Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Repeat after me....Homeschool is Fun

At my Chiropractor appointment this afternoon, my Dr. asked me how Homeschool was going and I immediately said blurted out “FUN”!

If you have read any of my blog about The Public School Years, you will know for a fact that I never thought that the word FUN would ever describe anything having to do with MY son and the word SCHOOL.

Then I told her blurted out about how there was a method called Unschooling, where you take the lead from what your kids are interested in. I told her about how Padawan was interested in so many things and how we mainly go with that, and how he has learned so much.

I also told her about how when I took Padawan out of Public School how he could barely spell. I told her that now that he has a need to know how spell he is interested in it, and asks me to help him spell words “hundreds” of times a day.

I laughed and told her that Unschooling was an unusual way to describe what we have been doing, because its not UN-teaching or UN-learning. I also told her about Padawan was a perfect example of the quote about throwing marshmallows at your kids and calling it eating.

She told me that it looked like it has been really good for Padawan and that he looked a lot less stressed.

Then she asked me if I ever planned on putting him back in school, and I said “Not if I can help it!”

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Deciding To Homeschool part 6 "The Public School Years" 4th Grade

A TALE OF THREE TEACHERS
AND A BULLY. 

Wow! Part 6?..Really!?!..Who knew it was going to be this long of a saga!?!

Alright..here we go..if you've been reading my story, you know the drill by now..we went to orientation..warned the teachers..yadda...yadda..yadda. Only this time we told them about the evaluation, and that if they felt a need, we were more than willing to pursue getting Padawan diagnosed/labeled further...

Padawan's 4th Grade teacher, (I’ll call her Mrs Wonderful) was VERY organized. She had a system all worked out that I really loved. It seemed to work great for Padawan too- for the most part.

She had the students fill out job applications during the first week of school, and then she hired them to do jobs such as Lighting Technician, Line Leader, Door Holder, Clean Up Crew, and gave them fancy titles. Each job came with a paycheck of “play money” at the end of the week, and the students would pay for the “rent” of their desk and could buy things from her store. She also used a fine system for behavior.

Padawan reluctanly filled out his application for Lighting Technician..the simplest and least attention getting job. He was good at it too! As good as any child could be turning the lights and the television off and on at the appropriate times.

And she didn’t....

assign....

duhn...duhn...duhn...

HOMEWORK!!!

The best part about Mrs. Wonderful was that she had a teenage daughter who was very stubborn too, and she knew how to choose her battles. She made a distinction between Padawan’s behavior and his work habits. She always assured us that Padawan’s behavior was good, but his work habits were horrible. I was beginning to wonder if she was teaching the same immature student that the other teachers had so many behavior issues with.

Something about her method was really working with Padawan. She let us know all the time that she and Padawan had a good working relationship. Not only that, she sent home graded papers every Friday stapled together with a slip of paper on top listing any missing work or comments for the parents! This was awesome! I was taking mental notes, and even incorporating some of her methods at home. Things were looking up!

Or were they?...

Every story has to have a villain....

Or two...

Right?

So, needless to say, the co-teacher (I’ll call her Mrs. Too Strict), who was there 3 days a week, was another story. She was a dictator type, and she had a higher degree than Mrs. Wonderful. This didn’t sit well with Padawan that Mrs. Too Strict let it be known that she had a higher degree than Mrs. Wonderful.

Mrs. Too Strict didn’t choose her battles, so everything became a battle- not only with Padawan but with many of the other students too. This caused Padawan to not really pay attention to the subjects that she was trying to teach him. Mrs. Wonderful could even see where the problem was between Mrs.Too Strict and Padawan, but she explained that it would have been unprofessional for her to say anything to the other teacher about her methods. I agreed.

As the year progressed I was still getting a few emails here and there because of behavior, but not like some of the previous years. I was beginning to think that maybe this school thing might not be so hard after all.

Until....

One day, I got a phone call from the PE teacher. She had had the privilege of teaching Padawan since Kindergarten 2-3 days a week. I had received a few phone calls from her in the past and discussed Padawan’s stubbornness and personality traits with her. In the earlier years, she seemed like a really nice lady who cared about Padawan, but as the years progressed I began to realize that was just a front- she could no longer hide how she REALLY felt about Padawan.

Well, on this occasion, she had called to let me know that Padawan had refused to do his sit-ups with his partner and that this was NOT the first time he had refused to cooperate in PE.

Ummm...

At this point I’m thinking... 

Didn't I already know this last part?.. 

I was also thinking that I had told her more than once to let me know as soon as there was a problem rather than letting it go on and on...and I had also told her to do what she felt necessary and I would back her up.

What more can a mother do!?!?!

I had not talked with the PE teacher since I discovered that a lot of Padawan’s quirks etc, were typical of children on the Autism Spectrum. So, I took this opportunity to explain all this to her and I let her know that we were trying to find out the best way to go about getting him evaluated if it became necessary.

I told her I would ask Padawan when he got home from school what the deal was, but if I had to guess, it was because something had overwhelmed him or it could be due to the fact that Padawan does not really like to be touched by other people. She said (in her scary PE teacher tone of voice) that she would fix that! She would just have Padawan do his sit-ups alone from then on.

When Padawan got home I ask him about the email and why he didn’t do his sit-ups. He told me that Jabba (a giant of a boy- who was also the class bully) was holding his feet down with his knees instead of his hands and pressing really hard. He said that he asked Jabba to quit, over and over, but Jabba did not.

Happy that I got to the root of the problem, and that my suspicions were mostly right, I promptly emailed the PE teacher to let her know what was what was going on. She rudely replied that the problem was taken care of and she was just going to let him do his exercises alone like she said.

(Ok, maybe she didn’t really rudely reply- but that’s how I took the tone of her typing)

Jabba was always doing things to annoy and bully Padawan and the other kids in the class and even other adults- including my husband when he went to the school to have lunch with Padawan.

One day, Jabba sprayed spit on Padawan as they were walking back to class from the lunchroom! I found this out when Padawan came home from school and immediately ran for the shower. I was not happy!

I emailed Mrs. Wonderful to tell her about this and the incidence in PE. I asked her to please make sure that Jabba and Padawan stayed away from each other since I only knew half the story.

(I always made sure I let the teachers know that I knew my child wasn't perfect and there are two sides to every story anytime there was an incident. I didn't want to be one of THOSE parents)

Mrs. Wonderful let me know that she could not do much about it when they were out of her sight in the lunchroom. That was handled by the monitors, and as far as PE went,I would have to talk to the PE teachers. YAY ME.


I did get to meet Jabba at field day. This 4th grader was well over 5 feet tall and as big as a linebacker! He also looked to be bi-racial, and I’m not so sure if he was supposed to be a grade or two ahead. (I just thought I should mention that Mrs. Wonderful was all of 5 feet tall – if that much.) It was a funny sight to see the two of them next to each other.


The thing that surprised me the most when I saw Jabba during Field Day was,that I did not see him as the bully that I had heard so much about from my husband and Padawan. I saw him as a misunderstood child...so different from the other kids.. I don’t think he knew how to fit in. So, the Mom in me felt a little sorry for Jabba.

That day I also watched Padawan as he interacted with the other kids during the Field Day Activities
With my new eyes...

Filled with all that I had learned...

About Autism Spectrum Disorders...

And he too, appeared to be different than most of them...
in a different way than Jabba

And like he wanted to fit in...

And interact with them...

But just couldn't get it quite right...

My memory is fading on the other parts of the school year. It must have been pretty uneventful. Padawan exceeded standards on all the Standardized Tests, and his grades were all over the place as usual.  He still had his best friend from Kindergarten that he talked about everything Lego with, and he had made a couple of new sort of friends.

And Padawan had learned all kinds of ways to say curse words with out really saying the word.

At home Padawan had taught was trying to teach me all about Lego Star Wars and how to tell the difference between Rare, Common, and Vintage Lego Minifigures on Ebay. But in this case, I just couldn't get it quite right.

SUMMER was here once again! In June, Hubby found a JOB!! And life was looking UP!

Things were getting back to the way they should be.. RIGHT?

Don’t kid yourself!


Stay tuned for the dramatic conclusion of this saga... 5th GRADE!


To be continued...

Part 1- Accidental Homeschoolers
Part 2 - PreK and K 
Part 3- 1st & 2nd Grade
Part 4- 3rd Grade
Part 5
Part 6- 4th Grade

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Plank Pullin'

My First Meme

I'm new at this meme thing..in fact I didn't even know what a meme when I saw it mentioned in a blog recently..so I had to look it up.

If you don't know what a meme is either, you can find a good explanation from The Daily Meme where I happened to get this quote.

"In the context of web logs / ‘blogs / blogging and other kinds of personal web sites it’s some kind of list of questions that you saw somewhere else and you decided to answer the questions. Then someone else sees them and does them and so on and so on."


So here it is my first meme...






It’s Plank Pullin’ time! The one day a week that we strongly resolve to ignore the multitude of specks and sawdust around us and pull one bona fide plank from our own eye. Matthew 7:3-5, style.


Hmmm...where do I start?

The plank in my own eye that comes to mind is the fact that there are people I just don't like. Sometimes I don't know even know why I don't like them, other times it is because they have an abrasive personality. I know in my heart that as a Christian I am called to show the love of Christ to everyone, but my flesh doesn't always allow me to do that.

My husband has a HUGE heart. He has a gift of being able to love "the unlovable". Me...I struggle all the time with this. I think it stems from the fact that I can sense when people are being fake. I don't like it when people are being fake, and to me to try to show the love of Christ to people I generally don't care for makes me feel like I am being fake. So, I tend to avoid people that make me feel this way instead of dealing with the root of the problem and learning how to be loving towards them. Painful to admit...but true.



Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I Am Not Alone!?!

Community Yet Another Identity Crisis Resolved

In the short time that I have been adapting to my new identity as a Homeschooling Mom, I have made my way from traveling down a somewhat lonely, yet exciting new path to finding there are TONS of other Homeschooling Moms out there on many connecting and overlapping paths - I just had to keep looking!

At first I found a few Mom's (and kids for Padawan to virtually hang out with) at Currclick.com through their Live Classes, Lego Club and Chess Club. I had also found a few "fan pages" to Like on Facebook. Then about a month or so ago, I went to The Circle of Mom's page on Facebook. I hadn't thought of Circle of Mom's in over a year- I had never really used it and didn't exactly know how to use it...But because of that I suddenly I found the motherload of Homeschooling Mom's! (pun intended) It was like they had all been hiding in plain sight!

Lately, I have just been overwhelmed with excitement reading all their blogs, following some of them on Facebook, and watching how all of these Mom's are all so eager to share tips, resources,and answer questions!

My experience of being a Public School Mom was nothing like this! I would occasionally get an email from Padawan's room mother, but it seemed like everyone was so busy doing thier own thing to connect with anyone- unless your child was involved in sports- and mine was not. He didn't want to be involved with anything.

Well, after a few days of hanging out with this plethora of Homeschool Moms out there, the issue became not so much "Is there anybody out there?", but "Where do I fit in?"  Who knew that taking my son out of public school would create such an identity crisis for me!?!?!?!

Anyway, I'm not good at fitting in to begin with...I never have been good at fitting in. I was always that awkward, shy, nerdy, teacher's pet in elementary and middle school, who turned into the acne faced, really awkward, not-so-good-with-fashion, too-shy-to-speak-to-many people,Beta Club-National-Honor-Society kind of nerdy teacher's pet by High School. I managed to make a few acquaintances and maybe a real friend or two, but I still always seemed to be the third wheel.

I guess I was just a late bloomer. It wasn't until I was in married, , and joined a church that I gradually started to realize that I was no longer who I was in school. That people LIKED me and wanted to INCLUDE me- what a concept!
 
I have to admit though...I'm pretty much satisfied being an introverted loner. I like being alone- I actually prefer it most of the time. But it is nice to have at least a couple of close friends or acquaintances or someone to share things with- especially my new journey in homeschooling. I'm sure my family and Facebook friends don't want to hear me going on and on about it all the time and my old parent-acquaintances just wouldn't understand.

But back to my identity crisis- Because even though I had other plans for this blog post apparently that is why we are here!

The way I see it (Yes, I know..I have WAAY too much time to think!).... Trying to find out where exactly you fit as a Homeschooling Mom is similar to knowing that you are a Christian, but if you are going to find a church home, you really need to know what Denomination fits. Sure, you're welcome to walk into ANY Christian Church (I hope!) or you can hang out with anyone at all, but sooner or later you may want or need to be able to openly share with someone who for the most part thinks like you and would completely understand without much explanation or judgment.

Well, being a Homeschool Mom is kind of like that...... AND SO that all brought me back to my previous post about What's My Homeschooling Method. Life seems to take me in circles like this at times. :)

As a Spirit-Led-Relaxed-Eclectic-Montessori-ish-Unschooling-Traditional-Trial-and-Error kind of Homeschooling Mom you can see my dilemma.

I'm way to Relaxed to feel comfortable openly discussing my methods and non-methods with the Traditional group, yet not Relaxed enough to fit in with Hard Core and Radical Unschoolers, and too Christian to feel comfortable talking about God all the time in a secular group.

(I just want to point out- I'm not ashamed of the Gospel- I just know how a certain In-Your-Face, Holier-Than-Thou Christian has turned some of my family members away from God, and I try not to over share- I prefer to let my actions speak instead of my words- but that's just me.. God uses us all in different ways.)

Well, you're probably thinking- it doesn't sound like you would fit in comfortably anywhere in the Homeschool Community! Yeah, that's what I thought too. But we're both wrong.

Believe it or not, I found out that I fit in with the Christian Unschoolers.

Now, I admit that I don't think as unschoolish as some (or maybe most) of these parents, but its OK! Quite a few of the Mom's I have chatted with were quick to let me know this. It didn't take me long to realize it was because the method to our madness for the most part is the same.

It is as simple as this... In addition to believing that our children learn best when given freedom to explore and choose what they learn and how they learn (to varying degrees), our households are not (meant to be) child-centered or parent-centered; they are (meant to be) Christ-centered and as parents we should be listening for God's still-small-voice and the witness in our spirit that goes with all the decisions we make in life -- including those pertaining to raising and educating our children. To apply the ideals of Unschooling (or any other method) so rigidly that we put them above God's leading would make the method a religion in itself.


I finally found my peeps!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Happy Mom Moment



Operation Covert Education- Success!

I recently finished writing an End of Year Assessment for Padawan. I decided at the beginning of our homeschool journey that I was not going to assign grades- since they were not a motivation to Padawan in the first place. The state laws where I live are vague on how this assessment should be written or what it should include. It ended up being 7 pages, because I included what he had accomplished, his areas of strength, and the resources and activities that we had used during the school year. I also included specifics on how I plan to work with him on his areas of weakness, build on his strengths, and encourage his interests in the upcoming school year.

I asked Padawan last night when he would like to start the upcoming school year. He pointed to the end of September on his calendar. I told him that if we started our school year that late, we would be "doing school" into next summer.   He quickly replied. "Its not like we did that much anyway; we're slackers!" I told him that just because I hadn't required him to do much writing, it didn't mean that he didn't learn anything or that we were slackers. :)

I smiled on the inside. If I could write a 7 page assessment and summary of what he had learned and worked on during our 7 months of Homeschool, and he didn't feel like he had been "doing school" that much-  my plan to follow my instinct was a great success!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Deciding To Homeschool part 5 "The Public School Years" To Label Or Not To Label

....THAT IS THE QUESTION

When I first started telling my story, I did not realize that it was going to be so long!!!! It has been good for me personally, though, - therapeutic in a way- to get all of this written out.  But now, that I have had over half a year to decompress from the stress of the Public School Years, it is almost as if I could just leave the last parts unwritten. Still part of me insists that I cannot truly move forward without completely telling my story as a way of leaving it all behind. Hopefully, I can wrap this up in about two more posts so I can get to blogging about the Homeschooling Journey. :)


Just a little recap, in case you are just joining my story: In the 3rd Grade, I had talked to Padawan’s teacher about my suspicions that he may be on the Autism Spectrum or something similar. He was observed by the school district Psychologist.

At some point around this time- knowing how much our society likes to put labels on people and things, I had asked her about the importance of getting him LABELED.  I explained to her that Padawan’s father and I did not need for him to have a label to be able to parent him, but I wondered if getting him LABELED would help with his school problems.

In her explanation, I could tell she was choosing her words carefully, maybe because of legal reasons. I’m not sure. She explained that in the upcoming years the expectations and work load would become increasingly demanding for Padawan. Then she basically told me that “if” Padawan was “diagnosed” with “something” that it “could” “possibly” help the teachers in the future to know how to “handle” or “deal with” or “figure out” the best way to teach Padawan and “handle” his lack of maturity.

- Teachers were always telling me how bright Padawan was, but they would also point out to me just how immature he was too. Since he was an only child and I had no one to compare him with, I took their word for it. 

After that discussion, I could tell that that something needed to be done about getting Padawan LABELED if there was any chance of things getting any easier with the whole issue of sending Padawan to school..... and since the plan with the school Psychologist didn’t seem to tell us anything at all, we were seriously considering finding a doctor to evaluate our young Padawan over the course of the summer.

However, I guess the Good Lord had other plans. Due to extenuating circumstances surrounding my disability, my husband being laid off from his job the previous fall, and him suffering with a stuck kidney stone the entire summer (this was because our recent lack of health insurance made his doctor of many years stretch out this very painful situation out of fear he would not get paid), getting Padawan evaluated just didn’t happen. Let’s just say it wasn’t a very good or fun summer for us as a family, but we made the best of it.

Well, time for school came around once again. As usual, we went to orientation and gave the teacher and her co-teacher the low down on Padawan. We explained to them about what what we had observed, what his pediatrician had told us, and about the evaluation from the previous year. We told them that it just so happened that when the evaluation was done, Padawan had been having an unusually good day, so there was not much to report. We also let them know that if at any point during the year they felt it was necessary for us to pursue getting a LABEL for Padawan, we were more than willing to go that route.

To be continued...

Part 1- Accidental Homeschoolers
Part 2 - PreK and K 
Part 3- 1st & 2nd Grade
Part 4- 3rd Grade


Part 6- 4th Grade

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Getting Organized Day 1

Procrastinate Much???...Me???....Never!!!!

Well, so far I have checked off items 1-5 on my To Do List. I have decided to ignore #4. Yesterday I completely ignored numbers 6-8.

I am happy that I did though, because I found a link that led me to GoodMorningGirls.org. They are starting thier summer Book Club focusing on the book The Ministry Of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson. I signed up with an accountability group and am all pepped up and ready to do this!

Padawan is going to his Gma’s for the night, so I will have some free time to work on my To Do List later...


Friday, May 13, 2011

What's My Homeschooling Method?

DEFINE YOURSELF


Ok, so I signed up for the Blog Roll at Hip Homeschool Moms for the upcoming school year. New Homeschoolers can sign up in the New To Homeschool category and also under a category of teaching style. The categories are Traditional, Montessorri, Eclectic, Unschooling, Unit Studies, Charlotte Mason, and Classical.



Well, since we're fairly new at this, I wasn’t too sure if we have even found our style yet. It really got me thinking about what style of Homeschoolers we are.


You ask - Why such deep thoughts on a simple subject?

Well, it is because my mind LIKES to pick a random and not-necessarily-so-important topic and think on it obsessively and completely until there is nothing left to think about- ESPECIALLY at night while I'm trying to sleep.

And now that I have a blog, I can write about all of these deep thoughts too. (Hey- I warned you that I'm a smartypants)



Defining ourselves at the beginning of this journey was easy. The label was already chosen for us- Accidental Homeschoolers,. As an Accidental Homeschool Mom, my first concern was to pick out a curriculum that would give Padawan what he needed to finish the year out. The only game plan I had in mind was to print the State Standards and find something that in some aspect followed them. A few weeks before pulling him out of Public School, I Googled the word curriculum and was immediately overwhelmed with the amount of choices.


I'm having a hard time choosing between 7 styles of Homeschooling- how do you think I felt looking at literally 100's of choices of curricula?!? Yes, I also learned that the plural of curriculum is curricula- just in case you didn't know and were wondering.


I quickly decided that the best thing for Padawan for the time being was to use Time4Learning. I loved Time4Learning! I liked that the lessons were all planned out for me and they looked fun and interactive too. Another deciding factor was that we wouldn't be spending money on a year's worth of curriculum for a half-year of school. It would also buy me some time to figure out what the heck I had gotten myself into! I guess you could say it was an Emergency Curriculum.


The first two weeks we were on somewhat of a schedule because Padawan had wanted to be finished with school by the same time he used to be. We were careful to watch the clock and make sure that we had done the required 4 1/2 hours-not a minute less-  like the school board was watching us on candid camera! The first few days of Homeschool felt like a cross between letting Padawan play hookey and getting  him to do make-up work.


The schedule flew out the window the 3rd week because we had taken a week off for Thanksgiving Break, and we are just not a schedule type of family. His dad had recently started a new job during the previous summer and he wasn't even on a predictable schedule.


Things have changed so much since those first weeks of our journey. There is so much difference between our way of "doing school at home" when we first began and our way of doing things now.


A lot of days it feels like we are becoming “Almost Unschoolers". See, we're not all the way Unschoolers, because I'm not completely following the Unschooling Philosophy of letting go and letting Padawan totally lead the way. I find the concept and philosophy completely liberating, but frightening at the same time. I can almost embrace it on some levels.


I totally understand how Unschooled does not mean Uneducated. Some of the smartest people I know never had a formal education, and there are schooled people that I have met that were very uneducated. I can also see how Unschooling would totally not work for some children. I love the idea of Unschooling for Padawan because it is a joy to see him follow his passions and soak everything up that he can. But then my thoughts come back around to what I know and am familiar with and what feels safe. It makes it seem like completely Unschooling would just be a guilty pleasure for both of us.


During our time of trying to "do school at home” Padawan was somewhat willingly paying attention to some lessons, and I could see him shutting me out during other lessons- especially math. We fill in some of our school time with things that he suggested. His favorite was to look up random YouTube videos on animals, science, or whatever. (It still is his favorite when we say "Let's do some school". ) He also asked me to teach him how to cook, and he would make up his own science experiments. One day he asked if we could float different kind of chips in a bowl of water to see which ones sank first. When we were doing things like this he would often say “I can’t believe this is school- it’s so much fun!”


This way of “doing school” works ok, but I can still see where the road bumps and battles could come into play again...Math and Writing. I’m trying not to stress over doing things perfect right now, because this is new to both of us, and he was learning so many other things eagerly. I had read before that it takes a while to de-school too. Using the formula of 1 month for each year that a child was in Public School, I calculated that would have put us at right about NOW.


You see, on days that we "do school" later in the day and Padawan is allowed to have his free time first and to discover the world around him as he chooses, he follows his obsessions. (Like he used to only be able to do during summer break). He naturally soaks in so much History and Science that it blows my mind. He's always building, experimenting with things, and watching what makes things work. He comes up with detailed theories to explain why he thinks things happen. He's so full of questions. This is a child who watches documentaries because he likes to. He can repeat an encyclopedia's worth of facts on anything that he becomes interested in. A lot of the things he likes to do involve reading and math of one sort or another too. He asked me to show him how to do laundry because he wanted to, and he likes it! Don't ask me why. All the time he's asking me if he CAN do some laundry.


I’ve been kind of conducting a secret experiment. If I add up all the time that he's spent on educational activities without either one of us saying "Let's do some school" at some point during the day or on days that we aren’t “doing school” it is well over the state’s requirement of 4 1/2 hours. Learning comes so natural to him, and we are not longer at odds with each other. I hear "I love you, Mom!" over and over throughout the day. This from my child that I have been at war with 10 months out of the year since Pre-K because of school.


Padawan told me once that part of the problem with school was that they were trying to teach him things he had already learned at home from me and his Dad.


I guess my biggest fear about completely Unschooling is that I want to make sure that he will be able to get into a college of his choosing- if that's what he decides to do. I worry that I will not have prepared him for that if I don't at least stay out in front of him and guide some of his education.


So, I try to throw in some story time to get him interested enough in a book to finish it himself. I squeeze in a spelling lesson or writing assignment and a math lesson here and there. I find documentaries on the history subject at hand - this year was US History. Sometimes I come up with an experiment, art project, or activity. Sometimes I'll do something without him, but within range just to see if it catches his interest. I've even attended online classes from Currclick by myself in hopes that he would take part.


You know, if it were all up to me, our Homeschool would probably end up being looking like Traditional school- maybe not so much with a tight schedule, but definitely with structure. That's what I know and what I am comfortable with. It is the most common path. Its all laid out there in textbooks and workbooks. You can just get it done and get on with the day. Its all there in black and white to see what was accomplished. But you know- that way was not working and it took me way too long to see it. My Padawan has proven to me and his father over and over since the day he came into this world that he came with his own unique set of instructions- only we didn’t get the complete owner’s manual.


When family or friends ask me how school is going...my answer is: "Fine, but you know it doesn't look much like school." And I’m sure they think that's a bad thing, and on some level a small part of me still does too.

So, to answer my own question… I am a Spirit-Led-Relaxed-Eclectic-Montessori-ish-Unschooling-Traditional-Trial-and-Error kind of Homeschooling Mom!


I’ll go check the Eclectic box now!

Getting Organized

I decided that I'm going to get organized and ready for the upcoming school year.  So here’s my plan! 

TO DO LIST

1.      Blog About making a To Do List
2.      Make a To Do List
3.      Upload said To Do List to Blog.
4.      Find all previous To Do Lists (or not).
5.      Designate a single notebook for all future To Do Lists, amazing ideas, websites, and notes.
6.      Temporarily stop reading blogs, Facebook newsfeeds, and websites.
7.      Temporarily stop finding new blogs, Facebook newsfeeds, and websites.
8.      Temporarily stop taking notes of amazing ideas, supplies, wishlists, and websites.
9.      Find all previous amazing ideas, notes, and bookmarked websites scattered among various notebooks, writing pads, scrap papers, 2 user profles on Destop and Laptop computers.
10.   Organize items listed in #9.
11.   Place items from  #9 in notebook #5
12.   Save newly organized bookmarks from notebook to Firefox or similar program for access from either computer or user profile.
13.   Find all downloaded e-books and pdf files saved on both computers.
14.   Sort items in #13 according to reading books or school related books.
15.   Organize school related books in shared folder accessible by both computers.
16.   Make a list of school related books and place in new notebook (#5)
17.   Convert pdf e-books to text and email them to Kindle.
18.   Make a reading list of said books in #17.
19.   Delete School user profile from Desktop (maybe the one on Laptop too)-Note to self:  not such a good idea after all to have separate profiles for School on 2 different computers. Part of reason for #9.
20.   Find out why Desktop computer won’t allow access of shared files and use printer from School profile on Laptop.
21.   Decide #20 is not worth the trouble- Put flash drive on wishlist.
22.   Read e-books.
23.   Go through curriculum that arrived and make list of activities, projects, games, videos, etc. to go with lessons.
24.   Make a list of needed materials for items in #23.
25.   Find a designated place in already overly crowded space to organize said items in #23 and #24.
26.   Gather supplies and make wishlist for missing items in #24.
27.   Allow self to begin reading Blogs, Facebook newsfeeds, and websites again - only if self promises to follow new system formed by this To Do List to take notes, make lists, and bookmarks.
28.   Repeat necessary parts of this Do List next spring.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

WE DID IT!!

THIS AIN'T JUST SURVIVING


Ok, if you have read any of my blog about the Public School Years, you already know that the main reasons that were holding me back from homeschooling Padawan was that I was certain that he would not let me teach him anything because he was so strong-willed, the age old "socialization" argument, and as time went on my I was convinced that if "this was how teaching him was going to be" SURELY one or both of us would not survive the experience!


Well guess what?!? Boy was I WRONG!



You know what, Padawan (and I) have covered a lot more material in some subjects than he would have in Public School and maybe a little less in others. AND I've learned that ITS OK! He's learned things that he thought he should know, things that I thought he should know, and even most of the things that Politicians think he should know.

AND BOTH of US SURVIVED!!

We also have a better relationship than we have had in a long time. We have had a lot of time to bond. Now, don't get me wrong, it hasn't all been a bed of roses. There has been a lot of adjusting and a lot of give and take. We still have a lot of things to work on. But I know how to deal with more of his quirks and idiosyncrasies by now, and the more I learn about Autistic behaviors helps me to avoid things that were previously problems - just by making a few minor adjustments or changing my thinking.


The best part of Homeschool, is that we can do things OUR way. I'm longer feeling the pressure to convince my star shaped peg that he has to fit in a square hole. AND for the first time in a long time, I am looking forward to this upcoming school year. YES- I said that! 

In fact, I think we not only survived..I think we are beginning to THRIVE. Who would've thunk it?


Sidenote: I just wanted to mention- a lot of my rambling about The Public School Years could be seen as that I am only focusing on the negative. There were a lot of positive moments too - but the positive moments weren't the ones STRESSING US OUT and CAUSING CHAOS IN OUR LIVES!! And no, the quirks and behavior issues were not only at school, they are all part of who Padawan is. And yes, I do view  many of Padawan's quirks as positive traits, and try to minimize the negative ones.  But in a classroom setting with so many other kids- each having issues of their own - that is not always an option no matter how good the teacher is. 
I have a lot of respect for anyone who chooses teaching as a career. That is why his father and I were always so willing to help the teachers relate to Padawan as best as we could by giving them the "inside scoop". Also, I think the early years were more beneficial to him in some aspects more than others....But as his third grade teacher explained to us- he may begin to have more trouble keeping up with the growing expectations in the upcoming school years.
Another thing--- I don't view all of the troubles of his Public School Years as being the school's or the teachers' fault. In fact, Padawan's school was a GREAT school. I would have LOVED to go to school there. They had a GREAT Principle and 99.9% of the staff was GREAT. There was so much parent involvement that parents were always coming and going. If there was ever an event, they could only hold it for one or two grades at a time because of parking issues. Even then there were cars parked for a 1/4 mile down the street in either direction. It is just so turns out that a classroom setting is not the best environment for Padawan, and that is what is most important.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Deciding to Homeschool part 4 "The Public School Years" 3rd Grade

3rd Grade...Or Was It High School In Disguise!?!   I'm still not sure...

Sidenote:  I was previously referring to my dear son as 4-LOM (at his request), but it just doesn't flow off the keyboard very well. From now on I will call him my Padawan. If you're not a Star Wars fan you may not understand.. :)

Once again, summer came. We were able to take 2 family vacations that summer instead of our usual one. One to our usually spot at the beach and another one camping in the mountains. It was an awesome summer and much needed break from school. Padawan added a couple of new foods to his very select diet, and matured emotionally in leaps and bounds..or so it seemed. Something about vacation does that to him.

Well, the dreaded school time came around again. With my previous experience of teaming up with the teachers in hopes of staying one step ahead of Padawan, I had mentally made quite a list of things to discuss with his new teacher at Orientation. My husband and I talked to her about him, and I let her know that I checked my email often throughout the day in case anything came up and that I was certain we would be in touch regularly. She probably thought we were overreacting.

As usual, the first few weeks of school went along fine. I'm sure Padawan was observing his new teacher and taking his own mental notes during this time. Dealing with him is like playing a mental game of chess, and he has already thought 2 or 3 moves ahead of his opponent.

Padawan quickly got bored with all the review and repetitiveness of math. This was causing him to do things like tapping on his desk, making noises, and getting up and wandering around the room during lessons. So, began the emails...

I insisted that we had to team up. I let her know that if she could send daily behavior reports, I could back her up at home with limiting his privileges etc. I realized that he was not her only student, and I certainly didn't want special treatment. But I was trying to help her out. I don't think she took me serious. Days would go by and I would hear nothing about his behavior, then I would get an email dumping all the things he had been doing for weeks.

She also had a day that she just loved. It was called Wednesday Writing! Instead of the usual math homework the other 3 night of the week, Wednesday was SPECIAL! Padawan had to write on a topic of HER chosing..complete with a type of outline that she called a 4-square. YAY ME!!!! (In case you're just joining the saga- my son HATES/refuses to write, has horrible handwriting- and now that I know better... I'm pretty sure he has dysgraphia.)

Now our usual battles over homework have become nearly impossible. Threat of imment doom could not get Padawan to write, or if it did, he would always write the opposite of whatever she assigned.

As if that wasn't enough writing, she also had them working on a 5 paragraph essay every week from 4-square to rough draft, then edited copy, then final copy. YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!

I emailed her my concerns about the amount of writing that she was assigning. I explained to her that I didn't have to write anything like that until High School. She assured me it was the state standard, and that she never said that the Wednesday homework had to be 5 paragraphs.

I thought to myself, "Geez Louise! These kids just learned to write sentences and paragraphs in the last couple of years, what are they thinking?.."

Once again, Padawan's best friend got the easy teacher. I asked his Mom if they were doing anything like that in writing and she said no, they were just writing sentences with their spelling words most of the time.

I was beginning to think someone out there has it in for me. I was a good student. I was a good daughter. I was good at being good. I was the one everyone at school hated because the teacher used me as an example of the perfect student, and here I am dealing with all of this. It was all foreign to me. I was certain by now that I was paying for my husband's raising.

Well, one day the teacher assigns the topic "Why I Am Proud of Myself". Enter chance for Padawan to strike! He totally took this as the time to really get his teacher's goat. Guess what he wrote.... YEP! Why he was not proud of himself!
Guess what happened next.......

YEP! The counselor was called in without my prior knowledge. I was irate! She went behind my back, knowing that he had written the opposite of her topic every time he wrote. She said she had no choice, because you never know..yada, yada, yada. There went my respect for her too.

Well, Padawan's grades were all over the place this year, depending on whether or not he decided to do his work. He saw no point in doing work that he already knew how to do, and he was afraid to do work that he felt was too hard. And he certainly wasn't going to ask for any help.

Suddenly 1 week before the end of the grading period, I am informed that Padawan has not turned in 3...count them..THREE 5-paragraph essays, a vocabulary dictionary for geometry, and a project on Sea Turtles. They were all due the following Monday because the grading period could not be extended.

Let me tell you, it was not a good thing to be around here that week. I came up with a plan. I tried and tried to get him to work on this a little at a time. I think we got the book and the poster done by Saturday- I use the word "we" loosely here. Then it all came down to the help me, I don't want you to help me, help me battle all day Sunday. He managed to get the papers written through tears. He completed two himself and I typed the final draft of the last one for him. The entire time I am thinking ungodly thoughts toward his teacher who dropped this bomb on me, and cursing myself for being one of those parents that gets too involved in their child's  schoolwork. But this little bomb was not ALL his fault!

At some point during the school year  Padawan started doing these weird twitching things with his shoulders and waving his fingers in front of his eyes almost constantly some days. My mom was thinking that he had Torrette's Syndrome or something, but Padawan assured me that he started doing it and it became a habit. He told me that he saw that it annoyed me so he kept doing it and now he couldn't stop. He also started washing his hands so frequently that he developed a rash. I see now that it was due to all the stress.

His teacher was also so OVER his behavior by the middle of the year that she was not able to hide her resentment of Padawan. He picked up on that and was less eager to please her than he ever was with anyone.

Padawan had also gotten in trouble in Music class. The music teacher had not really liked him since Kindergarten, because he would not participate in all the FUN group activities.  He wouldn't speak up for himself when something bothered him- he would just shut down and appear defiant. By now I had been trying to teach him to either speak up for himself (respectfully) or take his punishment. I didn't know what else to do. So Padawan had to copy the entire music dictionary during recess. Well, he took his time and it took him the rest of the school year. But this did not bother him as much as it did me. He probably liked the alone time. (So much for socialization, if you aren't allowed to have free time with the other kids.)

His teacher sounded so concerned that she couldn't find anything that worked with him consistently and that she was afraid she wasn't getting through to him. I assured her that whether or not Padawan was doing his work, that I knew he was taking it all in and he was learning, and that was all I cared about. I even told her that I would homeschool him just to get him out of their hair but I didn't see how I would get as much work out of him as they did.

Around this time my grand-neice was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. My best friend was also having trouble with one of her teenage sons. I told her about Asperger's Syndrome, and we researched it. A lot of what I read fit her son and my son too! I wondered if this could be what is going on with Padawan.

We mentioned this to his Pediatrician. He said if we had concerns, and that if the main problem was at school, then it was best to go through the school to get help. He was so positive sounding! He told us that the school system had Psychiatrists and Pyschologists that were eager to help and it was all free.(And lions, and tigers, and bears OH MY!)- sorry I had to say that...

(Fast forward to 5th grade and we find out just how WRONG he was).

So here I am thinking this is GREAT! There is help! I talked to his teacher about what I have noticed, and that I suspected that Padawan may be somewhere on the Autism Spectrum- she tells me in scripted-sounding-teacher-legalize that if we have concerns we need to see his doctor. I told her what he had already shared with us and she passed it along to the Assistant Principle. They scheduled the school Psychologist to come out and observe him. And she did, and that was that. I did eventually get a copy of the report.

This school year the Standards were really being stressed- I had not heard them mentioned at all during the previous years. The teachers by now had been so programmed to focus on teaching to these standards. It was becoming annoying that with every assignment and activity she would mention to the kids that "this is a state standard...you will have to know this to go to the next grade".
She even mentioned to them what sections they specifically had to pass to be promoted. Social Studies was not one of them. Some information should not be passed onto the kids.

(The teachers from K on up had also been stressing throughout the school year how difficult the next grade was going to be compared to the one they were in. - None of this was helping my cause at all! I was trying to focus om and get Padawan through the year at hand! Who needed the stress of things to come added on top of it?!? Certainly not me!)
Padawan soaked up all of this about the standardized test, and when time came to take the test, he answered all the questions - except for the section on Social Studies. He answered the first question, decided that his teacher did not teach him the answer to the second one and quit the test.



A week before and the rest of the year after the test was over there was suddenly no more homework and all the fun activities began and so the end of  the school year was here at last, and I was contemplating my next move...

To be continued.....



Part 1- Accidental Homeschoolers

Part 2 - PreK and K 
Part 3


Part 5
Part 6- 4th Grade

Monday, May 9, 2011

ROBLOX As A Homeschool Teaching Resource?!?!

As the saying goes....IF YOU CAN'T BEAT THEM, JOIN THEM!

Since my homeschooling adventure began about 6 months ago, I have been researching and learning a lot of the ins-and-outs of how my child really learns...what he loves, what he likes ok, what he will tolerate because he trusts me that its important, and what he downright refuses to do.  Mostly, I have learned that he is most cooperative and attentive when "doing school" doesn't feel or look anything like school.

A few months ago, my nephew introduced my son to a free online gaming site called ROBLOX. I briefly checked it out, determined it was safe enough, and helped him get an account set up.

Parents can set up a parent account too and link it to their kid's account to set the chat to safe mode or free chat, and to allow/disallow private messages.There is also a dashboard that shows if they have had warnings from the moderators, how much money they have spent, the last ten things they bought and a few other things.

It only took a few days until he was completely obsessed with this site. He was totally in love with this thing called ROBLOX, and as it is with anything that he is interested in- it became the only thing he wanted to do when we weren't "doing school". He even gave up his 3 month long obsession of daily Lego building and everything to do with Lego Star Wars. That was a big deal!

I eventually needed to install an internet timer to regulate his time on the computer!

So, I began to wonder..what exactly is this thing called ROBLOX that has captured his interest. Is it really educational like they claim or is just a mindless game???

The Mom and the researcher in me got busy trying to find out more about it. ROBLOX claims to be educational, but I still couldn't see the point - yet.

But gradually I began to notice.....

My child...
who was socially awkward and had made very few friends during his time in public school....
who had spent the last two years of his career at public school learning that it was ok for kids to pick on other kids as long as you weren't the first one to get caught...
who was realizing that the law of the "jungle" in 5th Grade was to bully or get bullied....
who hates to talk on the phone...
explained to me how important it was to him that he was able to chat with other kids, and how it made up for the fact that he didn't get to talk to kids at school anymore. He showed me that he had already made some friends on there (some of the were other homeschoolers). He told me about how they were showing him the ropes and being nice to him. He was also talking on the phone to his cousin who lives an hour while playing Roblox together.

Score points for ROBLOX - Socialization

My child that had always hated (insert refused) to have much of anything to do with typing, spelling, and/or writing was suddenly typing messages, writing summaries for groups that he made up, and asking me to spell words for him over and over throughout the day. I was seeing how the Unschooling philosophy of how a child will learn what they need to know when they need to know it in action right in front of me.

Score points for ROBLOX- Spelling, Typing, and Language Arts

On Roblox they also have two types of virtual currency and are able to exchange one for the other according to a determined exchange rate. The kids are able to buy items for their characters, and even sell certain in the marketplace. The system takes a percent of the sales price.


Score points for Roblox- Math



He also NEEDED to know how to download templates to make his own designs for clothing for his virtual character...think of it as paper dolls for the computer. So now he was asking me to show him how to do this.
First, I showed him how to do it with MS paint, and he started designing away. I showed him how to save files where he could find them again later to upload to the website. Next, he NEEDS to make better "clothes".  I knew that could be done with Photoshop. (I dabble in Graphic Arts, but I am still trying to figure out and remember where to find all the tools on that Photoshop. So I quickly learn how to do certain things in Photoshop so I can teach him.)


He showed me games that other kids had built, and told me about how he wanted to build a really cool game that would make it to the first page. He said that he needed to learn how to make scripts...and I was like "What?"... I had to look that up.
Scripts... Roblox uses a programming language called Lua and users can write their own programs to add special things to the games. I had heard of scripts before, but I didn't really know anything about them.
Ok..so that one was over my head. You can make games without knowing how to script, but he insists that we need to learn to do this so we can make some cool games. We're still working on that one..it may be a while.

Score points for Roblox- Computer Technology, Art

Now that he knew how to do all this stuff himself, he retreated into his inner world again busy, busy, busy with everything Roblox... and I could feel us getting disconnected...so I began having mixed feelings about this again.
That's when I made my own Roblox account- so I could enter his world. Although it would be UNCOOL to for his new friends to know, he thought it was the greatest thing that I was entering his world!  We build together, chat together, and learn together.
He even built a virtual school so my character can teach his character!

Score for Roblox- A place where this Mom (who isn't very physically able) can be a hero and play with her son.


I have even noticed more maturity because of this obession with ROBLOX. When I first set the time limit, he didn't feel that it was fair enough. Instead of throwing a fit and having a long drawn out meltdown, he went to his room and secretly typed me a very logical and mature letter explaining all the reasons why I should consider giving him more time. I was IMPRESSED!

Having to earn computer time has also been a great incentive to get cooperation in doing his other lessons, doing housework, brushing his teeth, etc, etc, etc

Score points for Roblox- Time Management, Cooperation, Life Skills

I'm still figuring out my homeschool philosophy and obviously, this is not the only thing we have done for homeschool....BUT....I'm already thinking of ways to use ROBLOX as a teaching tool for the next school year...that is...unless he has moved on to a new obsession. :)



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


"ROBLOX is an online virtual playground and workshop — where kids of all ages can safely interact, create, have fun, and learn. It's unique in that practically everything in this infinite playground is designed and constructed by individual members of the ROBLOX community.


Each player starts by choosing an avatar and giving it an identity. They can then explore ROBLOX — interacting with others by chatting, playing games, or collaborating on creative projects.


Each player is also given their own piece of undeveloped real estate along with a virtual toolbox with which to design and build anything desired — be it a navigable skyscraper, a working helicopter, a giant pinball machine, a multiplayer "Capture the Flag" game or some other, yet-to-be-dreamed-up object or activity.


By participating and by building cool stuff, ROBLOX members can earn specialty badges as well as ROBLOX dollars ("ROBUX"). In turn, they can shop the online catalog to purchase avatar clothing and accessories as well as premium building materials, interactive components, and working mechanisms."


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Deciding to Homeschool part 3 "The Public School Years" (1st & 2nd grade)

Part 2 left off at the end of Kindergarten....

Well, summer came and went. The first few weeks of school went by without much incidence - I attributed it to my new-found knowledge (from all the parenting books that I had been reading) that 4-Lom was a child who had hypersensitivities, and that he needed advanced notice and preparation for any type of change. So I spent the summer preparing him mentally for all the things I could remember about 1st grade. I mentally prepared him that he would have to ride the bus to and from school this year. During orientation, we met his teacher and WARNED her about his stubborn side, and the fact that he was a little shy and didn't talk to many people. I would have felt guilty dropping my little bombshell on her without giving her advance notice.

His father and I dropped him off in his classroom the first day, and he rode the bus to and from school without any protest the entire year. He actually got up the courage to talk to his teacher on the first day of school too!

He had a WONDERFUL first grade teacher. She was so patient and kind. She really took time to get to know him and his quirkiness didn't get to her too often.

Even so, it was no pic-nic. After he got used to his teacher, he let what we called his "stubborn" side show from time to time. Once, he spent 2 days in the principle's office doing his work because he had a meltdown during class one afternoon and refused to do his work. (By now I've forgotten what set off his meltdown, but it seems like it was something as simple as the teacher changing his seat. But he would not tell anyone what was wrong).

He really didn't "get it" that going to the principle's office was a BAD thing. It didn't seem to stress him out at all. It was just part of school to him. In fact, he sat there and did his work with no trouble. (I would have broken down in tears and surely had to be sent home if I ever got called to the principle's office when I was in school.) Somewhere deep down I felt this was odd, but didn't put too much thought into WHY.

Oh yeah, now we had HOMEWORK too! It was just a little math everyday...and that's where the afternoon battles began at home. It would take me all of 3 hours some days just to get him to put pencil to paper. He would ignore the lines, start goofing off by writing HUGE numbers or letters on the page. I would erase it and make him do it over. He was very good at mental math, but with this homework he would cry and tell me it was too hard, but he didn't want me to help him. I would leave the room and he would follow me to get me to help him, but then he wouldn't let me help. I began to wonder what kind of miracle worker his teacher was for getting any work out of him at all during school. She must have had some pretty nifty tricks up her sleeve.

After about 3 weeks of this I gave up. I knew he was learning math- even if he wasn't showing it on paper. I became content if he wrote anything just to have something to turn in. That's not how I pictured all this would be. I began counting down the days until the weekend..the next break..the end of the year...how many more years of this I had to endure.

Homeschool probably crossed my mind during this time, but I was certain one of us would not survive the experience if this is how schoolwork was with my child.

Well, we survived first grade, and he actually made the A/B honor roll. They closed the SST file because they felt he was talking "enough" to "enough" people by now. 4-Lom was still eating lunch, he had one close friend and a couple other kids he would talk to.

And it was all good, because that's the way it was supposed to be. Right?

The school where he went allows parents to fill out Student Characteristic forms to help place them with an appropriate teacher the next year. I decided to fill one out to help our chances of having a 'normal" year. I had written that he needed a patient, understanding teacher...blah, blah,...you know, basically someone like his own mother and the qualities I "thought" his first grade teacher had- you know someone who would understand and nurture him. BIG MISTAKE!

His poor second grade teacher didn't stand a chance with him. I'm sure she was counting the days til he was out of her class. She couldn't get him to do much of anything, and didn't have a clue what to do about it. I felt so sorry for her by the end of the year. We "teamed" up on 4-Lom by keeping in touch by email the best we could so he wouldn't outsmart either one of us - but he did anyway.

As the year progressed he was showing his "stubborn" side more and more.
That's when I started listening to Dr. Phil. You know- if your child is not doing what he is supposed to do, you need to "find his currency" and ROCK THEIR WORLD! Well, I ROCKED HIS WORLD alright! His currency was his toys- all his COLLECTIONS of toys.

It broke my heart, but I packed up every toy that I could and took it outside to storage. I allowed him to keep his books, and warned him that if he so much as touched any of the toys that I couldn't pack away that they would be gone forever. (Instead of reading his books, he built with them.)

Well, that got his attention. The next few days or so he had a BIG attitude change....until something at school didn't sit right with him and he refused to do ____.

(Oh, how I wish I would have known about Autism then..looking back I would have done a lot of things differently.)

I did let him earn his toys back throughout the year a few at a time for cooperating, but it still wasn't helping that much with the school/homework problem. Not only that, he ended up with the teacher who assigned the class to write sentences with all 20 spelling words each week AND put them in alphabetical order.. (his friend's class had to write 5 sentences.) My child HATES to write, has horrible handwriting and he ended up with the teacher who requires the most writing. You couldn't read nearly a word he wrote, but after about 3 hours of battles and tears he had something to turn in- my (revised) goal of getting him to do his homework was accomplished. The rest of the battle was hers if she wanted to read it!

This could NOT be happening! I didn't want to be the type of parent who let her kid get away with being slack on his schoolwork, but I couldn't find the logic or wisdom in spending what precious time we had together each afternoon battling over homework either. Other people send their children to school and live happily ever after. I was thinking "God, this is not funny! What am I doing wrong?"

(I wish I would have known about a handwriting disability called Dysgraphia back then too)

By this time I'm checking to see how old my precious child has to be to go to boarding school. (Not that I would send him, but some days it seemed like a good idea). The only other option was homeschool, but NO WAY - one of us would surely die! (Not really- but you get the point).

I realized I needed to get him prayed over at church, anoint him and pray over him while he was sleeping, and read more parenting books, watch more Dr. Phil, AND Nanny 911. They seem to have it all under control.

Well, somehow we survived 2nd grade and summer was finally here!

He still was on the A/B honor roll...this teacher must have been another miracle worker. Don't get me wrong..it wasn't all bad...not for 4-Lom anyway...as far as me that was another story! He had some good times, talked to a few of the other kids on the playground, and occasionally to his teacher. He still had the same friend he made in Kindergarden too. But he was learning that a lot of other kids liked to make fun of him because he was different, made scenes when he got overwhelmed, and didn't talk to hardly anyone.

And 4-Lom had taught me EVERY detail of everything there was to know know about Hot Wheels, Monster Trucks, Dinosaurs, Pirates, Transformers and many other things that he was interested in.

I was not looking forward to 3rd grade one bit! And now I'm counting again...only 9 more years to go til we are done with this school thing..... But this is the way it HAS to be. Right?

.........

You know--- God speaks in a still small voice, and I DO hear Him; however, I don't trust myself to know that it really is Him most of the time....so He usually has to let my life circumstances YELL at me until I listen and say to myself - "Oh, that WAS God!"
Yeah, yeah, call me a slow learner, but I finally "GOT IT" LOUD AND CLEAR and started homeschooling...
It only took me 2 1/2 more school years of God letting my life circumstances YELL at me ..so if you want to get to the actual day God got through to me, you'll have to wait for the chapter on 5th grade....but we still have to get through 3rd (there was a LOT of Spiritual YELLING going on that year!) and 4th Grade.

To be continued....

In case you missed parts 1 and 2   
Part 1- Accidental Homeschoolers

Part 2 - PreK and K


Part 4- 3rd Grade
Part 5
Part 6- 4th Grade