Welcome! I am using this blog to share our family's homeschooling thoughts and experiences.

THIS SCHOOL YEAR (2016-2017): We will be using a variety of different curriculum this year, with Notgrass' Uncle Sam and You as our main History, Bible and Literature focus. Our oldest, EL, is in 12th grade this year, but has special learning needs due to autism. JJ is our youngest, an active boy with Tourette Syndrome. He is in the 8th grade.

Please feel free to follow along....

Friday, August 26, 2011

First Day of 2011-2012 School Year

As you can see by the white board behind the kids, our first day of this school year was on Thursday, August 25th. We were planning on beginning Wednesday, the 24th, but had a change of plans due to Road Runner's consultation with a Physical Therapist (More on that later).

So, on Thursday morning, we had homemade pancakes for breakfast. This is a big deal for us around here because I don't normally fix breakfast. We aren't big breakfast eaters and usually just have a bowl of cold cereal with milk, or toast with a piece of fruit. In cooler weather, I will make oatmeal or Cream of Wheat (and I think we will be eating a lot more of that this year, due to the cost of cold cereal these days). But, anyway, I wanted to make our first day back to school a special day, so I made pancakes.

After breakfast, we did our morning chores, then got to work at the school table. We started using a CALENDAR BOOK this year from Christian Light Publications. It helps the kids understand more about days, weeks, months, years, seasons, and weather. 

Then, the kids began working on an "All About Me" book. We used some of the FREE printables from ALPHABET SOUP and KID PRINTABLES. This was an enjoyable way to record some memories, while getting the kids back into the "swing" of sitting down to do school work. 

After lunch, I began stretching exercises on Road Runner's arms. She had recently seen her Pediatrician for a yearly checkup, and I showed the doctor how RR's arms would not completely extend they way they are supposed to, and how her range of motion is compromised. The doctor agreed that RR should be seen by a Physical Therapist to see what can be done about it. I got a call on Tuesday to let me know the appointment was scheduled for Wednesday morning. The PT consulted with us and said her arms (in her elbow area) have lost their elasticity, due to RR's lack of using them. For example, most kids will hang from the monkey bars, throw balls, swim, and run around playing games. RR has never been very active in this way, and her muscles are showing physical signs of it now. (This is typical in many autistics). He then showed me how to do stretching and strengthening exercises with her at home. These exercises need to be done at least 2-3 times per day for a number of weeks - maybe 6 weeks or more. We go back in 2 weeks to see how much progress has been made.  

The first day of these exercises were very hard for both RR and me. She was uncomfortable with the stretching, and I wasn't too sure how far to push her. But, today went much better. RR knows what to expect now, and I have a better idea of what her threshold is. So, I think we are on the right track now. Its just gonna take time. 

Today, we did a repeat of yesterday, but also included review of some math facts (for RR), and telling time (for Coyote). We also did a lesson in our "Home Economics for Homeschoolers" book, and were introduced to the "Fitball Kids" exercise DVD. 

All in all, it was a good first couple of days. Now, we will enjoy the weekend and the beautiful weather before beginning our main curriculum on Monday morning.  


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Summer is Ending - Time to Get Organized

Summer is quickly coming to an end. I have been organizing our school room and think almost everything is ready for us to start back to school full-time. The plan is to begin with some light schoolwork on Wednesday, the 24th. Then, the following Monday, we will probably begin our studies in My Father's World for this year.

It has been a good, but very busy summer for me and the kids. Work for the "Principle" has carried on as usual, and we have not had a chance to schedule a family vacation yet for this year. But, if things go as planned, we may have some time away in September or October. This will be a change for us, as we usually do vacations in August, but the weather will be cooler, and some attractions we intend to visit will most likely be less busy. So, that will be a positive.

Road Runner had her 13th birthday recently. She had a "dog" party and invited a few homeschool friends (a handful is plenty, as its not as overwhelming for her) to join her in painting their faces, decorating dog tag necklaces, and decorating cupcakes to look like dogs. Of course, we all barked the Happy Birthday song to her, too. It was a lot of fun.

In the background of the picture above, you can see our daily CHORE CHARTS. For anyone looking for an inexpensive way to keep track of chores for each child, and even for yourself, this is what we are using. I have seen many different versions of chore charts, some of them very expensive. But, for us, these simply made and FREE charts are just the thing. Basically, we just need a daily visual reminder of what needs to get done, and this helps tremendously. So, if you are interested, go to DLTK's website and use their customizable charts to input what chores you want your child (or yourself) to get done each day. Then, print them out! Put them into a magnetic frame (I found ours on Amazon.com) and stick them on the refrigerator, or use a clipboard and hang them on the wall. As you can see, our kids chose a picture to go along with their own chart and then colored it in to make it more "their own." 

So, that's my tip for today! Hope someone can use the idea.