August 18, 2011

An Off Day…..

It seems that my Little Girl and I are opposites this week. When I’m all charged up and ready to do some school, she isn’t even anywhere near wanting to sit and do work. Or when she wants to “Learn”, I’m just not feeling like doing much.
Today I got up and got myself moving early, which is really not normally how I am, but I had things that I have been putting off and they needed to get done. So, I made bread and baked zucchini bread, folded laundry and cleaned up the house a bit. We normally start school about 9am and I was all ready to go. Little Girl got dressed and ready. Then it was like STALL, STALL, STALL……
We did get a couple things done, but it was like pulling teeth. Yesterday in comparison, we got everything done and more. I just don’t get it. Its like every other day is a good day for her. Maybe I’ll just start doing every other day for school, at least until we really get into a routine. We have only been homeschooling for 3 weeks now. I guess I have to accept that there will be days like this and I just have to do my best and move on.

August 16, 2011

Our Kindergarten Classroom

My original option was to do our work in the kitchen, but because my step-son decided to continue high school in Connecticut we now have a School room! I always secretly longed to have a room devoted to school.  I just think for our family it will make things easier.  Everything will have a place and I will be able to shut the door and school will be over.

So, here are some pics of what it looks like as of now. I’m sure things will get changed a bit as we get used to being in there and find out what we do and don’t need.

This is our work area. Little Girl sits on a therapy ball to do her work, so she still gets the movement she needs while getting her work done.

Little Girl’s workboxes.  We use 9 boxes and it has been working well for Kindergarten, so far.  We also do the calendar first thing every morning with the day of the week, the number day and the weather.  Below the Calendar is the basket of library books and early readers that she will be reading aloud to me.

This area is for storage of curriculum and manipulatives, as well as the printer and soon the laminator!  To the right of this unit is a bureau that holds more supplies and things not needed daily.

This is my computer and desk, I just use this for research and printing, I have another computer in the living room for non-school things (like writing this blog).

That is pretty much our school room right now.  There are a few things that I have seen in others rooms that I would love someday, but for now I am happy here.

August 15, 2011

School is Now in Session!

As of August 1st, we are official Home Schoolers! I sort of jumped in without being totally prepared, but that’s really just how I roll.  Things have been going pretty well, most days. We have been focusing on the 3R’s mostly with some nature walks and geography thrown in here and there.  The first week I thought we would start around 8 am, seeing as though Little girl is up by 6 most days.  We have since moved our start time to 9am, as Mommy wasn’t able to get herself together for 8am.  We are using a modified Work box system that is working well for us.  I will post more about this later.

Handwriting actually has been going very well considering Little Girl’s fine motor delay and aversion to writing altogether.  We are using Handwriting Without Tears-Kindergarten and one of the first things we did was build Mat Man with the wooden pieces.  She really enjoyed this and proceeded  to make her whole family using the wooden pieces. 

Little Girl is a Kinesthetic and Visual learner so I am trying to find ways to get movement/hands-on and visuals into our lessons.  One of our first math lessons I used the easel set up with math problems.


As we were looking over the Big World Map on the wall, I asked her what country she would like to learn more about, and she chose China.  So, we went to the library and got a few books about China. I plan to do the China lapbook from  I will post about that once we have it completed.  I have also been making some File Folder games and using those with her for math and phonics/reading.  So far, things are going well and I am looking forward to a great year homeschooling my Little Girl.

June 15, 2011

Sensational Summer Giveaway from Soft Clothing and SPDBN

I just heard about this great GIVEAWAY from SPD Blogger Network and Soft Clothing, and I wanted to pass this on to all those great families out there who have kiddos with sensory issues.  It looks like a great prize package, full of helpful books, tools and fun stuff for the kiddos.  Check it out!! Enter today!!

The winner will take home a grand prize package worth over $250 that includes the following sensory friendly items:

These great prizes focus on fine motor development, dramatic play skills, sensory integration, creative expression, auditory exploration, and of course, fun in the sun all summer long!

Entering is easy — just visit the Soft Clothing web site and complete the entry form. And, don’t forget — you can earn extra entries by:

This fantastic giveaway ends at midnight on 6/24/2011, so…



June 8, 2011

Square Pegs Don’t Fit Into Round holes

It’s Wednesday, a hot Wednesday here in Maine.  We have been in the house all morning and I’m getting restless.  I have days when I just don’t want to stay home, I want to get out into the world and discover new things or explore places I’ve been to many times.  These days just sort of pop up and usually I don’t have any prior warning that they are going to happen.  Another thing that normally happens on these days is The Little Girl wants to stay home.  Some times I go on an adventure and other days, like today, I just stay home and enjoy being there with her.  With it being so warm today I didn’t mind not going on an adventure.

Staying home gave me time to think about some things that have been on my mind for a while now.  Beginning with whether or not we can afford for me to continue to stay home and home school The Little Girl.  It is such a hard decision at this point.  I had made up my mind to go for it and then, you know, that thing called life seems to be butting in to the plan.  It seems that this economy has hit our one income household pretty hard, with gas prices, food prices of a Little Girl on a special diet, heating fuel prices, and the fact that The Dad hasn’t had any overtime in months, or travelled for work.  Unfortunately, we need for him to travel or work overtime to pay the bills at this point.  I am so torn on this.  I know that she would be better off staying home with me and learning at her own pace, but then I think of sending her to school, so that I could work and help The Dad be able to spend more time home with us and support our family financially.

The reasons we chose to home school are abundant. The Little Girl is un(officially)diagnosed ADHD, she was seen by a psychologist at almost 5 and he told us that there is a strong indication that she has it, but wasn’t going to diagnose her at that time.  The Dad has had it since childhood and so do his other children.  So, this is something I have just known and have accepted it for what it is.  I’ve researched and learned a lot about ADHD, and so has The Dad since having The Little Girl. She is a very active child and doesn’t sit still for very long, that would be the “H” in ADHD. Public school is pretty big on kids sitting for hours, not a good thing for a Little Girl who can do it for more than a few minutes at a time.

Our Little Girl is also very bright. The Psychologist said she was very precocious.  She is reading at a 1st grade level and isn’t even in kindergarten yet.  I’m not saying I think she is gifted, just that she is above average in reading and below average in other subjects. How does a public school fit a child like this into a class of 20 students?  I will be having her screened for kindergarten this summer whether she is going to go to public school or not, just so I can find out where she is educationally.  She has mild fine motor delay and sensory issues as well.  So, her grasp on a writing utensil is horrible and her trunk strength is lacking.  The Little Girl goes to Occupational Therapy once a week to work on these things.  These are other reasons we have chosen to home school. I think that she could work at her own pace in the different subjects, some ahead and some behind her public school peers, if we homeschooled.

I know many families home school for religious reasons, and I do to some extent, as well, but it’s not my main reason.  I need to get my head around that part better than I have it now.  I want for our family to have a relationship with God, but as of yet we haven’t looked for a church to fit our family.  I feel led to home school The Little Girl, and truly think it is what would be best for us, but there is a part of me that feels compelled to work, somehow, to help out The Dad with supporting our family.

The Dad went through school having ADHD and being treated horribly because of behaviors that he couldn’t help.  His having these memories of school and having had the love of learning beat out of him makes him want something different for his Little Girl.  He is afraid of her being labeled as a behavior problem, when she is simply an out of the box thinker.  Many of the men and women who have done great things in the world have been out of the box thinkers with ADD.  Why should we try to contain these children’s natural ability just to fit them nicely into a round hole when they are indeed a square peg?  It’s these square pegs that are going to change the world, give them the resources to make their dreams and wishes come true.

If anyone has any suggestions in this situation please bring them to me. I could use as many thoughts on this dilemma as I can get.  I will be taking it to God again and praying on it until the right answer comes to me.

Thank you and God Bless!

May 6, 2011

Joyous Friday

It’s Friday! A beautiful sun shiny day! We are going to get outside and play today!

I enjoy Fridays because I can reflect on what we have done during the week and make plans for the weekend and another week ahead.  We had a good week and I’m looking forward to Mother’s Day on Sunday to maybe get a little “ME” time.  That probably won’t happen, I’ll be the one making breakfast and taking care of everyone else as usual.  But a girl can hope that one day someone will take care of her.  I have thought about just not doing anything and see where that gets me, but it’s sure to backfire and then Monday morning I will have twice as much work to do.  It seems no one but me knows how to load the dishwasher, or run a load of laundry. I am the MOM and I alone take care of these things and all that is household! So to all the mothers out there I say Happy Mother’s Day! May you get whatever it is that you want for your special day.


May 5, 2011

Trying to Reassure Myself…..

Its has been a long, busy week in our household.  I’m trying to figure out all this home school stuff, among other things LOL.  I know I only have one kiddo and she’s only doing kindergarten in the fall, but I’m worried. I need to just relax and trust in GOD.  Easier said than done in my case.  My kiddo has some mild developmental delays and sensory processing disorder.  She has started going to Occupational Therapy once a week to work on these issues and I’m very hopeful that everything will work itself out in the end.

What amazes me about her is that she has these issues with her physical body, yet her mind is working amazingly well.  She is reading books on a 1st grade level, doing addition and subtraction, knows tons of stuff about animal and dinosaurs (her favorite topics right now).  She is like a sponge, absorbing everything and she remembers it all, it seems.  She is a non-stop talker too.  If she could write down what she is talking about I’m sure the amount would be voluminous, we are talking Encyclopedia Britannica here, LOL.  BUT alas, because of her fine motor delay she hates writing, and is just in the last year been able to write her name.  If fact she has never like to color or do crafts.  If I give her a piece of paper to cut with scissors she is content, but if I give her a shape to cut out she just doesn’t want to try it.  I don’t try to push it because I want her to have success and not be turned off from it forever.

I purchased the Handwriting Without Tears for kindergarten set used (I got a steal too) to use in the fall with her.  I’m excited to use it!  As it turns out, the OT uses the same Handwriting Without Tears Curriculum.  So, I’m thinking that things will go smoothly in the fall, since she will already be familiar with it from OT.

As far as the other subjects go, I haven’t really purchased any curriculum.  I have some workbooks for math and phonics.  Science I plan to use online sources and daily life happenings. She is into being “green” and helping our planet, so I’m sure some lessons on recycling and gardening will be included. We love being outside and live in the woods, so there is always something fun to learn.  Social Studies/history will include activities and reading about the holidays, other cultures and places, learning about jobs, and basic human needs.  I also purchased The Little Kids Adventure Bible  to get her started learning more about GOD and our relationship with HIM.  I’m sure I will be learning right along side her in this.  The Bible was never a part of my life until I was in my 20’s, so I’m not that knowledgeable in this area, but am willing to learn it with her and get to know Our God better myself.

I know I have a handle on the curriculum we will be using, I just need to get organized and figure out a schedule.  And then there is record keeping and end of year assessments…..

But those are topics for another day.

April 26, 2011

What are we feeding our kids? Food or chemicals?

This is my first post ever…………

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about how messed up food in the United States really is.  There almost seems to be more chemicals in our food than there is “REAL” food.  It infuriates me that it isn’t that way in Europe.  I recently watched a video of Robyn O’ Brien doing a presentation about her story and the food industry in the United States.

She is being called the Erin Brockovich of Food. Her question is one  I have often pondered myself, What has been added to our food that just wasn’t there when I was a kid 30 some years ago? There has been such a rise in food allergies, intolerance or sensitivities lately it just makes you wonder WHY?

You may be wondering why I am so interested in this issue, well a bit of background is necessary.  I am the mom of a now 5-year-old girl, who we now know has sensitivities to artificial colors, flavors, preservatives and even something naturally occurring in foods that a mom would never think would be harmful to her child, salicylates.  Salicylates are naturally occurring aspirin like chemicals that are found in many fruits and vegetables that we serve our children everyday. In the plants they act as a natural immune hormone and preservative, protecting the plant from insects, fungi and disease.  So, having said that now you may be thinking what fruits and veggies have I been giving my kids that could be making them hyper, emotional, have asthma, eczema, dark circles under the eyes, poor concentration, irritability, poor sleep, mood swings and the list of symptoms just goes on and on.  Well, for my child some of the biggest offenders are the ones she would eat non-stop if I would have let her.  Apples, oranges, strawberries, grapes, pineapple, watermelon, tomato, cucumber and corn.  Now I just think about that list of fruits and veggies and all the ways they can be served, juices, salads, just fresh, popcorn, spaghetti sauce, pizza.  It just saddens me a bit that she can’t have many of the foods that I grew up on, because her little body can’t handle the chemicals in the food that is on our grocery store shelves, that we think is safe and healthy.  Luckily for us we found the Feingold diet and life has gotten better.  She has been on this diet for almost a year now and her behavior, hyperactivity, tantrums, etc have gotten better.  Now that isn’t to say that she is completely fixed because of this diet, but life is more tolerable now.  I think that there is still something we are missing, but we will get it all figured out in time.

We are taking a natural approach with her health.  I am not against medicine when used as a last resort, but I’m not going to take the easy road when it comes to my daughter’s health, and I do see that medicating her for her hyperactivity at this age is the easy road.  Don’t get me wrong some days I wish there was just a pill I could give her to get her to calm down and be “normal”, but she is worth the world to me and I just can’t do that.  I know that she has ADHD.  It hasn’t been diagnosed, but its in her genes, so it is inevitable.  I will try everything in my power before I choose to give her meds though.  I just think that they are given out like candy these days and we just don’t know what they are doing to these children’s little bodies, long-term.  I don’t judge other people for making that choice though.  It isn’t easy living with a hyper child who gets into trouble for being themselves.  It isn’t easy putting your child on a special diet that eliminates the “cheap” processed foods and replaces them with organic whole foods either,  it’s very expensive.

If I were to suggest one change to make in your child’s diet, it would be to remove all artificial colors from their food.  With the recent FDA hearings on artificial dyes and there possible links to hyperactivity, I’m sure that many parents have realized the connection.   This connection came to me back in the fall of 2008, my daughter was almost 3 years old then and I gave her some brightly colored sprinkles, they were primary colors (red, blue, green and yellow). Well within 20 minutes she was just bouncing off the walls uncontrollably.  There wasn’t anything we could do to calm her down.  This lasted for about 4 HOURS!! It was at this point that I looked at the packaging for the sprinkles and saw RED dye #40, and then did a google search and found all the articles linking this dye to hyperactive behavior.  This is also when we began the journey of eliminating all artificial colors from our diet.

We have decided to homeschool our daughter for many reasons and this chemical sensitivity issue is one of the biggest.  Its not just foods you have to watch out for, anything you put on, in or even near your body can cause a reaction.  Just think of a public school setting, there is glue, art supplies, the soap in the bathrooms, air fresheners, not to mention the school lunch.  The school lunch can actually be avoided, but the other things not so much.  So, we will homeschool and make the most of it.

Thanks for reading my first post and I can’t wait to hear your comments !

April 4, 2011

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