Thursday, October 30, 2014

To Homeschool or Not To Homeschool

Such a difficult question for any parent that feels led to do so, and even more challenging for parents with multiple children on the spectrum.

We've talked for many years about how nice it would be to provide a homeschooling environment for the boys, but for so many years, with them being so little and often hard to keep collected, we kept pushing the thought aside for another day.

Recent events in our elementary school and in observations of our oldest two have led us into the conversation again and we may very well be moving forward with it now.

Depending on who you talk to, there are many pros and cons to homeschooling kids on the spectrum.  Lack of social interractions are an issue as well as learning to work in group settings, waiting, independence, learning how to work in and outside a schedule... the list goes on.

However, the pros to homeschooling are excellent in that the child gets an opportunity to learn in a more flexible setting.  Chances for bullying is reduced as are opportunities for embarassment.  A child can excel in a subject they are strong at without waiting for the rest of the class to catch up.  They can also get extra attention in those areas they struggle with.

And the best part?  They no longer spend 6 hours at a desk.

So why is this so hard?  The commitment of a parent who choses this route is a long, serious one.  The expectation is now on the parent to ensure the child is meeting the state's academic requirements.  And unlike public school, it will require a financial investment.

I so badly want to do this as I feel I can provide the boys with experiences that most of their peers won't come close to getting, but the fear of failing them is riding on me.  With developmental disabilities in play, there will be some extra challenges.

If we are successful with the first two, it is most likely we will bring on the second two when they reach the same grade level.  (Yikes!)

Please be in prayer for us about this whole situation.  I'm excited about the idea but want to make sure we are fully equipped and that it is indeed God's will for our family.

-The Mamma

Long Day of Pumpkins and a Trip to the Mall

The Hubs was home last weekend so we decided to take the kids on an outing to the pumpkin farm!

We don't often get an opportunity to do things "out" as a family, but now that the kids are getting a bit older and a little easier to manage, we are trying to do more.  

This place was amazing.  Multiple fields of pumpkins on a real working farm!

They had fire roasted corn, squash, and apples.  Lam wasn't too sure about the corn but he wanted to have one anyway.

The Hubs eventually had to eat it.

Monkey wasn't too sure about it either, but then he saw these ginormous honeycrisp apples and worked on one for about a half hour.

It was so much fun.  :-)

After all of that, we took a trip to the mall.  Hubs had something he had to do for a short bit, so I took the boys window shopping.  

It could have been easier.  They were pretty good through one store and then totally lost it in another.  Boys 4 different directions, handling everything.  I'm sure those people at the smelly bath and lotion stores purposely put items 2 feet off the ground in order to stop you long enough and convince you that the key to finding happiness in their store requires purchasing little kid sized hand sanitizers for each of your enthusiastic, "Yes Mommy can we PLEASE have one???" kiddos.

We pass by the food court and Lam decides he's starving to death.  Doesn't matter that he had been eating constantly up until we got there.  He's not quiet about it either.

Lam has recently traded washing machines for toilets so obviously everytime we pass a bathroom or enter a new building he has to go potty.  He freaks out if you won't let him go, even if it's been just 5 minutes.  The looks I get from passing adults when he starts screaming at the top of his lungs, "Mom!  I'm going to pee my pants!  You need to let me go potty!  Mom!!!!!!!!!  Why won't you let me go potty!" make me feel like Mom of the Year.  

The trip to the bathroom was a joy.  

I was yelled at (at great length) by Lam because I made him come in the women's bathroom with me.  "Do you think I'm a girl?!"  "Mom!  I'm NOT supposed to use the girl's bathroom!  You need to take good care of me and let me use the MEN'S BATHROOM!"  

That went on for a while.

Because I actually had to use the facilities, I relied on the Bunny to keep order.  Not shortly after I sat down I hear, "Monkey, you need to wait until you are in the stall before you pull your pants down."  Then, "Monkey, you need to close the stall door!"

(Still being yelled at by Lam...)

I finish and try to fish my youngest out of his stall.  He can't figure out how to make the electronic toilet flush.  That in of itself is no big deal, but while he's inspecting it, he has his left hand running all over the seat, with fingers wrapping into the nasty public toilet.

Plus the door was locked.  Monkey is one to put his hands in his mouth frequently so I was just a tad bit concerned.  He screamed and fought me as I tried to slather his hands and arms with hand sanitizer.  Lam was still grilling me and then it hit me... Hannes is gone.

We frantically left with Lam still practicing his role as a drill sergeant and found Hannes dancing around way down the hall, in amongst a pile of strangers.

I only took one picture of the whole mall trip because it was enough to just keep all 4 kids in tow.

A smiling Hubs met me by the door.  Like a night in shining armor, he took over and we walked to the car... stilled being yelled at about bathroom choices.

Happily home, the kids quickly got into carving.  Their first time and it was a big, messy success!

Oh, and guess who wanted the entire alphabet on his pumpkin?

My husband is long-suffering.  :-)

We even toasted some seeds!

Not too bad for a bunch of amateurs!  I think next year we will skip the mall.

Weight loss ad shows up on tv (with bathing suit model).  "Mom!  You should buy some of that stuff!"

Monday, October 20, 2014

Wow! That Went By Fast!

I can't believe it's been almost 2 months since my last post!  So much has happened in that time so I suppose it's time I get you all up to speed.  I'll probably need to space these out a bit.  :-)

The kids have started school, the Hubs and I both celebrated birthdays, and we are almost getting our back to school routine down.  

We started off the new school year running. I'm starting to feel like after a few months off, we really should have had a more gradual start to our Fall season, but I'm keeping my head in it and pressing forward. 

Everyone but Hannes was excited to go. I kind of expected that really. The nice thing is he has the same teacher this year as he did the last, in the same classroom, with basically the same curriculum structure. His teacher is awesome and she absolutely ADORES him. Hannes' math skills are pretty amazing for an 8 year old and she's excited about challenging him. She also sees past his hang-ups in the classroom and somehow plays para educator and teacher at the same time. Pretty incredible really. 

The Lamb was thrilled. Threw his arms around his new teacher and told her that he loved her. :-) 

The Bunny is in the 4th grade now! An "Intermediate" student. He's pleased with his new teacher and class format, I think moreso than last year. It's a little more grown up. They get to use binders with dividers and are learning to self direct and be responsible for their own homework etc. Oh, and they're learning to play the violin! (Better start saving my money now...) 

 Monkey is attending two different preschools and is SO excited to be a part of it all.  It's a little different this year because it's really Pre-K, but he's in the same classroom with the same teachers and all but one of the kiddos in his class are the same from last year.  I absolutely LOVE both schools and the teachers that work there.  These kids learn so much academically and get to know God a little better too.  

One of his teachers has a little baby boy that I'm watching for her part time.  I pick up the Little Mister and hang out while we wait for Monkey to be finished with school.  We're trying to visit friends in the area that are at home watching their own kiddos and perhaps a few elderly ladies from our church as well.  I'm really looking forward to growing my relationship with some of the ladies at our church this year.  I think our culture has become so busy, and so focused on media, that we're losing the initiative to seek interractions with eachother in person.  Perhaps the Little Mister and I can start the ball rolling to change that.    

It's good for me too, because I tend to be a hermit.

After the morning is over, we stuff some quick lunch into the Monkey and whisk him off to his other preschool.  Little Mister and I will go home where he can hopefully nap before the masses show up on the bus at the end of the school day.

Then we're into homework and whatever else 4 little boys do until dinner.

Somewhere in all of this I'll get some grocery shopping and laundry done...

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