Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Diagnosis: ADHD

So recently my husband and I got the diagnosis that our son has ADHD. 
First off, let me explain that he wasn't diagnosed by a 5, 10 or even 20 minute visit with a pediatrician.  (I say this because I have understand that ADD and ADHD can be overly diagnosed where it may seem the easier thing for the doctors to do, even if that isn't what it is.)
He saw a child psychologist who tested him for two hours on two different days for a total of four hours.  We have a rather lengthy printout of all the tests involved & his performance in comparison to his age group.  So we feel that this isn't one of those cases where he has been shoved into a box by a tired or hurried pediatrician. 
I'm not a total stranger to this.  My brother (three years younger than me) was diagnosed with ADD.  I have cousins (from two of my mom's sisters) that have either ADD/ADHD.  So it does, unfortunately, run in my family. 
This, as a parent, is a new road for me as well as for my husband.  We're just beginning our journey & I know we have a LOT to learn before we get to the end of the journey.  I hope to educate myself on it & on the various ways that my husband and I can most effectively communicate with our son successfully without all the frustration between us all. 
I feel this has been confirmation that God has led us to homeschool.  Many schools right now are struggling.  Even the good ones aren't as good as they should be, they're just better than the rest.  The school system & structure needs to be updated so that it meets the demands of modern times & needs.  With all the economic stresses & school budgets being cut back, many schools are no longer equipped to handle the extra needs of children with ADD/ADHD.  So I feel blessed to be able to give James that extra one-on-one attention that he needs to help him succeed academically.  I know that he's a very hands on learner, so I need to do my best to get him involved with the lessons & interacting with them as much as possible rather than simply presenting him with the material. 
I admit, I do feel a bit overwhelmed at the prospect that is ahead of me.  At times, I even feel under equipped.  I'm currently dealing with depression & so that creates a difficulty & inner struggle on things that shouldn't be.  So this extra curve ball feels more like a foul ball that I've been hit with.  Yes, I saw the signs & could see it coming right at me.  Yet suspecting & knowing aren't the same. 
I've created a small online group of friends of mine from my '06 &'09 birth boards - they are all parenting children with ADD/ADHD as well.  I certainly hope & pray that we will be a blessing to each other & help each other learn more & be a safe place to discuss our daily interactions, struggles, things we've learned, etc. 
So this means that I need to be on top of my blogging more.  For my own sake.  To see what we've done in the past and what has worked versus what has not.  Hopefully more people will read my blog & will have stories of their own to share that will encourage me & inform me as well.  Hopefully more people will read & I can help them by being a sympathetic ear or linking them to an informative article I've found & help them as well.  Especially if they homeschool as well - they can share ideas & sites that are geared towards hands on learning for even the subjects I may not realize can become hands on subjects! 
So for the first time, I'm going to ask you to share the link to this blog so that possibly I can grow a community of support for those of us parenting children with ADD, ADHD and also for homeschoolers.  (Though having both is certainly not required.)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Our very first lapbook! A Christmas lapbook!

So I'm pretty excited.  I've been reading about lapbooks for several months now.  I've been wanting to do one but haven't found quite the inspiration I needed.  With Christmastime here, that was the inspiration I needed.  So, after a few hours (over the course of a couple of days) I managed to put together enough things for a Christmas lapbook!  I'm very excited.  Of course, I'll share pictures & links as well. 
Tell me what you think after you see it. 
The "Symbols of Christmas math," "Away In A Manger fill in the blanks" & "Christmas word match" are my own creations. 
"Why Jesus Is Better Than Santa" came from here. (I did modify it a bit & change the format for my lapbook.)
The Reindeer puzzle can be found here.
The "Winter Time Is Here" mini-book can be found here.
The Help the Elf shape sorting can be found here.
Not shown here are two stories I plan to read before introducing the lapbook. 
The story of St. Nicholas and the Nativity story.

The cover.

The inside.

A close up of "Why Jesus Is Better Than Santa."

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Fall Update

Goodness!  I definitely have been slacking on my blogging!  I apologize. 

First off, the kids are doing great! 

James is reading a bit more confidently now.  He's definitely getting the hang of it.  Math is his shorter subject so he enjoys that because he knows it won't take long to finish a lesson.  He's able to tell time (top of the hour time on analog clocks & digital; he's getting better at reading the different minutes for the digital too).  He's counting money - just the pennies, nickels & dimes for now.  He's adding in the 1's family plus he's learning to use a number line to count as well.  It is absolutely amazing to me how much he's learned during the 43 school days we've had!  So crazy to think that he has learned so much, so quickly.  I love seeing him grow & learn.

Alexandra loves to learn as well.  I've not been doing much with her (other than giving her crayons & a coloring book) but during bath time she LOVES showing me the different letters we have for the tub & I tell her the letter name & the sound it makes.  So she knows the letters A & O by name & sound.  She knows the sounds that the letters M, S, T, B, E & P make as well.  It's wonderful that she has retained so much of that information!  I'm sure the Leap Frog Letter Factory dvd has helped too.  I know it helped James learn them awfully quickly when we bought that for him when he was 4.  I never thought to work with James on letter sounds when he was 2.  I was just working on the letters & the alphabet song.  With Alexandra she's showing me that I am underestimating her & I need to step it up.  So I'm going to begin using the book we have "Alphabet on Parade" to teach her more of the alphabet in lessons in a fun way. 

I NEED to get better at including art & health.  I have a health curriculum for him.  Although I discovered early on that I only have enough lessons for 1 lesson per week half the year and 2 lessons per week for the other half.  Although the past few weeks I've done 0.  And art would be completely from ideas I get online or off the top of my head - which getting time to do that is what I need to do.  Usually the little down time I get I like to relax & read or watch my dvr-ed shows. 

I took some pictures of Alexandra doing her A & apple art yesterday so I need to upload that to the computer, edit this post & add those pictures to this blog post.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Two at a time.

Today when I announced to James that it was time to begin his schooling, Alexandra immediately hopped into the chair at the school table. She was eagerly awaiting her daily chalkboard & chalk activity. From there she gets a coloring book with crayons when she's bored with the chalkboard. Except that today she wanted nothing to do with crayons & instead wanted the dry erase markers in James' school box. So, I got her the leisure markers (markers we do NOT use for James' school projects, those are separate) & let her color in her "workbook" (coloring book). She loved it. Whenever I write on the dry erase board on our wall, she wants to make sounds of the letters. So I wrote each letter of the alphabet for her & told her the letter name as well as the sound the letter makes. About a quarter of them she does well. She's so cute doing it too! So I think I need to start planning out some learning activities for her. She may only be 22 months (nearly 23) but she LOVES to feel included like a big kid during school & seems to love learning (on her own terms, of course). I had my CDA at one point (Child Development Associate) for ages 3-5 but I helped to create & implement the curriculum for the two year old room I worked in for nearly three years. So I think I could come up with some age appropriate activities. It's just a matter of making the time to go online finding ideas, organizing ideas, creating a loose curriculum, on top of typical parenting obligations & housekeeping obligations. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

James' First Day of Kindergarten!

James' first day of kindergarten was Tuesday, September 6, 2011!

He did his first lesson of Phonics & Reading, Math, Health & Bible.  He did a great job & knew everything we covered in math & phonics.  So nothing new to him just yet. 
In Health we covered what the word "unique" means & how God made us all in His image so we have a lot in common with every other person on the planet & similarities but we also talked about all of the differences as well.  I also showed him pictures of various people (africans, saudi arabians, mexicans, french, indians, native americans & oriental) around the globe. 

Pictures of James' first day. 

James chart of the seven days of Creation from the Bible.
(1. Light, 2. Sky, 3. Mountains, trees, flowers, oceans. 4. Sun, moon & stars. 5. Birds, butterflies & creatures of the water.  6. All animals & people.  7. God rested.)

 James' self portrait picture for health class.  He also learned that all fingerprints are different & no two person's fingerprints are the same.  We are ALL unique, even twins. 
James' first Phonics & Reading lesson.  This is Horizons curriculum from Alpha Omega Publications.

James reading.
Happy to be finished!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Homeschool Name?

I was wanting to name our homeschool.  In some states, this is a requirement so that the state feels they can recognize you as an official "private school" entity.  This is not the case in TX.  However, I have read that when buying school supplies online or at certain places, having a name for your homeschool can have price discount advantages because they then recognize you as a private school.  Not only that, I've read how some kids feel that this gives them a sense of belonging to something.  So I will work on a "mascot" later on.  As far as school colors - blue & silver (my wedding colors too, I'm a sucker for the combo).

So I read a few articles online about naming your homeschool.  I'll share one of them here.

So I wanted something that would show that we stand for Christ.  I couldn't think of anything really.  I thought about it for a day and a half off and on.  Lying in bed last night I thought about all the suggestions listed in that article I shared.  One being to name it after your street.  We live on Shine Ave.  It actually didn't sound half bad.  Shine Academy.  Well, I thought I'd try to make an acronym out of 'shine' to give it more meaning because I know we won't be living in this house (we rent) for the rest of our school career & I don't want to change it - I want to pick a name & stick with it.  I got "Serving Him IN Education" but I couldn't think of real words for the I & N.  *sigh*  I actually got a headache lying in bed, unable to sleep trying to think of something clever & cohesive.  Then I figured heck with it! 
After a couple of minutes I realized there's the song "Shine" by the Newsboys (Christian band) & the word shine repeats in "This Little Light of Mine" christian song we all know.  So it can stand for that as well as shining as the light of Christ in this world.  So it works well even when we move.  I think anyway.  I wanted something a bit more creative & clever, but this works well also.  Then I still wanted it to be clear that we're a Christian homeschool.  So I threw in Bible.  Shine Bible Academy.  Jim thought it sounded like we ONLY studied the Bible with that title so he suggested Shine Christian Academy.  I think we're going to stick with that.  I've not decided definitively but since I can't think of much else (and I strongly wanted it to be my/our own creation) I'm pretty sure this is it. 

Welcome to "Shine Christian Academy!" 

Pictures of our "school room."

So we've pretty much got the room set up.  I'm sure as we go along I'll make small changes here & there to go along with what he's learning. 
So without further adieu, here are the pictures.  (Yes, the "school room" is in our dining/foyer area.)

The poster on the far left is an ABC poster that came with James' phonics curriculum.  Then we have the dry erase board.  Next is a shelf that was in James' nursery/room back in OH (now used to hold the eraser & marker organizer (magnetic, yes but takes up precious board space) & will be a cute place to display things related to the lessons or even display any cute projects or anything.  After that, on the adjacent wall is the bulletin board that's been there for a while now since I was home preschooling James.

Top left crate: James' phonics & reading curriculum (4 teacher's guides, 4 student books & 4 readers).
Top right crate: James' math curriculum & the blue binder is mine.
Left drawers: Teacher's stuff
Right drawers: James' supplies, health curriculum, pre-k/k seasonal science book & "just right homework" book.