Monday, December 13, 2010

Shaking it Up

Now that I have several months experience under my proverbial belt, I am looking to shake a few things up. We're going to give the Time4Learning folks a try for some supplimental for Gabe. He is WAY more attracted to PC games than listening to mom drone on about something.

Now, I do have to say I absolutely love the Verticy Phonics program, but I am concerned that the pace and sheer amount of subject material I'm trying to teach each evening is from the 'whole package' is too much. We are currently a week behind with plans to double all lessons during my vacation for Christmas. I feel bad that my little guy won't have a break, but then, neither am I. It is harder some days than others, and also, my son is Autistic, and we have our own difficulties.

Look for that review in a month or so.

Monday, November 22, 2010


This article won't be a happy go-lucky one, this one is something from the heart and the fears in the dark.

Sometimes I wish I was not a single-parent. It's hard feeling the minority in any group, and when you're on several homeschool lists and know you are the minority, it is even harder. I see the playgroups and all the wonderful things that go on during the week, but I cannot participate in these things. I have to be at work.

Grandma, who watches my son during the day, is finally acclimating to the area and is now more willing to take Gabe places but he is still a very lonely boy. His loneliness hurts me.

I feel like an island, I wish I had friends who were doing the same as I. Other single-parents who are homeschooling and making ends meet. Maybe we could then get together, on the weekends, when we are able. Our playdates built around work and school schedules. Or, even a nice local homeschool mom who is deeply blessed to be able to stay with her children would let Grandma and Gabe come hang out with them, our children all being friends.

Maybe a pipe-dream...

Sometimes... I ask myself did I make the right choice. He is doing so much better than he was. I just... I question myself I suppose. Sometimes...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

First Test Pack and Daily Workbook Plug

We finally completed 20 lessons in ALL subjects.

We had to restart Phonics on a different level because Gabe was having so much trouble. I would have to spend hours going over sounds and working with him until he could achieve any sort of mastery. Prior to our switch in levels, 2.5 hrs was pretty standard just to get through what should be a 50 minute lessons. Now, in the lower level of Phonics, he is achieving the lesson in 50 minutes time and doing so much better. He is also focusing his pronunciation.

I now have a fair bit of scanning to do.

However, it feels good to have all lessons on track starting Monday with Lesson 21.

Now, a little plug. I went to the Atlanta education store, The SchoolBox, and came across these work books with TRADITIONAL writing for manuscript and cursive. I'm sorry, but I hate contemporary penmanship. Also, Gabe is not writing fluidly. Therefore, we are going back to basics and retraining his hand memory for manuscript. Next year, we will start on cursive. He will be a little behind cursive writing, but I think we'll catch up over the summer.

The workbooks we are using can be found at Evan-Moor. We are using Daily Practice Traditional Manuscript and Daily Practice Traditional Cursive. Because traditional penmanship is so hard to find, I already purchased the cursive. Nana, even with arthritis, has beautiful penmanship in the traditional method. I think she'll be great to help guide Gabe on his writing practice.

Friday, October 22, 2010

One Month of Single Parenting and Homeschooling - Thoughts

One month has flown by for us. I haven't had much time to update the blog but I wanted to share with everyone what one month can do to change your world when you homeschool. Especially when in that same month I become the defacto lead (and only) application developer for a multi-million dollar project at work. No pressure right? I'm only responsible for my son's education and carry the burdens of many at work.

Time Management became the motto of the month as I struggled with keeping up for my son and his challenges, and then trying to not work too late as well. Since I worked 8-5pm, our school usually starts around 5:30-6pm and goes until 10-11pm at night. Any time my work schedule messed up, led to us trying to shuffle school, and during the day, Nana would work to make sure vocab and concepts were worked on to ease the load of the night.

As I mentioned last month in our initial posting, we're using Verticy for our homeschooling curriculum. I do not think I could do homeschooling without this curriculum. I work on average 50 hrs a week, the joys of being salaried, and I simply do not have the time to plan lessons. I don't even have time to prep for the ones we have but these learning manuals from them have made homeschooling possible for my family. I am mother and father in our little house, the primary breadwinner and teacher. I was busy to begin with. At some point, I have to add Saturday classes for myself at college...

That also brings me to my number one answer when someone asks me how do I homeschool and maintain a stressful and challenging career... Sacrifice. I sacrifice everyday to give my son the very best in life. It is not easy. It is hard. But the rewards are worth it. To see my son improving by leaps and bounds just surprises me every day. This last month has shown me great sacrifice and great reward, and I think everyone should be homeschooling their children. Leave collegiate subjects for college days like they were during Revolutionary times, where our greatest heroes and changers of this world were home-educated. That's right, home-educated.

Anyways, I've lingered too much today on this blog post, we have Lesson 20 testing to finish still. :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Being Tested - My Son Decides Not To Listen

It is hard when you are dealing with a child who does not want to listen. I think everyone has been there. I'm also sure it is hard on teachers and others as well. As a homeschooling parent, I've found that line terribly blurred but it has given me into some new insight on why my son had fallen behind in the public education system.

Knowing that he has some special limitations, he apparently has used this to try to circumvent doing his work.

At first, I thought he really couldn't do it. We were working on math, but he loves math and he always does it so well. This was the first time he dug in his heels and started answering everything wrong. I couldn't understand it. Did I explain it wrong? I asked myself so many questions. Was it the autism affecting him? But this was a first... and we are still in our first week of homeschooling.

We struggled through and went to another lesson. And then another. A snail's pace marked our former breeze.

Is this something his public school teachers went through? Or was I inadequate to be doing this? My confidence was getting shaky, and then he did an obvious and glaring 'mistake'. No, he's not THAT foolish I said to myself.

He was dragging the lesson on because he knew that in public at a certain point they would stop. But I'm not public, and I'm not going to let him stop. After I explained that he would lose his privileges tomorrow if he did not start doing what he was supposed to in our home school class and that I was not going to let him skip the lesson, he suddenly perked up and started doing what he was suppose to do.

Sneaky. Testy! And... how very smart of him. T_T

I think I passed his test tonight.

Crossposted to Kid Cultivators
(we just joined them, they look so awesome!)

First Week!

We've been busy this first week. Although, I need to help my grandmother work on her self-introductions. I'll tell you why in just a moment.

Anyways, I've already seen an improvement with Gabe on his schooling. He seems to be retaining better and has become more descriptive of the things he does. We've had fun this first week of home schooling and he has admitted that he likes his home school much, much more than regular school .

He also went on his home school excursion this week to the Atlanta History Museum. He did a great job on describing what he did and learned to me that evening. They did a lot of tours, classes, and the whatnot. The only thing that disappointed me was that no one really reached out to them. Maybe it is simply my nature, but any group trip I've been on that has contained strangers, I have always tried to be welcoming and say hi and help along. It could be my grandmother is too shy. I don't know, I wish I had been there and not at work. I know I am much more outgoing, so that could be an issue for her to conquer. Gabe was sad a little that he didn't make new friends, but he loved the adventure.

Botanical Gardens are tomorrow. Maybe they'll make new friends then.

However, in terms of his standard subjects, he's doing great and I'm very excited on his progress. I do need to find a 'national level' test to administer to him before the year is out. Ah well. One day at a time.

Friday, September 10, 2010

On Homesteading and Elitism

There is a rather diverse bunch of folks and such out there who home school. However, what really got to me the other day was hearing from another single parent. I think she was just looking for someone to do for her, I'm not sure, but the moment the A-word (that's Autism) came out of my mouth --- everything changed.

Suddenly, my son was unsuitable and that the children would not get along.

She never bothered to ask me what high-functioning meant. I can promise you that my son's technical skills will probably make most children weep. His mathematics are spot on. It is only his language skills that are lacking and that is in composition.

I think that is what hurt me the most because SHE pursued me to be her 'friend' and then when we talk, my son's little quirk is this elephant in the room.

Maybe we are made of kinder stuff in this household, but I'm sure we cannot be alone when we are open to anyone of any race, religion, creed, and ability.

Sigh... she even made it sound like I didn't belong on the mailing list I am on. I want to cuss her out, post her email, and do all sorts of bad things, but that is not in me. I won't even give her name except in this anonymous rant of sorts.

I wonder if this is a normal occurrence?

Parents have a right to choose association, but you are not helping me by pretending you don't mind but insist that the children won't get along. You're a bigot then. In fact, I'll be more inclined to think ill of you for being a liar as well. Be honest if you do not like the ways another family has and just say it. "I do not feel we should continue because I don't like/agree/am prejudiced ... insert whatever."

Don't be all wishy-washy acting. Grow a spine at least if you are going to be prejudiced and bigoted. I'll have more respect if you are strong in your beliefs than if you are washy.

Anyways, anyone else out there have this happen to them? Doesn't have to be autism, could be religion, race, etc.