Tuesday, December 13, 2011

homeschooling james

Wow. I'm just so thrilled to be homeschooling James. The older two are doing cyberschool (their choice) so it's really nice to be actually homeschooling a little one again. James was in preschool...but...well...that didn't go so well. lol ahem. Anyways, he's so excited to do things and I'm excited to do them with him. I'm pretty "on the fence" as to whether or not I'll have him do cyberschool next year. On one hand, I know he's going to have some challenges because of his special needs and I don't really want him to be identified and given an IEP, which I know will happen if he's cyberschooled. If he gets an IEP and then later I want to homeschool him, it will make it harder to do that. On the other hand, I just want him to thrive and learn and feel good about himself. If his challenges are such that he feels like he can't succeed and I feel like I'm unable to really help him, then I'll want to get him the help he needs. If he's in cyberschool, at least he's getting that help and support, but he's home here with me. And who really cares about him getting an IEP if it would help him with his learning. Even if he's doing cyberschool, that's like only a couple hours a day so we could be unschooling the rest of the time. So, that's my conundrum. I'm glad I pulled him out of preschool, though. This will give us a good amount of time before next Fall to learn together and I can get a feel for how he learns and whether or not cyberschool is even necessary. He really wants to learn to read....so, I'm going to attempt to teach him that and go from there. If he can learn to read then I think we can pretty much do anything and won't need cyberschool. Decoding the language is often where learning disabilities show up, I think, so I'm just going to start there. If anyone is reading and has suggestions or ideas, please let me know. (I don't even know if anyone reads this!) lol

Monday, December 12, 2011

wow....I'm really bad at this blogging thing. It's been practically a year since I last updated. And SO MUCH has changed for our family. The main reason I haven't updated is because I was caring for my dying partner for the better part of this year. From April-October, she was sick and passed in October. So, yes, a lot has changed. The children (at least Erin 16 and Adam 12) had decided to do cyberschool this year, which turned out to be a good thing for us and them. Erin is doing 10th grade at PAVCS....she felt like she wanted to be challenged and wanted to do higher Math than I can teach her. She needs guidance, though, so felt like enrolling in the cyberschool would be good for her. It was completely her idea and decision. She's doing really really well. She actually qualified the AP English class and is growing more and more confident in herself. She decided to wait until next year to do AP English, just because this is really her first traditional schooling experience and she doesn't want to overwhelm herself. Smart girl. Adam is doing very well, too. He grumbles and complains, but I know that he likes it....I don't have to (and wouldn't) nag him about doing his work or getting to class. They are both doing synchronous classes (which means actual classes online, real-time) and I think it's a good way to do it. Jamie (my partner) and I had decided to enroll James in a private preschool just because we knew that this Fall was going to be difficult with her sick. We wanted him to be able to go somewhere each day to play and have fun and for it to be a consistent place for him....as well as giving me a break since I was caring for Jamie full-time. I think it was a smart thing to do, as well. However, he has a lot of anxiety about going and I think that it is an overwhelming thing for him. I'm sure Jamie's being gone is certainly causing anxiety....but with his special needs, he is just overstimulated there and does not have the social or mental skills to really thrive and enjoy himself. There have been behavior issues there and I just don't see the point in keeping him in the situation when I will definitely be homeschooling (or cyberschooling) him. So, after the holidays he'll be staying home again. I'm looking forward to doing some fun stuff with him in the new year. So. That's where we are. I don't know where the future will take us but it will take us there together.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

James and I created another nature table yesterday. He's such a magickal kid, he has that natural quality that some kids have, of just *knowing*, ya know? Anyway, He put rocks, shells, pinecones, his wand, and a branch and stump from a fallen tree outside on his nature altar. He decided to put two candles on, one for God one for Goddess. He also felt it was necessary to put his lego gun that he had created, on his altar (calling it a Nature Gun to make it more palatable to mama...lol). AND, he felt it was very important to put his Vitamin C on his nature altar. It was very important to him. Originally he wanted the whole big bottle of Vit. C. on it, but then agreed to just put three out in a little dish (one for him, one for God, one for Goddess). I love to see him interact with his nature altars and now that he's a little older (4) I can place it somewhere that he can more easily access it and interact. He's free to add or take away from his nature altar. He can play at it or do nothing with it at all. I think his adding the Vitamin C was his way of bringing the Sun to his winter altar. :)

I'm really excited about doing some more active things with James. I love the Oak Meadow curriculum...it's so NOT a curriculum, NOT schooly, but has wonderful ideas, philosophies, and guides the reader in creating rythyms to our day. I also use the book "Circle Round" with my children, in the same way, for spiritual inspiration, ideas, and to naturally nurture my kid's little spirits. My "plan" (which will inevitably change because James will have a different idea) is to have a little Circle Time after our morning ritual of coffee/computer/cartoon/juice. I'm excited about journeying with another little one, who will be my last (as far as I know). What a lucky human I am!!

Erin and I watched "Romeo & Juliet" (the modern version) last night. It was really good, I thought. Tragic! We'll watch "West Side Story" tonight. It'll be interesting to compare/contrast the two.

Adam has come to the conclusion (on his own) that he doesn't want to play the war-themed video games that he's been playing. He's decided that although he knows they're not real, it just doesn't FEEL right to him and he doesn't feel it's something that he should play. Totally his decision and realization. What wonderful things happen when you trust your children.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

wow, i haven't posted here since October!! that's pretty lame. lol

After her Homeschool Leadership Retreat (which was fabulous), Amber came home and was a little unsure of what she wanted to do next. After lots of discussion and pondering and listening to her soul, she decided to stick with her decision to try going to college. But, she thought that maybe she would just go to Community College and take random courses, work part time, and save to go on the Homeschool Leadership Retreat in New Zealand in Fall 2011. After the holidays, she was feeling restless and like she just wasn't DOING anything. Amber is one who needs to be learning, engaged, enriched, and out there. And, basically, she was doing a whole lot of nothing (save her usual solitary activities) up in her room. She was started to sink into her depression and was feeling really crappy. We had a long talk and I made some suggestions and she had some realizations and things have changed since then. Amber is also a person who needs to have a purpose and ever since she was a very small child she would make lists and schedules for herself. So, she started setting some goals and making some lists and things got better. She applied for lots of jobs, took a trip to florida to see her guy, and has been productive in the small projects and tasks she's been giving herself. In December sometime, she realized that Community College isn't really what she wants and that she wanted to go back to her original plan of attending Chatham College. So, we applied, spent a couple of months doing the financial aid stuff, got her transcript and resume together, she went to an optional interview (if you choose not to take the SATs), and we waited. Last week she got a letter of ACCEPTANCE!!!!!!! AND....she got a Trustee's Scholarship!!! I'm so proud of her. We're excited and she feels again like she has some direction. Amber is going to be a fantastic college student. It's just right for her. She's a very natural learner and one of those people who just glows when learning and really living life. She's very excited. And the best thing is that she UNSCHOOLED through all of school. WE UNSCHOOLED and had absolutely no problem getting into a good college when that was her choice. What an affirmation.

The other kids are doing great. Erin is quiet and indecisive and not sure where she is or what she wants to do. yeah, she's 15. :) Adam has chosen to do cyberschool and is doing really well with that. i think it suits him (even though he does complain every day). but, it's what he chose, so......and james is a little bright light buzzing around. he's a master lego builder and astounds us with his abilities and creations.

That's basically where we are. In a very small nutshell. Living, loving, and always learning.