Schulzke Family

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.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

My Father's Dragon

I was so excited that Ammon finished his literature lapbook. I couldn't wait to post pics for everyone. Oh, wait there are no pictures. He went and lost it before I got a picture! That turkey. Anyway, we lapbooked MyFather's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett. What a cute little book. It is so challenging to find books for his level--either they are not challenging or too difficult, too short or too long. This one was perfect. It has short little chapters that he read out loud everyday. It had new vocabulary (it was written in 1948, so the vocabulary was probably not new to kids at that time), but it was not difficult. It is about a boy that runs away to Wild Island to save a dragon that is forced to work for the animals. Along the way he meets all the animals and has to help or trick them to get away. I definitely would recommend it as a read aloud to a family with young (about 5-8 years old) children. Ammon also had to look about real facts about the animals from the book. I wish I would have known about it when Tristian was that age! Now the challenge of finding him another book. Don't get me wrong, he loves to read, but I have had enough of The Magic Treehouse. I need to have one in my hot little hands by Tuesday. If he finds his lapbook, I will post pics of it. It must be here or at Grandma's house...

Oh, and a plug for Tristian. He is doing awesome on his history papers. Ask him about Genghis Khan or Marco Polo!

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Friday, May 8, 2009

Hunger Games

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins really is as good as they say. I don't know why I waited so long to read this as it sounded right up my alley. Once Stephenie Meyer recommended the book, its popularity just took off. It took me two days to read and it only took that long because it took a lot of discipline for me to finally go to bed at 1:00am! I am just bummed because I thought the sequel was coming out this month, but it doesn't come out until Sept 1. This book is classified as sci/fi. I guess technically it belong there, but to me this was so much more realistic and true to what humans are capable of than most sci/fi. These are the times I wish my kids were a little older so that I could read some of these things with them!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Common Sense

Ammon really did receive his yellow belt. Did I tell you how much I love this place? When we moved to Surprise, one of the hardest things was to find a martial arts school for Ammon. First we tried the city program. I took him to observe one class and didn't go back. The room was filthy. The ratio was about 25 students for one teacher, she was late and not prepared, and I thought it was dangerous as she was having the kids do kicks that they were not taught how to do. Then we tried a class held at a local school. Quintus had been taking him, so I didn't really see what was going on. It was cheap, but there was about 70 kids for one teacher. Ammon was not only not being taught, but he was regressing. It was a farce. I looked at some other martial arts schools. One wanted me to sign a $1700 contract. One was charging $129 a month for two-40 min classes a week and they were going to put him in with three-year olds. One school just did not have a schedule that fit ours, so we didn't even try it. Then somebody told me about GMHMA. The are great for so many reasons. 1. They are Christian, which means that classes and activities are not held on Sunday. Yeah! Testing started with a very nice prayer. 2. They offer homeschool classes and discounts. That means we can go to smaller classes during the day and stay home in the evening when I am tired. (We still get school done). If those don't work, we have lots of choices about when we can come. 3. It really has a small, community feel. Everyone is so kind. Also, everyone works together. They are not divided up by age. So, when I decide to get my rear in gear, I will take the class with him. 4. Sparring classes are included. 5. I love the instructors. They really care about the students. They are able to correct with love and kindness. 6. Accountability. They are part of a larger organization that monitors the belt testing. For the most part, the testing requirements are strigent and they are not just giving out belts to make more money. Belt testing is more often and more expensive than I think is necessary, but they are better than some places. I guess there has to be something I don't like, but I can live with it.
Now to the Common Sense. I warned you that I would like to start writing book reviews. I do it more so that I can keep track for myself. Today Tristian went to the dentist (no cavities, thank goodness) and football practice, so I had a few hours to read my book. Today it was Common Sense by Thomas Paine. I really enjoyed it. I kind of put off reading it. I thought that I would get bogged down by the language, so I would need to be able to fully focus. Yesterday I was too foggy to read it, but it wasn't bad at all. It isn't as heavy reading as I anticipated. it only took me a few hours to read, and that is with going back and taking notes and re-reading. I thoroughly enjoyed it. When they say common sense is dead, they are right. Although Paine spends much time directly attacking monarchies as a form of government, many of the arguments hold true for what our government has become today. I do need to go back and look up a couple of things as I didn't have access at the football field. None of it was beyond comprehension although it may require a brush up of English history. We have been studying William and some of his descendants, so that may have made it easier for me. Definitely a recommended read. I also recommend getting your own copy--I was going to share, but it is so full of notes now that I think it is worth the $6 to get your own.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

And we have pictures!

I figured out that I have an SD slot in my computer, so that makes life real easy. I have some pics here from Ammon's martial arts test. The little girl next to him is Anna. They both started the same day and there is a little (healthy) competition between them. They act like brother and sister. Anyway, Anna's mom and brother were testing at another location, but they brought Anna to test with Ammon. I thought that was very thoughtful. I really tried to get a picture of him kicking with his leg in the air, but that was not so easy.

Now, tomorrow I have to remember to take my camera so that I can get a pic him actually receiving the belt. Our Mondays are so hectic, I will be doing real well if I remember.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

What a busy day!

I am going to have to get my camera installed on my computer tomorrow, as we definitely need pics, but I want to share all the excitement of the day.

It started with Quintus going down to the airport to pick up David while I took Ammon to belt testing for martial arts. Ammon did great, as I knew he would. He loves to practice. He really is very controlled and looks good for being so young. I know that he will advance rapidly. Although going three days a week for an hour doesn't hurt either. He really has a passion for it.

After lunch and a little clean up, we all loaded up into the van for Tristian's football team. He is getting more confidence. Even though they lost, his confidence is helping him to be more aggressive. Next year should be great.

We went to the scout's spaghetti dinner fundraiser. It was great because we paid $25, got dinner and won at $20 gift card to Goodcents. Not my fave restaurant by far, and I would have rather won the massage, but it will save me having to cook another meal, so it is good for me. Even though it took awhile to get the food, we all enjoyed ourselves and walked away full. We all particularly enjoyed the Olive Garden salad.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Mandy needs to do more blogging!

So, I have been wanting to start blogging for awhile, I just get so busy. Then, I saw Quintus' wordle of "our" blog. I was quite disappointed to see that football was one of the biggest words. While that does represent Tristian, that does not represent our family. I need to get on here with a more balanced view. I want to share what we are doing in school. Sometimes I feel like noone cares what I do all day, so if I blog it, I can pretend like someone cares. I also want to start writing book reviews. I am trying to read so much and I need to learn how to communicate better about it. As soon as I get around to sync-ing our camera with my computer, I will takes pictures of our school projects and post those, but here is a start.

I finished reading Eat Cake by Jeanne Ray. Not something I would have picked up on my own, but that was the book chosen by my book club. It is a very fast and easy read. If you like books that are happy ending no matter how impractical it is to get there, then this is the book for you. It was fun at points--like thinking about how you would go to bathroom with use of your hands. But overall, unrealistic. Can you really bake over 100 cakes a week with just one oven and with out the health department shutting you down? Would your 70+ parents really come spend the night with you just because they have had an argument? Usually by then people are more mature in their argument skills.

Last night I finshed reading Magyk by Angela Sage. I had to read this since I borrowed it from someone six months ago (I promise I really truly don't usually keep books so long!) For a kid's book, I give it a thumbs up. First when I have read in a while that wasn't totally predictable. Some of the general plot was predictable--I mean you know the kids are going to win, but I didn't see the way the would win coming. You would have to be about 10 to not have figured out who the mystery child was. I was hoping it would be a book I could have Tristian read, but I don't think I will ask him to read it. I just don't think it is his type of book. There are more in the series. I would read them if I was looking for some easy reads to kill time, but my to be read list is so long that they will go to the bottom of the list.

Next on my list is Thomas Paine's Common Sense. I have been wanting to read it, but I now have another book club and that is the book for this month, so it has given me a deadline.


Mandy needs to do more blogging!