Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Homeschooling a child with Cochlear Implants

Our two year old, Daniel, suffered through a strain of bacterial meningitis last Feb. This has caused many delays and difficulties, but the hardest has been that he is now completely deaf. Thankfully, we were able to get him bilateral cochlear implants (from a company called Cochlear, which gave him their newest N5 which has a cool remote to go with it!). With cochlear implants his hearing is now at almost a 20, which is in the range of a normal child! Woo-hoo! However, we have a weekly speech appointment, and a session with a teacher of the deaf, to help him learn how to hear with this technology and to continue to get to age level with his language. He is catching up very quickly, but it is a lot of hard work. We don't do school yet, of course, but we do lots of singing, nursery rhymes, playing with toys and working hard on language. They recommended that Daniel go to preschool next fall, but we are going to stick with homeschooling, and embrace the challenge. With older siblings, AWANA, and our co-op we feel he will get plenty of peer language exposure.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Backyard Bird homeschool unit

I am in a co-op, and am teaching this semester a class on backyard birds. Each week we are going to do two things. The first is a basic bird watching class, on how to set up a place where you can begin to watch for birds. The second part is identifying birds common to Eastern North Carolina. You can easily do this at home, let me know if you are!
This week is the first week. The first lesson is that we need to observe birds! What color is their wings and what color is the belly? What about their beak? Noticing little details will help you identify it later. We are going to make a nature journal to record what they see at home in. I got the idea from this website . I cut printer paper in half and didn't make a cardstock cover on mine, but I may do that tomorrow if I have any. I used birdseed as glitter to decorate the cover. The bird of the week is the bluejay!

We are making a lap-page using minibooks from We will be doing what the nest/babies and gestation is, what they eat, where they live, and their song. I also am gluing a few sunflowers seeds to the page as a reminder that to attract them you need sunflower seeds-it's their favorite feeder food!

I got a picture of the bluejay from

Happy birdwatching!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Thoughts on homeschooling an adhd child

My oldest is adhd, which translates to he never stops moving! EVER! It also makes it hard to focus on his schooling. I found a few tricks over the last couple of years that makes it easier for him.
The first is a focus phrase. For him it was to take the bull by the horns. We taught him it meant to hold on for dear life and focus on the task at hand. This phrase was cool to him, because in Story of the World we had just learned about bull jumpers!

Another tip was a timer. It helped him to know he only had to work for xx minutes and then he could have a break.
Now that he is older, a list really helps him. I have to make it very specific-do 2 pages of math, study spelling words. But giving him that list and telling him work has to be done by this time or there is a consequence (no tv in the afternoon usually) works wonders on his focus!
When he was younger he did very little independent work. He hated handwriting so we did almost everything orally, or with me writing the answers except in handwriting practice. We also have used (as I remember) supplements-starting the morning with protein and caffeine seems to make a difference, and we also used flax oil.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Changes and a new direction

In November we had Brian tested for learning disabilities, and the results were both encouraging and discouraging. The doctor labeled him as developmentally delayed, and said he was borderline mentally retarded, he tests at more than a year delayed in most areas. This was a tough thing to understand and accept about our sweet Brian. However, we've been struggling with basic kindergarten skills at 6 and a half years old. The psychologist told me we should enroll him in school because I could not homeschool a special needs child. Although, she believes that his delays are unrelated to homeschooling, and his self-esteem was very high for a delayed child. In our quest for finding out how to best help him, we had him evaluated for physical, occupational and speech therapy. Physically his upper body is weak, but not needing therapy. The occupational therapist found he was delayed in visual processing and find motor skills, so he is now getting therapy for that. We are still waiting for speech results, but she believes he has auditory processing disorder. Today we took him to a developmental opthamologist, who found his vision was poor even with glasses, that he has a weak eye, and that his tracking skills are not smooth. So now he needs patch therapy every day.

All that to say, I am now a homeschool mother of four, two with special needs. I hope to update this blog more frequently with my new adventures and tips for anyone in the same boat.