As most schools around the country are beginning their summer break, we are getting ready to kick off our new school year. We’ve been on “spring break” since early April and this is officially our longest time ever out of school with the single exception being when Luci was born! We are all going a little stir crazy and I think getting back into our routine will be helpful! I’ve been up to my neck in school books all week and spent the last day or two refining (or pre-refining since I know that any schedule I make will ultimately need tweaking a number of times!) my schedule. It’s been a bit more complicated this year knowing that I have to spread myself between three students now. Thankfully, Luci’s schooling is not yet very demanding and Gavin is becoming increasingly more independent. I *think* I can link my schedule here (click) and will give it a try. Hopefully it will work as a downloadable file. We are trying something a little different with our schedule. Last year we were trying to get school going while Brian was home from work in the mornings. He was in and out of the room, watching TV or surfing the computer. ALL of which were distractions for the kids. So, we are modifying our schedule a bit so that the kids can spend the morning with their daddy watching Mythbusters on Discovery (can we call that Science?) or even doing yard work. And then after an early lunch we will get started with school. If it doesn’t work out we can always revise it.
We are all really looking forward to our year. Gavin will be studying the Eastern Hemisphere. Part of his curriculum includes a study called Eastern Hemisphere Explorer. Focusing on one country at a time he will do some reading/research and learn various things about the culture, history and geography. Each country includes a “choose your adventure” activity and those look like so much fun!! It is tempting (and I just might) to do it right along with him!! He will be studying Biology this year using NOEO Science. So far I really like what I see with this curriculum. It combines the best of what we liked about Sonlight Science (Lots of resources to read from) and what we liked about Real Science 4 Kids (emphasis on scientific method and more focused experiments). I’m thinking this is going to be a great science year!! His elective this year is Typing. I had him do the assessment last week and he pecked his way through 7 words per minute (meanwhile I scored in at 80 wpm, not that I’m bragging or anything, ha ha!). Hopefully improving his typing skills will help him improve his attitude toward writing this year.
Goals for Gavin:
work on writing skills
improve neatness and pride in work
reduce careless mistakes in math
start record keeping and issue grades this year (just for Gavin)
Ben is doing the first year of a two year Introduction to World History. His core has lots of great books covering ancient Egypt, Rome, Greece, Europe, Africa, India and China. He has a great selection of readers this year (hopefully enough to keep him occupied--last year we had to spend the last 3 months of school filling in with library books--not that that’s a bad thing of course!). He is going to be studying Astronomy -- that was his choice! We chose to use Apologia Elementary Science with Ben because the simple (but beautiful and well written) text is less distracting for him than some of the Usborne books used by other programs like Sonlight and NOEO. He is very excited about Astronomy and hopefully we will get lots of good nights for viewing the stars and planets! I am planning to do a little sign language with him and he has a few ‘critical thinking’ programs for the computer to take care of electives.
Goals for Ben:
work on paying attention
write in complete sentences
Luci is starting her Pre-K year and will be doing Sonlight’s Explore God’s World. Ben did this program two years ago and I am looking forward to reading these great books again. I am also starting her in some “Early bird” math from Singapore and a “Ready to Read” program that will gently introduce her to letters and sounds. I plan to take it slowly with her since we are starting a little on the early side. She gives all indications that she is definitely ready, but I don’t want to push her too hard so we may stretch this out over 18 months to two years--but I’m just playing it by ear!
Goals for Luci:
JUST HAVE FUN!!
Since my last regular blog entry we’ve had some changes in Ben’s situation. Our worst fear with the Strattera was that he would be affected by suicidal thoughts and that fear became a reality a few weeks ago. We immediately stopped taking all medications, which wasn’t a great loss anyway since the Strattera did not seem to help his symptoms too much. Certainly not enough to justify keeping him on the medication. His pediatrician referred us to a psychiatrist and said that he was outside her scope of experience now. In hindsight, we probably shouldn’t have been dealing with our pediatrician throughout all of this anyway. After going through a goat-roping we finally found a doctor through which we could access our insurance benefits even though we have to drive two hours to see him. That’s another story. We met with the therapist, who was extremely helpful, informative, and genuinely nice. We are scheduled to see the psychiatrist on June 26 and in the meantime have taken care of some medical tests to rule out other problems that could be contributing factors. Currently, Ben is unmedicated. Surprisingly, some days are not too bad. He had worse days on Straterra. He is still impulsive, says/does inappropriate things, and can become aggressive pretty quick. But all in all he’s been fairly even tempered--generally having one REALLY bad day followed by two or three pretty good ones. I am not sure how his attention span will be next week when we get school started. But I am not opposed to skipping a few things, like handwriting, for a little while until we can determine the best way to help him focus. I’ve ordered him some supplements, Omega Brite, that I’ve read a great deal about (and for which I have had one recommendation after another). I’d like to have him on these for a few weeks before we see the psychiatrist so that we can let him know how (if) they are working. Please continue to keep Ben in your prayers. I desperately want us to make the best decisions for him and his future.
UPDATE: schedule is linked as a PDF File now and should work