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Lian's Summer of Fun

Monday, April 30, 2012

Making School Fun: Little Victories (guest post)

Guest post by Shelle Perry (Lian's Mom)

I was really surprised to see a big deal being made by Connections Academy over Learning Coaches this week.  April 30 - May 4 is LC Appreciation Week and May 3 is LC appreciation Day. Way to go CA!

For those who don't know what a learning coach is, it is what it sounds like. The person who is responsible for seeing that the student does his lessons. In early grades it is a bit more time consuming and involved with daily lessons and with independent learners and higher grades it is more about just making sure everything is turned in. With Lian it is very hands on with every lesson.

When we realized that a traditional school was not a good fit for our son we felt trapped because while we believed that home school was a viable option, neither my husband nor I felt we were qualified to find, put together or teach a curriculum that would meet his particular needs and still teach him everything he would need to know to be successful in higher education and beyond. We were excited to find virtual school options. After exhaustive research we chose to go with Connections Academy. It provided all the hands on benefits of a home school environment and the support of a state approved curriculum, and (we would soon find out) an incredible team of teachers who were really willing to work with Lian and all his learning issues.

I will be the first to admit that it isn't at all easy. Despite what he writes here in his blog, school is never truly fun for Lian and it is rarely easy. Basic reading and writing are obstacles that at times seem insurmountable. It is a constant struggle to accomplish even the simplest goals on some days. I have thought about giving up on more than one occasion.

Then there are the days of small victories. Like when he reminds me that despite his frustrations with reading the material, his need to know everything he can possibly learn hasn't diminished in the slightest. Then there was the day that he tried to look up every word in his vocab book in the dictionary just because it was fun and the day he finally passed a grade level reading test with very few mistakes and the days I catch him actually writing little stories. I have learned to appreciate that small things aren't really all that small.  Last week his school asked him to give a reason why he appreciates his learning coach. I was blown away by his answer. 

"I appreciate my Learning Coach because I get to spend time with my mom." 

 Which small victory should I celebrate here? The use of a complete sentence? All the words spelled correctly? That he likes spending time with Mom even when that time is often spent in battle? Or, how about that his school gave me a chance to see that our daily journeys are really worth the time and effort spent?

I expect school will never be as fun and easy for Lian as it was for me but at least I know we have made the right choices for him and he is beginning to see that he can succeed. I know he doesn't hate me for making him read just one more page or write one more sentence.  That is victory enough for today.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Look Alike Day

Look Alike Day
When : Always April 20th

Oh Boy! It's Look Alike Day. Time to look like somebody else.....copycat.
Today's a day to find someone you really look up to, and try to look like them. Start with the hair. Cut and style your hair, as needed,  to look like the person you've selected to look like. Then, select items from your wardrobe (or buy some new clothes!) that your lookalike wears. Along the way, make sure to practice and copy their walk, their talk, and their facial expressions. In other words. try to be as identical to that person as possible.
Who should you look like? Anyone you want. Its as simple as that. Pick an actor or actress, a singer, a politician, family member or friend.

Today you should try to look like someone you admire. I don't have to try very hard to look like someone I admire.

Mom and I went to a couple of websites to see which famous people I should try to look like. It was funny to see who they think I look like. Ashton Kutcher, Kate Bosworth and Madonna came up a lot. I don't think I look much like them. How come none of them look like my dad? My favorite match was

(this one was harder to use. We had to keep changing the settings to get it to see a face.)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Making School Fun: Virtual Field Trips

We had two really neat events at my school this week. On Monday we got to talk to NASA engineer Mark Branch. He works at Goddard Space Flight Center, in Maryland. He even answered a couple of my questions. He was really nice and I like that he always wanted to be an engineer, just like me. It was so great to have him answer our questions and I can't wait until they do it again.

Today we got to visit an egg farm in Arizona. It was really amazing. We learned that their chickens lay 3,000,000 eggs a day. Really! Dad thought they meant a year but it was every day! We got to see their packing plant and see how they feed the chickens six times a day. We also learned that when hard boiled eggs are hard to peel it is because they are really fresh. They can be sold in stores only a couple of days after they are laid. There were lots of fun things to do on the website afterwards too.

Real field trips are lots of fun, my favorites were visiting the La Brea Tar Pits and the class picnics, but these were great because I got to see and talk to people who were in other parts of the country. It was fun learning new things. It has been a good week!

Trying to move tar at the Page Museum

Me and my teacher

W/ my Dad
A Mid Year Picnic
Year End Picnic

W/ my teacher at a Mid Year Picnic

(oh yeah! I got  90% on my year end reading test! 90% I usually score really low, but this year I am kicking it!)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Making School Fun: Book It

I really hate to read. It is hard. The only thing worse is writing. The letters don't always stay in the same order and some words no matter how hard I try, I always get wrong. I love a good story. My friends at school are always talking about books they have read. I want to read them too. Last summer mom read my reading list to me while I tried to read one book. This summer I want to read all my own books about everything.

I have had to do a lot of extra tutoring to work on my reading. Mom and me work on extra reading almost every day. My school participates in the Book It program. If you read so many minutes every month you can get a free pizza. I would do anything for pizza. 
I was reading on their Facebook page about how it started and I think it is cool. My dad would think like that.

The BOOK IT! program was created by a former Pizza Hut president who was searching for a way to motivate his child to read. Each time the son met a reading goal, he received a trip to Pizza Hut with his father. The motivation worked and the son began reading more and spent quality time with his father.
In 1985, Pizza Hut officially adopted literacy as its corporate cause and established the BOO K IT! National Reading Incentive Program under the guidance of an advisory council that included the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association, National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Association of School Boards of Education and the National Council of Teachers of English. In 1989, Pizza Hut and the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress created National Young Readers Day to highlight the importance of reading.

I haven't always made my goals. Some months it's just hard enough to get school done. I try really hard. My teacher makes a big deal about it too. Not just pizza. Sometimes she gives stickers or a bookmark for making goal.  Next year I am going to be super good at reading. 

There are lots of ways to get information on the Book It program.!/bookitprogram 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Indonesian Earthquake

I read that there was a huge earthquake in Indonesia today and that it was felt in lots of different places.

April 11 (Bloomberg) -- An 8.6-magnitude earthquake struck off Indonesia's Aceh province, the U.S. Geological Survey said today, prompting residents to flee to higher ground as India, Thailand and Sri Lanka issued tsunami warnings.
The quake struck 431 kilometers (268 miles) off the coast of Aceh, one of Indonesia's poorest provinces where 170,000 people died or went missing in a Indian Ocean 2004 tsunami. India's tsunami center warned of possible six-meter waves in the Andaman islands and the Malaysian Meteorological Department advised people in Penang, Kedah, Perlis, Langkawi and Perak to stay away from the coastline.
Buildings in neighboring Singapore shook after the quake hit, which was initially measured at a magnitude of 8.9, and tremors were felt in India. The epicenter was 963 kilometers west of Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur and 1,797 kilometers west northwest of Jakarta, according to the USGS. So far there are no reports of casualties or damage in Aceh and elsewhere, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said at a briefing in Jakarta today.

 I live in California so everyone thinks we always have earthquakes. I have only been in a few and they were small but they were really scary. I am happy they don't have to worry about a tsunami. I hope everyone in those places is safe.

Water Bottle Sub

According to National Whatever Day, April 11 is National Submarine Day. Some sites say it is actually supposed to be March 17th and others say it is April 17th. No matter what day it is, submarines are so amazing.

 A submarine works because it has ballast tanks. To sink it fills the tanks with water and to surface it fills the tanks with air. Last summer I made a submarine out of a water bottle. It was a great time.

 It took us a couple of days to make it work but it was really neat. All the kids liked to take turns pumping air to make it rise. 

(In the video I said the rock is ballast but really the water is ballast.)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Welcome World!

In the past weeks I have seen so many new countries on my stats list (seven new ones in the last few days). I love my blog because I am learning about countries I have never heard of like Serbia, Belarus and Dominica. I am really busy in school right now and I have some big tests coming up but I promise I will make time for my Adventures in Geography soon so I can share what I am learning about all the neat places the people who read my blog live. Thank All of You, so much, for visiting my blog!

Painting the world green one page view at a time.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Name Yourself Day


Name Yourself Day

When : Always April 9th

Name Yourself Day is your chance to give yourself whatever name you'd like...for a day. If you like your name, then change your name for just today. If you don't like your name, use today to select a new name for life!

Participating in Name Yourself Day is simple and easy. Go ahead, give it a try. Change your first, or middle, or last name. Or, change them all. Give yourself a cool and catchy nickname. Once you've selected your name, you've gotta communicate it to all of your family and friends. This could prove to be the hard part. It will likely take time for your new name to catch on. 

I like my name. Lian is all mine and as unique as I am. 

Today though I am changing my name to John. John is a cool name. John Sheppard would be a great guy to be.


I am changing my name to Jack. There are lots of cool Jacks. Jack Sparrow, Jack O'Neill, Jack Bowser. Jack is a good name.

 I could be Tony, like Tony Stark. He is really really smart!

Optimus Prime is my hero. I could name myself after him. Optimus Nathaniel!

Snubberbloober would make a fun name but it is hard to spell.

I can't decide. They are all good. None of them fit. I am Lian.

I could name myself like they do in other countries.

In Portugal I could be Vidonio. It mean Vine branch or Life

In Norway I would be Lian Morganson

In Italy I could Be Fiorenzo. It means blossoming.

In Greece my name could be Brion. It also means vine. 

I think I will just keep my name. It is a good name.

 I am Lian.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Eggcelent Fun

We colored eggs with melted crayon, koolaid and regular dye this year. We also tried stickers and rubbers bands to make it more fun. Some of it was neat but some of it didn't work well. 

The crayon eggs were super cool but they were really hot. We need to grind them a lot smaller next time too. 

The koolaid didn't color very well at all and when the colors mixed from the eggs being in other color it got really ugly. Plus the color rubbed off the eggs. The stickers were neat but they came off in the dye. We need stronger stickers next time. The rubber bands were the neatest but we didn't have have enough of them. I really want to do that some more. Our eggs turned out really great though. Lots of bright colors.

I hope everyone had a great Easter. Mine was the best ever.

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