It’s February-My Month to Regroup


Sunrise on my walk

An announcement for everyone-IT’S FEBRUARY.  Do you want to know how I know?  I am melting.  The kids are revolting.  Every February.  February seems to be the month that I ask myself-can I send them to school now?  I am not sure what happens in February, but it does-every year.

I even considered stopping the blog this week.  Then I watched Julie Bogart’s periscope talk on the 55 things that she did not do while homeschooling.  If you have some time to listen to it in the background of cooking dinner, I highly recommend it.  Julie writes the curriculum for the Brave Writer program.  She has five children who are grown and attending colleges or working.  The periscope above allowed me to breath and regroup this morning.

I have to remind myself that just because my kids are not doing exactly what I want them to be doing in school does not mean that they are not learning.  In their “spare” time this week, Sims made an amazing bow (which he researched on how to make, researched the types of trees in our backyard to find the correct type of wood, experimented, failed a couple of times, and finally produced and amazing bow that shoot accurately and far-a little farther that I am comfortable with but that is beside the point); Sawyer made valentines for the neighbors and started learning how to draw trees through a book that she is reading; and Parks followed Sims’ lead and made a bow in addition to several other inventions that he is working on.  In addition to this, they still did their math and our group work and we read daily.  We are ok.

As far as the blog, the periscope talk reminded me of why I keep up with the blog.  This space is for me to document what the kids are doing.  So I will apologize now, the blog may get boring for a bit.  I may just start writing down facts for a bit.  I think I need to regroup on here and at home.  For now, we have pulled out the art supplies and are going to figure out to make it through February.

Homeschool Resources for Dyslexia-Updated

Homeschooling is a terrific option for many children with dyslexia and/or dysgraphia.  At first, you may think that it is too much to tackle.  However, you have time on your side when you homeschool!  Children with dyslexia and dysgraphia typically need to have information presented in multiple ways.  Children with dyslexia also do much better when information is presented either in a small group or one on one.  Teachers do not have the time or the resources to do these two things even when they really want to.

My son worked with a tutor for one full year two times a week while in the third grade.  After that year, I realized that I could work with him as well.  There are a ton of programs out there for children with dyslexia.  I have tried many and the following is what we have now found that works for us.

Spelling:  We started with All About Spelling and went through levels 1-4.  This program taught/reinforced the spelling rules.  The down side for us was that the information did not carry over into other writing activities.  Well, it is wonderful to get a 100% on your spelling test but if you can not spell the word in your journal or in an email, then you didn’t get it.  Thus, I moved to another spelling program called Apples and Pears.  This is an open and go curriculum.  We started with the first book and are moving through the second book.  The program appears to have no rhyme or reason initially but as the teacher, you soon realize that the words appear again and the patterns are progressed.  The best part is that the spelling carried over!  He uses the proper spelling throughout his writing.  Note-he still has a LONG way to go, but there is noted progress.

Presently, we are using Phonetic Zoo for independent spelling practice and Logic of English for group work.  Phonetic reinforces the rules.  The kids listen to the CD which dictates their words to them.  They write the words down.  They continue with the same list until they get all of the words correct on two occasions.  Logic of English begins with the original 45 sounds in the English language and then builds on the morphemes.  I enjoy this program because I can use it with multiple skill levels.  My youngest is on the lowest level which teaches basic spelling and reading.  My older two are using the highest level which teaches Latin roots along with the spelling rules and grammar rules.  They enjoy the fact they all can play a game together using the same materials.

Reading fluency and comprehension:  For reading fluency, we used Dancing Bears.  He began with the fast track AB book which went through the sounds fairly quickly.  Due to the extensive tutoring, he did well with this.  If you have a reader who is still struggling with the initial sounds, then I highly recommend you begin with book A (we are doing this with our youngest and it is working well).  Again, I find the carry over phenomenal.  Reading fluency in other book continues to improve.  Reading aloud is still a struggle and most books that my son can read aloud are not necessarily what he wants to read.  This is why we use Learning Ally!  Learning Ally is an online program for people who are blind and/or have a reading disability.  Learning Ally has real people record books as they read them aloud.  Note that I added real people.  The kindle and apple programs can read aloud but the voice is automated and lacks inflection.  Real people make the stories come alive, use the proper pausing, and use the proper inflection.  Learning Ally allows Sims to read books that are at his comprehension level, which is much higher than his fluency level.

Writing:  I do not use a specific curriculum for writing.  I have him journal and write nature studies that I do not edit.  These are for him just to simply practice writing.  Then when he does have a writing assignment, we do several things.  Some times he will make notes and then dictate the paragraph or paper to me to write.  Other times, he makes his notes, forms an outline, and then writes on wide ruled paper and skipping a line.  We use form drawings (a Waldorf activity) and metal insets (a Montessori activity) to work on sizing, fluid motion, pressure and letter formation.  I use the IEW program as my teaching method for how to write a paper.  We do not do the program, but it is my main go to for lessons on note taking and paper writing.  (I also recommend using gel pens or mechanical pencils.)

Math:  Luckily for Sims, math comes easy.  He gets it and he understands how to apply it.  We used Teaching Textbooks in the past.  Now we are using Math-U-See.  All three of my kids enjoy it.  Now the difficult part isn’t doing the calculations.  It is the writing!  In the years past, he has used two methods to keep the numbers in line.  One trick is to use large graph paper (meaning the squares are large).  This is tough to find, but when I do, I stock up!  The other trick we us is to turn a wide ruled notebook sideways.  This allows you to place the numbers in the same column.

Note taking/Vocabulary: We use two methods for note taking and vocabulary.  One method is using notecards.  Some people love notecards.  Others do not.  They are simple.  He can put a picture on one side and a word on the other or a definition.  There are many options for using notecards.  The second method is to draw a T on a sheet of lined paper with the top of the T going across the top of the page and the perpendicular line about three inches from the left hand side of the page.  Then either dates or vocabulary words or a main topic can go in the left column.  On the right, corresponding definitions, information or notes are written.  Adding color is a terrific option.  Highlighters or using different colored pens are options.

We also do a lot outside.  Thus, we take our learning everywhere.  We listen to audiobooks in the car.  We do tons of nature study, visit museums, visit historical sites and learn from the world.  As I stated in an earlier post, we know that he has dyslexia and dysgraphia but it no longer seems to be a learning disability while he is learning at home.  Thus, the stress is gone!

A Day in the Life-Friday

We made it through the week!

6:30 I woke up and walked with my friend.  While I was walking, my hubby took Sawyer to the dentist.


Sunrise on my walk

8:15 I came home and made breakfast.  When I walked in the door, Parks was on the computer watching minecraft videos.  Ugh.  This is a constant battle.  I asked him to turn off the computer and he went into complete meltdown mode.  Unfortunately, I then followed suit.  I brought everyone together in the kitchen.  We had a long chat about respecting each other’s words and working together as a team. Fun times!

9:00 Clean up time headed outside.

9:30 Logic of English- quiz of morphemes and spelling words.

10:  Sims worked on his science lab after a mini meltdown (he thought that he had finished all of his work for the week so he was pretty bummed when he found out that he still had a lab to do).  Meanwhile, Parks and Sawyer worked on math.

10:30  Sims cooked up a snack while Sawyer had a meltdown about math.  (Do you see a theme to this day?)  Parks was in his room picking up.

11:00 I headed to get a shower while Sawyer took a break from math and Sims vacuumed up the sunroom.

11:30 Sawyer and I regrouped and worked on her paragraph reviewing the book that she read this week.

12:00 We all ate lunch.  I paid bills and the kids got ready for class.

12:40  We headed to Latta Plantation for the older two kids to go to their Environthon class.  Once we got there, Parks was invited to go to a friend’s house during the class.  This gave me the opportunity to run two errands during the class!


3:00 We arrived home in time for Sims to get a snack and change before gymnastics.  After a snack, Sims and I headed to gymnastics.  While I was out, Sawyer cleaned the birdcage and Parks played.

4:30 I arrived back home.  Started fixing dinner.  Then Parks and I went to go clean his fish tank out.  Unfortunately, Bubbles passed away sometime today.  Parks was horribly upset and sad about losing Bubbles.  He received Bubbles for Christmas in 2014.  We think that some of the new decorations that Parks purchased with this Christmas money from this year may have been the reason that he died.  When we pulled out the decorations, they had a strong chemical odor to them.  We washed them prior to putting them into the tank, so I am not sure what happened.  No matter, we had a very sad Parks.  He put Bubbles into a box and buried him outside in the yard.

5ish We watched The Ellen Show in hopes to bring a smile to Parks’ face.  It was a rainy day so we just snuggled up on the couch and vegged out!  We really don’t do this often but some days, it is needed.

It is about 6:30 now.  Hopefully, we will eat some dinner and have a low key evening.  We had planned on going to see a band tonight, but I am not sure about that now.  I hope everyone has a terrific weekend, and thank you for joining us this week.




A Day in the Life-Thursday

I am finding our week slightly boring this year!  LOL!  I guess we have finally found a rhythm!  (I wrote this around 2 or 3 when I was catching up on emails.  I think that I spoke too soon.  The afternoon was a bit nuts.)

6:30 I woke and headed to walk with my friend.

8:20 I came home to find the kids doing their chores and school work.  Sawyer did her spelling.  Sims did his math.  They all had eaten breakfast and finished their chores.  While I cooked and ate breakfast, I sat ad listened to them as they played legos.  They have very intricate stories with their lego characters and buildings.


Lego World

9:05  Everyone cleaned up their area.  Today was vacuuming day.

9:25-9:45 Logic of English together

9:45 Sims read aloud while Sawyer and Parks did math.

10:15 Parks decided to cook macaroni and cheese (no idea where this idea came from but suddenly, everyone was hungry).  Sims helped Parks as needed while I jumped in the shower.  Sawyer was still working on math.

11:30 All three kids rode horses today.  It was a good day at the barn.  Parks and “his” horse had a terrific connection.  Sawyer cantered all around with only a kiss, kiss sound which thrilled her (the horse that she rides can be a bit ornery requiring a lot more than a sound to move-let alone, canter).  Sims finally trotted again and ventured into some of the obstacles.  He is starting to get back to his normal self with the horses since his fall.

1:30 We arrived back home, and everyone ate some lunch.

2:00 Everyone had some “quiet” time.  I journaled and went through some emails.  The kids played in their rooms.  Sawyer invented doll furniture with boxes.

By 3:00 everyone was out of their rooms and Parks was doing everything that he could to get some attention (aka-drive everyone around him nuts!).  So we convinced him to go outside.  Sims laid down on the couch (he is fighting a cold).  Sawyer played with her dolls.


4:00 We all sat and counted coins from the coin jar.  Mindless activity.  They were going stir crazy.


5:00 We all sat and watched The Ellen Show-well, sat is far from the truth.  Parks was still crazy hyped up.  He and Sawyer went out and jumped on the trampoline during commercials.  Of course-during the last commercial break, they collided.  Sawyer chipped her teeth and now we have a dentist appointment in the morning.  Yeah!

6:30  Everyone ate dinner.  It was a fend for yourself dinner night due to the drama of the tooth.

I am finishing this post up early.  I am not sure what the night will hold, but I am hoping we can calm Parks down and get him to bed early.  :)