Friday, August 31, 2012

August 26 - September 1, 2012

Yes, that is what you think it is.  Last year, Henry received this little kit as a birthday gift.  Sunday, I noticed that our fountain was full of tadpoles.  I'd been holding off on renting it out until we started science, but I couldn't resist live, free tadpoles ripe for the picking.

We scooped one lucky guy out, put it in the tank, then headed to the pet store to pick up some tadpole food.  And then I totally wanted to just go ahead and start science, but I made myself abandon that idea right away.  Sticking to phonics, handwriting and math is what we need to do for now.  I think anything more would be overkill.

Each morning, Henry races downstairs to see if his tadpole has started growing legs.  Each morning, I walk slowly towards the tank, dreading to see the little guy floating at the top.  So far, so good.  Tadpoles don't seem to do much.  I've been looking at the ones left in the fountain for comparison and their activity level is about the same.

This week, Henry did :
  • Saxon Math 1: Lessons 28-31 (writing the number 26, addition facts - doubles to 18; writing the number 27, addition facts - doubles; Written Assessment 5 and Oral Assessment 3; writing the number 28, covering designs with pattern blocks)
  • The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading: Lessons 82-84 (review of long-vowel words; the vowel pair AI as /ā/
  • Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Kindergarten: Pages 83-88 (Rr, Nn, Mm)

Ollie had another great week.  Today, when I picked him up from therapy, his therapist was almost giddy over Oliver independently signing "pretzel."  His ratio of full to partial mands (signing requests) is getting better and better  and he's averaging about two independent mands per session.  When we got home, he signed both "pretzel" and "banana" for me and was giggling and jumping up and down when I understood what he wanted.  We should get his first monthly report next week and I'm anxious to see how they grade his progress.

In addition to the signs he used today, he had some more neat accomplishments this week.  The biggie has been that he's used the potty quite a few times, even staying dry overnight.  We'll keep working on that at home and maybe we'll get it knocked out before the new year.  He also signed "drink" for Matt and carefully sorted through an entire bag of stuffed animals to pick out three specific ones: a killer whale, a shark, and a bass.  Those were the only aquatic animals in the container and he went through the whole thing to pick out just those three to play with.  Sorting!


Wee Miss is working on the color orange this week.  Carschooling is going well and I'm glad we have some educational DVDs to fill in what would otherwise be a half an hour dead zone each day.  This week, she watched the Classical Baby set and Leapfrog Letter Factory.


Nothing too crazy going on with Chunk-a-Monk.  He's stretching his nighttime feedings out a little bit more lately.  I think he's on the cusp of really sleeping through the night.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Last is this shot of some of the outer rain bands from Isaac.  Even here in Florida, we got some wind and rain from the storm.  If the lakes aren't refilling after this summer, I don't know what it's going to take.

Friday, August 24, 2012

August 19-25, 2012

What a great week this week!  It started off a little rough, but we're totally ending on a high note.


Let's see.  Henry got a nice package in the mail this week.  A while ago, I was able to take advantage of a deal on the Scholastic website to buy a selection of 50 books for a dollar a piece.  They arrived this week and, as you can see, Henry eagerly sorted through them all.  Funnily enough, he had just finished watching Short Circuit when the box arrived.  When I opened it up and took book after book out, he did his best Johnny Five impersonation: "Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiinput!  More input!"

 We're moving right along with school.  This week, Henry did:
  • Saxon Math 1: Lessons 24-27 (writing the number 22, identifying a rectangle and its number of sides and angles; writing the number 23, writing number sentences for some, some more stories; writing the number 24, identifying the attributes of pattern blocks; writing the number 25, identifying lighter and heavier using a balance)
  • The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading: Lessons 79-81 (review of the soft sounds of C and G, s stands for the /z/ sound, adding s to the ends of words), plus we've started a review of some of the older lessons to make sure he gets plenty of practice with those skills.
  • Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Kindergarten: Pages 75-82 (Ss, Bb, Pp, U/S/B/P review, uppercase alphabet)
We started up Sunday school again this week.  Henry, Oliver, and Jane all listened to the lesson on the Holy Trinity and did the corresponding crafts.


Oliver is doing great with his therapy.  The bloom was off the rose when we started on Monday, but he's really adjusting well.  He had a pretty bad drop-off one day, but he got over it very quickly and they even got a nice picture of him enjoying circle time.  It certainly made me feel a lot better to see him having fun.
I've started keeping a little notebook to record the skills Oliver demonstrates at home.  This week, Oliver:
  • Matched all of his colors beanbags to the right colors on  Meaning, he selected each beanbag, then pointed to the corresponding color on the screen.  Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, black, and white!
  • Said "wait" after hearing it spoken and seeing the sign for the word on his Signing Time DVD
  • Used the "pretzel" sign with minimal assistance and used the "ball" sign independently
  • Matched the letters A, E, J, P, and I on his alphabet puzzle (and probably would have done more if Jane hadn't jumped in)
  • Made the "a-e-i-o-u" long vowel sounds while watching his mouth in the mirror.  This is something he'd have Matt and me do over and over again while he stared at our mouths.  This is the first time he did it himself.
We also had Oliver's IEP meeting this week.  Although we're not using the school services, we have to have an IEP in place for our EFMP placment and ECHO coverage for ABA.  The school representatives I met with were so nice and helpful.  I really appreciated all of the information I got from them.  They made it very clear that they are there to help us in any way that we choose to use them, whether it's actually enrolling Oliver in the class full time or just using them for additional speech therapy.  We're going to keep our options open. 


Oh, my little spitfire.
She wants to do school.  Anytime Henry is at the table, she's begging for "wuk."  Right now, she's doing plenty of coloring, looking at her letters on Starfall, and learning lots of signs.  She loves Signing Time. 

Loves it. 

Since we're spending a lot more time in the car lately (taking Oliver back and forth to therapy), I've decided to do a little carschooling for Jane.  I'm going to use the Signing Time DVDs (Volume 1 and Volume 2), Leapfrog: Letter Factory, and the Classical Baby box set (Dance, Art, and Music).  Henry still likes to watch these (and he gets a kick out of signing too!).


 Speaks for itself!  He's just a big, happy boy.  Love him.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

August 12-18, 2012

For at least the past six months, I've been using this MagnaDoodle board to write letters and numbers and to draw shapes for Oliver.  I started doing it on a whim, but he took to it and eventually began bringing me the board and pushing the drawing magnets into my hand.  Sometimes, he'd allow me to do hand-over-hand drawings with him holding the magnets.  He obviously enjoyed it and seemed to get something out of the activity.

Well, yesterday he wrote this letter C by himself, unprompted.  He wrote it, then he came and grabbed me by the hand and walked me over to it to show it to me.  And squinched up his face in a happy grin over my effusive praise, hugs, and kisses.  Two things (besides the writing itself) interested me.  First, he brought me to the board instead of bringing the board to me.  Bringing the board to me has always been his way to request that I write letters.  Reversing this seemed (to me) to emphasize that he wanted to show me what he did.  Secondly, for the last two weeks, his favorite letter on has been C.  He's wanted to watch it over and over again.  Interesting.

I had to take a picture.  I think the hardest thing about having a kid who doesn't talk is that you are never sure what's sinking in.  We can go over letters, numbers, shapes, and colors all day, but not get any concrete indication that there's any retention.  Obviously, something got through here, though.

Is it the ABA therapy?  It's probably too soon to say.  After all, he just finished his first full week.  I will say that it seems like he's attempting to use more sounds to request things.  I've noticed more pointing, too. 

This week, Henry had his five-year-old checkup and Peter had his two-month-old one.  Which meant vaccinations for them both.  Now, I would love to say that Henry was brave and stoic and submitted to his shots with courage, but I think my pants would immediately burst into flames.

The kid needed two full grown men to hold him down.

When the screaming stopped and the tears subsided, shots remained the topic of conversation for most of the rest of the day.  Despite my telling him that he wouldn't need any more vaccinations for another six years, Henry kept asking why he needed to get them in the first place and why did they have to be sharp and did the needle stay in his skin, and so forth.  Even this morning began with, "so, I'm not getting any shots today, right?"  Poor, poor child.

As you can imagine, school did not occur that day.  Still, Henry got the following done this week:
  • Saxon Math 1: Lessons 21-23 (writing the number 19, writing addition number sentences; writing the number 20, identifying ordinal position to sixth; writing the number 21, addition facts - doubles to 10)
  • The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading: Lessons 74-78 (words with the long-u vowel sound; long-vowel words: CK to KE; sight words: to, two, too; the hard and soft sounds of C; the hard and soft sounds of G)
  • Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Kindergarten: Pages 58-68 (Qq, GJQ review, lowercase alphabet, Uu)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

August 5-11, 2012

First things first.  Our little Henry turned five this week.  I look at his birth announcement picture and compare it to him now and I'm amazed.

Henry had a grand old time this year.  We thought about doing a party, but we were pretty much exhausted by the previous month.  Instead, Matt and I took Henry out solo for a special birthday eve.  We went to his favorite Japanese restaurant for dinner, then to the movies to see Brave.  He loved every minute of it.

On his actual birthday, we had pizza and cake and, of course, presents.  Now, I promised not to be the homeschooling mom who turns every gift-giving occasion into an educational opportunity.  But.  A couple of months ago, I came across a homeschooling forum post alerting us all to a fantastic sale on the Ancient Egypt bundle from Playmobil.  Yes, we're going to start our Ancients history lessons sometime this year, but they're still really cool toys all on their own.  So, I bought it and stuck it away until Friday.

 Wrapped and ready.

 Blowing out the candles. (He requested chocolate frosting with green sugar sprinkles.  Okay, kid.)

 Two Robbers with Camels.

 Egyptian Soldiers.

 Egyptian Chariot.

 Sphinx with Mummy.

 Tomb with Treasure.

 One of our friends got him this book off of his Ancients reading list.

The verdict?  He immediately requested to put together at least one of the sets (it was getting close to bath time) and he, Matt, and Jane went to town.  Oliver commandeered another gift (Roger the Shuttle from Mater's Tall Tales) as his own and is in the background zooming around with it.  I couldn't get a picture that wasn't blurry.

Now, Henry is a tad obsessed with all things Egyptian.  That night, he set up a bed for himself in a pack'n'play so that he could be a mummy in its sarcophagus.  He fell asleep with his Great Pyramid book next to him in the sarcophagus.  Yesterday, we put together the rest of the sets and he's been playing with them ever since.


Oliver had a great week, too.  His first week of therapy went very, very well.  He's all smiles when I've dropped him off and he's smiling when I pick him up.  I take that as a good sign.

What Henry did this week:
  • Saxon Math 1: Lessons 17-20 (writing the number 16, identifying the season-summer; writing the number 17, dividing a solid in half; writing the number 18, picturing and combining sets, graphing a picture on a pictograph; Written Assessment 3 and Oral Assessment 2)
  • The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading: Lessons 68-73 (words with the long-e vowel sound, words with the long-i vowel sound, sight word 'give,' words with the long-o vowel sound, words with the long-u vowel sound)
  • Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Kindergarten: Pages 58-68 (c, Ee, Ff, CEF review, uppercase letters, Gg, Jj)
 This week, I started doing some more targeted work with Jane also.  Our current theme is the color red, so we did lots of painting and coloring with red and also a lot of searching for red things in our house.  She's enjoying herself!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

July 29 - August 4, 2012

I'm patting myself on the back right now for moving to a year-round schedule.  If I hadn't, I would be pulling my hair out.  Yes, it's been that kind of week.  Again.

We persevere.  We're just going through some adjustments right now.

Oliver has had a few bad weeks, but he seems to be moderating.  He begins therapy this week, two days only.  The next week, the fall schedule begins and he'll attend four mornings per week.  I took him to the store with me and let him pick out a lunch bag.  He went with Lightning McQueen (go figure).  Henry was a little jealous and I thought about getting a bag for him.  Matt convinced me that he needed to just deal with it, though.  We can't make everything equal all of the time and Henry doesn't need a lunch bag.  And Matt was right.  Henry let it go quickly.

Janebug has decided that she's not waiting another month to enter her Terrible Twos.  It's full throttle now.  I read somewhere once that toddlers should be treated as if they were psychiatric patients.  I wholeheartedly agree.  Perhaps I'll be able to use some of the behavioral management techniques from Oliver's therapy on the child.  She sure does need it.

Peter is eight weeks old tomorrow.

I can scarcely believe it.  He went through his own period of fussiness, but he's come out the other end all smiles and even a few laughs here and there.  He's getting so big...

I was hit with an uncontrollable urge to rearrange the schoolroom yesterday.  So, I did.  There's a lot more floor space, which will be useful.  I also boxed up some of the toys that always get strewn about, but never seem to actually get played with.  It looks a lot brighter in here now.

Plus, I've put all the schoolbooks in one place, close to the little table.  It will be much more convenient this way.

Hey, speaking of school, here's what Henry did this week: 

  • Saxon Math 1: Lessons 15-16 (writing the number 14, acting out and drawing pictures for some, some more and some, some went away stories; Assessment 2; writing the number 15, counting pennies)
  • The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading: Lessons 65-67 (words with the long-a vowel sound, the sight word 'have,' words with the long-e vowel sound)
  • Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Kindergarten: Pages 56-57 (lowercase letters, C)