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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Trekkin' right along

I've hit a second wind with Nora's program this past week. Here is a string of e-mails between her teacher and myself from earlier in the week. I save these here only because our blog is printed out and it will be fun to have her e-mails for me to look at years from now.

July 21st

Hi Becka,
I've been chuckling to myself this week thinking about this week's program and what to title this e-mail to you. "Confessions of my program" came to mind.... "Crazy warm weather in Kodiak"....etc, etc...
So here it is, a run down of the program ups and downs this past week.

-The weather has been warm. Extremely warm. Statstically 1000X warmer than last summer. Yes, that warm! So a few days last week I did PACE on our lawn with Nora which worked great. One afternoon I only did PACE and no CORE. 

-Another day Nora was WAY tired from late night BBQ the night before. I did her program and expected it to be awful-and it wasn't! She passed several levels which she had been working on for 6+ weeks. I couldn't believe it! A total surprise. I couldn't believe how things clicked even though she was tired! 

-I didn't do rocker last week. I'm going to watch the video tomorrow and do it starting tomorrows program. I wasn't able to get a feel for what it was like from the narrative and hadn't had a chance to watch the video. The lizard is going well.  

-I'm motivating like crazy with American Girl accessories. I've avoided the serious commercialistic approach to motivating Nora up until this point, but the time has come. We're about 8 weeks away and her motivation was seriously waning...especially with this crazy Kodiak heat wave (really one of the nicest summers in history). The tactic is working. Nora has kicked it up a notch with her enthusiasm and effort and has her eyes seriously on the prize. Woo-hoo! Its been a big help to have her be more positive and energetic about doing the program. 

-Today I went to do IM and discovered the battery on the clapper thing was out and needed to be replaced. I found the sets of spare batteries that Lehman included (yeah!) but didn't see the sheet on how to get the battery out. It wasn't until I had given up and done the rest of the program and was heading out the door that I saw the sheet on the battery replacement. So I hope to start in on IM tomorrow. If the battery gives me trouble with the replacement tomorrow, I'll have you show me on FACETIME how to do it. I don't want to be too aggressive and break the thing all together. I know we were supposed to try to get in 3 times on IM this past week, but it didn't happen. This week we'll be back on it!

Nora seemed excited to do it again, so thats good!

-I was telling my husband how amazing its been to really watch some of the activities click with Nora the past few weeks. Admittedly, I had several moments the past weeks where I wanted to quit all together, mainly because of the incredible weather and how tough it was to pick her up from her morning camp and try to get excited about making her work so hard. Then I talked with my twin sister and she reminded me how far we've come and how much Nora is benefitting from it. After a good pep talk and ideas on how I could help motivate Nora better, we're back on track. Big time. I can start to see the end....and watching the auditory component of the program get easier for NOra is very cool. I can see the power and benefit to it, big time!

So, the take home messages are... I'm glad we're doing this past weeks activities again, so I can REALLY do the rocker. 

I'll start IM and I"m way looking forward to FaceTime this week. Is it the times you mentioned in a prior e-mail that still work for you?

Thanks a ton, Becka!
I'll be in touch...

Best wishes,


 And Becka's reply to me....
July 22nd
Hi Zoya!

 So great to hear from you!  I always love reading your emails, and I’m sure I chuckled to myself reading it just as much as you did thinking about writing it.  I could make a note in every email how fabulous you are doing and how lucky Nora is to have you so invested in this.  One of the things Cindy and I talked about right from the beginning, knowing that it might be hard to keep track of just how things are done so long distance, is that any pieces of these programs, even if done incorrectly, will bring about positive changes in the brain.  Here are the things I’d be totally satisfied with Nora taking away from PACE:

1.   Her brain has the ability to grow, similar to how muscles can get stronger.  The more she uses it, challenges it, and believes in her own brain’s ability to grow, the more it is going to. 
2.       She should eventually feel a difference with how her brain does when she feels tired/discouraged/hungry/frustrated, and how her brain does when she is well-rested, has eaten well, is sitting up straight and speaking calmly and confidently.  Her brain will always perform better when she gives it those supports.  She can think of it like how she would feel if she were going to play a soccer game and you were in the stands yelling and cheering and saying, “way to go!! You can do it!”.  She would play a better game with that support because she would believe in herself and feel good about herself.  Her brain is the same way.  If she acts like a cheerleader for her own brain when it feels discouraged or frustrated and says , “you can do it! Look how great you are doing!  Your best is getting better and better!” her brain is going to perk up and do better.  It is one of my favorite things to watch my students realize.  Because it works! 
3.       There is no way for her to do these activities and her brain not think more efficiently.  In school next year, ask her to see if she can notice that it is easier for her brain to stay on task for something because it doesn’t have to work as hard to do the same amount of work.  She should feel less overwhelmed, listen easier, complete tasks a little quicker, and generally have more time to just enjoy school. Our goal was never to make Nora a perfect learner, just a learner who is improving every day and is an active part of her own learning. 
 I hope that as you guys finish up the rest of your time noticing these things and that Nora can feel really proud of how far her brain has worked and how far it has come!  I am glad that she has another burst of motivation, and I’d rather her keep that motivation and do less, then do more and fight doing it.  You have wonderful judgment of when she might need to go outside and run around in the sunshine and when she is ready to push herself past a level of frustration.  Your sister is right, you have come a long way!  Keep making a HUGE deal of her victories, confidence is key to passing levels when they really seem too hard.   I’m super excited for you both!  Tell her I’m swelling with pride over her and all her hard work!  No worries about skipping IM last week.  The batteries are complicated and I don’t blame you J  You don’t have to be as strict with IM Maintenance, just get it done when you can. 
 Face time will work this week tomorrow from 12:30-1:30, and from 2:30-3:30, Wednesday from 12:30-3:30, Thursday from 12:30-3:30, and Friday 9-12, and 4:00-6:00.  Let me know!  I look forward to talking with you both! Enjoy that sunshine J

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