As most of you know, I have a special needs child. I came into her life at age 3 and she was unable to talk clearly at all and not potty trained. Compared to my daughter who was only 5 months older, she was very delayed. Once I felt comfortable to say, Hey she needs help, I started fighting for her. And I have still been fighting for a diagnosis. In an earlier post, I wrote about my frustration with getting an answer, which you can read here. Well since then we got a new doctor who really listens to me and my concerns and who actually wanted to see the results of the outside test I got done on her. Since then the word Autism has been used here and there. But nothing definite. Finally I said what is her diagnosis. I just want an answer. As of right now, she has Asperger’s Syndrome with PDD. Now he did say this will change next year because the guidelines and titles are changing. So she will be considered under the Autism Spectrum. But I feel finally on a path to answers. And with this doctor, instead of making me feel stupid for saying I don’t think she is maturing like she should, he has told me that we won’t know what the bar limit will be for her because everyone is different. I always been made to feel like a terrible parent for not having confidence in my child that she will live a normal life but that was not reality in what I was seeing at home. I didn’t want blinders on. I wanted to know why and what to do next. And now I feel we have finally gotten the right doctor for us. It may have taken 11 years but we are at a turning point.
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.
Here are my angels on their first day.
Dakota on the first day of Preschool. This was our 3rd attempt at a picture.
Brianna on her first day of 6th grade.
Cailin on her first day of her 8th grade gap year. She has a goofy smile because of her uncle standing behind me.
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!
10 years ago I would have never thought I would be a homeschooling mom.
But now 6 years into this journey, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Let me paint you a picture of my former life.
I was a normal suburban mom. I got the kids up in the morning, fed them breakfast and off to school we went. Some days I would stay and volunteer all morning. Other days I did grocery shopping or leisurely shopping. I made lunch dates. Then I would go back and pick my kids up and go home to homework, dinner and bath time. And always couldn’t wait until bedtime. OH MY bedtime couldn’t come fast enough. One year I was even a PTA board member. Voted as volunteer of the year in our school! Homeschooling never even crossed my mind. I loved being away from my kids.
So how in the world did I become a homeschooling mom?
We moved out to the country. And people weren’t as nice as they were in our old neighborhood. I wasn’t embraced by the school, teachers or PTA and neither were my kids. We came in the middle of the year and that made us different. Why I am not sure? Tons of people move schools in the middle of a school year. Out here it made us outcast. I had a daughter who was brilliant and they couldn’t see it. And a daughter that would freeze and have a panic attack at the mention of a test and they didn’t care.
Down here in Florida we have an annual test called the FCAT. Like a standardize test, but Florida thought it would be fun to say if you don’t pass this test in 3rd or 12th grade, you don’t pass or get a diploma. So the teachers were under pressure and they put their students under pressure. This wasn’t a good situation for someone with a test anxiety. So I talked to the teachers. The results were deal with it because the State of Florida says this is the way it is. Let me tell you, I tried to walk away from this teacher without an argument. But she followed me out into the hallway and confronted me. After a huge argument which got me labeled as the Bitch mom. I walked away and decided no one was going to tell me to deal with it. This was the day we decided to homeschool.
At first it started with just my oldest two children. But half-way through the year, my youngest joined. Over the years, my kids have chosen home or school. I think we finally got it right with my oldest in a regular public school and my 3 youngest homeschooling. It fits everyone’s personalities and makes everyone happy.
It isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. And there are days when I am like what was I thinking!?! But to see my test anxiety child, who hated reading and took 3 hours to write spelling sentences, pick up a book on her own and fall in love with the characters and stories was amazing. To see her read a 700 page book with joy, unbelievable. And now I am experiencing it with my special needs child. Who always felt safer to stick with the easy reader books, branch out and found, not 1 but 2 series that has her excited for our library trips. There were tears, fights, judgement and criticism. Still is.
But I have seen so much and learned so much through homeschooling and my kids.
I realized I love them more everyday! And being with them to watch them grow is a blessing.
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.
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.
I wanted to finish this post a month ago but life got in the way. Anyways better late than never, Huh?
My kids have busted their butts these last two months. And they have hit almost every goal I have set for them and I couldn’t be more proud of them. (Beaming Momma moment) Technically they have about 3 weeks left of school and I am trying my hardest to stretch their lessons to last. But I have to say I am having a hard time. So what do you do if you start going a little crazy coming up with ideas. You go crazy and plan a party and a field trip. WHY NOT? The kids have earned it! So that is what we did.
We finished up our project of comparing our Egyptians scrolls and clay tablets. Unfortunately our experiment had opposite results. Our scroll last and our clay tablet just fell apart. Apparently it was the wrong clay and some darn good paper we used. So this was our end result.
Terrible picture, I know.
Next we wrapped up our chicken mummy ( HAHA~get it). It has been 6 weeks and we were ready to wrap it up to
gross out show everyone.
We also went on a field trip to our local Science Museum where they had a special exhibit about Mummies around the world.
We really liked this exhibit. It is not for the faint of heart I might add. There were a few moments that I had vision of mummies attacking. But I kept a cool head and the kids never knew.
In the end we manage to “wrap up” our mummies unit and the rest of our lessons early so we took two weeks off instead of just one!