Thursday, May 22, 2014

A New Adventure~ Offically Homeschooling

I know long time no post.  Only excuse I have was I was not into blogging anymore.  I had different things on my mind.

My mind is back to brain storming ideas to blog about.  Topics and exciting things I would like to document so that I can look back down the road and share with those surfing around on the web who might like to read what I have to say.

Just a quick update first though.  Ladybug my daughter is finishing up Kindergarten at our local public school.  She has enjoyed it and seems to be thriving so far in the Public School setting.  She is reading books and her handwriting is amazing. 

She has had her ups and downs this past school year.  In December she came down with Shingles.  Yep you read that right SHINGLES. 

She was only 5 at the time too!  I was shocked when I saw the rash that had formed on her left side near her hip turn into thousands and thousands of small blisters and quickly ran to my computer to Google photos of Shingles.  *Special note: My daughter had Chicken Pox when she was 6 months old.  So she has the wild virus in her little body and that is the only way she got shingles.  She did not get shingles from anyone else.  Because she had chicken pox the shingles virus was in her body- dormant - until something stressed her nervous system/ or immune system (not sure witch) and caused the virus to show its self in the painful lesions on her left hip.  We got meds for her and she healed up very quickly.  She is such a trooper when it comes to these things.  I do worry that she will get the shingles again a few more times in her life.  I have two friends who had daughters who got chicken pox under the age of 1 and also developed shingles several times in their primary years.  So here is hoping that the next few years go smoothly.

Bug my son has grown up so much over the past 4 years.  He is 9 yrs old and finishing up 3rd grade.  Starting in 1st grade I pulled him out of public school and used a virtual school to do his education at home.  It helped out with a lot of his behavior issues.  Over the past 3 yrs we have done different types of therapy (Occupational- SPIO suits, Sensory Brushing, Counseling, and Medications) and I think we finally have figured out what helps him and what does not.  He has some anxiety issues and the medication we currently have him on has helped, as well as monthly counseling appointments (use to be every other week).  He has made huge improvements.  Unfortunately he still has anxiety issues and difficultly expressing his verbal aggression at times.  Usually towards his little sister.  Some of this is sibling issues and jealousy.

My husband has gone back to school but this time for a career that he will like and that has 100% job opportunity.  He is just about to finish up his first year of Hydraulics/Pneumatic training.  And the exciting part is he has gotten straight A's for the past 3 quarters, and this was done all by himself, no farming out reports that needed to be done.  This has all been him.  I am proud of him.  I pray that he will be happy in a new job in the next year when school ends.  I really need him to be happy and enjoying his job.  It will help me to be a better mother and wife.

As for me, well I have been trying to hold every thing together the past 3 yrs.  I have unfortunately gone through some dark times.  Depression seems to run in my veins especially during the winter months.  I have tried medications only to gain excessive amounts of weight, witch I still can't seem to get off even with exercising or cutting back extra calories like I use to. This past winter I went Medication Free and despite the gloomy weather and darker days I managed through.  My family did make a trip down to California during winter break.
~ Bryan and the kids with his mother at Santa Cruz~

 It was a fast trip and a difficult one with me being the only parent for most of the time but I think it helped break up the gloom for me during that time of the year.  I am not sure what I will do this next winter.  I am not trying to dwell on it right now and just enjoy the longer days and the warmer weather.  The birds on my porch and the butterflies flying around.  Summer is almost upon us and I am feeling my mood lift.

So that is the brief update.  Now on to why I have felt this sudden excitement to blog again.  As mentioned above, my son has been home with me for the past 3 yrs doing his education at home, but through a virtual school.  This next year I am excited to say I am going to take the plunge and officially homeschool him on my own.  I have taken the course in the state I live in to be qualified to do this.  I just have been afraid I would not know what I was doing.  And even though I am still scared and worried about this I do know that I am fully capable of tackling this endeavor.  I have joined several homeschooling groups on Facebook, and read tons of blogs.  Videos from Homeschooling groups on YouTube have helped me not feel alone.  This past year at the virtual school, it has been an eye opening experience.  I finally realized it was to stifling and not free enough for me or my son.  I would push him through lessons even though he was sick or I was sick, just to stay on schedule.  I worried to much about the monthly conference - if I was doing ok as the learning coach.  Feeling like you are being watched and judged all the time is NO fun and is exhausting. 
Also with all his doctor appointments and the class requirements he had I felt it was eating into the quality time we had in the learning processes.  So for several months I batted around the idea if I felt I could homeschool him on my own.  Pick out my own curriculum (or create my own) and take our time with the lessons and subjects.  And when I received the email about re registration into the virtual school I happily declined.

I am scared.  I fear I will miss something, but I also know that the past 3 yrs that I have been schooling my son through the virtual school we have fought a lot.  He has told me repeatedly he hates school.  I have taken that personally.  Every time I hear those words come out of his mouth I hear him saying "I hate you!"  I have tried really hard not to take it personally, but how can I not, when I am the one making him do the lessons. Making him.  I fear the teacher will come to me if he has not done his work.

I have taken to much responsibility of his actions as my own over the years,  I know that.  I have always done this when it comes to my son.  Blame it on the group of mothers who circled me when my son was in Kindergarten and told me point blank my son was a bully.  The looks on their faces said it all.  "It is your fault and what are you going to do about it?"  That is what I heard go through my mind and unfortunately it has stuck with me for these years. 

As the year has come to a close and the subjects are completed but hours still need to be clocked,  I have had the opportunity to try some new ideas out.  I have taken the time to slow down on things, and really just relax.  We finished the schools Literature curriculum several weeks ago.  I took this as a sign and decided to step out of my comfort zone.  I told my son to go pick out a new book to read.  He has several books in his bedroom he has never picked up or read.  He continually goes back to the "Diary Of a Wimpy Kid" all the time.  READS them over and over.  But this day I told him to find a book he had not read.  He obeyed and brought back a small chapter book with 11 chapters total.  I told him that he needed to read for 30 mins and then narrate back to me the story so far.  My son is a very fast reader and he finished the book.  He told me about that story.  I then randomly opened up the book and pulled words out for vocabulary. He knew most of them but the ones he did not he looked them up on the internet for their definition.  We did the same thing the next day by picking out another book.  He was excited and more interested in working.  The next day I had him pick one more book from his book shelf, but this time I took the time to read each chapter myself and I created a lesson plan for the 9 chapter book.  I had vocabulary words picked out that he had to look up before reading, and I had several questions to use for discussion after the reading.  In addition to this, I introduced LapBooking to my son.

He was NOT interested at first at all.  I showed him the two mini books I made and the names of the two characters we had met in the story.  The book was called "Sir Lancelot the Great".  I had wrote Sir Lancelot on one mini book and Sir Phalot on the other.  I had also drew a sword on each mini book too.  My son said right away, "I would put flames on Sir Lancelot's sword, and two swords crossing on Sir Phalot's." I told him he could add those to my pictures if he wanted to.  At first he said no.  So I showed him the questions I had inside the mini books and asked him to please verbally tell me the answers and I would write down what he said.  He reluctantly obeyed.  But then he saw what I had wrote and saw that I had planned to glue these mini books into this brightly colored folder that had been folded into the form of a book too, and then he asked for the mini books to look at.  He grabbed a marker and began drawing the flames and other sword on the mini books.  He was HOOKED!  The next day I wrote the names of the next to characters we met in the book, and he drew the pictures to represent them.  I still wrote in questions into the mini books and he still dictated to me what to write in for the answers.  But by day three he was writing the name of the characters (even adding a few extras that I had not asked him to do) on the mini books, and writing his own statements about the characters inside each mini book.  He was so engaged and jazzed about doing reading and even writing.   I am excited and proud of myself and my ability to create a simple lesson for my son.  I saved each lesson I made and plan on typing it up and maybe posting it to share down the road.

The last few weeks have been more relaxed in general on the lessons.  We are spending more time on quality versus the quantity of lessons.  I am feeling peaceful and I can see it in my son as well.  I plan on new posts coming frequently with the good and the bad along this new journey~~ Adventure.


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