Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Fiddle Fun...

On Sunday night we attended a concert given by the Kane Sisters, two sisters from Ireland. The concert was at Haley's fiddle teacher's home, up close and personal. Haley was again the youngest child (the next youngest was a 9yo little girl). Haley sat right in the middle front row and clapped along to all the songs, often leaning forward on the edge of her chair so she could stomp her feet as well. She was so intent on watching the girls play and was sitting so close she could have touched them. She also had excellant rhythm and kept the clapping up perfectly even when her hands started itching from all the clapping and every other beat she had to scratch them.

After the last song, when everyone continued to give the girls a standing ovation, they came back out and played a song saying it was a song just for Haley who has been studying fiddle for the last 2 years and who had been their rhythem section for the entire concert. Haley thought that was really cool. We bought her a CD and she got their autographs after the show. It was really upbeat and fun music.

Yesterday Haley had fiddle lesson #2 and she learned another song plus her teacher put a 5th song on her tape "for her to listen to but not play." (Yeah right! That lasted until this morning when she began playing the first part of the song on the second playing of the tape and I stopped her from playing the other part because we had to go to the movies- we saw Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix today.)

Monday, July 23, 2007

First fiddle lesson...

Haley had her first fiddle lesson today. What fun that is going to be for her- no inportance placed on posture (many fiddlers play with horrid posture by classical standards) and correct bowing (because there is no "correct" way to bow a fiddle piece) so she gets to just learn to play the songs and have fun. I think it is going to be a wonderful supplement to her Suzuki training though I must insist on correct posture when she plays so she doesn't get lazy with her classical playing.

I think she really shocked the teacher. The teacher asked her to play a piece she knew already so she could get an idea of what she knew and how she played. Haley played her the Bill Sullivan polka and the teacher was really impressed. The look on her face was priceless. I could tell from her emails and our conversation on the TV that she thought I was exaggerating because she has never taught anyone this young. She played the piece with Haley then noticed that Haley had figured out the slurs in the song simply by watching her play them.
She then said she would give Haley a new piece called Britches Full of Stitches. I told her I thought Haley might have figured that one out as well from the DVD because it goes with Bill Sullivan's polka but since I hadn't watched the DVD with her I wasn't sure which song was which. The teacher played it and Haley repeated it right back to her so she decided to give her another completely new piece. She played it so I could record it then when she had finished Haley played it almost perfectly through even though she had never heard the piece before today.

The teacher told me that she knows of get-togethers where children fiddle together and said that Haley would be able to play with them for the next one. She was extremely impressed with Haley's intonation and posture/hand position (if she only knew the "work" that went into the latter). Haley can't wait to go for her next lesson. I had originally wanted to do it every other week but I guess if she really likes it we may do weekly.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Way to go Dylan!

Last night Dylan tested for and received his first dan black belt in taekwondo. He did an awesome job! We are so proud of him. He worked very hard practicing and getting himself ready for the test for weeks prior.

His test consisted of 21 forms, board breaking, sparring, self defense techniques, kicking and punching drills, plus a mile run, push-ups and situps. He had to spar 5 times then had to do a minute with each of 4 people without getting a break. His forms were so crisp and his kicks higher than I have ever seen him do. It is an exhausting test and he did his best in everything.

When he started class as a 3.5 years old, I never imagined this day would come. He was so little and would not even stay on the mat the entire class. He only did the parts he liked then came and sat on my lap. A black belt seemed so far away then. Great job, Dyl!

Here is Dylan with Sabumnin Eddie getting his new belt.

In other news today, Haley earned her yellow belt. She has completed her basic forms so will now start learning the "real" taekwondo forms. I am so proud of her. She didn't watch everyone else and get confused like she sometimes does during class. Here I am giving her her belt and certificate.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Fiddling Around...

Yesterday, Haley played her fiddle song for her violin teacher. The teacher seemed pretty impressed that she had learned it from a video in only 10 minutes of hearing it. She said I should send her story to the Suzuki Organization as a demonstration of how well the method works.

Today, Haley stuck in her DVD and learned another fiddle piece on her own. She then found the music score to the DVD songs and asked me to play it on the piano for her. I did and it helped her to fix two spots she was having difficulty getting perfect. She is now listening to the DVD while she plays in the living room. I have never seen a child so eager to learn and intent on doing it.

I have gotten a few books to try teaching her some piano to supplement her violin and help with the music reading but I think I will wait to start until after we get back from vacation the middle of August simply because we can't take a piano on vacation with us.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

New Math Book

Haley's new Miquon math book arrived today. She completed 4 pages after I gave it to her. I am hoping the book takes her more than a couple weeks to finish. I guess it won't really matter though because it wasn't too expensive.

Dylan tests for his 1st dan black belt in taekwondo next Friday. I am so excited for him. He has been doing such a good job on his forms lately. I hope he doesn't get too nervous to perform his best for his test. He does not tend to have the nerves-of-steel his brother does. I can understand perfectly because often my nerves tend to get the best of me. Both boys will test next month for Haidong Gumdo. I just realized this evening that Newt will be a red belt and Dylan a brown belt. Soon they will be eligible for a black belt in that as well. Both boys really want to try Judo because they are bored with taekwondo. There is only one form to learn between belts now and two years to wait.

I have Haley's first Irish fiddle lesson scheduled in a week and a half. It turns out that the woman who I was put in contact with was actually the one who introduced the musicians at the Celtic music concert we attended. She sat next to us for part of the program and remembered us. (Haley was the only child and she is very hard to miss with her golden hair and the adult conversation that comes from her little body.) She was also the woman selling the CDs and DVDs who told Haley she wouldn't need the DVD on How to Play Celtic Fiddle for a long time. She has never taught anyone as young as Haley but she teaches by having her students listen to the music so Haley should do very well with her.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Amazing Math....

As any one of my family members can tell you...I am a planner. I love to be organized and have every detail worked out. I am not the best at "going with the flow." I am the one who wants to control the spigot. So far, this has been pretty hard when parenting. I was doing pretty well throughout most of my adult life. Then all three of my children decided to make their own plans on when they thought their deliveries should occur and it pretty much has been downhill from there. Where is all this going...well...

I am now officially compacting math curriculum for Haley. She has been complaining lately about needing harder math. So I spent a couple hours reviewing the 1st and 2nd grade math curriculums I have and set about to make a plan. She had about 10 topics left to learn in 1st grade math (as of this morning, during which she mastered 3 in 3 minutes) .

This morning my goal was for her to understand the concept of 1/4th and to learn to tell time to the half hour on an analog clock. Well, the analog clock thing took all of 2 seconds. I showed her how to do half past 3 and she said, "Oh, then half past 6 would be this. (As she formed it on the clock.) And half past 10 would be this...." and so on and so on for every hour all out of order.

I then showed draw a square and divided it into four pieces and shaded in one part. I told her that it is "one out of four or 1/4th" and showed her how to write it. She then took off with that, saying, "Well, if I divided a circle into 6 pieces and shaded in one it would be one out of six and it would look like this (as she wrote it)." She went on to figure out one out of pretty much every fractional part up to 1/13th, got bored with that, then figured out how it would be written to show more than one shaded. She has figured out not just 1/4th but the concept of fractions completely. (Learning 1/3 and 1/6 was supposed to be another day's learning. )

I thought I had the whole compacting thing figured out. So much for scheduling. I guess I just need to follow her lead and let her learn at whatever rate she wants. This is really hard for me, the ultimate planner to do.

Sunday, July 08, 2007


(Due to technical difficulties, the kind of which I have no idea, I am not able to add titles to my posts! What's up with that?)

Anyway, today I took the kids swimming after church. We took along Haley's violin in case we found a moment to practice but I wasn't going to push it. We swam for about an hour then Haley got out of the pool, dried off, and stated very matter-of-factly, "Don't you think it's about time for me to change my clothes and practice violin?"

So, we changed clothed and practiced for an hour then went back to swimming again.
Last night Haley was playing around with the piano trying to pick out some songs. I had a brainstorm and I cut little pieces of paper, wrote the note names on them and stuck them on the keys so she would know which was which. She spent an hour, reading the music in her music reading book and playing it on the piano then going back and forth from violin to piano trying to figure out songs on both. It was really neat to watch.

Monday, July 02, 2007

I feel like I am living in a musical today...aahhhh!

Haley woke up this morning singing and has been singing ever since. She hummed along to all the Suzuki songs she knows, made up melodies to go to her own words, and informed me that I should sing any answer to the questions she sings me. (This was all before breakfast.) Whenever I looked at her strangely she said, "I just can't get these songs out of my head!"

I think I hear her still singing while playing outside with Lily.

On a brighter note...(excuse the pun) she had a wonderful violin lesson today. A complete turn around from the wiggly, over-tired child she was last week. She listened and tried her best at everything.

Daddy and Dylan are tearing out the cedar room in the basement. When we first moved into this house, it was the only thing about the house I liked but now that we have remodelled and had a flood in the basement from a break in the washer hose leading to worries about mold, it is not so difficult to see it go. Dylan is right at home doing the demolition work. I have never seen a child who likes to work the way that boy does.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

I want Algebra...my math is too easy!

Tonight I did a major overhaul of the whole house...cleaned the basement and schoolroom/playroom plus the kids rooms to get more organized. Man, does it feel good!
So, I was just answering my emails and renewing car registrations on the internet and Haley comes up to me and says, "My math is too easy. I want to do Algebra." I tried to tell her that she needs to know how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide first before she can do Algebra.

Her response, "I can do all that."

"No, you can add and subtract but you don't know how to multiply or divide yet."

"Yes, I do," she says.

"Okay...(thinking I would put an end to this conversation and just order her Saxon 2)...what's 3 times 3?"

She spins in circles for a few seconds then answers, "Nine."

Daddy who had been listening from the kitchen asks her a few more and she spins in circles and comes up with the right answer.

I was going to order Saxon 2 workbook but now I think I have to just skim through it so it might be a waste. How do I teach math to a kid who already knows it? Okay, now she has a calculator and is checking her answers.