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Monday, October 14, 2013

Fall Underway

For so many weeks now, I've thought, "I should do a blog post" but was either too busy or not in the right mind set to write. Its interesting how for me the conditions for writing have to be JUST PERFECT. The kids generally can't be up, and it has to be a time of day when I'm not needed or having things asked of me. And when I'm not too tired or just getting ready for bed. Tonight, it was a perfect combination of forces... :)

This fall has been unusual in many regards; Patrick was gone for survey work and hunting for much longer time than normal. The fall has been milder than normal. We've had several house guests including Thomas and Mike E. We've canned fish later than normal, thanks to Thomas' subsistence persistence. And halloween is completely sneaking up on me already! Costume preps are in the works! Also, both kids LOVE school. On weekend days, Nora is very excited to go back. I attribute this to her multi-age classroom (grades 2-5) and small class size (14 students) and a very fun, energetic, fabulous teacher. (Ms. Schmitt is the cats meow!). Its been great to have Nora so motivated and eager to do homework and she takes so much initiative with her schoolwork (and really lets me help her with homework!).

My recent struggle has been scheduling and not overbooking myself, but help is on the way. Starting in December a physical therapist, Kelsea,  will be taking over my town client physical therapy practice, which I'm very excited about.

Since starting my physical therapy practice nearly 5 years ago, Kelsea will be the first PT to partner with me at A Balanced Approach.  She is moving here in December and is excited to work full time as a PT. She is the PT who came over in May to see Kodiak and then decided to move here.  She is a gem and so easy to talk with and communicate with. Any contact with her via phone, e-mail or text brings me a sense of peace, which makes me know inside that I made the right decision in hiring her. I know that she will have the same affect on clients at A Balanced Approach, which I'm thrilled about!

I'm about 4 weeks into teaching handwriting to Nora's class and thrilled with the progress the kids are making. Frankly, I"m blown away! The student's focus is improved and their writing endurance has improved as well. They're able to write and do fine motor activities for much longer without their hands tiring. I'm starting to expect more from them as they get more comfortable with me and I understand all that they are capable of.

For instance, starting today I'm insisting that when they write their name on top of their handwriting practice sheets, that it is as neat as possible. If I see lower case letters that are out of the lines, or upper case letters written in the middle of their name, I have them erase and re-write. I remind them that when they write their name, it should be with pride. It should be written neatly so a complete stranger can read what it says. I think they get that, because they don't argue with me on it.

When I give them these corrections, they don't seem upset or complain about it. I think its because these corrections are sprinkled with LOTS of positives and stars written on their work. With each handwriting group, I'm peering over their shoulder watching their every dotted i and crossed t. They know that I"m watching and that I care. And that I"ll comment on the good AND bad. I rather enjoy it and seeing how beautiful the students are starting to write.

When the students come into the library for hand writing hour, they make a beeline for the table and get right to work. They are better at angling their papers and holding their papers down with their left hand. Their grips on their pencils are softer and more relaxed than they used to be. All the pieces are starting to come together.

The thing that I find fascinating is that every student has things to work on. I think I expected that there would be a few students with "perfect" handwriting, but it really isn't the case. When it comes to letter formation and fine motor drills, different student have different abilities. One student may have trouble with spacing between words, another with letter formation, another with heights of letters...I think the students see that I'm not every picking on any one or two people because all of the students need the good and constructive feedback. Hand writing progress takes so much time and  repetition; I'm thrilled to have 2 sessions a week with Nora's class.


PS More later on Brownies and other fun fall endeavors!!

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