Sunday, August 5, 2012

Major Nerves

Our first official day to the new school year begins in about 12 hours. I am a huge ball of nerves. Not completely sure why. I only have 2 children to teach! My own children at that. I believe I'm nervous because we have a completely new curriculum this year. One I've heard nothing but good things about. Why am I so nervous then? I'm guessing it is because I do not want to fail my children in any way, shape or form.

Jelly Belly has been through a lot of therapy since I last updated. We FINALLY have a diagnosis for him. He has ODD and ADHD with learning disabilities as well. Bless his heart. He is smart as any child should be his age with the exception of his alphabet. He had so much trouble trying to grasp his letters. So much we stopped for awhile because of the advice from his psychologist. Yes, we stopped school. We typically school year round, but we stopped. We didn't finish our last school year, nor are we going to. Why???? Well glad you asked?!?!

You see, Jelly Belly has Occupational Therapy (OT) 1 time a week. He adores his therapist and to be quite honest, so do I. She has made some VERY impressive headway with Jelly Belly. In just about 10 sessions, she has been able to teach him almost his complete alphabet, upper case. Best part for myself, she has helped me with some ideas to continue teaching the alphabet to Jelly Belly at home. I'm so beyond thrilled with the work those two are accomplishing. There is a lot more which does happen in OT, but for now, this is the most important :)

Jelly Belly also has speech and language therapy once a week as well. He has only been to 3 sessions so far. The waiting list was incredible. We both liked his therapist, but she was only filling in for a gal who is on maternity leave. Unfortunately, she has already gone back into her real job which is with the public school systems. Jelly Belly will have yet another temporary therapist until his permanent one is back from maternity leave. I almost wish they would have waited until she was back to even start, but at least Jelly Belly is starting to make progress in this area as well.

I chose our curriculum this year based on the facts of how both Jelly Belly and Life Saver LOVE workbooks. I mean, LOVE them. Not just a little love either. I'm talking about completely overjoyed with workbooks type of love!! I chose to use Christian Light Education this year. We will study Learning to Read and Math with CLE. I chose Apologia for our Science and we are going to study the entire year on the same subject... ocean life. The kids are both so excited. They love anything to deal with the ocean :) It is a perfect fit for us this year since we are going on vacation two times in the next 6 months to... the ocean!!

Since Jelly Belly is going to have his First Communion this year, I have chosen to use the Bible curriculum a sweet lady who works at our church advised me about. I am so excited to use it. It looks like so much fun and I know for a fact I will be learning so much right along with my children. Because Jelly Belly does not attend a Catholic school, he will also need to have some classes at our church as well. Both children will be enrolled in Sunday Morning Religious Education (SMRE) classes as well. They are sooo thrilled because our VBS was cancelled this year.

Jelly Belly will be officially doing 1st grade school work, but he technically should be in 2nd grade. After speaking with this therapist, she has no doubt he will be caught up in no time. I am so thankful she was home schooled as well and she understands how kids who are homeschooled really don't have official grade levels!!!

Life Saver will be doing the 1st grade work right along with us. She is technically in Kindergarten this year. My husband and I decided to not have her move along into 1st grade quiet yet. While she is super smart and can keep up with the work without any issues at all, we believe maturity wise, she isn't quite there yet. I know with time, this will change as well. I have no doubts about it!

I feel more prepared for tomorrow morning just typing all of this out! I am truly looking forward to our best school year ever. Both kids are excited and to be honest, so am I. I thank God daily for blessing me with being able to educate  my children.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Crazy weather

One day we are enjoying nice Spring like temperatures. We play outside and get a slight sunburn. Then a few days later it turns pretty cold. Then warm again. Then cold again. It feels as if we have been on a roller coaster, yet we are nowhere near a theme park!! The kids are still hoping for snow considering they never got to play outside in any measurable amounts of snow this year. Not even enough to build a microscopic snowman!! Unfortunately, I don't believe we will have any snow for a long time. Instead, today we are experiencing strong to severe thunderstorm warnings. Same thing for tomorrow. After these storms, the temperatures are going to be cool enough to yet again turn the furnace back on!!

The good thing in all this crazy weather, is the fun we had this week. We got to enjoy the zoo with very few people there. The temperatures were cool enough too see all of the animals. The kids had such a great time. Grammie purchased the yearly pass for us so we can continue going back as often as we want. Thank you Grammie for providing us with a wonderful educational gift :)

JellyBelly and LifeSaver also got to be Jr Dolphin trainers during the dolphin show. I was so proud to see them both "training" their dolphins with the other kids while being in front of so many people. To think people believe homeschooled children are not socialized. *smile* Us homeschool parents know otherwise ;)

JellyBelly says his favorite animal was the "long neck", or giraffe!! LifeSaver declared the zebras her favorite. We are going to spend some time one day soon learning lots more about their favorite animals and complete a unit study on them. They will really enjoy this.

It is the time of year again when I have to decide which curriculum to purchase for next Fall. My mom and I went to the homeschool convention a few weeks ago while the kiddos spent a few days with Papa and Nana. I was able to see so many curriculum choices and view them hands on. Makes it so much easier than viewing either through a catalog or online. I thought I had narrowed it down and had chosen a curriculum. I found a new one and thought I really wanted to use it. I admit cost played a factor in my decision as this curriculum was half the price of the current one we use.

However, after praying about it and discussing it with a few homeschool advisors and such, I decided... how can I really choose a curriculum mostly for the cost factor. A good education is priceless. I want the best education for JellyBelly and LifeSaver. I don't want to cut corners. So we are sticking with the curriculum we currently use which is Sonlight. We still will be paying less for 2 children versus sending them to a brick school, plus they get a much better education based on their own needs :) I sure cannot go wrong with that!!!

I will post zoo pictures shortly :)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Not so crazy about this weather!!

The kids and I are REALLY and I mean REALLY wanting snow and soon. The kids should have at least more than one day to play in the snow!! A snowfall of more than just a few inches!! Especially because Grammie just bought them new snowsuits. I sure hope that didn't jinx the snow.

Today was a really great day for our schooling. We finished a Science book regarding different types of weather and we also started a new literature book. I admit, I do get a tad nervous when we start a new book for fear the kiddos won't care for it. Today I had absolutely no reason to think that way. They loved our new book. Both JellyBelly and LifeSaver were upset when I stopped reading... after 20 pages!! They even answered every single question correctly afterwards!!!

I am looking forward to our school day on Monday. We are having an entire day devoted to Science. Daddy will be home from his own school classes so he is going to join in on our fun. I have left a few experiments out of our lessons on purpose so Daddy would be able to learn with us. I cannot wait and neither can the kids!!!

The following is a picture taken of LifeSaver all dressed up for her father/daughter dance a few weeks ago. JellyBelly was ever so proud of his little sister. Now if only I could pause their growth for just a few years... sigh :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

It has been awhile

Time has been flying by for us. I have neglected my blog, something I never wanted to do, but I had to do. Life as we knew it last summer has taken a huge turn, but all for the better. JellyBelly has been diagnosed with ADHD as well as ODD. I'm sure it does indeed sound strange I would say our life has changed for the better after finding out such a diagnosis, but it literally has. School was rough. It was beyond difficult. It was heart breaking. It was exhausting. Our family knew we could not continue down the road our schooling was headed. We decided to have an evaluation for JellyBelly. What a relief to hear he was not intending to be a difficult child/student. He couldn't help it.

JellyBelly has been on mediation (no bashing allowed) now for a few months. I was dead-set against medications. It took several doctors to convince me to try medications since therapy alone was not working. I am finally glad I decided not to worry about the stigmatic ridiculing from outsiders. Instead, I focused on JellyBelly and what options were available to him. I am glad I woke up and learned about medications and not opinions. JellyBelly is now the child God intended him to be. He is excelling at school. He is so affectionate, helpful and loving to name just a few positive attributes. While he is far from perfect, he has made an amazing difference. I thank God every day for opening my eyes.

So for our family, this is what has been going on. We took time away from school for almost a month. This is truly a blessing in regards to homeschooling. So instead of our typical school day for that month, we unschooled. You see, children never do stop learning. They are amazing.  They do not have to be in a "normal" school setting to learn. They can learn by doing, hands on. During our month of unschooling, we explored our surroundings. We bonded as a family in ways I had always dreamed of.

Both JellyBelly and LifeSaver are very active in their Scout Troops. JellyBelly sold lots of popcorn on his own as well as through our Parish. He and daddy have been to several camp-outs and activities. They are now preparing for Pinewood Derby. JellyBelly earned his first medal in Scouts, his LiteOfChrist. What a beautiful day at mass. LifeSaver is busy selling Girl Scout cookies. She has worked several cookie booths. Her goal was to sell 100 boxes and she has more than tripled her goal. I am so proud of both my children.

I have been told my kids are blessed to have me as a mother. I do not agree with this. Instead, I feel I am blessed to have JellyBelly and LifeSaver as my children. They are seriously what makes life worth living :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Snow??? In the summer???

After we finished our homeschooling today, the kids asked if we could do just one more activity. Of course I said yes as long as they hurried and cleaned up their messes from the previous activity. I have never seen Jelly Bean or Life Saver move so fast!!!

At first I thought we would work a little more on our numbers by playing with our Cookie Jar  The kids love this game. We have created our own games using our imaginations!! I love to see what games they come up with next!!!

However, I decided to REALLY do something out of the ordinary. I've always read great reviews about Insta Snow Powder So a few weeks ago, I purchased some at our local teacher store. For a fun surprise, I got the supplies ready and we made our "snow". The kids LOVED it. It was really pretty neat and I cannot wait to make it again with them. However, this time we are making A LOT more of it!! The "snow" was even cold to the touch.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A nice and fun surprise

We decided to surprise the kids with something they both have been asking for for quite a long time. TENTS and SLEEPING BAGS!! While searching online for gifts for Life Saver's birthday, I decided to check things out. I came across really good deals on both items for both kids!! I placed the order and Grammie picked the items up and hid them until we were ready to surprise them!!

Daddy took the kids outside and occupied them while I put the tents together. Why I thought this was a good idea, I will never know. I have never wanted to sleep in a tent so I have never attempted to put one together. What made me think I could accomplish such a thing?!?! Grammie attempted to help me, but she is just like me. She's never liked the outdoor camping life either. Finally after hearing a snap in one of the tent poles, I gave up! I called Daddy for HELP!!

The surprise didn't quite turn out like I wanted, but you know, Life is Good. The kids were still thrilled!! Daddy had problems putting the tents together as well so I didn't feel so inadequate!! I did realize one thing, I still have absolutely no desire to sleep outdoors in a tent :)

The tents have now officially been moved from our game room into the kids beds. They love using them as a hideout and I'm ok with that! Afterall, they are only little for awhile!!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Midwestern storms

Here in the Midwest, storms are typical. Bad storms even more so. As mentioned in a previous post, Daddy was gone to New York. Before he left, he set the sprinkler system up for us to where it would hit the garden just perfectly. All we had to do was turn on the faucet. Easy enough. Jelly Belly and Life Saver took turns doing this nightly chore. We had to wait until around 8pm each night because it was sooo hot outside. 

One night, we were sitting outside and in rolled some clouds. Ok maybe not just clouds, but storm clouds. 

 Considering we still had a great amount of sunshine as well behind me and there was neither thunder nor lightening, I figured we had a few more minutes of outside time. Sure enough. This cloud blew right over us as if to tease us with the though of some much needed rain. Oh well. The kids got to stay outside playing and the garden was getting water by the sprinkler.

Until about 10 minutes later. Then I heard thunder and in a matter of minutes, we got even more storm clouds. The temperature dropped FAST. We turned of the sprinkler and ran inside just in time. The skies opened up and poured. Finally rain. Then came the hail. And more hail. And even more hail. Needless to say we could have done without the hail. Many of our neighbors are already having their roofs replaced from our last 2 hailstorms. So far we haven't needed to do so.


 While I do LOVE where we live, I could do without our typical Midwestern storms.