Friday, January 25, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy!

The winter months have kept us busier than ever! Spawn is doing great academically and CS Dad and I have never been so glad we opted to cyberschool! We are so blessed to have this opportunity! It's made us closer as a family and allowed us to be so involved in Spawn's education. He has a teacher, but more than that - he has support. We know what he's learning and what he needs extra help with. On the other side of the coin - we know what he excels at and can request more challenging work if he's bored with the existing curriculumn. It's such a personal experience. It's like getting a private school education at the price of a public education. I just don't understand all the cyberschool detractors (Representative Beyer).

We're coming up on the end of the 2nd marking period. Report cards should be out in another week and a half. If Spawn makes the Distiguished Honors List again, he's earned a huge reward - an early trip out to Knoebels for opening weekend! We're keeping our fingers crossed that Flying Turns is finally operational for opening weekend. Spawn would love to ride it!

Spawn has been meeting (exceeding!) his Phys Ed requirements by taking classes at the Stroudsburg YMCA. Karate and Swimming. His swimming has improved greatly and Sensei Sue does an awesome job of keeping his attention during karate class. He stopped taking karate classes in Belvidere over a year ago when the free bridge closed and the drive more than doubled. We'd considered pulling him from the class for a while because he had so much trouble paying attention and getting through the class without reprisals.

Now, he's a little older, a little more patient, and a lot more interested. The class is small and the other kids are so friendly. Spawn's never been a wallflower, but he's making friends on his own and that makes me the happiest of all! :D To date, his friends were limited to cousins and neighborhood kids and we live in a pretty rural area. There's really no one HIS age to speak of here. The YMCA really came to our rescue!

He's also practicing karate at home and even choosing to spend time in quiet meditiation! :o To keep boredom at bay on non-class days, he burns off excess energy on his new trampoline. Best $50 I ever spent on a Christmas gift!

Spawn's attention span is still short and sitting for extended periods for lessons is difficult for him. Mr. Mitchell, his Phys Ed teacher, mentioned at the beginning of the school year that exercise has a side benefit - increased concentration. Kids who take frequent, ACTIVE, breaks do better in school and can focus on the work at hand for longer periods of time. We've put it to the test this winter! Whenever Spawn starts to fidget - in the middle of a lesson or not - we take a 5 minute break so he can get up and move and bounce off all that excess energy. He used to pace like a caged animal and it drove me crazy! I don't like being cooped up inside during the winter either, but that pacing was driving me right out of my tree!!! Thank goodness I had the forethought to pick up that trampoline!!!

Spawn continues to ace his Science: Technology Lessons. The refrigerator is plastered with reward certificates with perfect scores!

His Language Arts results are improving steadily, too. He blows through the high frequency word flash cards now! His teacher assigns e-books as they pertain to the high frequency word lessons and Spawn often eschews playing online computer games in favor of reading those e-Books. They're published by Harcourt and they're just great! The books are published by Harcourt and the collection is called StoryTown
Highly recommend these for educators!

Even his handwriting is improving! The curriculumn does gloss over handwriting a bit, I think, so I do a little extra handwriting work with him daily.

I print out practice sheets from and . They offer a customizable tracer page program. (We prefer the Zaner-Bloser Font.) Just type in the letters or words that your student needs to practice line by line and click "Make Tracer Page". This is especially great for teaching kids how to spell and write their names, address, and phone numbers. It's really helped Spawn memorize important info like that - so I worry less about being separated from him accidentally in a theme park or something. He can easily identify himself to a security guard by writing his name if the guard can't understand what he's saying or he's too upset to make much sense. His school ID can only provide so much information if he gets lost.

Keep an eye out for more frequent blogs as we pick up steam heading into the 3rd marking period!

Before signing off, Spawn, CS Dad, and I would like to wish our friend, Brielle, a Happy 29th Birthday! You're the best aunt ever!

Chrissi, Cyber School Mom
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