Thursday, September 9, 2010

sticking to things

I'm either nine months late or four months early for New Year's resolutions, but now is as good a day as any and there's no time like the present and yadda yadda. I have a lot of things that I need/want to stick to, that I'm having trouble with. So here they are, in no particular order.

1. Reading my Bible. There is always room for improvement here, but right now, there is a LOT of room for improvement for me. I don't know how I slipped out of the habit. I used to read some every day, before breakfast even. I need to get back into it. I am full of turmoil about certain things and need His peace and instruction and wisdom to fill me up to overflowing.

2. Transcribing. Hubby and I talked to a realtor briefly a few days ago, and found out that the "good" news is that it is possible to buy a house with only 3.5% down (plus closing costs). That amount is a doable goal to save between now and next spring/summer. The bad news is that it will take diligence on my part, since most of that savings will be coming from my transcription while we live on just hubby's income. The problem is that I will sit down to do a 10-minute file (which should only take me 30-40 minutes) and I'll do two minutes then check my email. Then I'll do another two minutes and pop on Facebook. Then I'll do another 90 seconds and go grab a snack. And the work easily turns into an hour or more, but if I just sat and did it start to finish, it would take no time at all and I'd be done and could move on to another file or to housework or whatever.

3. Housework. I need to continue getting organized. I have spaces and stuff and stuff that needs to go and stuff that needs a space. I can sometimes think in my head what needs to be done, but then it can't be done when I think about it because it's too big a task or the kids are in bed and it involves leaving the house or this or that or the other. What I really need to do is just take 20 minutes and walk through the house, looking in all the cabinets and closets, and make a list of everything that needs to be done and set up a timeframe in which to do it. Because really, the things need to be done in a certain order, so I need to get to it and figure out in what order the things need to be done, then I can actually DO them.

4. Teaching the children. This is both for their Bible work and the secular work. Lydia has a daily Bible reading for her class, and a memory verse. I usually remember to do her items about an hour after she's in bed for the night. I need to do it earlier, maybe after I do her reading lesson. I am still going through the 100 Easy Lessons book, but only doing a lesson for 15 minutes at a time, then starting the same lesson the next day. She was starting to take up to 45 minutes just to do part of one lesson (leaving off the second story reading, and the writing) and it was stressing me out. So now I just do 15 minutes. And I am teaching Benjamin, too. I'm trying to be observant of him and what he's looking at and thinking, and help expand on his thoughts. I also finally put into use the Your Baby Can Read set that hubby's mom got us shortly after Benjamin was born.

I had tried using that with Lydia when she was about six months old, but it didn't "work" for her. I was excited about it at the time and it might have had results if I had continued the program, but we ended up moving about a month later and then had the start of our long spell of spotty employment four months after that, and doing a baby-reading program just wasn't very high of a priority.

But anyway, earlier this week, I finally took the items out of the package that hubby's mom had got for us. It ended up being the "Deluxe" kit. So not only did we have the five DVDs, but we also had a book for each DVD, a set of sliding cards for each DVD, a big set of flash cards, and a few other things. This kit also included an extensive "Parent's Guide" booklet and DVD. I read the booklet and watched the DVD. There are a LOT of less-than-stellar reviews of this product and a lot of naysayers ("Why would you want your baby to read early?" etc.), but the booklet and the DVD addressed so many of those common concerns.

I don't force Benjamin to sit and watch the DVD. Sometimes he wants to stand, instead. Ha, ha. That was my lame attempt at a joke, there. But seriously, he seems to like it. I sit and watch it with him and do the actions (lift arms, touch nose, things like that). And he loves the extras in the kit, too. This evening when I was showing him the sliding cards (these cards have a word on them, then they "slide open" to reveal a picture illustrating the word), he would start to squeal in anticipation of the picture being revealed.

The recommended schedule would take seven months from start to finish, but the booklet said that an older baby may be able to start recognizing the words before the "scheduled end" of the DVD viewing time. It told me of things to watch for to see if that is happening, and if it does, then I can move on to the next DVD early. I don't anticipate being able to do this with Benjamin, but I can see how it could happen with an older toddler. Lydia can already read most of the words on the first DVD. I'm sure that the 100 Easy Lessons that we've completed have helped her with that, but we haven't even been watching the DVDs for a full week yet, and she can already read the words on there. I can't advance to the next DVD for her, though, until Benjamin is ready, so I think that these DVDs and the 100 Easy Lessons will be a good complement to each other.

The program creator's own daughter was on the parent's DVD for part of a Q&A session with some people who were using the program. And I think it's sort of like a weight-loss ad, where such and such a person lost 50 pounds in two weeks and then the fine print says "Results not typical." I don't think that Aleka's results are typical, but if my kids can read a portion of how well she could, then I will be happy. And she didn't just read well over her grade level. She read FAST. It came out in the DVD that she read the entire Harry Potter series -- the whole SERIES -- in ONE day. I consider myself a pretty fast reader, but there's no way I could do THAT. And because she read so fast, she had a ton of time to do other things besides read and study.

5. Exercise. For a few months, I have been meeting up with another babywearing mama three times a week to go walking with her. I need to keep it up. I feel a little better on the days that I do it (but tired, since I get up earlier than normal so I can walk and be home by the time hubby goes to work). But if one or both of us need to cancel for whatever reason, I need to make sure to still get some activity in on my own. We have a set of Walk Away The Pounds DVDs that hubby likes to do sometimes, so I may do that on my "off" days.


Celeste Smith said...

Whew! I could have written this exact list! Maybe in a different order and we don't have a baby can read program but I could def be reading to her more...she loves books! I always say I need more time but truly I just need to manage the time I have better!

Margaret said...

I love your motivated kicks!

You've inspired me to buckle down on Caroline's reading and she's doing really well with our Hooked on Phonics program. She's always pointing out words that she knows in books now. It's so fun.