Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Power of a Sticker

I am always amazed at the power of a sticker.

I try very hard not to use rewards for my children, but there have been a few times that I have found them very useful.   My children love stickers, and I keep them as a rare treat - mainly so that they keep their power.  I have used sticker charts 4 times in the past, and am using a new one the last day or two.  Because they have not been used often, and stickers are used rarely, they are very motivating for my kids.

I used a sticker chart for potty training for both Delta and Echo.   Last year, when I was expecting Foxtrot, and knew that we would need to move Delta into the back of the mini-van, we used a sticker chart for doing up his carseat.  (Delta doesn't weigh very much, so is still in a 5 point harness car seat.)  Delta has also had one for practicing the violin for a while.

Well, now we are training Echo to do her carseat up by herself.  She had succesfully done it a handfull of times, but wouldn't make the effort.  (It was also a lot harder earlier with winter coats....)   Well, yesterday I setup a stickerchart, and she has done herself up everytime since (earning 8 stickers so far) - and I have moved her carseat to the back.   

In a week or so, I will print up a certificate for her that she can do up her carseat - and that will be it!

Gotta love the power of a sticker!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Who is Who

I am the step-mom of 3 adults, and the mom of 3 children.  I am also a grandma, and will become a grandma again in a few days (give or take, of course.)

To keep a level of security and anonymity, I am using code names.... and decided to simply use the international phonetic alphabet.

  • Alpha is my oldest step-son.  He is 25 right now, and lives in another city.
  • Bravo is my oldest step-daughter.  She is almost 24, and lives nearby.  She is the mother of the grandchild, and is the one expecting.
  • Charlie is my other step-daughter.  She just turned 19, and lives with us.

  • Delta is my oldest son.  He is 5 and a half.
  • Echo is my oldest daughter.  She is 3.
  • Foxtrot is my youngest daughter, who just turned 1!

My  Grandchildren:  (starting from the end of the alphabet...)

  • Zulu is my oldest grandson.  He turns 6 in about a month.  (yes, my grandson is older than my oldest children....)
  • Yankee is the expected grandchild, who has been declared to be a girl.  

Hope this helps!

Done with the backposts

Well, I'm done with posting the old stuff.... although I could go and add some pictures to some of the posts.  Not sure if I am going to or not at this point, as I don't know if anyone is reading.

Delta is doing well with his reading - he isn't quite fluent yet, but is doing a lot better - and I think he is reading silently at times when he is looking at books.   I have started using the "Treadwell" reader with him - and he has read to me "The Little Red Hen", and "The Gingerbread Boy" - so I think that finally he could be called a reader!  

Echo is doing pretty good with reading too.  We haven't worked on it all the time - but she can figure out simple sentences.  

Delta is almost finished Seals in swimming - probably by the end of summer.  Echo has completed the first 2 levels of Lil' Dippers, and is part way through the 3rd.

We didn't work on the Piano because of the violin lessons not working well - but Delta is very interested.... so now that the violin is going much better, I may start teaching him the piano again.  

I do at times wonder how I'm going to do everything - all 3 children are at a stage of needing a lot of my time to do things.    I will start posting some of the resources I've been finding....

So let me ask - how do you do it all?

What is with them?

What is with my kids today???  They are whining, fighting, crying, refusing to do anything, etc.  I've about had it.  Even the baby is being cranky.   

It is days like this that I wonder what I'm doing!

More Lightly Row

Well, we have been practicing Lightly Row (along with other stuff) for about 2-3 weeks now - and Delta is practicing it 2x a day now.  He can play it very well, up to speed, usually getting all the notes right.   What is REALLY cool though, is that Delta is picking the song as his "Happy Song" to end the practice session!    

Another thing that is really cool is that we are also doing the "Grasshopper" exercise to get the hopping 3 finger going for "Song of the Wind".  And, Delta is also playing the first "lick" of "Song of the Wind".   (A,1,2,3,E,E,E,E)

It is so satisfying to see him finally progressing with his violin!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Adding Homeschool

I'm adding posts about homeschooling now....   starting with things I had written elsewhere.  I'll be pre-dating it to when I wrote it.

Song of the Wind Exercises

Another lesson with Mrs. J, and Delta is starting the "Hopping 3" exercise with finger 1 down on the E string, that is used in Song of the Wind.    Mrs. J was really pleased with the progress Delta has made on Lightly Row.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Lightly Row!

Well, Delta is now officially learning Lightly Row!  His twinkles still need a lot of work of course, but we have been singing the fingerings for Lightly Row for a week now.    He has been working on his "hopping" 2 finger as well.   Well, at the lesson yesterday, Mrs. J and Delta went through lightly row very slowly, with her telling him the fingers to play.   There are also a couple of phrases that we will be practicing 5 times by itself.

Unfortunately, Delta is sick today....   as about all he will be eating today is crackers or banannas, he will be excused from practice today.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Change in Practice

So, just before changing teachers, I ordered "Step-by-step".  It is a book and CD that help make the practice more productive.   Well, although Delta did pretty good with practice (but they were super short) most of the time - it made a big difference having the book and CD.   I printed the chart off, and listed the things he would need to practice.   I made the main theme for the week being "Happy Practice".   Anything he did happily got a smilie face on the chart.  If he didn't do it happily, he still needed to do it - and would just get a checkmark.   The first day, he got 3 smilies out of about 9 that he could have earned - so I made it a "race" or challenge - could he beat himself tomorrow and get more.  Within a couple of days, he was getting ALL smilies - and a star at the bottom of the chart.   What a difference!    He still sometimes doesn't do things happily, but most of the time he does because he wants the star.

This system has worked well with the new teacher, as her requirements for practice are to do the same things they did in the lesson.  So I write down what the teacher did on the sheets, check the CD for appropriate accompaniment music, and that is what we do.   The CD with the book has the music at various speeds, so we start with the slow speed, and work our way up.

Concert Last Night

So, we had the year end concert last night.   It went quite well.  Delta was set to play with the pre-twinklers because he has only been a twinkler for a few weeks - but he also played the twinkles when it got to them.   

It was a good evening.  Charlie watched Echo while I went with Delta to get his violin tuned.  Foxtrot (the almost 1 year old) was in the snugli, which of course ended up being hard on my back eventually.   I had fun keeping Foxtrot quiet, but had come prepared with a sippi-cup of milk and some Nutrio's.  The other two enjoyed the music, although some was long.  They enjoyed the music best once they got to the songs they listen to a lot.

Delta was one of the students that got a trophy for 100 days of practice in a row.  Echo actually earned one too - I arranged for one to be bought for her, even though she isn't in the program yet.  Delta had his given on stage - Echo got hers afterwards in private.   I am very proud of them.  Actually, we haven't missed a day of practice since January 1st!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Well, it has been over a year since I posted - and there is a very good reason.  Besides being very busy having a new baby (who is almost 1 now), there is the issue of how often can you post that things are not going well?

Delta just didn't work well.  We spent almost a whole year of him refusing to do things for his teacher, having tantrums at practice time, etc.   Actually, we eventually got so that most practices (which were very short) went fairly well, but Delta pretty much balked at lessons whenever his teacher wanted to teach him something new, or wanted him to play with "fingers".   He did learn "The monkey song", and eventually in group learned the fingers for twinkles - but mostly refused to play them even for me.... I think he played the first variation maybe 4 times total.

Eventually, about 6 weeks ago, I decided that a change in teacher would make a difference.  His teacher didn't think so, but had run out of things to try, so we agreed that we would try a single lesson with another teacher.

Well, Delta did the whole lesson happily, and played (fairly well too) 4 of the twinkles, and learned something new.... I think it was doing an exercise with playing with his 3rd finger apart from the others.

So, obviously we have switched teachers.   Delta can play all the twinkles now (well, is still working on "Mommy, and Daddy, and"... and has just started singing the notes for Lightly Row, and is playing the first phrase slowly with me reminding him which notes.

Oh, our practices are longer, and more effective too.   Another post coming on that.

And, I plan to change this blog to include our homeschooling....

[I have since added (and dated the appropriate dates) stuff I had written in other places....]