Sunday, February 24, 2013

We have some new peeps in the house this month

Chicks that is!

Isn't she sweet?

Z~girl and I have been wanting to get chickens for many years and this month it became a reality! These first photos are of the new chicks a week and a half ago. We have 3 bantams and 3 red rock pullets. We are REALLY hoping the bantams are females too, hahah but we will see! 

I cannot believe how much they have grown already. Here's a photo I took today and their feathers have changed so much! Surprisingly they are all the same approximate age despite the size difference. When we first brought them home I was pretty concerned as one of the big ones started pecking "blondie's" (the one with a mottled black body and a yellow head) EYE! Okay I was very freaked. It was only for a little bit and now they are a really sweet chick group. We've been trying to handle them quite a bit (they will fall asleep if you rub their neck) and the other chicks will get upset when one leaves. When they sleep they cuddle up tight and the little ones will try and sleep under the big ones. (MAMA is that you?? hahaha) 

Z~girl...the proud "MAMA".

I know this will be an amazing learning experience for our whole family and we LOVE fresh eggs. 

This is something I'm not sure we would be doing if we were not homeschooling. Which makes me wonder about the various reasons people homeschool.  Locally there are a lot of Christian Homeschoolers. While we are Christians that is not the reason we started homeschooling. We started homeschooling as the public school was not able to meet our son's unique learning needs. I'm honestly thankful for it, as homeschooling has been an awesome journey. Yes, there have been bumps in the road and a lot of twists and turns. But ultimately it has enabled our family to be able to experience so much that we might not have been able to if the kids went to "regular school". 

For my homeschool friends out there...WHY did you decide to take the path of homeschooling?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

worn out

It has not been a bad day. But I feel like that puppy up there. My daughter did her school today but my son with special needs did not. Not because he wouldn't but because we had so many things that HAD to be done today. He needs me right there beside him for most of his work, to keep him on track. One of those days that I am happy to say we got what we needed to, done. But school with son did not get done.

When everything was done we did decide to take the kids swimming. This has been something we have been doing over the last several months and sometimes we go almost every day. Sometimes I stay home and work, but today I made myself go. Swimming has been so good for both as it is something both of them are really good at! Also A~man has met up with a sweet girl close to his age that swims there on Mondays. She also has Prader-Willi Syndrome. It has also been nice being able to talk to the mom a few times. I have lots of online friends that are parents to children with PWS but rarely do I run into one in person.

Also, this past Sunday hubby took the kids to swim and one of A~man's teammates from special needs baseball was there. This young man is just a bit older than A~man and he has down syndrome. He is on a similar level to A~man (and likes to swim like him) and I guess they got along wonderfully! They swam laps together. OH, and he is a homeschooler too! I may need to go this next Sunday, I want to "recruit" them to our homeschool group. A~man needs some peer friends of his own.

I was glad I went today but I know the people at the desk probably think I'm the crankiest mom ever. By the time we leave swimming it's normally around 5 or 6...and I still have to make dinner. (although I will admit...hubby does sometimes too) When Z and I come out of the locker room, A~man is always standing chatting with the people that work there. Sometimes appropriate, oftentimes not. HAHA. Always though I am like "LET'S GO already!". 

They do not see the day that I have already had. Whether it has been a good day or a bad day, parenting a child with special needs is draining. No, I would not EVER change it but these people do not realize my son has talked non stop since he has woken up. Sometimes real stuff, sometimes questions over and over, or even just listening to him in the next room "talking" to himself. I hear talking all day long. I am a total introvert. I get my energy from what wee bit of alone time I get between 9pm- midnight. Yes, I really should just go to bed. But here I sit.

Worn out. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

How to homeschool?

In the last year or so I seem to be the person that when a friend of a friend begins homeschooling, they point them my direction. This just happened recently. Someone I went to high school with pointed one of their friends to me, and I do not know this person at all. How do you start homeschooling? I remember when I was in those same shoes of excitement, confusion, and downright anxiety about possibly messing up.

With this most recent person I recommended a How to Homeschool Guide. This one has some really invaluable basic information. One of the most important things when deciding to homeschool is to make sure what the regulations are in your state, as each state is different. Here in our state I figured it out by going to the Division of Non Public Education.  (I'm guessing every state has one) There you will find out the requirements which may include yearly homeschool standardized testing, portfolios, and attendance policies.

It's important to recognize what type of learning style your child/children could best learn from. There are many great books that discuss this. Then there is curriculum. This alone could overwhelm the strongest homeschool parent. There is so much available now! We do at least half of our learning online which works well for A and Z, with most everything else being bordering on unschooling. Which isn't exactly what it sounds like. It doesn't mean they are not learning. For us this means they get their required "work" done in the morning and the afternoons are free for music lessons, soccer, homeschool group events, swimming, my daughter works at a barn when the weather is nice, going to work with (and helping) dad, and learning more about the things that interest them.

Homeschooling curriculum can be expensive. There are a lot of awesome products out there for every type of learner. (we LOVE trying out new things through the Old Schoolhouse Review Crew!) BUT...if someone is truly creative, and you had access to the internet, the library, museums....that it would be quite possible to homeschool for practically free. (some might disagree ;)At the very least there are many free things to supplement the curriculum you already use. For our family we prefer to have our mornings already planned out using Time4Learning. Each family is different and each child is different.  I am so thankful for so many choices to fulfill the homeschool educational goals for our family!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Homeschooling High School

Now that Z~girl is smack dab in the wonderful age group of "middle school", it has made me think more and more about what it will be like to homeschool for the "high school years". Just tonight I was talking to one of my brothers on the phone and he was teasing about me teaching her algebra. I admit, in my family it is well known that math is NOT one of the subjects that came easily for me. In fact, I almost flunked 6th grade due to math. Fortunately the A's and B's I had in all of my other classes meant that summer school was a better solution than holding me back. Despite this, I think I will do okay with teaching Z~girl math as I also took many math classes in college. If it gets to be too much though I will not be too proud to seek help.

Actually, this last year I have gotten many comments...almost assuming that when Z~girl reaches high school I will be sending her to regular high school. I know God and life can steer you a different direction but as of now I do not intend on sending her to "school" for her high school years. I'm fortunate to have friends, who are homeschool moms, that I have seen accomplish so much until their child graduates and I plan to follow in their footsteps. I'm also thankful that locally the community college offers classes to homeschoolers once the student is 16. I do not look forward to my "babies" growing up fast, but I do almost look forward to homeschooling high school! I'm not so sure though, if I look forward to helping my daughter with her SAT writing as when I took that test writing wasn't included!

I am blessed to know this particular homeschool survivor and his younger brother in real life! I first met this sweet family when we were just starting out on our homeschool journey. What struck me about this young man from the start was how comfortable he was hanging out with homeschool moms! When I was growing up I would have been bored stiff ,ok perhaps he was bored stiff, but if so he hid it well. This young man, and his brother are so remarkable in so any ways, that it encourages me to keep on going into the teen years.

I encourage other homeschool moms (or homeschool dads!) to seek out other families that have already been through it, until their child graduates. The advice will be invaluable and the encouragement you receive will help you continue on your own homeschool path. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

It's my blog, I can whine if I want to

If you do not want to read whining you may want to back right out of my blog while you can. You see, I'm cranky and in a whole lot of pain. This is going on the third month of having Plantar fasciitis. I can't begin to describe how much it hurts!! Finally today I bought this little brace that keeps your foot in a position to stretch it so it can I'm starting to walk on my tip toe with my right foot.

Needless to say I haven't been able to walk or hike. Even when the weather is chilly we walk a lot! Which is probably the reason I hurt my foot this fall. We were walking close to 20 miles a week! (on a flat surface) When I do not walk my hip and back hurts. When my hip/back AND foot hurts I get cranky and depressed. Not to mention the fact I have gained 7 pounds from the inactivity that I did not need to gain!! We have been going to the pool often but it's just not the same. 

I have decided I am going to start counting calories on spark people again and stretch this darn foot no matter how painful it is. It's really making me feel old. :(

Thankfully both kids and hubby for the most part have been very helpful and patient with me. I have gotten a lot of foot rubs! Also, it makes me appreciate even more that Z~girl is becoming so independent with her school work. She is able to do more than half on her own! A~man needs almost constant guidance but with over half of our curriculum being online I can let him do context word games, plus other learning games, with me sitting beside him with my foot up or putting ice on it. 

I feel so blessed to have such a caring family taking care of me but I just wish my foot would get better!!
Enough whining. I hope everyone (including myself) has a very wonderful week.