Monday, September 17, 2012

School Around Surgery

So, last year as I was trying to do school with Isaiah, I got a bit thrown off by several surgeries as well as getting ready to move across the country.

This week I have a learning opportunity!  Wednesday Isaiah is having a VEPT-R extension.  The 2 metal rods in his back to help correct/slow down his scoliosis need to be extended because he's growing - hooray!  And I get to learn again how to keep our schedule flexible but still going.  Thankfully next week is a scheduled review week, so I have a fallback plan.

We've only met this surgeon one time.  He was nice and all, but I'm used to knowing Isaiah's doctors for oh, six years or so, and I'm getting used to the idea of letting someone new get their hands on Isaiah.  I'd appreciate prayers not only for the surgery and Isaiah's recovery but also for our faith to be strengthened in the Lord as we trust Him for this next procedure in Isaiah's life.

He's already answered one prayer in providing someone to be with Nadia for the day!  I'm sure I'll tell you more about our new friend along the way, but please thank God with me for this provision.

And if you don't read my personal blog, please continue to pray for my friend Katie and her little girl Karis who's still in PICU (day 15).  She has had some improvement, but still needs lots of prayer!

Thanks, friends!

There's that "funny face" again - LOVE

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Week in Review - Week 2

Our second week of school went fairly well.  Several activities had to be packed in, including more doctors and such.  We also added Monday School with the East Gresham First Class Co-op.

Both the kids had a blast.  Isaiah was not ready to leave.  All the way to the van he was saying and signing "more".

Theme/Lesson:  God Made the World Around Me
Bible Story:  Creation - Day 3
Memory Verse:  In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  Genesis 1:1
Poem:  Pat-a-Cake
Song:  The B-I-B-L-E
Book of the Week:  Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss (this was a deviation from the original lesson plan)
Letter:  A-G
Number: 1
Color:  Blue
Shape:  Line
Self-care & Manners:  "Please"
Information:  First Name
Fine Motor:  Sorting Toy
Gross Motor:  Jump Forward/"Wheelies"

I tried really hard to get a "first day" picture of Isaiah and Nadia while we waited for Monday School to start.  Here's the best one of the lot:

We combined blue and lines with painting on paper plates.  Isaiah wasn't as thrilled with this activity, but he did better than he has in the past.  And check out that developing grip!

Isaiah helped me get some supper ready but cutting lines in his blue play-doh as I cut up some chicken. I like to wear gloves when I cut chicken, and Isaiah decided he needed some, too - perfect the were blue!

We read Horton Hear a Who because I couldn't find the recommended book.  It's a long book, but the kids seemed to enjoy what we read.  We would read just a few pages at a time, so we haven't finished the book yet.  The kids know that Horton is an elephant, though!  We also made elephant faces from the template in the lesson.  It required spots of glue and lines of glue.  I was surprised how well both the kids did with controlling the glue, though they did need some help, so no pictures. :)

Nadia loved playing with the shape sorter!  Both the kids are getting really good at saying "please".  Nadia still just says her name is "sister", but I admit I think it's really sweet.  I kind of like that she thinks of herself in a relational way, even though she wouldn't say it that way, of course.

Off and on I caught the kids counting things in their hands!  All on their own they got to 3!

For Day 3 of Creation we had a couple of activities that the kids enjoyed.  We used the circles again and glued green on blue then pictures of plants I had printed.

We worked on the verse again, and the kids joined in on the song when we got to the reference!  They also loved The B-I-B-L-E, saying the letters sometimes, but most often laughing at the end and asking for more.
Isaiah doing his "funny face"

Then came the favorite activity of the week!  I had some plants that I couldn't quite keep alive, so we bought some bulbs and played in the dirt!

The only thing that convinced these two to stop playing in the dirt was the promise of a walk after we washed off.

His "silly face"
Here are my favorite pictures from the week (besides Isaiah's face):

Play date requirement:  Stroller and baby doll (the doll was in Nadia's lap)

Hard working pie makers!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Week in Review - Week 1

Our first week of homeschooling has come to a close.  I'm sitting at my desk (yes, I actually have a desk, and I'm using it!) while the kids finish their rest time.  We had a great week.  Thanks to my family and friends for praying for us as we started this school year.

Heidi at ABC Jesus Loves Me created the curriculum that we are using this year.  It's actually what we used last year, but somehow 3 surgeries, travels and preparing to move across the country kind of contributed to us not completing the curriculum.  Yeah, we were kind of busy.

So, we started over...

Week 1

Theme/Lesson:  God Made the World Around Me
Bible Story:  Creation - Day 1 &2
Memory Verse:  In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  Genesis 1:1
Poem:  Pat-a-Cake
Song:  This Little Light of Mine
Book of the Week:  The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don & Audrey Wood (this was a deviation from the original lesson plan)
Letter:  A-G
Number: 1
Color:  Red
Shape:  Circle
Self-care & Manners:  Sitting Quietly
Information:  First Name
Fine Motor:  Writing on Vertical Surface
Gross Motor:  "Put the Fire Out"

Nadia always has the bedhead look at breakfast
Our first day started off right:  We had chocolate chip pancakes and bacon for breakfast.  Can't go wrong with sweet and salty; plus the pancakes were basically circles, so we started off with the shape of the week right away.

We did most of our school outside since we still have nice weather right now.  We read about creation, focusing on Day 1 and Day 2.  We started learning our memory verse by putting it to a suggested tune, which they both seemed to enjoy.  They both loved This Little Light of Mine and worked hard at holding up their index fingers for their lights, even though they didn't join me in singing. Pat-a-Cake was a big hit, too, and they both actually clapped with me!

We read The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear.  The kids took turns turning the pages for me, which helped them stay focused.  On each page I had them touch the strawberry and identify one other object in the picture.

During our snack time they colored strawberries.  Nadia is really into coloring, and Isaiah is finally starting to show some interest, too.
Check out that grip!
The rest of that first day we just played and relaxed, enjoying the sunny weather on our circle walk around the apartments.

The rest of the week we started doing more hands-on activities, again trying to do as much as possible outside.  Tuesday morning Isaiah had an appointment, but we still managed to sneak in a trip to the library.  We found another book full of red, Fire Truck by Peter Sis, with a cute and simple story.  After I would read the books, the kids would take turns with them.  

I love this picture.  Nadia got distracted by an airplane overhead, and Isaiah is looking at her with the funniest expression.

To go with our Creation theme, I had cut out circles for the kids to glue and color and such signifying each day.  We had a black circle on which we glued a white half circle for "light" to show Day 1.  I had a blue circle on which we glued cotton balls for clouds to represent "sky" and "water".  I love it when I can combine 2 activities (shape and Creation!)

Isaiah LOVES playing with glue.  We had a lot of clean up after, but it's worth it to strengthen those hand muscles!

As for the letters A-G and the number 1?  I have letter cards that I made last year that we played with and talked about the names of the letters.  We didn't even work on identification yet, just the sounds that they make.  For numbers we are using the Apple Tree Number Book.  The kids each colored one blank tree for the front and back cover of a book we'll make through the year.  Then they glued one apple on the first tree.

I laughed when I saw the self-care and manners goal of "sitting quietly".  Anyone who knows my daughter very well at all will laugh, too, as they imagine us working on this task.  She is actually getting better, but don't expect us to make it through a whole church service any time soon.  Isaiah has learned this skill pretty well, as well as his first name and his sister's first name.  Nadia will identify herself in pictures as "Sister", which is pretty cool, I think.  We're working on her first name.  Being able to tell people her name will be a key skill for this social butterfly.

We practiced fine motor skills in ways other than writing on a vertical surface, so we'll have to hit that some other time.  We also opted for a play date at the park over "Put the Fire Out".  I have to admit that trying to get these two to do some kind of relay all by myself makes me feel a little anxious.  I'm choosing to wait for a time that I have reinforcements.  (our trip to the library was, um, entertaining to others, I'm sure)

Isaiah had a great time putting the wood chips in the CIRCLE
At dinner Thomas was asking the kids what they had learned, and with a few well-asked questions, Isaiah was able to tell his daddy he learned what God made on Day 1 & 2, that a strawberry and a fire truck are red.  I realize that this might not sound like much, but tears actually came to my eyes as I realized what Isaiah had LEARNED from the week!

Nadia has learned lots, too.  Her vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds.  She also learned the color red this week and the shape of a circle.  She's started trying to sing along, and she particularly likes songs with gestures.  Here she's gesturing that God is "strong" as she shows you her muscles.

Picture of the week:

I had a hard time choosing my favorite picture, but this one captured the playfulness at snack time one morning in the midst of fun learning.  It makes me smile.  Nadia was trying to feed Isaiah, and he was being silly with her.  I love how my children love each other, and I want to do all I can to foster that love!

If you are interested in the curriculum we're using, feel free to read more by clicking the link "What We Use" above, or simply go to the source at ABC Jesus Loves Me or check out Heidi's blog where she also has a blogroll listing other moms using her different curricula (scroll down and look on the right sidebar).

Have fun learning and loving!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Day Approaches

So, this is it.  I'm officially going to start homeschooling Isaiah.  Nadia's going to get to join in on the fun; I don't think we could keep her away if we wanted to!
I'm going to use the ABC Jesus Loves Me 2 year old curriculum again.  Isaiah is starting to grasp these concepts better, and I think it will still be challenging enough while also giving lots of success.  I also think it will be lots more fun for him as he gets to do things with Nadia.
I'm also much better prepared this year.  I have a weekly folder for each child that I plan to prepare a few days ahead.  I have only planned a month at a time (in a loose, flexible fashion) because I want to see how much we can really do without putting too much pressure on me, setting me up for unnecessary stress.
Another new aspect of our schooling will be Monday School with First Class Homeschool Ministries' East Gresham branch.  For 8 weeks or so we'll join other kids and parents for a morning of learning and fun.  I'm hopeful that this weekly meeting time will provide lots of things for our family, including accountability and encouragement for me, friends for Isaiah and Nadia, other ways that we can find out how to minister in our community.  The kids are at the age and ability now that I want to find a ministry the three of us can do together.  (feel free to give suggestions in the comments!)
Anyway, if all goes to plan, I hope to post about our first week next weekend; but don't hold your breath!
Prayers and advice very much appreciated!

I have very adorable students, wouldn't you agree?