Friday, May 18, 2012


I just have to mention really quickly that I am ecstatic that joey started asking why last month! I thought they were fluke why's but nope, he is still going strong with wondering - yay!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Calendars, Routines, Assessments - Oh My!

I finally have pocket charts - woohoo!  Whodathunkit?  Anyway, I'm a busy bee now trying to put it all together to my liking, but I wanted to share some great links for free printables, skill assessment sheets and more!

Here's the one for skill assessments (of course, I'm altering it and will eventually post that too) - (i like this one because i can edit it) (i like this one bc it seems like an 'official' guide that i can help gauge our progress vs what the masses are up to). But still, assessment rubrics are so great when homeschooling.  Here's another great source for a math one:

And here are a few for calendars and other pocket chart goodies - (i love the assessment pages and a few other items) (i love the chart idea and the template for the calendar pockets)

And what good would printouts be without a good ol' laminating (we've already have had a few casualties that weren't protected). I haven't yet tried it out, but I heard from the grapevine that this works well enough and is so much cheaper -  We'll find out soon enough! I plan on picking it up tomorrow.

Although it's not completely ready, Joey and Kaelie have both expressed interest, and Joey has even helped in putting the numbers in place (a few at least).  This will be so great for them when we start using more frequently! Can't wait :-)

Here are more links for counting and weather: from

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Hands-On Chemistry

I've been scouring the web looking for a great way to present the periodic table to the kids, and although I'm still searching and will eventually update with my eventual find, for now, I wanted to make a quick post about a great place to eventually visit if you're in Minnesota (aside from the Mall of America) :-)

Here is the link:

Looking forward to eventually checking it out with the kiddos some day.

Also, here is a neat version of the table found here:

As well as other wonderful pdfs that we will be using (

Another great site for more links:

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Oliver Twist's Chapter Books into Joey's World

Thanks to several posts by DadDude, Larry Sanger, about reading 'advanced' books to his son, I was inspired to start reading chapter books to Joey before bed.  Prior to that, I felt like the majority of our reading time was spent with him having to 'work' at it, and didn't want him to lose the joy for reading.  I want(ed) to be sure he was inspired to want to advance his reading abilities.  So, I gave him the choice between Alice in Wonderland (that's not the title, but you know what I mean), and Oliver Twist.  Both books I had previously picked up in the dollar bin from Target, knowing that I eventually wanted the kids to know what these classics were.  I was pleasantly surprised by my son's interest!!  Each chapter is only a few (4 to 7 or so pages), so it doesn't take me long to get through it.  I was planning on stopping after the first chapter, until Joey begged me to continue. :-) It was late, so we only did a few chapters, but I was so surprised that he was genuinely interested and paying attention!  That was Saturday night.

Sunday night was hectic, so we didn't read from the chapter book.

Monday night was another wonderful surprise.  Again it was much later than expected, but Joey requested Oliver Twist before bedtime prayers, which is the last thing we do before he falls asleep.  So, I agreed, and since we skipped the night before, did a quick review of what we had read.  Each set of pages has one picture, so we just used those as guides to get us through to where we would start reading. One of the pages he stopped me on to say "help, help!"  I wasn't sure if this was because he read it on the page or if he recalled it, but I thought it was neat that he did it, still.  When I finished the first chapter of the night, he pleaded with me to do more, so I did.  And although he pleaded for more when that was done, I told him he had to wait until the next day.

This morning I shouldn't have been surprised, then, when Joey asked me for Oliver Twist!  I've noticed that if we tell him things at night, he ALWAYS seems to remember it the next day.  That's probably why I try to use story time to add or reinforce information that I'd like for him to retain.

FYI: Story time for us usually starts with "Once there was a boy name ... JOEY! ... " And is used to relay something of importance.  That's how he learned my telephone number, and how he's learning/reinforcing the continents/countries/states, etc, in addition to other tidbits.  I also use it to recap the day's events to help reinforce his memory of the day or the week or the month.  I love seeing where his imagination take it.  I learned this from another parent and am so grateful because prior to that it was just reading little books.  If you don't do it with your child, I definitely recommend it. :-)

PS: One of the reasons I liked chapter books in theory and now in practice is because it aids in memory while adding to Joey's vocabulary and ability to self-express.  I'm contemplating adding French and Spanish reading into our book time too.  We'll see.

Monday, March 5, 2012

We FINALLY start SoftMozart, Along with Synthesia & Kinderbach


Joey is 31 mo and Kaelie's enthusiastically pounding away at the keyboard at 9 months.  I won't consider here officially starting until she's trying to match notes or obviously trying to peck out a song.

The whole family is taking a stab at the piano - yay.  Dad joining in has been an unexpected, interesting, and welcomed addition.  I hope we all progress nicely!

So, our music BACKGROUND & interest:

KAELIE: randomly & joyfully banging away at the keyboard since christmas/new year's, which has just recently (this past month) been placed at a reachable distance, dramatically increasing her 'playing' time.

JOEY: when Joey was less than a year old, i knew that i wanted him to learn piano (and drums and violin and guitar - and/or any other instrument(s) so long as he shows interest, of course), but i had no clue that programs existed for young children. instead, while at the store with my mother, i came across this b.meowsic cat piano (  It was the best thing that i could find for a baby at the time, so we got it :-)  Of course, i didn't actually spend time 'teaching' him anything on it.  i just hoped that by playing with and around it, he'd establish a familiarity and natural joy for it.  and while he did initially love banging away on it, he QUICKLY learned to just push the buttons which even more quickly turned the 'joy' i had for it into 'painstaking' meow'ing of the most popular songs. lol.  it wasn't so bad, but if it were up to me, it would have NO buttons for beats, melodies, preprogrammed songs, or anything - just the volume and power buttons to allow him to truly build curiosity and interest along with an appreciation for 'making' his own music.  i was really hoping that he would figure things out on his own with this, but there was NO way for that with those wonderful buttons that so easily made music for him.  anyway, he did take great joy in 'singing' into the accompanying mic and has developed quite a joy for singing, grabbing anything and everything in sight to be used as a mic when the right song presents itself.  i'm sure it also helped that he spent some time with my mother watching a series that intro'd musicians singing on mics.  so that's that.  in addition to this, i also picked up a flexible keyboard ( for joey when he was 18 months old with the same goal in mind, and again, the same result lol yes, it too has an annoying song and joey happens to have made it his FAVORITE and loves to play it and dance around. is it even necessary to mention that YES, he's figured out how to get the demo songs up on the keyboard, as well as change the sounds away from grand piano? lol thankfully, he still enjoys playing these keys, too! more to come in the 'update' portion below.  oh, and we also have kinderbach (, which we ordered and received four/five weeks ago and have been diligently playing on avg one lesson/weekday, often more by request.  we started out playing during meal times, but i've found it best to play in the car when we're on our way somewhere, especially because now i don't chase him around to get his shoes on to leave.  instead, he comes to me and asks if he can go to the car and watch dodi lol! more about this too in our updates.

DADDY: daddy has no music background, but has interest in being able to play pieces and show off to his friends.  he is VERY competitive and announced his interest a couple weeks ago after returning from a friend's cook-out party where his friend played some 'impressive' piece that he had learned on his recently purchased 'impressive' piano.  whatever the inspiration, i'm rolling with it.  so, we've sat down a few times and i've shown him a few exercises and we started with a basic right hand only twinkle, twinkle that i plucked away by ear.  at the time, we had no programs, no books, no nothing, aside from the keyboard and our fingers. in the past week, while struggling with trying to get softmozart to work, [color=#ff0000]we downloaded synthesia ( and LOVE IT!!!! it is a MUST for anyone over, 8 or so!  It is free, and the full version, which you can demo with the free version, is only $25 FOREVER, including ALL future upgrades.  it is soooo good for us.[/color]  Daddy LOVES competing against Mommy.  it takes but a few minutes to download, i highly recommend :-)  (of course, i've only tried softmozart for a day, so *shrug* who knows).  i did ask Daddy to try softmozart today too, and his conclusion was the same as mine.  going off of initial observation alone, SM seems great for the kids, but we prefer synthesia's setup for us.

MOMMY: grew up with a daddy who played piano, guitar, harmonica and sang frequently, since he was often the life of the party. he couldn't read music, but could pick up just about any instrument, including human bagpipes, as was often the case when i was growing up ;-), and pluck out just about any song after a few tries, if not on the first go.  he wanted to be sure that i learned to read music, so when i was 6, they started me on lessons, where i DID learn the basics of playing and reading. times were a bit tough, though, and i wasn't encouraged enough to maintain a disciplined practice schedule, so, inevitably, lessons stopped, especially after my mother tried convincing me to play more by telling me how impressed my instructor was at my 'natural talent', especially because she knew (i would tell her) that i didn't practice except during my lesson. yes, i am one of those 'poor', 'gifted' 'children' who has all those issues that 'gifted' people have.  i am just now coming to this conclusion after finally researching it, thanks to the desire to teach my own children AND ensure that they don't fall into the same set of problems.  in college i tried to pick up lessons again, but didn't have the personal drive/discipline necessary to see it through. despite the 'desire' to incorporate routine practice back into my life for the past 10+ years, it hasn't happened until now, thanks to my kids. my hope is that through the perceived obligation of continuous postings here and the self-appointed responsibility of teach my kids until a professional will take them on, i'll be forced into keeping up my own practice. wish me luck!!

KAELIE: since placing the piano within reach, kaelie has been plucking away at the keyboard several times each day to her (and my!) heart's content :-) she loves it and doesn't hold back her bopping, bouncing, and singing.  she gets excited to join her brother (who doesn't share in her excitement and asks me to 'move kaelie, please, mommy! move kaelie!' as he pries her fingers away from the keys and shoves her to the side).  she is ever persistent, though, and i know will carry music deep and near to her heart.

JOEY: joey is on week 5 of kinderbach and can't get enough - yay!  there are a total of 6 discs and we've been playing one lesson each day on average, completing a disc each week, sometimes playing lessons more than once, at his request. we typically do this in the car, so today i put one of our mini keyboards in there to see if that would encourage him to play along with the disc.  i did this after playing it at home this weekend, only to have him jump out of his seat on several occasions to run to the keyboard and shriek where dodi lives.  i love that this program seems to be working so well for him and that he's really connecting with it!  i really feel that the free online trial does it little to no justice and was more than pleasantly surprised by the quality of material covered in the discs, all the more because they really appeal to him.  joey was FINALLY able to try softmozart  yesterday for the first time.  there was so much build up for it that i was a bit disheartened when we tried it and while he seemed interested, was thrown off within the first couple minutes by the spiders.  yes, my fault because i told him 'oh no! we don't want the spiders!' and it seemed to startle him lol making him jump back from the keyboard each time stating something like, 'oh! the spiders are gonna get you/me!'.  this turned into me then having to convince him to continue to try by letting him use my fingers, or me put his fingers, etc.  the point is, it was a brief session and i felt a bit let down.  good news: my hope was rekindled today when he asked to play the spiders!!  "what? he WANTS to play with the spiders now?? whatever, let's do it!" i thought, and so we did!  YAY!  first we did ode to joy, and although he maxed the time out at 999 seconds+, since he kept getting up to give me hugs, high fives, grab some juice, chat a bit, etc, he DID get 16 flowers before his father finished the final two notes despite my protest because he wanted to play synthesia lol.  i did regain use of the keyboard again, though, at joey's request later on and this time remembered mandablus3's suggestion to try hot cross buns first. (i think i read a post by her to do this!).  i've only been doing right hand with joey, but was quite happy that he started and FINISHED hot cross buns in 164 seconds, in spite of his wanderings and pit stops lol, and had 11 flowers! i think i will try to update a google doc with this play stats info.  i'm debating about the practicality and functionality of such a doc. what say ye? is this already built into the program?? i am quite relieved that there are at least the 6 songs to choose from in the 'free trial' version, since that's all i have access to now that we've lost our usb key dangle :-(  i wound up cutting the solfegio key guides in half and only pasting the top halves of them to the keys - i didn't want the numbers throwing him off, nor did i want them to interfere with the lights, since i like to use them.  it was SO cute today listening to joey tell me things like, "carla goes through the door!" (carla the caterpillar is a kinderbach character), or "dodi's in the rain" (again, a kb character), or "felicity is at the farm, mommy!" (you guessed it - kb again).  i love how his mind just put this together on its own!  as i was putting the stickers on yesterday, i attempted to print out the kb characters, thinking that this would help him, but due to a printing glitch followed by a distraction, it never happened. it seems that i don't need to now, so that's great! i'm looking forward to this journey, even if it turns out that *sigh* we have to buy the program again!  as of now, we'll enjoy working our way through the six free songs :-)

DADDY: Daddy has quite a competitive streak coupled by a very persistent personality!  he likes to be the best! lol so synthesia (link above) is WONDERFUL for us.  even without the competitive nature, this is a fabulous program and i'm so glad we came across it! i can't think of another way to get j to sit and play for 30 minutes on the same piece! lol  granted, he hasn't yet committed a piece to memory, and considering that his schedule has only allowed him to sit in front of the piano a few times, for each time he's sat down, he's 'perfected' his playing and reached top scores for at least one song.  if he quits now, he's several songs ahead of where he was, so i'm happy with his interest thus far.

MOMMY: for the month of march i've set a goal for 2 new pieces each weekday, using weekends as catch-up.  being that thu was the 1st and i didn't have the goal done until this weekend, i'm guessing i'll be using my weekends! lol but i'm quite content with the progress i've made with synthesia so far.  we paid for the upgrade because it allows us to label all the keys on the screen, and we have ours set up to include the score, so that we get used to reading music while we play.  it comes with over 150 popular midis in a variety of levels and you can sort through them easily, as well as import any midi out there to learn to play.  today, i started incorporating softmozart into what i do too, and i love it for practicing singing, both with letters and solfegio.  i'm glad that i have both, and would not like to have to pick one over the other, especially considering that each of my favorite guys has their own favorite (okay, joey has no choice, but still lol).

so there you have it.  our first 'real' update.  sorry for it being so long.  i'm guessing from here on out they'll be more condensed, since they won't have the background info ;-)

thanks for reading!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Peter & the Wolf: Instrument & Music Appreciation

I just wanted to write a quick post about one of the things we did this morning: watch Peter and the Wolf.

It was right after Joey asked AGAIN for MORE of a musical instruments presentation on little reader (;id=6836).  It was such a great way to expand on his musical appreciation, as well as teach him about various emotions, cause and effect, etc.  i love (re)learning with my little ones ... it seems that learning for the 2nd, 3rd, etc time is truly more enjoyable each go!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Programs We Incorporate

Our Routine Goal:
* MORNING BATH w/bath instruments and colorful letter/numbers (with joey we put together words and work on math, with kaelie right now we are working on colors)
* BRAINY BREAKFAST w/LM & LR, followed by YBCR, which we call "Reading Time", thanks to his love for Signing Time
- Mondays: Playgroup @ Healthy Families (consists of 1 hour of free play, followed by art craft, then cleanup time, snack time and then circle time, which is usually some sort of music & movement activity, ending with storytime and a goodbye song with a sticker or stamp)
- Tuesdays: Stroller Strides
- Wednesdays: Playgroup @ Healthy Families (same as Monday)
- Thursdays: Playgroup @ Healthy Families (same as Monday)
- Fridays: Stroller Strides & Gymnastics
- Saturdays: Soccer (although this is a trek for us - 1 hour for his age group, so lately we've just been doing outside play at a park or in the backyard)
- Sundays: ASL Church
* LUNCH & LEARN: Learn typically consists of a few phrases or minutes of review of whatever we're working on, whether addition, reading, sight words, music appreciation or chords.  if we're home, this may be time for a video too, such as signing time, mandarin mickey, your child can discover ... when we get tweedle wink and kinderbach, this will be incorporated here.  if the day is beautiful, we go outside before, during, or after lunch too.  even if the weather isn't so great, i try to get at minimum 20 minutes outside with the kids each day.  typically, it's considerably more, though.
* AFTERNOON ACTIVITY: extension of learning time with solo play time worked in, depending on the kids.  solo play, sometimes turns into play with one another or with me too.  this time could be reading books (with or without an audio pen), legos, blocks, wood train set, piano play, tablet time (educational/fun activities that encourage thinking, reading, writing, etc).  Lately, I would like to see this time more organized/focused (as in, we'll still do a bit of everything, but try to gear it more towards a specific activity), so I'll put the ideal in writing here:
- Mondays: Piano Time/Music Appreciation
- Tuesdays: Coop School (3 hours with kids of similar age in various activities, including play-dough & sticker crafts)
- Wednesdays: Piano Time/Music Appreciation
- Thursdays: Pool play
- Fridays: Piano Time/Music Appreciation
- Saturdays: Soccer/Social Sports
- Sundays: Pool play

Truth be told, life at this age is about learning, and it all gets meshed together a bit.  For example, while we're making muffins in the morning, we talk about the cup being 1/4, 1/3, 1/2, etc full of milk.  Or if we're eating grapes we will mention things like, '2 grapes in this hand, plus three grapes in that hand ... all in your mouth, now - that makes 5 grapes! 2 + 3 = 5! yay!' i just read that another mom uses multiplication with legos, such as 'pass me the 2x3 lego'. i like that idea.  I love art, but paints are so messy! I leave them for bath time, which is when they get a bit of writing on the wall time too.  We do a lot of singing & dancing, around the house, in the tub, in the car, as well as listening to a variety of music, including classical, new age, opera, country, hiphop, salsa, reggaeton, adult alternative, christian, etc.  Everything with our schedule as of late has been a bit chaotic, so I'm hoping to create more structure to ensure that we tap on a bit of everything and don't get overcome by the lazy bug.

Side note: laughter is so key.  yes, there are times where discipline has to be enforced - i believe that it's important for them to learn cause and effect, but each day i try hard to get both kids to laugh.  when you think about how it's their nature to be happy, it's not too hard.  i find that the hardest part is in dealing with my own moods. it's easy to get overwhelmed with obligations and lack of energy.  this month i will be buying a calendar for them to put in their room so that we can do a better job of keeping track of everything. can't wait!

Brief Update

I can't believe that it's been so long since I've last posted.  Ok, since I've been working so much with the GiftedVillage CARES non-profit, putting together this year's Memphis Convention on Early Learning, every little bit of time seems to be going to that. But, I'm visiting family this weekend, so here I am :-)

OK.  Things that come to mind to mention....

Kaelie will be 9 months next week - yay!  She's already attempting short steps and as managing to stay standing longer and longer.  The doctor says she's 3 months advanced, but I think she's just right.  Joey was at the same point at this age, which is exciting and a relief for me, since I worry that she doesn't get as much positive stimulation because I split my time between the two.

Last week, I believe it was, Joey did something interesting: I accidentally asked him in Spanish to read.  As in, instead of speaking English and asking him to read his words, which are in English, I was talking to him in Spanish and asked him to read his words (which are in English).  And he read them to me ... in Spanish!  I didn't even realize it until he happened to stumble onto a word that he didn't know in Spanish and said it in English, at which point it occurred to me what he was doing.  I think this is really neat and further enforces that learning is learning, regardless of the language.  The language is just the expression of the subject.

Along those lines, he's been devouring Mickey in Mandarin, thanks to YouTube! It's funny how people fret so much over screen time and that it will affect their attention spans and whatnot, but on the contrary, there are so many benefits if you're exposing them to great things.  I often wonder what the result of the next 20 years will be.  The possibilities are exciting and I'm really looking forward to getting to know who they are and watch them develop into who they choose to be.

This past week Joey seems to be having separation anxiety.  I started him at a coop school on Tuesdays and  for whatever reason, he isn't doing well unless I'm around.  The good news is that it is a new place with new people, except for his buddy Harper, and so I think this is only natural for this age.  His first visit I stayed in his room the whole time, but his second visit, which occurred 3 weeks later, into the third hour he was starting to stay in his toddler room with the other kids without my being there.  I'm so grateful that I found this place!  Social development is so important too.

We are on a good routine these days, having successfully incorporated Little Reader and Little Math.  He adores his books and writing.  I need to expose him more to arts and music.  Fortunately, I've set up his keyboard at Nani's and will be doing the same this week, so yay! Finally on track there.  Now I just have to order the usb-midi interface and I'll be set.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

They really can read & do math before they're 1!!

Wow, I can't believe it has been two weeks.  In my mind, it's only been a few hours, as I compose several new posts each day, yet don't actually get to the computer to share - doh!

Anyway, here I am, and here's what I'll share before calling it a night.

Sadly, we don't work that much on teaching math at the moment.  We have been focusing more on reading, but yes, we'll do a few minutes of math every couple days.  And while I realize that our (as in all children!) are brilliantly amazing, I am still wonderfully surprised when I hear Joey reading, especially new words!

Today, my mother randomly asked him a series of addition problems.  Very simple addition.  Things like, "Joey, what's 1+1?" Of course, he gave her the answers!  I didn't know he knew that.  After watching the video, I know that I need to start doing more with both, Joey & Kaelie!  The possibilities are exciting!

I'll keep you better posted ;-)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Joining a Homeschool Group - SEEDS of Grace

We've been receiving information from HEAV (Home Educator's Association of VA) since I added us to their mailing list after picking up a magazine from them April 2010 at the International Children's Festival.  Today, I received an email that we are able to join our first session at

Here's hoping it goes well :-)  They're only $30/year and I'm hoping it will be a good social outlet for the kids.  They said that they teach letters, colors, etc for his age group, so it'll be great for Kaelie and I'll take some additional materials for Joey. I'll update later.

Learning Piano with SoftMozart

I called and spoke with Hellene Hiner yesterday, creator of SoftMozart because I was looking for a trial of her program.  Turns out, she has one you can link to from the main page by clicking on the yellow "TRY NOW' in the middle of the page lol I don't know why I missed it before!  I told her that it doesn't look like a link, just graphic text.

Anyway, we've officially started the journey.  Prior to now it has just been playing, dancing and singing to a variety of music; some youtube videos added to our playlist that mention theory; and the trial lessons from KinderBach, which he did enjoy.

So, the journey begins.  All we did, since we're out of town, was practice the notes duration game last night.  He liked it, but didn't quite get it.  We don't have a routine that we keep while we're out of town, sadly enough, but we'll definitely add it to our schedule when we return home.

Looking forward to chronicle his progress - and Kaelie's too :-)

2012 Learning Goals for J & K

Here's a paste of an email I sent out to the Gifted Village a few days ago.  Maybe it will be of some inspiration to you :-)

I am so ecstatic that you have decided to join our Gifted Village!! 

It is truly a passion of mine to learn and share everything that I know with you all about how amazing our kids are.  There's something about sharing the experience with others who are like-minded that really gets me energized - I feel blessed and honored that together we can encourage one another to joyfully, lovingly encourage and watch our children's talents emerge! I look forward to all the wonders that we will witness this year, especially when it comes to our little ones.  On that note, I'll share my list for 2012 in hopes that it will get your dream machines to turn with all the possibilities that can manifest this year and that you will return the favor by sharing!  So, here goes:

FYI: I have two kids - Joey (29mo) and Kaelie (8 mo)
HEALTH & HAPPINESS are a given on the wishlist for my kids. Aside from that, by this time next year, I would like us to grow in the following areas:

READING: I'd like for Joey to be reading at 2nd grade level and Kaelie to have several sight words under her belt and ready for phonics. (Joey has already started writing and reading - phonetically and sight words)
WRITING: I would love for Joey to be able to write all of his numbers and letters clearly & for Kaelie to know how to spell her name. I think we will start a journal with him - aww!
MATH: I would love for Joey to have his basic math operations (PEMDAS) understood well and for Kaelie to know her numbers 1-100, forward and backwards.
GEOGRAPHY: I'd like for Kaelie to be able to point out the various continents, countries and states, and for Joey to know the capitols too, as well as learn about great US places to visit.
LANGUAGES: I'd like Joey to keep up his ASL, Spanish & French, and to add to his Japanese. I'd like Kaelie to be fluent in all four.
ART: I'd like for Joey's drawings to become more realistic, and for his appreciation for different artists and styles to continue to grow. For Kaelie, I'd love her to have her colors understood and for her to start EK (encyclopedic knowledge, doman inspired) along with her brother.
BODY: I'd like both of them to know how to swim, and for Joey to continue with gymnastics and soccer and Kaelie to start by year end. I'd love to get them started in some sort of martial arts by this time next year, as well as learning yoga and breathing techniques.
MUSIC: I'd love for Joey to learn to read music and play basic piano this year and for Kaelie to have a growing interest and be ready to start. Depending on how the year goes, maybe violin too.
INTERPERSONAL: I hope Joey starts asking 'Why' by then :-) Also, I'm hoping Kaelie is using her potties regularly by Dec 2012. And for Kaelie to be able to point to her various body parts and for Joey to finish learning the parts of the body - skelaton, muscles, organs.
INTRAPERSONAL: I'd like for Joey to keep learning about emotions and for Kaelie to develop confidence.

PATRIOTISM: It'd be cute to see them signing the pledge. And to know the bill of rights, star spangled banner, and a few other songs that we currently have on our playlist that Joey's picking up.

SPIRITUALLY: For both - 10 Commandments, Lords' Prayer, We're getting through the Bible stories - kids version now ... keep on, keep on. FYI: Eventually, yes, I'd like them to learn about different faiths, as well as energies, chakras, etc.  I believe in God, but I went full circle in my understanding of God, which meant learning about other faiths too to better understand my own.

Phew, what an attainable list - only because they're so little and capable, though! lol It seems like I have quite a busy year ahead of me, especially considering that this is only a list for the kids. And I'm sure that I've left some things off!

Well, I hope my goals prompt you to reply and get the conversation going!  Tell us what your kids are up to and how you hope to see them grow this year.

Looking forward to meeting you all soon!
Marlita/bka Joey & Kaelie's Mom :-)

The Color of Music with 'Notes of a Different Color' & 'Synthesia'

I love the rainbow piano concept as a starting point for kids, but I've had problems finding anything to use that keeps the colors consistent with roygbiv.  Piano Wizard's colors are all over the place and SoftMozart uses symbols.  But, I did come across these videos and have been playing them and both kids love them (ages 8 and 29 months). I've contacted the creator and he says he's interested in doing more as well as some apps, he just wants to be sure that there's interest.

That said, here's the link.  Enjoy:

Another neat one:

And here's a really neat vid produced with Synthesia. WARNING: Profanity Involved, however, I still found it funny and fantastic, especially at 0:34 seconds. Enjoy!

'TOUCH' - Math: The Series

I don't watch too much tv, so I think, but I must say: I am really looking forward to watching this show!!  I get so excited by numbers, patterns, codes, etc.  I think about how much other generations were able to accomplish because they had/made time to figure things out.  If we can take 1% of the population and raise them to be curious, I believe so many amazing things could be deciphered.  Anyway, check out the clip.  Kiefer Sutherland also did the series 24. This one is about the Fibanacci code.

How it relates to nature, according to wikipedia today:
In nature
Yellow Chamomile head showing the arrangement in 21 (blue) and 13 (aqua) spirals. Such arrangements involving consecutive Fibonacci numbers appear in a wide variety of plants.
Fibonacci sequences appear in biological settings,[6] in two consecutive Fibonacci numbers, such as branching in trees, arrangement of leaves on a stem, the fruitlets of a pineapple,[7] the flowering of artichoke, an uncurling fern and the arrangement of a pine cone.[8] In addition, numerous poorly substantiated claims of Fibonacci numbers or golden sections in nature are found in popular sources, e.g., relating to the breeding of rabbits, the seeds on a sunflower, the spirals of shells, and the curve of waves.[49] The Fibonacci numbers are also found in the family tree of honeybees.[50]
Przemysław Prusinkiewicz advanced the idea that real instances can in part be understood as the expression of certain algebraic constraints on free groups, specifically as certain Lindenmayer grammars.[51]
Illustration of Vogel's model for n=1 ... 500
A model for the pattern of florets in the head of a sunflower was proposed by H. Vogel in 1979.[52] This has the form
\theta = \frac{2\pi}{\phi^2} n,\  r = c \sqrt{n}
where n is the index number of the floret and c is a constant scaling factor; the florets thus lie on Fermat's spiral. The divergence angle, approximately 137.51°, is the golden angle, dividing the circle in the golden ratio. Because this ratio is irrational, no floret has a neighbor at exactly the same angle from the center, so the florets pack efficiently. Because the rational approximations to the golden ratio are of the form F(j):F(j + 1), the nearest neighbors of floret number n are those at n ± F(j) for some index j which depends on r, the distance from the center. It is often said that sunflowers and similar arrangements have 55 spirals in one direction and 89 in the other (or some other pair of adjacent Fibonacci numbers), but this is true only of one range of radii, typically the outermost and thus most conspicuous.[53]

[edit] The bee ancestry code

Fibonacci numbers also appear in the description of the reproduction of a population of idealized honeybees, according to the following rules:
  • If an egg is laid by an unmated female, it hatches a male or drone bee.
  • If, however, an egg was fertilized by a male, it hatches a female.
Thus, a male bee will always have one parent, and a female bee will have two.
If one traces the ancestry of any male bee (1 bee), he has 1 parent (1 bee), 2 grandparents, 3 great-grandparents, 5 great-great-grandparents, and so on. This sequence of numbers of parents is the Fibonacci sequence. The number of ancestors at each level, Fn, is the number of female ancestors, which is Fn−1, plus the number of male ancestors, which is Fn−2.[54] (This is under the unrealistic assumption that the ancestors at each level are otherwise unrelated.)

Loving it!  I don't assume that my children will love math, patterns, numbers, and solving problems to the same degree as me, but I think it would be neat if they grow to appreciate its beauty in the universe. :-)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Music to My Ears!

I just have to share that it fills me with joy when I hear Joey randomly start singing, counting, practicing his phonics, imagining stories, recalling details to things from days long passed, etc.  He's amazing!  He's amazing because he is my child!  And if you are a parent, KNOW that your child was born brilliantly amazing too!  I'm so in love with my children and can't wait to get to know them more as they grow.  Kaelie is already creating beautiful sounds, having already mastered her ba, la, da, ma, and a couple other random sounds. Go, Kaelie!

PS - Fill your child with useful knowledge.  Does my son know the Mickey hot dog song?  Yes! But his obsession for Mickey, thanks to summer visits with my mother, have creatively been geared towards a 'subtle' shift to watching Mickey now in Chinese, thanks to yours truly here.  If you're curious about what comes out of his mouth when he sings, as his mind is trying to playfully sort out all of the information he receives in the day, then head on over to youtube and check out our playlists.  What's been playing from Joey's mouth this week?  The solfege (do re mi fa so la ti do - do ti la so fa mi re do), the abc's, the phonic abc's, the numbers 1 - 100 (And YES, I was ecstatic to see him attempt it with the abacus today during free play time, which is just about all the time these days), the A-T AT song, 50 nifty united states song, the periodic tables song, the first 10 elements song, and ring around the rosies ... i'm sure there are a couple that i'm missing, but that gives an idea of what is coming out of my little joey jukebox ;-) 

And since I didn't say it before - or did I? - HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! This year is a blessing!

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Art of Writing

As a child, although sensitive, I was drawn to logic. I enjoyed math because I understood it's logic and was not a fan of history nor writing because I slipped through the cracks on a few lessons and could not make sense of it. Keep in mind, this was in elementary school. In middle school I loved grammar - it was logical, but was still not a fan of writing, even though I enjoyed reading. 

To be gifted means to be filled with the love of learning and the skills and drive to pursue what inspires you, wherever it may lead.

I was excited to read the professor's description. He was taught to read before he was three and grew into a gifted man - a life-long learner!

This article was found after searching for the artist of the image in the previous post, but Theodore's rhythmic writing was poetry to my ears, and I was compelled to share. It reminded me of 9th grade when my teacher continuously had us write. Writing, like other gifts, takes time to hone. No one is born playing beautiful music. It takes practice. I hope to share this love with my children too.

Nurturing Multiple Intelligences

So I was uploading pics of the kids and nouced that I had the first pic stored on my phone. Just the pic. No info. And I love this pic for so many reasons, and naturally want to use it for ny school, but need permission first. So, I did a search and while I couldn't find the pic, I was fortunate enough to find the second one online, on some obscure site. Thankfully, it does give credit, so hopefully I can track down the artist and he will allow me to use it.

Teaching Styles to Consider

Fingerprints Tied to Personality?

Just ran across this site and it made me wonder. In summary, this company claims that the clues to our talents are in our fingerprints. As you may know, I believe in early learning and don't believe that a child, if given the proper attention, can't be taught music, manners, math and reading well before 5, resulting in an innate understanding and love for these fields. Granted, their forte may still lie elsewhere, but the fact that they can be gifted in various avenues based on how we stimulate them early on, I think, contradicts this fingerprint idea. It does make me wonder about the while nature vs nurture debate, though. Would love to know your thoughts.