Saturday, May 23, 2009

Good Stuff

Here is a list of some Good Things happening around here lately:

When I came downstairs this morning, Ryan was reading a book out loud to himself! He is really beginning to take an interest and initiative in reading. He was reading one of his game manuals the other day, too. I'm so happy to see this! I have consciously been trying to let him take his time with this reading thing, trying to stay out of his way, being happy with the progress he has made. And that has been very hard for me to do! Especially because I know he would be a little bit behind other kids his age if he were in school. But I also know that unless there is another problem (like dyslexia), sometimes some kids (often boys) just need a little extra time for their brains to mature. I didn't want reading to become a Big Thing and a source of battles and tension. So here he is at age 7, reading an I Spy book to himself--what a welcome sight!


We are getting 1/4 of a grassfed cow next week! I recently discovered that several homeschoolers I know from chess and other activities are also into Weston A. Price, and through their contacts, I'm getting some beef. This will be so great for many reasons. First--good healthy grassfed beef = YAY. Also, I love having lots of food available--it's so easy to throw a couple of steaks on the grill, or make chili or burgers. My problem with preparing meals is mostly due to the fact that I can't seem to get to the grocery store often enough (and trust me, THAT'S an adventure, going to the store with all three kids). Plus, this will be so much cheaper than the beef I can get at the grocery store anyway! It'll even out to between $2 and $2.50 a pound. Can't beat that, especially for steaks.


I'm working on content for the website for our new group, the Atlanta Objectivist Society. I had hoped to do tons of writing this weekend, but Sean has developed a bout of Pukinson's Disease, so those plans will not turn out like I had hoped. But I think I'll get to make some progress. I hope. It kind of depends on whether and when anyone else goes down.


Here are a few links that may be of interest:

Diana Senechal guest-blogs at Joanne Jacobs "How innovative are you, teacher?" and details some of the strange goals and measures that teachers need to meet.

Elisheva has a great post at Ragamuffin Studies called "The Wrong Side of a Do-Gooding Law." The road to where is paved with good intentions? Yup.

Judy at Consent of the Governed has a video by John Taylor Gatto, which I haven't watched yet, but should prove to be interesting. The rest of her post is interesting, too.

Christine at The Thinking Mother has a really interesting post on parenting independent kids and how parental response to negative situations can undermine that principle. Good reminder.

In her most recent newsletter, Lisa VanDamme of the VanDamme Academy shares a great strategy for encouraging kids to think about their school "Tell Me Everything You Know." You can sign up for the newsletter on her website.

I wrote about a similar strategy (using open-ended questions) in my post about Keeping Kids Safe, when we ask the kids questions beginning with the phrase "What would you do if .... ?" I actually learned this open-ended question technique in an class about how to conduct job interviews back in the days (B.C., Before Children) when I had a different job.

I love this interactive communication approach in general, and I think "Tell Me Everything You Know" is a wonderful way to talk to kids about important concepts, and gives them a chance to demonstrate proudly what their knowledge is, and will also help the parent (or teacher) identify gaps in their knowledge. So many topics this would be useful for: traditional academic subjects, peanut allergy, stranger danger, handling conflicts with their friends. Any area where you want to ensure that the child has good information and where it's important that this knowledge is really, really in there and the kid can use his mind independently to access it. A much better technique than the Mommy Lecture format, I think! :o)

All for now....wish us luck with the Pukinson's!


Kelly Elmore said...

I haven't read Van Damme's article, but if someone asked told to tell them everything I know, I would feel very overwhelmed. Don't you think some children might be too?

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

I hope the Pukinson's passes quickly away so that you and and the kids can all enjoy the holiday weekend.

It's very rainy here (it's seems more pluvial than global warming this year), so an astronomy campout (for the Engineering Geek) and a scout service project (the Boychick), have both been cancelled. Bookclub and the trip to see the new Star Trek are still on the agenda. Here's hoping you have better weather there!

Rational Jenn said...

Kelly, I can forward you the newsletter if you'd like to take a look. Obviously, her focus is how they use it in her school.

I'd say if someone were overwhelmed by the word "everything" then you could change the phrasing a bit to "Tell me what you know about X."

In fact, I might have to take that approach with Ryan, because he is convinced he does actually know *everything* and I'm not sure I could spare several solid hours to listen to him tell me!

But in general, it's another way to ask open-ended questions, if you're interested in finding out what someone knows about something. I think my peanut allergy interview would have been much different had I asked that question rather than had set questions, for example. I might try it next time, just to see what they come up with.

Elisheva, thanks! We didn't have lots of plans this weekend, but the few we did have had to be changed and now we're in Plan B mode. Oh well--nothing to be done other than wait it out! And I hope your weather turns in your favor--bummer about the astronomy trip. NM is not typically rainy, is it? I remember visiting my parents when they lived in Los Alamos and there was a lot of that strange kind of rain that never hit the ground!

Monica said...

$2.50 for grassfeed beef! Whoa, almost makes me wish I lived in Georgia! :) We can't get grassfed anywhere nearly that cheaply here. You guys are going to be eating tons more beef now compared to LaCense's prices. YEah!

I wonder what the factors are that make it so cheap where you are...

Maartje said...

Jenn, I really like your comments on using open-ended questions with the kids. I am still trying to wrap my head around how I want to raise my kids in the future; insofar as that I have a pretty good idea how I want to do it in the abstract sense, but it's a lot harder to translate that into concrete actions sometimes =) It works wonders to read these things! Thanks!

Such Lovely Freckles said...

I like your post. Thanks for the links. I love John Taylor Ghatto. Will watch the video now.

Rational Jenn said...

Thanks, all!