Welcome 2014!

Oh how I have looked forward to you! So many things are going to happen this year.

My hubby turns 40. We celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. We have been together 12 years. Our children will turn 17, 15, 15 and 5.

But other than that I look forward to the life I am ready to live. I have spent way too much time putting things off and now I am going to do it! 

I am looking forward to blogging more because I feel like I have finally found something I love.

I am determine to take photography classes to go along with that fancy camera I got so many months ago.

I want to homeschool in a way that I see my kids love learning and flourish.

I want to get and feel healthy. I am tired of being tired and not feeling like a 32 year old.

Also I want to grow our family!

But mostly I just want to be present in my kids lives and live like it’s our last moment on Earth. As you know I have fought depression in the past and though I did good this last year, I feel like in the new year I can be even better. And after a health scare with my son, it just jump started that feel to make the most of what you are given.

So I hope all of you the best in 2014. I hope you reach your goals and I hope you will follow me on this crazy journey I call life.

 

 

Here we go again! Throwing out the plans Part 2!

Yes, that is right. I am revamping our homeschool schedule again! This is what I love about homeschooling. The fact that I can stop and change directions on a whim is empowering.

So this what we were doing in the beginning.

I was trying to fit every subject into everyday. I was also trying to do preschool like I did it back 10 years ago in a daycare center. And I was trying to follow the Florida school calendar.

This didn’t work at all!

Then I began:

Doing split scheduling like I did last year. We also started 6 weeks on and 2 weeks off, except preschool. And mostly book work.

Forget about it. With 4 kids that have dentist appointments, doctor appointments, sick days and the everyday household running, I felt like I was flying through the 6 weeks, but not accomplishing anything and rushing my kids through. I would leave out the “fun” part of homeschooling~ all the hands on stuff. And I still had a preschooler who hated school. He woke up twice and told me my school sucked and that he hated school, especially coloring. Plus with Christmas here and all the fun of that, it is hard to fit in school, fun, errands and cleaning.

So for now we are just coasting through. Working on hands on projects, finishing up books that we were reading, practicing our writing and working on Math. For Lil Man, we are making everything hands on. More learning centers, more arts and crafts, more computer and tablet time. And it has been working so far.

But beginning in 2014, we begin a whole new chapter, which the girls and I are very excited about. We are starting back to school January 6 and I will be posting more regular updates then.

Throwing out all my planning and winging it!

We are 2 weeks in to homeschooling and I haven’t found what will work for us. It is so much harder than any of those blogs, the ones that make you feel like your not doing enough, let on. I can’t seem to balance everything. So we are trying last years schedule with some adjustments and additions.

Preschool seems to be the hardest because he wants nothing to do with it or he wants all of my attention. I can’t win really. And trying to get a 4 year old to wait is impossible.

Hopefully next week I can post how everything has worked itself out and is going smoothly.

HOPEFULLY!

 

First Day of homeschool 2013

Here are my angels on their first day.

 

DSCN2328

Dakota on the first day of Preschool. This was our 3rd attempt at a picture.

 

DSCN2330

Brianna on her first day of 6th grade.

 

DSCN2331

Cailin on her first day of her 8th grade gap year. She has a goofy smile because of her uncle standing behind me.

DSCN2332

Here they are my 2013-2014 class!

You know I still can’t believe how fast time flies. When we started our homeschool journey Cailin was going into 3rd and Brianna was in 1st and little man was just a hope and dream!

Pre-K, middle and high school

This is my life and the cause of my anxiety. The question of the last 3 months has been how in the heck am I going to homeschool 3 kids at 3 different levels without someone getting left behind or forgotten.

I have a preschooler who needs my attention to learn the basis of learning for the rest of his life. No pressure there!

I have a middle schooler who is severe special needs and is actually on a 3rd grade level.

I have a high schooler who doesn’t need as much guidance but still needs something to make it fun and engaging. Working out of a textbook day in and day out is not going to fly around here.

We are a hands on learning family. So needless to say this next year is going to be a major success or the death of me. Regardless it should make some great blog post.

Back to school~ our core subjects

I am very lucky in the sense that my kids all have similar interest which makes homeschooling 3 different levels easier. Not saying it’s a breeze, but easier to connect everyone together and I am not in 50 million directions, only 49 million.

This year we are doing Science, History and Geography together.

Science~ We are using Apologia Zoology 2 and are studying Marine Animals. My kids LOVE animals so the zoology books were a great fit. My 8th grader uses the corresponding Notebook while my 5th grader uses a varied of free lapbooks.

History~ We are continuing with Story of the World book 1. I did have my girls doing 2 different things. But the youngest was getting lost so I decided to bring her back in on the Story of the World lessons and she has done wonderful.

Geography~ The original plan was to have the 8th grader continue to study the states and the 5th grader to study the countries. But the oldest wanted to learn the countries. So we are all on the same page there too. For this we use Little passports and then I supplement with information from the internet and books/DVD from the library.

Language Arts/ Writing~ This has been a struggle because both kids hate writing. They hate capitalizing, punctuation, all of it. All I want is a paragraph and it’s like pulling teeth. So we have been on a trial and error basis on curriculum. We have been using Daily Language Activity book consistently.

Math~ Our 8th grader is doing Pre-Algebra while our 5th grader is doing basic math. For my 8th grader, I actually ordered an old textbook from Ebay and we found that we LOVE this book. The examples are clear and really make learning easier. Before we used the Spectrum workbooks and though I love them, there wasn’t always a good example. But this book is fantastic. I also ordered an old textbook for the 5th grader, but considering her special needs it is still way to early to tell if this will work or not.

Spelling~ Each has their own workbooks.

Reading~ Each will be reading their own assigned Novel and then supplementing with activities.This month our 8th grade is reading The White Giraffe and our 5th grader is reading The Magic Treehouse Book 1~Dinosaurs after Dark. Each also have a reading comprehension books.

I just wanted to make a quick note about some of the levels my kids are on. Both of my daughters show signs of learning disabilities. And my 5th grader is more on a late 3rd early 4th grade level. So I know this will not fit for everyone. And my oldest is right on maybe even above in some areas but then lacks in the writing department.

Back to School~ schedule

Homeschool is in session. We have been back to the grind for the last 4-5 weeks. It has been a slow start up process. But we are definitely making head way. Though a little slower with a 3 year old wanting to get in on everything, but we are on the right track.

With having 3 kids at home on 3 different levels, we decided to try a block schedule. For the first 3 weeks, we had subjects 1-5 on Monday and Wednesday, subjects 6-10 on Tuesday and Thursday, and all subjects on Friday for a review day. But I started thinking about Bri’s learning disabilities and realized reviewing on Friday does no good if you have 2 days off right afterwards. So this is our new schedule for now.

Monday is our review day. We cover all of our subjects and just review and go over what we learned the previous week.

Tuesdays and Thursdays are subjects 1-5. We usually take about an hour on each.

Wednesday and Fridays are subjects 6-10.

Spelling is done everyday because if not my kids will get confused and lost.

So here is the basic set up.

Monday~ Writing, Spelling, History, Reading, Geography, Science, Art, PE, Math

Tuesday & Thursday~ Reading, History, Science, PE, Spelling

Wednesday & Friday~ Writing, Geography, Spelling, Art, Math

Our school starts at 8:30am. We get an hour and half for lunch from 11-12:30. And usually finish up between 1:30-2:30. I always leave Math for last because that is my kids longest subject. Meaning sometimes it takes them a while. And my kids are the type that don’t stop unless its done or I tell them too. So this more relaxed for me and them as we aren’t worrying about the subjects we still need to do because it’s last. I may switch Art and PE. That way they get their juices flowing with PE right before Math. I think and hope that is the last change I need to make. So far it has worked out for us.

Next up~ what we are covering in each subject.

Special needs mom fighting for diagnosis

I never wanted to be the mom of a special needs kid.  The idea and thought terrified me. Then I became very close with my cousin who one day just stop growing and no one knew why. He was like having a baby under the age of 1 for about 2-3 years. And I watched what my Aunt was going through and I definitely didn’t want it then. I had a perfectly healthy daughter and that was how I wanted all my kids. But then I met my husband.

I have a blended family. My oldest daughter and youngest daughter came from my husbands previous marriage. The mom got into some trouble and lost custody. The day I moved in, she quit coming around or calling much. Eventually she signed over her rights and I adopted the girls as my own. My middle and youngest daughter are only 5 months apart. But they are mentally and physically years apart. When I came into the picture Bri would talk but you couldn’t understand her at all. Only 3 words came out clearly. She was having a hard time potty training. Very small and petite in size compared to the other kids. It seemed like everything with Bri was on hyperspeed. And she was very impulsive and unaware of dangers.

We originally got the speech diagnosis and started her in an intense pre-k with tons of speech therapy. About 2 years later, we got the ADHD diagnosis. But within 6 months of being on meds, she turned violent and out of control. My little sweet petite girl could bust my lip, punch a hole in the wall and break a window all in one day. And yes she was only 6 or 7. From there we got the diagnosis of mood disorder. She has been on meds ever since. But I kept saying there was something more. That something wasn’t right. I homeschooled for a couple of years until her meds weren’t working and she became a danger to myself and the newborn in the house at the time. We decided that we needed a break and public school would give us that. But in school she was struggling. Inevitably getting in a fight because and I quote “the other girl wanted to”. She didn’t have any social common sense in my opinion. She will talk to you like dirt and treat you like dirt but the minute you do it to her; your labeled as mean and she runs to her room crying which then goes into a temper tantrum. She doesn’t understand right from wrong or just doesn’t care. I am not sure. She struggles in school with making friends and being on her grade level. No one has an answer, a solution and just keeps passing her along!

I have been to therapist that have suggest locking her in a closet to talking to her like she is a baby. I have been to neurologist, endocrinologist, psychiatrist, psychologist and had many IQ test done. But finally I might have a light at the end of the 9 year battle! It took the 5th psychiatrist to listen and say whoa, i think she might be this instead. But finally there is hope. And the scary part is I have suspected it all along.

Asperger’s!

I am really hoping this is the answer. I am exhausted and beginning to lose my drive. But I can’t quit; I know that. But it just sucks going on this journey.

I will say that with everything I picked up with my daughter and cousin, I have learned a lot. I can look at someone at the restaurant and say he is autistic or listen to a friend share her worries about her child and say sounds like a sensory issue.

But it still is hard…….

Raising my kids…..

Sometimes being around my kids can be very trying. I am not gonna lie. There are days when I am like that’s it; I have lost all sanity; why did I have all these kids? Okay most days are like that. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I have a boy who is a toddler just hitting terrible twos and testing the waters with his parents. I have an 11-year-old daughter who is special needs with ODD, ADHD, language and speech delays and sometimes acts worse than my 2-year-old. I have a 12-year-old daughter who is a peacemaker and honestly an emotional wreck. Say the wrong thing and the tears flow. Then I have a teen, my 13 almost 14-year-old daughter, who prefers to lock herself in her room with her TV than spend time with the family.

But like I said I wouldn’t have it any other way. AND the crazy part is I would like to have one more. We aren’t perfect like the Duggars with the best kids in the world. But they are MY kids and with all their quirks and craziness; I love them with all my heart!

Even the weeks where I feel like I can’t catch my breath, it’s 9pm and just realized there is no milk in the house and my kids are running around acting like I fed them sugar for dinner. Even when my sanity is gone, my patience is tried and at the end of my rope. I wouldn’t change a thing! And to those who say I don’t know how you do it? I say I don’t know how not to do it.

This is me….. This is my life….. and the rollercoaster ride that comes with it…….Hang on and Enjoy the ride!

Jeanette