Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Building the Machine - The Parents

Again I ask you, is this what you really want for your kids?

When the full implementation of Common Core reaches your state, how will you feel about it?  The beginning of it is happening in my state and I'm already disgusted.  Thank God for my right to homeschool.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tell Me Again...

This made me laugh. The last sentence. I don't condone violence, but come on, it's just funny.

On a more serious note, however, I'm sure that many of you out there can relate to the feelings associated with this picture.  I'm sure that, like me, you have had people come up to you and talk about your child's eating habits and offer you their form of "advice" which amounted to nothing more than them basically telling you that you are a horrible mom.

I'm sure you have had your share of people who told you to do what they did with their little Johnny who wouldn't eat his carrots and peas.  After all, all kids are exactly the same and they all can be handled in exactly the same way.  Forget that little Johnny was just being a royal pain in the butt and that your child actually has a severe sensory aversion to the smell, texture, taste, etc... Forget all of that, because whatever they did with little Johnny is key to everything.  After all, for them it worked so they must know, right?

Good grief.

People like that just irritate the crap out of me.

I've had it all.  I've had the unsolicited advice.  I've had the concerned looks.  I've had the stern talks from older women who think they know better.  I've been there done that in the food battle.  And you know what?  I've survived and so has my son.  We've made it through by doing exactly what we do.  He eats the same thing every day for breakfast and lunch.  He has about four or five things he rotates through for dinner.  If we are out somewhere and what he eats isn't available then yes, I allow him to munch on a roll and call it good.

And you know why?  Because I am his mom and I did my research.  I went to his doctor and I asked in my concern after getting crap from people who had no business giving me crap.  And his doctor said to me, "If all he will eat is peanut butter, then you feed him peanut butter every day of his life, as much as he wants."

It's called doing what needs to be done.

And every so often I suggest a new food.  Sometimes he tries it.  Other times he gags just on the smell.  That's life.  I never force him to ingest anything, and I never will.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Building the Machine

Does one size really fit all?

Is this what you really want for your kids?  I'd love to hear from you.

My children are homeschooled.  Our curriculum has nothing to do with Common Core.

As long as we are financially able to homeschool we will continue to do so.  

Common Core is not what I want for my kids.

Pay particular attention to what is said about college... 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Verse of the Week - Habakkuk 3:17-18

When all else fails, when everything is gone, what do you do?

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
Habakkuk 3:17-18

What is encouraging you this week?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Homeschooling with ADHD in Mind

Over the summer I joined a few online homeschooling communities.  What I found in the communities is that there are a lot of parents out there who are asking how to homeschool a child with ADHD.  As I read through multiple posts from multiple groups on this subject, the common thread that I found in all of them is that the parents removed their kids from public school for a change, but rather than truly homeschooling their kids, the parents just brought public school home.

What do I mean?  

When you remove a child with ADHD from a public school setting because it isn't working and the school isn't handling the child properly, you can't just bring that child home and sit them at a desk and expect them to stay there all day long doing the same boring thing they were doing at the public school.  You have to think outside the box!

My daughter has ADHD.  We homeschool her.  We have tried the public school route and it didn't work.  But homeschooling does work.  What am I doing to help her?  It starts with letting her be her - I'm not molding her into what someone has told me she should be.

So in an effort to answer those "what do we do?" questions from the online homeschooling communities, I'm going to tell you what I do.  This is what works for my daughter.  It may not work for your kid, but it will give you ideas to get you started on the path to creating a homeschool, not a public school replica.  Please note, my daughter has inattentive and hyperactive ADHD.  She does not lack impulse control so that part of ADHD is not what I am familiar with.

Homeschooling Tips with ADHD in Mind
  • Set up a routine and stick to it.  Start your school day at the same time every day (for appointments or field trips plan ahead of time and make it clear to your child days in advance that there will be a change).  Do each subject in the same order every day.  Be sure to focus on the subjects your child struggles with in the morning when he/she is wide awake and more alert. Try to eat meals at the same time every day, and include snack breaks.  Keeping a routine helps your child to manage their body in a calmer manner.
  • Set up time limits.  Only allow a certain amount of time to be spent on each subject.  This will help your child to understand that there are expectations and things need to be finished.  This type of motivation can aid in focus.  Time limits help to cut down on the zoning out that can take place in a child with inattentive ADHD.
  • Allow for movement.  Don't run your homeschool like a public school in which children are expected to sit at a desk for the vast majority of the day and not wiggle around.  Allow your child to get up and move.  Practice math while jumping.  Go outside and write spelling words on the sidewalk or driveway with chalk.  Create games that allow the child to twist, turn, run, jump, and play while learning.  It doesn't matter if your kid is 5, 8, or 11 - kids with ADHD need to move! 
  • Take frequent (scheduled into your routine) breaks.  Go outside and get some sunshine and fresh air.
  • Stop obsessing on copy work.  So many people seem stuck in a rut with this.  A child does not have to copy definitions or spelling words a billion times to learn them.  Children with ADHD lack the focus to do this type of thing constantly.  If you insist on using copy work in your homeschool then I recommend limiting it.  If you are going to copy spelling words, for example, then don't copy science definitions.  Use games for what you don't copy.  Use arts and crafts.  Use colorful worksheets.  Find what grabs your child's attention and go with it.
  • Get a whiteboard or chalkboard and let your child use it.  Quizzes and tests can be easily given on the board and the standing can be much more comfortable for the child than sitting down hovering over a paper.
  • Find your child's happy spot and allow them to use it for school.  If reading is more pleasurable while your child is sprawled out on twenty stuffed animals then let them sprawl.
  • Sing songs, dance around, learn finger plays, and develop body actions (raising hands, hopping up and down, bending, jumping, etc.) to help your child remember what they're learning.
  • Don't just blindly follow the curriculum you purchased.  Go through it weekly to add to it what you need or subtract what isn't working.  Search the web for hands on activities to enhance learning.  If you can't find learning games to get your child moving, then create some.  Use your imagination - it is that creative spirit that will excite your ADHD learner and keep them interested in school.

Above all, I just want to stress to you that if you removed your child from public school because it wasn't working then you can't expect to duplicate that setting at home and have it be some sort of miracle.  

You have to be willing to learn from your child.  Learn what he/she likes and doesn't like.  Learn what motivates your child.  Learn what grabs their attention and what doesn't - and then use it.  

Again I say, think outside of the box.  In fact, don't even consider it a box  Square is so normal.  Think outside of the octagon!  And let your child be who they are.  Don't shape them into what some teacher at public school said they should be.  

Every child is different and we have to teach how they learn, not expect them to learn how we teach.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Halloween Costumes Already?

My daughter asked to go Halloween shopping already.  

It's still a month away!  But I went.  

She initially wanted to be Maleficent for Halloween, but that was quickly forgotten once we entered the store and she saw... Yes, you guessed it... Frozen costumes.

She is now going to be Princess Anna.  Granted, Anna is a cuter look, in my opinion.  But what I am finding more humorous about the whole thing is that I'm certain she will be one of many, many, a great many, Anna's out trick-or-treating that night.

Her best buddy is going as Elsa.  Honestly, I can't wait to see them together.  It will be a cuteness attack, I'm sure.  

I may even find myself singing about building a snowman.  

And maybe, since I am going as Thing 2 (Hubby is Thing 1), I will have to bring some sort of fake snow along to cause a little mischief with the girls - that's a "Thing" type thing to do, right?

Yes, you read that correctly.  I'm going to be in costume.  I haven't done that in years!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

You'd Think this Would Be Easy

There are some things in life that just can't be helped, and one of those things is that kids grow.  They grow and they need new clothes because they outgrow the old ones.

As kids grow older the clothing changes.  Snap buttons cease to exist.  Fewer and fewer adjustable waistbands can be found.

It's a clothing jungle out there!  And it is seriously frustrating when you have a kid who struggles with fine motor skills.

And when you have to buy jeans... Well, that will drive even the purest of the pure to drinking!

I just went through it.

I survived to tell the tale, but I am still recovering.

My son, Bug, needed new jeans.  This has been the summer of growth for him.  Pants that fit him for years are suddenly 2-3 inches too short.  It was time to shop.  All I wanted was two pairs of jeans that fit him.  I didn't think I was asking for too much.

But then I discovered that at his age all the jeans are now made with loop buttonholes.  Snap buttons don't exist anymore.  It's like when a kid hits a certain size the retailers of the world just decide they should be able to handle certain things - but not all of them can!

I need jeans with NO loop buttonholes!  He can't, try as he may, get the button through them.  He just can't!

But they don't make them.  At least not in the stores around here.  Multiple brands, but no snap buttons in a size 10.  Oh yes, the 10 year-old is in a size 10 now!

So there I was, stressed to the max, in the store and trying to get Bug to understand that he was just going to have to deal with it.  I told him we would practice until we couldn't practice anymore.  He looked like he was two seconds away from a serious mental break.

Then I had an idea!

Bug is seriously thin so I always buy him "slim" sizes.  Well, while I was wandering about the store trying to find him some pants I discovered that there was still one brand that existed that still put in the adjustable waistbands in the bigger sizes.

Yes, one does exist!

So I marched out to the Lee jeans display and I got a 10 regular rather than a slim.  I took it back to the fitting room and I had Bug put them on.  They were, of course, too big.  But I tightened up the waistband a couple of notches and then I told Bug to try pulling them on and off.

He did.

He pulled them down and he pulled them up.  Up and down.  No need to deal with the crazy button.

Problem solved!

One day even Lee will stop with adjustable waistbands and I guess then we will have to work diligently on using a belt... Or maybe someone in the retail world will read this a decide to help us moms of special needs kids out on a mass marketing scale.  Hey, it could happen!
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