Tag Archives: homeschool

Another Day, Another School Year

Well, the Dunn Family Homeschool officially starts the new school year tomorrow.  The kids are spending most of Monday at our church’s weekly Bible class, but will I let that stop me from having our first day of school?  Never, I say with an evil cackle.

I start this school year like I have so many others – high hopes, high expectations, a ton of curriculum (although not as much as in years past – my shelves are full of very good but unused curriculum).

I’ll be teaching four age groups this year – Seth 4 and Noah 7 (DS) will be doing preschool, Bella 6 will be doing first grade and some preschool with us, Andres and Eden will do 5th grade, and Leah will be doing 7th grade.

Uh-huh.  Or maybe more accurately I should say Uh-oh.

I’m going to go back to basing my preschool curriculum around the alphabet, one letter at a time.  Let’s see if I can get past C this year.

Math will be Math-U-See, Language Arts-Abeka, 7th grade science – Abeka, History – Alpha Omega LifePacs, Bible – Character Sketches by Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts (ATI) (and yes, I know about Bill Gothard’s fall from grace) :(, and we’ll be capturing teachable moments along the way to fill in all the gaps.

I realize how less than fully present I’ve in homeschooling the kiddos the last year or so, and I want so much more this year.  I want to get caught up in the excitement of home education again, I want to find and capture the ah-hah moments my children and I have along the way, I want to treasure each and every teachable moment, each and every time of togetherness.  Lord, let it be so!

Disclaimer:  When I first started reading blogs, be it mothering a large family, homeschooling or parenting a child with Down syndrome, I hated it when the authors lamented over their doubts, shortcomings and weaknesses.  If I wanted to read about those, I could just start a journal.  Yet here I am, full of doubts, shortcomings and weaknesses; and here I sit sharing them all with you.  It seems less than honest to do anything else.

The children are all on grade level it seems, except Noah.  I find myself elated and dejected at the same time by all he has accomplished this year.  He has started using spoken two-word phrases; he can, ever so crazily, write his name, he is able to do speech flashcards along with me and by the third repetition he can say the word on his own most of the time.

Those are all big differences between last year and this, and that’s the elating part.  The dejected part is that we have been working on many of these things for 3-4 years.  I think of ALL the time, effort, frustration and creativity that has gone into it, and I am flustered and overwhelmed by how slowly we have progressed.  And then there is the ever maddening question of would he have done better if he had been in the public school system.

A few of the things Noah has been up to during my blog hiatus?  He’s learned lots of potty words that we wish he hadn’t.  He has taken to calling certain people stinky and yucky.  It’s hard not to laugh when I leave him with a therapist or other adult and when I come back, they bubbily tell me, “He kept saying something, but I couldn’t tell what it was.”  And then I have to break it to them that he was calling them one of the two.  Maybe I should just shrug my shoulders next time and tell them I have no idea what he was saying.

Noah has gotten to be resistant during drilling, and I often have to bribe him with the promise of iPad time or a goodie.

Noah spent a week at a horse day camp at Red Arena with three of his siblings.  Much fun was had by all!

Most of Noah’s noises are still unintelligible – I don’t think he is even trying to pronounce a word most of the time.  He uses simple signs and sometimes even speech spontaneously – still mostly one-word phrases.  Noah responds very well to PROMPT speech therapy, and we are seeing some carry over at home.  He says words much more easily if I say them along with him.  Having him place his pointer finger on my lips while I say a word also helps him a lot in his pronunciation.

This road is much longer and steeper than I had imagined it would be, but the scenery is beautiful and the company is the best.  Noah fills our life with love and affection and it is a blessing to know and love him.

And that’s all for today.

Blessings to all for a great school year.  Stay tuned for our adventures through homeschooling and Down syndrome?

Alyson

 

 

 

Timmy Triangle – Shaping Up Kindergarten

Last week Bella (5), Seth (3) and Noah (6-Down syndrome) all started homeschool Kindergarten.  This is year two of kindergarten for Noah, and I’m happy to report academically he is much more ready for typical kindergarten work than he was at this time last year.

We’ve decided to try Weaver Interlock for our curriculum.  It’s designed for preschoolers and kindergarteners;  directions are given for modifying activities up or down depending on your child’s readiness.  How perfect is that for our family!  Even more perfect is the fact that I picked this rather pricey curriculum up for $2 at the thrift store several years ago.  Let’s hear it for homeschoolers who believe in passing along their used curriculum!!!  (And actually, I don’t believe this was even used – it looked brand new when I bought it.)

So last week was a busy week, but we had a blast.  Triangles were one of the things we learned about, and on day 1 of triangles, we made these cute little fellows:

DSC09224 I predicted this would be a busy work craft with little value, but I was wrong.  The kids were very focused on these triangles once they had their eyes stuck on and listened attentively as I pointed out the three sides, points and angles.

This was a quick craft.  One thing I learned at AWANAS last year was that there is no shame in pre-cutting and prepping projects for children.  If the point of a craft is more important than the skills practiced from start to finish, go ahead and do some of the work yourself before hand.  I had already cut the triangles before the craft, so all my little ones did was glue on the stick and the eyes.  Nobody lost interest, and I didn’t lose my mind.  That’s the mark of a successful activity around here.

I am liking the Interlock curriculum, but I am surprised by how thorough the lesson plans are.  As I glanced over it in preparation, I thought we’d whiz through the different activities in 15 minutes.  So I was having a great time on Pinterest looking for ways to supplement the material.  Turns out I’m going to have to find another excuse for stalking Pinterest.

Hmmmmm.  I’ve picked up machine embroidery again – now that would be a fun Pinterest board search!

Onward ho!

Dry Èrase Crayons + Plastic = Mess-Free Hands

A friend told me the other day that her preschoolers were using china markers to trace letters on laminated worksheets.

How brilliant is that? Writing from china markers, a.k.a. grease pencils, has the uncanny ability to stay put until you very purposefully wipe it off.

No more smeared writing, no more dry erase marker all over the side of my children’s hands from resting them on top of their writing.

My only problem was figuring out where to buy china markers. I looked all over Wal-Mart. No luck, but I didn’t want to spend my Saturday Solitude searching all over Austin for a silly china marker. Surely, I thought, I could find something at Wal-Mart that I could substitute in. That’s how I came up with the dry-erase crayons. The fact they come 8 colors to a box was a nice bonus.

dry erase crayons

In just a few days’ time, we’ve discovered not only do they work well on laminated worksheets; they also work on windows, glass, binders, and just about any plastic surface. Oh, and of course they work brilliantly on white boards! We’re using them to label the spines of our school binders. When we’re finished with the binder, we can wipe off the writing and use it for something else.

Shopping for a new year’s worth of school supplies is so much fun for homeschoolers because we Mommies get to stock up too. What’s new in your stash?