Friday, September 26, 2014

Year 3/Week 4/Final bodycount...any *&$% day...

One of the most frustrating things, if not the MOST frustrating thing, about homeschooling a child with a behavioral/neurological disorder is that you can count on...absolutely nothing. There is  no guarantee any day will go well, and more likely, if you've had a couple of good days under your belt, the odds increase exponentially each day that THIS day will be a disaster. And this can happen any time on any day. 


Let me repeat that. Uncertainty and surprise are my life homeschooling with ASD in our lives...not to mention the looming menace of my health issues. But at least my health issues stay mostly at a constant low ebb and I've worked most of our classes around the possibility that the boys may have to work alone. But ASD...that just lives to create chaos in our school.

Our week was going pretty well. The basics were getting done and even though Danny seemed to be stalling every day and pushing me to the limit every evening before he was finally done, he was doing all his work and getting great scores. Then today. I already knew today was going to be tough on me, because I had a really scary episode with my back last night..the worst since my surgery, in fact. So I had already planned the boys were only going to do the basics and I wouldn't ask more of them. Easy, right?

Four hours after we started school, Danny had done exactly 12 math problems independently. Twelve. Addition and multiplication problems. And nothing else. For those four hours, I had checked on him, encouraged him, tried to help him...and then when I realized he has accomplished next to nothing, I just lost it.  Frustrated, mad, pissed off, you name it. It's just beyond my comprehension. I'm tired, in pain, out of patience, it's Friday name it. 

Then he puts his head down and cries.

And I'm done.  Again.

And I'm  putty in his hands. He breaks down and tells me he is having "one of the days" where he can't even add 9+9. And he didn't tell me. Just kept trying and trying and nothing made sense for him. And I feel awful. My whole day flips topsy turvy in 2 seconds and I am hugging him and kissing him and trying to make it work again. And realizing how a "normal" school would never understand that on Monday we'll have to stop and review addition and subtraction and basic multiplication. Again. Until it kicks in again. That's when I'm so glad he's with me...and scared he'll never be able to go back to a "real school".  Ever.

So, we sit on my bed and I study my college text and he reads his reading novel..and hold hands and smile. And I hug him every five minutes until he's ready to move to the next subject. 

I'm so ready for the weekend.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Year 3/Week 4: A Return to Normalcy..for us, anyway...

This is our fourth week of homeschool for Year 3 and the first day of fall. So thankful this summer is was a bear! And for the first time in our 5th and 7th grade schooling, we are finally falling in a regular routine and our house is beginning to recover. Once the painting was done, it took me a full week to restock the schoolroom (not including the space we are losing because the bay window ceiling is still leaking) and de-junkify the front living room. Today we finally got the TV room decluttered and vacuumed and it FINALLY feels ready to face company again. Now, once I get my office and upper hallway cleared of the stuff we loaded out of the basement from the flood...and box up or donate all the stuff in the basement...and move the basement furniture...and get the carpet in the basement replaced..we'll be set :)

The boys are on a regular schedule of a core daily program of math, English, reading, instrument practice, Bible/religion study, and what I call MYH (Move Your Hiney time, which is a daily chart of stretching, strength exercises and cardio they can choose from to complete their 30 minutes daily) and they are falling into step pretty well. We've still had to work at Danny not getting distracted while on the computer for math and English, but I've got to admit, he is really trying hard. Which is nice after last week, where I was SERIOUSLY one step from driving him up and enrolling him in school...public school, church school, ANY school! But we got through that (for now) and we're doing okay.

Our school week includes "add-ins" of history, geography, science, health and art as I can fit them in and find good lessons. Music is still weekly band lessons with Encore Academy and I'm just as excited as the boys that we are moving up to Intermediate Band this year. Woot!

This is our first year not using the Sonlight Instructor's Guide for history, although I did buy a good amount of the Sonlight Readers to use in conjunction with our Story of the World studies this year. I've made the executive decision (which I am still realizing I can do) to limit our studies to Egypt, Greece, Rome and as much of the Middle Ages and Renaissance as we can get to this year. Since this is Danny's last year with me (and it SO, I want to touch on as much of World History as I can before he goes. I wish we could have made it to the Maryland Renaissance Festival this year, but we got rained out on the only free weekend before baseball started. Serious bummer for Mom/Teacher.

But the reason we are missing the Ren Fest is awesome...the boys are playing baseball for the very first time (which is also most of their cardio for MYH time)...and loving it! I couldn't be more tickled, because this is really hubby's sport and he is right in there helping them practice, getting their equipment and taking them to the batting cages, practices and games. I finally feel like I'm seeing one of the biggest payoffs we'll get from homeschooling - having enough time in our schedule to try different activities including this one, which is a homerun for everyone this time. :)

 Danny's first baseball team warming up before the game...he's #53 :)
Ben at his first practice before he got rained out..complete with game face :)

So, now that the house is fairly under control and the boys have their work finished in good time today, I'm off to list more of my growing pile of "give aways" on my eBay store and do a little studying for my own classes while I'm at it. Yee-haw! Talk to you during my next breather....MLM

Monday, September 8, 2014

Year 3/Week 2: Seriously?

Just looking at today's title, I couldn't believe we are actually homeschooling into Year 3 - who would have thought?!?! Many things have changed over the years, including the frequency of my blogs, but it's a great way to start the year, so here goes (many pardons to all my Facebook buddies who have already seen these in real time)...

Week 2, you say? What happened to Week 1? Well, let me show you....
This was our classroom during the first week of school.

I guess I also need to let you know that we started our school year AFTER Labor Day, as well. And AFTER my birthday, the day after Labor Day...and even though we started as late as 9/3/14, we still didn't start a full schedule because we were still in the middle of  THIS: repainting a good portion of our first floor (which we had been putting off for years...and, obviously, until the end of this summer.) We had a fun first week, though! After our traditional first day picture and annual "field trip" to Dunkin Donuts...

First day of Homeschool 2014-2015

we had an easy day of grocery shopping and then reading happily after finding Minecraft novels at BJs...
Third year of homeschool and finally found books they really LIKE to read!

Finding these books was a real Godsend to me since the boys have humored me by reading books I've assigned or helped them choose at the library, but they LOVED these. Finally! I may still have to assign reading time, but they won't complain..:)

Our second day of school was fun and busy. We headed up to Mt. Airy first to Talbot Run Equestrian Center for a homeschool Intro to Horseback Riding lesson. It was the first time the boys were ever on a horse, and they had a fantastic time. Danny giggled the whole time and Ben looked like he was born to ride...they are already bugging me when we are going next! Since it's an expensive hobby, we'll probably only be able to go once a month or so, but looking forward to giving them these great opportunities in whatever years we have left at Varga School.

 Danny and Ben sitting like champs

We finished our Thursday classes with a "math/spelling bee" on the car ride further north to our band lesson in Hampstead. Love our Encore Academy instructor and's a great perk and break for all of us each week. Our first week ended with a relaxing day on Friday while Dad took over the boys and watched over their reading assignment and took them for haircuts while I fled to the library to study for my Medical Coding class. After we were all done, we headed to Rockburn Park for a fun class through Howard County Parks and Rec, Introduction to Geocaching. We had a great time, found a few practice caches and got our smartphones set up to do more in the future. Loved it!

So, we were lucky that our first week really didn't require the classroom. We kicked tail finishing the painting over the weekend so that today (Monday), we were ready for REAL classes like this:

Ben and Danny doing their Math lesson in our new setup

Besides  not having things hung on the walls yet, we did pretty good and covered our first "full" day of subjects with math (Teaching Textbooks on DVD w/workbook again), English (Essentials in Writing on DVD w/workbook), instrument practice, reading and P.E. I'll be adding in History, Science, Art and other electives as we get further into the semester. I am just SO relieved to have my first floor back in working order for the first time in FOREVER, that everything seems so much easier now. Once I get all the subjects up and running, I'll be able to tackle re-carpeting the basement from the Spring Flood of '14 and all the crazy that will entail. But that's for another time. For now, we are just enjoying the normal!!

Til next breather - MHM