Reading: When to Stay and When to Go

As I teach my son to read I have noticed his speech delay holding him back from going on to the next lesson. In our case it is the next page of our phonics book. We would spend up to two weeks on a single lesson because I wanted him to pronounce the words perfectly. I was doing this thinking that it would help with his speech. The only thing I got at home was a frustrated reader and self defeat in my little guy because he could not say the word.

Then I had another “well duh,” moment. Of course he is not going to read perfectly because of his speech delay. So I decided that if he got the majority of the page read then we will go on. As we went faster with the reading lessons he became more confident and started to like reading. A current example of this is the following. We are learning ch and tch. Because of they way his mind works he adds a g to words with m at the beginning. Much is mugch and match is magtch. I correct him and work on saying the word correctly but this isn’t going to stop us from going on to the next page of ch/tch words. I can also tell his speech therapist what is happening at home and she can incorporate those problem sounds into his therapy session. My little guy wins! He is happy that he is reading and he is getting the extra help he needs at therapy.

Again it all comes down to knowing your kid and not striving for the homeschool perfection. So if you and your child/children are frustrate with the pace of a subject then kick it up a notch. It just might help them gain confidence to learn. They will probably surprise you in leaps of learning instead of baby steps. My guy is still amazing me with his leaps.

May God give you grace and patience. Keep on trail blazing.

In the Kid Zone

Let the Children Help

Chores, it something all kids need. Trust me on this. I was the kid with very little chores to do and I am the adult who struggles keeping her house clean. But I am also a total otter, who married a beaver, and I just want to play ( look up personality quiz with lion, otter, retriever, and beaver). My kiddos are otters too. So chores are an essential learning tool for them. I started each out at age 4 helping to unload the dishwasher, sweeping, and cleaning the bathroom. Then I oversaw the work with a cup of coffee and giving a few directions on what to do. Now they can do almost everything in the house so while they do one chore I can take on another and we can bust out the house in no time. I still miss the days of overseeing and coffee.

The other day all this hard work paid off when my kids cleaned the house for Valentine’s Day. The only problem was that it wasn’t perfect. My towels where folded in squares when they needed to be rectangles. The corners of the house where not swept but had dog hair still visible, and the dishes where not loaded. But you know what that was okay. It was more than okay it was GREAT! My kiddos, the little, playful otters, cleaned the house on their own for Mom. I did not nit pick at the way they did it on their own. I praised them. I even left my messy, folded but messy, linen closet as it was.

Let your kids help. Train them to keep a home. Nothing has to be perfect at this time. They are kids and are not going to achieve an adult’s requirement of perfection. When you train in a gentle way they will have more “fun” learning. And you might get a surprise of a clean house when they are 10 and 8.

May God give you grace and patience. Keep on trail blazing.

Encouraging Words

Taking it Slow

Wether your kids are typical in development or have a disability one thing is for certain: sometimes you must take learning ssslllooowww. When my son started to learn to read we finally found Phonics Pathways by recommendation of a friend. This book recommended only using it for 10 minutes a day. That was it. Just 10 Minutes! This was outrageous to others. How can anyone learn with only 10 minutes of practice each day. I am glad I did not listen to them. My son thrived on the 10 minutes. It was enough time to do a page in the book and it didn’t overwhelm him. In the beginning we where just doing 1.5 hours of “formal” schooling each day. Now we are doing 3 hours of schooling! It isn’t 3 hours straight but with 5, 10, or 15 minute breaks. He is doing well and is excited (most days) to learn. I am so glad I didn’t push him in the beginning and let our days increase over time. My son grasps a subject slowly but when he does it is a leap in learning.

We still are not doing all subjects. History is sporadic and usually involves holidays. We are working on the 3 Rs and adding art into our day. Note: I am an artistic person so art is natural for me. Add a subject that comes natural to you. Your kiddo will learn easier if you are not frustrated.

Be encouraged that you are on the right track, even if it is a slow track. Slow and steady wins the race.

God’s grace and patience be with you. Keep on Trail Blazing!


It is Never to late to Start a Family Tradition

Our oldest is 10, our youngest is 8 and we are still coming up with fun family traditions.  In fact we just started one last weekend.  We are calling our new tradition Dessert First Sunday.  Yes, that is correct, every  most Sundays we are going to eat dessert first and then have dinner later.  My parents invited us out for frozen yogurt late in the afternoon.  Well I was taking a nap so the hubby took the kids to let me rest.  When they got back they brought home dinner.  As the family conversation moved to having dessert and then dinner and how funny it was, a genious statement came out of a child’s mouth.  “We should have dessert first all the time!”  Then a more genious statement came from my hubby, “We should have dessert first Sundays!”  That was immediately a big hit.  So there it is: Dessert First Sundays.  Hopefully this will become a special tradition that the kiddos can carry on into their families!  I am hoping for a Dessert First Revolution!  So there you go.  It isn’t to late to start a family tradition that may last for generations!


Encouraging Words

Relax, Home School Excellence Isn’t Manditory

Awe the old myth that as a home school family our children test above average in all subjects. Our children are usually a grade ahead of their piers. Our children are walking encyclopedias. I have been fighting these myths with my son who is delayed in speech and cognitive processes for 2 years. He is 8 and we are barely in 1st grade. He is spelling and reading on a very basic level. I have defended our position on home schooling him to friends and even family! They ask when is he going to school? Wouldn’t school be better? And, I am not kidding you, what about socialization? All this mostly from friends and family members who were home schooled themselves. Home schooling a child with a disability is a new frontier. I relate it to the early days of the home school movement. Why would anyone in their right mind do this?

Choosing to home school a child with a disability is not an easy decision. Yet if you decide to do it I want you to throw out every single, main stream idea about home school. You will just feel like you are failing your child. I know I have felt this way many times. But you are not failing your child. Who better to educate them then you? You know their touch points. You know how they learn best. You know when they need a break. You know how to encourage learning. You Know…

I like the fact that I can be more involved with therapy and so can you. You can pick and choose the speech therapist, the developmental therapist, the occupational therapist, etc. Your child is not stuck with someone that may not fit their personalities. My son was in developmental preschool at two different schools. At each there were professionals that just didn’t get him. We are currently working on speech therapy. Our therapist is wonderful! She fits Sean’s personality. She even gives us homework to work on through out the week (be vocal that you are willing to work on things at home).

Sean is a kinetic learner. In a traditional setting this means he would be getting into trouble because he can’t sit still. We have a bar table which turned out to be a God send for Sean (and to think I almost talked my husband out of getting it 7 years ago). He rarely sits through school but stands and does his work. He is loud and full of joyous movement when he finally gets a concept. I have different curriculum for each subject because a big box curriculum doesn’t work for him.

So relax. You have my permission to take it as slow as necessary. You have my permission to repeat a grade or two. You have my permission to modify tests. We are not typical home school families. We get to throw out the norms and forage our own trail. Just think, perhaps 10 years from now we will be known as the trail blazers who paved the way for other families to home school their children with disabilities.

God’s grace and patience be with you. Keep on trail blazing!