Monday, October 28, 2013

The New School Year

It's here.  Well, it's been here for a while, actually.  We're still homeschooling, and we're still liking it.  I like it more this year than ever.  The kids are having a great time.  I'm seeing progress in lots of areas, and we're staying busy!  So busy in fact that blogging isn't really on my mind much.  But I would like to blog more about homeschooling with a child with special needs.  It's a challenge for sure, and not every day looks productive.  In fact some days I feel like "regress" rather than "progress" is made.

Then my child will amaze me by demonstrating some skill or memory that I had no idea had stuck in that adorable little head.

We're beginning a new journey next week.  I get to meet with someone at a local school to help develop an IEP for Isaiah.  I'm nervous.  I'm excited about the extra resources that will become available to us, but I'm nervous.  I'm praying for wisdom for lots of reasons, but basically it boils down to this:

Father, I want to do what is best for my child.  I don't want to worry about what people will think of me as a mother, a woman, a teacher.  I want to remember that what is best for my child is that setting, that lesson, that interaction that will encourage his heart to love You more and to serve other people.  Amen.

I'd appreciate prayers, friends.  And if you've gone down this road or are walking it now, I'd love your input.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Another Start

So, we're starting school this week.  We kind of did this morning, though I didn't tell the kids.  We played games with our new My Father's World curriculum.  I felt happy when Nadia kept saying, "I want to do this AGAIN!"

So this year we're using Rod and Staff preschool workbooks, My Father's World preschool "curriculum" (it's mostly fun toys, so I use "curriculum" loosely) and the alphabet.  We'll continue to read from our Bibles for Bible time, and we'll get as much outside time as possible while there's still nice weather.

Our second week of school will be full of adventure as grandparents are coming to visit.

This year my goals are simple:  Interact with my littles as much as possible, Encourage Isaiah's communication skills, Try to help Nadia get out as much energy as possible.

You may or may not read periodic updates on what we're doing, so keep your expectations low.  I'm going to go clean the guest room.

As I type this Nadia is "sleeping" and apparently did something she knows isn't allowed because she's saying "Sorry 'bout that, Mommy" over and over.  Maybe I can get the desk cleaned up before she decides there's no way she's staying in bed any longer.  Isaiah's completely content it sounds as he listens to his beloved Piper.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Week in Review - Week 17

We had a busy week getting back into routine with appointments and therapies and everything.  We started Monday School, finally made it back to therapy and had our first dental appointments.

The kids were both thrilled to go to school!  All the way home they chanted, "More school!".  I have to admit that the co-op stretches me, but as long as my children love it, then I'll do everything I can to make it happen for them.

At home I found it difficult to get a groove of school going.  Monday was "shot" with Monday school in the morning and Isaiah's flush in the afternoon, but then, we DID go to Monday School, right?  

Tuesday we had fun with some new Math Squares that a new friend has shared with us and then therapies in the afternoon.  Nadia LOVES these squares.  She stuffs them in her pockets before we go anywhere.  I have to make sure they don't end up in the laundry. 

We haven't employed their intended use yet, but we've used them for lots of other learning like colors, sorting, counting (which I guess is part of their purpose), stacking (fine motor).

Wednesday we finally had Isaiah's birthday party at our local bowling alley!  We all had a blast, including the birthday boy!  

Thursday morning we sang a lot and then went to the dentist.  Friday school time was spent cleaning up a painting fiasco created by Mr. Gadget Arms and his lovely accomplice with the afternoon taken up with usual activities.  We did manage to get in a walk though!

So that left today.  But I think the kids were very much pleased with today's school.  Since they managed to spare some paint from their adventures yesterday, we painted our feet (well, I painted their feet) in honor of our book of the week The Foot Book by none other than Dr. Seuss, appropriate don't you think, in celebration of his birthday.

After the footprints, I let the kids paint what they wanted.  And Isaiah decided his tummy needed a new look.

He did also paint some paper.  Check out that paint brush grip!  His fine motor skills have taken a huge leap in the last couple months.

Isaiah's footprints.  His right foot really is all one piece, but it has an odd shape.

Nadia LOVES to paint.  She repainted her feet, and her hands, and lots of paper.  She also loved the clean up process.  I think she played in the bowl of water almost as long as she painted!

So that was week 17 for us.  A whirlwind, but lots of fun!  Check out ABC Jesus Loves Me for some great ideas for spending learning time with your kids!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Week in Review - Week 16

And sickness struck again in the form of RSV and stomach bug.  So yet again, not a whole of lot concentrated schooling, but we did manage to have a lot of fun once we started to feel better.

Here was the game plan, but we branched out some with a little more child-led learning.
Theme/Lesson:  Jesus Became Man
Bible Story:  Shepherds Worship Jesus
Memory Verse:  God is love.  I John 4:8
Poem:  Five Little Bells
Song:  I'm His Little Lamb
Book of the Week:  Ten Little Fish
Letters:  Q-S
Numbers: 1-5
Color:  Brown, Purple
Shape:  Triangle
Self-care & Manners:  Washing Hands
Information:  Mom's Name
Fine Motor:  Kiss cookies
Gross Motor:  Jump

We were thankful to start the week out last week with some beautiful weather, so we tried to take advantage of every opportunity to get out and enjoy the fresh air and work on those gross motor skills outside!

The circle around our apartments is about 1/3 of a mile, and the kids were so excited to be outside that they each moved with great speed!  Nadia ran and jumped pretty much the whole way, and Isaiah did almost all the pushing, even up the inclines!  We were so ready to be outside, even if only for a couple days!  Nadia's jumping is getting better.  She gets her right foot off the ground and her left heel.  We're thankful to see progress towards her physical therapy goals.  Isaiah jumps by popping wheelies in his chair, and he's an old pro!

Got to be honest, I'm having a hard time at the library finding the kids' books.  I just can't seem to figure out the system and find the books that I need.  Maybe I should look a few weeks ahead and put things on hold for the coming weeks.  But first I'd like for us to stay healthy long enough for me to go to the library!  All that to say, I don't have Ten Little Fish, so we've had fun reading other books.  We did color and paint some fish and pointed out fish in other books we read.

Since we're rather behind on the lesson themes, I've just been reading through the kids' Bible with them.  Right now our sections to read matched up with the theme of the school lesson, so that worked out really well.

Nadia loved our verse this week.  It is now known as "John song".

Our main activities this week were painting with purple and then making kiss cookies, though not at the same time because that would just be really messy.

I was so excited to see Isaiah doing handprints all on his own!  In the past I've had to help him hold his hands open and press them flat on the paper.  He did this all by himself this time!

The kids were a big help when making the kiss cookies!  I had no idea that Isaiah would be so good at unwrapping the kisses, showing me his great fine motor skills improving!  But then, when chocolate motivates!

He snuck a kiss before I even knew he had one open!

The cookies turned out great, of course, and I had some very willing taste testers!

The kids practiced their cutting more this week as well.  They both really enjoy using the scissors, and I managed to find some that are safe and provide just enough "help" for kids with developing hand strength.

We had a great time this week playing outside and following part of the regular lesson plan.

The coming weeks are full with co-op starting and Isaiah's coming surgery and lots of appointments.  

For more fun ideas be sure to check out ABC Jesus Loves Me!

Thursday, January 31, 2013


We were off to such a nice start last week.  I made plans, the kids had fun, we seemed to be getting back on track.  Sigh.

The official plans are put on hold again as we focus on numbers like 102-105, watching Nadia's temperature go up and down.  Thankfully she just has a virus, and she doesn't seem to be sharing.  We've been doing as many fun things as we can while she tries to get better.  It's amazing how much counting you can do when you have no energy!

So, hopefully next week we'll get back into the curriculum again.  But I'm so thankful that I'm not bound to that right now.  We are learning and growing together.  We're able to read lots and talk about things and count and learn colors and, well, just learn as we live and try to get better!

Forgive the rambling of this post.  I'm rather sleep deprived.  I used to get up with her all the time in the night just a year or so ago, but now it's so much harder.  Why is that?

We'll keep plugging along.  Any advice for how to get started again well after so many interruptions?  I can use any great ideas that you have to offer!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Week 15 - Week in Review

Well, well, well.  Here we are again at last.  We had a wonderful Christmas break followed by a great respite retreat with The Elisha Foundation followed by 2 weeks of awful sickness.  So our break ended up being quite a bit longer than I had expected, but now we're back.  We, of course, did lots of learning in the mean time, when we were able to move around and not have fevers and such that is; but it's nice to be back into a routine at last.

Theme/Lesson:  Jesus Became Man
Bible Story:  Jesus is born
Memory Verse:  I John 4:8 God is love.
Poem:  Mary Had a Little Lamb
Song:  Away in a Manger
Book of the Week:  Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do You See?
Letter: Q-S
Number: 1-5
Self-care & Manners:  "Excuse me"
Information:  Mom's name
Color:  Brown
Shape:  Star
Fine Motor:  Squeeze water from sponge
Gross Motor:  Memory obstacle course

We were able to overlap several of the goals this week, which made it more fun for me!  We played with play-doh using star cookie cutters.  Great for shape learning and fine motor skills.

We did lots of counting, even using an abacus, which turned out to be a favorite toy this week.

We counted 5 cotton balls into a brown paper bag.  I had to cut the bags shorter for the kids, so we made brown paper crowns with the tops of the bags.  Isaiah looks quite kingly, don't you think?

I think the very favorite activity was a star hunt.  I made and laminated five small stars.  I hid them around the apartment and the kids hunted for them.  It was a huge hit!  

Nadia tried hiding the stars, too, which ended up being an interesting version of hide and seek with her running off with the stars then jumping out and shouting "Boo!" followed by uncontrollable giggles from her and brother.

We also practiced scooping and counting with the cotton balls.  Thankfully the kids didn't confuse the cotton balls with ice cream in the ice cream bowls!

Unexpectedly we tried out cutting with scissors.  Both the kids did really, really well!  I held the paper for both of them.  Isaiah couldn't quite keep his balance while holding the paper and cutting; I think cutting took so much concentration that he couldn't focus on both.  Nadia just didn't know what she was doing well enough yet.  But I was super excited with how well they both did.

Favorite of the week:

The kids were watching the home movie of our Christmas day when Nadia stood by Isaiah and draped her arm around his shoulders.  These two are quite the pair!

We're really "behind" the plan for ABC Jesus Loves Me in some ways, but we are having fun and making progress.  To see what other people are doing with this and other curriculum from this great site be sure to visit by clicking here!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Month in Review

We've been busy with school, but life's been too busy to write about school.  Here's a taste of what we've been up to learning, mostly in pictures; there's just so much to share that I figured I'd let the pictures tell the story.

Colors, shapes, fine motor skills, counting, we can do so much with construction paper and glue!
Tearing paper to make a blue and purple kite

Happy to tear paper! (he just doesn't know it's also good for strengthening those hands!)

Gluing the kite together
Stickers are really popular with these two
Both the kids can count to four, sometimes independently, sometimes needing a little assistance.  It's lots of fun to hear their little voices.  

We've been able to add some gross motor, walking with Isaiah!
Isaiah is really into the color yellow lately.  Sometimes his color recognition kind of comes and goes, but it's definitely expanding.  When he's "on" he can get red, blue, green, yellow and even orange!  In this picture you can see the "stop light" that I made for the kids to practice matching, identifying and counting colors.  Nadia really enjoyed it and played with it several times.  Isaiah matched the colors just right!  He can match his colors almost 100% of the time.  
"The Wheels on the Bus" was a book one week, but we have the real thing!  This bus "sings" the fun song
Once, while painting, Nadia fell out of her chair.  (she was fine, don't panic)  She started crying more when I tried to comfort her because she thought I was going to make her stop painting!  As soon as she got back to work, she immediately calmed down.
Painting, painting, painting.  We've been doing lots and lots of projects with painting.

Shh, it's a surprise!

And lots of play-doh!  

We've enjoyed some great play dates with our new friends, too!  We are so thankful for the new friends God has brought into our lives.

There's so much more I could tell you, but that's all for now.  We're officially on break, and I'm looking forward to planning more fun learning for next year.  Maybe I'll even make the time to share our learning, but don't hold your breath.  Just know we're having fun!

Merry Christmas!