was nine weeks, one day gestation

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

No Comment: Scoring First Soccer Goal

"...forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." 
Philippians 3:13-1
Hunter is 5 years, 7 months old 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Catching the Math Bug

"Remember that this is accelerated learning and when children catch the math bug, let them indulge it! That is the goal of the program." 
Dr. Jones,  Jones Geniuses Accelerated Education

Why does Hunter have such a big, exuberant, giddy smile on his face in this picture, you ask?

Because he just finished doing almost a hundred addition equations, of course!

Hunter is really starting to love his daily practice sheets in his Math Three Super-Math curriculum. His ridiculously enthusiastic smile in this picture happens to be because he couldn't stop laughing through this whole Factsmaster sheet because he is beating his previous time.

The goal is to be able to do all 100 equations in under five minutes, with a perfect score (it's three minutes for teens and up). The worksheets are different each day, so you're not just memorizing the order.

And once he beats that five-minute mark? He gets his Factsmaster ribbon, for that subject (addition, subtraction, multiplication or division). Which he is uber excited about, to say the least.

Some of the topics coming up in his Math Three program, include borrowing and carrying, times tables up to 100, advanced auditory memory training, proper and improper fractions, powers and roots, long division and multiplication, decimal fractions and percents, and, well, a ton of other stuff.

Mom is a little bit intimidated.

But I'm just going to have faith in my child that kids are far more capable than we give them credit for. And, besides. How hard can it be if he's caught the math bug?

See my review of their Math One program here. A full review on Math Three will be coming soon!

"Take ye the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel... thou and Aaron shall number them..." 
Numbers 1:2-3
Mathematical Mondayr

Hunter is 5 years, 7 months old

I'm linking this post up here.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Making the Jump to Reading Fluency

I took another video of Hunter reading the a couple days ago. Here he is, reading Curious George Feeds the Animals, a library book, for the first time.

He has all of the sudden made that jump from reading word-by-word to reading sentence-by-sentence. He actually reads, most books, almost as fluently as you or I.

I'm not quite sure how it happened. And it's always nice, for myself at least, when I can document each step of the way, and measure how much my son knows and how much he doesn't know. But really, he has thrown me through a loop. All of the sudden he's figured out all these phonics rules that I never got around to teaching him and, well, just, reads.

"And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses." 
Leviticus 10:11
Hunter is 5 years, 6 months old

Some past videos I've posted of his reading updates:

Reading Bob Books - (14 months ago)
Reading Phonics Lesson Book - (10 months ago)
Reading a "In the City and on the Farm" - (3 months ago)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Prenatal Stress... and Babies with Sleep Problems?

Hunter, sleeping at age one

A recent interest of mine (for pretty apparent reasons) has been the whole body of research behind the idea of fetal origins. That is, how research continues to show just how much life in the womb can effect pretty much the entire rest of your life (especially when it comes to health), often in surprising and substantial ways.

One such way is the link between prenatal stress and sleep problems when the child is a baby and toddler.

From this study:
"...children born to mothers who were depressed or anxious during pregnancy experienced more sleep problems. For instance, mothers classified as clinically anxious 18 weeks into pregnancy, compared to their non-anxious counterparts, were about 40 percent more likely to have an 18-month-old who refused to go to bed, woke early, and kept crawling out of bed. The child’s rocky relationship with sleep often persisted until he or she was 30 months old."

The connection continued even after controlling for multiple other influences. Forty percent is a pretty big number, don't you think?

And sleep, as I've been recently discovering by the available research, is really important for little kids.
"...sleep ranks as one of the most highly regarded indexes of healthy development, and plays a critical role in consolidating memory and facilitating learning, regulating metabolism and appetite, promoting good moods and sustaining both cardiovascular health and a vigorous immune function."

They also hypothesized that the poor-sleep connection may also have something to do with why "mood-disturbed" pregnancies are often related to children with "behavioral disorders, like depression, hyperactivity and anxiety"
"It remains to be seen if the sleep problems we witnessed may play an active, causal role in priming the path for these children’s emotional and cognitive problems in later life [listed above], or if both conditions merely fall out of the same stressful pregnancies."

You can read the full story and the details of the study here.

Maybe it's time I quit stressing about my stress level, don't you think?

"The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace." 
Psalm 29:11

Baby #2 is 8 weeks, 0 days gestation

Monday, October 11, 2010

Rush Hour Game and Building Thinking Skills

Playing "Traffic Jam" android application
Before we moved to California, Hunter, at four, loved "playing" my mom's Rush Hour game from ThinkFun.

In the actual game, you have to set up the variously-colored cars, trucks, and eighteen-wheelers on a sliding grid, according to the puzzle you're trying to solve. The vehicles get set up in a mix-match of horizontal and vertical arrangements, and the goal is to slide the other vehicles out of the way in order to get the red car out the exit.

Sounds simple, but it's not always so easy, and can take some careful planning, seeing the bigger picture, and lots of trial and error to get through the often multiple steps necessary to free your little red car.

We were both so excited when we found a generic version of the game ("Traffic Jam") as a free android app under "Brain & Puzzle" in the games section of the marketplace. It's also available for iPhone for $2.99.

According to the editorial description on Amazon, Rush Hour has received a national award from Mensa and has been used in elementary school math classes. And I can see why.

Hunter has so far made his way through dozens of puzzles and has fallen in love with the game. It's not exactly my cup of tea (I'm easily frustrated with puzzles and brain teasers) but Hunter really seems to enjoy it.

And the nice thing about having it on my phone? (for free, no less) Definitely being able to play it anytime, anywhere, and playing something productive and fun. Beats Super Mario or Pac Man any day, in my book.

This post is linked up here.

Cell phones sure have changed a lot in Hunter's
little lifetime, don't you think?
"Think upon me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people." 
Nehemiah 5:19
Mathematical Mondayr

Hunter is 5 years, 6 months old