Monday, January 26, 2009

I THINK in words.......

I think in words. What does that mean? Well.... if I have something to remember, a short list for example, I think of the first letter of each item and remember those. (That would be thinking in letters but stick with me here.) My Mom would remember the same list in picture form.

I love mnemonic devices. I remember the planets in order with a sentence and the Great Lakes with a word. I make them up for other things I have to remember. Bekah HATES them. They make no sense to her and she refuses to use them.

When I have friends with the same name and I think of them.. I don't picture their faces... I picture the spelling of their names. In high school I had two friends Ann. (Ann and Anne) In college, there were four girls named Christy. (Kristi, Kristy, Christi, Christy)

If I am struggling with something and I am thinking about it I usually write a letter in my head. If I get an idea to blog about.. I think through the words first.

I don't know if this is "normal" or unusual. I do know that I am increasingly intrigued with the many ways that it seems people process information. I know that my children all "think" differently. They are raised in the same house with the same parents and teacher. They all process differently. I think this is HUGE. I know that they talked about the different learning styles in school... but not enough. I think there are MANY different ways that we process information.

In addition to thinking in words I am also a visual learner. I have to see to truly process. Bekah has an amazing memory. If she reads something... she can spit it out often word for word. (Not all vocabulary words.. but concepts definitely.) This same girl has difficulty with addition, yet she has memorized all of her multiplication facts!! (It took me a while to figure out that skill and ability and retention in READING does not necessarily transmit to math.) Noah is very quick with mental math and can add large columns of numbers in his head... yet doesn't have his multiplication facts as quickly at his ready as I would like.??? WHY... How can they absorb without trying some information and struggle with other parts?

Does anyone else find it amazing that math and reading are processed differently?? Has anyone else encountered this?

How do you think?? Pictures?? Colors??

I also have this thing with colors... I put everything in color order... rainbow order. My closet for example. I didn't know until I was teaching that everyone didn't do this. My crayons.. my inks.. my paper... I don't remember Mom doing this, but I assumed everyone did, until I was discussing this with some other teachers and they turned to look at me like I had three heads.

Guess what? My older brother organizes his closet this way too. Guess what... Brian won't let me do his half that way. (I have let it go) I also struggled a great deal when the girls were little because I couldn't stand the play-dough to be mixed... I have overcome that obstacle. Those of you who know me well know that it isn't because I can't stand the mess... I just hated the colors to be mixed (in globs). If I could combine the colors completely to make a new color that was okay.

All right, enough rambling here. Weigh in. How do you think?? Let me know.
And here is a special shout out to a few friends who read but don't comment. =)
More soon.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Disclaimer Regarding Deltora Quest (see previous post)

Okay folks... lots of fighting. I had forgotten how much. If you love Lord of the Rings and that type of stuff... then Deltora Quest is a match. If that is not your cup of tea.. then don't read them. Just thought I better add that. As Noah was reading out loud today I realized I had forgotten just how much fighting there is. Of course they ARE on a quest and all... and have to face these challenges, but still. Just thought I should say that out loud.

The Belt of Deltora

So.... Brian said no to the drum set. At least no for now. I personally believe that he is hoping that Noah will want to play some type of horn. (He, Noah, already plays piano. Brian is a trumpet player and really wants SOMEONE to play it too. Bekah tried violin for a few years but decided it wasn't for her. Katie plays piano. Caleb might be the kid who plays trumpet. He can already buzz a mouthpiece.) I, however, have promised Noah that he can be in band starting in Jr. High. He is very excited about this. (My devious parenting here is to keep him in band and NOT in football!!) He is SURE he wants to play drums and I told him that is okay. (As long as he keeps up his piano). So... crisis averted for a time.

As for the wii..... good grief! They really ARE expensive.. and Noah doesn't want to purchase the whole thing by himself. He is trying to convince the other kids to save their money with him. This could be a good plan if they will go along with it.

So.. after all of this excitement and discussion last night I found myself home alone with the boys. Brian was at band practice. The girls were helping a friend run the nursery at her church for a Bible study. So... the boys and I started to make the Belt of Deltora.

If you have boys and you need a good series for them to read, I recommend The Deltora Quest. This is a series of eight books that take Lief, Barda and Jasmine on a quest to find the seven gems and return them to the belt of Deltora. Noah first found this series at least a year and a half ago. I think they are published by Scholastic. We were at the bookstore.. (my favorite place) and at the age of 8he found this huge 400+ page book and said, "Can I have this?" (Don't panic here. The books are NOT 400 pages each. The book he found was the first 4 books in the series published together in one volume.) I said sure.

He didn't start the book immediately... but once he did get into it.. he devoured it. I had to read it too so we could discuss. We then found 3 of the other books and borrowed number 6 which I couldn't find until this year for some reason. We now have the whole set and Noah is reading them OUT LOUD to Caleb! They are definitely boy books. There are monsters and challenges and some fighting. It is fantasy.. but all done age appropriately. The individual books are just the right size for chapter books.

So... last night we started work on the belt. My challenge... making it so it will fit either boy. The boys are 4 years apart and built differently. I am using felt (although it is supposed to be made of metal. Since I am not up on my metalworking skills these days... felt will have to do.)
Caleb made the gems We took very smooth stones and heated them in the oven. Then he used pearly and glittery crayons to color on them. When the stones are hot the crayons melt and coat the stones. (This is a great activity.. heat the stones on 200 or 250.. but be very careful. The kids can't touch the stones. If you hold a crayon on the surface it will pool and melt. This works with all crayons but we have found that the pearly, silver and gold and glitter ones are the best.) Next he used glitter glue on the other side of each stone. They are quite magnificent.
My biggest boy.. helped me do a bit of bead work (not fancy) on a couple of the pockets. We are not quite finished yet.. but I will post a picture when we are. The younger boy wants to have a REAL quest and asked if we can hide the gems. So.. know that is what we will be working on today. Turning the bedrooms into The Forest of Silence, and The Shifting Sands etc. (at least with a sign on the doors).

As I lay in bed last night I thought... Wow.. this is so much fun. What a great story extension. I didn't plan this as a school activity we just did it. They don't think it is a chore or even that it "counts" as school they are just having fun. They are truly making the story come alive. Today we get to "play" and read some more. Homeschooling is REALLY, REALLY cool.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Devious Parenting??

Okay.. so Noah has earned some money working for friends. He started talking about purchasing video games with the money. Not gonna happen. To distract him I suggested he look at instruments. Perhaps a drum set? The last time I checked they were $6-800. He has a long way to go to save.. I figured I was safe. Even if I chipped in... he would have a bit more to save.

Well... don't you know that Whitmores has a set for $225. That puts him MUCH closer to having the amount. I wouldn't even have to pay half. Drat. That was not the plan. He was supposed to have to save for YEARS. This was just a distraction tactic.

So... in a moment of panic.. (and this is REALLY sneaky) I mentioned that the only video game I might consider is a wii. (They do look like fun.) Now the other children are following Noah chanting... "Get a wii, Get a wii, Get a wii!)

I am certain that this will come back to bite me in the behind.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

New Year Resolution

I AM one of "those" people who make New Year's Resolutions. In fact I have a TON of them. Too many really and as most of them either begin or end with the words EVERY DAY I haven't listed them as it seems certain that I am setting myself up for failure. Why do I make them?? Because every year I seem optimistic that these are the things that will make me a better person.

(I self analyze way too much!) At any rate, I was discussing this topic with my girls and my ever practical oldest daughter said," You have too many, Mom. Just pick one."

Okay.. I muddled this over in my mind and threw all of my resolutions in a pot and distilled them down to this..I will go to bed on time and get up on time. One resolution that is key to making all of the other ones happen. If I do this I can better establish a routine that will incorporate the countless other resolutions!

I will also choose to forgive myself if I fail to keep this and to try again and not give up. I pondered all of this again this morning in my bed where I was snuggled up tight against the 14 degree weather outside. Brian had made a fire before he left.

I will let you discern whether or not I got up "on time". That is such a relative term isn't it?
Stay warm today kiddos... it's going to be COLD outside.

Monday, January 12, 2009

a minute more

Thank you everyone for the responses to my last post. The book was great and stayed with me for a while. I read yesterday, The Year of Magical Thinking, which was the book this month for book club. It was very sad.. a woman's account of the year after her husband's death. (Not so much uplifting stuff coming out of bookclub lately...) It was extremely well-written and I certainly "got it." The author's need to keep retelling her story. Her feelings that her husband would come back some how even though she knew he wouldn't. It was a good book, just not one I would have picked up on my own. I guess that is why book club is good for me. =)

I have started to read the new Jodi Picoult book that mom mentioned and I will tell you more when I finish it. It too is quite interesting. I, as you know by now, like books that make you think. I feel there is a philosophy student hidden somewhere in me.. perhaps not so hidden now that I get to blather on to you good people!

In other news... We had a good day at school. Every day now includes PE too as Santa brought a trampoline to the Karp house and now the kids can't wait to get outside. I still am a bit nervous about having it... but the kids are playing together and getting exercise and those are both really good things! You will notice in the picture above.. the static in Caleb's hair from rolling around on the trampoline.

We are progressing through our studies and everyone is doing well. I really think that I was trying to do too much and by limiting our subjects a little... we are being more successful (to me as I feel a sense of accomplishment instead of the constant feeling that we aren't doing enough) and that is a great thing! We are working on our books. Bekah is finished with her story and Katie is pretty close. Just need to get those boys going.

I have been baking pumpkins. I bought pumpkins for decorations in the fall. I had this great idea that I would then bake them and freeze the pumpkin to add to different dishes. After Halloween the pumpkins went on sale for something like 50 cents. So.. I bought a couple more. I had to haul them down to the classroom at Christmas (they were clashing with my decorations) and brought them back up when we took Christmas down. I am baking pumpkins and pumpkin bread. And I am eating baked pumpkin.. though the kids aren't so excited about that. They do love the pumpkin bread though. I still have SEVERAL more pumpkins to bake up. Note to self... a little pumpkin goes a LOOONNG WAY!

I will leave you with this little tidbit that Caleb has been sharing lately. It comes from Veggie Tales.. but I didn't know that the first time he told it and I was quite amazed.

Caleb: "Mom, you have to eschew chocolate. (Now ask me what's eschew.)"

Me: " Okay.. Caleb, what is eschew."

Caleb: " Not much, what's eschew with you!! (much laughing here) Actually it means to give up or avoid, Mom."

Pretty funny right?? I think so. Good Grief.
So.. let me know... "What's eschew with you?"

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Just a quick note

Just a quick note tonight... I just watched a little T.V. and now I must scurry to finish a few chores before tomorrow.

I am doing Romeo and Juliet with my girls tomorrow. I definitely do not remember it being as bawdy as it is. Of course, when I read it in school I didn't have a line by line translation like I do now. It sounds a lot prettier in old English...and without the explanation of what exactly Shakespeare meant. I am sure I will skip over a few of the explanations! It is interesting though to think of his plays being performed. Even this tragic play has some (bawdy) humor. Wouldn't it be cool to witness a performance as it was all those years ago? see the audience reactions??

I just finished reading The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes.. a book Mom read and reported on earlier.
It was very interesting. I didn't think I would be able to read it at first because a girl becomes involved in a crime and ends up with the baby of a woman who dies. (She takes the baby and that horrifies me. But as you read you understand the circumstances and while it IS awful it is not as bad as you first imagine. )Well.... I got through that part and finished the book. The underlying theme is this: Can people change? Can you know someone one way for years (like 30) and then find out about their "secret" past? Does that effect you? Can you still love them?

This is the third book with this similar underlying theme that I have read and they have all had different results. In one, the wife could not forgive the past (which was horrific) even though she had been VERY happy for years with her husband. In another, The Reader, the man is sort of mesmerized when he finds out about the past... and tries in his own way to help but the resolution is not totally satisfactory. This story of CeeCee probably has the best ending of all three books.

Still, I find the idea behind these books intriguing. Hopefully we all grow in grace and love and life experience. Each of these characters has a criminal secret past. The characters totally turn their lives around and move forward but have not.. at least as the books begin.. paid for their crimes. If what we want (as a society)is rehabilitation then do they still need to pay?? Do we as a society only want rehabilitation or do we want repentance and punishment? Does it matter what the crime was and the circumstances under which it was committed?? I think so. I guess my answer differs for each case. HHMMMM
I hope that this wasn't too muddled. Trying to just articulate a few thoughts here..
I suppose I have gone on long enough... trying not to get those chores done I guess.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


We're back.... back at school and trying to get back into a routine. I excelled on Monday and Tuesday but backslid a bit already on Wednesday. I fear I am coming down with Katie's cold and I NEEDED desperately some extra sleep. I took it... which put us off to a later start, but we still managed to have a fair day at school. I am still trying to do some longer term planning... but that will come.

I don't have Christmas down yet as yesterday was Epiphany. The arrival of the three kings. Our church celebrates the Christmas season until this weekend. Father Tyler said that the Vatican leaves a tree up until February in the square. That is pretty cool. I will miss all of the lights but I will be glad to clear up some of the clutter. I do keep out my snowmen until the end of February usually. By then I am itching for spring.

We had guests yesterday, Maddie and Jackson, Noah's friends; and Chandlor, the girls friend; and for a while our neighbor Caleb..... friend of our own Caleb. I even took all of these kids (minus the extra Caleb) to the Animal Shelter for an hour and a half to play with the animals there.

Caleb is behind me singing... "So you think you lost your Llama, I saw her yesterday." to the tune of the Beatles... She Loves you! Pretty funny.

I do have more I want to say... but for now I must close and while I am the one who hasn't been writing I am still inclined to say, " Welcome Back!"

Thursday, January 01, 2009

My little guy

As I am putting the duvet covers on the new down comforters the boys got for Christmas

Caleb: So... does anyone have an "up" comforter??

Me: A down comforter is MADE of down. It is a material. (I later explained it was feathers)

Caleb: Does anyone have the material "up"?

I just love a 5 year old mind!