Friday, April 04, 2014

Seven Quick Takes: Migraines and diabetes

1. Thomas has been having (we think) migraines (three times this week), and Nat has been increasingly fighting all of the rigmarole that goes with having diabetes. He's sneaking food, refusing to do his blood sugar tests, and having little tantrums about injections. Plus bigger tantrums because his blood sugar has been high due to food-sneaking. I understand the rebellion, but I am having trouble dealing with it. I'm grateful he has his diabetes clinic on Monday. And if Thomas's head doesn't improve he'll get his own doctor's visit next week, too.

2. It's been warm enough to turn the kids out in the yard a couple of times this week. Sweet relief. I am frantically planning a whole spring/summer/fall spent outside, where the kidlets can run.

3. Nat and I finished The Magician's Nephew this week, and Nat voted to re-read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe before starting The Horse and His Boy. I'm still not sure whether it should be Horse or Prince Caspian next. My feeling is that Shasta and Aravis should wait, and we should keep going to the Pevensies' next adventure.

4. World's cutest little Vikings

5. While the girls napped this afternoon I pulled out the non-washable finger paints. THE NON WASHABLE FINGER PAINTS.  I think I deserve a medal and also a drink. We've done two whole crafts this week, both really messy. I think someone should maybe canonize me. We'll ignore that I'm not dead, because the next craft will probably finish me off. They mixed all the colours. They get very Abstract Impressionist with painting.

Notice how all the colours have added up to brown? 
6. I haven't been doing writing practice with Nat, but he's been doing a decent amount of writing on his own. He's spent the past two days making this elaborate multi-piece-of-paper drawing of a machine which will take us to Narnia, and has been painstakingly writing The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe on it several times. He writes emails to Geoff every couple of days, usually about Doctor Who or Minecraft. Thomas mostly does drawing and plays with Lego while Nat writes. Thomas is my least bookish, most free-form child. I think he'd be perfectly happy being dropped off in a forest every day to wander around and climb rocks. I'm trying to figure out a way to motivate him academically, but I have to keep reminding myself to calm down- he's only four.

7. I have just today felt a sudden sense of urgency about planning for next year. I don't know what's causing it- maybe spring?- but I think I will maybe do some reviewing of accomplishments for this year, and tentatively feel out new areas for over the summer and next fall. I don't think we're going to take 'time off', because really, I don't think anyone around here is being overstrained academically, unless five minutes of reading aloud is torture.


Melanie Bettinelli said...

1. Poor Thomas! That's awful. And poor Nat. And poor you.

2. I'm so loving outside time. The last couple of days it's been hard even getting them to come in for story time.

5. I'm definitely in no-craft mode. Though Bella and Sophie are pretty good at coming up with their own projects.

7. "I don't think we're going to take 'time off', because really, I don't think anyone around here is being overstrained academically, unless five minutes of reading aloud is torture."

Yep. That's my approach too. I've been sliding about making Bella read.

lissla lissar said...

Oh, me too. Knowing Nat is reading really well is decreasing my vigilance. We spent all the fall and winter doing a few pages a day out of The Reading Lesson, and he went from sort of Bob book level to actually reading sentences pretty quickly. And then I slacked off. He's been reading board books or a few pages from a story book aloud every few days, so I guess we're still practicing, but it's more informal.

It hasn't been as warm here as where you are, from the pictures. We've just gotten above freezing, but it still feels like a release, to be able to send them out in sweaters. The forecast says warmer and sunny this week- I predict park time for us.

I hate cute crafts. They usually involve too much work, bring out my evil perfectionism, and my crew of anarchists don't follow the directions. At least, the boys don't, although I bet Miriam will when she's older. I'm fairly happy to provide non-messy craft materials and let them do whatever they want (within reason. No more trying to tape up someone's head), but I don't do elaborate cute crafts.

In general, actually, I don't want to do a huge amount of deliberate play with my kids. I'll help and supervise, and sometime participate, but I don't spend a whole lot of time playing with them.

Steph said...

Hey Kyra,

How are you doing?

We've moved way out to near Hamilton, a year ago now - wow! Hence, scuppering our plans to visit the Science Centre and ROM :P.

Good job on teaching Nat to read! Do you know of any phonetically correct beginner books that are actually fun?


- Steph

Steph said...

PS - Your comment box doesn't work on my I-Phone anymore. I'm not sure why.

lissla lissar said...

Doesn't work on mine either. Weird.

Hi, Steph! A lot of homeschoolers use the Bob books for very beginning reading. They tell stories with one or two words a page, which provides a decent sense of accomplishment, being able to read a whole book. We didn't use them, but my friend Alicia has with her children, and I think Melanie, above, uses them too.

All typos or weird grammar is directly attributable to spending TWO AND A HALF HOURS between two and four thirty putting Elizabeth back in her crib, getting her settled, leaving, listening to her scream and get out of her crib, putting her back...

I am so cross-eyed today.

Melanie Bettinelli said...

Yes, we use the Bob books. As to whether they're fun... that might depend on the child. My oldest child was not a fan. She's still dragging her feet about learning to read. She loves, loves, loves to listen to good books-- Narnia, Beowulf, I haven't found anything that is too "hard" for her to listen to. She was listening to the A.A. Milne Pooh stories before she was two and could sit still for a whole story or even two. And she finds all beginning readers boring and a chore.
But my second child loves the Bob books. She thinks they're very fun and funny and has worked her way through the first four sets doing a book a day for three or four days every week. She's getting pretty fluent.

I know many people who swear by the Bob books and suspect my oldest is the exception.

A friend also introduced me to the Progressive Phonics website ( They have books you can read online or print out. But it seems to me they take an awful lot of paper. I supplement with them occasionally but reading on the iPad instead of printing the books.I just print some of the handwriting practice pages. My kids really like the Progressive approach. The stories are more complex as in the beginning books the kids are just asked to read the highlighted words instead of every word in the sentence.

lissla lissar said...

We've been using The Reading Lesson with Nat, and ignoring most of the word lists- we just went straight into the sentences and mini stories, and it's worked well, but Nat was okay for word recognition before we started. He just picked up new sight words through the book's repetition.

I have no idea how to motivate Thomas to start reading- he's my only non-book-crazy kid. Actually, since Nat taught himself letters and beginning phonics from Starfall, I have no idea how to get Thomas past the letter recognition stage. I'll figure out something, but right now I'm still thinking.

Melanie Bettinelli said...

Bella and Sophie both liked The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading. It uses flashcards and a rhyme to teach the letter sounds.