• Attendance

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  • The “Class”

    Avery, Naim, Aaron

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September 5, 2012

Avery’s school started the new “school year” this week, not that it looks any different for Avery. He is still in Traci’s room, I hope he can stay there for awhile. He will be going there Monday, Wednesday and Thursday this year, unless we decide to put him in ECE and then we’ll see…but that won’t happen until he is 3 years old. Here is his report for today. I am starting him on potty training prerequisite stuff. Pulling up and down pants, sitting on the potty chair, but probably won’t start for serious until about Thanksgiving, because then it will be winter and we will have a solid 6 or so weeks off from any obligations. So we can stay home and he can be naked and stuff. So, want to ask Traci to start working on that kind of stuff with him, too.

Big kids:

  • Naim did Lesson 16 of DER, in the middle of it had a little I-haven’t-had-to-do-school-for-a-week shitfit, and got a time out. then regained composure shortly thereafter and did ok for the rest of the day.
  • Both finished the test in Ch. 7 in Calvert Math. Naim missed two on the chapter test, none on the cummulative test. Aaron missed none on either.
  • Naim got a day off from Individual Reading since he finished his book last time.
  • Aaron did 4 pp. of Sylvan and did the review stuff from the Unit 1 review of HOP. Also read Chick-Chick the Ping Pong Champ again. Read Pig Digs in a Wig(?) from some Usborne phonics books.
  • Sentence School was Ava hides. Ava Slides.
  • Did a “magic c” practice activity in HWT. worked on letters a,c,d,g,o,q. Wrote sentences and more practice in journals.
  • They made T-shirt designs for Village Home T-shirt contest. They will not be in contention since they are competing against teenaged- graphics designers, but it was fun to see what they came up with to sum up VH. They don’t quite get that VH can mean different things to different people and they had to be representative of everyone. Not everyone is all about drama and legos and art. But it gave me an idea that VH should do some kind of quilt/tile fundraiser where every kid can put something specific that VH means to them.

Also noticed that the Village Free School moved to a neighborhood not far from Nik’s work. I do believe we will stay with VH throughout high school, but I have always been intrigued with the free school concept and think it would be ideal for Aaron. (Naim may get off on the self-governing thing as well.) You can go part-time, so something to think about for the future. It was just way too far away.

In other news, Avery is officially cut from Head Start. They let us finish the year but now we are out, due to no longer financially qualifying. It is just as well, I know they have waitlists and I would hate for someone to be waiting who really needs it when we were just kind of half using it. But, it was fun for a year.

IFSP

Had Jean, her co-worker whose name I forget, and Danielle over for Avery’s IFSP meeting. Jean is getting more and more tolerable and even helpful. Danielle was fine as usual and Avery was happy to see her as we have not had head start for a month or so.

Avery was a little performer and signed “more” “book”, “water” and also requested a truck via a picture. He was engaging and fun. I was almost like, don’t be too good, Avery or you will get kicked off! But no fear, because even at Avery’s best, he is still quite at a developmental delay. So, services are in no danger of being cut, but there have been a lot of improvements.

The basic gist of that meeting is that he is going to get 5 visits from Jean at Goddard from Sept. to Dec. He will still continue to get 1x/wk. Speech Path through Kathy and Kathy will have to do a re-eval before his IFSP meeting in December (in which he will switch from IE to ECE and possibly the preschool component.) I need to reset the Kathy appointments. My schedule for all these kids is ridiculous. Head Start pretty much remains on a don’t ask/don’t tell dealio as I think now we have earned our way out of the financial criteria but don’t have to reapply until Avery’s next school year.

VH schedule came out for next year. Still in Schedule hell. Discoverers changed to Wed, which is a conflict with Goddard, and am thinking that they will only go one day this year, but it can be a longer day. So it will probably be Tuesday? Still working that out. Also (reminding myself) I have to actually inform the ESD that we are homeschooling before Sept. 1 via the homeschooling laws require that in the year they are seven on Sept. 1.

Here is what I need to Schedule for fall:

Naim:

At least three days of at-home school (3-4 hours)
Soccer two practices and one game a week!
VH time (one full day or two half days)
Fieldtrip Day/OMSI lab day
Dad time

Aaron:

Same minus soccer. And it isn’t going to happen by fall, but I wish I could find that kid a hobby. Art? Musical instrument? It isn’t going to be sports.

Avery:

Goddard School (4 hours three days a week)
Head Start (hour and a half, one day a week)
Speech Path at Goddard (will coincide)
Speech path with Kathy (one hour one day a week.)
Fieldtrip day (so the other kids can have field trip day, he needs to be clear to come with us.)

Not counting the usual stuff like cooking, shopping, cleaning, laundry and getting stuff done. If I could get Avery to let go of his afternoon naps, it would free up so much time. But on the downside, It would remove time from the other kids, too. Mixed bag.

May 16, 2012

Avery had Head Start today which included the dietitian coming to our house. At first I thought it was going to be really lame because it was like she pushed play and did her “show” and started by telling me what 1 cup was. But then she got all three kids involved and started them making there own snacks. They first squeezed orange slices in a plastic bag and stuck a straw in for orange juice. Then she had them shred carrots and mix shreds with cream cheese and put on a slice of zucchini, then she had them pound on rice cereal in a plastic bag and crunch it up and then put banana slices in it and shake it for “banana cookies.” They had fun and Naim and Avery ate everything. Aaron skipped the zucchini and made his usual complaints. She told me to ration Aaron’s snacks in small cups or bags instead of giving him access to all the stuff in the kitchen. Good idea, but easier said than done. First of all, there is not a place in the kitchen that he can’t get to. There is no “up high.” I’d need to get a safe. Second, if I do that for him I have to do cups for all the kids, which is fine, but then I have to make sure Aaron doesn’t steal the other kids’ cups. But I will try it.She also talked about getting kids involved and serving themselves “family style” etc. It wasn’t new info, but fun for kids to try new snacks and I got free measuring cups, cheese grater and leftover food.

Then Naim went to work at D’s even though D tried to get out of it but I wouldn’t let him. I guess that went OK. He said he cleaned off the kitchen counters, folded and put away laundry, cleaned up all the toys and “toy table” and vacuumed with the little vacuum cleaner. I guess it is OK for a first day. D is way underestimating Naim’s abilities and way overestimating the amount of instruction he needs. He does have a learning curve, but he learns after 2 or 3 attempts and is fine after that. It is even easier at D’s house because he can reach almost everything. I guess he earned his $5.

While he was there, Avery and I went to speech. She had him putting pictures of items in pockets and then finding a matching pictures. He did it under duress. She tried to get him to do beginning sounds with each picture but that was a no-go. We talked about auditory processing stuff and she wants to talk to Jean about what hearing/auditory tests he’s been given. She was not terribly impressed with their hearing assessment. I know he can hear, but if it turns out he is hearing impaired, I will be pissed off at EI (what’s new?) But my gut says it is more about auditory processing than hearing per se.

Read three Magic School Bus books to kids. Two on astronomy and one on geology. Took Sully to the vacant lot and worked with him and Naim and some play-time. That’s it.

2012: 13

HeadStart:

My scanner has been sent into the manufacturer, so hopefully will get back soon as I am getting behind on scanning kid stuff. But Avery had HS today with Nik and Danielle. They did bubbles and Avery said Bubbles and Wow, according to notes. But it seemed that a lot more gossip happened than anything with Avery. But interesting:

Apparently the consensus among everyone about the boss woman there is that she is a condescending bitch. When the Spanish speaking moms talk I can sometimes pick out words and piece together what they are saying along with their body language or some of the English they say. They were all making fun of her when she did the earthquake thing. Then I guess Nik and Danielle were making fun, too. The consensus about her is unanimous. So, now it becomes just sport to see what she does when she comes in and what the Hispanic ladies say about her, cuz they are funny. Of course, wouldn’t want to work for her.

Which brings to next piece of gossip. There is a job opening soon for a developmental specialist who works with EI and ECE and also some of the kids who don’t qualify for those programs but fall through the cracks. Danielle wants me to apply. Free onsite childcare! But it would be a lot of bureaucratic red tape job. And working for THAT woman. I think I am going for instead working on contract for clients who are deaf blind, low skill or multi handicapped at OCB on a part-time as needed basis.

But the saddest bit of the discussion was about a classmate of Avery’s who is also severely language delayed but whose mother is deaf, illiterate, undocumented and in a bad family situation. I’ve been asked for advice. She seems to come from a Spanish speaking background but has no sign whatsoever except for some home signing. So, I’m looking to find either an ASL + Spanish interpreter or the other route I could go would be to use some sort of pictorial AAC with her. There is a pretty good one for iPad that I’d like to try, but HS would have to buy it for me because it is $189. Which is actually a really good price for a AAC method. That might get the quickest form of communication, and then build on English and ASL with her as time goes on. We shall see what I can come up with. Also could look into a Signing Time curriculum with her and her kid. The undocumented part is the trickiest…so much she needs to fly under the radar for, but her son is a citizen, so everything has to be under the auspices of helping him.

Math today. Aaron knows all the answers without using counters. Fine, but then he doesn't feel the need to tell me what they are. He did like the addends exercise we did, though.

Naim is pretty systematic in math. He likes to find all the patterns. He doesn't cut corners and will find a system to do everything. His main problem is handwriting (numerals) and getting them backwards.

But moving on to Big Kids today:

  • Read “Grizzly Bear Rock” and did Usborne worksheet
  • Math: Did addition sums to 10. Used flashcards and counters and also figured out the addends for 6,7,8,9,10 using counters. Completed 2 sections of Ch. 3 in book plus corresponding practice pages.
  • Sylvan: Aaron did -ow words and Naim did review up to T. Aaron also did ten spelling words.
  • Naim read The Cat and Pat 2X. It is one of the beginning readers from Calvert K. He was driving me crazy with not remembering THE. We’ve gone over it only 200,000,000 times. But it seems like it is new all over again. I half play around with the idea of taking him to Sylvan when I take Avery to SPL. They are almost right next to each other. And then someone else can be frustrated with him!
  • Aaron did worksheets for Lesson 5 in HOP, which were SL- and SM- words.
  • Word Time was SHOVEL and HAUL
  • HWT was C.

VH: Week 6 Tuesday/Head Start

Math Playground notes for the last two weeks:

Two weeks ago we explored probability and estimating by:
– Reading Probably Pistachio by Stuart Murphy
– Taking turns using the “shake and peek” box to sample whether we found red or yellow blocks, then, based on the class samples, guessing whether there were more red or yellow blocks in the box
– Tossing a penny and recording heads and tails
– Bouncing a ping-pong ball into colored lids to measure how often it landed in each color
– Comparing quantities and determining which container had more and which had less

Last week we explored tally marks and counting by 5s and 10s by:
– Reading the Shel Silverstein poem “Band-Aids” and tallying how many band-aids the author had
– Adding 2-digit numbers using 10s and 1s (beads and bead strings)
– Putting “tally mark toothpicks” in order from 1 to 10
– Playing a variety of games to practice memory, visual processing, strategic thinking and quickly assessing “more” or “less”

This week we’ll celebrate Valentines Day by exploring geometry.

I saw the last few minutes of Bookworms, where it seemed they were doing something about castles and knights and jesters, and royalty, etc. They made a book about the different roles of people in the castle, and septors.

Spent a bit of time in Legos with Aaron. Then went to science with Naim where it was about the heart and circulation. They made this “heart” that was made of a tortilla, red jelly and licorice for the oxygenated blood and blue jelly and blueberries for the unoxygenated blood. It was kind of cool. They ran back and forth carrying water between two bowls to emulate circulation.

I let them get Valentines treats from a bake sale and they also got lots of valentines from people, although officially their “party” isn’t until thurs. in Discoverers.

I went to check out 24 hour fitness as a place for Avery and I to go since I have to take him with me now. They have a good daycare deal. $10 for unlimited visits per month. And Coscto has a good membership deal for $13 a month. So it is a bit sad, but I think it will be goodbye HFAC that I’m paying an arm and a leg for plus childcare. And at 24 hour fitness, I can go to multiple locations, so even Nik can go downtown after work. I don’t know that this means we are staying, but even if we leave, we will have this paid off in six months (as compared to HFAC) so it is really a no lose situation. 24 hour is not as nice as HFAC, but I think my little bike riding/yoga taking/lap swimming butt can manage to exercise with the plebes without too much sacrifice. I just have to remember to bring my own shampoo and towel. Hopefully, Avery will like the childcare. It looks pretty nice. Lots of things to climb on.

Avery went to Head Start with Nik today. Probably one of the last times he gets to take him. They did Dental check up again and he did well and likes the place and knows the routine. I haven’t said anything to Nik about the supervisor there. I think she is JUST AWFUL and condescending. I wanted to see what he thought of her without my influence. He met her today and had the exact same reaction. I guess she came over and just gushed over him. Funny. But the regular two teachers are nice there and not condescending at all. So it is more funny than anything else. He took some stealth pictures. I will not put up any pics of other children or their mothers, but lets see if there are a few of just Avery…

He always looks so somber in pictures. He actually laughs all the time...at home anyway.

A bit of a stealth scene of the room with no kids.

To be fair, head start is what forced us to get Avery off the sippy cup. He does well with it.

Another view of the room. Those chairs are TINY and we eat lunch while hugging our knees.

Avery very much enjoys his lunch and is learning to put his own dishes away, with varying amounts of success.

More views of the room with no kids. There is an outside area, too. But they didn't go outside today because of the dentist stuff.

VH Week 4: Thursday

Got behind on blogging, so have a bunch to catch up on.

Yesterday the kids went for a walk with Nik and Aaron shot some pictures. One was a lizard he found. We did not have homeschool because we were supposed to go to OMSI with D and that did not happen. Next week it will happen with or without D. I decided to do taxes and immigration and other paperwork so the kids did not do much.

Aaron's Lizard

Avery had head start with Danielle on Wednesday. They worked with whistles and party blowers and mouth things. I’m not sure if it makes a difference, but he enjoys it and it can’t hurt.

Head Start Notes.

Today was VH.

Discoverers seemed to go ok. I did not go with them. I think next week is A and N’s show and tell and then on the 16th they are doing valentines, not next week.

Naim’s drama seemed ok. Today I went with Aaron to Measure for Treasure to try to get to the bottom of the candybar/bionicle mystery. The first thing I noticed while sitting with him waiting for class to start is that he was hyper, hyper and pretty much yelling at everyone. Not in a mean or bossy way, just in a GIVE ME ATTENTION!!! way. I had him chill the fuck out. Then he was not so happy for me to be there any more because I was going to monitor his behavior. I talked to the teacher and she said that she did not know anything about the “deals.” But that she had basically turned Aaron over to her assistant to work with him because he was being a monster. She was actually really nice about it, but what is stupid is that she basically made some bullshit excuse as to why she couldn’t talk to Nik about it, as he is the one who has been there most Thursdays. Basically, I could tell it was either the dad thing or the blind thing or likely both that made her not comfortable to talk to him. So she has been telling him that everything is fine.

So class started and Aaron forgot that I existed and made it all about the assistant. I didn’t care, I just found it funny. The person who offers him the best bribe gets his affection. So, I stayed for about 20 minutes until I had to go do community duty. It was really boring. I mean, I think it is ok, the teacher is ok and there is nothing wrong with her at all, jut compared to his other classes, she is not the most dynamic teacher. NOT that that is an excuse for him acting like a big whiner-cryer over every little thing, which is I guess what he is doing. He raised his hand to tell her that on the way there he counted up to 568. (He did. I heard every minute of it.) She was funny about it and then redirected, so that was all good. After class, I talked to the assistant, and I got the scoop on the deals.

Apparently, he blew them off at first and then they said if he paid attention, he could play with bionicals the last 5-10 minutes of class. So they brought a tub of bionics down, and he fiddled with them the whole time. So they took them away. And apparently then he had a crying fit of epic proportions that lasted like an hour. (this was months ago, apparently.) So she has been coming up with little rewards for him. And yes, they both say he has come “a long way.” but this has all been about a rewards program. She is very proud/happy with herself, she likes him and says that he is a very sensitive kid and she has one of her own. The biconical thing is something to try to sustain behavior for several weeks at a time. To her, one bionicle costs the same as about that many weeks of candy bars anyway, so she would rather do that.

So, I’m talking to her right there in the hallway, and Aaron and Naim are there, as well as her daughter (the sensitive one). So, to say that this was stupid and he couldn’t do it would have come off as a real bitch move and they have already established something here that she is happy with (and I guess the teacher is, too.) So it seems inappropriate to interfere, even though to me it seems a bit manipulative of Aaron. Because he CAN behave without all this support. But he has become the special child in that class. Which brings me to another observation. I’m not sure how much it pertains to this case or not, but it is something I am slowly seeing sometimes. People tend to do a bit of a pity thing with the kids, like give them extra attention and act like they are having some kind of special problem rather than just usual 7 year-old stuff. Is this some kind of run-off from having three disabled parents? Are my kids thought of as needing “extra care” because they are lacking in some department (perceived to be lacking, I don’t think they are more than any other kid, though no parent is perfect.) Or is it just because EVERYBODY knows us, we stand out so much that so do our kids? Don’t know. But Aaron seems to know how to work the extra attention.

VH Week 4: Tuesday/Head Start

Avery waiting for the Head Start bus

Tried to sneak a pic of Avery on the bus, but he is just looking at me like I'm nuts.

Avery and I went to Head Start on-site. It was all ok until the last hour when he turned into a little monster, but that is also the time when they demand you do a million things with your kid, but not before waiting around in line for each thing. So, you come in from outside, stand in line to wash your hands. Sit down for lunch, wait for each person to pass around food. Eat. Wait for people to be finished. Gather up your dishes, Wait for people in front of you to dump their dishes. Dump your dishes and trash, wait to use the bathroom. Use the bathroom, wait in line to get your toothbrush and little cup of allotted toothpaste, get it. Wait in line for the sink. Brush teeth, wash hands, clean up. Start playing, just when you start playing it is circle time. Pick up toys, start circle time. Wait for everyone to be seated, sing a song. Wait for the next song and all the spanish translations therein. Wait for the bus.

So, I get that this is basically “Wait In Line” training to prepare you for “Wait In Line Training” in Preschool Head Start, which prepares you for more “Wait In Line” training for K and first grade, where we finally get into “Advanced Queuing.” But he was not having it today. I mean, I know he looks three and a half, but he just turned 2. That is a hard hour for him when all he wants to do is play with trucks. He dumped his water, he dropped his plate, he shoved his hands in the silverware bucket, he kept going over to the sink and turning on water. He was PISSED OFF about circle time, and then he slept all the way home. He did not sleep on the way there like he usually does, he talked and sang all the way. So maybe it helps when he has the bus nap.

Big kids spent the afternoon with D, so I did not hear much about school at Village today, but here is the stuff the teachers sent:

Oh it looks like Math Playground covers the last two weeks:

Two weeks ago we explored money and coin values and practiced counting by 5s and 10s, by:
– Reading the poem “Smart” by Shel Silverstein
– Converting dimes into the equivalent amount of nickels
– Putting together coin value puzzles
– Playing bank
– Putting mutliples of 5 in order
– Exploring a money-related activity book

Last week we explored addition and subtraction by:
– Reading and acting out Five Little Monkeys Go Shopping (Christelow)
– Matching number sentences with pictoral representations
– Moving forward and backward on numbered “lily pads”
– Exploring subtraction with flip cards
– Using the monkey balance to build equivalent number sentences, and
– Fishing for answers to number sentences.

This coming week we’ll be exploring probability

Bookworms:

They are small, some can fly, some have a lot of legs, and they can be found just about anywhere in the world. What are they? They’re bugs! This week we will learn about different kinds of bugs, what bugs look like, what they eat, and more.

Aaron did make a picture of a pink preying mantis that he is very proud of. I’d scan it…if my scanner worked.

Gooey Science:

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, BLAST OFF!

This week and next, we will be heading to outer space. This week, we will be learning about the phases of the moon, different types of galaxies, and making an astrolabe.

Tomorrow was supposed to be OMSI day, but D convinced me to wait until next week so he could go. So, now I have to come up with something for tomorrow or have homeschool and go somewhere Friday. We’ll see about the weather, etc.