My archives might be a little outdated especially the older blogs. My links above are all new and current.

I have only positive things to say about Permission to Mother, an autobiographical account of a thoughtful mother and clinician who courageously writes from her heart, soul, brain, and personal experience; who is open to change in her views and opinions and is not guided by the safety of rules of any group or the status quo; she is guided by love and openness to the experiences life brings her and her family. Her process benefits her and those around her and those who read her words. And to add to that, the writing style and story telling ability here make it a very enjoyable read speckled with both the humor and seriousness of life. ~Laura Keegan RN FNP, author of Breastfeeding with Comfort and Joy

Readers enjoy your feedback and Reviews (82!) on amazon. Kindle Version Available!

Please Join me on Facebook at Punger Family Medicine.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Learning Styles

I've been thinking some more about one of the morals in the book My Name is Brain Brian that I read last weekend. In the 6th grade classroom, dyslexic and functionally illiterate, Brian, gets randomly paired up with bookworm, straight A, Isabel to complete an extended project about Canadian Geese. Isabel, a classmate, who always thought Brian was retarded, learns a big lesson from Brian-- going out in the field and observing nature is an important way to learn. Because they have have completely opposite learning styles and a very intuitive teacher sensitive to both their needs, they do a terrific job on their project and presenting it to the class. Both students learn a lot from each other's style. The book shows how important team work is and how different learning styles blend.

Roll back the clock a bit. I take my boys on an educational outing with a group. We've been to this park many times by ourselves. I like to look for turtles, fish, and birds. So do my boys. When we go to the park they automatically peak over the pier and observe wildlife. We are on the pier with the group now. My boys are doing what comes natural. They are looking out for fish. They are totally engaged and into what they are doing, behaved and happy. But the program director has "rules." Everyone get away from the edge. We don't want anyone falling in now, do we. He passes out papers with the lesson and expects everyone to follow along. It's windy and I couldn't hear the reader. Mine don't really listen and care anymore. Sigh. This was two years ago. I wondered why mine could never behave in structured learning activities. Well, my oldest was old enough to go with the flow. That wasn't the problem. My youngest was only three. He'd rather look at fish. We'll talk about Scott in a minute.

As a parent, you get frustrated wondering why your kids can't be quiet and well-behaved. I rationalized it at the time knowing that this educator is overall inflexible to modify the agenda. I know that my kids could swim. My kids know my rules which allow them to peep over the pier. At the time I wished I would've anticipated and been able to warn my kids there may be rules that are different from our rules and we might have to do things a different way. Anticipation and gentle warning, I thought, may have helped.

The book I read, made me think about Brian and his intelligent curiosity for observing the birds out in nature. It made me realize that my curious son Scott was totally into what he was learning was "cut-off" from learning. If we look at it from Scott's perspective, he was told by a teacher not to make any observations. He was told to back off. He was given a piece of paper which meant totally nothing to him and told to follow along. Who knew at the time that "observation" was his learning style, his only learning style at the time. He wasn't misbehaving on purpose. He wasn't misbehaving because he's bad. He only wanted to learn and was learning the only way he knew how to learn. An educator told him STOP. He was frustrated, confused, and discouraged.

At the time I realized that all my kids, not just Scott, liked to observe animals. I had no idea how important and interesting and critical the observation was to Scott. I had no idea how much his mind was thinking and taking in. I had no idea his NEED to satisfy his curiosity (or else). I always suspected he wouldn't do well in a classically structured environment. But I wasn't totally sure why. When we are out alone, I can follow his interest, but with a group, there were different expectations including the one that I could keep my kids controlled. I've always been the one different. I walked away from that event frustrated wishing all my boys could follow the rules and make me feel proud, not defensive and protective.

Some people consider these group activities important to a child's socialization skills. But is it really good for their self-esteem when an educator lacks insight and can't adapt to different learning styles and skill levels of children in the group. Looking back I am so glad incidents to this extreme have been few and far between. Fortunately I usually don't feel pressured to follow the group. I usually can choose not to participate in outings and schooling that expects me and my boys to conform. I feel good being independent when its in my best interest and my boys.

An opportunity has presented itself to me. I am on the verge of making an important decision weighing the pros of staying or dropping from a group activity "that's suppose to be good for them" versus independence and totally non-traditional but will offer student directed learning. I am trying to sort through and understand some things first and make sure I am not flying off on a whim. This was one of the incidences that left me with a little scar.

PS-Even though this educator didn't last long with the group, the overall non-flexible philosophy of the groups still keeps me a bit defensive.

Friday, March 27, 2009

One year Round-up of Permission to Mother (and give-away)

Well... actually PTM has been published 13 1/2 months. I was just too pre-occupied with other things at the one year mark to celebrate.

People ask me all the time, "How's the book going?"Being an author is definitely like having a ticket to be invited to conferences and meetings... to be invited to speak. I am honored. My speaking schedule could be full. Fortunately I am needed at home and office. Close to home is where I want to be for now. If space opens in my schedule when the boys get older or when our Nurse Practitioner is settled, perhaps I can agree to take some of this on. Recent formal or informal invites included a birth conference in S. California, a Midwifery School and Chiropractor School in Florida, a few Radio shows, one local (a nutrition store) and one via Internet, the other local nutrition store and the finally the Florida Lactation Consultants Association said I'd be invited back. Conferences is one of the traditional ways authors get the word out about their book.

I suppose if I am getting more requests via the book than I can handle, the book is doing good!

I also get invites to write a quote or review for a new book. One of my quotes is on the back cover of a new doula book, Being Born-- The Doula's Role. The photo on page 112 of my book was used as inspiration for an illustration in that book. I have an endorsement for another new children's book about breastfeeding from the same publisher not yet published. Also, I am suppose to be writing a foreword for a nutrition book. I can't seem to finish it. I really want to do this project.

Permission to Mother is on the waiting list to be discussed in the Trust birth, Childbirth reading room on yahoo groups.

But really the MOST meaningful results from the book is feedback from new and expecting mothers that my book made them think and learn. To help new mothers overcome obstacles was the purpose of writing the book in the first place. I like knowing that the book has accomplished this purpose. There is a zillion NY Times Bestseller books (and other classics) on birth, breastfeeding, and mothering out there. Many of those books don't reach my local population of mothers in time. So I like that my book can be the lead in.

I like... okay-- I love when I get a new patient who has already read my book and because she likes what she has read comes in with her concerns. I like growing a practice of well-informed families and healthy breastfed babies. In this respect the book has been very successful.

One other area that I have received pleasant feedback and I didn't necessarily write with that intention is how it's motivated professionals to pursue lactation or change the way they practice. I recently received an email form a S.C. pediatrician who thanked me for what I wrote on tongue-tie and wanted more info. And at the last conference I went to, a new Nurse Practitioner asked me how I approach well-baby care on a baby born at home. She was trained to do follow-up on hospital births (per the standard), but not homebirths. I just think that is so cool to have an ARNP receptive and knowledgeable to accepting babies following homebirth because of what I wrote and said. Several other physicians and providers have contacted me to notify me of similar types of encouragement they received.

Considering that my book is self-published, is available only on-line, and I am responsible for the marketing, and that I am super busy, my book has done more than I imagined. Since I do all of the promoting in my limited spare time, I do appreciate the little ways you all have spread the word to other mothers, professionals, and educators, via word-of-mouth, blog, blogroll, networking site, being a follower, shelfari and other favorite book lists. I just want to reach these mothers in time and I appreciate your assistance with outreach.

Did you know Permission to Mother has been approved by La Leche League International and recently added to the reading list for MaternityWise Postpartum Doula Training! PTM has 46 reviews on amazon and a 36 member fan club on facebook. Yeah! These are great ways to reach new families and caretakers.

I also challenge you now if you have read it a year ago and now are planning your birth or healing from a birth, read it again. If you have reached another phase of breastfeeding, like working, tandem nursing, or extended breastfeeding go through it again considering your new perspective. I just have a feeling there is more to get out of my book. Please let me know if that's the case.

Finally--the give-away-- Tanya at The Motherwear Blog is having a give-away. Here is a chance to win a free copy.

Thanks for all your support!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Follow ups from my previous food post...

A few updates from my last food post:

My sister posted a definition of organic on her blog to help answer my question about pasteurization in response to my previous veggie post. Bottled organic certified juices are pasteurized. From what I can tell fresh organic produce is not pasteurized.

Most of the produce we get in our shares is from the USA with the exceptions made below. I didn't check this time to see how much it is from Florida.

I've had lots of readers tell me in person tell me how much they like checking in on my ideas for this produce. I'm glad for the feedback because I keep posting this list for me because it holds me accountable. To me it seems like it would be boring and redundant for readers. I can, also, go back to the list and see what I still have left to use up. As I keep a record, it helps me retrieve recipes I liked.


People often ask me how I get it all done. I'd have to say I am very busy. I have little down time lately. Eating nutritiously helps my energy, my stress levels, and keeps me from having hunger pangs and lows.

This selection of produce made a good batch of Tam's Lentil soup. I don't make bread bowls, but added a little brown rice and most of the boys liked it. Earthmother must have been reading my mind. She posted a Raw cabbage and apple salad recipe today. It was great. My husband was quiet the whole time he was eating. Thanks Earthmother. If you have any new Sprouted Quinoa ideas, I am stocked up on Quinoa and would love the ideas.

We got:

green cabbage
broccoli crowns
carrots
green kale
colossal garlic (from China-yikes, the explanation as to why it has to come from so far was that after trying US organic garlic the Chinese garlic was better. :/ Unfortunately, I never can find other fresh garlic that looks descent. )
romaine lettuce
yukon gold potato
celery
eggplant (Mexico)
white onion
pink lady apple
white grapefruit -- juiced
blood orange- These were PURPLE on the inside. It caught me of guard! I juiced them. I used to think juicing citrus was like a cop out. My citrus juicer is used daily. I love drinking juicy oranges. Through this co-op we get stuff that would be really hard to get otherwise.
banana
tomato

Fruit Share:
strawberry - I did pick strawberries at Decker last week. Since we had plenty of strawberries all week, this batch didn't disappear in a minute. To make it last longer I sliced them with bananas each time. The boys said this counted as fruit salad with their meal in order to avoid "green salad."
golden pineapple
honey tangerine - they have many seeds, so I'll be juicing them

Monday, March 23, 2009

My Genius

I have been very excited with Scott's academic progress. I'm learning the length of his attention span and time-of -day and situations I can get him to concentrate the best and we are getting into the flow of his new lessons (We are at Barton level 3, lesson 2, procedure f.). Once I have his full attention, he comprehends and moves forward quickly. I can see decoding words is hard work for him. I try to remind myself that even though these lessons seem basic to me, in his world the effort to read is comparable maybe to the difficulty level of me comprehending the board review material.

I got my accommodations request in to the Hebrew School to make it official that Scott not be asked to read out loud. He is not to be graded on worksheets and I request that his knowledge be tested orally or by demonstration. The principal agrees and confirms his teachers are aware of this.

All-in-all Scott seems like he is accepting of all this official change. He compares himself to Einstein and is quite convinced that he is going to make a genius contribution to the world.

I'm doing a lot of reading out loud to Scott to keep up with his comprehension skills, vocabulary, and other Language Art skills, which are outstanding, and I really enjoy reading the stories to him. Friday night I brought home a book from the library. I debated whether I should read it to him or just for myself. In My Name is Brain Brian, Brian’s new 6th grade teacher recognizes how smart Brian is and recognizes his learning difference and gets him the help he needs. I read quite a bit into it and decided I would read it to Scott. Brian is a Brown Belt in Karate just like Scott. He is the middle child with a little brother. His parents have the same fights as me and John (is that TMI?). Brian is part of an unofficial boys group reminding me of one of Scott’s favorite movies, Sand Lot (except the group in the book is on the verge of delinquency and with Brian's understanding of himself, removes himself). The book is from Brian's perspective. Brian thinks like Scott. For example Brian is preoccupied thinking about what it would be like to be a Canadian goose flying in a pack migrating. Scott has a similar thought pattern. 2D me would never think of anything like that.

Scott is held quite captive. We read it in one sitting. I mostly replaced reading "dyslexia" with "dimensional learner" until the end (I was not sure how sobering the medical word would be.). Several times I asked Scott if he wanted a break or should I go back to reading the Einstein bio or Little House. He urged me on. Scott recommends this book and he is really hoping John will read it too.

I had to fight tears while I was reading it as I was happy for Brian's successes and happy for his teacher who overcame his own dyslexia. Brian also learns he has inherited dyslexia from his grandfather and father, both successful architects, who never had a name for their reading difficulty (and never had to overcome it in the world they grew up in). I couldn't hold my tears back when Brain talks about how dyslexia is a lifelong issue that he will always have to struggle with. I guess it is my maternal heart wanting a perfect world for my child. As usual Scott had a lot of intelligent questions to ask me about the book and our family (ei, does David have it? and btw-- that's a GOOD question, I don't want to deal with that question, now. I don't know if I am ready to deal with two Einstein sons.). I could feel his exponential-type learning happening as he was considering his thoughts and asking questions.

My mind was racing with thoughts and emotions, too, after reading. You know how that goes, especially when it's late and beyond bedtime. When Scott's head hit the pillow his emotional side came out. He was filled with such a broken little spirit. "Why am I so smart and have trouble reading? I just want to read. Will I ever be able to read? How come you didn't teach me to read before (crush my heart, anyone ready for Kleenex?). How'd you find out? I hate presents about learning to read. I hate everyone thinking I want books. Well, I do want books, but it's like it reminds me they think I am a stupid." It really showed me how much all this mattered to him. My maternal heart was bleeding. The scholastic side of dyslexia remedial work is one thing, but the emotions are huge for both of us. It’s probably very important to allow him to get his feelings out. I just want to fix it for him. I reassured him I will teach him how to read, but I wasn't sure it will ever come easy to him. I just don't know. I want to hug him all night. Its times like this, I’m glad my children know they can sleep with me.

He woke up and seemed to be fine all day. Then at night we hit the pillow. It was quiet and just us. Take-two of last night. I reassured him I'd do what I can to help him along. I reassured him I had all the paper work with his accommodations in at the Temple and his teachers accepted it.

I pick him up from Temple today and guess what... he had a substitute teacher WHO MAKES EVERYONE in her class have a turn to read out loud. He said she picked him five times. If it wasn't five times, I am sure it felt like it was. Since Scott's only successful reading has been in his new curriculum and in Green Eggs and Ham I can't imagine WHY a teacher would call on him 5x. Scott says 2 girls were trying to be helpful and backed him up saying Mrs. A. doesn't make him read. Sub would have none of that. He said a boy was trying to take over and read the book faster than him. He didn't appreciate it.

I can't be with him to protect him all the time. I can't see why a Sub who does already know us can't just step back just a little and get all the facts. It was so important, he read in the short time she would have him? I've always debated whether this Hebrew School is good for my boys. I’ve always hoped the benefits out way the differences. This year I have resolved several of *my* issues. Actually I thought they were all resolved, only to find new ones. What makes it sadder is this Sub is up to be his teacher next year. Even if with time she understands and is sorry for her error, what a bad first impression. Let me tell you what Scott says about Hebrew School overall. He likes his friends this year and it is the best year. He says the information is very repetitive. All they learn is the same Holidays each year. William agrees that it’s very repetitive.

Scott has had some deep rooted spiritual convictions and presents lecture-styled conversations to me. He has been to Mass and Church. He remembers everything that is said. He likes to reconcile the different beliefs in his mind with what he is learning in Science. In our homeschool I have also taught him why it’s relevant for us to know what Creation Science is. When I think of religious school, I think a boy like Scott would want to keep going with this information. In all the years I’ve been there, these topics don’t come up, ever. Scott concludes the teachers don’t know about these topics. He's probably right. He is bored. This digression gives you more examples of what Scott is capable of comprehending, but the opportunity doesn’t exist for him to be properly challenged in school like settings. (That is why we homeschool!) Can you imagine him thinking and wanting to analyze our origins and he gets stuck with another word search puzzle-- circle Eve, apple, snake, etc... not very stimulating.

Back to the issue… I ask Scott what I can do to help him. I ask him if I should give his Sub a copy of his accommodations. It may not necessarily help him, but she could be made aware that he is not lazy. Not to be mean or anything, I am pretty certain, I can come up with a "nice" cover letter that she will never forget. I told Scott what I would say. Probably something to the effect that Scott is a smart and eager and co-operative student with a different reading style. At the current time, I have requested that he does no outside reading or worksheets that are not apart from his Language Arts curriculum that is not controlled for the same vocabulary because I want to break the guessing habit unless he volunteers. Outside reading can be humiliating and disruptive to my progress with him. (He liked that a lot.) Let her know I officially have it on record with the principle and provide this Sub with her own referenced copy. I'd like to say so much more about why she couldn’t just chill. I am aware that that this Sub didn’t have access to Scott’s file beforehand (not everything can be anticipated), but it doesn’t excuse her from being so domineering and insistent AND 5x!

Interestingly this week, I did anticipate a Sub in Scott’s future. I asked the boys this week should he get into a position, put on the spot to read, like this is there anything he could say to save face. We couldn’t come up with anything.

Scott’s peacefully asleep now for the night. I was reading his Einstein bio to him. From an Einstein lecture “It is the supreme art of a teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”

I love being Scott’s teacher. I have no doubt that Scott's powerful thoughts will be influencial.



And I have one question right now, Anyone familiar with Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic? I am wondering how useful this resource might be?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Writing Trends in Being a Mother

One of the interesting observations about writing and journaling is for me to look back and see trends in what I write about and where I am at with it all.

My first writings started with my birth stories and that overlapped with my breastfeeding entries. As the practice, Coquelet & Punger started, I began to add birth and bf stories from within in my practice (and I will continue to look out for unique successes to share). As each woman shared their birth stories with me it gave me new perspective and insight to my own births and more details were added to the original birth stories I wrote. It seemed hard for me to move on to "new" topics. Like perhaps I hadn't finished processing my birth and breastfeeding. Getting Permission to Mother finalized and submitted was in a way bringing closure and moving on.

Then I found blogspot and started writing frequent daily entries. I knew ahead of time when I submitted the manuscript to the printers my next focus was going to be my own health and nutrition. Getting the book done was time consuming and sedentary. I planned to get moving when I was freed up. I have shared my nutrition journey starting with my first sugar elimination post, finding replacement foods, to my current schedule of receiving organic produce shares and what I do with it all. For awhile I thought I should put all that on a separate food blog, but I don't think I'd want to keep up with two blog. Plus nutrition (and kids) is not so off-topic to the original purpose of the blog.

Little did I know I would make a lot adjustments in my homeschool approach this year as the boys mature and reveal their individuality. There is so much happening (and learning going on) around here I can barely process it myself. But I will be writing more and cluttering up my blog about what we are doing.

I look back at what I have written on birth and breastfeeding and feel satisfied with my experiences and how I've been able to share them with you. My book has been out for 13 months!! Sure, I can get feedback from big organizations, but my favorite feedback is from the moms and how my story helps them.

I feel experienced (as opposed to saying old). I look at moms struggling with young ones, lack of sleep, strollers, and I know I am in the next stage. When did that stage end? I use to struggle with getting out for a fast walk by myself. Now, I share activities with the boys like cycling and swimming. Would you believe it, I took all of the boys (John included) to the basketball court for activity. That was so much fun, that the next day we teamed up at the tennis court. I haven't been on a tennis court for 20 years! I could actually serve a ball (my right forearm is sore today)!

The baby stage is just a memory (almost--you know what I mean?). My exercise will be with them and not a separate hour I have to put aside. Now that they are all big enough to be on the "team" we will be making lots new memories! Motherhood is so much fun. I am going to enjoy this phase!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The 3 R's

It's been a like a great weight has been lifted understanding Scott's learning style. The weight has been lifted from both of us. I am been diligently working to stay one step ahead of him in his Barton Reading curriculum so I can help him work through weak areas and stay ahead in case he surprises me by zooming through a few lessons at once.

He has asked me about starting Algebra so many times. I have looked into math curricula over the years and worksheets always was the limiting element. I finally decided to get him started with Math U See. He knows there are a few prerequisites before starting Algebra :) and knows he has to do some elementary levels first. Now I know it will be O K A Y if he skips the worksheets, but can demonstrate the lesson to me. It will also be OKAY if he uses a calculator. By the time he gets to college Algebra no one will care if he knows his times tables (but he does figure them out the slow way). Now I understand why worksheets have been such a problem. I will see how little David does with the Math U See Primer. William is set in his Virtual School plans. William is so different in that he doesn't necessarily need a long explanation. He wants to get right to the point and move on. Virtual School seems to be the right amount for him and at his pace. The DK workbooks prepared him well for FLVS with his style of learning.

I also looked into handwriting curriculum. Actually Scott prints quite artistically now that he's holding the pencil correctly. Since William could use the explicit instruction, I am going to have them both do Writing Without Tears. Obviously, emerging David will benefit from all this, too. I spoke to their Occupational Therapist before placing an order making sure I got the right stuff for my boy's skills.

Both Math U See and Writing Without Tears (and Barton Reading) have instructor manuals (or DVD) and use manipulatives. I am looking forward to using these well-thought out programs. I am thinking that even if William is not going through Math U See, I may be able to challenge his learning style with visual manipulatives in the house and help him be more adaptable and flexible.

It's always seemed that I got no where (and I got frustrated) using off-the-shelf curricula (except for DK Math) from the bookstore and warehouse stores. I am pretty excited to get started with all this. This will be quite a change from what we have been doing. Buying these store bought workbooks brings back a memory. It reminds me of how buying diapers from a baby chain store sets you up for failure (lack of quality and practical design) and you give up, but if you try high quality diapers from the start, the cloth diapering is fun. You might luck out and adapt to the lower quality diaper, but they won't work for everyone. I am appreciating the detailed features of ALL 3 programs.

Any of you using any of these programs?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

From the Mouths of MY Boys

Crispy had a great idea to ask her girls these questions she thought of and record their responses. I was interested to see what my BOYS would come up with. When I asked them these same questions, I separated them so they wouldn't copy each others answers. And I wanted them to understand that there was no "right or wrong" answer, what ever came to their minds I jotted down. But I had to warn them- nothing vulgar/no toilet talk. Crispy's sweet girls probably didn't need a warning.

1. What is something mom always says to you?
William(12) - clean up
Scott(10) - get off xbox
David(5 1/2) - You're cute

2. What makes mom happy?
W - when I do school
S - me
D - David, me helping

3. What makes mom sad?
W - when I play on xbox too long
S - shopping for houses
D - not helping her

4. What makes your mom laugh?
W - corny jokes
S - I've never seen you laugh
D - jokes, me

5. What was your mom like as a child?
W - How am I suppose to know
S - I don't know
D - a baby

6. How old is your mom?
W - 43
S - I can't tell anyone
D - 43

7. How tall is your mom?
W - 5-5
S - 5 feet
D - 5-7

8. What is her favorite thing to do
W - Blog
S - Read to me
D- playing games with David

9. What does your mom do when you're not around?
W - If I am not around how do I know, Oh, I get it, you blog
S - Work
D - math

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
W - a book
S - her book
D- it would be for TV famous (then he said he didn't understand)

11. What is your mom really good at
W - reading
S - reading
D - nothing

12. What is your mom not very good at?
W - paying attention
S - drawing
D - she nags ( I don't think he understood this one either :) )

13. What does your mom do for her job?
W - She's a doctor
S - she's a doctor
D - cook for your kids, clean the house, and for her real job she does the office job

14. What's your mom's favorite food?
W - healthy food
S - vegetables
D - healthy food

15. What makes you proud of your mom?
W - rrrrrr
S- when she passed her Board of Exams
D- when you clean up and do something right (this is what makes me proud of him!)

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
W - She would not be Lois from Family Guy
S - a very boring character
D - Sam in iCarly

17. What do you and your mom do together?
W - math
S - read
D - ride bikes

18. How are you and your mom the same?
W - We are Jewish
S - eyes, but mine are browner
D - we play games

19. How are you and your mom different?
W - every single way possible
S - 100 ways
D - you're mean, I am good

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
W - no response
S - She's proud of me a lot
D- plays games with me, rides bikes with me and gives me NN, don't tell them that.

21. Where is your mom's favorite place to go?
W - somewhere with us
S - home
D - have fun with your children at the playground

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Light Bulbs

Scott's accomplished a lot in the past 2 weeks. We have worked a little, ok-a-lot, everyday. He's co-operative and doesn't complain. We are about done with Level 2. Level 1 is phonemic awareness. Level 2 introduces the letters, sounds they make, digraphs, phrasing and fluency.
I had one set-back in Level 1 with his concentration. Next time we sat down, he was great. We finished the book.

The only set back I have had in Level 2 was when I showed him the lesson that introduces the who, the what, and the where phrase (if you are a 2 D thinker that's the subject and verb). He said he didn't get it. The next day I was anxious if we would ever get past this. When we finally sat down again, I backed off and I told him just to mark the "who" and forget the other phrases for now. He said that he had figured out the tricks of the whole lesson and completed it quickly and accurately.

His lessons are with tiles printed with letters or combinations of letters that make a sound, ei... qu, wh, th, ch... , his fingers, yellow lined pads, and blue work sheets. His says he likes yellow paper and the blue work sheets, which come with the curriculum, better than white paper. The good thing about having yellow pads around the house instead of spiral notebooks is that for my left-handed son, the wire spiral doesn't get in the way. This is the first time Scott has COMPLETED work sheets. And I must say he is doing a very good job with them.

He is holding a pencil much better now. He likes using the pencils that you twist the point out. I found triangle crayons for him that "gently" guide your fingers to the right position. He has enjoyed coloring this week. I framed one of his most creative action guy drawings and put it on my night table.

This is an interesting observation. Now I have noticed some d-b confusion. Fortunately he hears himself and recognizes this error quickly. Remember before I said there was no d-b confusion. I am figuring the reason he didn't have it before was perhaps because he never got to a level where he had a chance to make a mistake like that or perhaps and more likely, there was always a picture of a dog, boy, or a lad to give him a context clue. There are no drawings in the Barton system. You can't fool your way to the next level. Every letter matters. I have not seen any other confusion or reversals yet. Letters and ideas are added in a very controlled way, where the student can master one concept before learning a competing new one. Another learning strategy in this program is that lower-case letters are on the tiles. All the other reading curricula and spelling games in my house emphasize capital letters.

I continue to read out loud to Scott. By the Shores of Silver Lake got interrupted with the series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Scott loved the diary. Books like that get him excited and motivated to learn to read.

Scott wants to be an inventor of video games. Now he is talking about college and taking algebra (of all things!). John told him that being an inventor is great, but he should have a back up profession. He came up with being a politician! George Washington, Jefferson, Kennedy, and Woodrow Wilson were all dyslexic.

I can see why the Barton Reading program uses a light bulb for their icon. I have seen all kinds of light bulbs go off these past two weeks!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Question About Pasteurization (and my produce share)

Last Thursday we got:
red kale- I sealed it in an air tight container and will take out a few leaves at a time for my smoothies.

broccoli crowns- breaking off pieces for my salad. Gently and minimally steamed to go with macaroni and quinoa.

romaine lettuce-sealed in air tight container for salads and wraps. I had a hard time for a while deciding how to store lettuce. Wash first and bag? Do nothing? or Wash as I go? I like washing it as I go when it's kept air tight. I find it lasts a long time

garnett sweet potatoes-not sure yet what I'll do, but they look good!!

baby bok choy- I am storing them with my lettuce and will add to salad and smoothies. The stalk is a crunchy delight in salads. The leaves mix up well with lettuce to give variety.

red pepper- traded with Karen for extra oranges.

celery root (celeriac)- I use where I would use celery. When I dice it and put in soup, my family thinks its potatoes.

yellow ginger-tea... carrot-ginger salad... lots of uses. yum.

white mushroom - I kept one this time so John can use it on his steak with onions. I am trying to increase veggies/reduce meat approach... probably a futile effort.

bosc pear- Mine needed to be ripened in a brown bag. Then I juiced them with apples. This is a treat.

ruby grapefruit- juice first thing in AM.

valencia orange- snacks for the boys.

fuji apple - snacks

banana- snacks

roma tomato- salads, oh I diced one for guacamole.


Fruit Share:
temple orange-these are great for juicing
golden pineapple-I will slice it up and snack on the refrigerated O's
strawberry-never made it to the the 'fridge. William ate most right away and shared with Scott and David. I snatched one or two. Decker farms is having a sale on strawberries THIS week. I might have to make it out for more... sooooo much to do... so little time...

Question: This past week, the office received an appreciated and sweet crate of conventional (not organic) mangoes. I noticed on the crate the label said the mangoes are heat treated. I looked it up on the search engine and sure enough mangoes from Mexico are pasteurized before they come here. So that means they are not Raw. The living enzymes have been killed. It really go me thinking, how much other fruit/produce is pasteurized before it gets to me. Do I think I am having Raw and I am not? Does "organic" guarantee its not heat treated? I am pretty certain that organic means it's not genetically modified, but does it guarantee its Raw? I sure would appreciate the collective wisdom of my readers and friends. Thanks!

I am very grateful for the mangoes. Much better than chain store donuts which we usually get and I never EVER touch (or would I want to). I just want to know that if I think I am eating fresh fruit am I really?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Bulk Buying

Besides the South Florida Organic Produce Buying Group where I get my fresh organic produce, I am part of another co-op for bulk buying, Breadbeckers. Several other blog followers are part of this group: Red, Allana, Misty, & Crispy (anyone else?). I am thinking they were initially attracted to the supplies to make freshly milled bread. I haven't yet made it a priority to do make bread from fresh milled.

I enjoy the bulk pantry products. Yesterday was pick-up day. The pick-up is quarterly. This is my second time. Some of the products I got between both pick-ups are Raw Agave by the gallon, pop corn kernels , organic sunflower seeds, flax seeds, quinoa (I am sprouting some tonight!), long grain brown rice, instant refried beans (these are flattened pinto beans that just take a few minutes to cook), 16 bean mix, Real Salt (very tasty), garbanzo beans, white beans, spelt pasta.

I like that I can get some products that wouldn't be available to me otherwise like the spelt pasta(no more enriched flour pasta for me!), the refried beans, organic sunflower seeds, the 16 bean mix. I love that bulk buying cuts down on my time spent in in the local grocery store. Between both co-ops and the farmer's market I am not in the grocery store nearly as much. I like the bulk prices and the convenience of not running out of grains. I like supporting a regionally owned, homeschooling family's business and purchasing so much less from the big international distributors who don't care about ingredients they add to my food.

Many of you have heard me mention this bulk buying group and the purpose of this post is to share the co-op link. If you are local and want to place an order for the May share contact Lori. They distribute around Florida, Georgia, Tennessee (and there may be more so check out there website).

Get this. Mark John's words. He said that he was glad I was stocking up on dry goods because if the economy gets worse or for some reason it is hard to get food, we would be set. For once, LoL, John is in on board!!! Little does he know is how fast we go through food, I haven't really stocked up. But next time with his support I won't hesitate to get more because I have the same concern as him about the economy and stability.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Look Out, Here Comes David!



He loves having his picture made.... when he's in the mood.

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