Sunday, July 29, 2012

July 22-28, 2012

Just when you think things are letting up, sickness rears its ugly head.  The kids came down with high fevers this week.  Including Peter.  While the others were fine with some ibuprofen and bed rest, Peter's age meant he had to go to the ER.  IV, blood cultures, urine cultures, chest x-ray... the works.  Thankfully, he's fine.  Needless to say, school was not a priority this week.  Still, Henry did get a few things done.
  • Saxon Math 1: Lessons 12-14 (writing the number 11, acting out some, some more, and some, some went away stories; writing the number 12, identifying a triangle, identifying the number of sides and angles of a triangle, sorting by one attribute; writing the number 13, making a shape on the geoboard, identifying inside and outside)
  • The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading: Lessons 62-64 (review of the ending blend NK, the three-consonant blends SCR, STR, SPL, and SPR)
  • Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Kindergarten: Pages 53-55 (Dd, review of Oo, Aa, and Dd)
Oliver will begin ABA therapy either this coming week or the week of the 6th.  His final ST and OT appointments are this week.  We decided not to continue those services since so much of what he does there will be done with ABA.  I'm beginning to look forward to this.  I still wince when I think about dropping him off and driving away, but I hope that we see real changes and improvements over the coming months and we're anxious to implement the therapy methods at home.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Week in Review: July 15-21, 2012

Done, done, done... the Month of Appointments is done!  Not a moment too soon, either.  I don't think we could have taken much more.  As it is, we've still got Oliver's regular therapy appointments, plus my final OB appointment to take care of.  That's like floating downstream, though, after the chaos of the first few weeks.

I can hardly believe we managed to get anything done last week, but here's what Henry completed:
  • Saxon Math 1: Lessons 9-11 (ordering sets from smallest to largest, ordering numbers from least to greatest, identifying fewest and most; written assessment 1 and oral assessment 1; identifying the number 10, identifying morning and afternoon, identifying first/last/between, first/second/third)
  • The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading: Lessons 55-60 (the digraphs SH, CH, voiced TH, unvoiced TH, and digraph blends SHR, TCH, NCH, THR, and NGTH)
  • Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Kindergarten: Pages 48-52 (Oo, Aa)
We began this week with a special event, Peter's baptism.  He was one of six (!) babies baptized after Mass yesterday and it was more than a little crazy during the ceremony.  Nonetheless, it was a beautiful event and Peter was great.  He barely stirred from his nap when the water was poured on his head.  If only he could sleep through his bath at home...

The family.  Doesn't Henry look stoked?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Week in Review: July 8-14, 2012

Okay, one more week to slog through and then I think we can stop and catch our breath.  This month has been crazy, appointment-wise.  We'll have had 15 in the first three weeks alone!  We still managed to get quite a bit done with school this week.  Henry completed:
  • Saxon Math 1: Lessons 5-8 (writing the numbers 2, 3, and 7; identifying a circle and a square, identifying the number of sides and angles of a square; graphing a picture on a pictograph, identifying the most and the fewest on a graph, identifying right and left; writing the numbers 0, 6, 8, and 9)
  • The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading: Lessons 50-54 (the beginning blends BL, CL FL, GL, PL, SL, SM, SP, SC, SK, SN, ST, BR, CR, DR, FR, GR, PR, TR, SQU, SW, and TW; the sight word 'of'; the digraph NG)
  • Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read First Grade Level 1: Lesson 4, but we're dropping this for now.  It's quickly turning into word recognition instead of actual phonics.  Kind of disappointing, especially since the kindergarten level was so nice.
  • Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Kindergarten: Pages 37-47 (Ll, Ii, and Tt)
This coming week is very full, so I'm not anticipating getting much school done.  Oliver has an MRI of the brain this week along with a pre-op physical since he'll need to be sedated.  It's not  for anything; just to rule out anything physical that might be affecting his language development.  He also has his regular OT and ST, plus his initial assessment at the ABA center.  Henry, Oliver, Jane, and I also have dental check-ups.  That's eight appointments in total this week.

"Just keep swimming, just keep swimming..."

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Week in Review: July 1-7, 2012

Our first week back to school is complete!  We wound up doing school every day except Independence Day.  Four school days of 70 minutes each gave us a grand total of 280 minutes of instruction time or seat work.  Here's what Henry got done:
  • Saxon Math 1: Lessons 1-4 (identifying today's date; making towers for the numbers 1-5; writing the numbers 1, 4, and 5; making towers for the numbers 1-9, ordering the numbers 0-9)
  • The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading: Lessons 42-49 (the CK combination; the ending blends LK, LB, LP, ST, NT, FT, LT, CT, PT, MP, SP, LF, LM, ND, SK, XT, and NK; adding the letter S to words)
  • Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read First Grade Level 1: Lessons 1-3 (ch-, sh-; th-; wh-)
  • Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Kindergarten: Pages 1-36 (Basic strokes: vertical lines, horizontal lines, backward circle lines, slant lines, forward circle lines)
The vast majority of this was done during quiet time while Jane napped.  She is at that delightful stage of insisting on doing everything.  The only issue is that she gets a little overexcited and starts trying to do all of Henry's work too.  So, for now, it's a little easier to wait until she's unconscious to do school, especially since Peter has been taking a nice long nap in the afternoons also.

Oliver seems to have tired of Starfall somewhat.  I pulled out the old Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read Pre-K DVD, though, and he's entranced by all of the little clips. He's actually watching it right now on half of the computer monitor while I write this on the other half.  He just signed "more" at the end of the alphabet song, too.  Works for me!

Last week's appointments were fruitful.  The pediatrician prescribed a minuscule dose of clonidine for Oliver to see if it would help with his sleep disturbances.  While he's still waking up at night, the time that he's up is about a quarter of what it was.  We may increase the dosage slightly and see if he'll stay asleep all night, but we need to speak to the doctor first.  He also recommended that we try a GABA supplement.  We can give that to him concurrently since the mechanisms of action are different.  I ordered a bottle of the powder and it should be here next week.  We'll see if it helps.

Finally, I've kind of struggled with this decision.  Like I posted last week, we're interviewing ABA therapy providers for Oliver.  All along, I've been hoping to have in-home therapy.  With all these little kids, I thought it would be a little easier to deal with and would also provide the most intense therapy experience.  However, our visit to a center-based provider convinced me otherwise, at least in my head.  In my heart?  It's gut-wrenching for me to even consider dropping Oliver off for five hours of therapy, three times per week.  I mean, other than being at the hospital to give birth or a rare outing (with Matt home with the kids), I've never been away from any of them for that long.

But, it's not about me.  I need to make choices for Ollie that are in his best interest and I know that this level of therapy will give him the best shot at making significant progress.  It helps that he had an absolute blast the entire time we were visiting the center.  The therapists were great, the regimen is sound with a logical progression of measurable goals, and they're supportive of homeschooling. 

We have one more interview with an in-home provider, but I think our minds are made up.  This one would only be able to come twice a week for two hours per day and that's not going to be enough. Sigh.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Let it begin. Let it begin. LET IT BEGIN!

This is Henry, pretty much.  He's rather excited about starting kindergarten this week.  I'm not sure if it's the work that he's looking forward to or the idea he picked up from somewhere that he will magically receive a remote-controlled dragon once he finishes said work.  Probably the dragon.  Do they even make remote-controlled dragons? 

Amazon says: yes.

If we were doing things preschool style, this would be a terrible week to start school. There's a lot going on.  First, Oliver's ECHO application is finally in, so we've got interviews lined up with some ABA therapy providers in our area. (Hooray!)  Second, ever since we all came down with that stomach bug a while back, Oliver's sleep issues have come back.  With a vengeance.  We've tried just about every non-pharmaceutical method out there to get him sleeping through the night again, but it's not working.  So, he has an appointment with our pediatrician this week to discuss other options.  Third, Oliver also has his regular therapy this week.  And last, but not least, Wednesday is Independence Day.

So, very busy.  With our new year-round method, though, we'll just take each day as it comes.  I did take an hour or so last week to review the first five or six lessons in each subject, pull resources, and make any copies needed.  Our only planned activity for Independence Day is a read-aloud of the Declaration of Independence.  Pinterest be damned, I'm not making red-white-and-blue fruit-kabobs or any other patriotically colored foodstuffs.  Not this year.

There's something about having four children under five years old that has me saying "not this year" quite frequently.  I get a nice feeling of peace and serenity that washes over me each time I acknowledge and embrace my limitations.  It's very satisfying.

Anyway, I'll no longer be posting about our plans for the coming week.  Instead, I'll post a review of what we actually covered at the end of the week.  Let's see how this goes!