Your teenager’s brain. Fantastic listen!


So I thought I was crazy.  After all, my daughter is only 11…but it turns out I am not crazy—my daughter is changing from my small little girl into a budding teen.  And the amazing changes that take place in the teen’s brain are astonishing!

I wish I listened to this podcast last year when she was just 10 to help me prepare for this new phase of her life.  Perhaps I would have helped her enter it with more patience.  But better late than never, right?!

I hope this podcast helps each of you, as well, as it speaks of all of those crazy changes taking place in their brains—all the pruning going on.

Seriously…we just had a melt-down crying battle over hair on Monday.  I didn’t listen to this until Tuesday—MAN!  It would have really helped me as Mommy on Monday had I known a few of these reasons behind her reactions and how I aggravated it instead of helping her through it.

Anyhow, I guess what I’m really saying is this:  if you have a boy or girl either entering their teen years or are SMACK in the middle of them, this podcast will help you be a better and more understanding parent!

Enjoy the listen and be encouraged!

Xo B

http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/focus-on-the-family/listen/understanding-your-teens-brain-i-597872.html

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Grandmother and Grandfather’s Day. Dzien Dziadek i Babcia.

little red riding hood

“In America, all you would do is make a card for your grandma and grandpa,” stated my daughter.

This came about when we were having a conversation about whether or not she was glad to be back in Poland.

Two days ago, her class performed Little Red Riding Hood, the play, did two dances, and sang multiple songs for the grandpas and grandmas in the audience.

My daughter gave up a visit to the States so that she could be there for this special day, even though her grandparents were thousands upon thousands of miles and an ocean and a continent away in Arizona and California respectively.

You have to understand, my daughter feels Polican, as she says. Polish and American, and she speaks Pinglish. For Polish and English.

We are so above and beyond grateful to God that she feels this way. We have instilled in her the utmost to bloom where planted, and we are planted by God in the country of Poland.

And, for that very reason, my daughter attends Polish school and participates in all celebrations that Poland holds dear. We love her school and all that it does.

You need to understand, as well, that our daughter’s school is extremely small. It is a K-8th grade school that had its gymnasium built by the European Union, and, until this past fall, had absolutely no playground.

Before the playground was built, my daughter was asked by some friends and family what she did during recess.

Well, the first thing you should know is that my daughter does not technically have recess. She has 5-minute breaks between her 45-minute classes. Otherwise, her school day is only the hours that she has class.

That can mean that her “school day” is for 3 hours one day or 5 hours on her longest day—and that is only because she goes in for a 45-minute session of PSL (Polish as a Second Language). Otherwise her school day is 4 hours.

At first, such short days were huge adjustments. But as the year went on, we have grown to really love the short school days. It gives us an opportunity to enroll Adelyne in multiple activities but it doesn’t take us until bedtime to complete them.

This is what she participates in during the typical week:

Mondays—horse lessons and swimming.  This is her late night.

Tuesdays—nothing but play.

Wednesdays—French lessons and then we swing by our office where she has her “library”

Thursdays—Nothing but play with her best friend!  Thursdays she only has 3 hours of school.

Fridays—Dance after school.  At the school.  Very convenient and she loves it (it is an outside company that comes in)

Youth group is a Friday night event.

Anyhow—back to the recess question.  Adelyne was asked, “What do you do during recess since you don’t have a playground?”  She responded, “We run and jump and skip!”

I loved that.  Even in simplicity, children find great joys.  Sometimes I believe that we try to incorporate too much (I am just as guilty as the next) into their lives when all children really need is dirt.  And like we all heard growing up, “Dirt don’t hurt!”

This week as we celebrated the grandparents that were able to attend, I thought of the spectacular assembly the teachers prepared and the students prepared for and I realized—this was very special.  So special that it would not have taken place in the States.

First of all, to be very fair, in the States, most people don’t even live near their grandparents.  Very few people live where they were born in the States.  That is just the reality there.  In fact, people will gladly move where they will find work.  Even if it means hours upon hours away from their families.

In Poland, people tend to live (generally speaking it is still very true to this day) where they were born.  Therefore, they have large amounts of relatives right nearby—including grandparents.  Poland has yet to become a very transient society.  Yes, many migrate outside of Poland for work.  But, for those Poles remaining in Poland, a very large population still live very near in proximity to where they were born.

This is EXTREMELY evident at Dzien Dziadek i Babcia.  The auditorium was FILLED with grandparents.  It was such a blessing to see.

Having a daughter that lives thousands upon thousands of miles away from her grandparents, I loved that as I glanced around at the event, there was a sea of elderly faces and hair of wisdom.  And oh my!  They were all dressed up to a T and just as proud as could be as they watched their posterity perform just for them.

It was really special.

And Adelyne got to experience it because we are in Poland.

Oh—and dance in it!

So, today, I give to you my daughter in a super adorable dance that she got to participate in for Grandparents Day in Poland.

Her stats on the day of this event:  Adelyne Marguerite; age 8; 3rd Class; Grandparents’ Day Celebration ballerina (in the light pink skirt).  Enjoy!

If you are a grandpa or grandma, no matter where you are in the world, we celebrate you!

Enjoy!

xoxo

b

Here is the link to dance number 2:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygYbewb2BoY&feature=youtu.be

Homeschooling is not for the weak. Or faint of heart.

I am not a homeschooling mom, and, yet, here (in Poland) I find myself just that—a homeschooling mom. Or, as I call it, an English instructor for my own child.

Problem, you see. Or should I say, “Problems…”?

My daughter knows it all. Well, at least that’s what she tells me with every lesson I sit down to instruct 😉

Okay, okay. She’s not that bad.  All the time.  The other part, it pretty much goes like that.

And, ironically, I have taught for about 8 years in actual schools.  Teaching over 250 students (middle school and elementary school).  You would think that would give me a bit o’ cred, but it doesn’t.

Sigh.

Funny thing, too.  It doesn’t matter if you are preparing a day’s lesson for 1 student or 30 students, it still takes the same amount of time.  Realizing that once again.  Yikes.  It’s called lots o’ work.

Homeschooling, it’s not my cup of java, but it’s where I find myself in life.  And we are surviving.  Decently well, too, I must add.  I must, however, reiterate…Homeschooling is not for the faint.  It’s not for the weak.  It’s not for the pushover.  Boy howdy…homeschooling is for the tough mother!

And, sometimes, I think I need to get tougher, but we’re off to a good start!  Well, at least we’re off to a start.

I’ve got to be thankful to God that I have a good student.  Even if she knows everything (smile and wink).

Student:  Adelyne

Age:  8

Grade that she is starting this 2014-2015 school year:  3

Years of School in Poland:  Preschool (2 years, 1/2 of a year taught by her Momma), Kindergarten (1 year), 1st Grade (1/2 a year)

Years of School in Arizona, USA:  1st Grade (2nd half), 2nd Grade (from start to finish)

Book she is currently reading:  Remarkable by Lizzie K. Foley

So, along the way of instructing my child at home, I am learning the ins and outs of HOW MUCH I appreciate teachers.  When I taught, it was easy for me to correct a student’s work and hand it back to him or her with correction and tell them to watch for future mistakes.  With my own, it’s like pulling teeth trying to get her to believe me that, despite the sound of it, goes is spelled G-O-E-S and not gose.  If I was her teacher in America, I’d tell or show her once, she’d sit with wide eyes and a nodding head, and then she’d try with all her might not to do it again.  Perhaps I am exaggerating a bit, but she did constantly tell me, “Mrs. Boyd knows EVERYTHING!”  I loved her teachers in America.

Alas, we are not in America, so I am doing my best to do right by my Ada Girl and learn her her English abroad.  Oh my, you may shake your head and grunt…

But, overall, I think she is doing well.  I am trying.  She is trying.  We are surviving.  Our last unit was Ramona the Pest.  Our next is Arizona.  After that it’s Storks in Poland.  And, of course, she’ll have her quizzes and reviews and book report on Remarkable when she’s done with that.  Halfway through as we speak and reading it on the couch right now.

Really, it is fun.

In the meantime, I need to figure out how to throw spelling tests in the midst of all of this.

Oh, and she does learn Polish and French outside of my classroom—phew!  I don’t think I would do the best job of those here.  Haha!

Enjoy the photos, and look below for comments on ideas, frustrations, or web sites I used along the way.

letterwriting

We are working on writing, obviously.  And what’s more fun than writing letters hoping that friends write back?!  And it is a good way for me to gauge her spelling along the way, as well as her grammar usage.  Like, “Every day me and my family go swimming in the lake…”  I was able to tell her that if she dropped “family” how does, “me go swimming in the lake” sound?!  She thought that was pretty funny.  I did too.

comprehensionquestions

With Ramona the Pest, there are a million study guides out there, so I found a couple I liked and combined them.  Here are a couple of her comprehension questions from the book and answers.  She also tested on the book at the end on this site:  Book Adventure.  Since we can’t AR Test from home, we simply use the AR Book Finder to figure out the grade level they assign the books and the words in the books.  We keep a separate book for Adelyne that keeps track of that information.  Then, if the book is on the above site, she takes the final comprehension test on it.  It has quite a few tests.  So I am pleased.  To date she has read over 100,000 words and counting.  She’s my little reader.  I especially like how the above site (Book Adventure) keeps track of the tests she does take.  That’s nice for sure!

usingvocabularywords

For vocabulary, I used several words suggested in one study.  I had her look up their definitions all high tech style and all (on the computer—Merriam-Webster online).  She had to figure out which definition was used in the book, the part of speech it was, and then rewrite the definition in her own words.  It was a bit hard, the last part.  But then she was able to choose 3 of the vocabulary words and use them correctly in sentences of her own.  So even though defining them in her own words was hard, at least I could see that she understood their meanings when she wrote her sentences.

adasgame

Instead of writing a formal book report at the end of her book, she chose to make a game.  Here is the final result…Well, nearly the final result.  You’ll see us playing the game in a minute.  Her game had to be centered around the book.  Her characters/game pieces were characters from the book:  Howie, Danny, Ramona, Beezus, and Susan.  Her cards for moving were based on questions she came up with from the book, and her board centered around one of the activities from the book:  Halloween.  She had to create rules for the game that made sense.  This got frustrating as she wanted to skimp out on creating true rules.  After we both pulled our hair, she came up with 4 rules, and she had to pre-write them, edit her mistakes, and rewrite them in NICE handwriting.  Sometimes it is very hard being a mommy-teacher.  But she did it, and she did a fantastic job!  I guess it’s hard being a daughter-student, too.

Here are the rules and game pieces:

rulestothegame

gamepieces

And, finally, here we are playing the game.  It was actually very fun.  We did have to add a few more move forward cards while playing.  Overall, however, it was a great first success and you could tell she read and understood the book.  Just FYI, the game that she made took about 20-25 minutes for 3 of us to play when the babies (our 2-year-old and 6-month old) were in bed.  It was a great end of the evening for sure!

playingadasgame

Hope you enjoyed the unit and maybe picked up a few ideas for your own school at home!

In the meantime, I have most definitely been reminded how hard homeschooling is.  Yikes.  Like I said, it’s not for the faint of heart.  But I do look forward to our next unit which will include more social studies and science bits and pieces.

I’ll keep you updated as we go…

A post about cooking in Poland will follow.  But not for a few days, as we head to the oldest Polish city this weekend as we join them for church there.  Where’s that, you may ask.  Why KALISZ!

Perhaps Adelyne will do a unit on that, too.

Oh, and we (Ada and I) are about to embark on writing and illustrating a book together.  Can’t wait for that unit, too.

Much love for now.  And, as Maxwell (the 2-year-old) would say, as he has learned in French, “A-be-ben-to!”  (Also known to the rest of you as “A bientot!”)

See you later…And, please, leave ideas and comments below on how to help this mother out 😉

Big kisses (3 for Poland) and an American hug (from me)!

 

I decided to homeschool, and this is why…

Pottery Wheel Fun

Today, when she woke, Adelyne‘s cheeks were flushed red, her eyes glossy, and she was running a low-grade fever.  On top of that, she actually woke before me.  And, if you know my daughter at all, she became a teenager at birth.  Which means she has always loved her sleep and NEVER has been a morning person.  Usually we have to drag her out of bed-kicking, screaming, crying.  Kid you not.  So we knew our little Ada girl did not feel well, and we decided to keep her home.

We covered her up, put on an Odyssey, pumped her full of drugs—well, two to be exact (ibuprofen and a nasal decongestant), put a cold cloth on her head, Gatorade next to her bed, and kissed, cuddled, prayed for and loved on her.

Off my husband went to work.

And, what do you know, one hour later, my 8-year-old was up and bouncy and feeling oh so much better.  Of course.  After all, drugs do get sold for reasons such as these.

Now I had a month and a half baby girl, a one and a half  year old boy, and an eight-year-old girl all under my roof.  Awake.  Ready for attention.

Something else you should know—my daughter loves TV.  I probably instilled this love in her.  I am enthralled with imaginations and creativity.  Television is also a relaxing way to escape and veg.  Yep.  Maybe not always the most educational recreation, but a very relaxing one nonetheless.

So, of course, now that she is better and up and home from school, she wants to watch TV.

HA!

“Um, my precious girl, you do not get to stay home from school and watch TV.  Let’s figure out what you can do instead.”

Finish homework.

Check.

Write spelling words 5 times each and take practice test.

Check.

Finish chapter book (she reads a chapter book nearly every other day).

Check.

Okay…

Let’s work on your pottery wheel.

Check.

150 piece puzzle.  Yikes!  What was I thinking?  That one was hard.

Check!

Your newest craft project?

Check!

Play Doh with your brother?

Ada & Max

Check!

Oh man.  I didn’t sit all day.  I entertained 3 kids (is that my job?) and didn’t even get to turn on my computer.  BUMMER!  I love it as much as television (smile and wink).

Adelyne and Maxwell were busy all day.  We did Math, Science, Reading, Writing, Arts and Crafts.

I watched them interact all day, and I loved it.

Precious.  Priceless.  Loving.  Fun.

My heart literally expanded.  I am not kidding.  I physically felt the expansion of my heart.

Love.  Endless, boundless love.

And so I decided.  I would homeschool my daughter.

I would forever keep her in my home, close to my heart, each and every day.  Forever.

She is growing too quickly.  Her life is sweeping past my eyes, much like the hair that is always sweeping across her forehead.  I never want to let go.

But, alas, I know she loves school.  She loves her friends.  She loves her clubs.

And, so, I will let her go.

To school.

Without me.

But I will always be close.

Wishing and wondering—does she want to be home with mommy, too?

***

Here is a link to a free Odyssey.  They put one free Odyssey out each day.  We love it.  Click on ‘Listen Now’ and it will take you to the last week’s listening schedule and free online adventures.

http://www.whitsend.org/