Friday, April 12, 2013

Week 30 ~ Birthday, Tile Mosaics, and Spring

On My Mind ~ My oldest turned 23 this week. This was a rough year for Tim. Our move to a new home as well as his pacemaker surgery took quite a toll on him. He recently had a brain map done by his doctor, and we were surprised to see how much stress his brain was under in comparison to the last brain map. His doctor said it was probably the surgery and living through those weeks on emergency mode (when his pacemaker was in failure but we were required to wait for his Medicaid to approve the surgery). It explains a lot about his stressed out mood this last year. My prayer and goal for him this year is to find happiness and relaxation. On the very bright side, Tim has a great group of friends. They are a really nice set of "kids" who don't curse in front of me or my family and are unfailingly polite. He gets together with them a few times a month. Besides that group with whom he takes fencing classes, Tim has another friend who is older than him and who also has special needs. They both volunteer each week at the nature center. They also enjoy going to the movies and recently tried roller skating. He is another great guy and gives me a glimpse into Tim's future. This young man also lives at home and gracefully models living with a disability.

Stepping Stones ~ A few months ago, my sister-in-law gave us wonderful garden mosaic tiles. I wanted to wait until it warmed up so we could make them to place in our "secret garden". There is so much landscaping to do in our yard! The goal this year isn't planting so much as figuring out what is already here and removing the dead/unwanted plants. However, I do hope to plant a bit in the secret garden. The tiles will be such a nice addition to the stone path I hope to lay in the coming months. She sent us seven tiles. The kids really enjoyed making them. They take two weeks to cure enough to be stepped on. I can't wait to decide where each one will be placed. Each week we will work on our secret garden and update on this blog what we have accomplished. Besides making the tiles this week, we also cleared out more dead undergrowth and worked on the little stone wall at one end of the garden.

Making Our Homeschool More FASD Friendly ~ I've been reading Fantastic Antone Succeeds for the last week or so. I am getting lots of ideas on how to make our homeschool work better for Goldilocks. One idea that really helped this week was introducing tactile wake-up time. The theory is that kids with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD) usually have sensory issues. This is true for both my adopted FASD children, Tom Sawyer and Goldilocks. They both can be noisy (yet hate others' noise) and touch others way too much (but hate to be touched by others). You can see how crazy-making that can be in a day. Well, this week we had sensory wake-up each morning. Most mornings the kids played with shaving cream or "cloud bags" (shaving cream in double zip-lock bags). I noticed an improvement in Goldilocks' ability to stay in her seat and pay attention for the first hour of school. I am also moving her into more alone/one-on-one time school with me instead of group school with her siblings. Her test results came back from the Hewitt Pass Test and she did VERY POORLY -- even worse than expected. We are hoping the changes we are making at home and starting her with a reading tutor will improve her scores. Also, she will be going to respite for a whole weekend once a month for the next few months. Hopefully, this will help her get emotionally stronger. There is no way she is going to make huge gains with her academics until she is emotionally back on track.

Our School This Week ~
  • George Washington Carver unit study
  • Teaching Textbooks for math
  • Life of Fred ~ Dogs
  • Daily journal writing
  • All About Spelling
  • Lots of Reading ~ my kids are in love with Franny K. Stein Mad Scientist books
  • Lots of learning about photosynthesis in biology
  • CNN Student News
  • Each child finished another workbook during independent language arts time.
  • SQUILT study on O' Fortuna ~ The kids loved listening to different versions of this song. Thank you so much, Mary, for the all the great SQUILT lessons. We loved this version by the Piano Guys.
    We also spent hours outside exploring nature this week. The weather is warming up! It is always impossible to keep them inside during this season. They planted strawberries, a raspberry bush, and a tomato plant, as well as jumped many hours on the trampoline.

    Blessings, Dawn


    1. Wow, there is so many wonderful things in this post. I love all you have said about your son. You are realistic and compassionate...just the perfect blend. It is wonderful that you son has such good friends! Happy Birthday wishes to him. I love your secret garden stones. It makes me want to make them! I love the idea for tactile wake up time. It is wonderful how dedicated you are to finding the best solutions for your individual student's needs. Thanks for sharing all of this with us.

    2. Happy Belated to your son! That is awesome. You seem to have a wonderful week! Blessings!

    3. Okay, another book on my wish list! I love the idea of having a sensory morning. I am going to try it tomorrow. Weekends have become trying because of the things you mentioned (noise, touching), and I'd love to see if this would help.

      Those mosaic tiles are gorgeous. What a fun idea.

      Happy Birthday to Tim! I hope that this year is better for him. It's so sad to hear how stressed out he is after the pacemaker fiasco, because it was unnecessary stress brought on by the insurance company (don't get me started!).

      Hope you have a good weekend...

    4. Happy birthday Tim!! May you be blessed with a wonderful year this year!!

      The tiles are absolutely gorgeous. Our landscaping it outta control also. I will be spending a lot of time cleaning up. Not any time soon though, we had two inches of snow last night.

      I will be praying that the time in the morning helps out with your school day. Have a wonderful weekend!

    5. Dawn - Happy Birthday to Tim. You are such a great mom. I can hear in each of your posts the love and dedication you have to all of your children. I am in awe of everything you accomplish.

      I love The Piano Guys version of O Fortuna -- thanks for posting that! I hadn't seen this one - but we love The Piano Guys!

      I hope you have a great weekend, Dawn.

    6. Happy birthday to your oldest! Looks like a fun party for him!

      Great tiles! They're beautiful. I love your idea of a secret garden! It'll be fun to see where you (and the kids) do with that.

      I totally agree about meeting EMOTIONAL and PHYSICAL needs before learning. Obviously right now we're going through a lot of changes...and it's hard for ALL of us to focus on learning. It still happens, but sometimes its just more important to meet those emotional needs foremost so that they're able to learn.

    7. Wow! You are a wonderful mother! God has trusted you with a lot and you rise to the occasion!! Its homeschooling moms like you who inspire me to keep going and trust me, last month was a tough one for me. Great studies listed!

    8. Gi-irl!!! God has given you the gift of the "homeschooling whisperer"! Thank you for posting about your week- it will inspire many of us out her in blogland...

    9. Loved reading about your week! You are doing a great job working to meet the needs of your kids. You inspire me.


      PS What does it mean that you are joining Homegrown Learners?

    10. We have found that sensory stuff makes SUCH a huge difference for us! I will have to check out that book.

      Happy Birthday to Tim! It seems like you have some good goals and hope for him going forward.

      I liked reading about your "secret garden" as we are just in the middle of reading that book! Great tile mosaics!

    11. Happy Birthday to your son, Tim. Love the mosaic stones they will look pretty in the garden.