Monday, April 30, 2012

Fourth Week of Easter: April 29 - May 5, 2012

Something has gone wrong with the space-time continuum.  There is no way that this is the first week of May.  Can we get somebody to check on the flux capacitor, please?

No?  Still May?  Ok, then.

What we're working on this week:

  • Go For the Code - letter q
  • Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read Kindergarten Level 2 - lessons 6 & 7 (-ug and -un words)
  • Saxon Math K - lesson 97 (Paying for items to $.50 using nickels) and lesson 98 (Assessment #11 - Comparing and measuring length)
  • OT x 1
  • Colors, letters, shapes, and numbers on
May begins our month of Mary.  We've added this statue to our Easter table and we'll work on creating a flower wreath for the May crowning either today or tomorrow.  I also ordered An Alphabet of Mary from to reference throughout the month.  I hope it gets here soon!

We're also going to take down our Lent ornaments and use the printables from to create a Mary Tree.  We'll work on that this afternoon.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Third Week of Easter: April 22 - 28, 2012

I passed my three-hour glucose!  Again!  Maybe next time, I could just take it once at 28 weeks instead of taking four throughout the pregnancy.  That would be nice.

Oliver's OT evaluation went really well.  The therapist was great, the room and resources were great, and Oliver really took to her right away.  She'll be focusing on increasing his ADLs (activities of daily living, like putting on his own clothes, using utensils, potty training) and addressing sensory issues.  His new speech evaluation is this week.  After that's done, we'll get him scheduled for weekly sessions with both, hopefully back to back.

Because, as I've stated before, I'm a sucker for resources, I've already ordered some OT things to add to our playroom/schoolroom.
  • A stability ball - This was Oliver's favorite during the evaluation.  Amazon delivered it yesterday and Oliver has spent half the morning on it already.  I may get this smaller version to use as a chair at our little table to encourage him to sit and work on some fine motor skills.  The only thing is that I'll probably have to get Jane and Henry one each, too.
  • Triangular crayons - I got these at Target for a third of the price that Amazon had them at.  I'm not sure what the price inflation is all about there.  Regardless, they actually have Oliver holding the crayons correctly.
  • Crayola Beginnings Color Me a Song - Oliver has never been too interested in coloring, but he enjoyed using this with the OT.  It's a little tablet that interprets the speed of the child's coloring to play music.  I think it will encourage him to do more than scribble aimlessly for 15 seconds before dropping his crayon and heading over to something else.
  • Fundanoodle kits - We've got three on the way: I Can Cut, I Can Bead, Lace, Rip, Trace, and I Can Pound.  These are all part of a handwriting development program created by pediatric occupational therapists.  We'll see how he does with them.
Henry got right back to work this week.  I think he really missed his phonics work.  He was excited to open up the second level of his Hooked on Phonics kindergarten kit.  For this week, he'll work on:

Language Arts 
  • Go for the Code - letter z
  • Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read Kindergarten Level 2 - lessons 4 & 5 (-ob and -og words)
Saxon Math K
  • Lesson 94 - Covering a design using tangrams
  • Lesson 95 - Paying for items to $.25 using nickels
  • Lesson 96 - Covering designs using tangrams
We're still doing our nightly ceremony using The Garden of the Good ShepherdI'm also getting ready for May.  We've got this book and an accompanying poster on its way from Catholic Artworks.  I've also got my eye on this Flowering Mary Tree craft from Crafolic.  We can take our Lent ornaments off of the willow branches and put these up throughout May.

Speaking of May, sometime between the end of it and mid-June, I'm going to have a baby.  I have GOT to finish the set of boy clothes.  In fact, I'll work on that today.  I also need to order some diapers and other miscellaneous needs.  I can't believe how fast this is approaching.  It feels like I just found out!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Second Week of Easter: April 15 - 21, 2012

We are back to work and in the final stretch of preschool for Henry!  I'm vacillating between hoping the new baby comes a little early and wanting it to stay put for an extra week or so, just to make sure we get everything finished up.  The latter desire is probably inversely proportional to my ability to walk up the stairs.

Henry's assignments for the week:

Language Arts
  • Go for the Code - letter v
  • Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read Kindergarten Level 2 - lessons 1-3 (-ot, -op, and -ox words)
Saxon Math K
  • Lesson 91 - Counting nickels
  • Lesson 92 - Assessment #10 - Acting out addition and subtraction stories
  • Lesson 93 - Identifying largest and smallest shapes, identifying and covering half of a shape
  • We're done with our Who Am I? Image of God preschool book!  Henry is still working on his Easter lapbook.  I decided to stretch it out more to emphasize the Easter season.  We're also doing our nightly ceremony using The Garden of the Good Shepherd.
In Oliver news, the trip to the developmental pediatrician did not go over very well.  Suffice to say, we will not be going back in six months for yet another followup.  We (and our insurance company) are in disagreement with her diagnostic process.  Instead, we're pursuing other resources here in town.  In that vein, Oliver has an occupational therapy evaluation scheduled for this week.  He's also got one last speech therapy session with his current therapist.  Next week, he'll go for a new speech evaluation with a therapist who specializes in children.

And, on the baby front, I failed my latest one-hour glucose tolerance test and I get to experience the ecstatic joy of the three-hour test on Monday.  At my 30-week ultrasound, "little" Peter/Violet weighed in at four pounds.  My hopes at passing this three-hour are not high, but I've never failed one before.  We'll see.  Either way, it looks like this is going to be another 8lb+ baby.  No newborn diapers for this household!

Monday, April 9, 2012

First Week of Easter: April 8 - 14, 2012

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter Sunday.  Ours was great!  Saturday, we dyed eggs with yellow onion skins:

That evening, we dragged some mattresses downstairs and camped out.  We watched a movie and ate popcorn and stayed up much too late.  Henry was chastising the rest of us for being awake and keeping the Easter Bunny from its appointed rounds.  Eventually, we all fell asleep and woke up to candy, books, and toys:

Although, some of us slept in longer than others:

After a quick breakfast, we headed to church for Mass.  Our options were to arrive an hour early and get a seat or arrive on time and stand.  The prospect of keeping the kids settled for an extra hour was daunting, so we wound up standing in the narthex with plenty of other people to keep us company.

Back at home, our Lent table was transformed to an Easter table:

And, once Jane took a nap, Matt hid eggs all over the place upstairs and we had a little hunt:

Dinner was a leisurely affair, eaten by the light of our Paschal candle.  Afterwards, we had our first reading and sticker from our Garden of the Good Shepherd sticker book.  I'm really glad we got this; Henry was wide-eyed at the thought of Easter lasting for 50 days.

This is our last week of vacation, so Henry just has math again this week.  His assignments are:
  • Lesson 88 - Creating a tangram design, sorting and identifying tangram pieces
  • Lesson 89 - Measuring length using nonstandard pieces
  • Lesson 90 - Identifying nickels, counting by 5s
Oliver is still doing great with his color bean bags and Starfall.  He's even said "yellow" twice, once on Friday and once today.  He wasn't echoing, either.  I asked which color he wanted next and, each time, he picked up the yellow bean bag and said, "yellow."  We spent about an hour today on the site going over colors, letters, and making pumpkins.  He's definitely got the whole pointing thing down when it comes to Starfall.  At first, I thought he might be thinking that the monitor was a touchpad like my Kindle Fire, but when I don't click on what he's pointed at fast enough, he grabs my hand and puts it on the mouse!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Breakthrough for Oliver!

Okay, two posts in one day goes against blog etiquette, but I had to get this in the record.

I've been working with Oliver on his shapes, colors, and letters for some time now.  Since he doesn't talk, it's pretty hard to assess his progress with learning any of it.  Our normal routine was to pull up and go through all of the colors, then use his MagnaDoodle to write out all the letters and go over their sounds, and draw all the shapes.

When we got his PECS set, I started using the color cards during his Starfall time.  I tried to get him to use the cards to pick which color we would click on next, but he wouldn't do it.  I don't know if it was too abstract for him or what, but it just didn't work.  So, I stopped the cards and just continued going through the colors with him.

The week before last, while planning out Henry's upcoming year, I started thinking about how much Oliver enjoys his shapes bean bags.  When I checked Amazon, I saw that the same company makes color, letter, and number bean bags, too.  So, I went ahead and ordered the color and letter ones (the number set is next on the list).

They arrived on the 22nd and, since then, I've brought out the color bean bags every day during Oliver's Starfall time.  I tried to get him to pull a color out of the bag, but, again, he wasn't too interested.  But, I persisted in at least getting him to hold each bean bag as he watched the color information on the screen.  He liked squishing the bag and listening to the rustle of the filling, so it wasn't that hard to do.  There was only one "extra" color, gray, in the bean bag set, so I'd just leave that one out and use all of the rest with the corresponding Starfall color.

Well, today, Oliver got the colors bag off of the shelf on his own.  He pulled out all of the colors except gray and put them in a pile on the floor.  Then, he picked up the blue bean bag and brought it to me.  I immediately pulled up the color page on Starfall and clicked on "blue."  And Oliver climbed into my lap and I could see it click!  He kept looking at the bean bag and looking at the screen.  When we got through blue and went back to the main page, he hopped down, picked up the black bean bag and brought it to me.  Then the brown one.  Then, he grabbed the purple one, but when I clicked on "purple," he looked down, shook his head, threw it down, and picked up yellow instead.  So, I clicked on "yellow" and he got a big smile on his face.

We went through all of the colors a second time.  Then, he dropped the bags completely, climbed on my lap and proceeded to point to each color that he wanted me to click on

I know that doesn't seem like a big deal, but this is the kid that doesn't point.  He pushes and pulls us to what he wants, puts our hands on the lids to open them or on the handles to open the doors, but he never just points at something.  But, he did today.  We went through all the colors that he wanted and he was so happy to be able to really show me what he wanted.

Needless to say, we've spent a lot of time on colors today.  I'm hoping that this will help him with communicating his needs in other areas.  I'm also hoping that he'll continue to make good progress through this same combination of tactile and visual learning.

Palm Sunday and Holy Week

Here comes a busy week!

We decided to get started on our Palm Sunday crafts yesterday because Matt has to work today.  So, we made our own version of this "palm" branch from Shower of Roses.

We also went to the vigil Mass yesterday.  Henry was really excited about getting his palm branch and waving it around.  Fortunately, he wasn't too exuberant and we managed to get them all home in one piece.

This morning, after breakfast, Henry and I used this tutorial to make seven palm frond crosses, one for each member of our family.  We hung all of the crosses from some of the stringy material from the fronds and tied it to our Jesus Tree.

All in all, our little Lent table is coming along nicely.  This week, I do need to get some white felt to make a new table cover.  I'm also going to pick an Easter lily or two.

For the rest of the week, Henry has three math assignments:
  • Lesson 85 - Assessment #9: Counting by 1s; Handwriting master 16
  • Lesson 86 - Dividing by sharing, comparing numbers to ten
  • Lesson 87 - Exploring tangram pieces; Handwriting master 17
We're going to make our own Paschal candle this year.  Homeschool Goodies has linked to a Catholic clip art site that updates a candle wrapper each year during Holy Week.  I'm hoping that they'll provide another update this year, because the wrapper is really pretty.  All we'll do is print it out and attach it to a tall votive candle.  If the site doesn't come through, we'll have to figure something else out!

We'll make the candle on Saturday and we'll also dye some Easter eggs on Saturday.  We're going to go traditional and do red Easter eggs.  I really do mean "traditional," too.  We're using an old-fashioned method of dyeing with yellow onion skins.  I've been saving our onion skins since Lent began and I hope it works!

On Good Friday, I'm going to make some hot cross buns, children permitting.  We will probably omit the dried currants, though.  I don't think they would go over well with anybody.

Today, we'll begin working on our Easter lapbook from In the Hands of a Child.  There is a six-day schedule for completion, so we should wrap it up on Saturday.  We also will cover our crucifixes with purple cloths.

Additionally, we've got a follow-up appointment with the developmental pediatrician for Oliver and another ultrasound for me this week.  So, yes, it's a busy week, but we'll keep focused on what's most important.