Friday, December 3, 2010

What We're Doing

Maybe I'll make another blog just about this whole process.

A homeschooling blog... aka... what the heck is that lady doing?! blog (but I'm afraid it'd have to be invite only! I'm too fragile right now!).

Otherwise this might start to take over for awhile.

Hey, remember when I used to exercise?!

Except instead of watching me lose weight you'll probably be watching me gain it... I can't help it... cooking IS science.

Anyway, our curriculum...I'm going with Sonlight (yes I know that it's Christian... but it's literature & history based and we're not doing the bible study aspect... I just got the core component and am mixing in the other things I want). I liked the focus (kid loves her some history) and that the lesson plans are included. For me and my kind o'crazy perfectionism (and over the top need for documentation) I think this will help keep me in check.

We've got a science curriculum coming. I'm some what fearful of this. I just think adding experiments into my day... ugh... I don't know... is a lot to manage. Mr F said he'll handle it. But... ahem... Mr F says he'll handle a lot of things...

We're working our way through some Kumon math workbooks I got at Barnes & Noble. Once I can tell what level she's at (they've only been doing review of addition & subtraction up to 20 at the public school so far) I'll go in for an appropriate curriculum. But for now, better to be getting practice every day and slowly working up, then start out too hard and freak out in frustration and refuse to do it EVER AGAIN (Kid hates math did I mention that?). I also got her an abacus at IKEA the other day. Hello! She loves it. Last night she used it to add up all the cookies I baked for the Cookie Bazaar, and to figure out how many years until Mr F turns one hundred. So that's good. Learning should be interesting & fun. She uses that thing all the time.

I picked up some language arts workbooks (writing, spelling, reading comp stuff) just to flush out where it might be needed. And let me say this 2nd Grade spelling book... is a revelation... they were doing insane spelling words at school. This book is kind of too easy... but... again... my goal is to just start out a little BELOW (this is an anxiety disorder I'm dealing with here) and not challenge her right now... just establish a routine and what kind of work is stimulating and interesting, and THEN start slowly introducing more challenging work. Her number one trigger is frustration, so we need to keep things LOW PRESSURE and EXTREMELY POSITIVE. We need to rebuild self esteem, and feelings of self competency, and self worth. We're talking baby steps.

The good news is that you can cover a lot more material in a much shorter period of time at home than at school (believe it folks). So I will not be surprised at all if by June (should we still be doing this) she has not only caught up, but has moved beyond the schools curriculum goals.

I also found a great history program from PBS on Netflix, and she's been watching an episode a day and then giving me the synopsis. We then fact check in our big DK History of the World book (she loves that book... TONS of illustrations of beheadings!).

Until our curriculum comes and I get that sorted, she's been reading simple small chapter "Easy Reader" style books and then (and really I think this was genius) I copy the cover of the book with our scanner, and she writes out a book review on the copy. I told her it was so we could keep track of whether it was a good book or not, this helped cover both reading comprehension and a writing exercise and she was more than happy to do it.

For science, we're keeping a Weather Journal. I thought she'd like this and it would be another sneaky way to get writing in... but she's on to me... so I think this might be a weekly thing. She records the date, the weather conditions, and then draws a picture of something weather/nature related from that day. We also just found an awesome Chimp sanctuary's blog which has TONS of short videos of the chimps playing, eating, etc. I bookmarked that, it should be fun to check in and see what they're up to.

So that is that. In case you were wondering. Much less connect the dots, and word searches than school... but... I don't think that we're doing so badly for a random quickly cobbled together program.

And that doesn't even count our discussions on menstruation (fun! I enjoyed that... not), a prison's effect on property values, and why Dad working at a cupcake shop wouldn't provide a viable income for the family. Oh and coupons... SHE LOVES COUPONS... she couldn't believe that you could pay less if you had a coupon... which of course led to a whole discussion on marketing.

Other than that, I have a big spiral binder and I write down what lessons we did for each subject. We are not required to do that, but I think it will help me feel that I have actually *done something*, and could be helpful in lieu of a transcript should we end up at a private school.

(What is Baby doing during all this?... well, she spends an inordinate amount of time standing on a step ladder in the pantry lip syncing Christmas songs into a xylophone mallet... her favorite song?... Wham!'s Last Christmas)

Wishful Thinking

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Danger Zone

"You seem happier, you were pretty mad earlier."  Mrs F says to Kid.

"For a second I went past my 'Lock Up My Anger' zone."  Kid says.

"Oh, you have a 'Lock Up Your Anger' zone?"  Mrs F asks.

"Yes, I actually have another zone that includes hitting and kicking." Kid replies.

"But don't worry it's guarded with twenty thousand walls."  She adds.

"Twenty thousand walls?! That's good."  Mrs F says gratefully.

"And twenty thousand wolves."  Kid adds.

Even better.

This led to an absolutely hilarious discussion on anger management.  I told Kid that when I'm really angry walking on the treadmill helps me to feel better.  She said "So is that what you are doing when you are yelling at Dad in the basement?  Walking on the treadmill?"  Oh I had a good laugh about that.  

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Today Was Better

I appreciated all of the awesomely supportive comments.

I really do.

Some of you made me cry... in a good way.

So, thanks!

This whole time has been insanely stressful and complicated (feelings wise).

I've taken something away from her that she liked... and how much that means (rightly or not) to her is hers alone to decide.

We're talking about it.  

A lot.

I talked to the private school admissions person today.

I told her that I don't want to rush right into another school.  I thought Kid needed some downtime, and that we'd come look at the school in a couple of months.  I want her to be able to choose the school for the school's sake and not just to jump from one to the other because that is easiest.  I want her to feel (even if we're ultimately guiding the choice) that she does have some say.  I don't want her (or us) to make a decision in reaction to leaving her current school.  I want us to make a real thoughtful decision about choosing the RIGHT placement for her.  We just can't do that now.  We need some time to bounce back.  I also think taking a couple of months, and spending the time really exploring what type of learner she is, and what kind of environment she really needs, and what kind of teacher... is going to be an invaluable piece of information as we move forward.  In order to advocate for her in the best way I can, I need to be the expert on what she needs.  When it comes to schools... we're just figuring this out.  I don't want to pay $12,000 to a school that isn't going to get her where she needs to be going.  

The admissions lady said ...

"She's very lucky that you are able to take the time to do that."

And that made me feel pretty good. 

You know, especially since they are pretty interested in our money.

I'm not overreacting. 

And I'm not just reacting.

It's not easy (really it's not) but in time this is going to all be worth it.

Next Fall, we'll be able to make a much more informed, confident choice about what we're going to do for schooling.

And, heck, until then the extra sleep isn't anything to sneeze at. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Today Was A Good Day/Bad Day

Reviewed Kid's school experience, symptoms, and other stuff with psychologist.

Referred for psychiatrist and immediate medication.

Complete validation that she needed to be pulled out ASAP.

And that she is never going to thrive in a traditional school.

So that was good.

It's good to be validated.

But it's also HARD.

It's hard to hear that, even thought we know it's true, that your child will have a harder life.

That she has a harder time being happy.

That she has a harder time. Period.

And that she does indeed have "severe OCD and anxiety".

Even though I knew that.

There is still some sadness.

There is some relief too... this is something.

This is something.


And you're wrong. She can't snap out of it. She can't be like "everyone else". She is not like you were or your children (unless you are trifitmom... and then YES she is) She isn't going to change. She is going to do weird things when she is nervous and act strange... and yes wouldn't it be great if she didn't?... yes, but it would be a hell of a lot better if she didn't feel the way she does inside. And she's not going to suddenly start doing things the way all of your children do them if I just stopped babying her. P.S Not all children are resilient. In fact some children are the exact opposite of resilient. Just like some adults are. We're all different.

Just wanted to get that off my chest.

Oh, and tonight Kid decided to unleash the wrath she's been brewing.

She wants to go back to school.

Simply because I don't equal 23 kids.

And no matter what... I'm not going to.

But I am someone who recognizes that being smart and fitting in are not the same thing.

In fact, you could probably guarantee the kids that don't...

Are the smartest.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Day One

More on all of this later... but.... as of today we're homeschooling.

I just could not send her back to a woman that had not one positive thing to say about her.

So, after much debate and looking at the next 10 year investment in private school (nearly 200K for Kid alone) we decided to give free (or closer to it... I've already ordered $700 in curriculum, and signed her up for $400 worth of classes for next trimester) a shot. Even if we can just finish out 2nd grade that is a major savings to put toward another year's tuition. And we'll know for sure that we've tried everything, and paying the big bucks is worth it.

So, we're trying it.

Curriculum arrives next week.

Today... the zoo.
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