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    Avery, Naim, Aaron

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February-March, 2014

Dude, if I get this in today, it counts for March!

We are doing pretty well. My main challenge is just that I am ridiculously overworked with too many projects and I cannot let any of them go. We are digging ourselves slowly but surely out of the last few months challenges.

But! Here we go!


We were organizing school stuff. This is pretty much this years’ curriculum.

Curriculum highlights:

  • Math…They finished the 1B book in Math in Focus. We are in Chapter 3 of the 2A book which is subtraction of 3 digit numbers with regrouping. We are chugging along.
  • Reading…Naim is on the last lesson of Ch.1 in Reading Horizons. We need to wrap up the test stuff before we go on to the next book. He is doing fairly well with his “Most Common Words.” He can read a lot of stuff and I notice him reading other stuff out in the world on the fly. We are sloooowly coming along.
  • Reading for Aaron…he finished all of Master Reader and thus the whole 5 year Hooked on Phonics Curriculum. I tried to have him read on his own, but he doesn’t really do it well. So now I bought him a curriculum from the Teacher’s Mailbox which is just 36 cards with some non-fiction reading, questions, and then a writing assignment. And then somedays he will read a National Geographic or something.
  • We have started to read “Little House in the Big Woods.” After finishing Mr. Popper’s Penguins and Ramona, Age 8. There are two more Ramona books but I think they needed a break. So far, the LH book is doing OK for them.
  • They are both moving along in Sylvan and Sylvan Spelling.
  • Aaron is midway through the first Cursive HWT book. He is doing ok with it.
  • Naim and I have just bought some practice handwriting books from Learning Palace and are just working through them. I do think his handwriting has improved in legibility, although it still has a way to go.
  • We have done two Atelier Art projects. One was on Van Gogh, the other was a chalk and glue mixed media tactile thing.
  • We are on Lesson 13 in Music.
  • We have started Real Science for Kids Chemistry (the primary book.) There are ten lessons. We read a chapter from the book, do an experiment and write up a lab report, do a sort of lap book study guide and then take a test. We have just finished the first lesson on the basics of atoms.
  • We have started reading the UNICEF book  “A Life Like Mine.” It is based on the UNICEF charter of rights for children. It talks about the right, then shows how different children around the world live in regards to that right. So far we have read the first unit on Survival, which had chapters on water, food, shelter and health.
  • We have done a bit of Angel Bear Yoga.
  • Oh, we did a Little Passport or two. I think I only have one left. They want to do the states one, but I don’t think I can afford it right now.
  • This isn’t really curriculum per se, but we continue to work on what I will call ADLs (holdover from special ed) Activities of Daily Living, AKA chores! We are working on having upstairs and downstairs partners to get work done. It goes incrementally slow and tedious. But that is pretty much how housework goes.
Aaron finished HOP Master Reader! The poster behind him shows his progress.

Aaron finished HOP Master Reader! The poster behind him shows his progress.


  • Aaron did a good job in Art at PCAS. I heard no major grumbles from the teacher. Naim actually tried a trial day and liked it, so we are thinking of switching them next term.
  • Naim was the Emperial General in the Emporer’s New Clothes at NWCT. He did ok in the play. But I am kind of thinking that he needs to take learning lines more seriously if he wants to continue in theater. I really wish I could find him a good improv class, because I think he would enjoy it.
  • At Village, Aaron had Explorers, American History, Pirates, and Legos. Explorers was fine. AM we had trouble getting him to read the assignments. Pirates seemed ok except I am suspicious over what happened when they had a treasure hunt and Aaron “won” a giHUGic lego pirate ship. This mystery has never quite been resolved. Legos was OK but he had some incidences getting picked up because he often lost something he brought and put everyone through hell until he found it. Because of this and some other meltdown problems, I am pulling him out of VH for a term.
  • Naim had Explorers, Schoolhouse mash-up, World History, and Fun Sports. He did well in all of them.
  • They took 2 days of Spring Break Zoo Camp while I dealt with a medical issue. One day was Zoo Clues and the other was Animals of the Northwest. There was another meltdown on one day concerning aftercare and pickup with Aaron. So….
  • Our Homeschool PE class got canceled, so now we are starting swimming (for Naim and Avery only for now.)
  • Avery has continued to attend Goddard two days a week and is doing well.

Field Trips:

  • Let’s See…Naim and I went to OMSI and saw the Tony Hawk exhibit, the usual OMSI stuff and toured the submarine.
  • We went to VH’s Bloom fund raiser and talent show.
  • We saw Goodnight Moon at NWCT (with Avery! His first play and he did very well.)
  • Kids and I went to see the Lego Movie.
  • Naim went to a youth symphony with his friend R. They also made several trips in the snow to sled.
  • We’ve done some of the usual 53rd Street Park and Outdoors In, also Bagley Park. We also went and checked out the new library.
  • Avery went to a birthday party for one of his Goddard classmates at Oregon Gymnastics Academy. He did really well after the first few minutes. It really helped that his former teacher, Tracie was there because her son is also in his class.

Other stuff:

  • As I mentioned, A has been having meltdown problems again, after I thought it was getting better. The final straw was taking him to get his haircut. He just had a screaming fit. When we talked later about it and about how he had other options (one being sitting and enduring a few minutes of discomfort respectfully) he said that he did not know that was an option. (!?!?!) So I have been reading up on self-regulation and executive functioning skills and trying to come up with some strategies. But for now, (and because there are consequences for his actions) he has been pulled out of every class except drama (which he is at right now!) My thought process is that maybe he might learn some self regulation in drama (it is just intro to acting, all games and no play). And he needs something to work with so he can earn back the privilege of more classes.
  • Naim got braces! Finally! It is the first step and he has them on the bottom only until May when they will finish the top ones. He has done really well and is very compliant. This is another reason we thought he might like to chill out in art and not have to worry about a play. Talking hurts right now, he says.
  • We had some fun snow days in February. (this is really out of order, no?)
  • Aaaand…Naim learned to ride his bike in like, one afternoon.

We are getting there, we are making it…slowly!


July 18-22, 2013: Oral Hull Camp

Soooo, we did Oral Hull Family Camp again. As parents who “work” the camp, we have a different parallel experience than the kids almost. I’ll keep this post about the kids’ activities.

Getting there was much easier this year. We took the train to Gresham and then were picked up at the train station by someone who knew how to drive. They bought two car seats last year, one was a booster and one was a five-point forward facing. I had heard that they took back the booster. By law, Avery still needs the five-point harness, but they bought the booster. I decided to let it slide. He could go up to the booster when he is 4 years old and 40 pounds, and now he is 3 1/2 years old and about 37 pounds, so as a safety thing, it isn’t that far off, but it is just funny because I specifically asked for the five-point harness. Technically, Aaron and Naim are not 60 pounds and 4’9″ yet, either…and they had no car seats at all. but we got there in one piece. (It was a bigger deal last year because our driver was completely incompetent and I WORRIED about an accident much more. I heard that she has lost her license and got fired.)

So, activities, (most of these refer to A and N only.) :

  • They did a building thing out of marshmallows and pasta.
  • They joined in a campfire sing-a-long
  • They went fishing and Naim caught a fish.
  • They went tandem bike riding. (Aaron rode a tricycle.)
  • They did a craft project out of clay, and did some kind of peanut butter activity (Naim was covered in it).
  • They went swimming.
  • They rode a hayride.
  • They played in the game room (air hockey, foosball, etc.)
  • They watched a video description movie outside and had popcorn and floats.
  • They finished their clay projects and I think played beep ball or frisbee.
  • They participated in a “challenge course” under sleepshades.
  • Aaron and Avery stayed behind while Naim went with the grown-ups and did a sleepshade O and M course. Nik, Jim and I were the leaders of this and he was in my group. He did very well as did my whole group, but another woman in Jim’s group had a complete meltdown. So we had a M and M session afterwards that Naim participated in. I am not going to write about it here, but lets just say there was a lot of whining and bitching, and Naim held his own well and really put some of those parents to shame.
  • They danced at a PJ Sock Hop where Aaron wore his pajamas over his clothes.
  • They went on a short hike to a waterfall.
  • They played at a playground.
  • They rode on little ponies.
  • They did archery.
  • They participated in a presentation about planets and the solar system using scale models.
  • They made their own pizzas and sundaes.

They also swang a lot and hung out with our friend, Jim, a lot and basically ran around the camp and had a lot of freedom. Naim likes the freedom best. Although Nik and I still have some (a lot) of issues with Oral Hull, when you look at it from a kids perspective, they really do a wonderful job with programming. The kids did a ton and had a lot of fun. The staff really treats them well and is very nice. It is a safe, comfortable place for them to hang out. I am always ready to go home but they are very sad to leave.

Avery did some of the activities above but he fought fatigue and maybe anxiety. He walked around A LOT. But did not participate in a lot of the activities much. He always wanted to go home or go back to his room and rest. We spent a lot of time babysitting him while he slept. He did participate in the pony rides. At first he did not want to, but then he said, “I want to ride the cart.” (one pony had a little cart behind it.) When we were riding the cart, he asked the lady who was with the pony to drive him home, it was pretty funny.


June 7, 2013

Avery went to Goddard.

Big Kids:

  • We read and did workbook on Bethune Biography for DER
  • We worked on the textbook word problems in MIF for Ch. 13, Lesson 6.
  • They did 2pp. Sylvan
  • Naim started the end of book review in HOP
  • Aaron did Lesson 2 worksheets in HOP
  • Naim did ZB workbook stuff for letter Ss
  • Aaron did 6 in HWT
  • They watched BrainPop on Capital and Lowercase. I don’t say much about BrainPop, but we have been working on the quizes at the end of each video. In this way, I am trying to get them in the mindset for taking multiple choice quizes which they will have to do next year.

They had dinner and spent time at WeVillage so Nik and I could go on our 20 year date. Naim had a fun time playing with some four year old girl, Aaron played video games and Avery played with cars.


April 20-May 4, 2013

Yee, catch-up post.

Except I am super-duper tired and my mind is blank.

Here are Avery’s Goddard Reports.

I went to visit ECSE and I have a whole ‘nother post about that, but no time now. The gist of it is that they were uptight, he seems to be more communicative at Goddard and home than he was there, I wrote her a complaint in which I tried to be polite but was so fed up by their standoffishness and lack of communication that I probably wasn’t, and now she wants to visit him at Goddard (an apeasement mechanism, I am sure) and meet with me. Which is fine. Naim went with me, which was very entertaining to hear his observations, and Aaron went to WeVillage.

In contrast, I have spent the last two Wednesday’s at VH with the kids for different things. I went to Discoverers and Naim’s film making class and was interviewed about homeschooling, but I doubt they will use it because Avery was climbing all over me. And then I went to Aaron’s Science Olympiad class where they launched their bottle rockets. VH is fun. During other times there, Avery and I hung out in the library, the playroom and at the park.

They also did drama and art as per usual.

We have gone to the gym a few times. Naim and Avery participated in Gym Jamboree one week. The other, we took Aaron to the gym with us for about a 1/2 hour and played some made-up games.

We had a couple of days break from School. One was for a colossal meeting about housework, school and family management. Another, we blew off school to just have a nice day outside and went exploring. We started a housecleaning system with a rotating set of checklists and cards that seems to be going well so far. Other schoolwork progressed. We got a little stuck on subtraction with regrouping and are still making our way through that Chapter. We finished Maps, Globes and Graphs Book A. They are both really close to the end of their respective HOP books and Naim is a day away from finishing his current Sylvan book. We watched a lot of brainpop as well.

We went to M.C.’s birthday party at Shute Park and checked out the new playground equipment and water/sand feature. We also went to the duck pond when our haircut errand didn’t work out. We also took Sully to the dog park.

April 3, 2013

Kids were excited to go back to VH today for third term. It will be their last term for Discoverers after three years. Which seems like Wow! We had teacher Terri for Little Villagers for so long it seemed like, but we have had teacher Bobbi for longer. Naim is excited about moving on to the next level, but Aaron is not. But he did not want to leave Little Villagers, either and then he was fine. Aaron said they made Bottle Rockets in science Olympiad and he made a bunch of ??? in Messy Garage. Naim said his teacher in film-making had a shit fit because something on the computer wasn’t working. Since I just recently had the same shit fit over his hamster movie, I can’t really judge. Measure for Treasure was met with similar enthusiasm. He says he thinks it is boring, but is always excited to go to VH.

Avery and I stopped by HFAC and signed up again since I HATE 24 hour fitness with a vengeance and the kids can’t do anything at all there and the whole thing is about getting everyone in the family more active. Again, I hate how all of that is segregated and I have to sit around while the kids are active or they have to sit around while I am. At HFAC, at least, there are several things we can do together. At age 9, the kids can take a safety class and then do everything except weights and hot-tubs/saunas. Until then, there is some co-adult/kid classes like yoga and zumba, which we will try. Avery can stay in childcare, which is now open full-time again.

Avery and I then came home and worked on some Buttercups stuff. We are working through his Spring Bulletin board, but many more things to go.


The current theme is on food, moving into easter eggs and Spring, which I guess we are late for, but whatever.

November 30, 2012

Avery went to Goddard and did not have any accidents. He is getting more, what? The space between his accidents and the toilet are getting less, if that makes sense, but still no pee success. Have had poop success, though. Have not had a poop accident in a week and had one overnight diaper poop. Here is his Freely Report.

Big kids:

  • Finished Ch. 9 with all of this ten frame business. It is essentially more place value, but it is done in a sort of awkward way. Naim is struggling with it, so we had a big place value reteach using the Math U See “Decimal Street” method and base-ten blocks. I don’t know if he is any closer, I may put Nik on it. 
  • Did two pages each of Sylvan.
  • Naim did Bonus workbook of HOP Lesson 5 and reread “The Fog.”
  • Aaron reread his story in HOP Lesson 12.
  • Aaron did magic C capitals in HWT
  • Naim and I did more OT excersises with a ball and scissors work for Zaner-Bloser.
  • Naim and I did DER Lesson 35 in the evening as I forgot to get him started on it this morning.
  • We watched BrainPop about Mark Twain

November 26, 2012

So, trying to get back into the swing of things…

We had a quiet Thanksgiving Holiday. They did do some kiwi crate activities with kaleidoscopes and shadow puppets. We had Dwight over for Thanksgiving. I don’t think he has been here for forever. Kids went to We Village so Nik and I could have our monthly date. And most exciting, Naim saved up his $40 to get Nik’s old iPod Touch that we sold to him with a family discount. He still have $10 to go but that is on the layaway plan. It has taken him about six or eight months to save the money. He was very excited, and seems to so far be using it responsibly. Oh, Naim also went over to R’s house and they made sugar skulls and caramel apples for her “Autumn Party.”

Avery started potty training. So far, no success but not a lot of failures either. He holds it until he sleeps. He gets the whole potty thing mentally, I think. He just doesn’t know how to release his muscles voluntarily I don’t think. But the kid can hold his pee. (ETA: As I was writing this, we had our first successful #2 in the toilet!) Woo Hoo!

He returned to Goddard today, he did not have any accidents there, either. Here is his report. We are doing naked from waist down at home, and underpants (and extra packed for accidents) for Goddard. So far, naked or underpants doesn’t seem to make a difference.

I have Avery’s IEP meeting on Wednesday and I am going to check out the ECSE preschool. I got a little more logistical info from Jean today. I am kind of shocked at how little services he gets compared to the kids I had in ECSE in Nebraska and Kansas. Is it like this on a federal level now or does HPS/NWRESD just suck? I’ve been out of the loop. But I think I want him to go there and that is going to cause a big schedule shake up for all of us. Here is what I am tentatively thinking now:

  1. He stays at Goddard Mondays and Fridays. This will lower his tuition somewhat, and then whenever they think he is ready to move to preschool (has to be potty trained) it will lower it a bit more.
  2. He goes to ECSE preschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He can go up to 4 days a week, but right now, it sounds like they are only going to give him 2 days. He will be bussed there.
  3. On Wednesday, we all go to Village Home. This means I am recking up the kids schedule big time. I will have to drop all of their Tuesday classes, and I will add a couple on Wednesday for one long day. Avery and I will either stick around or go home and come back (or in my dreams I can get them a ride one way or another…)
  4. For VH for Naim, I am looking at Discoverers, Film Making, Measure for Treasure, and maybe procession of the species, which is a parade prep class.
  5. For Aaron, it would be Discoverers, Science Olympiad, Messy Garage, and maybe mystery solvers club.
  6. I will be pulling Naim out of all drama that way. So, to replace it (because he needs to be kept busy) I will put him in a NWCT drama class, probably on Monday late afternoons. There is a concurrent art class in the same building that I may look into for Aaron. Not sure yet.
  7. I am also thinking about finding some kind of park and rec afternoon activity a couple of days a week (swimming, gymnastics, etc.) so that we have places to go and aren’t all stuck inside 4 days a week. Tues./Thurs. afternoons most likely.
  8. This whole plan (if it all works as planned) will meet a number of goals. I wanted to eliminate Goddard because of the expense, but at least I am reducing it. Avery will get the most services this way (if he stayed exclusively at Goddard, they would only come in like once a month.) The big kids will have more time without Avery around for their school projects. (It will go from 12 hours to 14. Not a huge increase, but enough to divide to 4 days, which has its advantages.) And I will not have to go to VH two days in a row, which was kind of killing me in a wimpy, annoying way last quarter.

It will all go down Wednesday. Let’s hope I can get all the parts to the puzzle together.

Big kids today:

  • Naim did DER 34 DVD and discussion questions and workbook.
  • They did the textbook part of Ch. 9 in Calvert Math, grouping factors into tens to assist in adding.
  • They did 2 pp. of Sylvan. Aaron did Vocab today. (He does reading, spelling, vocabulary in a rotation.)
  • Aaron worked on capitals in his HWT book.
  • Naim worked on some of the OT exersises from Zaner Bloser, and did a couple more mazes.
  • In the afternoon we did Ch. 2 in MGG geography books.
  • Aaron did Lesson 12 DVD and book. I realized today that he only has Lesson 12, 13 and then the review lesson in the 1st grade HOP left. I hustled and ordered second grade today.
  • Naim did Lesson 5 DVD and book in his HOP.

I have also assigned “projects” to them. I don’t know exactly how these are going to go yet, but we will figure it out as we go along. My hope is that in a few years when reading and writing are solidified, everything they do will be in project form. Naim’s is to research and make a presentation as to how we could be more environmentally sustainable at home. Aaron’s is to research a wind turbine and build a model of one, and then give a presentation about it. I am sure that these will have to be a trial and error thing and won’t amount to much this first time around, but it was a start and they are very excited about them.