Jul 31, 2011

Going For Shots

My son went hysterical at having shots that I refused to take him anymore. So my husband took him for one shot and promised an ice cream if he didn't cry. Not only did he not cry, but also he was so still that my husband didn't believe she really gave him the shot. He took the band-aid off to check before he would buy him the ice cream.

Jul 30, 2011

Homeschooling Boys - Gaining Maximum Success from Minimum Cooperation

What do you do when life gives you boys to raise? Tina Razzell’s answer is to homeschool them. In her fifteen years as a homeschool mom she’s discovered that life with boys is not easy, always creative and often unpredictable.

She shares in this book her trials and successes homeschooling her four children, three of them male.

If you are starting to homeschool one or more boys, then this book will be a valuable help to your journey. If you have been homeschooling for a while you might relate to some of the stories.

Here's the link Homeschooling Boys - Gaining Maximum Success from Minimum Cooperation

Jul 29, 2011

My son is my spirited one.

My son is my spirited one. For him it takes the form of sensitive, serious, extrovert (extreme), perceptive and attached (on my good days) or needy (on my not so good days). Although I have heard about and been around homeschoolers for years, I never thought it would be best for us. There were times that I didn't even think I liked my son, let alone wanted to spend all that time with him. But, it turns out that the most challenging parts of him are why I want him to stay with me. This year we are delaying kindergarten while I convince DH of homeschooling.

Jul 28, 2011

Caterpillar to Butterfly

Our main concentration this week is the caterpillar she found the other day, we put him in a jar, and he is now making his cocoon. Last fall we were very lucky when her grandma found a caterpillar in her flower bed and we did the same thing and to our surprise when it emerged from his cocoon it was a Monarch butterfly. I am not sure what we have this time but it is sure interesting to watch.

Jul 27, 2011

This is our first year homeschooling

This is our first year homeschooling and we love every minute of it. We chose homeschooling for a few reasons. First of all being the violence in public schools today. Second wanting the best education for our children.
Our oldest daughter also has ADHD and a compulsive disorder. We were very concerned with her getting the attention she was going to need and how she would get treated by other children and teachers. I use to work with daycare children and I remember the children that were a little hyper or different were always labeled as problem children and I did not want that for her.

I second-guessed myself for the first half of this year but once she started to really catch on I knew I had made the right decision. We started with preschool curriculum but she has surpassed that. She is having a little trouble with her ABC's, though she knows them and can write them, she is having trouble with recognizing them. It’s the same with numbers. Right now she really enjoys rhyming and will spend an hour walking around the house finding things that rhyme.

We have decided on schooling the entire year. She does not handle stress very well so we are a very relaxed home schooling family. We do things in small increments and give her plenty of time to do the work. I also try to make it as interesting as possible and use everything to my advantage to help her learn. Anything that I can use I do from grocery shopping to picking up toys by colors or counting. Schooling at home has also been good for my daughter Deanna who turns 3 in two weeks’. She joins right in with us. She knows all her ABC's, counts to 20, can spell her name, and can remember the words to any song I teach her.

Jul 26, 2011

Kids' Artwork

I tell my daughter that she will grow up to be an artist too or maybe a world-renowned book illustrator. Especially since she struggles so much with academics. We want her so much to be in tune with her gifts aside from that issue. She is an intricate artist. She mainly uses pencil and can draw for hours. If we encourage her to add some color she balks.

All of my kids are artistic and the interesting thing to me has been to watch each of their styles unfold. My son is a very technical person paying close attention to details. His drawings are mainly very intricate in pen and ink and pencil.

My other daughter is this explosive, bold artist. Her use of color never ceases to amaze me. I have some of her things framed and hanging around and I love them because they are so bright and full of who she is.

Framing the kids’ artwork and filling your house with it is one of my favorite simple pleasures in life. It makes a home so welcoming to have it filled with things created by its inhabitants.

Jul 25, 2011

Dads and daughters

Our oldest has ADHD and my husband does not know how to deal with her and doesn't even try for that matter. When I try to explain things to him regarding her or any of our children he just doesn't listen. I wish he would try harder and let me, help him to understand them. Instead he just chooses to ignore or fight me on everything. My girls are very attached to me because of the way he acts and they shut him out all the time. He thinks that he does nothing wrong even though other family members and friends of ours have told him that they see the same things I do between him and our girls.

I think right now our girls are to young to let this affect them but when they get older, all I can think is what they will think of their father then. I just hope that he will either start listening to me or start to see what he is doing before it is too late.

Jul 24, 2011

Doing what our parents did

My DH also had a very poor Mother figure to this day still does. I on the other hand have a wonderful family and it sometimes really bothers me that he is not more involved with our girls. Simple things like giving up a little computer or TV time just to sit down and play with them. His excuse they do not want him there. My answer - then just sit with them while they play at least he would still be spending time with them.

Jul 23, 2011

Dad helping around the house

It took me 10 years of marriage to realize that although dh won't share his time with doing things, he's very willing to share his money. So I hire babysitters (and recently someone to clean the house) and dh has no problem whatsoever with that. I could hire lots of people all the time and as long as I don't ask him to clean for me, he's fine. The limit is not the money as far as he's concerned. The limit is finding suitable helpers.

I must say that when he was growing up his mother did everything around the house and his father earned the money and rested/relaxed in the evening, so that is the role model my dh had. I've learned, however to give him one job at a time and be specific with requests. He never responds to things like, "Please will you do more to help", but he will respond to "I have to sit down, can you make the meal, we are having X, Y and Z"

Jul 22, 2011

Does Dad help with schoolwork?

As far as homeschooling goes, it's my territory. Occasionally he will talk to my son about something mathematical and 10th Grade, or about astronomy or science. My son grasps it and is inspired, but apart from that and reading to the children he's just not interested enough to actively teach anything.

Jul 21, 2011

Dads and husbands

I've wanted to reply on the subject of dh's all week and now I finally can. Basically my dh does nothing around the house, he finds working a full time job so stressful that when he's at home he wants to relax and do nothing. He also does one thing at a time, so if I go out and leave him with the children he looks after the children and doesn't do anything else. For instance, if I go shopping on a Saturday morning and come in at 1pm or 2pm, everyone says, "Mom's in, I'm hungry, what's for dinner?" dh doesn't think to make lunch when I'm not there. (And the children don't think to ask - why is it they are only hungry when Mom is at home?)

Jul 20, 2011

To file or not to file?

I could file an affidavit but I am not sure if I would take that route considering my youngest’s learning issues. I did home school that way years ago and it was fine, but my older two were grade levels ahead and were quite the positive advertisement for home schooling. My youngest is behind and if someone checked on us, I am concerned about how it would look and the repercussions it could have on us. I do have all of her testing records so I could prove that we have been staying on top of her stuff as much as is possible and that there are real issues going on, not just us being lazy.

Jul 19, 2011

Delayed Mastery

My daughter does that delayed mastery thing. For some reason she needs that time to let her mind work on things. All of the "unschooling" principles seem to make sense, fits in with everything I've been studying brain development and such. I just feel like I need to approach it slowly. Workbooks, or whatever it is that is making school drudgery for her. It only takes five to ten minutes for her to complete one page of math and she thinks it is too hard. She does all of the problems, without much instruction, but to her it is drudgery, just five minutes seems like an eternity to her and she doesn't feel good about it. I'm trying to acquire more games which include math, she likes these. Changing my way of thinking and responding to her is slow going for me.

Jul 18, 2011

How to Easily do Subtraction in your Head

This is a really cool method of subtracting. It is actually the method taught in the Singapore math books that I turned into an article.

How to Easily do Subtraction in your Head

Jul 17, 2011

Unschool? Formal Schooling? Playing Games?

I'm fearful of letting the rest of the school year go totally unschooled. I'm still chicken I guess. This is a big step for me, and I haven't really discussed it thoroughly with her dad. I am gradually changing my way of thinking though. And we really haven't done much formal schooling since Thanksgiving. I have been trying to spend more time with her lately, trying to sort things out. We've been playing a lot of games, which she loves. It seemed like we would work and work on a concept and then finally out of frustration let her have a two week break and she would come back with it mastered!

Jul 16, 2011

2 Year Old Stripping

I’m desperate for some advice. My 2-year-old son is now into the "nude phase". He takes his clothes and diaper off any chance he can get. He's trying to pee in his toddler toilet, so exited that he shows interest but ... the taking his clothes off all the time is not so much fun. It's in particular interesting when he does it in bed and I'm busy changing sheets several times a day. He is able to open any buttons, diapers so not sure if there is a solution.

First of all, with diapers they can be put on the child back-to-front. It will take your child a while to work out how to take off a diaper that fastens at the back. If they do work out how to do that then you can add packing tape or duct tape to the diaper fastener.

Second, if your child enjoys running around naked designate one day of the year, we used May 1st, as “naked day”. If my child wanted to be naked I’d say, “Oh you can’t be naked today, it’s not Naked Day.” The fact that they could go naked sometime in the future meant that they didn’t today. Usually May 1st came and went and then he would ask, “When is naked day?” I’d tell him we’d just had naked day and he’d have to wait until next year and he accepted that. Of course I never reminded my children when Naked Day actually arrived.

Jul 15, 2011

Tina's Treasures

I run a Facebook Fan page that deals with getting rid of clutter. Articles I write, as well as some other things, are posted there.

Tina's Treasures

Jul 14, 2011

For Better or For Worse - Bedroom Tidying

I love this comic strip, I think it says it all. Be sure to read the author's comments at the bottom too.

For Better or For Worse Comic Strip

Jul 12, 2011

Living Joyfully with Children

I'd like to recommend a book - Living Joyfully With Children I very much agreed with their ideas, it was nice to read my views in print. They believe that "just because every 5 year old is on a soccer team, doesn't mean my child has to join if I feel they are not ready or it". I strongly agree. They also recommend ways of reducing stress in their lives, and seem to make decisions for their family based on what is good for their family and not what society expects. They say just because it is common for everyone to do this, doesn't mean it's right for my child.

Jul 11, 2011

Children Need Routine and Ritual

I think children need routine and ritual in a their life. A child needs to be prepared for sleep time, you can't let him watch TV until 15 minutes before bedtime and then tell him to hop into bed and expect him to go right to sleep. He needs to be brought out of the activity of the day gently, by doing activities with the parent such as helping to prepare dinner, setting the table, have bath time, brush teeth, read aloud by candlelight.

I believe children want to join in life rather than have it revolve around them.

Let me add that this all sounds wonderful but with three very busy, active, opinionated kids, I find it almost impossible to implement most of this. I am hoping that with only having my youngest home next year that we will be able to have a better schedule and routine, which she has asked me for repeatedly believe it or not.

Jul 10, 2011

Time for myself

Time for myself is part of my evening. I split the hours 30/30 roughly. 30 minutes work, 30 minutes enjoyment.

Jul 9, 2011

What do dads do?

Dh will do car repair and lawn work when he is around. The problem with us is that he works 80 + hours a week. And that is every week, not just a once in a while thing. So I do the "everyday, everything else". He shops, does minor repairs, doctors and all childcare. My son goes with me to volunteer events and board meetings. If I am involved with a group then my son comes with me.

A typical day? DH is up and out the door by 8 am, My son and I compete for 5 minutes of his attention before he's off. We do chores, schoolwork, errands if need be, visit with friends, have down time, dinner, stories, bedtime. Then my other work starts. I do the dishes, laundry, crafts for gifts, email, web crafting, and clutter control. I turn in around 1 am, at which point DH is just arriving home. On his day off, he runs errands and sometimes does carpentry on the side.

Jul 8, 2011


My 7.5 year old is gifted in mathematics, but very reluctant to go too far astray of what he is "supposed" to be learning. Having books without grade levels on them works wonders, as does having literally half a dozen workbooks or textbooks going at a time. It becomes very eclectic (a week on 2-variable algebraic equations, two weeks on fractions, two weeks on percentages, then three weeks with "regular" arithmetic at 4th grade level) but if I look at it in the long term, I realize that he is playing with a particular *concept* for a while, under very different categories of mathematics. Multiplying, arrays, multiplying fractions (fractions themselves) and polynomials all relate to the same *idea* for him, so I have really backed off and allowed him to "play" in the different books.

Jul 7, 2011

Using a Set Curriculum

I don't use a set curriculum, except for math. And he loved math, was exceptional at it, until I started using this curriculum in November, then he hated it! But he has gotten used to it, I really had to set a schedule for that, one day a week for 20 minutes. But heaven forbid if I try to go beyond that time limit, he watches the clock like a hawk. I try to follow his interests, but even if I find something I know he would love, he resists me. I do try to discipline him when he starts with a bad attitude, usually sending him to his room to think about the situation and he can come down when he is ready. But I make sure he knows he still has to finish the schoolwork when he returns.

Jul 6, 2011

Allowance and Chores

With 4 children chore charts just got too complicated. Some parents are organized enough to do it, but I'm not.

We give our children allowance and it's not conditional. They do chores and they are not linked to allowance. They each have their own chores that they have to do each Saturday morning. Between them they clean the house and I do the rest, or fill in if a child misses their chores for some reason. The commonest amount is $1 for every 2 years of their life. My 11 year old gets $5 and the 15 and 17 year olds get $10 each per week.

Then I have a list of chores that are paid chores, so if a child wants to earn extra money, they can. Some paid chores are not optional, like mowing the lawn, they have to mow the lawn when it needs to be done, but they get paid to do so. I can't have long grass because no child needs to earn money right now.

I think the most important thing with allowance is that you don't give money in advance. If it's Friday and allowance is due Saturday and they want to buy something, then they have to wait. They can only buy something if they actually have the money.

As far as chores goes, each child has an area they are responsible for that is cleaned on Saturday. One child vacuums, another does the bathroom, another the kitchen, etc. Then if half way through the week the floor needs vacuuming I go to the child who is in charge of vacuuming and he has to do that. Chores are not rotated very often.

Jul 5, 2011

Delightful Whimsy

It's not quite on the topic of homeschooling your spirited child, but here's a Facebook fan page that I follow

Delightful Whimsy

The page is about Creating a tangible happiness. She also mentions a knitting, sewing and using coupons.

Jul 4, 2011

Teaching Your Child to Read

I have tried many reading programs. I taught my first two children how to read using Abeka and while I am not a big fan of the constant paperwork and busy work in Abeka, they do have a good strong reading program. It has many different components and if your child were into the idea of having school books, and doing school (my son loved that whole concept,) then Abeka would be a good choice. You could just buy their Handbook for Reading (the little blue book) and their phonics workbook and that should be fine. You would just work your way through the workbook and have your child read the various pages in the blue book. It is not a reading book, it is a book of blends, word beginnings, word endings, word parts so to speak.

What I have found is that despite what "program" we use most of our kids will learn how to read once we explain the dynamics of it all to them. Most of our kids will mull it over for a few weeks or months and figure it out with our guidance despite what program we are using and then they will take off and run with reading. So really, finding the ultimate reading program isn't all that weighty of a decision. I used to think it was, if I didn't experience success then I would try a new program when it was really more that the child wasn't ready to take off yet.

Jul 3, 2011

The Pyramid Concept of Educating Children

This article explains why you have to attend to a child's basic needs first before you can teach them.

The Pyramid Concept of Educating Children

Explosive, Impulsive Temperament with Occasional Aggression

My son will be 5 at the end of this month. At the age of 15 months he contracted meningitis and lost his hearing. Cognitively, he is fine. He has a slight delay due to the hearing loss. We sign, but the hearing still impacts his language acquisition. He is a smart little guy though.

Anyway, about 6 months later, we began to experience some pretty scary tantrums. I began to refer to them as rages due to their severity. We had a difficult time getting any kind of help initially because everyone insisted it was normal two-year-old behavior, but trust me, it wasn't. My son has a very explosive temper and would often act out aggressively when upset (kicking, biting, scratching, etc.) Once he started school (at age 3) we had already sought the help of a child psychologist who was helping us with some behavior modification strategies that seemed to be helping. We only saw him for a short time because we moved closer to the state school for the deaf. I thought that maybe if he was immersed in a signing environment, his language would improve and maybe that would help him communicate through language rather than through aggressive outbursts. This was a huge mistake! We had very little support for his behavioral needs (classes were way too big and they refused to provide a personal aid who could address his behavioral needs appropriately). The entire year was a waste and he was completely out of control by early spring. There wasn't a day that I didn't get some kind of negative report back from the school "T bit a child today, T refused to go to the lunchroom, T ripped up one of our bulletin board displays while in time out." You can imagine what a nightmare this was for all of us. I was scared to death for my child's future and had no idea how to help him.

I ended up pulling him out of school that spring and had started to look into homeschooling. About this time, we found a wonderful neurologist who began to evaluate T. He diagnosed him with a combination of disorders (Oppositional Defiant Disorder -ODD-, Sensory Integration Disorder -SID-, and ADD) which I think basically describes his behavior more than really diagnose why the behavior occurs. Regardless, we started experimenting with meds and after several failed to show much improvement we tried a medication called Risperdal. He has been on a combination of Risperdal and Tegretol and is functioning MUCH better! He is still a daily challenge and still has problems with an explosive, impulsive temperament with occasional aggression, but nowhere near what we experienced that school year.

We ended up giving our home district a shot the following year and were VERY pleased by all they were able to accomplish. He started off the year in a very restrictive setting (a small preschool class for children with disabilities) so that we could get his behavior under control. His teacher was amazing and by the end of the first semester, they were recommending that he be placed in a mainstream classroom. He continued to improve and while he still needed a lot of supervision and attention to his behavior, he was socializing much better, participating more, and his noncompliance had reduced significantly.

Because he is entering kindergarten, he had to change schools and the new school is in a new district. We had a meeting and were very encouraged by the people we met with and decided that he would attend their summer program to ease him into their school. We discussed all his needs and indicated that while they might experience some transition problems, if they provided a structured, consistent environment for him, he should even out and do fine. Well, they basically did everything we told them NOT to do. The first four days he was there they had him in three different classes. All the change coupled with problems with his hearing device, etc made for some serious regression behaviorally. We had a big meeting where they asked for one more chance (which they again blew in much the same fashion) and my husband and I finally decided that we could not allow them to undue all the hard work T had done the previous year.

That brings me to now. I have decided to homeschool him and have decided to use a combination of things. I've ordered the FAIR curriculum, but plan on using other activities and methods to supplement the FAIR curriculum. I am reading Teach your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and would love to hear from anyone who may have used this in the past.

I, like most parents embarking on this journey with their child, feel a bit intimidated by the whole task. Not so much because of his hearing impairment, but because of the behavior. I worry about getting into power struggles when I want to do something "school" related and other issues of non-compliance. I worry about not having much of a break (by the way, I also work full-time at night dh works during the day) or time for me, but
I can't imagine taking any chances with my son's future either. He really is a great little boy. He can be the sweetest, funniest, silliest little thing and he brings lots of joy to our lives in spite of the extra work we sometimes have to put in. I just want to make sure that all these positive aspects of his personality aren't completely overshadowed by all the challenging ones. I am hoping that homeschooling will allow us to do this.

Jul 2, 2011

Backtalk, Negativity, Motivation, etc.

All the issues you have been talking about concerning backtalk, negativity, motivation, etc. have been going full force in our house. I believe that some of the intensity that we are seeing is based on us moving twice in 6 months. Don't get me wrong- my son has always got this behavior but not always as bad as it's been lately. I am trying to stay positive myself- it’s not easy. We are still trying to find the right therapist to help us. The therapist we saw a few weeks ago had recommended that we get an IEP through our new school district (even though we told her we wanted to homeschool, didn't want to address this through a school district, and that he already has an IEP through another district). Her second recommendation was that we see a behavioral therapist. We're having trouble finding one our insurance will cover and most of them cost $150 per visit, which is not a possibility.

Jul 1, 2011

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons

We're about 15 lessons away from finishing Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons. I love this book for my son - it's been perfect for him because it is supposed to get your child reading at 2nd grade level- the grade he is about to complete.

I used it with my son and it went well. Afterwards I went to an easy reader from the bookstore, library, anywhere I could find. I also ordered the first grade reading selection from Abeka. It was good too and progressed him to reading longer stories. He now is reading at a 3/4-grade level and is only in first grade. The book for him was a good fit to get him off and running in his reading. I have always read a lot to my kids.

I used this book to teach 3 of my 4 children to read, and each time we finished, I struggled for what to do next. What I did for each child was just to move on to easy readers, they were all ready for them after finishing TYCTR. With my daughter now I read to her a lot, and she always has to read the first page. She finds reading a whole book (even an easy reader) too much, but will happily read the first page, whatever the size of the book.