Sunday, March 18, 2007

Last Week Before Spring Break!

I've been meaning to write all week, about different things, but I didn't and the thoughts are gone, forever. (lol)

My Pi Day plans didn't work out after all. The 12yo didn't come that day due to illness (he's been sick all week--a cold again, plus tonsillitis and an ear infection--but Wed. was the only day he didn't come), and dd worked on a project and goofed around on the laptop (I set her up with Windows Live Messenger and the 15yo had her laptop on, too, and they kept sending messages to each other, lol--you'd think it was school or something ;) ).

What have we done exactly? (Thinking, thinking, thinking.) I took ds, dd and my niece to a French Club get-together Wednesday afternoon. Oh, yes. Dd had the stomach flu on Thursday. She'd been complaining for a couple of days of feeling achey and had a reduced appetite. Finally had its way with her, but then was done with, on Thursday. Friday we were supposed to have a St. Patrick's Day party but nobody ended up being able to make it. lol. Or the one person who in the end we were expecting forgot or I don't know yet. Haven't heard. (Which actually kind of worries me...)

It was a good Friday anyhow, perhaps better for us than if we'd had a bunch of people. Very relaxing. Had my nephew that day, too, and he, ds, dd and the 12yo went out for a long walk together--ds in control of the walkie talkie. :) And before the "party", the 15yo even got a bit of work done.

Speaking of the 15yo and work... Ever since I drew up a 'schedule' of things broken down per day/week, she's really been doing quite well. I think having everything laid out like that, seeing clearly if you're getting further behind or catching up, is just the sort of thing she needed. She was also at a point of having to choose: does she go a little slower with the material and finish later, or go through a little quicker than is desirable to catch up to the 'schedule'--she chose catching up. We didn't do that first semester, although she was so exhausted first semester, I'm not sure it would have helped necessarily.

Oh, we've discovered something that does help her: coffee. She had coffee two or three mornings this week and WOW! What a difference in her ability to think!! Whether it's just her natural sleep cycles or whether it's because she usually doesn't get home until 9-9:30 so isn't ready to go to sleep yet, she doesn't usually get to sleep until sometime between 11pm and midnight. Then her alarm gets her up at 6:30. Not enough sleep for most teens! (When she has nothing going on, she sleeps from about 11:30 until 9-9:30!) But that coffee... Man... You should've seen it. This girl, who had been struggling with simple math stuff a week earlier, totally understood the new stuff, flew through the sheets, never had her brain shut off... She says her dad won't let her have coffee but her mom will (her mom drove her all week). Where does that put me in allowing her to have coffee here or not??? I know her dad would say okay if I told him it really does help her work. He's cool that way. (And the 15yo and I have been discussing the possibility of me sending a "prescription" (her word) home. lol.) Dh says he'll make some extra in the morning and she can have some if it really does help. It's been an interesting learning experience: I wouldn't normally have said, "Oh yeah, go have coffee! You're almost 16!" Dh even questioned me: "Would you let dd drink coffee at 16?" I hesitated. Then I said, "If it helped her the way it helps the oldest, yes." It's not like she's having coffee all day. One cup and she's set to go for the morning at least. And it really DOES make a difference in the quality and quantity of work. It's like dealing with a student who can only get a maximum of 50-60% to a student who can get 70-80%. Which can not be said for Ritalin with "ADD/ADHD" kids. But I digress.

As for the actual topic of this post, this is my last week before spring break. We really only have 3 work days: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday. I'm hoping to get some done on Friday, too. Wednesday is when the 15yo will become the 16yo. :D. We always have the day off on birthdays. And I planned for that when I broke down all her work. And Friday is the last day. I think the 15yo will need to work on her stuff for sure, plus I've taken out the movie To Kill a Mockingbird to watch--although I need to preview it to make sure I can actually let the others watch it. I'm guessing we should probably watch it before lunch and then let them have something a little more fun in the afternoon. Or maybe we should go somewhere. If I don't take the kids for lunch for the 15yo's birthday, I'll take them out for lunch that day.

As for work... Dd's got this penguin project she wants to finish. I'm going to make a more concerted effort at working with ds from 7-8 each morning. And then some reading together in the evenings. (Which reminds me: I want to order some books for him. We discovered this series in French at the library, but they don't have many of them. He LOVES them and is learning to read so many words with them. But I'll have to buy some. And heck, I've got funding to use up! lol. Ok, back to work plans. The 12yo is going to be doing more reading and I have to figure out a way to make sure he ABSOLUTELY does writing. We're actually going to do writing in two ways: he's going to dictate some stuff to me (which I may or may not have him copy out) and he'll do his own writing in a daily journal. It went well when we were doing the daily journal--it could be anything from what's going on in his life or the start of a story. I took some ideas from the grade 8 LA K&E (the easiest LA available--Knowledge and Employability) but I know he's not emotionally ready to tackle writing a couple of paragraphs on his own. I'm willing to take dictation, though, but he has to get into a habit of writing. Even if it is only 3 or 4 days this week.

I guess that's it. It's Sunday and I've managed to work things out so that I have today off. Yay! So I'm going to go play Sims 2 now. :) Then have a nap later in the morning before taking the kids to Science Sunday at the university. It's so nice to not have school planning (no, above doesn't count because it's more or less a rehashing of what I worked through yesterday; I'm just sharing :) ) and the laundry's done, the house got fairly cleaned on Friday for the party we didn't have... I used to do this, have Sundays off, and the feeling I have now at not having to do any work today makes me want to make sure to ALWAYS have Sundays off.

Ok, off to play!


Lisia said...

I wouldn't expect the positive effect of a daily cup of coffee to last long. My understanding is that for people who don't usually drink coffee, a cup of coffee lifts brain function (or lifts something in the brain - not sure exactly what), but once a person drinks coffee daily for a while, brain function settles at a lower level and the cup of coffee only raises it to normal levels.

My mum told me that when she worked in public health research and used to read all sorts of health research. I'll ask if she could point us to the source of the information.

Jane said...

Christopher has coffee every makes a difference to him Dad used to wake me up with a cup of coffee every morning from the time I was about 13 and it didn't do me much damage ;) although I guess the difference is that we drink instant Nescafe coffee which isn't as strong as filtered coffee....

If you are concerned you could always brew half and half (half decaf and half regular) or just boil the kettle and make instant.

I think in the grand scale of things a little coffee isn't a bad thing ;) there are much worse things we could worry over!

Daisy said...

Thanks for the info, Lisia. I did a bit of a search on it and found this . Probably makes sense to not create an addiction! lol.

And yes Jane, I agree--there are worse things! To be honest, I think of it this way: her brother was on Ritalin, which didn't actually help him and has far more worse potential effects than coffee, so what's the harm in letting her have coffee? At least until courses are done. lol. If she could do something where she doesn't have it every day, makes sure to avoid on weekends, etc., I think she'll be able to have the academic boost while not becoming addicted.

Lisia said...

My mum says the article she saw was in National Geographic some years ago and that more recent UK research seems to show the same result. (I presume that is the research referred to in the article you found). She said the initial research looked at images of brain activity. Regular caffeine drinkers showed less brain activity than non-caffeine drinkers until they'd had their first caffeine drink of the day.

It would be interesting to know the effects of *small* amounts of daily caffeine. For a while I drank one caffeine drink a day (a coke after lunch); I got a headache if I skipped it - I presume I was addicted. I wonder if some people are more sensitive than others.