Tuesday, May 24, 2016

safe with me

An ambulance and fire truck screamed down the road this morning just as we were running over to pick Toby up from his standardized testing.

As I watched them blaze past, the realization wasn't lost on me.

Now that Trevy is home with me full time, I no longer have a pit in my stomach when I hear sirens blaring.

I no longer watch to see which direction they're heading. 

I no longer jump when the phone rings because I've been unconsciously waiting for "the call" from school.

I know he's safe.

I can see his crooked grin my rearview mirror and he's got ideas about what adventures we need to go on today dancing in his sparkling eyes.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Homeschooling Trevor: Peek at our Week

I'm not gonna lie. This week was rough. Trevor had good moments followed by very difficult. It's hard to discern if we're dealing with behavioral challenges or something medical. My litmus test is telling him he may go lay in his bed to rest (the most common complaint I hear is "I tired" or "tired sick"). Resting in bed includes no iPad. If he willingly goes to rest in bed without his iPad I take that as a cue that he's really not feeling well. Several days this week he rested in bed for over an hour. I do know his allergies are quite aggressive right and it is possible that's making him feel cruddy. I just hope the "tired sick" isn't something more neurological and ominous. Sigh. My heart is thankful I can have him home where I can keep a close eye on him always.

In between the difficult moments, though, we did have some sweet and productive time. 

Making a snack to go along with his AAR lesson. Lots of fine motor work and socialization happens in the kitchen!


Morning Meeting

We start each day with a morning meeting. The kids and I gather on the couch and we sing a hymn and a folksong, work on memorizing a poem and Scripture passage each month, rotate through read alouds, listen to the bird song of our bird of the week, and do picture study. 

Trevor LOVES our Morning Meeting time. He's very visual and musical, so the songs and picture study and even the bird study are all right in his sweet spot of enjoyment.

Starting together is a great way to ground ourselves for the day and it's often a lovely time. I say often because we're very human and do have the occasional conflict over who is reading and who is operating the computer and who is breathing too much. (just keepin' it real for you ;) )

He's been requesting Bristel give him his meds. She made up a fun choo choo game and mom is boring. :P



I started using Google Docs to share the weekly schedule with my two older kids at the beginning of this year. It's worked really well for us. Some day I'll have to write a post on all the reasons why Google Docs is an amazing tool, but for now you'll just have to trust me. 

For Trevy, I have a long caterpillar mounted on a wall. Each body circle has velcro and represents one task. His tasks include: Bible, All About Reading, Sight Words, Copywork, Before Five in a Row, structured OT, structured ST, and more. Each day my goal is to complete 9 tasks. Currently his homebased ABA program is targeting his Math and many life skills so these are not included in our time unless it's part of the lesson plan. I have a flow that I follow with him and will put the corresponding pictures up. As we complete tasks he removes the picture. Once we've worked through three tasks he earns a break. I've divided the breaks up so that one will be spent with big brother, one with big sister, and one with mom. The break with mom includes doing laundry and playing a game together. We have an air hockey table and basketball hoop set up in our basement. He loves kickin' mommy's boot in both!

We enjoy doing some lessons outside. He's playing Eggy Words on his iPad here, which is one of our favorite sight words apps.


Nature Study project to go along with our BFIAR lesson. You can read about other activities we did here.

Nature Study mom problems...

We were working on the sound /l/ this week with our Super Star speech lessons. I gave him the word "owl" and asked him to repeat it three times for me.

After a pause he said, "snowy owl, snowy owl, snowy owl". 

I repeated that my direction was to say just "owl". One of my goals is more compliance less meandering to get there.

He protested, "I know, but different kinds!" 

As if to say, um, Mom, you're teaching me all the different kinds of birds and now you want me to not be specific?! 


An amazing friend made me a whole shopping bag full of sight words duplos. We're making a giant tower out of them with all the words he knows.


This year we started going on a Saturday afternoon family nature hike. Now that it's tick season, and we want to avoid Lyme Disease, we're finding interesting places to explore.

My hubby (as are the rest of us, due to his influence) is a huge Baltimore Orioles fan. He discovered that Tom Gastall, who was a catcher for the Orioles and died unexpectedly in a plane crash, was from and buried in a nearby town. So we ambled through the cemetery for our nature hike. It was Providential that we found his stone because it's a massive place and we had no idea where his was located. We also found a lovely bird's nest that had blown out of a tree and is now added to our nature tray.


Lastly, I share a candid picture of what my livingroom might look like it you popped in for a surprise visit during the week. Lest you begin to think I'm some kind of super mom. For every ounce of energy I expend in one direction, I have to let something slide in another. Before Trevy joined our homeschool full time my livingroom was always neat and tidy. Those days are over! ;)

Saturday, May 14, 2016

BFIAR: Blueberries for Sal with a Special Needs Twist

With each passing day it becomes more clear that homeschooling is the right fit for Trevy. We're continuing to use and enjoy Before Five in a Row.

This week he chose to "row" Blueberries for Sal.

We read the story each day this week. Some days in his school room and some in his bed where he was resting because he felt "tired sick". It's hard to know if it's allergies, neurological, or even GI related. Just another layer of why homeschooling is right for him. We can snuggle in bed and read a lovely, living book together as part of his education program. 


To incorporate some oral motor muscle work we played a blueberry picking game with a straw and blue pom poms.

I drew a "basket" on our chalkboard table and had him start by blowing the blueberries into the circle.

When he mastered that I drew a second basket and had him suck and hold the blueberry to place it in the basket.

 Life Skills

I try to have at least one kitchen activity each week. He loves everything about cooking and helping in the kitchen! He helped me make a blueberry smoothie to go along with our book and his All About Reading "f say /f/" for fruit smoothie. He's a finicky eater and wasn't too sure about the yummy factor. 

Nature Study

and fine motor

I found this super cute bird feeder idea on Pinterest and was intending to make one just like it. I quickly realized that fine motor skills were going to be too intensive for Trevy, so I modified by smearing peanut butter on a paper plate and having him stick cheerios and blueberries to it.

I also had him string a couple cheerios onto the pipe cleaner to use as a tie.

His big sister thought it was such a cute craft that she insisted on making one too! 


and fine motor

For this project we talked about how all the illustrations were only in blue and white. I decided we needed to create a masterpiece using only blue and white as well.

1. Using finger paint and a brush I had him paint lines for the blueberry bushes. My model is the picture on the left. He copied what he saw me doing. 

2. I had him tear pieces of blue tissue paper into small chunks.

3. Using just his thumb and pointer finger I had him roll the tissue paper into balls. This was tough work to get those two fingers isolated.

4. I dabbed glue dots where he wanted his blueberries and his placed them onto the glue dot.


I wanted to get a daily narration but his "tired sick" week interrupted that idea. I'm still experimenting with how to approach narration best for him. While I love the idea of it all flowing from him, he does need some coaching if I want a narration that includes more than "poop pooop pooooooop". Oy! This week I decided to try using the Story Grammar Marker sequence on the first day. The second day I simply asked him to tell me three things he remembered from the story. I typed exactly what he said.

  1. Who?  
    1. Seventh old Sal. The mom and the bear.
  2. What?
    1. Sal followed the mom and Sal’s mom followed the boy bear. And say, “Oh this is not Sal!” Picking blueberries.
  3. Where?
    1. In the garden.
  4. When?
    1. Warm weather.
  5. Spontaneous Narration
    1. One more thing. She’s looking for her mom.  

Trevor, tell me three things you remember about Blueberries for Sal...

  1. The mama bear got bigger because she was eating blueberries.
  2. Think Sal was there. The mom. Blueberries for Sal.
    1. Clarified with him that he was saying Sal’s mom thought Sal was behind her and the mommy bear thought that the baby bear was behind her.
  3. Oh, missing the mom. Like Sal find her mom.