Tag Archives: Education

Reconnecting with Art – Manga Lessons #2 – The dreaded 3/4 face

After last week’s fairly successful attempt after a 12 year hiatus from drawing, My son and I sat down for another round this week.  He wanted to perfect his character from last week, so he continued with the first pose.

I moved on to a pose that was my nemesis when I drew realistic characters… the 3/4 face.  BBbbrrrrrrr.  Gives me the chills just thinking about it.

Not too shabby though.  This style is really easy to draw in.  (Okay, not completely easy, and my growling son would attest to… but certainly not hard if you have mastered how to make a pencil do what you command)

Manga 2

Anyway, here’s the 3/4 face pose (turned slightly to the side) Again, I’m pretty happy except for the stinking hair!

I will master you, Manga hair. Oh yes, I will!

JenniFer_EatonF

Rekindling your relationship with things you used to love

My oldest son recently has been asking questions about art.  He wants to learn to draw.  Hubby said “Ask your Mom.  She’s a great artist.”  So, I sat with him a few times and gave him pointers… not really expecting him to take anything seriously. (He jumps from thing to thing a lot these days.)

This weekend he asked if I would take him to the store to get some supplies.  Nothing fancy, just some pencils, a real drawing pad, and colored pencils.

He was a little overwhelmed with all the choices, but we decided on a few basic supplies, and I told him I’d see if I had any colored pencils in my old art supplies. He was really interested in learning to draw in the Manga style, so I picked him up an instructional book.

As we sifted through my supplies at home, I came across my old sketch books, and my paintings.

Dude’s eyes opened in awe.  “Wow, you drew these?  Why did you stop?”

Why did you stop?

Well, the truth was, I hadn’t picked up a pencil or a paintbrush since a few weeks before he was born (and he’s 12) I told him, “After I had kids I just had different priorities.”

He said to me, “But we’re all older now.  You should start drawing again.”

So, I figured, why not?

I sat down with a sketch pad, opened up the book on how to draw Manga, and just followed the directions.

To be honest, after not drawing for 12 years I was a little skeptical what I’d be able to do, but I was pretty happy with what popped out of my pencil within 15 minutes or so.

Manga photo 1

I have to admit, it felt really good having a pencil in my hand again.  Yeah, I made a few mistakes and had to erase a little, but I was dern pleased that it didn’t totally stink after being out of practice for so long.

My son asked if I’d take a night a week to draw with him.  I figure, why not?  I need to work on my Manga hair, anyway. Maybe the next one won’t have split ends.  🙂

The Dreaded Parent-Teacher Conference – Dealing with a child with behavioral issues: Our Journey with the Total Transformation #11

Do you love parent teacher conferences?  We used to be bored by them as teacher after teacher raved about our sparkly overachievers.  Now they are a time when we cringe.  So, after eight weeks of our behavioral program, how did it go with Littlest Dude’s teacher?

My husband went to the conference live.  I was on speaker phone.  I cringed when I heard another voice other than my child’s teacher on the other line.  Oh no… the reading teacher.

My cringe soon melted away to tears.

***“He’s like a different kid.  He used to just sit there and look bored, now he is engaged, responsive, and totally into school.  Whatever you guys are doing, it is totally paying off.”***

Neither of them could stop raving about how well he was doing.  His reading is improving, his comprehension is improving, he always raises his hand.  His teacher even described times when she saw him “almost” do something wrong, but she could tell that he was problem solving, and made the right decision.  The relief I felt… you can’t imagine!

So what about the remedial reading? Apparently it is not remedial reading like when I went to school.  This actually is “an opportunity” like they said in the letter.  They hand pick kids for this program who are really engaged to give them a jump start.  It’s like a reading club where they will have fun, play on computers, and not even know that they are advancing.  So exciting!

***“Mommy, did you forget that it was my bedtime?”***

Oh!  And this week he actually said to me:  “Mommy, did you forget that it was my bedtime?”  (He didn’t want to stay up past his bed-time, because that’s not what good boys do)

8:  The Parents Workshop DVD – This is a DVD of a live workshop run by the doctor who created the program.  I’m hoping for some grand enlightenment to keep the system working, because my greatest fear now is things slipping back to the way they were.

The Struggle Continues – Putting the plans into action – Our Journey with the Total Transformation #10

Last week I tried something new to get my youngest and middle child to sleep.  My 9 year old went to bed right away.  My youngest, literally seconds after agreeing to the new incentive, started screaming about it.  I did what I needed to do.  I gave the “good” mark to the older child, and wrote “No” next to my younger child’s name.  The next morning, I received a call at work from my husband… My youngest had checked the chart and saw “no” next to his name.  I explained that this was the “First Time Club” and in order to win, you needed to go to bed the first time asked, no exception.  (This is what he agreed to seconds before flipping out when I let them know it was bedtime)  He was not happy, but the really good thing is he DID NOT FLIP OUT.

Over the weekend, when they would have received the “reward”, there was friction.

“But I was good last night”.

Oh!  It’s so hard when they throw the truth at you.  Deep breath.  “Yes, you were good last night, but you need to go to bed five nights in a row to earn the reward of slumber parties on the weekend.”

Again, the negotiator in me wanted to give in, because he was good… but I stuck to my guns… and neither of us was happy.  Hopefully though, what I just taught him is that I will NOT negotiate and give in if he’s only good one day.  He needs to be good all the time… Let’s see how it goes.

Follow-up;  We received a note from school last night that Littlest Dude has the “opportunity” for remedial reading instruction after school a few days a week.  I’m okay with it.  I’m just sad because I thought he was getting better.  How can a kid that gets 100% on his spelling tests need remedial reading?  I guess I need to find time at night to read to him more. ERGH.  So hard to find enough time to do everything you need to do.

Follow-up#2: Littlest Dude has to sit at the detention table for the rest of the week at lunch because they asked him to sit down three times.  Ugh.  How can you coach your kid when you are not there to use the program with him? (And his teacher is not at lunch either) His Dad did the eight step with him when he got home.  I hope Little Dude understands.

Lesson 7:  How to stop it before it starts:  Yes PLEASE!  I need some wisdom here!

This gives a set of steps and actions to help your child to NOT have a problem.  The scary thing is, this is something I can teach him, and then he has to do it on his own.  I am not always going to be there when a friend is mean to him.  I am not always going to be there when he wants to run in the cafeteria.  This part is HIS.

He was excited to sit down and do this, but by the second question he was over it, and started to act out a bit.  I decided to make it more fun by acting out his most recent “problem” the way it happened first, and then we worked on how he could have managed it better.  We ended up giggling about it, and practicing the “right way” again.  Hopefully, it will work.

It’s up to you now, Littlest Dude.

Dealing with a child with behavioral issues: Our Journey with the Total Transformation #6

Deep breath.  It’s going to be a bumpy week.  This week is an overview of concepts of behavior management.

My Son’s most common saying:  “It’s too hard”

OMIGOSH.  I just found out something that I think I already knew.  My kid is super-smart.  It makes sense.  His brothers are super smart.  So what’s the problem?  His brain works faster than he can “compute”  Ugh…. I wish I could explain it, but it took me an hour to understand myself.

So… something gets him angry.  His brain gets that anger trigger so quickly that it can’t hop the hurdle to “I should calm down before I do something dumb and get in trouble”  Instead, he just lashes out.  He doesn’t have the “problem solving skills” to get past the anger.  No, that still doesn’t explain it…

Let’s try another way.  He sits down to do his homework.  He argues with us for 30 minutes because he doesn’t want to do it.  When we actually do it, it only takes ten minutes.  He doesn’t understand what a normal person understands… that you do the homework – just get through it– and then you can do the fun stuff.  His mind just hits a road block.  He doesn’t have the problem solving skills to get from point A to point B.

This is also the reason he’s had trouble learning to read.  Learning to read is a problem.  You get past the problem with practice.  He couldn’t process the idea of “practice.”  He couldn’t get past the point of “I can’t read”

So what do you do about it?  We need to stop coddling him.  “I’m sorry that you don’t like homework, but that is what we need to do now.”  Period.  End of conversation.  No arguments.

This is a biggie that my husband and I need to deal with.  Don’t invite an argument.  It’s hard.  Really hard.  As a parent, I want to explain myself.  I can’t with him.

It feels mean when I do this, and it has to be done properly (they explain how in the program and workbook)

I feel a little like a loaded weapon.  The program says to expect resistance, and after the first night I dang well got resisted.  They said to stick with it.  Change will happen fast.  I can only hope.  There was a whole lot of screaming when they went to bed tonight (At the correct time, without negotiating.)

I feel like a totalitarian dictator, really I do.  But this is the hard part I expected — the time when the parents take back the household.  It’s kind of like war, isn’t it?

This is not easy.  But each step to “understanding” I believe is helping me to cope with how to solve issues as they arise.

swish swivel squiggle

Our Journey with the Total Transformation:

Week One post #1

Week Two Post #2 and Post #3

Week Three Post #4

Week Four Post #5

Week Five (This week) Post #6

Dealing with a child with behavioral issues: Our Journey with the Total Transformation #2

Last week I opened up with some really personal information, and I was encouraged by the outpouring of well-wishes, and emboldened by the number of you who contacted me both publicly and privately about your own personal battles.

Click here to see last week’s post. This is where we are.

My son’s most common phrase:  “I hate you.”

It doesn’t even hurt anymore.  I’ve managed to turn off my emotions.  I wish the rest of the family could.  It’s so hard, and my handling things without emotion just leads to fights between me and my husband, which escalate and draw in the rest of the family in one way or another.  Like I said last week, this is as close to Hell as I ever want to come.

We need to *****

Sorry, I had to mediate the screaming session going on upstairs. (again) and I completely lost my thoughts.

Anyway… We’ve now listened to lesson one “Why is my kid like this?”

Our frustration level with the program is pretty high right now.  We want help, but the first disk is really informational.  I’m trying to be as positive as I can.  I’m trying to keep my husband from throwing it against the wall.

Thinking it over, and remembering a comment from someone last week, the first disk seems a lot like a first professional session with parents.  It is all about assuring the parents that this is not our fault, which was a big concern.  Did we slip on the last one? Was he exposed to too much from his older siblings? Are we too easy on him? Too hard on him?  Why is our parenting working on the older kids and not him?

This is my situation.  I have a 9 year old and a 12 year old who are both off the charts smart.  They come home, throttle through their homework, and anything less than an “A” on a report card is a surprise (That we discuss in a manner of “how can we help with this” rather than being judgmental… we want school to be fun.)

Then we have our youngest, who acts out in school, has seen a counselor for anger, and his recent report card rated him at mid-kindergarten level across the board, and he is in the middle of first grade. I quietly contacted the teacher and asked if he was going to be left back.  This is when our lines of communication opened with her and his reading teacher.  I told them what we were doing, and they were excited and asked how they could help. Hey, I’ll take all the help I can get.

I’m going to cut this post here and continue it on Wednesday, because on finishing it I realized it was way too long.  I’ll start up right where I left off on Wednesday.

By request: Who’s verses Whose

It never occurred to me to do an article on Who’s verses whose, because I don’t think I’ve ever had a problem with it.  I can see how this could be confusing, however.

I will try to make this as simple as possible.

Who’s” is kind of like “it’s”.   It is a contraction of two words.

Who is going to the store?

Who’s going to the store?

Whose is the possessive form of “Who”.

Who does this book belong to?

Whose book is this?

I believe the problem that may cause confusion is that sneaky little apostrophe.  In most cases apostrophe with an “S” denotes a possessive.  That is not true for “who”, or for “it”.

It’s just another one of those wonderful little rules that make the English language so much fun!

Hope this helps!

By Request: Passed verses Past

Yay!  A fun grammar test!

I found a great test on Grammar Monster where it gives you a paragraph (there are three different paragraphs, so you can do this three times if you like)  and you need to choose the correct form of “passed or past” 4-5 times in each paragraph.  Check it out.

http://www.grammar-monster.com/easily_confused/past_passed.htm

I am happy to say that even though I thought I was confused, I found that taking this test three times, I didn’t make a single mistake following three simple rules.

Well, of course I am going to tell you…

1.        Passed—Almost always means to “go by” something.  “I passed the bookstore on my way to school.” It can also mean “I passed an exam” (I got by with a passing grade)

2.       Past—Almost always refers to time.  “Don’t hate me for past mistakes.”

3.       Here’s the tricky one…  pay attention.  If you have already used a verb that signifies motion, then the second action will be “Past” even if it does not refer to time.  “I ran past the bookstore on my way to school.”

Take a look at those side by side to make sure you understand:

“I passed the bookstore on my way to school.”

“I ran past the bookstore on my way to school.”

Ahhhhh.  It’s those little subtleties in life that just drive you crazy, don’t they?

I hope this helps!

By Request: Lay Versus Lie

I have to admit:  this one gets me too.

I think the problem is that everyone out there who tries to explain it goes so stinking in-depth that they just make it more confusing than it needs to be.

I found articles that flung around transitive and intransitive… tenses… participles… Ugh!  Can anyone explain the English Language in ENGLISH, PLEEEEEEAAASE?  I mean, really… I am an English major.  I love words, but you need to be able to write so people can understand what you are saying!    (Sorry, that is a rant for another day.)

Anyway… in translating all these over-worded college professors… this is what I came up with:

A few common parenting faux pas have just reiterated the lay verses lie problem from the time we are children.  I have to admit I do this stuff too, but I am going to try to watch myself from now, on.

(By the way… There is no plural form of “faux pas.”  I thought it looked weird too.  I looked it up to check.)

Common child’s prayer:  “Now I lay me down to sleep”

Since this is in the present tense, it should actually be “Now I lie me down to sleep.”

What do you say to your dog?  “Go lay down.”

Nope.  Start telling them to “Go lie down.”

(I am saying dog there because I realized that I tell my kids to Lie down, but I tell my dog to Lay down.  My kids are hearing it both ways.  Yeah, I’m not screwing them up too much.

I found this spreadsheet on Grammer-Worksheets.com. I think it does a pretty good job of laying it all out (no pun intended.)

Base Form

Past Tense

Past Participle

Present Participle

lie (to stretch   out, recline) lay lain lying
lay (to place, to   put) laid laid laying

Now, do you notice what I notice?  Look at the past tense of “Lie”

Let’s not make it too confusing now!

I wrote a post yesterday saying “As I lay on the table”.  I was reading up on all this and I thought, “Crud, I didn’t lay on the table, I guess I lied on the table.—No, maybe it’s lie.”  I was all ready to go back and change it while I was researching this, until I found this chart.  You can lie down on a table, but two days ago, you lay on the table.  I was actually right the first time.

What I suggest you do if you struggle with this, is copy this chart and print it out.  Tape it to your wall.  When you run into the Lay/Lie conundrum, think:  “Am I reclining or stretching, or am I placing an object somewhere.”

If you place the salt on the table, you lay it on the table. If you are going to bed, you lie down.

Easy enough, right?  Until you switch it to past tense and screw yourself all up anyway.

Ah, the joys of the English Language!