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  • The “Class”

    Avery, Naim, Aaron

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All that has happened…

I’m not sure how to get back to blogging. So, I will do a summary of where we are now, then go back and backfill as I can. It will probably be more like occasional posts.

Back in May, we visited the Village Free School. We went for an interview and spent two days with them. I admire what they are doing, but both kids said it wasn’t for them. And to be honest, the trip would have been long. It is located next to OMSI.

Then one day, after school had ended for public but before the office was closed for summer. I just took Aaron and Naim there to enroll them. I think I was just burnt out of everything. I was working several jobs and so was Nik and we are still just above poverty level and so we qualify for nothing and I just felt like my head was a jumbled mess.

When we were there, I talked to the principal about Naim and getting him evaluated for an IEP in the summer. She said it wasn’t going to happen till probably more than sixty school days into the fall. I just thought, well what will you do with him til then? It would be February before an actual IEP would be set up and in the meantime, how would he be helped with the reading he can’t read to keep up in all of his other classes that he is fine in except for the reading? Everyone just kind of shrugged it off. So then I decided to keep Naim as a homeschooler, enroll Aaron and put Avery in Goddard for four half days a week in the fall.

And that is what we have been doing. I am not impressed with Aaron’s school, but will hold judgement for a bit more. I have parent/teacher conferences on Monday and that will be eye-opening I am sure. I feel like I send him away for six hours to float. Avery’s Goddard has gotten really academic since now he is in preKindergarten. Its letters and numbers and worksheets for him now. I am paying up the ass for that and he grumbles about it a lot, but for now what it allows is for 4 days of 4 hours of uninterrupted Naim school time. Which I think really helps.

Naim and I have been using a notebook system to keep track of our work. It has worked well. I can easily sit there and fill out what we have done and what we will do next while he is working. I still would like to get him a neurodevelopment evaluation but the ESD won’t call me back, which is their tactic to wait list kids since wait listing is now allowed. If the don’t contact you; the process hasn’t started yet and the clock doesn’t tick. So, they could not contact you for months on end. I tried to go through my pediatrician; who referred me to OHSU CDRC but medicaid rejected it. So, we are just moving along. I am looking into what would be possible at Hillsboro Online Academy, which is HPS online arm.

So, where are we in curricula right now?

We are finishing up Chapter 2 (of 6) in Reading Horizons. We need to circle around and do some reviewing before we go on. As it has always been, he is improving in reading, but it goes at a snail’s pace. We started this curriculum last fall, and we have done two of six chapters. But I absolutely don’t move on until he knows it at at least the 85& level. So, we circle around a lot.

I added back in Hooked on Phonics. He kind of does it on his own as homework. He is at the tail end of the First Grade; First Level book.

We finished Math in Focus 2A and are at the beginning of 2b. This goes ok conceptually, but we work everyday on math facts and also reversing numbers.

I think he has done one or two practice handwriting books. I just have him do a page a day.

We finished the worry book and also A Life Like Mine, the UNICEF book. We started Hilyer’s A Child’s History of the World and also Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens.

We have moved along in Calvert Music (Lesson 19?) and Atelier Art a bit (Lesson 15?)

We have completed RS4K Chemistry up to Lesson 9 (of ten) so we need to think of where to go from there. He wants physics next.

We started doing Keyboarding without Tears, but the application was just horrible and didn’t work. Now we are starting anew, with another typing tutorial. We also have been journaling, where he dictates a sentence and I write it, then he copies it.

I think those are the main things we work on at home.

Classes and Activities he has done:

Starting with Summer camps, he did a pioneer camp at Washington County Museum that they (A and N) both really liked.

He did a NWCT camp about improv.

He did a DI camp at Village Home.

Currently, he has done one term in VH with Explorers, Drawing, Music, and DI. He is not particularly a fan of the music class, but to my surprise he loves drawing.

He also did soccer again this year.

Aaron and Avery both did Zoo camp this summer. It was Avery’s first camp. Avery was a penguin and Aaron was an otter.

Aaron also took some classes at PCAS this summer, and attended the same pioneer camp as Naim.

That’s where we are for now. It has been tough. I have had to struggle a lot with what every mother has to struggle with, balancing career and motherhood/homeschooling. Money has been exceedingly tight (we are living on probably the lowest per capita amount than I have ever lived on before.) D has been in and out of hospitals and nursing homes and I still work for him nights and it makes for very long days. The day time is childcare (It all falls to me) and still trying to get work done for our company and current contracts I have. I also got a guide dog in October, so that was 2 weeks out of town and then the work and adjustment of a new dog since being back.

It’s overwhelming, but we keep on and keep trying our best and keep trusting that we will know what to do when we get there.

 

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!

IMG_0913

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.

Classes:

  • 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!

Pictures:

Sept-Oct Catch-Up, 2013

It’s the middle of October already! I have had a really hard time getting started and keeping up with homeschool stuff. I have been doing the necessities, actual homeschooling, but organizing and blogging has been difficult. From about September 4 -October 1, I was sick and just barely hanging on to the very basics of what I was supposed to do. And also any extra energy I had I had to spend on my job. So, the year did not get off to the start that I wanted, but we have come a ways into the year ok.

Classes:

They are on the fourth week of Explorers in VH. This is the class after Discoverers for third to fifth graders. There are less kids in it, and it is taught by Hillary. They are reading “Tales of the Fourth Grade Nothing.” They are in an upstairs classroom now. That seems almost surreal that they could be old enough to be upstairs. Their classroom has “Bill” the skeleton in it.

Naim has been in soccer and is more than halfway through the season. He has had trouble running fast and “getting in there.” It is not because he can’t do it, he gets distracted. We have worked on it (with me practicing with him) which doesn’t work well on one level because I suck. But on another level, I suck so bad I give him confidence. On his last game, he did a lot better.

He has also concluded his time with Erica, the child psychologist. This was a mutual decision to end this, but she is starting some other kind of job at a different health care office anyway. I think she served her purpose and Naim’s anxiety has gotten a lot better.

They started back at our local church. Due to the kid census, we have split A and N up into separate classes. N is in the 3-5 grade class and A is in the K-2 grade class, but they talk about the same topics. A is less mature than N anyway, so it works out better this way. I have held Avery back from preschool and kept him in the nursery for one more year. So, three separate rooms.

Avery’s ECSE is going well. He seems to enjoy going way more than last year. This teacher at least gives us monthly newsletters. His IEP meeting is coming up in a couple of weeks. I dread this big time.

September Newsletter
October Newsletter

At Goddard, he is in “The Ranch” which is the junior preschool level room. He seems to be doing OK in there and had his first conference last week. Here are his conference notes. And here is the DAR dump for the last six weeks.

Curriculum:

We have been starting out with workboxes and a morning meeting. The workboxes work good, but I have not been good about filling them up. This is mostly due to illness so hope to get better and have the kids fill them up with me. We also go over the calendar and work on things like memorizing addresses, months, dates, etc. at this time.

We are chugging along at a good pace in math. We are on Chapter 17 of 19 in our current math book, so soon I will have to order the next set.

We have been doing a unit study with the novel “James and the Giant Peach.” I really like doing these and want to do more, and see how I can incorporate them better into what other things we do.

Aaron has done the first 10 Lessons of HOP Master Reader and is now reading the first chapter book. He really, really likes this curriculum and the book.

Naim has mostly been working on the Reading Horizons online curriculum. I think we need to combine the computer with mom lessons because it is still not sticking very well, and since he is back at the beginning, it is old material. We are still working out the kinks of this curriculum and seeing how to best use it. We have paused working with HOP for now. I am not sure if we will go back to it or stay with RH exclusively yet.

They continue to work on Sylvan, Handwriting, and now grammar mostly on their own. I do think Naim’s handwriting is improving.

We have also done one lesson in Atelier and have completed three lessons in Discoveries in Music.

I am not doing any formal curriculum with Avery this year. He gets enough four days a week. On Wednesdays, we hang out at the library and park. We also do a lot of talking and naming things. I have thought about putting him in Little Villagers while the big kids are in Explorers, but I like hanging out with him on our own. He is talking up a storm.

Fieldtrips:

Since I have been sick and I always have a ton of phone calls for my job in the afternoon, we have not done a lot of field trips. But we just did three in a row last weekend. All of us went to the children’s museum, then Aaron and I went to Lego KidFest, and we all went to Lakeview Farms with the UU families for pumpkin picking. I took only Aaron to Lego Fest because he missed the OMSI lego exhibit when I went with Naim alone, and then a few months ago Naim went to the Washington County museum and Aaron was supposed to go to a lego convention with me, but he was puking sick so again did not get to go. And this was a little pricey so it saved money. Next year I will consider taking both of them, on a Friday so there would be less people. I don’t think I could handle Avery there, yet.

Picture Dump:

July 25, 2013

Avery went to ECSE. He will have one more class for the summer and then he is off again. He brought home an Octopus puzzle that he put together. He has been talking up a storm.

Aaron and Naim…let’s see:

  • They did workbook for MIF, Ch. 14 Lesson 1.
  • Naim did 2 pp. Sylvan. Aaron got Sylvan off today because he finished his last Vocabulary book. He had vocab, spelling and reading and was supposed to do them simultaneously, but he is choosing to do one at a time. So I think Spelling is next.
  • Aaron did worksheets for HOP Lesson 7
  • Naim did DVD for HOP Lesson 3
  • Aaron did 2 pp. Handwriting
  • Naim did iPad stuff for handwritting letter Nn.
  • We did little passports: Spain

We also attended the Goddard School Ice Cream Social. It was HOT and Avery was obsessed with playing inside at the train table. There was a RACIST puppet show! It had a white male paleontologist, Einstein, Lincoln and Pocahontas, who was dressed in a leather fringed miniskirt. The three white guys made fun of her name (“hokey pokey”) and basically made her their bitch by making her pick up dinosaur doodoo. I know it was just a puppet show, but shit it was uncomfortable. I think some of the parents were raising their eyebrows at each other. I did not like that puppet guy last year, and not this year, either. He gives me the creeps.

July 23, 2013

Avery went to ECSE. No news there except that no one put that Avery rides the bus in his IEP so I have to sign a revision. Hope to talk to her one more time before end of summer.

Big kids:

  • Practice book for MIF, Ch. 14 Lesson 1. They did ok with this after the Oral Hull break.
  • Both did Sylvan. Aaron finished his Vocab book. I am thinking about starting to add grammar for Third grade.
  • Aaron did Lesson 7 DVD in HOP
  • Naim did Lesson 2 review and worksheets for HOP
  • Aaron did 2pp. HWT
  • Naim did Worksheets and book for Rr in ZB

Erika came to visit Naim and they took a walk. She suggested he take time away from Aaron at the park. I said this would be fine and I told him he could go to the park by himself before, but he is too scared to go. This time, he decided to try it and I gave him a timer for an hour and he spent an hour down there. I also thought about letting him go to D’s apartment by himself sometimes, too, as it sits empty. But I need to go with him once and make sure he can unlock and lock back up and also lay a few ground rules for what he can do there and cleaning up, etc. He needs some alone time.

July 16, 2013

Avery went to ECSE.

Big kids:

  • Textbook for MIF Ch. 14, Lesson 1
  • 2 pp. Sylvan
  • HOP worksheets lesson 6 for A.
  • HOP worksheets Lesson 2 for N.
  • 2pp. Sylvan for each
  • Handwriting for each (letter Rr, for N)
  • BrainPop Fitness and quiz.

Aaron did not like the story he had to read for HOP. It was about a man with a guide dog. It wasn’t horrible, but Aaron took offense with the weak and “jello-y” way they depicted the man. And also a few of the word choices like “gave the man the gift of sight” as well as the misnomer “Seeing Eye Dog.”

Some of Aaron's edits. He tried to smooth out the man's clothing.

Some of Aaron’s edits. He tried to smooth out the man’s clothing.

July 11, 2013

Avery went to ECSE. I did find out that it looks like this new teacher will also be his teacher in the fall and is now his “case manager.” It is kind of interesting, she acted like it was assumed or like I already was supposed to know this. Ok, then. Whatever. I ¬†hope this new positive communication is more than a one time thing.

Big kids:

  • We went over the chapter opener/review of Ch. 14 in MIF which has to do with “mental math” strategies. So today we worked on doubles facts and making things into sets of ten.
  • They did 2pp. Sylvan and 5 spelling words.
  • Naim did HOP Lesson 2 DVD and book.
  • Aaron did Lesson 6 HOP DVD and book.
  • Aaron did 2 pp. of HWT
  • Naim and I went out into the alley and worked on letter spacing with sidewalk chalk.

I stopped by Learning Palace yesterday to kill time while I was waiting for Nik to meet me after work. (Kids went to We Village.) I was looking at all of their workbooks and it occurred to me that I really need to split up Aaron and Naim for more stuff, or alternatively go to a more unit study type of thing and give them different assignments. I kind of feel like Naim is getting a lot of my attention now and I am holding Aaron back. Global Village does more unit study stuff, so maybe I will brainstorm on that for the start of third grade. I am hoping that Aaron will be done with HOP by the end of summer (he only has about 8 Lessons to go.) and then he can start Master reader by himself. I am debating whether to have Naim start on Reading Horizons as replacement or in addition to HOP. I am leaning to replacement now.