Thursday, October 8, 2015

Thinking, Playing, Reading

Thinking:
A lovely reader left this comment on my blog awhile ago on Miranda's Coming Home essay, and I earmarked it, because I love it and I thought all my readers would too.   

From Cathy-
Your story brings tears to my eyes since I takes me back to when my husband I took the same leap of faith. I am so grateful I listened to that still soft voice which beckoned me to trust in God's providence and not our own - even though at the time I made the lions share of our income. That was almost 20 years ago and now the little ones I stayed home to be with have moved out and are beginning their own journeys. We endured some very lean years, but the gift of time has taught me that you don't regret the materials things you sacrificed to stay home with them. Even all the hours we ended up having together didn't feel like enough as we drove them off to college and helped them pack their things to move into their own places. This nation so desperately needs young children who feel valued, loved and secure... it is a priceless gift we give not only ourselves and our children but our communities as well.

I want to shout that from the rooftops. "Even all the hours we ended up having together didn't feel like enough as we drove them off to college and helped them pack their things to move into their own places."

Playing:
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We bought the "ingredients" to do this already.  But right now, I'm going to appreciate the full green trees before they change and drop their leaves and become gray sticks in the sky for months and months.  How I craved seeing the green in April!  It was hard to imagine it, one gets so used to the gray sticks.  So now I am going to take special notice.


Reading:
I have a huge pile of books (mostly historical fiction) from the library to start on. 

Here are a few of Janey's favorites (this week!):
This is one of our favorite books, I can't tell you how many times I've read it.  

Poor Mr. Carp has to save a fish who has grown too large for even the town swimming pool after a boy feeds his pet too much.

Janey has always loved these Dick and Jane readers I have had awhile. I remember these types of readers from when I was in first grade.  Patrick is bringing home what they use in school now, and I can't help but compare.  The books now are so cartooney, and over-animated to me.  The Dick and Jane books have such nice simple illustrations of real people and real things and events. I once had a great conversation with a retired teacher and she said that every couple years someone comes up with a new and exciting way to change the old ways that just worked, and eventually they go back, only to start all over again with the new and exciting way, whether it's too teach handwriting, or reading, or math. 

I noticed with my older kid's textbooks there is so much information on one page-all these little sections with questions or extra facts and pictures, crowding out the basic text-so many distractions on one page, again and again.  It hurts my head-maybe because I like symmetry and uniformity and to able to concentrate on one subject or story at a time.  I don't think our educational materials are helping our children's concentration skills that's for sure.

Have you noticed this or is it just me?



A first grade reading book today.

Here is a fun book from the library that Janey and I laugh over. This poor dog Katie can not control herself around new kittens, and keeps getting herself in trouble.  There is a lot of emotion in this book which Janey loves-Katie goes from uncontrollable excitement to sadness when she gets scolded and for some reason Janey thinks that is hilarious.
Next up, our favorite autumn/Halloween books! And hopefully I will have stayed awake long enough to get through at least one of those books from my stack.

19 comments :

  1. We bought a huge Dick and Jane reader (at Costco of all places!) many years ago, and my husband taught all 4 of our kids to read using it. I'm not a huge "saver" but I am absolutely hanging on to it. I totally agree with you about the newer readers. My youngest is in 1st grade, and I worked in his class last week and helped with reading groups. Instead of just a simple reader, they were reading through some kind of "Magazine" with facts all over the place (I think it's a Common Core concept to focus on nonfiction, decoding facts-don't get me started.) There were charts all over the place and they had to answer questions. For some children who are already reading it was fine-I think they liked the challenge of trying to figure out the graphs. For the others who are still trying to read simple words, I think it must be some kind of a nightmare. Ugh!

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    1. And that is where my son is at right now-struggling to make sense of too much information, when he's still sounding out and trying to concentrate on the basic concepts.

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  2. I absolutely cannot stand the way our school handles reading materials and homework. I have a 3rd grader who's very advanced, and a second and first grader who are both just right on track. My advanced 8yr old does well, but neither of the younger ones can come even close to doing any of their homework on their own because of how complicated the reading portions or directions are. I want to get in front of these people who are in charge of choosing these materials and ask them how homework that they can't do themselves is helping them. And the math.... There are no words. The schools justify it all by saying that the US is behind the rest of the world and that MORE is needed to catch up. Well, they're right, we ARE behind and MORE is needed... they're just so confused about what we all need more of! More healthy foods served at lunch, more free thinking time, more play, more outside time. Not more testing, technology, and more complication! This is my worst frustration right now!

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    1. John Hattie about homework

      “Homework in primary school has an effect of around zero. In high school it’s larger. (…) Which is why we need to get it right. Not why we need to get rid of it. It’s one of those lower hanging fruit that we should be looking in our primary schools to say, “Is it really making a difference?” If you try and get rid of homework in primary schools many parents judge the quality of the school by the presence of homework. So, don’t get rid of it. Treat the zero as saying, “It’s probably not making much of a difference but let’s improve it”. Certainly I think we get over obsessed with homework. Five to ten minutes has the same effect of one hour to two hours. The worst thing you can do with homework is give kids projects. The best thing you can do is to reinforce something you’ve already learnt.” As a teacher I would love to get rid of homework in primary grades, but often parents ask for it. The zero effect is in reference to the impact it has on student learning.

      If you don't like how things are going get involved because the truth is...it's not the teacher but the federal, state, and local school boards that dictate what goes on in your child's classroom.

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  3. Our school in NJ still sends home little Dick and Jane readers with the kindergarteners and I love it! I've never commented on your blog but love it. I just read a book you might like call "A Spoonful of Sugar" by Brenda ashford about her life as the longest working nanny in England. Her story is great and old fashioned. Loved it.

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    1. Thank you Emily, I have it on my list!

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    2. @Emily - I wish our school here sent home Dick and Jane readers in Kindergarten. That is so great to read your school is still using the classics.

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  4. I just read Yellow Crocus! It was really quite good.

    I enjoy your blog, even though I am a grandma fr many years.

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  5. I'm addicted to books from the 1950's ... the illustrations are my favorite. It makes me want to jump inside the pages and live in a different time :)

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    1. It's not from the 50's but you would love The Cutter's. It's SO sweet, about a mother of a big family.

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  6. I agree with you 100%. We taught our daughter (who was struggling to read) with Dick and Jane books. She was part of half day kindergarten and then first grade in our local public school and they didn't even send home weekly readers with the children to teach them to read. Crazy. My son, who went to Kindy in Australia (when we lived there for a year), changed out his readers every few days and it was really great to see how they progressed up the line to more advanced reading. I tried the Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and it was a total miss for my daughter who struggled with reading. We got up to lessons 70 or so with it and she still really wasn't catching on - really not sure why it didn't take for her. Dick and Jane worked! My other two children just learned to read by osmosis. I read them stories and they literally visually memorized every word and never really had to be taught to read. Every child is so different.

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    1. 100 Easy Lessons didn't work with my youngest either, it is so true, they are all so different when it comes to that "click" in their brain when reading makes sense to them.

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  7. I just want to tell you how much I LOVE your blog. So inspirational. It truly helps me remember what is important and that I am not crazy as I often feel like no one values their children as much as they should. I am going to do your leaf project with our kids and you are motivating me to take them to the library right now! Thank you so much for taking the time to thoughtfully write this blog. You are a treasure!

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  8. Dear Sarah, do you read all those books or you abandon some of them if not your style?

    Recommendation for you, as I know you like the subject:
    http://www.amazon.com/Called-Mountain-Midwife-Phyllis-Inscribed/dp/1930154240/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1444436230&sr=8-1&keywords=called+the+story+of+a+mountain

    Thank you for the inspiration!

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    1. I abandon them for sure, if I don't like them! Thanks for the recommendation!

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  9. Another "old-fashioned" series we just love (Janey may be a little young for them, but my 5-year-old daughter loves them) is the Flicka, Ricka, Dicka books. I love their simplicity and also the peek into that culture. I want to be just like their mom! :)
    Love your blog so much. I've been reading for about 8 years now and it has always been one of my favorite places to visit.

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