Friday, January 3, 2014

End of Quarter Two and a Birthday for Goldilocks

We are halfway through the school year already. Time just flies by!! We had another excellent quarter. There were some changes from the first quarter. The biggest change was putting the kids into a workbook program for grammar, writing, spelling and math. The truth is that I love the science and history more than grammar, so I was far too often letting them skip spelling to enjoy a science experiment or cook up something to correlate with their history lessons. Now, before we begin anything else, the kids have been doing a page from each section of their complete curriculum workbook. We have been using Flash Kids Complete Curriculum. This way, I know that they have made strides in the basics each day before we move on to the longer, drawn out projects. We still have been using Teaching Textbooks and All About Spelling a few times a week. I much prefer these programs, but we needed a bit more daily accountability. The other major change this past quarter was that we added occupational therapy (OT) appointments twice a week for Goldilocks and Tom Sawyer. I can't say enough about the wonderful program they have been going through. Tim is the only one who is still doing neurofeedback therapy and that may be only for a short time more.

Little Red Riding Hood (10) ~ I am really pleased to see the steady improvements in reading for my girl. She still doesn't look forward to reading, but the words are coming easier. Grandma has taken over doing vision therapy exercises with her several times a week. They are using visual games, this website, and reading together to enhance her vision skills. She has continued to enjoy and do well with math, scoring a 97% accuracy this quarter. Her perfectionism has still gotten in the way, but at least she has been pulling herself together faster these days. She has really enjoyed tween company at the dance studio. She did so well with all of the dances in the Nutcracker. This studio puts on a very professional show in a theater that seats 500 people. Little Red Riding Hood has begun to really like modern as well as ballet. I've enjoyed seeing her stretch out into other forms of dance. She has also had fun in gymnastics, performing splits on the balance beam without a spotter, doing cartwheels on a low beam and completing vaults without a spotter.

Tom Sawyer (11) ~ Tom Sawyer has been doing so well. He really liked doing his workbook in the morning. I thought he would give me a hard time because of the writing, but he did each page quickly. His workbook is for 5th grade, which he has found to be easy. I chose the 5th grade book because I knew we had some gaps in grammar and he isn't a fantastic speller. The rest of the book has been a good review for him right now. He has continued to read some chapter books along with carefully selected graphic novels. He likes to learn about history through graphic novels, and we have been supplementing our history studies this way for him. Tom Sawyer has been doing really well in OT. He has been writing better and has learned to have fewer issues with spacing. He also has been learning to be more appropriate with his sensory need to touch people and things. The therapists also have been working on his core strength. It has been wonderful to see so much progress. Tom Sawyer has been enjoying gymnastics and it looks like he will qualify for the Special Olympics this coming Spring. He was also in the Nutcracker this year and did a super job. While he was disappointed that there were only two students in his dance and theater class, he'll continue in it because he loves the teacher so much.

Goldilocks (13) ~ This past quarter, Goldilocks continued to learn more successfully in her room than with her siblings at the table. She has been listening to many hours of audiobooks a week. She has listened to five of the Percy Jackson books, as well as to Sarah Plain and Tall, Skylark, Anne of Green GablesElla Enchanted, Island of the Blue Dolphin, Bless This Mouse, and Centerburg Tales. She continued to write reports and has organized her thoughts a bit better. She has continued with the same math tutor. While it has been going fairly well, she skipped doing her homework several times (saying it was too hard). Her tutor has now asked her to complete it even if she doesn't know exactly what she is doing, so the tutoring session will not be a waste of time. I think she will be done with the Flash Kids Complete Curriculum 3rd grade workbook in the next quarter. She has gotten most of the pages correct with 90% accuracy. She has continued to enjoy Magic Tree House books. They have come easily to her and she seems to have understood the information. OT has been a good experience for her. She has worked hard on sequencing and has even had the opportunity to plan and cook a meal at therapy ~ she really liked that. Goldilocks has been working on keeping an appropriate space with her siblings and other kids. She tends to pick kids up off the ground without asking or when it is not appropriate. Goldilocks has liked gymnastics and is looking forward to being in the Special Olympics this Spring. She also has been enjoying special needs cheer leading. I have not been so thrilled, however. It has been very disorganized and they have canceled the practices about one-third of the time. That lack of routine has not been good for our family.

Timothy (23) ~ Timothy has been doing very well at his day program for brain injured individuals. He really has enjoyed all of the field trips and charity work. This quarter they volunteered at the animal shelter, food bank, and with cleaning up disabled peoples' yards. They also went to the Grove Park Inn to see the gingerbread house contest (they had entered a house), to the Biltmore House, and on numerous walking tours that ended at coffee shops (to name just a few field trips). They were also interviewed several times by a college class that has been learning about brain injured individuals. On their in-house days, they did crafts, cooked meals, took care of their winter garden, participated in a book club, played board games and had group therapy. We have been so pleased with this program. He still suffers with lots of anxiety and possibly depression. We may move into trying some prescription medications, since the natural route has not made enough improvements in his mood. That is something we will be considering this coming quarter.
Goldilocks turns 13! ~ Goldilocks and I decided to celebrate her birthday with a trip to the Chocolate Lounge and a horse and carriage ride. We had lots of fun with our entire family at the Chocolate Lounge. Everyone got to pick their own dessert this year. Goldilocks wanted a Smarties (candy) cake, so I added a package of candies to her slice of cake. It took a few days for the weather to improve enough to go on the horse and carriage ride. We had a girls day out trip on the carriage. Goldilocks really liked her ride.

It is shocking to realize that my Goldilocks is 13 already. There is so much work to do with helping this young lady meet her highest potential. I feel like time is passing so quickly! I pray this year we will uncover some of the keys to her success.

Lastly ~ Goldilocks' favorite gifts were a new comforter made by Grandma and a horse canopy that I picked up at a yard sale over the summer. Goldilocks refuses to sleep in a bed, because the underneath of the bed has always scared her too much. For now, she is happier with a mattress on the floor, so I was happy to make her bed space more cozy in these little ways.

Blessings, Dawn


  1. WOW Dawn the Special Olympics is BIG TIME Huzzah to the children! I love her sleeping space. All hers! Peace to your weekend!

  2. It is time for us to turn in our mid-year grades, too. I am always amazed how much you get done in your schooling. You are such a great teacher.

  3. Such a great job! I also wanted to say that I love Flash Kids Complete Curriculum we also use it in addition to other curriculum but it gives you a great idea at a glance just how much you really are getting done and the knowledge that they're getting their daily basics.

  4. Happy belated birthday to Goldilocks! 13 is a big birthday too! It looks like she has a very cozy and special sleeping space.

    I'm always so impressed with Little Red Riding Hood's splits and flexibility. I'm glad she is enjoying Modern too. Amber loves contemporary and was planning to try out Modern this semester.

    Sensory OT was such a blessing for us too. They worked on Amber's core strength which was pretty weak considering her dance. The touching... oh the touching. I wondered if my child would ever stop touching things randomly. There were specific clothing items I could not wear because she would constantly pet my sleeves.

  5. Sounds like your kids are all doing so wonderfully. YAY for the Special Olympics. How exciting is that?? Happy Birthday to Goldilocks. 13 is a wonderful age. :)

  6. Happy belated birthday to Goldilocks!! What a wonderful treat to ride in a carriage and I love her room. Special Olympics is absolutely wonderful and I'm thrilled that your children will be able to take part.

  7. Happy happy 13th birthday to Goldilocks!
    It sounds like things are going so well this year in your little homeschool. I'm not sure how you do it all, but you do, and so very well at that! I hope this year will be just a wonderful.
    Happy new Dawn!

  8. Happy Birthday to your sweet girl. It is hard to believe how quickly they grow up!
    Can you tell me more about graphic novels that y'all have enjoyed. I think this might be something a couple of my boys would enjoy too. (We have a few history ones but not many)