Friday, February 18, 2011

Eye Patching

We have to patch both Brian and Daniel for vision problems. Daniel has a nerve palsy in one eye, which means that the nerve that controls his eye muscles, the dilation of the pupil and the eyelid was damaged in his stroke. We patch the good eye to encourage him to use the damaged eye in the hope that the brain will re-engage that nerve. Brian has a weak and a strong eye, and they don't track well together. He does not have a wandering eye, but he could. We went to a developmental eye doctor for Brian who checks for visual problems that a regular optometrist wouldn't see.

Both doctors recommended that while patching, they should be doing close visual activities (although Daniel's doctor said it's not as important since most toddler activities are close work). Brian is supposed to be patched on both eyes for at least an hour each, and Daniel on one eye for two hours. We have found many fun things for Brian to do. One easy way is video games! Playing a video game is an easy way to distract him. Another is coloring a picture or doing a craft. Looking at a book is another way to accomplish our goal. The Lite Brite was suggested as a good project, but we haven't found one yet. We can do his eye patching during school time, but I don't want to make school even harder for him. And he does not like patching, so having fun activities makes it easier.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

One year ago yesterday

One year ago Daniel got a stomach bug and was violently throwing up. We took him to the doctor because I thought he wasn't responding well and they gave him a shot to stop the vomiting and said to hydrate him as much as possible. That was at lunch time, and he came home and slept for over four hours. He was so tired and weak he couldn't even lift up his head to get a drink. Concerned about him, I decided to let him sleep in the pack and play in our bedroom so I could better hear and help him through the night. At some point in the night I heard him moaning in his sleep, but I left him alone. After I got up for the day, he was still moaning strangely and I decided it was time for him to get up. I walked over and greeted him like normal and he didn't respond. I called his name loudly and he still didn't respond. Then I picked him up and he screamed. I laid him on the bed and he stopped screaming and looked at me, he had a high fever and one eye wouldn't open. I thought he was severely dehydrated and called the doctor. She told me to bring him right in. Thinking he was so dehydrated we would end up at the ER, I dropped the kids off at a neighbors house. When I got to the doctor they raced him back to a room, and the doctor said he had to go to the ER, and by ambulance. On the way to the ER, sitting in the back of the ambulance I remember thinking they are using sirens. I had just read 50 things your "EMT and ER Doctor want you to know" in Readers Digest, and two things that stuck out to me during this ordeal is we don't always use sirens, only in an emergency and just because you go to the ER in an ambulance doesn't mean you will see the doctor quicker. When we got into the hospital we immediately saw the doctor. After a few tests, they told me he was being airlifted to Pitt Memorial Hospital to go to the Pediatic ICU. My mom had joined me by this point, and we drove as quickly as we could to Greenville, and when we got there the doctor was prepping him for a MRI. They later had to do a blood transfusion so he could have a spinal tap and determined that he had bacterial meningitis. He had streptoccocal pneumonia a rarer strain, that is not vaccinated against. It actually was meningoencephalitis, because it had invaded throughout his brain. We were not sure he was going to make it. It was two days before I could even hold him, and he was unresponsive still. We spent 34 days in the hospital with a long time in rehab. There are so many things I could say about this, so any things that have happened in this year and in our lives that have changed because of this day. We now have a deaf child, a child with a traumatic brain injury, who will probably always suffer from problems because of it. But, we have our child. And we love him. And we thank God daily for all of our children because you never know what tomorrow might hold.

Backyard Bird, week 3

We had a week off in our class for a Valentine's Party, so this week was our third week. We finished our page on bluejays, and then went outside to make birdfeeders! I found huge pinecones, which we painted with peanut butter and then rolled into birdseed for a quick and inexpensive feeder. We also talked about where birdfeeders should be located. Not in a high traffic area, not where they are near cats or other predators, and should be near a bush or a tree so they can quickly fly to safety.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Motivation is a big part of homeschooling in our family. For a child in public school, peer pressure, grades and their parents reaction is a big motivator. But in our homeschool there is neither motivator. I want my children to learn the material, so an 80% is not acceptable to me, they have to correct everything until it is all done perfectly. So we have had to look for other motivators, and we have used several methods successfully, I think each one is good for different periods in our lives.

The easiest motivator I used was a piece of construction paper with 20 circles making a trail. The trail leads to something exciting, like a field trip the child has been dying to go on. Every good day of school (no bad attitudes, and hard work) they get to fill in a circle. When the path is complete we go on the field trip! This is a picture of our current chart, with a picture of a playground at the end, which is where Brian, our six year old picked!

Another method we have used is based from thinking outside the box homeschoolers. We made a big poster to hang with four areas. Our school was a spy school with a secret mission for top secret clearance spies. Each subject done well raised our oldest's security clearance, and the secret mission was a fun treat or activity. Also on the chart I put a "well done" area for each child so that they could hang the best sheet of the day up. For my preschoolers we did a red, yellow and green light to keep them motivated. A green light at the end of the day merited a special treat.

I think I've mentioned this earlier, but now we use a natural consequence for our nine year old adhd child. If his work is done before lunch he gets to watch an hour of tv in the afternoon or play a WII Game. If it's not done he doesn't. Since we have started this he gets his work done without fail!

How do you motivate your homeschoolers?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Backyard Bird, week 2

Last week I had to much work planned, so we were going to finish this week, but I was running late and missed part of the class. So instead, the kids colored a picture of their favorite bird, and then they each described it like we learned last week. (Paying special attention to the back, breast legs and beak colors.) The kids did amazing, and really had good details in their pictures, we had a kingfisher, a killdeer, a cardinal and a "brown bird!" The blessing of the day was that a mom covered for me and randomly decided to have them draw the pictures. I got there as they finished and we were able to play the guessing game with them. What excited me about this? How great the pictures were! I wish I had a copy of some of the pictures-these kids have talent!