Friday, February 13, 2015

Weekly Homeschool Wrap-Up 2/13

The thirteen year old will laugh at this picture some day. Thank goodness he still enjoys his siblings.

In many respects the last two weeks have been so difficult, but God's grace rained down on us more times than I could count. We do devotions in the morning without Daddy, and right after dinner with Daddy. Both sessions have been my saving grace regarding the extreme stress having special needs children brings. Cuddling on the couch with my children while praying with them and pouring my heart and impatient sins out, helps tremendously. Our rewards are greater love and regard for each other, calm spirits, and a better understanding of what it means to live for Jesus and through Him.

This week I ordered Sonlight Core H, which is the second half of the curriculum we're using this year. It's World History Part 2, which we'll switch to as soon as it arrives, while still reading Story of the World Middle Ages and finishing up Story of the World Ancient Times. The boys just aren't that enamored with the novels this year, and with Peter it's been a particularly difficult struggle because of his OCD, which was triggered by the false gods and fleshy Roman culture. Both boys have tender hearts and the topics have included adultery and other things which failed to uplift them. While they need to know about ancient history and all its trappings, I decided it can wait until high school when they're more mature. It wasn't that the books were trash at all, just that they were mature--more so than Core H.

Beth started her new immuno-suppressant drug on Tuesday, which went as well as can be expected with an IV needle involved. They did numb her first, but the fear caused tears and upset, nevertheless. She left with a new "stuffy"--a cute stuffed owl a kind nurse gave her, which put an immediate teary smile on her face. Wednesday morning she sported a large blister on her lower lip which gave her a fat-lip effect and made her scheduled dental cleaning impossible. I worried it was an allergic reaction, but there was no other sign of a reaction and the blister went away by bedtime. The others still had their cleanings and no cavities, thank goodness. Beth has had no apparent side effects so far, other than that blister, which happens sometimes with immuno-suppressant drugs.

The desktop PC I ordered arrived damaged (high fan noise and other suspicious noises, and it's sluggish), so I have to package it and send it back. I had to spend more precious time researching but I finally chose another for $150 more; hopefully, it's better quality. It should arrive Monday. 

My cell phone was old and wouldn't hold a charge and started dropping every call, so there I was, back on the Internet researching. Maddening, when I really just want to read a book, not reviews every night. At first it appeared that smartphones were the only free options and I panicked, but finally I found a free flip phone hiding amid the smartphones. The funny thing is, most of the reviews were from the elderly who don't care for a smartphone and like the large keys. So there you go--I live the speed of an eighty year old

Yes, I love me some large keys and why would I need the Internet everywhere I go? Yes, it seems like it could be used for extra safety and convenience, but Ma Ingalls never needed one and she had even more dangers lurking, like scarlet fever and wild animals. In the dentist office and elsewhere I want to be watching my beautiful children's faces, rather than an addictive device (which I would look at if it was there). Children are always an interesting, even enchanting study and I love watching them and hearing their funny comments and planting kisses on their soft cheeks. In the dentist office waiting room I read The Little Old Lady Who Swallowed a Dreidle from our local library and we were in stitches. Such a funny rewrite. I would have missed giggling in the waiting room with my brood that if I'd had a smartphone--telling myself I deserved a little break.

For one minute I thought I should get the smartphone because our vans are both older and we drive in frigid temperatures, but then I thought of that busy dentist waiting room and remembered that all the other moms were on their smartphones,,,and several of the kids too. And I thought of Ma Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie and I resolved to resist technology on the go for as long as I can, because I'm not a business woman but a mother who deals in precious hearts, not products and profits.

My only regret is that I have no more babies to carry around on our errands! However, Beth is the quintessential Momma's girl and I still wake up every morning with her cuddled against me. She usually makes her way there in the middle of the night and when she finally stops visiting, I will cry buckets. I will look back with fondness at the closeness we shared, knowing she so often provided raining grace for my long, exhausting mothering hours. The years be so short and the days so long, indeed.

Trying to get number formation down, which has been a challenge for both girls due to reversals. Having the starting corner concept introduced by Handwriting Without Tears has helped, but it takes time. Beth is still in K so I don't necessarily need to be concerned unless she still reverses in second grade. Mary is in second grade and her reversals are due to dyslexia.

A princess and her prince: Beth is always creating something. She's been drawing up a storm, leaving pictures all over the house. She used to always use a drawing book for help, but now she copies pictures from the covers of books. Last night she copied Angelina Ballerina from the cover of a library book, and I loved the final product! Her mind thinks in pictures, which is one clue she may have dyslexia also. They think in pictures and are creative artists, often pursuing careers in the theater arts, in illustrating, in creative writing, etc. They have big-picture views of life (right-brained) and see things others don't see, whether it be solutions to problems or innovative possibilities for art and stories. Teaching these students is difficult, but if you understand them well you see God's glory in their uniqueness. God doesn't make mistakes! Little Beth delights me all the live long day!

Air-drying clay projects. They always seem to break soon, but I can't seem to make the time for the firing-type clay.

All About Reading Level 2 - working with the rule for the soft sound of /C/. C says s before e, i, and y.  She had to read each word and tickle it with a feather if it was a soft /c/, and hammer it with a paper hammer if it was a hard /c/.

Stuffed animals are a big deal around here. The girls, especially Beth, even carry them to doctor appointments. They recently started pretending that Paul is a vet, and all the stuffed animals in the house have to go to regular appointments for immunizations, colds and flu, and for eye glasses, teeth exams, arthritis checks, etc. I love how play teaches so much, such as organizational skills, interpersonal skills, etc. They had to make up the rules, the prices, the check-off sheets, the doctor's schedule, etc. It took a lot of their play time and I had a smile in my heart each time they did it. Such a hoot!

All About Reading Level 1: Beth's level - rhyming words with short vowels. Both girls are doing great and like to read ahead in their books, and Mary now checks out her own library books and READS THEM! I am so proud of her and so pleased that she's cracked the reading code. I was concerned that she wouldn't be ready to read Sonlight Books by the third grade, but that worry has disappeared! I've experienced that once the fluency comes, they are off and running.

Semi-sweet baking chips are a nice incentive. 

They called me out to take a picture of the world's greatest snowball. :)

All About Reading Level 1--Bingo with chocolate chips!

She dressed herself. 'Nuff said.

All About Reading 2
R-controlled words with /or/. Read them to "harvest" them.

All About Reading 2 -- Bossy r syllable (r-controlled words)

When she needs to concentrate to sound out a word, she goes into her "workshop" pose. 

Here is Owlie from the hospital. She makes clothes for all her stuffies.

My kids neglect all the Scholastic paperbacks I bought years ago when I was a classroom teacher. I put them out this week so that Beth could use the covers to draw pictures, and so that Mary would pick them up and read them. I usually just keep the library books here, but I changed it up a bit this week. Yes, teaching takes over the house in many respects.

Mary and Peter both love non-fiction reading about animals and gardening. Peter used to love fiction too, but that has changed since his concussion last August--a reality that grieves me more than I can say. He has a harder time concentrating and just can't read as much, unless it's about animals. He used to be two or three Sonlight books ahead of schedule. Not so anymore.

So that's our last two weeks...hard but incredibly rewarding. I am so grateful. I think the two words that best describe these mothering years? Grateful and exhausted, equally. Not a physical exhaustion, although there is that too, but I mostly refer to an emotional exhaustion. Prayer and the Word help me renew my vigor and dump all my worries, and give thanks for the incredible privilege of being a mom...the best job in the world!

How was your week, friends? Hopefully you had nothing to research and lots of blessings! Happy Valentine's Day, too.

Weekly Wrap-Up


Nita said...

Oh your little one is such a strong spirit. The kids looked so happy. I'm visiting from Weekly Wrap Up.

Christine said...

Thank you, Nita! Your blog was a delight to read. You do so well integrating technology and balancing your job with the schooling. Amazing! Have a blessed Valentine's weekend.

Anonymous said...

You do such a brilliant job. You inspire me, you really do.

Beth Bullington said...

It sounds like it was a good week. You did a great job with photos -- I slacked this week in getting photos.

Rachel E. said...

I stumbled upon your blog from another. It's always great to find other sisters in Christ who homeschool and have had similar struggles. Please stop by my blog and have a look. :)

Christine said...

Dear Rachel, I read at your place and you are right. We have struggles in common and I welcome your friendship warmly. Parenting special needs children can be so lonely! Bless you, Rachel. You are in our morning prayers now.

J Mama Bee said...

You are such an inspiration. Parenting special needs kids is a special calling. I'm visiting from Weekly Wrap Up.

Christine said...

Thank you Mama Bee and Sandy, for your kind comments. I am looking forward to visiting you, Mama Bee!