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The One Thing I Would Redo While Teaching Reading

I don’t know of any mom who has stated, “Reading was my favorite subject to teach!” Reading is probably one of the hardest things to teach. This is amplified with a child who has a disability. As my son is starting to become more confident in reading and as the tears and frustration on both sides is becoming a rare event I have a few helpful hints for the mommas that are just starting out (notice I wrote “confident” and not “proficient”) .

1) Pour yourself a hot cup of coffee or tea and think relaxing thoughts.

2) If you can, sit behind or next to your child. A couch works great for this. I have found that my son is constantly looking up at me to make sure he has the word correct. This is hindering his sentence comprehension. In hind sight I should have sat behind him in the beginning and then moved next to him to sit side by side.

3) Do short bursts each day. A long reading time everyday may discourage them and exhaust you. Put a timer on. We started at 10 minutes when my son was little. He now can read about 30 minutes and he is done.

4) Pick a reward for attempting the activity. Stickers are our go to reward. I wish I had thought of this earlier. I reward for attempting the activity and not how well he does it. It looks like “Good job sitting and trying to sound out all those words for 10 minutes. Sticker time!”

5) This is most important. Do not compare their reading with other kids or even where they are “supposed” to be given age and grade. This thinking will just defeat you and will cause more frustration and anger in you. Been there, done that and many times I have just cried in my room because of the self defeat I felt.

6) Keep a positive attitude (this is where coffee was my friend). They are going to get frustrated and cry even if you are having a good attitude day. Keep that good attitude, grab the second cup of coffee or tea, and reaffirm their attempt.

patienceandgrace

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2015 in Reading

 

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Being a Trail Blazer BITES!

It is a day like this that I just want to wash my hands of the whole homeschool community. They don’t get our family. They don’t get my son. They don’t get ANYTHING about us!!!!!!! AAARRRRGGGGGHHHHH.

What brings on this tantrum? My local homeschool publication came in the mail today. It is the one where the speakers for the annual conference are introduced and topics presented. As I hopefully look through the listings I become dejected. It is the same old stuff and nothing that helps me with a kid with disabilities. There is nothing on how to actually teach a subject. These workshops are mainly curriculum ideas. I get that we are autonomous by nature but it would be nice to have a bit of instruction for myself. I would like more instruction because, as I have stated in the past, complete curriculums do not work for us. They don’t take into account the kinetic nature of many kids with disabilities. And as I have stated in the past I have acquired a hodgepodge of material that addresses those very needs.

Perhaps it is time to be vocal about my needs because they can’t just be my needs but other’s as well. There needs to be a voice. If it is not my voice for my son then who’s? In my homeschool co-op I have been a voice for those kids who need extra help. I am making slow progress but at least there is progress.

Be that voice that you need. Be that advocate for your kids. Be the one that shakes up your homeschool community and to make it better in the process. Heck start your own blog, write articles, and spread the word. Perhaps we will find together that we are not in such a small minority after all.

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

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2015 in In my Head

 

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Give Way and Give Grace

There seem to be a million and one blog posts about how kids these days are always on their phones or iPods/mp3 players. They are head down and not engaging in life. There are calls to throw out the tech and get into the fresh air. I agree with them so much in fact that I found myself judging another parent. We were in Target and about to check out. There was dad with a few kids. There was a teenager, a pre-teen, and one about in 2nd grade. The boy (pre-teen) placed earbuds in is ears and followed the family. My first reaction (I am sorry to say) was that of judgement. What the heck! Get those things out of your ears and engage with your family. Dad, seriously do something. Then I was convicted deep in my soul. The child was engaging. He was looking up. He was paying attention. He wasn’t head down and absorbed in his own little world.

He could be my son. My son doesn’t look like he has a disability. Yet he sometimes needs his drummers earplugs. No he isn’t a musician but they help keep the noise level down while still being able to hear sound. If someone saw my son with them on it would look like he is listening to music and tuning out the world. They would judge as I had.

What if this child was just like my son? What if he needed the music (or perhaps a podcast) to help him navigate a crowded store? I had no idea what the story was and I judged. I did the very thing I cringe at when it is directed toward my son. Just because one looks like a typical kid does not mean they live a typical life. So to the family in the store I am sorry.

Now I will be more purposeful in not stepping onto a soap box and I will give grace.

My God give you grace and patience. Keep on trailblazing.

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2015 in Encouraging Words

 

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Music Appreciation

Wait! Hold on come back to this one. It isn’t what you are probably expecting. I know. I see blog posts like these and they give a long list of resources and how to implement this with crafts and activities and writing assignments, and math problems, and the science of music. And catch my breath…….. When did homeschooling become so complicated? But that is another post.

I got it. You are feeling overwhelmed by homeschooling your kiddo with a disability. The basics are hard enough. And to try to add another thing! No way! Not going to happen. But you can still add in a music appreciation class via youtube. That is correct youtube videos are our music appreciation class. At first I only showed videos of orchestras playing classical music. Now I have expanded our repertoire. Currently Lindsey Sterling is our favorite. She is a violinist that does amazing work. Love her! My daughter’s ballet teacher brought her into the light for us. Those of you who are America’s Got Talent fans will recognize her. I do not watch the show so I have been in the dark!

Back to the music. As I was saying we have enjoyed her music videos. They are kid friendly (mostly) with an element of fantasy in them. My son may not be able to tell you what a scale, treble or base clef, or tempo are. He will learn how beautiful music sounds. How it stirs emotions and can tell a story. My son can sit through a concert without asking for the iphone because he enjoys music (he does bring with him a small toy or something to manipulate in his hands because he needs that stimulus to be able to sit).

So relax. Make yourself a cup of coffee or tea and put aside some time for music appreciation class. Here are a few videos to get you started.

May God give you patience and grace. Keep on Trail Blazing!

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Must See Video on People First Language

As a parent with a child or children with disabilities we have all been there. That moment when our precious child is labeled. Everything inside you SCREAMS, “That is not who they are!” Would you like to educate your family, friends, and what the heck the World? Here is a great video on People First Language that was produced by students with disabilities. I dare you not to cry. I did.

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Putting the Blinders On

Putting the Blinders On

Today I put a hat on my son. It was so that he wouldn’t look up at me after every single word! He is also distracted when reading because it is not the favorite subject. This slows him down and limits his ability comprehend the passages. So we are going through phonics, again, and using the hat. This time it took only 15 minutes for the reading exercise instead of 25. Here’s hoping that the trend continues.

My God give you patience and grace. Keep on trail blazing!

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Posted by on January 7, 2015 in In the Kid Zone

 

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Simple Holidays are Best

I have tried to post this for the last 2 days. I have made 3 drafts but each did not post with an error message. My title was 1000 Way to Make the Holidays More Meaningful. Then I went into the reason for the title and then gave you my 1 tip and how we simplify in our house. It was a beautiful post. And I truly wanted to share all those words of wisdom. But alas it was not meant to be. However, my tip for all you this year is simply to:

Simplify

That is it. So go simplify. Don’t stress over your simple holiday plans. You need to simplify for your own sanity and because having a kid with sensory issues this time of year is tough. Don’t over plan the season to the point that you can’t enjoy the season. So what if you only have 4 sides to the Thanksgiving meal; 2 of them being cranberry sauce and store bought rolls. So what if you don’t do Elf on the Shelf or Advent Calendars or bake cookies for the neighborhood.

Take a step back. Breathe. You are doing good.

You don’t have to do every thing with everyone. Saying “No” is okay. With friends and family wanting our time I have to say no, a lot. However, it has allowed our family of 4 to niche out traditions that we want to do and that the kids are interested in doing. Be flexible and be willing to ditch traditions that are not working. Or at the very least modify them so they can work.

Like I stated above, I had a beautifully written post on many ways to simplify. Ironically the post itself was not simplified. So taking a cue I will end the simple post with a simple message.

May your days be filled with joy. May you and your children find the wonder in the simple things. May God give you patience and grace. Keep on trail blazing! 
 
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Posted by on November 26, 2014 in Encouraging Words

 

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