Wednesday, December 9, 2015

WOW! Catching up!










So...yes, we've been busy again!

Arianna has had an initial evaluation with CDRC (Child Development and Rehabilitation Center) and was diagnosed ADHD (which we knew YEARS ago. lol), slight speech articulation issue (and we knew that, as both myself and her older brother went thru a year of speech therapy to correct similar issues) as well as Dyslexic/Dysgraphia/Learning diability.  It was very interesting process and the Dr's impression was pretty close to what we knew.

"She is quick to learn, primarily when it is visually related or when information is presented to her orally." and the assessment stated " the more difficult the questions, the more she pays attention and the more answers she gets correctly (he only went up to 5th grade level I believe). Then he wrote that She was very vocal and carried on a conversation that was much higher than her chronological age.

So we are going to be working with the school district for more testing and evaluating her. We did get a recommendation for Bookshare.org which is a site for free audio books for students with learning disabilities with printed text. You do need a formal diagnoses but it is a wonderful resource for those that need it.

We also got all three kittens moved home and that has been an interesting and fun process! Arianna's kitten ignores everyone except her. She will sit with Arianna a lot, which actually helps Arianna settle down and keeps her sitting! She'll sit there and pet cupcake thru out a short film, or a discussion over a lesson, etc. The only time cupcake visits anyone else is when Arianna is gone for a sleep over at her friends house.  Cookie, Kaitlyn's kitten, ignores us unless we pick him up. Then he will sit with us for awhile (where as cupcake will get away from us as soon as possible if we pick her up). Gumball should have come with a warning label. He likes to run down the hall, across the living room and launch himself onto your upper chest..Which causes a few cuss words on occasion because your not expecting it. He will also scoot as close to your face as possible to lick it then bite you..and he especially loves ears. He's also incredibly PERSISTENT when doing so!

We have had a couple of fieldtrips as well. One to the World forestry Center and another to the Portland Aquarium. and we have another fieldtrip coming up soon as well!

At the World Forestry Center





The girls and I had a Fire jumper competition to see who could "land" the closest to the fire with out landing in it...Kaitlyn won! She did a great job! Then the girls took a river trip...


We tried and tried to get Dominic to get in, but he was having none of it! at least until it was almost time to go. Then we did get him in and got a picture from the automated machine there.

At the Portland Aquarium...


Kaitlyn thought this guy was pretty cool! Then she discovered the rest of the place!




 They had a ball! One of the touch tanks has small sharks and stingrays. The girls were so excited to touch them while Dominic was very silly! He didn't want to pet them, but it was okay if they petted him! So he would put his hand into the water and wait for the stingrays to swim by and brush up against his fingers. Then he would laugh and laugh and laugh! One stingray came up and a little out of the water against the wall and splashed him which he also though was fun and he tried to splash it back.
After that we headed up to the IKEA in Portland and bought Dominic a little kids bed so we could finally move him out of his pack and play bed. So far he seems to really enjoy it! and While we were there the girls found their "dream" room. So now that we have an idea of what they want for their room we can start slowly moving in that direction!
It's been an exhausting time, but we are starting to feel like we are actually accomplishing things again!


Thursday, October 22, 2015

FAQ..

I was asked if I found homeschooling easier than public schools..in some regards yes. I don't have to have them up super early and out the door super early. I don't have to do the pick up, parent/teacher conferences, fill out a lot of paper work, etc. but that just means I have to do everything..but at least it's more or less on our own schedule.
Are the kids always easy to deal with...um...No...but that's a given. Nobody is ALWAYS easy to deal with..and when one or more of your kids is not your typical kid. When your dealing with ADHD, LD's, Special needs, or any number or other things, each day has its own little challenges..Somedays are better than others..
Do I get time to myself...sometimes. I'm lucky enough to have a great friend who also homeschools her children and we sometimes take turns having each others kids over for a night...or two...or three....when we DO need breaks. I do try and get up before the kids in the mornings so I have a breather before starting the day..it's my "coffee and quiet" time..I like to have some time in the evenings as well and generally send the kids off to bed so I can wind down as well.
Do I ever want to send them to public school...as in today was horrid and why do I even do this? No. Do I want to send them to Public school if they want to go in? Possibly. If they know what they are getting into, and have thought out the pro's and con's and have an idea of WHY they want to go to public school vs. homeschooling  or schooling at home (public online school, charter schools etc.)
Will I homeschool thru high school? I have no idea. If they are fairly self motivated and have interests they want to pursue and are wanting to stay in a homeschooling or schooling at home environment I have no problem with that.
Do you expect your kids to go to college or university? Well, pretty much! Although if they want to do a trade school etc. that is fine as well! I do not expect them to stop with just a high school diploma.
What about socialization? Well, that's a fairly typical question of all homeschoolers. We have groups, clubs, fieldtrips etc..so yes, they get LOTS of socialization.
I would say those are the most typical questions I get all the time...along with..do you LIKE homeschooling? And YES, we like homeschooling...

Sunday, October 18, 2015

throwing stuff together...science style..

So I promised a while back that I would kind of explain what I did for some of our classes. I'm starting with science because that's some of the easier stuff for me to throw together.

So this year the kids are doing a couple of different science classes but for the purposes here I'm throwing together their zoology stuff (we also have geology and marine biology).

The first thing I do is go thru their main book they are working out of, in this case it's the Sassafras Twins.

I got them the logbook that goes with it..
Then I got three other science books that I go thru and see which experiments and subjects go well with the first book above...


Then I look around the house and see what I already have sitting around that can be added to it as well..




Then I try and add it some fun stuff...

I also have a couple of others of the card games but this one works well with the first few chapters in the book. I look to see what kind of movies, documentaries or other programing we may have playing available on netflix, youtube, and Hulu that might go well with it as well as going thru their fun reading books and adding in whatever might go with which ever chapter we are on. Then I look at things in our area that might go well with it as well, field trips are the funnest part to take a look at. I do try and plan them according to the progression in the book. So for instance the first chapters cover the African grasslands so we might go to the cheap day at the zoo and head straight for the African animal exhibits. When we get to ocean animals (at the end of the book) I already have the 2hour marine boat tour and science class booked. We have tickets for the aquarium purchased already (Thank you Groupon!)! It does sound like a lot of work, but in reality it takes very little time (Other than the field trip planning since I do the field trips for a larger group than just the family, it tends to be the most time consuming).

Yes, I do similar for each subject they want to tackle. History,  cultural studies, etc. I will admit it helps that we (my husband and I) are avid readers and have a ton of books at home.  The kids also have a nice selection, but that usually takes me a little longer to go thru since I'm not always 100% certain what they have and where.











Hood River and The Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Museum...





 We started out in Hood River at the Fall Festival. The girls thought the pumpkin carving was pretty cool! Dominic had fun running around in circles..

Then it was into the crafting tents to see what was going on in there. Arianna found the Indian Sauce stuff..and loved all the stuff she tried however she didn't try the hot sauce..So Nik decided to try it for her...



 Yeah..He says he'll never try that again! LOL!! Poor guy! It decided to have a good rain come thru so we hid out for a bit and then thankfully before long the rain stopped. We decided to head up to the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Museum and so glad we did. Had a great time there with the kids. Looking forward to a few more trips up that way (thank you Groupon for the great deal on a membership!).

 In front of the museum..

Then it was inside to see what else they had going on. We started in the very back and worked our way forwards, you know, because why not?! The kids found the Columbia Mammoth.



 We had some dress up time as well in the Oregon trail area...



I told Nik to smile for us...and got this instead...
Which of course cracks all the kids up every time they see it..I might have to print this one and put it on our family and friends photo wall!
Dominic and Sophia were having a great talk..I just wish I knew what he was saying to her. They both found it pretty funny! The view from the back of the museum is pretty cool as well...
It's been a few years since I've  been out of the "green" section of Oregon and I forgot how pretty the difference can be between the different area's in Oregon. The Gorge is so pretty to visit. Think we may have to do some traveling that way again next summer (we'd planned on trying to do it this summer but didn't get a chance).
Some more pictures from around the center...



and some more pictures of the kids.


We had a really nice time and so glad to have a day off to spend with our friends! Already discussing another trip up that way and adding in a couple more stops.







Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Biomes...

Had a science meet up today and did our biomes. We started with a discussion on what biomes are and then made our own. First we started with our vocabulary list..

Then started our talk and the fun stuff...
we started by lining the tank and containers with a small layer of rock, then added in plants and dirt..
once those were in we watered the plants, cut the screens to fit each container and added crickets, food and water...
we filled out our day 1 of our experiment book and the kids had fun watching the crickets..
Then we discussed the different biomes and habitats, defined them, and then selected some animals for each one. As we go thru our science book, we will fill in each square with different animals we learn about from each...

Had lots of fun, and the girls are excited for the next meet up!


Friday, October 9, 2015

Mt. St. Helens fieldtrip!

Got up super early (for us) at 5:20, got everyone up, packed breakfast and lunch and headed out..Started at the Johnston Ridge observatory which was great! The kids watched their short movie on the eruption, learned about different rocks and how they are produced by the volcano. It was so cloudy however that we couldn't really look into the crater from the blast. But it was a lot of fun anyway! Had a ranger talk, picked up some materials for their geology unit for spring and then had lunch and headed out..with a few stops!

We made a couple of stops along the road to point out places you could still see the fallen trees from the eruption, where you could see the buildup of silt, logs, debris, etc. in the river beds, where you could see the end of the blast zone and the beginning of what would have been the "ghost forest" (those tree's that remained upright but were burned by the heat from the blast), and then stopped at the Forest learning center about 12 miles from the blast. They are normally closed by mid Sept. but had opened today for a tour bus that was scheduled to come thru. They decided to remain open for others and I'm SO glad they did! What a cool facility! The kids got another idea of the blast from a short 2 minute film then went in to discover the rest of the exhibits!




We will have to visit again next year in summer! What a totally cool place!


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Weekend list of honey do's...

It was a very long weekend of getting stuff done. Which is always nice, except when your still not feeling 100%. My better half did a great job in finishing some things in the upcoming hangout slash school room. Casters got put on our shelves, the table top is finished and the bottom half is ready to go except for a couple of coats of stain. Kaitlyn spent Saturday being a GREAT big sister for Dominic and a good little helper for me.

She pulled out all the magazine file folders for me to go thru and whittle things down a bit to things we really want for this year and got rid of duplicates or things that were old and needed to be reordered (thankfully, these are all pretty much free stuff we can order from different places!)
Then after she did that she put together Dominic's easel for the school room! She did a great job!
Dominic went right to work!
Then the idea of taking things outside came up...

I finally had to get the hammock chair that will hang in the hangout room out for Kaitlyn to sit on and watch Dominic..before long....
What's better than a cuddle with sis!

I had a few people ask about some things we are doing this year with the kids, and how I put things together..Which I'll start posting in the next day or two. The most asked ones seem to be history and science. I'll take some pictures, write down what I generally do and we can go from there :) So that should be up in the next couple of days and then before long we should have some pictures of the hangout slash school room...and yes, I would normally just type the slash symbol...but that button seems to have decided to stop working...again.