Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The last two months

       It has been two months since our new adventure into the unforeseen territories of homeschooling. The process has been fun yet exhausting. In the midst of the chaos of being a mom, a teacher, a referee, a cook, a maid, and a chauffeur, homeschooling has its challenges but has also been rewarding.

During the last two months I have learned a few things about our homeschooling:

1. Routine:
I need a routine every morning. I don't mean that I need to wake up a certain time everyday, although my children makes sure I do because they never sleep past 7 am. I need a home-schooling routine and that is that before we attempt any curriculum we say the Lord's prayer very morning and start off schooling with the calendar. This way my children know that school is starting and they are more attentive for the lessons.

2. Flexibility:
Besides being a full- time mom, teacher, and wife, I also work part time as a RN. This means that I have a different schedule every week, as my work schedule is based on a three week rotation. This also means that every week homeschooling is different. I love that I have the flexibility to set a schedule that works for us. For example, we try to do schooling at least four times a week but depending on the week it could be from Monday to Thursday or Tuesday to Friday. Flexibility just doesn't end there; I love that if there is a certain lesson that day that just doesn't jive with the kids or I for some peculiar reason we can skip it or come back to it another time. Or just skipping homeschooling for the day and going on a field trip to the park, zoo, or visiting friends because when you think about it they are still learning where ever they are.
I believe flexibility is key in homeschooling.

3. Stop Comparing:
As a mom you cannot help but compare your child. As moms, we have done it since the child was in utero. We compared how big our baby was in the womb, how much the child weighed at birth, when the child first crawled, walked, talked and so on. I know I used to be obsessed with reading those parent websites to see if my child was on par with all of his physical and social development and I would compare my child to those around me. Only nothing good ever came out of comparison. I came across a really good quote the other day and it said:
                        "Comparison is the thief of joy" Theodore Roosevelt.
Nothing is more true than that. By comparing my child I was stealing away the joy that is him; the characteristics that makes him unique and who he is. My husband and I wanted to home school to give our child a chance to be himself without being bullied and labeled because he cannot talk well or may not always act like other children. I really wanted to home school him so he would not be labeled as a bad kid, as a slow learner, or among other things. But I have come to realize that I was secretly labeling him in my mind by comparing him to other children and that is wrong. For that I ask for his forgiveness. I need to see the simple things and celebrate however minuet it may be by seeing the joy in small things.

4. Time well spent:
The most important lesson I have learned thus far is that there is nothing better than spending time with my child; in the good times and the bad. In everything I have a lot to learn, whether it is in hindsight. I only hope that I can only learn from my mistakes and never to repeat it again. But from that I learned how to be a better listener, a better mom, a better teacher, and most of all how to be patient and loving. Time is so precious and I am thankful that I am able to laugh with my child, encourage him, and to teach him the best way I can.

I may not have a certificate in teaching and may not know to silly like your aunties or how to be grammatically correct but I will learn and re-learn if it means I am up all night, because I am your mom and I know when you are too tired to learn or when you have ants in your pants and cannot focus. I know who you are because you are a part of me.

No one is going to love your child, make your child happy, make him feel nurtured and safe besides you. For that I am thankful that I live in a country that allows me to spend time with my child by teaching him the unconditional love he deserves. As this is not only for home school children but for all children who have parents who spend quality family time with them.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Feeling slacked

This week was a more slacked week. I am not sure if the beautiful hot scorching weather had anything to with our very minimal attempt this week on our school work but we definitely spent more time outside than in. However, we still did a lot of learning using more kinesthetic learning techniques and making sure that while we were having fun we were still learning.

We started our week with our usual morning routine, which I have learned to never go without. The morning routine of brushing our teeth, making our beds, getting dressed, and saying prayers, sets a pace for our day and holds the boys to be accountable to the expectations I have of them.

This weeks goal was trying to get Isaiah to understand the concept of the calendar. The first thing we do to start off our homeschooling, and before attempting any lessons, is going over the calendar and dates. We talk about the weather, the dates, and the seasons. So at the beginning of this week I also wanted to incorporate the story of creation into our lesson. I wanted Isaiah to understand the days of the week and what better way than to read about how God made everything. I read them "My Creation Bible" By Ken Ham. It is a visually pleasing kid friendly book that also rhymes, which is great for these boys. The book not only covered on the lesson of days of the week but also on sin, God, Jesus, and choice. I am not sure how much they understand but they really enjoyed the book and even asked me to read it to them again.

The kinesthetic part of this week's learning was getting the boys to help out and learn about the concept of chores and responsibility. Since the sunny weather lured us outside I decided that they needed to burn off their energy, and what better way to do that than wash the car. And this car definitely needed washing.

In addition we learned about differences. On our walk to the park we observed the different trees in our neighbourhood. Isaiah learned that certain trees have sharp prickly leaves or needles whereas other trees were more tall and had flat red coloured leaves.

We also continued with our language arts curriculum and started our first lesson on learning how to read. This curriculum is great as it incorporates the different sounds of each letter and instructs you how to move your mouth when saying the sound. This is great for Isaiah's apraxia as it will help him develop the phonological structure he needs for his speech.

The boys are not the only one learning. I too am learning a lot.

What I learned this week was that schooling does not have to be during the day from 9 am until 3pm but it can be in the evenings as well, which is great because Aaron can teach too and he has. In addition I have learned that I need to have a schedule but a flexible one. I need to plan my days and hold myself accountable as well, not just my kids. This will also help me as I gradually return to my usual work schedule and allow me to see what days requires more or less schooling.

I don't know how this will turn out but Lord have mercy on us!

Friday, September 6, 2013

2013/14 School year

The last time I posted on this blog it was on Isaiah's status with Apraxia. This time it is about Isaiah's start to homeschooling.

Initially I was quite weary of home-schooling and dreaded the thought of it. The underlying emotion I felt was fear... fearful that I would not provide and meet the expectations, mostly from myself, of being a good teacher and that I would not be able to do it whole heartedly.

I think that my expectations will never be met but I will try hard to provide and do the best I can.

18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18
As I reflect on this verse I have to remember that my love for my child is stronger than any fear and that in itself will be sufficient enough. Also I have so much support from the staff at our registered school, Fr. Richard, Presb. Jamie, and Melissa, that if I did have any problems I know that they can help me. I am very thankful for that!
We started our home-schooling as of last week working on little things throughout the week. This week we did a little everyday. Our days starts off with the morning prayer and after the morning prayer the boys sit on their little blue Ikea chairs in front of our large calendar pinned to the cork board and learn about the month, day, year, season, and the weather.
Last week we collected leaves from the park and learned about the season fall. We traced the leaves by placing it under a piece of white paper and rubbed crayons to get the imprint. I also utilised a few YouTube videos about the different seasons in a year. After watching this I asked each of them which one was their favourite; Isaiah likes winter because of the snow and Micah likes summer because of the beach.

This week we continued with our morning routine and chores, and worked on printing and learned about letters and numbers. We used the curriculum Saxon math and Handwriting Without Tears: Get Ready for School handbook. 
Isaiah has surprised me so much. He is so eager to learn and has been very productive in his activities. He enjoys writing on the chalkboard and has shown great dexterity. He is also very artistic and was able to make a wonderful picture out of the patterns blocks.

Isaiah has surpassed my expectations and I know he will excel with home-schooling. This week has confirmed that my husband and I made the right choice to have him home-schooled as he needs the extra support and one on one learning.
I look forward to this year and to be able to look back and see his growth.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Our progress...

Slow and steady wins the race....

In my last post I had mentioned that we had a diagnoses for Isaiah and had him in some private speech therapy sessions.

Initially the speech therapies were a struggle. Every time we brought him to the sessions he would throw a tantrum and when he finally settled down to do the therapy our time was up. It felt very frustrating and defeating. I am not sure if he was doing this because of his age or because of his apraxia or his inability to communicate. I am sure it is a little of both. In addition I don't think we used the right type of therapy for Isaiah and his apraxia as there was very little improvement.

As of last fall we were accepted into the public speech services at the BC Family Hearing center and began our speech therapy. From the start Isaiah was more receptive and willing to learn. We started a new program called Serious Nonsense; kind of ironic isn't it? And the therapy really does sound like nonsense blab but it works!

This program focuses on working on sounds of vowels, consonants, and initial consonant syllable.
Isaiah's speech has improved so much since starting this program. Those who interact with Isaiah on a more constant basis have seen a difference and he is imitating so much. It is still very hard for him to talk on his own though, not because he can't but because he is hesitant. You can see it on his face when he tries to say things. Especially when we are at the park with other kids or when he gets excited his speech sounds like gibberish. But I am glad he is just trying.

His speech therapy is going well but I am sad to say that it is almost done. Isaiah will be school age this coming September and his speech therapy lessons at the BC Family Resource center will be finished as they only provide services to children until they enter school. So this means that we will have to continue our speech therapy in another area. However, I will continue to work with him one on one everyday (almost, hopefully).

   So as one door closes another one opens.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The story continues...

Okay so the boys are sleeping and I can finally think! I really should be sleeping because I have an early morning with the kids and work tomorrow night.

As I ended in the previous post, we knew that Isaiah had to be assessed. We hoped that he was a late talker, like everyone told me he probably was, but deep, deep down inside in the depth of my gut there was something more.

I started researching everything I could find about speech. I made my own referral to the BC speech center and took the step of asking my doctor for a referral to a pediatrician. I couldn't just sit still and wait as people would say to me.
"Don't worry he will talk soon and when he starts he won't stop". I would wake up everyday and say okay this is the day when all of the sudden he would talk. This would be the day. But as the day went on he would still only say the same couple of words. He would be frustrated because I couldn't understand him. And I would be frustrated because I couldn't understand him and couldn't deal with his tantrums. It was exhausting, especially for him.

I cannot imagine living a life where you know what you want to say but couldn't say it. And you could see that on his face. Isaiah would try so hard to sound out the words but his mouth, his tongue just wouldn't cooperate. My poor sweet boy :(

On top of things we were not sure if his behaviour and lack of speech was just merely that or more to it. Did he have behavioural problems, is he autistic? will this be cured?

So comes the day we had our pediatrician meeting. I was really hopeful. I was hoping for a definite answer to what was going on. I guess I was being unrealistic.

Did the meeting help? Not really. Don't get me wrong the pediatrician was nice. She did a physical and asked some questions. From her point of view and her short interaction with Isaiah she said that he did not display any behavioural concerns and she didn't think he was autistic. She saw that he was able to use cues, gestures, with his hand to convey what he wanted. She said that he was just speech delayed and to wait. Really wait and see, again?! The pediatrician said that if he did not improve within a year to bring him back if he showed any signs of concern.

Again we were left with more unanswered questions and more waiting. Patience, patience, my dear.

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind." James 1:2-6

 Patience is an area I have to work on, and God had made sure I had a lot of practice. I am still working on this with much grace and trying to have a better attitude.  I have a lot to work on ;)

So as we wait for the BC speech center to get back to us we decided to have Isaiah in some private speech therapy lessons to help him with his progress. Fortunately, my husband has really good benefits at work and we were able to get a few therapy sessions while we waited. I am glad we went down this route because of his speech therapy we were able to put a diagnoses, a term to what he has!
Yay! Time to celebrate! Kind of ironic huh? to be celebrating a diagnoses.

But this meant we could learn more about this certain condition called APRAXIA. We would be able to tailor Isaiah's speech sessions towards that and have a better understanding of what he is going through. But having this diagnoses didn't make it any easier. As Isaiah's current speech therapist mentions that having this condition was 100 times more work than just being speech delayed.

This link is an Inside Edition segment on Apraxia and about getting the right diagnoses and treatment:

Here are some websites about Apraxia:

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Where to start?

I guess I can start from the beginning...

As a person one dreams of starting a family; a healthy Normal family. One that consists of children who are healthy and without any concerns or issues. You know that perfect family with two children and their dog standing in front of a well manicured house with a white picket fence.

I am almost close to that dream, except my fence is a natural wood colour and I live in a townhome.
On that note, one thing we could not foretell in our dream family was that my eldest son has Apraxia. Yes that's right APRAXIA; uh-prak-see-uh,

This was something very strange and new to us. We did not picture this in our dream family, but who does? However, my dreams did come true because I am a very blessed woman with a loving husband and two wonderful, energy handsome, energetic, determined boys who challenges me everyday.

Isaiah, our eldest boy, was born in 2008 after a very long and difficult delivery; both for him and I.

I  was in labour for a VERY, VERY long time. It felt like an eternity or close to it; it was around 30 hours of very hard labour but I am sure there are other woman out there who can beat me with their labour times.
He was an emergency C-section because his heart rate was dropping while I was pushing. Also in the delivery room the doctors  had a hard time pulling him out because his head was stuck. Besides that hard journey into this world Isaiah is a normal energetic boy except he couldn't talk.

He was and still is a very late talker. At a young age he would babble non-stop. He started as early as a couple of months old with his babbling so for sure we thought he would naturally be an early talker. But then at the age of one he could only say a couple of words. Then at age two he would say those same words and not really anymore. That was when we knew there was something more to him than just being a late talker. We would go to the park and see other kids, who were the same age, talking up a storm with their parents. What heartbreak. My heart would sink. How I hoped and prayed  that Isaiah would also be talking like them.

Another couple of month went by and he still wasn't at his age level for speaking. We knew we needed to get him assessed. There was something more to it than Isaiah being a late talker.

To be cont...