Sunday, October 30, 2011

Math anxiety

Yes. Even as an adult math can make me break out in a cold smelly sweat. Math anxiety would cause me to almost have to repeat 5th grade. Ironically my husband also almost had to repeat a grade because of math. I ended up going to summer school that summer plus my mom trying her best to get it all to sink in. I sometimes see this with my children. It will seem like they know a concept and the next day *poof* they will have to relearn it. That is how it was with testing for me.  I would study and know it and then completely blank out when it was time for a test. In our home school environment we do not do testing though except for the yearly testing required by the state. So far the kids do not know the anxiety that comes from "TESTS".

For now we are still just learning the basics of math: addition/subtraction/fractions/multiplication/division....but in a couple of years I will have to teach**gulp** algebra. Now I did take algebra in high school and college but that was, ahem, a VERY long time ago. I'm thinking that soon I will have to to do some refresher work in math. Most likely I will have to take an online algebra program to get me up to speed to teach more advanced mathematics.

Monday, October 24, 2011

So Excited!

I have been such a blog hog this week! Anyway,even before kids my hubby has been writing,writing,and writing. (we love writing Over Yonder haha) When the kids were babies we paid to have a book that he wrote and had a very special artist friend of ours do the art for published. It's an early reader book about a boy with an imagination that takes him above and beyond! We didn't market it much back then but recently decided to try again. Especially since he has so much more wonderful material he wants...and needs to publish. So it is now on Kindle at Amazon It will be available in hardcopy in the next week or so. BUT I do plan on doing a give away as I have some of the copies from the first exchange for a review. More on that next week!

Super special needs video!

We have chosen to home educate but this video is awesome and can be applied to socializing at church,community, and in our homeschool groups. I really like this I am Norm program!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Art and Music

I must admit that these two subjects are some of our favorite things. We do a lot of art at home and Z~girl has taken art classes a few times over the years with other homeschool children.(art plus socializing-can't get much funner than that!)There is also much to learn about art and music online. We especially love using the skills we have learned and entering exhibits in the state fair. We do shoe box floats,A~man decorates a boot in the special needs category, and we make paintings using acrylic and watercolor. Most years the kids and sometimes myself do some pictures in pencil and colored pencil. It's a fun thing that the kids and I look forward to every year. Oh also yearly the kids and I participate in a sidewalk chalk art contest!

The above drawing Z made was two years ago.

This fabulously colorful one was done by A~man 2 years ago.

This last year we learned through picture books about famous artists and we also love playing this Go Fish game. This year Z and I decided to pick our favorite artist/picture and do it with chalk.

I did Van Gogh's Night Visions.

Z did Senecio by Paul Klee

Both A and Z just this year started music lessons. Z loves playing her violin/fiddle...ultimately she wants to play fiddle but the Suzuki Method she has been taught is fabulous. A~man just started playing the drums and is doing very well with it.

I think the "arts" are a very important part of education. It stimulates your brain like nothing else can. Whether through playing an instrument, creating art, or learning the basics through Art and Music games.
The creative possibilites are limitless!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Lego and Robotics Education

Awhile back I mentioned that we entered this Lego Education Contest. All the entries have been submitted(and there are a lot of excellent ones by homeschoolers and regular school) so we are waiting...

Hubby and the kids continue to have fun learning with Lego and making lots of fun videos. Just this week we had Lego and Robotics club which is a 4H group we belong to. It is run by a an awesome homeschool mom that also has a very informative blog on all things homeschool. She featured us in her blog and I just wanted to share it with all of you. Please take a peek. Lego and Robotics Academy

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I love fall...

WAIT I already said that didn't I? Oh well I guess I will just have to post some more pretty pictures.

Happy Fall Y'all!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Homeschool Crew Review: Always Icecream

Geared to girls ages 7-12
$4.99 per month or $29.99 per year
Life-time membership $99.99

Zoe and I had the opportunity to try out the site Always Icecream the last couple of months to review for The Old Schoolhouse. I admit when I checked out the site before my daughter did I was skeptical. She is going through a very ungirly like stage and I assumed her reaction to so much pink (she does not like pink) and girlish stuff would cause a revolt. Also she is not overly fond of playing on the computer unlike her brother who loves it. My first impression of the site? I thought it was adorabley cute. I was pleasantly suprised that she did really enjoy the site.

Always Icecream is a safe internet site that is just for girls and it is geared toward elementary and middle school girls. Some of the subjects in the learning portion of Always Icecream are- language arts,foreign languages, basic math, advanced math, history, science, geography, music, art, computer skills, and also some religious education. Here are some of the various activities my daughter participated in-

Your Daughter's Recent Learning Progress

During the last 90 days, Zoe made progress in the following learning games:
•Typing for Beginners from level 1 to 9
•Bible Quiz from level 1 to 2
•Melting $coops
•Math Quiz - Adding from level 1 to 7, earning a Bronze Medal
•Countries in Europe from level 1 to 5
•Synonyms from level 1 to 10, earning a Bronze Medal
•States of the USA from level 1 to 10, earning a Bronze Medal
•Math Quiz - Multiplying from level 1 to 7, earning a Bronze Medal
•Dog Breeds Quiz from level 3 to 6, earning a Silver Medal
•Vocabulary Practice German - English from level 1 to 2
•Word Confusion from level 1 to 2
•Vocabulary Practice English - Spanish from level 1 to 2


Girls are able to earn achievement medals, virtual pets and icecream scoops (virtual currency) when they complete the learning activities and videos. With the Scoops earned they are able to participate in the fun games. My daughter especially liked making her "MiniMe"complete with red hair of course! :)

Your child is also able to get pets in "Pet World". Some of the fun games include pretending to run a daycare, be a waitress, or be a cook! Your daughter is also able to connect with other girls through this site although we chose not to use this feature.


I wouldn't use Always Icecream as a complete curriculum but with the wide variety of learning activities and fun games it would make a wonderful supplement to a home school program or even for an after school activity for girls in regular school. I like that it is very user friendly and that my daughter needs very little assistance while doing it and the fact that it is a safe site makes that even more appealing. I also like there is an area to learn Bible facts. The site also has a money back guarantee if you find the site to not be a good fit for your family.

I encourage you to check out what my other crewmates from the TOS have to say about Always Icecream!

Disclosure- I was given a membership to Always Icecream in exchange for my honest review of the program.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Prader-willi syndrome- siblings

I do not talk about weight issues regarding ds normally(eating issues maybe) but tonight A~man got on the scale not because I asked him to but he was in our bathroom and hopped on as he thinks it's fun. Ha Ha.  I had to hold back my reaction. He asked "is it good?". I didn't know what to say. So I said little. He has gained a LOT this month. A LOT! He looks good and if he was a typically developing child that was almost 12 it probably would be expected to gain before a possible growth spurt. I have blogged about him sneaking food and hiding it but he has not in the last few years ever had such a weight gain in a month. It internally freaks me out a bit. I'm guessing it's because we haven't been doing our daily 4 mile walk (hanging head) and when we had company I became a bit lax with portions.

On the flip side is our daughter Z. She is petite and most people think she is much younger due to her size than her 10 years. That is the norm for her though and although I am "the jolly green giant" (I say with a smile;) she is going to be petite like her great grandma and some of her cousins. I'm always telling her to "listen to her stomach" and if she is full not to eat and if she is hungry to find a healthy snack. She eats healthy but she doesn't eat a lot..and neither did I at that age.

YET...I want her to know there are times in between meals if she is hungry she can go get herself a snack. (she always asks...I honestly wish she would just get it) My sensitive sweet girl though realizes the unfairness in it all as A~man cannot go get a snack whenever he wants as his stomach will always tell him he's hungry. I'm babbling...but I wish there was a solution....

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Online homeschool curriculum choices

Choosing what curriculum to use is never easy. There are so many choices to be found! We use an eclectic variety in our home school. In the morning we do "sit down" work at the table which normally consists of math, grammar,and writing. Sometimes I do this one on one (depending on A~man's attention level at the time) other times I get one started with their work and then help out the other. Due to A~man's delays his sister passed him up years ago so for math and reading they are working on completely different levels. Which is the awesome thing about homeschooling- the fact you can individualize the school work to each student. My hats off to those of you with more than two children. I cannot imagine doing this with more than two children. I stay super busy with two. Other things we are able to do together like art, grammar, and science.

In the afternoon one of the programs we use is Time4Learning for our computer time. It's also great on the days when we are running around for field trips, doctors appointments, or on days when mama ;) needs a little break. The neat thing about Time4Learning is that they offer one month free in exchange for a curriculum review . That way a person can check it out and decide if it is a good fit for their family as a curriculum or as a supplement to their existing curriculum.

Another thing we are going to try out after Christmas is an online writing course. (for Z~girl and maybe even A~man) Up until now with Z we have worked on handwriting with copy work, writing letters to family, and creative writing in a journal. I'm thinking though that she is ready for a more formal writing course as she loves to write. It just needs some polishing up.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

I love fall!

Reasons for homeschooling

There are many different variables on how and why someone chooses to home school. Some families choose based on their religious beliefs and choose Christian curriculum and others choose a more secular homeschooling route. These are just a couple possible reasons. Depending on each state's requirements parents are able to make the choices that are best suited to their family. Our reasons for homeschooling were that the public school was not meeting the educational needs of our child with special needs. They quite honestly did not know what to do with him and were not open to us trying to work with them to make it work. The attempts they made in the the first of his kindergarten year were very hard on all of us mentally.

Fortunately homeschooling was a good fit for us. I will be the first to admit some days here can be difficult. We are able to get through those days with love, patience (most days;) On the days that our patience has met it's limit we are able to forgive for the occasional harsh word. (! ;) Fortunately the good days far outweigh the challenging ones! Although not all of our curriculum is Christian based (but it doesn't contradict our beliefs) we depend on our faith in God to help us all, even hubby and I, to try and achieve our  individual bests.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

I admit...I am nervous

About my family visiting.  The house will get as clean and neat as I can get it but the one thing I cannot control is my son's reaction to a disruption to our routine. Even if it will be a fun and happy one. Change is change.  We will have my mom in our room as it has a master bath and hopefully all meds/vitamins she has can be kept in there. My brother will have A~man's room. I cannot think of any other way to do it as my brother had major back surgery this year and I do not want him to have to go up and down stairs. Plus I think A~ will be tickled that his uncle gets to stay in his room. But that means A~man, hubby and I will sleep in the homeschool room. (aka storage room as we do our work upstairs) Monday we will tackle the basement and make it as comfortable for A as possible (its' really dark :( )

Oh and I have this fear...that I just need to put right in God's hands. I do not want them to see one of A's HUGE behaviors. I guess the biggest they have seen was at the viewing of my nephews funeral. (probably also the biggest emotional outburst anyone has seen out of me) But it was appropriate...sad...but he completely lost it. That was over sadness/confusion though. Not many people have seen his outbursts over ANGER, anxiety,CONTROL, where things are not going the way they he thinks they should be and all of his self control is gone. This happens very rarily but it really is scarey. I cannot imagine what someone that has not experienced would think,feel, or how they would react. Our neighbor lady has seen it (while watching him while we had a date) and probably some of our neighbors may have seen/heard it...but I do not think any friends have seen the EXTREME scarey side. Gosh I do not want my mom to see it. (or my brother but I tend to think he will be more ok with it)

Prayers would be appreciated!

Hig Pig

I recently heard about this game and did a search to see what it was all about. Both of my kids love to find ways to entertain themselves while in the car or while simply waiting. Sneaking in a bit of learning is an added bonus!

Hig Pig is a rhyming game where you think up a pair of words and both words must rhyme. It the word has more than one syllable the second word has the same amount of syllables and  rhymes with the first word. You would start out with a single (hig-pigs) or double syllable (higged-piggeds) to start out with and then with skill (and a whole lot of imagination!) add more syllables.(higgedy-piggedies or higgedy-hig-piggedy-pigs!)

After you have come up with the rhyming pair you make up a sentence or phrase that is a clue to what the rhyming pair is. Here are a couple examples of a hig-pig- 
How do you get syrup out of a tree? with a sap tap
a wolf's song- a moon tune

Here are some higged-piggeds-
Who is someone that takes care of your dog while you are on a trip- a critter sitter
What type of dog lives in a palace? A regal beagle.

Then there is the more complicated higgedy-piggedies-
Who lives in the White House? the resident president

This would be such a good way to expand a child (er or MY) vocabulary. You could make great use of multiple meaning words or use it as a way to practice the meanings of your childs weekly spelling words.  Are any of my readers brave enought to try making one up?? PLEASE?