Friday, January 15, 2010

A Matter of Perspective I Guess

This afternoon Nolan was sitting in the living room while I was trying to get a few things together for this weekend. I over heard him talking to himself.

Nolan: There were no TVs back then. There were no cars.

Me: What are you talking about?

Nolan: There were no cars in the 70's.

Me: There were cars in the 70's.
He pondered a minute, and then gave me his famous ornery smile.

Nolan: The sixties?

Me: There were cars and TVs in the 60's.

Nolan: Oh. Well sometime long ago there were no TVs or cars.
Then he went back to playing the Wii. I guess to the mind of a 5 year old the 70s (when his parents were born) and the 60s (slightly before we were born) are ancient history. Times that were so long ago that surely no TVs or cars could have existed. I'm feeling very old right now.

Change is the Only Constant

It seems the one thing we can count on around here is change. There is never cause to be bored because there is always something new going on. That is how life works especially on the homestead. Especially with the particular people that live here. I'm not complaining. That would be pointless, but sometimes I do have trouble keeping up with all the changes.

Where to begin? Well there is the story about going to Ohio to visit Grandma and Grandpa. We had a good few days there. We changed vehicles with Jake and Delilah while there. The plan was to bring their van back for repairs, but on the trip home we were stranded on I-77, in the middle of nowhere, for about four hours with all the kids in the vehicle. Now, that was fun.

Lydia had a birthday this week. She now is eight. She had a friend spend the night for her birthday. It is funny to watch them. They are in that stage of change between little girls and big girls. One minute they are planning with babies and Barbies. The next they are doing each others nails.

There have been two new litters of pigs born recently. Two more are expected soon. We've been getting rid of fat hogs to make room for the new litters. My freezer is now full of fresh pork. Yum.

We had a goat that we noticed was not herself. We separated her from the rest. With in a couple days we really thought we were going to lose her. She couldn't get up. She would not eat or drink unless you forced her. We considered putting her out of her misery.

The vet gave us a steroid shot, penicillin, and thiamine to give her. It took a few days, but then we saw improvement. A few days later she was getting up and around. She still is a little weak and we are keeping her separate, but it looks as if she will make it.

My niece and nephew, Ashley and Miles, and their mother, my ex-sister-in-law Amy are now permanent residents of the 100 Acre Wood. The story of all our relationships is a long one. It is a complicated one, and the fact that they are all living here is still kind of amazing to me.

They have moved into my parents house. My parents are moving into a house that was supposed to be fixed up for my brother, and then when he chose not to live there (another long complicated story,) was designated to be a guest home. It needed a lot of work, but as a guest house, fixing it was not a high priority. So currently my parents are trying to finish that house, move their stuff into it in the midst of Amy trying to unpack her stuff into the house they are all living in now. Can we say mass chaos?

Talk about change.

On Facebook lately lots of people have been changing their profile picture to pictures of when they were young. I chose the picture below. I think it was from around second or third grade.

I was kind of surprised about the comments saying that Kellen looks just like me. I'd never really noticed that before. Though I do have to admit, after looking at our pictures together, that there certainly is some truth to those comments. Ignore the turkey hat. It is one of the few recent picture I have of him smiling. Let me just say, Kellen is just thrilled to be told he looks like his mother. Can you feel the sarcasm here?

Change is always happening. It keeps life interesting. I wonder what changes are awaiting us today?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The Right Motivation

A large part of the educational process is motivating kids to learn, and teaching them to learn to motivate themselves. Most kids are self motivated to learn about the things they are naturally talented or interested in, but for other areas they often need a little push.

Our kids for the most part, enjoy the learning process, and are excited for their school work. For that, I am very grateful, but every once in awhile we come up against a little learning wall that needs pushed through. In the early years for Kellen it was reading. He really struggled when it didn't click at first. But we pushed through, or perhaps more accurately phrased, I pushed him through, and now he is in avid reader.

Later, it was multiplication tables. Kellen gets math. It clicks with him. He taught himself the concept of multiplication around the first grade. His older cousin was learning it, and he thought he should too. The concept clicked with him, but when he was older, and it came time to memorize the facts he struggled. He just did not want to take the time needed for memorization. It was a battle, but eventually I pushed him through that too.

Currently, the wall we face is typing. He completed a typing program a few years ago only because I agreed to suspend his handwriting assignments while he was learning to type. The CD program we had made it interesting and fun, and there really wasn't much of a battle. He did well with it, and after he completed the program I didn't think much about his typing skills.

Fast forward to the present, and Kellen is typing a lot. He blogs. He emails. He plays games, and does research. All the while I assume that since he has learned to type before, that he is now typing correctly while using the computer. My assumption was wrong. He has reverted to the hunt and peck method of typing.

Since learning this information I have been after him to type the right way, but he claims he has forgotten the key board and that he can type pretty fast his way. Before Christmas I informed him that part of the new semester would included typing practice. He was none to thrilled. Well, at least not until Tim stepped in with the right motivation.

Tim also hunts and pecks while typing, and has said before that he wants to learn to type. So, when he heard that Kellen was re-learning to type, he issued a challenge. They both are practicing and honing their skills. At the appointed day there will be a type off. Who ever types the fastest wins a Wii game of their choice.

Kellen jumped all over that challenge, and has been practicing typing voluntarily all week. Today when he finished his school work, he asked if he could use the computer. This usually means he wants to play a game or browse through Nintendo stuff, but today he wanted the computer to practice his typing!

Tim knew just the right button to push to motivate Kellen. Instead of me forcing, pushing, and prodding him to learn the skill we want him too, he is now eagerly learning that skill. In the other examples of learning struggles given above, the skills were learned, but only after much battling and frustration for both of us. I don't think large rewards are necessary for every accomplishment, but I have seen first hand the difference it makes to use the right motivation for a child who has hit a learning wall. I guess Kellen and I are both learning some skills this semester.