Every time you feel in God's creatures something pleasing and attractive, do not let your attention be arrested by them alone, but, passing them by, transfer your thought to God and say: "O my God, if Thy creations are so full of beauty, delight and joy, how infinitely more full of beauty, delight and joy art Thou Thyself, Creator of all!
- Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain

You can’t get to joy by making everything perfect. You can only get there by seeing in every imperfection all that’s joy.
-Ann Voscamp

Monday, May 17, 2010

Tadpole Update, Visual-Spatial Learners and Random Stuff

I wanted to post a quick update on Hattie's tadpoles. I had read online that after they hatch they don't move around for up to 5 days, but it was hard to believe they weren't dying. Sure enough, however, after about 4 or 5 days they did begin to swim around. We changed the water, removing the dead ones in the process, and fed them some goldfish flakes. They have really grown a lot since then. Soon we could see eyes, then nostrils, and when they swim upside down we can see their intestines. In time we expect to see their hind legs developing. It's been a lot of fun watching them grow. I just tried to upload a new video of them 3 times, but it wouldn't work. Bummer...

We're winding down our school year now. I think everyone is feeling relief that we'll have a break from the "classroom" for the summer. That reminds me, if anyone who reads this has any advice/information on whole word reading, or visual-spatial learners, please send it my way. I have a hunch I'm going to need it. My youngest, it is clear, isn't going to be learning by the same methods that have worked with the other 3. We used phonics very heavily with the others and they seemed to quickly get the idea and then were off on the reading adventure and learning to spell by the same methods.

My 5 year old is on the young side for reading, so I'm not overly concerned, but she's been learning (or being taught, I should say) her letter names and sounds since she was 3. She's been pretty extensively exposed to them through a variety of methods at least 3 times each. She has finger painted them, glued dried beans on them, molded them out of play dough, printed them, watched videos of them, sung them...and still she doesn't know all of her letter names. She knows even fewer sounds. Today we were attempting to sound out some three letter words (such as bed, had, gum, run, dug). She was getting upset because she didn't know them, and I was trying to show her how to sound them out. She looked up at me and said, "Mom, I don't get it!" It's clear that indeed, she doesn't. The curious thing is that she can read some words. I don't know how, because she clearly has no idea what sound the individual letters in the words make. And I have very little by way of ideas, as of yet, for helping her. She told me that she knows the word bed because it looks like a bed...hmmm.

I have found one book and some websites that may help me. It's clear that it's going to take more time and effort than it has with the other kids. I'm encouraged by some of the great strengths that her learning style may have, though. I've read more than once that VSL's (visual-spatial learners) learn skills in sort of a hap hazard way, being advanced in some ways and slower in others. They may not build skill upon skill in ways that other learners do, but once they "get" it, it's there permanently. It often seems like turning a key. One day it isn't there, the next it is. Okay, yes, I can see that with her. There have been times when that's happened already, and it really took me by surprise. So, I guess I won't be able to "measure" her progress like I've been able to with the other kids. It will be somewhat of an exercise in faith for me. It will take more persistence that I'm used to having. I'm not exactly known as a patient person. I like to "see" progress, and I like to see it now. So, please keep me in prayer! Thank you! Okay, enough about that. Sorry for the long post, but I guess I'm using it to "process" what I've learned today.

As far as the little homestead goes, things are moving ahead at a snails pace. We've planted onions...yep, just onions. They're beginning to come up, which is exciting, but I sure do need to get the rest of the seeds in the ground. Peas, I think, will be tomorrow. Dan says he's going to get some planting done when he gets home from work tomorrow as well. We've built a second rabbit cage just like the first, and have 2 more to go. We finished the new chicken run. It turned out quite nice, but it was a lot harder working with the fencing that I'd expected. We chose horse fence, 10.5 gauge woven wire, 2 x 4 inch squares, 5 feet tall. It's very rigid and heavy. It is really hard to get a nice tight fence, and to get it to follow the uneven terrain without leaving gaps is quite a challenge. However, it was great preparation for putting up the fencing for the goats. That will come after the rabbit room is all set up in the barn. So, yep...things are coming together slowly but surely.

All the children are enjoying the summer weather. We've slept in the camper (right here at home) once, and are planning a trip to visit my family, especially my grandparents, at the end of the month. The kids and I will be staying for a while, helping with their garden and visiting with them. As they get older, I know my time is limited. I really want the chance to know them better before it's too late. I also want the children to have some memories of them.

Okay, that's enough...for now!

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