Monday, March 28, 2011

Homeschooling with Auditory Processing Disorder

We suspect that our six year old, Brian has auditory processing disorder. This means he cannot hear and process information easily. Our speech therapist noticed this, because she does what is called speech babble with Daniel to work on his language. She'll say bee bop bay (or a million other combinations) and Daniel has to repeat it. When Brian sits with us to help Daniel, she'll ask him to repeat the babble first to help Daniel understand what to do. He cannot repeat it. So our speech therapist recommended Earobics. This is just a simple game that builds the child's auditory processing skills. Brian's favorite game is a drummer that plays his drum and you have to count the number of beats and then repeat it. Right now we are focusing on his hearing and vision before we stress the academics. If he can't hear or see well, how can he learn?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Is it better to homeschool a special needs child?


Of course I do believe in homeschooling all of my children, but having 2 special needs children now are presenting a unique challenge. With these challenges come the question, wouldn't school be better for them? And believe me, I have been asking that. Maybe if my 6 year old had been in kindergarten last year he would have done better, or maybe they would have caught his problems earlier. And how can I possibly find the time to do all the therapies at home for him and his baby brother. Wouldn't a public school teacher be better equipped to handle all of this?

To give you a better idea of what "all of this is" I'll share my chart, it's not quite complete yet. When I look at it, I know I won't be perfect at getting all of this done, but how would a public school teacher be able to accomplish three hours of work with Brian a day not during regular school time? And if I had to do it when he got off of the bus at 4:00 what kind of life would he have? Plus, no school system offers vision therapy like Brian needs. It's not universally accepted yet, so they wouldn't do any of the other activities with him. He would be treated for visual processing delays, without the correction of mechanical difficulties that will always be a problem for him. So tell me, why is public school better than personal tutoring with someone who loves him and wants what is best for him? This is only my first of many reasons why I believe homeschooling is best for a special needs child!

Brian (6)

Daniel (2)

Patch right eye for 3 hours 4 days a week and left eye 2 days a week for 3 hours (not during regular learning time) while doing fine motor activities

Patch eye 2 hours a day

15 minutes of handwriting

Read a book

Wheel barrel walking, arm exercises, upper body exercises

Sing songs

Auditory practice (on computer 15-30 minutes

Stringing beads, puzzles,

Brain training (crossing the midline)

Jumping, stairs, rotating

A variety of eye exercises after patching

Speech babble, “wh” questions, story sequencing

Oral motor strengthening

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Backyard Bird, weeks 3-9?

I haven't remembered to post weekly for our bird class, but we've been doing simple projects and learning lots! We played a memory game using soft birds I had that chirped like a real bird. We practiced identifying birds by sounds. We did boys vs. girls on the various birds, then questions about what we've learned so far. The three best projects though were:

Peanut butter bird feeders on pine cones! These were really easy, very messy and lots of fun! We talked about how bird feeders should be visible, but not in a high traffic area and should be near bushes or trees to give the birds a safe area.

Next was bird house gourds. The kids were really creative with their painting and designing. This time I had the kids run around in the yard and pretend they were birds looking for a place to live. Then we talked about why each choice was good or bad. The worst was several boys who wanted nests at the top of the playground slide!

The best thing we did though, was dissecting owl pellets! By class vote the last bird they wanted to learn was an owl. Owl pellets are what owls vomit after
an small animal-birds, rodents, moles and voles. It is the skeleton and fur of these animals. The kids really enjoyed it, and were only slightly grossed out! We found lots of cool bones, including whole skulls! This was a great class to teach, and I hope you take the time to learn
more about the birds our wonderful Creator made for us to enjoy!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How do you get it all done? Part 2

So yesterday I shared about how Jesus Christ always took time for his followers and gave his all. And that fruitful labor is what we are called for. But a friend pointed out to me that homeschooling is the equivalent of a full time job. Her point was that the children should be pitching in to help with household chores to allow you to "work" your full time job. But as mom's do we treat our day as if we did have a job? I've been seeing this on facebook lately

"So you ask...Do I work? Uh yes, I work 24 hours a day. Why? Because I am a Mother. I am an alarm clock, a cook, a maid, a teacher, a nanny, a nurse, an EMT, a handyman, a security officer, a photographer, a counselor, a referee, a chauffeur, an ATM, a jungle gym & a comforter. I don't get holidays, sick pay or days off. I work through the DAY & NIGHT. I am on call at ALL hours. Post if you are a proud mother...

Yes this is true, it makes us want to applaud mothers. But I've been thinking about Earl. When he has work the next day, he goes to bed at a sensible hour, sets his alarm, gets up and gets ready for the day, packs his lunch, and goes to work. He gets a lunch break, but not a nap, he has to accomplish certain tasks whether or not he is tired. His work has to meet a certain standard or he doesn't have a job. There are times when he is on call, and has to work extra hours without a choice. How much different is being a mom? What if we looked at our day like a career instead? We can be a CEO and delegate to our children, we can ASK our spouses for help if we need it or if affordable we can hire help. But what if we actually set our alarms, got up before our children and were ready for our "job." I disagree with this quote, in the sense that we do get breaks and we never work day and night. There are times when we do but then just like in a real job we can have a day of rest to catch up.

For more ideas on running your house on a schedule, check out this blog. She mimicked her husbands work routines in her home.

Jesus took time to rest, and so should we. But just like our husbands, it needs to be after the work is done.

Monday, March 21, 2011

How do you get it all done?

I have had several conversations with people recently about "those" people. You know who I'm talking about-the women with many children, homeschools perfectly, has a clean house, cooks healthy meals, looks great and is involved in many church and outside activities. Someone even accused me of being that-hahahaha!!! Not in a million years. We all think we know at least one of those women. But in my experience it is a mask. If you get to know them you will find out that they don't have it as together as we think. Everyone struggles with getting it all done. But I want to consider two important things.

The first is our teacher, Jesus Christ. He took time to eat, sleep and care for himself, but he never put anyone off for a rest. When he met the woman at the well, he had just sat down for a break. He could have ignored the woman, but he took the time to share the truth with her. My second example is the storm. Jesus was so tired that he slept through a storm! But when they got to the other side of the water, people were waiting for him. Instead of saying, "look this has been a long day, come back later" he started teaching! A friend shared this with me this week, and it really has been convicting. How often could I get more done if I didn't take so much "me" time or breaks. If in an afternoon I can read a dime novel, how much of the daily jobs could I get done? I'm not saying we shouldn't take a break, but we should be devoted to fruitful labor. (Philippians 1:22-go look it up!). My challenge to myself this month will be to take less breaks to get what I supposed to done, but also not look at others around me and compare.

I will talk more about my second point tomorrow-even though we may not get it all done, homeschooling is better!

Friday, March 18, 2011

To Sign or Not to Sign

With a deaf child that has cochlear implants (especially one who got them less than three months after becoming deaf) there are several schools of thought about teaching them sign language. Since I love to talk to EVERYONE for opinions, and when I can't talk in person I Google lots. I have been able to boil these opinions down to two major groups.

Some people believe that even with the implants, a child will have a language gap or delay and sign language will fill in the gap. They also believe it will help them when the deaf child is in a crowd or a noisy area to "hear" what is going on-like a college lecture hall or even church. Finally, they believe that for the times he is not wearing his implants, like baths, at the beach or when he is just being a brat we can still communicate with him. My problem with this belief is one-I am not fluent in sign language and don't have time with h
omeschooling and therapies to take a college class and learn it right now. Also, we were in a noisy playground the other day and I said "Daniel" and he came running. And with things like FM systems (special microphones that amplify a speaker) Daniel will be able to hear the speaker. But I can see the benefit for "deaf time."

The other side is the audio/verbal therapy. They believe (and this includes Daniel's speech therapist) that sign language will be easier because the children don't have to work to hear and it is easier to sign more than learn to hear it and say it. This
could potentially cause the child to choose sign language over listening and speaking and it is not what we want for Daniel. Our therapist frequently says, when Daniel is running away from me at the beach, is he going to turn and look so you can sign to him? My problem is I like the idea of sign language. I have seen how learning little bits have helped us make Daniel's life easier the past year. So I've been struggling with which method I am going to follow.

Yesterday, I met a mom whose brother in law is deaf, so she has taught her children sign language and they use it in their daily life. She said she started learning little things, and quickly the little things turned into sentences. Here is my AHA moment! Instead of stressing about a philosophy we will continue doing little things that make our life easier. And if an opportunity comes along for us to learn more sign language without add
ing stress, we will take it. But speech will still be our top priority. I will leave you with my new favorite sign. STOP!