Schulzke Family

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Facebook Famine

It appears that once Mandy started using Facebook too that the posts to our blog have discontinued now for almost an year. I'm ready to change it because there are things to share with family, loved ones, and friends where it's in our control and we're not getting inappropriate advertising... Do you know who was searching for you? Yes, the Mafia, of course! ;-) Now there have been benefits to facebook too like all the family we've connected with there including extended family, and I encourage all Schulzkes to join in the Alle und Jeder Schulzke group out there. I'm determined to continue our family history work!
Here are some updates about our family of late and a few pictures too...

I (Quintus) continue my work as a product manager at IBM. While economic times are tough, fortunately the storage business has been strong enough to weather some of it, but I recognize it hasn't been strong enough to bless all my colleagues in the same way and my heart goes out to those who have been sent away this past year looking for other opportunities. I pray you'll find a good place to work!
I have to come up with an award for Mandy like teacher of the year, or teacher of the decade, even century! She manages to get so much done (even though she feels otherwise), and especially for the benefit of our children. I love her soooooo much! Furthermore she serves faithfully in other areas and has done a very nice job of adding a few touches to make our home feel more like home. Her love of reading isn't suffering any either.
Tristian has played a year straight of football (only sparing the hottest months of June to September). Tackle football's his favorite by far, but we decided to let him take a break to try baseball right now, and he loves that too. I'll need to snap a picture of him in uniform. He has the look of a ball player and his skills are coming along. He had his first game on Wednesday which they won. That's his first organized game ever played... just before his 11th birthday. I can hardly believe it considering how much I played when I was young. Tristian just took a test to figure out where he stands in school... his friends are in 5th grade and he took the 6th grade test. We'll get the results soon, not to give him a big head, but to know what areas of his education need work.
Ammon is still the favorite child for entertaining when there's a group of children around that wants to play. He's never short on ideas of what to do, creating games to play, and telling stories as they go. Reading isn't everything, it's the only thing according to Ammon it seems. He loves to do it still and rattles off facts all the time about everything. He's even stumped his parents a few times with the facts he knows.
Miranda is a lovely girl. She enjoys dressing up and making herself pretty and she is a pretty girl. She's starting to discover sports now with soccer. I'm not sure she understands the competition part of it yet, but she has a good time. She's on a good team this year, and it will help her to be practicing harder and more. She does enjoy helping when others are also busy doing along with her. When she's alone she's not as motivated, but she also loves to be a help to her sister, Leah. It's nice to see her communicating with Leah about how they can help each other.
Leah remains the cute girl with golden curls and blue eyes and a fun and kind personality. However, don't attempt too often to do something for her. She really likes her independence. Her speech is making progress and she tries to speak in sentences now. It's still a struggle for her to pronounce everything correctly, but her ability to do so and her vocabulary is starting to multiply. She can still bring a smile to anyone's face.
Overall the family is very happy and very blessed! Well, that' s my perspective on it and it keeps me happy.
We'll see if I quite get to a year before writing here again. We send our love to all our family and friends!


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Anybody know a good logic curriculum?

I am finding my problem in posting isn't so much that I don't know what to write, it is getting the pictures. I have put off posting because I keep meaning to get a picture of my kids with their latest history project. It isn't happening, so I need to post without a picture I guess.

Does anyone know a good logic curriculum? I hate how much time I am spending over agonizing over curriculum this year. I am happy with most of what we are using, but there is a part of me that thinks if I find the right program I will suddenly have geniuses. Also, this year I have three I am schooling, so I am having to switch Tristian to a more independent mode--which he needs anyway. I want to add logic for him this year, but I don't have any personal recommendations yet. Ugh, having three kids with such very different needs can be a challenge. I am looking forward to it!

Homeschool convention is in just a couple of weeks, so I feel like I need to be prepared to take advantage of any deals, but not waste time or money on something that isn't so great, btdt. So far my plans are

History--continuing with Story of the World, by the end of the school year, we should be up to the modern age. This year will be lots of fun--we will cover about 1500-1800.

Science--Physics! Not my forte, but we will be using Noeo. I hope that I can find a deal so that I can get both levels. Otherwise, I will just adapt level II for Ammon and Miranda.

Math--I am thinking of starting Miranda with Saxon 1. I don't have any experience with it, but it looks like she can handle it. I already have the teacher book, so the student pages are probably the cheapest way to go at this point. I will look at convention and see if there is something better, but I think shee needs the repetition. Ammon just did different workbooks, but is in Saxon 2 now, but I plan to have him finish before December break. Tristian is in Saxon 7/6 and should start 8/7 in Jan (if he doesn't keep dinking around).

Phonics/Reading/Language--Tristian will keep working with Total Language Plus. I love it, he is still getting used to it. I think this year we will study The Incredible Journey, The Wheel on the School, and possibly The Cricket in Times Square, the Twenty-one Balloons, The Hobbit, and Adam of the Road. Ammon is working in Learning Language Arts through Literature. His reading program is constantly evolving and I find new things that will interest him. Miranda is still just learning to read in 100 Easy Lessons, but I will add LLATL for her soon. I am trying to get her too frustrated yet.

Spanish--I just need to be more consistent in getting them to practice.

Writing--I want to try 6+1 Traits for Tristian, but I haven't been able to get my hands on a book to look at yet. He has been using Writing Strands, but I don't think it is helping him reach his potential. When Ammon gets to where he can get a little more done, he will start Writing Strands. Right now, he and Miranda need so much one-on-one I can't do as much as I would like. Miranda just needs to get writing. I forgot how frustrating this process can be!

Of course, the boys are continuing with abacus, Tristian is still working on piano, and we still run everywhere. Football starts again soon.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Busy week

Sorry it has been so long. I hate it when people take forever to update their blogs. I have a good excuse--first my computer was down (sometimes it pays to be married to a geek, it does get fixed!), then I couldn't find the camera, then I was just scrapbooking. I *almost* finished my book from our trip to VA. I just need to cut out some titles on the cricut and buy refill sheets. I hate that all the album manufactures have different refills--I have a ton of refills, but not the right size for this particular book.

Anyway, Miranda started Tae Kwon Do today. Ugh, I hate that I didn't think to take pictures at the time. She is pretty cute out there. She tries so hard. I'll just say she has my coordination.

Tristian had his last football game of the season. They finished the season with a three game winning streak. He is also doing awesome in abacus. He is doing double-digit multiplication and division in his head. I keep teasing him that my human calculator is defective because he needs to see the problem written down to be able to do it better. I guess I need to carry a pencil to the store. All in all, it is pretty amazing.

This week we did a few different little projects. I hate it when I am so excited about something and then it doesn't work out! We were studying Russia, so we made borscht. The kids did not like it, I thought it was okay. Most of it went down the disposal. The part that was most disappointing was our art project. We drew a picture with wax on a piece of muslin then soaked it in beet juice. The place where the wax was was supposed to stay white and everything else would be purple. Well, it all turned purple so when we pulled the wax off, there was no picture. Bummer!

We have also been studying geology. Our fun project was to make mini-earths. The core was a peppermint, the mantle was a marshmellow, and the crust was chocolate. Yum! When we were done, I found some earths with only the core left. This week we will be studying volcanoes, and of course making our own little model.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Did I mention how wonderful my husband is?

This post is a little late in coming, but here it is. A couple of weeks ago I was complaining that I haven't been able to scrapbook since we moved. I really wanted to get organized, but I just didn't have what I needed. Quintus noticed that my work area was just way too tiny. It doesn't help that I am a messy person. Everytime I would go into my corner to work, I would feel the opposite of inspiration and end up giving up after a short time. I tried to go to the store to work, but the closest one is so far away and I have to sign up weeks in advance--I don't plan in advance, so it wasn't working out. Anyway, the day before Mother's Day, Quintus borrowed my dad's truck and then locked himself into the scrapbook room. The whole day I was worried. I told my mom that I was worried--he just doesn't understand what I need and he would spend a lot of money on something I didn't like.

Boy was I wrong! Quintus got me this awesome desk that really does work. I am still getting a few more cabinets and getting it organized, but I have been able to get some pages done the last week! It is such a therapy for me and I have really missed it. It is nice when I can pop in here when I have an extra thirty minutes or so.

Then this last Saturday he brought me roses. I don't know what he was feeling guilty about, but it was nice and I'll take it. But really, as long as he keeps letting me take Sunday naps, I am one happy woman.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Wings by Aprilynne Pike

I have a friend from high school whose wife just recently had her book published. It has gotten a lot of really good press. Stephenie Meyer was helping to promote it. It was even picked up by Costco. I am always looking for books. How exciting when you know (through someone else I guess) the author. So of course I had to run out and get it the first chance I got. Now for an honest review.

In some circles (HarperTeens for one), this book is expected to be the next Twilight phenomenon, only it is faeries instead of vampires. It is a good book--very well written. I don't know that it will have the same effect of Twilight. It is written for the same age audience, but it seems a bit more juvenile. Or perhaps it is that Twilight is a bit more mature. I can't quite put my finger on the right way to say it. While I would never dare to compare Twilight to The Lord of the Rings, the best analogy I can think of is the comparison between The Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia. They are both excellent series and deal with many of the same themes, but they hardly bear a comparison.

Still, Wings is a book worth reading. A young girl suddenly finds out she is a faerie when "wings" sprout out of her back. She was sent to the human world to protect the faerie world. She falls in love with a guy from each world and must make some difficult choices along the way. It is rather short and I was able to complete in just a few hours. It does have a couple of not-so-subtle sex references. It is not unclean, it is just a matter-of-fact approach to life. I would be perfectly comfortable having a young teenage daughter read it--in fact it is less suggestive than those vampire books. I just don't want you to say I didn't warn you. It is written by a Mormon author and she stays true to her values. I enjoyed it. I will read the next when it comes out, but I am not waiting with bated breath.

Now, I have to get ready for Monday again. This time I get to take the girls with me as I run around and I need to sit with Ammon at abacus class because he seems to be having a hard time concentrating. Hopefully Erin will be cool with us invading her house again--I forgot to call her today, so I will have to call in the morning.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Ammon's Pictures

We found Ammon's lapbook, so here are the promised pics.


Those of you that know me know that I have some pretty strong opinions. One reason I homeschool is because I have strong opinions about education and want to do what is best for my children. I have always generally been opposed to preschool for many reasons. I did Joy School with the boys, but that is different. I don't want to send my kids off to school at 5, so there is no way I want to do that at 3. That is why I have agonized about the decision that I needed to make for the girls.

Miranda is sometimes hard to understand when she talks. I know that she needs some extra help with speech. The only way that I could get her any help was to send her to preschool. Well, I don't think they have helped much--confirming much of what I have thought about preschool. All the details would be a whole blog in itself. She seems to like it, although she complains about having to raise her hand and stand in line. She has worked on things like writing her name, numbers, and letters. Next year she will go to the elementary school for speech twice a week, but she will stay home with us for the rest of her school.

Now comes to Leah. She has a severe problem with her language. Her vocabulary is less than 20 words that I can understand. She needs help that I don't know how to give her. Early intervention had someone coming to the house, but on her third birthday she aged out of the program, which means to receive services she would have to go to preschool. What an agonizing decision for me to make. I was scared. She is so little, even for her age. She doesn't talk, so she can't tell me what is going on or ask for help there. She isn't potty trained (she can't tell me when she needs to go). And did I mention I don't trust the schools? I also didn't feel great about Miranda's experience. On the flip side, Leah needs help that I just don't know how to give. Maybe being in that environment will force her to talk since she can't just help herself and she won't have us to anticipate her needs. They can give her attention is ways that I can't right now--they will sing the preschool songs and read stories while I can work with the other kids and she will interact with kids besides her siblings who do everything for her. To get her any outside help, this was the way I had to go. We had a very long IEP meeting because I wanted to make sure that they really were creating an individual plan for her. I am still upset that she only got 6 weeks and then she has to go all summer, but I have fought that battle and lost.

So, now after 6 weeks, how do I feel? Six weeks isn't really enough time to see much progress. She still doen't really talk, but she does mimic more then she was. Unlike Miranda, Leah got a therapist that really cares and knows what she is doing. She gave us a plan of action for the summer. She was able to tell us what is going on in Leah's head--there wasn't anything that we didn't know, but now we have something we can work on. It is still going to be a very long, hard road. She has to learn to speak one syllable at a time. I am glad I put her in the school. It makes her happy. You can see her face light up when it is time to go to school. She feels like a big girl.

I guess you could say I have been humbled. I don't know everything. I still don't think all kids need preschool--study after study proves it. I still have stron opinions. But, I guess now I do see a place for it for Leah.