Friday, March 14, 2014

End of Quarter Three

We have completed our third quarter. I can't believe how quickly this year is passing. We continued with our grammar and math workbooks each morning to be sure we have the basics completed before moving on to projects. This system is working well for us and gives me peace of mind. We are almost done with Teaching Textbooks Level 4 and Level 2 All About Spelling. I really like All About Spelling, even though it is a review so far for Tom Sawyer and  Little Red Riding Hood. Tom Sawyer and Goldilocks are both graduating from occupational therapy. Also, Goldilocks started therapy mid- quarter to work on her severe emotional problems. This led us to starting Tom Sawyer in psychotherapy as well. He is the target of much of Goldilocks' angry outbursts, and he has many hurt feelings. We decided it was prudent to get him some help in dealing with his feelings regarding growing up with such a difficult sister.

Little Red Riding Hood (10) ~ I am so pleased to say that Little Red Riding Hood (LRRH) has learned to enjoy reading. She finished all six American Girl Doll Kit Kittredge books by reading out loud to me this quarter. She is also reading Animal Ark books (with difficulty) and Wishbone books to herself for fun! She scored a 97% in math again this quarter. She loves the Life of Fred books. She does her worksheets quickly and is easily picking up long division. LRRH is writing one page papers with good content. There are still many spelling errors and she is working hard at rewriting her edited papers. She continues to be at ease in the Tween Company at the dance studio and can't wait for the next show. She is so delighted that Tween Company does extra dance shows beyond the dance studio's two big productions each year. LRRH is enjoying all of her dance classes and is thriving under the tutelage of her dance teachers. She doesn't seem at all aware that the dances are much more difficult than last year. Little Red Riding Hood also has become enthralled with the rubber band bracelet craze and spends hours every week creating. I am amazed with her fine motor skill control and the many things she has created on her own. She also does a great job following the adult bracelet instructors that she has found on YouTube.

Tom Sawyer (11) ~ Tom Sawyer (TS) had a good quarter. He made real improvement in spelling and handwriting this quarter. His writing skills are increasing day by day. He can now write a few decent paragraphs about an assigned subject. He is doing better with writing capitals and putting lowercase letters in the correct places. TS worked hard in occupational therapy and graduated from it this week. He has an at-home program to continue working on his core strength and sensory issues. He is also making nice strides with his math work. He also is doing such a good job getting his work done each day. The majority of the time he gets it done with limited complaints. He is doing a nice job with art classes with Grandma. I am happy to see him enjoying art more and following her directions. The most exciting thing, according to Tom Sawyer, is that he was invited to join Tween Company with his sister. He is now taking a modern dance class with Tween in addition to his boys dance class. He is really enjoying the extra class each week and being in extra shows. The most exciting thing to me this quarter is the extra support we are getting from his psychotherapist. This man, as well as the intake worker, are very impressed with what a nice boy he is and how well he is doing. They realize that the entire family system suffers when a  very difficult child lives in the home. They are especially impressed that Tom Sawyer is doing so well, considering that he is the target of his sister's (Goldilocks) anger most of the time. Lastly, he is still doing well with gymnastics. He will be going to the Special Olympics and performing in six events.

Goldilocks (13) ~ When it comes to determining how Goldilocks is doing, I have to think outside the box. She is suffering with severe emotional problems and is already diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (both of which are mental illnesses) in addition to being born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Unfortunately, her therapist feels that there will be more diagnoses to come in the future. She resists learning at every turn and spends much of her time in a very complicated fantasy world she has created. Then there are the never ending behavior problems. She does shocking things every single week. This week she jumped into a moving car (that was going about 5 miles an hour) and attempted to hack into the security system of her OT's iPad when she was left unattended for 3 minutes...three minutes! I am not joking when I say that she needs to be in line of sight ALL THE TIME. There have also been a few aggressive outbursts. SO HOW IS SHE DOING? Goldilocks is learning from audio books, despite herself. She loves them and they are increasing her vocabulary. I have seen a vast improvement in her conversational ability this year. I think this is from listening to so many audio books as well. This quarter she listened to three Harry Potter books, 100 Cupboards, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, We Are the Ship, Are You There God, It's Me Margret, Happy Birthday Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, Sounder, The Bridge to Terabithia, The Black Pearl, four 39 Clues books, and Number the Stars. She is almost done with her 3rd grade Flash kids work book and is doing well as long as I don't grade it. She starts "messing up" if she knows that she is getting 100 percents! (Yes, I know, it really is crazy making.) Her math tutor says she understands and is able to do about 60% of third grade math. Goldilocks is starting to resist gymnastics because she is having to work to do well in the Special Olympics. I think her coach may be disappointed. The coach thinks she has great abilities (which she does), but it doesn't mean she will show them when it is time to perform. We have just a few more special needs cheer leading events and then we are dropping out of that. It hasn't been a good fit for our family.

Tim (23) ~ Timothy is enjoying his day program for brain injured people. They are all looking forward to spring and being able to get outdoors more. This past quarter he did lots of volunteer work with the food bank, explored different coffee shops, went to the movies twice, went bowling three times, sat on a panel for brain injured persons, and much more. He likes the afternoons when they play games, have their group book club or cook. It is such a good place for him. We have had limited improvement with his nutritional supplements. He still is suffering with depression and anxiety. In the next few months, we may be switching him to a new therapist who specializes in developmentally delayed adults. He has been working on coming out of his room and socializing with his family more often, as well as helping more with chores. We are glad that he is willing to work on being happier and finding out why he is struggling so much with his feelings.

Blessings, Dawn


  1. You are one of my heroes I look to. I am always amazed to hear all the things you face each week, and yet you always have a good and loving attitude. (hugs) Despite it all, it sounds like you had a great week. I love all the beautiful pictures of the kids.

  2. Love the ballet photos! I have 2 ballerinas, my oldest says dancing is the only time she feels like she is great therapy!

  3. You are such an amazing Mom Dawn!! I am with Phyllis, it is wonderful all the things you do for and with your kids. I love the ballet pictures!! Love that Goldilocks is loving her audio books and prayers for an easier time for her. Happy weekend.

  4. Wonderful dance pictures and I'm glad the two of them are loving their new classes and performances. Dance is such a great activity for kids when they enjoy it. You have had a great quarter and always accomplish so much despite the difficulties. I pray that things with Goldilocks become a bit more easy to handle for you all.

  5. I can't believe it's so far into the school year myself. I have this mantra I keep repeating, and it's "Six more weeks of Co-op." Even though we school year round (in some sort of fashion), it's always nice to not have to go to our activities :-)

  6. Rejoicing...and praying...

  7. This is such a wonderful post. Truly, you have inspired me to write more in depth updates on each of the children. It must be good to look back over past ones and compare them.

  8. Riding Hood looks so pretty and graceful doing her ballet! I do know how stressful it is living with just one unpredictable and aggressive family member. I pray that things will get easier as your children continue with their therapies. What a blessing having Grandma teach art must be! Hope to see you at Friendship Friday again tomorrow!