My Babies

My Babies
"For success in science and art a dash of autism is essential." --Hans Asperger

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Campground Homeschool Classroom

The best thing about homeschooling.....being able to go where we want when we want. We have a camper at a permanent campsite, and there is nothing better than loading the kids in the car books and all and spending a week relaxing. The kids can do their bookwork on the deck, and when they are finished they get their fill of outdoor time aka free sensory therapy. There is a playground where they can spin, swing, run, and jump as much as they darn well please. We also have a water table and rock pit for extra sensory input. They can also go hiking or biking as much as they want, and on the weekends there is built in social time with all the campground kids. I have to say my kids sleep the best after a long day in the great outdoors.

Really what better classroom is there? We don't really have a homeschool room, because our house is barely big enough for the six of us, but we have outside. The kids get to explore with plants, see animals up close, and just interact with the wonderful world God created. In the spring, we had the chance to watch some robins hatch and grow. My youngest was highly amused by the bunnies that hopped away every time he tried to get near. We couldn't ask for a better classroom to learn and grow in.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Autism and Hooked on Phonics

My eldest son has Asperger's and was hyperlexic meaning he learned to read on his own really early around age three with no instruction from anyone. I didn't have to teach him to read at all. We did have to work on reading comprehension at the appropriate age, and we still work on that quite a bit.

Now we are to my six year old who has an "official" diagnosis of PDD-NOS (atypical Autism) and Expressive Receptive Language Disorder. We started working on reading last year in Kindergarten since that is what we felt we were "supposed" to do. Can you tell I am a little jaded on this whole grade level thing? Anyways, he has known most of his letter sounds for some time now just for the countless hours spent in speech therapy and working with flash cards in therapy just learning to make those sounds, so I had hoped reading would just be the next natural step. Unfortunately that has now been the case. We tried using Starfall.com which is wonderful by the way. This is what we used to help my daughter who is now nine learn to read. However, it moved to quickly it seemed and frustrated him. We then tried Hooked on Phonics for the IPad since he likes using his speech therapy apps on the iPad, but he just ended up tapping and guessing instead of focusing   on what he was doing. Another iPad app called Reading Raven was helpful, but everything still wasn't clicking, and he was resisting even playing the apps. Needless to say, we were both quite frustrated and didn't look at anything meant to teach him to read all summer. We took a much needed break.

Here we are at the start of first grade, and we are back at it. A good friend gave me an older version of the Hooked on Phonics books. We started on those and for some reason it has started clicking at least slowly. It seems the apps and games are too much of a distraction. Both the Hooked on Phonics app and hard copy highly focuses  on word families specifically 'at' and 'an' in the first lesson, but he didn't seem to understand the concept until we used the books with no distractions and a simple chalk board switching out the first letter in the words. It did take him a full two weeks of school to get the idea, but we are finally finished with the first lesson and seem to be on our way to reading.

I do think using multiple methods to reinforce has really made the most difference. Using the black and white books helped eliminate distractions, but he really enjoyed going back over the lesson in the app when we were done. He was so proud when he read his first little story. It melted my heart! He also really enjoyed doing the word families on the chalkboard, so he could switch out the letters to change the words. I will definitely be updating as we journey through the year.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Homeschooling with Minecraft

My older three kids ages 11, 8, and 6 are seriously obsessed with Minecraft, and honestly I don't mind. It is the one video game that they can spend hours literally creating whole worlds. Last year we signed up for an online class with projects on minecraft for school. Honestly the kids weren't all that impressed. They kind of just rushed through it so they could build what they wanted. Of course I was kicking myself for spending money on it when it just didn't work out for us. This year, I am letting them do whatever they want, but I am encouraging them to build on what we are learning in school. They are awesome at figuring out what to work on by themselves. Overall that is a better skill anyway. Why do we want to tell them what to create? We want them to think for themselves as adults, so why not start now?

However, sometimes even kids can use a little inspiration. These are some ideas to get started on:

  • Build a farm:  learning about farm animals, farming, crop rotation etc.

  •  Build a rocket:  learning about space travel

  •  Build ships:  learning about Columbus, Vikings, Pirates, etc.

  •  Build ancient city: learning about Rome, Greece, etc.

  •  Build a Pyramid

  •  Build a Longhouse: learning about Native American cultures

  •  Build simple machines

  •  Instead of a book report, build the setting to the book

  •  Build the Great Wall of China or any other famous landmark

Other projects can be strait out of your curriculum if you use one. I have used Minecraft with my kids in place of building dioramas, making models of cells, and so much more. If you can build it in real life, you can build it on minecraft. Sometimes we like to build on minecraft and turn arround and model similar projects with Legos for some more concrete fun. Pretty much we try to keep it fun. We don't do very much building to scale or including specific things. We keep it light, creative and fun. I don't want to spoil their game for them, and the actual class we tried seemed to spoil all the fun.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Back to the Future....I mean Blogging

I know I haven't posted in forever!! Let's just say, having a fourth kiddo was way more challenging than I anticipated. Especially since he ended up having some special issues of his own. Mostly sensory issues and a speech delay. All this means I am now homeschooling four kiddos with special needs! Crazy cannot even cut it when describing our household anymore. I have to say we have switched curriculums more times than I can count. We are relaxed homeschoolers. We like to get our core curriculum finished in just a couple of hours so we can move on to just being creative and having fun. Of course when we have meltdowns or trouble focussing, sometimes the whole curriculum goes out the window for the day anyway.  

Anhow, what has brought me back to blogger is my kids of course. The older two, my eldest son who is 11 and my daughter who is 9, have expressed interest in Blogging. They also want YouTube accounts, but one thing at a time here. I set them up accounts and we are doing a private school blog just with each other. They are so excited and have both made their first entries. Of course their "own" accounts are just accounts under my name and closely monitored, but it should be a learning experience for all of us.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Birthday Party

Well, my baby boy is now one year old and we had a blast with his party! We had it at a local children's museum. I made his birthday outfit myself, did the classic Hungry Caterpillar Cupcake Cake (Ignore the antennae!), and the party favors are caterpillars made out of green sixlets with fruit candy. Anyways, we had an awesome time!
We bought him the Y-bike Pewi, which is seriously the best designed ride on toy walker combo on the market.
He absolutely loves it! My mom made him a Hungry Caterpillar quilt which turned out super cute.
He smashed into the head of his Caterpillar Cake!
Of course they loved all the stuff to play with at the museum.
Happy Birthday Little Dude!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Has it been that long?

Wow, I just realized how long it has been since I posted! We are having an awesome schoolyear! We are using My Father's World curriculum this year and we are loving it. We are just starting a unit on Moses combined with Egyptian history. We have been working on Egyptian history for a while now and are just running into Moses. The kids are memorizing the Ten Commandments, and I ordered some extra books about Egyptian mythology and mummies. We are going to be doing a unit on frogs as well. I will have to post pictures once we get going on it. Little Guy is improving on speech and actually said "movie" perfect yesterday which is HUGE for him. We are working on learning the ABC's and he can already count to ten perfectly. My tiniest one is not so tiny anymore. He will be one year old in exactly one week. Anyways, here is what we have been up to in pictures.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Catching up

Wow, I haven't posted in forever! That is what happens when you have a new baby I guess. The schoolyear has ended and we are going on vacation next week. It is to a small resort/waterpark and we are hoping the kids do okay with water this year. I can't wait to post pictures. Little Guy is doing awesome with speech therapy. He is using short sentences now and we can understand a lot more of what he is saying. He is still leaving off sounds which makes it hard but he is still doing awesome! Our new little one is developing right on schedule and has great eye contact. He is even responding to his name and babbling. So nice to not be worried about him right now. The older two kiddos are doing awesome too. My eldest ran in a one mile fun run an d really enjoyed himself, and my Princess just turned six and is obsessed with my little ponies. :-)