Friday, November 30, 2012

My Daughter is 19

My Beautiful Daughter is 19 today! It is amazing how fast children grow up. One minute you’re waiting for them to walk and the next moment they are walking into their own life and dreams.

It wasn’t always easy for us. I was a very young mother, we lived in poverty, and I was a single mother. Bad people preyed on us, but many more good people helped us too. I actually got all of this education because I wanted to be a better mother. I knew there was a better way, I was seeking that because I loved my Daughter so much; I wanted the best for her.

I made big mistakes, little mistakes and got some things right. Most of our life has had a lot of laughter and fun, but for several years (mostly the teen years) it was a huge struggle. I just kept hoping she would love me again someday. I kept my belief that I had taught her a better way. In the end I am so proud of her, she already has a lot more skills than I had at her age.

She is organized, on time, and mature. She is so funny, has always made me laugh, has a quick wit, and intelligent mind. She already has a lot of positive discipline techniques and I love you rituals to raise her daughter with, many more than I did. She has a plan and is already following it. She is going to do well, and her daughter will grow up strong and even more capable.

My beloved daughter I love you and wish you to always have enough.

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye. ~Author Unknown

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Helpful Math Sites

Last night I was helping my son with his Algebra, and while I spent some time as a math tutor, I needed to refresh my memory. I also needed to step away from the eye rolling and sarcastic attitude that seems to be an integral part of any math homework my teenaged son has.

Instead of succumbing to the temptation to snark back at my son that I had already graduated school and he should just do his homework, I headed to the web and found these great sights. The greatest part is that anyone, even if they don’t know math, can still help; better yet children can navigate these sites and help themselves. Argument avoided!

Purple Math is one of my long time favorite math helping sites on the web. You have to know what kind of math you are doing but a little searching around and you can find what your looking for.  Purple Math offers links to other helpful sites as well as learning forums. This site has a lot of help, and is recommended by math teachers. I found it by recommendation of my college math professor originally. Yup, It’s been around for a bit.

Then I found Mathway, this site has an algebraic calculator, is free and once you sign up you can save your work. It has other goodies too, like worksheets that you can save and does basic math through calculus too. I just found it last night but I really like it already.

Then there is Webmath. This is a great site, for students and teachers. I haven’t had as much time to explore it but what I have found on this site is good stuff. I am really looking forward to searching the whole site, from Discovery Education. Discovery Education offers "Engaging, standards-aligned rich media and interactive digital textbooks, coupled professional development and assessment services, take students beyond the classroom."

I hope that these sites are helpful if you are helping yourself or someone else with math. There are a lot of resources out there on the web for all kinds of homework help. 

Many Blessings

Monday, November 26, 2012

Adventures of Bongo

Little People might live here!

Once upon a time there lived a little girl named Kristi. She lived with her Dad, who loved her very much, in a small cabin in the mountains. Kristi had a horse named Bongo and they loved to go for long rides in the woods. One day Kristi packed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, an apple, and some carrots then she jumped onto Bongo and off they rode into the woods.

As they were riding along on their favorite trail, they heard a sound so they stopped. It sounded like a little voice coming from the bushes.

“Help! Help!” cried a tiny little voice. Kristi got off of Bongo and went to look; she looked all around and found nothing at first. The voice called out again, “Help, I’m over here!”

Kristi finally found a tiny little person that was stuck in an old forgotten jar. “Oh! How did you get in there?” Kristi said as she lifted the little person into her hand.

The little person cried out, “Don’t EAT me!”

Kristi laughed and said, “I don’t eat people, no matter how small they are. My name is Kristi, what is yours?”

“My name is Trillium and my home is far, far away.” Trillium began to cry.

“Don’t cry, maybe we can help you, show us where it is.” Kristi said as she jumped onto Bongo.

“It is down the mountain and on the other side of the river from here.” Trillium pointed in the direction of the creek that was just a small hop for Kristi and Bongo but for someone so small it would be a river. Bongo trotted off in that direction and they soon found Trilliums’ home. Kristi and Bongo could not see any little people for they were all hidden away, but Trillium called out, “It’s okay, I’m home safe now, and Kristi and Bongo have saved me and brought me home!”

All of a sudden little people ran out of their little mushroom and moss houses and started cheering for Kristi and Bongo. They spent the day in celebration, bringing Kristi the tiniest tastiest little cakes, and sweets they could make. Kristi Shared her peanut butter and jelly Sandwich and her apple with the little people and gave the carrots to Bongo. When it was time to go everyone was sad but said that Kristi and Bongo could come back anytime.


This story is one of many stories about Bongo and me that my Dad would tell me every night. Each story would have a new adventure and would include my best friend Raven and her horse. I never asked where my Dad got the name Bongo from but I loved that horse. Bongo was my imaginary horse for many years until I got my own real horse Freckles. 

My Dad and Me!


Saturday, November 24, 2012


Vygotsky is one of my favorite theorist. I think his belief that children learn through community is so true. I also like his theory of ZPD ~ Zone of Proximal Development:

"...the distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers." (p. 86)
Vygotsky, L. (1978) Mind in Society: The Development of Psychological Processes.

I have seen children use this idea much more frequently than adults. Children have a way of helping peers leap from one zone to another. You may see this when children are playing. A child who commonly has a hard time paying attention will suddenly be able to attend to something within a role they are playing in a communal game.  

Adults can help children stretch across this zone in different and unobtrusive ways. For example when a child is trying to pour some juice for himself, rather than do it for him, help by showing him how and then with your hand on his pour together. 

Or when children are trying to come to an agreement about a toy or a game, refrain from taking the toy away or making them change the game. For when you do this what have they learned. Rather give them some guidelines for negotiating. Give them an example or words to use. You can talk about these guidelines at another time (another way of modeling), have them pretend to share a toy or item. Allow them time to share the ideas. This is helping their zone of proximal development; and allowing them to learn how to be collaborating adults. 

Vygotsky's idea that children learn through social constructs as a necessity of learning is why I spend so much of my time working on the social aspects of early childhood education.  Children learn through community, if we make that community a place of collaboration and acceptance they will have greater ideas and achieve greater learning. 

Here are some further sites with information about vygotsky:

Many Blessings

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Songs for little ones

I was singing to my Sweetest Little One, who is now 3 weeks old!

I couldn't quite remember these songs that I would sing all the time to my children when they were little. So I looked them up and here they are.

My Daughter's Favorite:

Peter, Paul & Mary Puff, The Magic Dragon Lyrics

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee,
Little Jackie paper loved that rascal puff,
And brought him strings and sealing wax and other fancy stuff. oh

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee,
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee.

Together they would travel on a boat with billowed sail
Jackie kept a lookout perched on puffs gigantic tail,
Noble kings and princes would bow whenever they came,
Pirate ships would lower their flag when puff roared out his name. oh!

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee,
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee.

A dragon lives forever but not so little boys
Painted wings and giant rings make way for other toys.
One grey night it happened, Jackie paper came no more
And puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar.

His head was bent in sorrow, green scales fell like rain,
Puff no longer went to play along the cherry lane.
Without his life-long friend, puff could not be brave,
So puff that mighty dragon sadly slipped into his cave. oh!

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee,
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee.
My Son's Favorite: 

Peter, Paul & Mary If I Had A Hammer Lyrics

If I had a hammer,
I'd hammer in the morning
I'd hammer in the evening,
All over this land

I'd hammer out danger,
I'd hammer out a warning,
I'd hammer out love between my brothers and my sisters,
All over this land.

If I had a bell,
I'd ring it in the morning,
I'd ring it in the evening,
All over this land

I'd ring out danger,
I'd ring out a warning
I'd ring out love between my brothers and my sisters,
All over this land.

If I had a song,
I'd sing it in the morning,
I'd sing it in the evening,
All over this land

I'd sing out danger,
I'd sing out a warning
I'd sing out love between my brothers and my sisters,
All over this land.

Well I got a hammer,
And I got a bell,
And I got a song to sing, all over this land.

It's the hammer of Justice,
It's the bell of Freedom,
It's the song about Love between my brothers and my sisters,
All over this land.

It's the hammer of Justice,
It's the bell of Freedom,
It's the song about Love between my brothers and my sisters,
All over this land.

[ Lyrics from: accessed on 11/20/2012 ] 


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Weekly Quote

Jane Smiley is an American Novelist and I just thought that this quote is so true. I am often spending a lot of time encouraging parents and teachers to let go, and allow their children or students the right to create their own meanings. If children are too sheltered they really do miss out on a lot of things.

Personally I believe it is better to allow children the space to witness life as it is while you are there by their side to explain. Allowing them to go out and experience, while you are there to catch them when they fall.

As a parent you are there to explain both what has happened and why or what your beliefs about that are.

As a teacher you are there to explain what has happened and allow and encourage the parents to support their child by further explaining their beliefs to their child.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Quote of the week

Albert Einstein says it all. What if he had been labeled and medicated, would he still overcome and be brillant?


Friday, November 16, 2012

learning to parent again

I sometimes feel frustrated parenting my teenaged son. Both of us are learning some things all over again, it seems.
Picture from

For example the other day I reminded him (many times) to clean the kitchen. He finally did but it took him a long time and he did not do a very good job. I tried to stay out of it and allow him time to do it. However by the time he was done, late in the day, many of the dishes were still sticky, and both of us were grouchy and snappish at each other.


My first thoughts were that he was fifteen years old and should already know how to do all of this. He has been helping with cleaning the kitchen since he was very little. After a cooling off period and some thought, I realized that I had made a couple of mistakes.

First I “nagged” him. It would have been better to let him know what he was responsible to do, within a time frame, and then trusted him to be able to get it done. This is best done in one conversation and then followed through by trusting that it will be done.  Also having a consequence if it is not done, for example, if it is not completed by a certain time he is not allowed to be on anything electronic until it is completed.

Second I did not ensure that he was well trained in cleaning the kitchen. You would think that after about 10 years of helping out he would know how. I forgot that a lot has changed in the last couple of years. This is really the first time he has been responsible to clean the kitchen from start to finish. Between me being unemployed, his dad being here and then leaving, and his sister growing up and moving out we are doing chores in a whole new way. He simply didn’t know how to do this and I forgot to make sure that he had proper training.

Children of all ages need to do chores. It helps them become responsible, feel that they are an important part of the family, and learn life skills. There will always be dirty dishes, laundry, and housecleaning. The battle of housework and children doing them often cause many parents to give up and just do it them themselves. It is so frustrating and a lot harder work to tell kids to do their chore or make a chore chart that only works for a while. I realized that in the last couple of years I have fallen into a trap of just doing it myself because it was easier. I forgive myself. I forgive my son.

Now I have had the conversation about what he is responsible for, when he is responsible for it, and when we will do the training for it. We are in training for laundry and dishes. Major things in our lives have changed how these things are done. We used to live in a nice big house with a washer and dryer that he knew how to use; now we use our apartment laundry room. We used to do the dishes together and now I am asking him to clean the kitchen from beginning to end, including mopping the floor (gasp!), something brand new to him.

This is what my son would rather be doing!

Once children have the training, know what is expected of them, and know that you trust that they will get it done, they will do their best. This works for children aged 4 and up. It is a simple respect you would give any adult new to any job, and it is a new job to children. One important aspect is the teaching part. Show them how to do it, watch while they do it and then check in from time to time and respectfully correct what they are doing.

What I do is set a time frame that makes me happy, I like to spend the afternoon in a clean house, or come home to a clean house, so currently my schedule is to do it in the morning. What I have been doing is asking that it is done by 10 am. I begin cleaning at a certain time so that I will be done by 10 am and this has so far gotten my son to start cleaning too. I am still helping him learn all the parts of cleaning a kitchen. It is a lot to learn after all, there is the actual work, time management, and self-motivation; but together we are learning.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Great Site for Bay Area Teachers is a great resource!

I discovered a great resource for Bay Area teachers! EDUCYCLE.COM! it is like a craigslist for teachers to give stuff away or sell. There isn't a Picture on the site that can be pinned but I have put a picture here so that everyone can pin it and use this wonderful resource.

Great site! 

You can get free stuff, trade or sell your stuff and organizations and companies can donate stuff. I hope this site gets as big as craigslist did because it is a great resource for teachers who want to reuse, recycle and make a little money on what they no longer use.

I say even if your from another state go to this site and see if they will expand.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

It's Official!!

Hours old
I am a Grandma, This is my Sweetest Little One!

It is such a miracle to have been a part of her birth, I am so proud of my daughter. It is amazing how much our bodies know exactly what to do. My Daughter was blessed with a healthy and natural childbirth, her body did all the right things.

1 week old
Last week My daughter was so tired of being pregnant, as often happens in those last few tiring weeks. After her due date passed with nothing going on, she started looking for thing to help her naturally induce labor safely. But it wasn’t until she had her Doctors appointment that she put any into action. She started eating Ginger, and drinking warm Ginger tea. I took her to get acupuncture, she loved this pampering and healing activity. Then after another Doctors appointment she scheduled the labor inducing for Wednesday and that did it. We did acupuncture again, she drank castor oil and asked the doctor to sweep the membranes (this is done by the doctor, to help separate the placenta from the cervix) and then her and her friend loaded up the baby stroller with a lot of heavy things and pushed it around for about an hour. She finally called me in regular and productive labor so we went to the hospital.

Three Generations of women were there to welcome her into the world.
My mom and Daughter

The birth of my Sweetest Little One was on 10/30/12 at 11:12am. She was 7lbs 13.3oz and 21¼ inches long. She has red hair and blue eyes and is so beautiful, we all fell into instant love with her.
Only hours old!

Being a Grandma is one of the best things in the world. I love her as much as my own children. I love her little hands, and perfect little fingernails. I love her little yawns and her little noises. I am so excited for all the fun and games we will get to do, but for know I am enjoying each and every moment of her littleness because I now know how fast children grow. Each tiny little hug, and kiss, each moment of looking into each others eyes and figuring each other out. These moments are so precious, more so than gold or anything material.

I love my Sweetest Little One!