Thursday, April 26, 2012

Okay, just kidding - it was just the latest info on the ordmod. They're coming, though. It'll be nice to finally start looking for a place to live for real. Only a few months left to go here.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


We've heard from a little birdie the orders may have arrived. Have to wait until Monday because Bupers doesn't seem to work at home (or we can't seem to get the password right - dunno which), but I believe we're looking at a September date, which means a move in four months. Still unclear where and for how long...but the end is in sight!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

What's the Point, Again?

So, there's this guy I see around base sometimes. He wears a helmet when on a bike, as is required. He does not, however, buckle it under his chin -  instead, he wraps the straps around the helmet itself, where it rides precariously on top of his head.

This kind of baffles me. I mean, I know there are plenty of people who choose not to wear a helmet because it isn't "cool", and there are even more who don't seem to know how to fit it properly, but this is an outright worthless way of wearing a helmet. As soon as the guy crashes, the helmet is going to be long gone before his head  hits anything. At least if the straps were hanging loose (like way too many kids around here wear their helmets) there might be some hope of it hanging on and providing a little protection.

As a person whose been in more than one bike crash, one of them being a head collision where a helmet saved my face, literally, I'm unimpressed with the faux headgear that fulfills the rule here, but does nothing to actually fulfill the reason it exists...

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Zipping My Lips...For Now

Well, it's been awhile since I last posted. Not that I've been terribly good about it lately or anything! There is a reason for this. We've got a situation brewing that has taken us by complete surprise, and depending on how it turns out, will complicate things much more than expected. I don't want to discuss it more than that, but eventually I will be able to do so. Since it's consuming my thoughts so much, though, I've had to just stay away from here as part of me just really wants to spew my guts.


Instead, I'm going to babble a little bit about Spanish because when I'm not thinking about the aforementioned situation, I'm thinking about Spanish. This week has been spring break for the kids, so I decided it was a good time to string together a more formal language lesson. I was taught using immersion classes in college, and found it to be fairly effective, so that's the way I'd like to teach them. I put together a lesson on colors (they already know at least half of them, so I figured it was a good way to start), and used a free printable book on Easter (¡Felizes Pascuas!) that had pictures of conejos (bunnies) and huevos (eggs) with color descriptions.

It was actually a lot of fun. I started with a color song I found on Itunes that they really loved, then played ¿Donde está ______? with some colored eggs I made out of construction paper. Oscar quickly got bored with that (and even declared, "This is boring!"), but Wyatt seemed to like it. Then we moved to the book I'd printed out. I kept my speaking to Spanish only, and that was okay with them for the most part. The book had only Spanish phrases to figure out what colors to color the pictures, and I was really impressed that Wyatt wasn't even waiting for me to read them, he was figuring out what he had to do all on his own. I really didn't think reading would be a skill he would pick up at first, since I haven't spent any time on alphabet and how each letter sounds.

Anyway, I'd say overall the lesson was a success. My head hurt after speaking only Spanish for a half hour, and I quickly realized I can't depend on myself to put together the main lessons if we're going to do immersion. I'm just not strong enough in the language. I can supplement, though, and get creative with outside resources, plus I know I can read books to them in Spanish and be okay with pronunciation. I need a spine, though, or this isn't going to happen.

Ideally, I'd enroll them in a class, but, sadly, our country has yet to really realize the value of language learning at the elementary level. I've spent a lot of time looking for something in the place we're moving, and am coming up empty.

So, I think I'm going to buy a program I've been looking at for awhile. It's called Calico Spanish, an immersion program used in schools, and they have a homeschool version. It's the most scripted one I've found, and it comes with a lot of hands on things to promote language learning in young kids. It's not cheap, but I think I've resigned myself to having to spend the most on language learning. Hopefully, we'll get lucky and find a friend who speaks Spanish so we can get some free practice in, but I can't count on that.

I think I'll wait to get it until we move, though. Instead, this summer, I'm just going to try to keep informally teaching them. We're gonna label, label, label everything in the house, and I'm using this book, Play and Learn Spanish by Ana Lomba to pick up some new phrases to use with them. It's a pretty great reference book for teaching little kids, as it goes over a lot of the things you'd say to your kids in normal life, all categorized by topic. Oscar is actually responding very well to this; he's even trying to do more than just Spanglish it with a few words here and there and is using verbs.

I don't really know what the end result of all this will be; I hope we all get comfortable using it, although I'm not expecting full fluency or true bilingualism for the boys. I just don't think I speak it well enough to make that happen, and classes are so incredibly difficult to find. My far-out-there hope is that we get stationed in Rota, but, yeah. Probably not gonna happen. So, we'll make do with what we have, and just hope for the best.