Sunday, October 22, 2006

Mommy, you really were a teacher!

I think Gracie may finally believe that I used to be a teacher! Oftentimes I'll say something about when I used to teach and I can tell that her little brain just can't really comprehend that. After all, since she's been born~and a month or so before~I've been "just" a Stay-At-Home Mom. (I put 'just' in parentheses for sarcastic emphasis. I know some people do actually look at it in that way but some of us do realize that it is a full time job.....not that working outside the home moms don't work hard as well.......)

I have done a little tutoring for money since she's been born but honestly I guess I was done with that before she even turned 2 so she doesn't remember it and it wasn't very often or for very long.

I've found it funny this year that I can tell her something regarding something she's working on at school and she can listen and vaguely acknowledge. However, days or weeks later, she may say excitedly, "Mrs. Stauffer said..........." and repeat almost verbatim what I had previously told her. Only this time she gives much more credibility to the lesson being taught. I'll usually remind her that I had already tried to teach her that and tell her that I do know what I'm talking about. LOL

Yesterday I got out some folder games and other learning games that I'd made while teaching. I had found them in the shed when we cleaned it out a few weeks back. There were some that specifically focused on addition & subtraction so I thought I'd see how Gracie liked working on them since that's kind of where she needs to practice the most right now. She loved them! I think it really hit home that Mommy really does know what she's talking about since I had these cool learning games that I used to actually use in my classroom with my students.

I'm all for written assessment and pencil & paper practice, but I think there's a time & a place for it. I don't think it's the only thing that should be used to teach a child something or to give them practice. I love providing hands-on activities for children to use and these games were a hit with Gracie. She is doing fine in math; it's not that she's behind. (I'm pretty sure she'll have an "A" on her report card next week.) Coming from my "teacher perspective," I just see that she needs a little "fine tuning." I am intent on getting her to know her addition & subtraction facts at an early age (without her having to count on her fingers, etc.) so that she won't struggle as much later when the math gets harder. She got frustrated a few times but with some prompting and encouragement, I think she was a lot more successful than she thought she would be. It was great to see!

The Language Arts subjects (reading, spelling, writing, phonics etc.) all come easily to her for which I'm very thankful. Math is just something that doesn't interest her as much and takes more concentration on her part so she gets frustrated easily. I think making it fun for her will really help! I'm so glad I kept these games because they're now coming in handy for my own daughter. I think I have some cool writing journal workbooks of some type up in a cabinet somewhere too that are "leftovers" that I may add to her "van activities" for our trip in December.
Gracie had fun at the twin birthday party yesterday. I enjoy sitting back and watching her interact with her peers. If I was a psychologist I'm sure I could come up with some deep conclusions. I'm just a mom right now so I'm not sure I have anything too deep to say but I did draw some conclusions. I don't think she'll ever be a "loud leader." By that I mean she's not the one who will gather the troops and lay out the plan for what they should play or do. I do think she may be a "quiet leader" at times though and maybe lead by example. I'm not sure yet. I'm protective so I was watching pretty closely,while trying to do it from afar so as not to be overbearing, and it seemed like she is well liked but not one to just do what everyone is doing just because everyone is doing it. She has grown up with so many "boy" friends (not 'boyfriends;' just friends that are boys) that it really was fun to watch her interact with the giggly girls and see how she is in that type of situation. I was proud of the way she acted and glad she had fun.

It's going to be fun watching her grow up! One of my new favorite songs is "Find Your Wings" by Mark Harris. It may not be a new song but recently started paying attention to it. It says so many things that I feel about my girls. I almost started crying as I listened to the words the other day in the car. I think my parents must have felt some of these things for me as they sent me off to ACU. I'm so grateful to them for giving me the opportunity to go and make my own decisions. I wasn't completely cut off from their apron strings, but to some extent I was. I think of Betty as she watches her children take off for faraway parts on mission trips: "I'll have tears as you take off, but I'll cheer as you fly."
While Katie napped and Chris watched football, Gracie & I went to the library yesterday afternoon to watch a free showing of "Over the Hedge." It was a funny movie. Yes, it had some parts that I wish were left out (doesn't every movie?!?) but it was very funny and we enjoyed it.

She has decided that she wants to learn about horses so we checked out a bunch of horse books. We got some "real" books and some "pretend" ones. I was able to explain a little to her about the call numbers for the nonfiction books and how the fiction ones are organized by the author's last name. I think she was actually interested and paid attention. It is so much fun to have these "big girl" times together.
We went back to the park last night for some more exercise. Chris is good at encouraging me. Gracie rode her bike 1 1/2 miles this time. I said that she'll have to start eating more. I know the exercise is good for her but she doesn't need to lose weight so she'll need to bulk up on how much she eats. She ate quite a bit at dinner tonight so that's good. She's good about eating "good stuff" too. Sure, she likes her cookies and ice cream but she'll eat her protein, fruits & veggies well too. Katie sure does love her "foot" (fruit) too! (BTW: I walked another 2 miles while we were there and was able to "jog" a little of it...really more like shuffling but I like to call it a jog!~That made it 6 miles this week. This week, I'm going for 10.)
I think we may have gotten a waitress in trouble today at lunch. We went to this local pizza place where you can get fantastic pizza at a very reasonable price. Since it's close to the end of the month, we needed to eat somewhere "cheap" but of course also wanted to enjoy what we were eating. Chris & I can get 2 huge slices of pizza (sausage & feta~yum!) and a drink for $5.50 each. Throw in a huge slice of cheese pizza for the girls @ $1.75 and we've got a great meal.

Well, the waitress charged us $3.25 for the girls' slice. I know, I know it's only $1.50 difference but if it's wrong, it's wrong. I nicely questioned her on it and she looked and acknowledged that she'd charged us for the special which came with a drink. The girls both had water so she should have just charged us for the slice. She kind of hesitated like she expected us to say, "Oh, it's no big deal." We didn't. I mean, we didn't order it so why should we have to pay for it? She said, "Well, I can give you some cash back; that's all I can do." (We'd used our debit card.) We nicely said that was okay. She left and I saw her talking to the manager and it looked like they were heatedly arguing. I really couldn't tell if they were kidding around or what but I felt bad. I did want it to be corrected but I didn't want her to get yelled at! She finally got around to coming back, took out her money and said, "Okay, so I owe you $1.25?" Chris said, "Um, $1.50." She walked away frustrated, obviously she only had 1 quarter not 2. She talked to the manager again as he hurriedly passed her and finally told us that he would have to give us the money. She called out to him which table we were at and he came over and basically threw the money at us with a quick thank you.

I know we're cheap (all of our friends~and family~know this~what can I say....I grew up with thrifty parents) but I didn't want to be charged for something we didn't order. She did apologize and we were very nice about it. I just hope she didn't get into too much trouble.
Today in my 1st & 2nd grade class we had the story of the 'Tower of Babel.' We talked about how we should use God's help and shouldn't try to be greater than God. It was so sweet to hear one of the little girls say the prayer as she read the praises & requests out of our prayer journal. I so love teaching that class! One of the little girls (2nd grade) that's in the class is legally blind. She wears glasses and can see; just not very well. I had her & Gracie help me read the story out of the "real" Bible and I was so impressed with her. The print was so small and I know it was extremely hard for her to see but she read and did a great job! I told her how proud I was of her and she made the comment something like this: "I thought I couldn't do it but my heart just said I could." She is such a sweetie and an example to me in determination!

Of course, at one time she also said something like, "Man, this feels just like school." HA! With this age, I like to still do some fun, hands-on craft type things & games with them because they are still children, but I also like to have them read & write & brainstorm etc.
A church in a nearby town is having a Ladies Day in a couple of weeks and I've decided to go. I've been wanting to go to something like this and they had invited the ladies of our congregation so I'm going. I'm the only one on the sign up sheet but I feel like I need this. I may recruit some friends to go with me. I emailed some girls from church about it so we'll see if anyone responds.

Here's a couple reasons I'm looking forward to going: today Chris led singing so I had Katie during all that time. During the sermon, she was sitting with him and Gracie was sitting quietly so I opened up my Bible to read along. It's like she heard the crack of the spine or something because Katie immediately reached for me. *sigh* I closed the Bible. Tonight we were going to have low numbers for Life Group so we met at the building with a family from another Life Group and 1 other family from our Life Group. For the kids, it was just our 2 girls and 2 little boys. We thought surely we could put them in the classroom next to ours with a video and the toys and they'd be fine. *sigh* Within 10 minutes, Gracie came bursting into the room saying that "they" had unplugged the television! I raced in there, along with another mom, to find 1 little boy pushing on the cart the t.v. was sitting on and Katie holding the cord! I'm not too sure she wasn't about to plug it back in! UGH I disciplined her (use your imagination!) and set her in time out. At that point I decided to sit in there with them. I turned the video back on for the last 2 minutes then attempted to read a Bible story to them. Oh, did I mention that I'd had my Bible open for about 4 minutes before I had to run into the other room to watch the kids? So, even if I go by myself~which might be nice~I'm going to this Ladies Day and I will enjoy sitting and listening and hopefully learning something new. I LOVE being a Stay-at-Home mom. There is no job I'd rather do at this point in my life, but I so look forward to going to the Ladies Day.
Next weekend is our Fall Fest and Trunk or Treat at church. I am so looking forward to this. I think Katie will probably be a ballerina and Gracie will probably be Miss Patty Cake. They said to plan to bring candy for about 45 children. There will be about 60 adults. This is great for a church our size! I think today was the cut off for sign ups and I think the response has been wonderful!
I talked to my sister-in-law Erin last week and I'm so excited to see her for Christmas!


Malia said...

Sweetpea's doing great with the math, it's the reading that she needs more assistance with! She can read and she can do it well, she just doesn't have the affinity to sit and read books all the time like Gracie (or like me for that matte!)

jettybetty said...

O my, that song so made me cry! I haven't heard it before--but there's iTunes and I may have to find it!

Gracie sure looks like she is having fun with that math!!!