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Monday, December 9, 2013

Introduction to John Gatto

As a professional in the field of education, I was surprised that I am only just now learning about John Gatto.

John Gatto challenges our public school system in the best of ways.  He has a unique voice and some pretty 'radical' ideas. I believe his ideas are important for educated and active parents to meditate on, whether they agree entirely with those ideas or not.  

John Gatto came to public attention when The Wall Street Journal published his short resignation letter entitled, "I Quit, I Think."  After having taught for 30 years and received 'Teacher of the Year' for a third time, John Gatto was resigning from his position with disgust for his profession. 

Here is an excerpt from his letter.  Full version found HERE

David learns to read at age four; Rachel, at age nine: In normal development, when both are 13, you can’t tell which one learned first—the five-year spread means nothing at all. But in school I label Rachel "learning disabled" and slow David down a bit, too. For a paycheck, I adjust David to depend on me to tell him when to go and stop. He won’t outgrow that dependency. I identify Rachel as discount merchandise, "special education" fodder. She’ll be locked in her place forever.
In 30 years of teaching kids rich and poor I almost never met a learning disabled child; hardly ever met a gifted and talented one either. Like all school categories, these are sacred myths, created by human imagination. They derive from questionable values we never examine because they preserve the temple of schooling.

That’s the secret behind short-answer tests, bells, uniform time blocks, age grading, standardization, and all the rest of the school religion punishing our nation. There isn’t a right way to become educated; there are as many ways as fingerprints. We don’t need state-certified teachers to make education happen—that probably guarantees it won’t.

How much more evidence is necessary? Good schools don’t need more money or a longer year; they need real free-market choices, variety that speaks to every need and runs risks. We don’t need a national curriculum or national testing either. Both initiatives arise from ignorance of how people learn or deliberate indifference to it. I can’t teach this way any longer. If you hear of a job where I don’t have to hurt kids to make a living, let me know. Come fall I’ll be looking for work.

Oscar and I have started reading The Underground History of American Education online, for free.  It is verbose and a bit repetitive.  I'm not a fan of the writing style, but I am very much so of the ideas.  I am interested in learning more about the strategies he used as a teacher.

He is most famous for his book Dumbing us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling. 

The book that I am looking into reading is entitled, A Different Kind of Teacher: Solving the Crisis of American Schooling.  At least by title, it seems the most interesting to me.
Friday, December 6, 2013

Marshmallow Math: Early Math for Young Children
Marshmallow Math by Trevor Schindeler is right up my alley.  Straightforward techniques to teach math in a big picture, real world manner.

The book provides 50 suggestions for teaching mathematical concepts to young children, toddler age and up.
NOTE - I see no reason not to start verbalizing these practices with Julianne right now.  If I can read to her and to talk to her, I can count with her and present math concepts just as well.
 These suggestions are easy to implement in a fun and every day manner.  The book is divided into 4 sections.

1.  counting, addition and subtraction
2.  sorting, telling time, spatial awareness, patterns, geometry, reading and writing numbers
3.  more addition and subtraction skills
4.  multiplication and division

We will probably be on counting for awhile. Unlike Doman style math, these strategies require little prep and are very easy to implement.  

I have just started the book and I already want to ship out copies to several of my students.  This is a no brainer for me.  By just changing our language a bit and presenting some opportunities, we can build up our children to have a solid foundation in math.

Math should be and can be fun. I feel very inspired.  Obviously, I am recommending this book.

If this book isn't at your local library, you can get it on your kindle (or completely free kindle for PC program) for only three dollars.

If you want a physical copy of the book, Amazon has it new for $15.75.

I read the sample text on kindle for PC, but think I will purchase the hard copy to easily copy pages for my clients. 
Thursday, December 5, 2013

Signing Time

My Intro to Baby Signs
I think the first video I watched on Baby Sign language was in 2007.  I had just received my four year degree in Psychology and started my first adult job as a Developmental Interventionist.  I sat in a big conference room with only three other women.  We pulled up chairs around an old fashioned TV on a rolling cart and watched an antiquated video (it may even have been on a VCR) about infant sign language.

Why Sign
I learned that it increases vocal language development, rather than hinders it and that it decreases frustration and therefore maladaptive behaviors.  We learned a few signs through the video, but during my work in early childhood education, I have only used 'more' and 'all done' and 'eat' consistently.  That is simply because they are the most functional.  Baby sign language is all about function. 

My Disappointing Experience
So, along comes my baby girl.  I am excited to be proactive, teach signs early and give her a way to communicate during that stage when they are opinionated, yet unable to communicate vocally.  My good friend's baby signed SUPER early, so I had a good example to follow.

Can we cue the womp womp sound?  Because..... my daughter is already frustrated.

Right out of the womb - frustrated.  When she wants something, her eyes instantly fill with tears, her back arches and she is not in any way paying attention to my hands.  I also never seem to be facing her when I give her milk.  And it is not always easy for me to tell when she is all done.  As I write this, I am thinking of ways to work around these challenges (like signing once I know what she wants and she is partially satiated, also turning her around to face me while I sign it).  Moving on...

My Dream
I forgot to tell you one thing.  While baby sign language is all about function, I had a tiny hope that she would go on to become fluent in ASL.  As a toddler or small child we could make play dates with others in the deaf community - start her training young on appreciating all types of people.  We could look for ways to help her use her skill and give back to the community.  It was a nice hope.  Well, this hope is not over.

Signing Time
I spent my morning watching the first 7 minutes of Signing Time over and over and over again.  Actually it was really just minute 6-7 that was on repeat.  I've decided to introduce ASL to Julianne through songs.  Julianne thoroughly enjoys songs and is very intent on my hands while I make the appropriate movements.  What in the world am I doing teaching her pointless things such as 'The Itsy Bitsy Spider' instead of actual information she can use?  How great would it be to have 5, 8, 12 plus songs to rotate in circulation that actually teach useful information.

I am beyond excited.  This is our first circle time with our first ASL song from Signing Time.


Where to watch Signing Time
Currently, the adult Signing Time videos are available on Netflix. If you don't currently have Netflix, you can check out Signing Time for free through a free trial. 

We have been flirting with the idea of ending our Netflix subscription.  We haven't been watching it as much.  If they got more educational material, we would probably keep it.  As for now, we will probably cancel.   When I think of the ongoing price of Netflix, it is just cheaper to buy it from Amazon at $23.99.

Amazon also rents it on a weekly basis for $1.99.  This is not an option I would take advantage of.  If you want to try it, go with Netflix or your local libary.  If you want to buy it, Amazon, ebay or the manufacturers website.

Enjoy your signing. 
Although I'm not letting my little one watch this quite yet, it is entertaining for me and I imagine would be for a child as well.  For the songs itself, it is worth the investment.  I now know 'my name is,' 'old,' 'new,' 'friend,' 'today,' 'fun' and 'what's your name.' 

Smell the Onions

~ Teaching Tip: Smell the Onions ~
Explain EVERYTHING. When you're in the car, at the grocery store, respond to their questions with questions and explain when you fill your tank with gasoline WHY it needs gasoline to run.....and what does a human body use for goes on and on.  When you cut an onion at dinner, let them smell, touch, and taste it? Where do onions grow? On trees, bushes, in the ground? Look it up online later with pictures and videos. Point out words everywhere you go and encourage curiosity, if you don't know, find out together. This is the part of EL that permeates into every facet of your life and can be incorporated into existing activities, taking little to no extra time.

By BrillBaby Username: TeachingmyToddlers, posted 6/24/13

Answering questions with questions is called self discovery in the world of tutoring.
In my tutoring practice, we utilize self discovery.  This empowers the student, increases intrinsic motivation and builds confidence.  Many times the student can answer his/her own question by applying background knowledge correctly.  It's all about asking the right questions.  Children feel respected and capable when we challenge them to answer their own questions.  If they can't seem to find that answer, they can brainstorm a way to find the answer (look on google, the library, find an expert, etc.)

My students amaze me everyday with their ingenuity.  I'm looking forward to my daughter doing the same.

How Do You "Smell the Onions" with a Baby?
#1 provide opportunities to engage multiple senses
#2 narrate these experiences
"I'm going to write a letter to my sister with this pen." 
:::parent holds pen in front of baby's face::: (visual)
"Pen" (can show flash card with word pen if teaching reading)
"The pen is smooth.  Feel it."
::parent takes baby finger and guides it across the surface of the pen::::
"smooth" (tactile)
"The pen doesn't really smell like anything.  Smell it" 
::parent smells it with exaggerated sniffing, holds out by babies nose::
"Do we taste the pen?  Nooo.  But, I'm going to write with the pen, see what happens.  First the page is blank, then it has words on it.  Watch."
::depending on the age, the baby can try using the pen::
Now that is just a mundane activity, but if your baby is happy alert he/she will learn so much in that interaction and you will have a lot of fun experiencing it with him/her. 
Your baby will learn what a pen is regardless, but what good practice for you to slow down and appreciate the wonder of the world with your little one. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Breastfeeding Expectations (bit of a vent)

I like this image.  It would be even better if they clarified that "at first" may mean 3 months.

I think most women want to breastfeed these days.  Every baby book says it is best and most doctors (unless you have a preemie).  It is rare that I meet a mom-to-be who wants to formula feed prior to birth. 

So why does anyone do this?

My two cents....

1) It's difficult and uncomfortable.
2) We are not adequately prepared for the difficulty.

Firstly, breastfeeding is difficult and uncomfortable in the beginning, even if the baby is able to latch perfectly.

- Many women leak all the time, yet find pads itchy and uncomfortable.  This means either they are in constant discomfort or are wet, sticky and sweet smelling from milk for extended periods of time.  I still am in this phase and honestly don't know which is worst - being wet or the itchiness.  

- Many women also get engorged in the beginning.  It is painful and leads to plugged ducts and mastitis.  I got mastitis - it's not uncommon.  Dr.'s prescribe the medication over the phone without even seeing you, as it is that common.

- Newborns nurse around the clock and you bear the full burden.  This means very little sleep over extended periods of time.  It can lead to you being not as good a mommy during the day - using a bottle means someone shares the burden.  Using formula often means babies sleep for longer periods of time.

Let down can be painful.  It is painful for me, but some women says it brings them to tears.   

- Breastfeeding can be painful even if the latch "looks" perfect to professionals. 

Now, those are difficulties (and there are more) that are a problem for women when latching and supply goes perfectly.  It seems from speaking to women that it is rare for there not to be some difficulty.

There are too many difficulties to list, really.  Tongue tie and lip tie was our primary difficulty, but Julianne also has a shallow latch and difficulty opening her mouth widely enough.  A shallow latch can result in sucking for hours without getting milk, lipstick shaped nipples, bloody nipples, part of the nipple or areola coming off due to damage, blisters, etc.  

Mothers sometimes have a fast let down, an oversupply or not enough supply. Babies have high palettes, mothers inverted or flat nipples. Breastfeeding is not always intuitive and in order to get these issues worked out it often costs money up front. Yes, there are free sources, but they aren't always up to speed with what you need.

It was $150 for the lactation consultant to come out.  $400 for the frenectomy, not covered by insurance.  It was recommended that Julianne receive cranio-sacral therapy which would be $50-100 for session.  Then, you know, I really need to see the Lactation consultant again - another $150 and on and on and on. 

Furthermore, if you have a preemie who is started on the bottle, you may have to deal with "nipple confusion"/bottle preference. 

More damaging than the physiological discomforts of breastfeeding, however, is the psychological damage.  I believe this is because most of us are not prepared for difficulty.

Not Adequately Prepared
Before Julianne, I had read about breastfeeding and heard about the difficulty in the beginning from other women.  I didn't realize, however, what a marathon it would be.  The "beginning" wasn't really etched out correctly for me.  I would think the first couple weeks.  From what I read online, however, it is not rare for it to take 6 weeks before it starts to get better.  And you know, sometimes it takes 12 weeks.  That is THREE months. Most of us can not even keep a New Year's Resolution for 3 months.  And you know what... sometimes it takes longer!

And while I had been prepared for nursing around the clock, I did not know about some of the other issues listed above.  It would have been nice to have been told about them and then also to have been told that these discomforts are TEMPORARY.  You will not always have to put up with the leaking, engorgement or all night feeding sessions.  Even the painful letdown gets better.  For most women, nursing gets less painful as well.  Your body will adjust. 

It would also have been  nice to know how common issues are and how long they take to resolve.  Labor is a sprint compared to breastfeeding.  If you prepare for a marathon, you will be equipped regardless of how long the race is.  If you prepare for a walk in the park and face a marathon, you are much much much more likely to give up.

Now, let's talk about the psychological/emotional side to this.

Breastfeeding advocates and baby books speak of breastfeeding as almost a magical experience.  They speak of the beauty of breastfeeding and the bond that comes from it.  They speak of a mother's ability to provide for their child and they make it seem intuitive which it often is not.

How does it make the mother feel when there are difficulties?  It makes her feel like a failure.  It makes her feel inadequate.  It is painful and sad that the mother is supposed to be able to provide for their baby and meet their child's needs and yet they are unable to.

How does a mother feel when don't like breastfeeding? They feel like a bad mother.

Bad Parents
The magical experience is true, as is the bond.  Yet, it takes place later for most women.  I feel that there is a sentiment that those who use formula or give up on breastfeeding are lazy, selfish or not good mothers. 

It is much more accepted for women to receive an epidural, intervention or c-section to safely deliver.  "As long as the baby and mother are healthy" is the mantra you hear. 

But what about for breastfeeding?  If breastfeeding is not working the way it's supposed to, then the baby loses weight, doesn't thrive and could die.  My baby would have died without a wet nurse, if I was to rely on breastfeeding alone.  Bottle feeding allows the baby to be healthy, happy and thrive.

If the mother is unhappy and does not know that her situation is normal and will most likely improve, why should she not make a choice to make herself happier.  Doesn't happy mommy = happy baby?

We won't scare them away
Mom's want to do what is best for their babies.  Telling them a realistic and possible path for establishing breastfeeding will not scare them away.  It will help them adjust expectations and prepare accordingly.

What will scare them away is unrealistic expectations.  Thinking they have failed at 2 weeks, not knowing their path may take 10 more.  Thinking they have tried everything they could, when they are only 4 weeks in.  Thinking they can't stand 5 more months of torture when they are only a week in.

We need to know what we are facing, as well as why it is worth sticking it out.

Also - you bond with your baby when you bottle feed.  You bond with your baby when you burp them.  You bond with your baby any time you hold them and give them what they need.  It is a special moment to be one of two people on earth destined to lovingly keep this little baby alive and to have the means to do so.

What is not bonding?  Holding your baby at your breast and watching them scream with frustration for hours on end and literally starve.  That is not a magical experience.  It is also not an uncommon experience during those early months.  That is not bonding.  It feels like a betrayal to your child (especially when you can give them a bottle) and is traumatic to mom and baby.  It creates a rift between baby and mom.  This should be addressed.  Will that rift go away??

Also not magical or bonding is a mother dreading the pain of nursing and bleeding into her baby's mouth (also common).

Many educators wish to increase rates of breastfeeding by trumping up the experience.  I feel they would be better served by being honest.

**Some women will experience an easy breastfeeding relationship for the start.  HOWEVER...

-  It can take up to 12 weeks to establish a good breastfeeding relationship.
-  There are many initial discomforts and difficulties, which will improve.
-  Despite these discomforts and difficulties, there is a good chance you still can succeed if you hang in there.

It is worth it for your baby.  

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Breast is Best

UGH.  Pumping was going so well, Julianne was finally ready to try out her new tongue and then, of course, I make an amateur move.  Oscar and I were taking turns at night and I got lazy about pumping every 3 hours.  Instead of taking turns throughout the night, I would take one night, he would take the next.

Well, I ended up with mastitis.  It happened so quickly.  One moment I was feeling great, the next I had a very high fever and a plugged duct.  Last night was no fun, with my fever getting up to almost 103 degrees. I started on antibiotics today and hope to get better quickly.

So tired of this fever though and everything that comes with it: the aches, chills, shooting pain in the back of my head.  sigh.  I've been taking ibuprofen to temporarily lower the temperature so I can sleep.  Hopefully this antibiotics kicks in soon. 
Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Our Breastfeeding Journey...... Far From Over

DAY 1 - Baby Julianne was placed skin to skin.  She had a strong rooting reflex and immediately
tried to find that little nipple.  She was excellent at finding it, but was only able to latch on for several sucks before letting go and crying.  The first day we were at the hospital and Julianne's output was very good.  We were told babies only need 10 drops of colostrum in the beginning and that they judge how much they are getting by output.  They said she would get a hang of breastfeeding soon.

DAY 2 - We tried breastfeeding every 2-3 hours.  There was lots of crying and frustration on little Julianne's part.  I am so used to crying (blame my Autism training), I didn't realize this was anything abnormal.  I had heard from many people that breastfeeding was difficult in the beginning for them.  I'd also heard both that babies cry for reasons only and that sometimes they will cry and you won't know the reasons. 

DAY 3 - I had arranged for a lactation consultant to come around noon.  We hadn't made progress with breastfeeding and I didn't know enough to fix it.  It appeared that I may have a flat or inverted nipple and I needed some support.  Nadja, the lactation consultant/ ILBLC showed up about 10 minutes late.  She was soft spoken and it was a bit awkward in the beginning.  Well, it turned out that I had messed up the whole parenting thing already.  While Oscar and I were having so much fun adoring little Julianne and just assuming her crying was part of, well, newborns crying, we were actually starving her.  Little Julianne, who was only 6lb 3oz at the hospital was now 5lb 7oz.  She was down 14oz and had lost 14% of her body weight.  The lactation consultant worked with us for over 3 hours.  She highly suspected that Julianne had a tongue tie and this was responsible for her inability to latch - it actually had nothing to do with my nipples (or very little).  She would most likely be unable to breastfeed until we got it fixed.  She said it was absolutely necessary that we get a hospital grade breast pump and start pumping that night.  Oscar didn't get off work until 8pm, so she told me to hand express until then and to feed her every hour before our Dr.'s appointment the next day.  She said if Julianne lost any more weight or even if she went in as was there is a chance they would label her as "failure to thrive," pressure us to use formula or even re-hospitalize her.

So, I took some deep breaths and shed several tears - not many.  I was ok until she said they may need to re-hospitalize her.  It was scary.  The next maybe 20 hours, I fed Julianne every hour on the hour.  When hand expressing, it took me so long to get the milk that there was barely a break for me in between feedings.  I was trying to feed her by spoon because I forgot that we had bottles and it was just a breast milk bath, the poor little girl.  We were so relieved when Oscar showed up with In N Out and a breast pump.

DAY 4 - We were rewarded at our Dr.'s appt.  All our hard work had paid off.  Julianne was back up to birth weight (or almost).  I think we just needed to make sure she hadn't lost more than 10%, but she was at 6lb 2oz - PERFECT!  We had a great visit!

DAYS 5-7 - We made an appointment to get Julianne's potential tongue tie assessed and maybe lasered (called a frenectomy).  In the meantime, we pretty much exclusively bottle fed breastmilk.  I let her suckle a bit at my breast, but only when she was very full and wouldn't get frustrated.  We discovered that our baby, in fact, only cries when she needs food or a diaper change.  In fact, as she realized that we would take care of her without her having to get frustrated it took longer and longer for her to cry, wherein the past few days she has barely cried at all.

DAY 8 (today) - Today was the appt.  Luckily, one of the top guys in the country for frenectomies was located only 50 minutes away.  From what I found online people have driven from Arizona, New Mexico, etc. to go to him.  For us, we were able to go between Oscar's appointments.  I tried to stay calm, risks of the procedure were low and we didn't even know if she needed it (though at this point in my research, I felt even I could recognize it).  Oddly, when I asked the pediatrician the day after she was born, he said she didn't have it.  How sad that just with some research any house wife can know more about frenums, tongue tie and frenectomies than her pediatrician.  Anyways, sure enough she had a moderate lower tie and a moderate to severe upper one (which I had noticed in my research as well).  The laser process was traumatic for us.  They had me lie in the dentist chair with her head rested against my shoulder.  She had no idea what was coming and snuggled there looking wide eyed at the doctor and nurses.  She made cute faces and opened her mouth to see if anyone would feed her.  It was so sad when they held her face and I held her hands.  She started crying and of course I couldn't rescue her.  She cried through the whole thing.  Oscar watched the procedure as well, it only took about 2 minutes and they used numbing and a topical anesthetic.  It's not supposed to hurt and many times they can breastfeed right after.  It took her several minutes to calm down and she cried as hard as she probably had since she was born.  The whole thing was very traumatic for me.  She left the office calm though and slept all the way home in the car.  We both noticed an obvious difference already.  She can open her mouth wider, her tongue moves around when she cries, rather than just staying at the bottom of her mouth, she can stick her tongue out of her mouth, she even makes different facial expressions - amazing! 

I tried breastfeeding when we got home and I do feel like there was a difference.  Her tolerance level is very low, however, and I want to keep it positive so stopped early when I saw her crying at the sight of the breast again.  I feel like she may be a little sore (even though they said she wouldn't be).  I've been trying to wake her up every hour throughout the day so that she sleeps at night and typically she wakes up slowly, but happily, cooing with bright eyes.  After the appt. she was very upset when woken up and cried for several minutes.  We decided to let her sleep after that.  She has no problem sleeping if she does have discomfort.  It's Oscar's turn to stay up tonight, so I hope it isn't too bad for him.  She actually has already seemed more like herself the last hour.

DAY 9 - 99 - I don't know what happens next.  We are going to slowly try to get her on the breast again.  The doctor said we should come back if there is not improvement in 2 weeks.  He said every day it should get better and better and it's 1 in 1000 that have to come back.  The lactation consultant recommended body work, but the dentist did not think she needed it because she is so young.  My research is confusing in terms of body work, so we will probably skip it unless we have some problems.  Oscar doesn't like the idea of it.

Overall, this is a minor thing.  I am so glad that we can afford the procedure, as insurance doesn't cover it.  I'm so glad we have this amazing dentist near us AND I'm so glad we caught it early on.  Now the hope is that she will be able to breastfeed one day.  Until then, it is really nice to have Oscar be able to help out with the feeding.  :)
Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Good Steward

I'm slowly going through major goals for Baby Sanchez and planning out how we intend to teach them.  

We've talked about our plan for baby being a polyglot and an avid reader.  Actually, maybe I haven't written enough about that second plan on here.  Maybe, I'll post more later.  This post, however, is about financial stewardship. 

 It is one in which my plan is not set.  I have so many ideas in my head and am not sure how to apply them.  Now, I am completely aware that this is not something I will be able to implement right away.  But, then again - I like having plans.  

CORE IDEA:  God owns everything. This is not our money.  This is God's money and it is our job to give and manage it wisely.  As part of our family, this is your job too.

** We earn money through hard work and honest innovation, then spend it the following ways.

1) HOME - Manage our own household first.
2) SHORT TERM SAVINGS - Manage your own future - because if there is no vision, people perish.
3) LONG TERM SAVINGS - Manage it for your family's future - because a good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children.
4) GIVING/CHURCH - Manage it for Evangalism and acts of mercy across the earth.

A) I want my child to have the opportunity to earn money through hard work and innovation.  
B) I want my child to practice managing it according to God's plan.

Well, I want to start it immediately.  I want it to be part of the way they live their lives from the very beginning.  This brings me to some questions.... 

What do I provide for my child and what are they responsible for providing for themselves?  I am going to refer to Maslow's hierarchy of needs for this.  Major areas of provision include:

1) Physiological Needs - health expenses, food and water, sleep
2) Safety Needs - security of body, employment, resources, morality, the family, health and property
3) Intimacy Needs- friendship, family, belonging
4) Esteem - self esteem, confidence, achievement, respect of others, respect by others
5) Self Actualization - morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice and acceptance of facts.

Looking at this list, we always want our children to have a safety net while living in our home, we simply want them to have enough skills to be able to create their own safety net when outside of the home.  This means taking on responsibility when still in the home.  

We are responsible for fulfilling all these needs for our children (or fostering them in the case of 2-5). this can be through outright provision or offering opportunities for them to make money to pay for it themselves.  

**I'm noticing that a lot of material things such as the latest toys, clothing styles or games are not on this list.  

The other thing to consider is savings.  How much money do you offer our child per week so that they can save for college or whatever aspiration they may have when they hit adulthood?  For categories 2-3 of stewardship (short term and long term savings).    

- Oscar and I would be happy to match their long term savings amount. 
- Grandparents may also be willing to match a percentage of their long term savings amount.  
** I hadn't thought of including grandparents in this before, but this could be HUGE and really help us out.  $1 a week from a grandparents is $52 a year!!  It would also help them get on board for the savings program, so they don't completely ignore it when the grandkids come to visit.

I think this answer is entirely dependent on the answer to the next one.  

Such a difficult question to answer.  If they want to go to college, current estimates for California are anywhere between $13,000 - $50,000 a year, depending on where you go.  This estimate includes housing and books, as well as tuition.  This could be anywhere from $52,000 - $200,000 total.  

But, do we need them to save up enough for all four years of college.  I worked Summers during high school and always had 2-3 jobs during college.  Oscar worked during high school summers and worked in an ongoing manner through college as well.  Furthermore, we both earned 6-7 scholarships.  AND I only went to school for two years for my undergrad.  It's kind of difficult to estimate, but since we wouldn't mind them working we can cut it to $100,000.  That will be $100 per week.  We currently quite a bit more than that, but overhead is low and it is honestly a recent addition to our life.  We meant many years not being able to save that much.  With God's will, I'm sure there will be opportunity.  I think we can try to do this, but this does change plans a bit.  We can't give a two year old $100 a week in commission pay.  It just doesn't work.  This is the flaw in my plan.  It's kind of a big flaw.  I want them to save their own money and earn their own money, but I also want them to hit our goals for them in savings.  

Hmmm.   I think I need to come back to this one. 

Baby's Job: have fun, play, feel safe, learn to self regulate and explore
Baby's Purchases: none
Parent's Purchases: All.
Savings: $100/week in savings from parents

Baby's Job: have fun, play, "help" with chores, begin learning manners
Baby's Purchases: none
Parent's Responsibilities:  Encouraging self help skills in feeding, toileting and cleanliness.  Allowing baby to "help" clean even if it makes more of a mess.  Most of these will probably come into play the latter part of the year.
Parent's Purchases:  All.
Savings: $100/week in savings from parents

YEARS 2 - Commission Charts Begin!
Child's Job: cleaning up one toy before starting another, clearing table,  cleaning up room before leaving it, wiping down table or counter (with help), helping to make dinner (child friendly meals only), sweeping the floor (even if you have to do it again after).   Acts of kindness, creativity, patience can all be rewarded as well.  Job's are rewarded contingent upon good attitude while doing it.
Child's Purchases: Wish list toys or dollar store toys. 
Parent's Responsibilities: fostering esteem - a feeling of self confidence/pride in work achieved. Beginning to teach children to meet their own physiological needs.
Parent's Purchases: Basic clothing, housing, food and play needs. 
Method: Sticker chart.  Stickers are added as responsibilities are completed. At end of week stickers are counted and checks are added to savings, spending and giving.  **Maybe we can make fake checks and have the baby "sign his/her name."  They won't know the money amount, so lots of cheers can be given and excitement.  We can have three visuals/objects where they can put the checks.  I like a thermometer type visual and we can color it in as they get closer to the year's goal.  Also, money doesn't have to be proportional at this point.  We can put 90% in savings and 1% in spending and they won't know the difference.  They get a special place to keep their spending money (wallet, piggy bank, etc.)  Giving money can be with spending money, but in different compartment.  They can give it when they go to church.
Savings: $100 per week (from parents)
Spending: $0.25-$2.00 per week (contingent upon commission)
Givings: $0.25-$2.00 per week (contingent upon commission)

YEARS 3-4 - Real Chores Begin!
Child's Jobs: Vacuuming, watering plants, emptying trash from room, sorting and folding socks, wiping doorknobs, wiping down sink/toilet, rinse/load plastic dishes into dishwasher (do with care!! remove sharp or breakable objects first), mopping, simple meal prep.  MOST SKILLS FROM YEAR TWO ARE NO LONGER REINFORCED ON A CONSISTENT BASIS - clearing plates and putting toys away after being finished is no longer rewarded, but expected.  Keeping room clean is still rewarded.
Child's Purchases: Wish list toys or dollar store toys, accessories for clothes if desired, specialty items.
Parent Purchases: All Else
Savings: $100 per week (half from parents)
Spending: $0.50-$3-4 per week (upper limit is their age)
Givings: $0.50-$3-4 per week (upper limit is their age)

YEARS 5-10 
* I think we'll have to figure this out when we get there - I do have 5-10 years.  :) I'm thinking at this point, we'll start putting the $100 in our retirement account (or a different savings) and match what they put in savings 100%. 
Savings: 50%
Spending: 40%  (can be divided into wish list and gifts)
Giving: 10%

We'll have to choose something to up responsibility.  I think these would be good years for kids to start using their own money to purchase gifts.

YEARS 10-15
* Maybe added child purchases can be clothes or sports equipment.
Savings: 30%
Spending: 50%  (can be divided into wish list, clothes, sports and gifts)
Giving: 10%
YEARS 16-17
*At this time, it is expected that they would work part time jobs during Summer (maybe even during school).  Child purchases may include cars, auto insurance, gasoline, technology like laptops, recreation with friends, etc.
Savings: 20%
Spending: 60%  (can be divided into categories)
Giving: 10%
*Last six months of school, responsibilities include partial pay for housing, rent, utility bills, phone and health insurance.  We want them to get some practice before going off to college.  Mistakes should be made when under our roof and when they have our support.
Savings: 20%
Spending: 60%  (can be divided into categories)
Giving: 10%
My major problem is still how to get that $100 of savings in there without giving them money or inflating the worth of their jobs.  We'll have to figure it out.  Maybe we can come up with special projects that have to do with innovation, creativity or entrepreneurship which are extra??  We have time. 

Goals for Baby Sanchez: Polyglot, Avid Reader, Good Financial Steward
Saturday, February 23, 2013

Baby's First Food

I recently became aware that rice cereal is a big no-no for babies first food.

Reasons Being:

1) There is arsenic in white rice -- ugh. This seems to be the least quoted reason, but it sounds like a good one to me.

2) It is worthless nutritionally -- empty calories 

Sobering picture: "When you feed your baby a bowl of infant cereal, picture yourself dipping directly into your sugar bowl and feeding baby a spoon or two, because that's essentially what it amounts to."

3) It increases risk of diabetes.

"A diet based on these types of refined carbs is responsible for many bulging stomachs and fat rolls in thighs and chins, and even worse, high insulin levels that lead to diabetes and suppress two other important hormones -- glucagons and growth hormones -- that are responsible for burning fat and sugar and promoting muscle development, respectively."

4) It predisposes babies to like empty calorie foods later on.d

5) Babies can't digest it.  Babies don't make the enzyme amylase which is required to breakdown wheat until 1-2 years old (when molar teeth are developed)

What Should Baby Eat Instead? 
- Egg Yolk  (huh - wouldn't have thought of that!)
- Mashed Avocado
- Sweet Potatoes
- Cooked Peas or Carrots
- Liver (I've never had liver before, hmm)
- Butter (can mash into cooked vegetables or straight)
- Kefir, yogurt and buttermilk

As teeth and GI tract develop 
- Cooked Greens (finally chopped or pureed - kale, spinach, chard, collards)
- Squashes (such as butternut or acorn)
- Mashed Asparagus
- Raw Nut Butters
- Seaweeds that become soft on soaking (wakame or nori)  
- Mashed cooked meats

Resource Links:
Get the White Out of Baby's First Food
Reports Warn of Arsenic in Rice
First Foods
Why White Cereal for Babies Must Go by Dr. Greene
Why Ditch Infant Cereals
Feed Babies Food Not Cardboard
Baby Led Weaning
Sunday, February 10, 2013

Year Of the Snake

Our baby will be born in the year of the snake.  What does it mean?

One of Oscar's clients put it like this....  (in a text message) "It's going to slither its way right into your heart.  You will shed your heart's blood for it and its protection for the rest of your life.  It will rattle your mind how this tiny human will captivate your heart. And the love you feel for its mommy will be like a sweet venom that seers your soul."

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I Don't Want My Child to Be a Monoglot

For years, my primary goal for learning Spanish was because I did not want my child to be a monoglot.  With all the advantages of speaking multiple languages, it would be an absolute shame for our child to know only one - especially with a bilingual individual in our household.

Advantages aside, the Spanish language is part of their heritage.  A part I want him/her to be able to identify with.  Oscar's mom and dad made quite certain that he could write extremely well in Spanish

While I know Oscar wants our child to be bilingual, I don't know if he could pull it off by himself.  I'm not sure.  A resolve may develop (but he sure has difficulty speaking to me in Spanish all the time.)  He needs me on his team!  Well, I want to be MVP.

Currently reading....

 Raising a Bilingual Child by Barbara Zurer Pearson


7 Steps to Raising a Bilingual Child  by Naomi Steiner 
Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Preparing for the SAT - From Birth

I've recently started tutoring a kiddo who needs some help on the SAT.  We are doing grammar work, but in going over the copy of his PSAT, I realized how difficult a lot of the vocabulary is.

Which led to my new goal.

- Use an SAT vocabulary in every day speech and particularly with the children I work with.
1) I want to be one of those people who has a large vocabulary.
2) I want to raise my child to have a large vocabulary.
3) I want to be preparing the kids I work with early on for succeeding in college.

I've realized that I tend to repeat the same phrases over and over and over again.  One thing I say is, "you worked so diligently!"  Most of my kids are in 2nd and 3rd grade. They didn't know that word before, but they do now.

I'm excited, this will be a new business practice. 

- talisman: lucky charm
EX: Tutor: "Is that your talisman?"
       Student: "Ummm, what's a talisman?"
       Tutor: "You know, your lucky charm.  My talisman is my wedding ring."

Then, they can choose a talisman if they want.  Or we could come up with something like, "do you need a talisman?? nope - because you're pure talent."  Or, "I really want you to do well, so I'm rubbing my talisman"

So many creative ways to teach them vocabulary in a natural way.

Words for this week: talisman, abhor, placid