Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Outsiders

I have been so excited to finally share one of my favorite books with James.  The Outsiders has been one of my favorite books since I first read it in probably middle school.  James has been enjoying it for probably all the wrong reasons... he LOVES the rumbles.  I love the relationships and how these teens handled adversity.

Today, James read the part of the book where Johnny dies.  I asked James how that made him feel?  "Sad, Mom." I told him his face wasn't showing sad.   I forget that James is so black and white and matter of fact.  Johnny was his favorite character but he couldn't tell why he just knew he liked a lot about him.  Maybe this will be the year that his empathy will transfer from face to face empathy to empathy of characters he loves in books.  He is getting there.  This is my dream for him.... he has different dreams and they are often around some video game.

Image result for the outsiders

Thursday, August 17, 2017

That Really is the Lost Colony... No One Else has Heard of It!!!!

We have just started with the first colonization attempts in what is now America.  James learned today that Jamestown (founded in 1607) wasn't the first colony but the third.  He got a kick out of a place that has his name in it. (Quick history lesson... King James of England wanted his hand in this new land to make money for himself so he created a Charter called the Virginia Company to do this and Jamestown was founded.)

James has been reading library books about this period of time for his daily 30 minutes of reading. Today he finished the book on the first colony. He was telling his dad about it this afternoon.  He told him (with some help) that the first colony was lost and the second one failed.  When he was asked about the name of the first colony he thought, thought, and I gave him the first letter sound.  He then stated with confidence... "The lost colony of Romeo."  No wonder it was lost... Romeo was still back in Italy wooing Juliet (at least on the London stage!) at the time the first colony of Roanoke was lost with little clues of where it went.  Just another amazing day of homeschooling!!

Image result for romeo and juliet
Romeo and Juliet
Roanoke Island         

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Making History Relevant to James Today

Helping James get immersed in his education is one of my goals.  Putting himself in his studies is another.  Today for history, James was to read primary sources from "What was early contact like between Europeans and Natives".  James really got into this activity!

"The wemen are very cleanly in making their bread and prepareing meat. I found they account after death to goe into an other world pointing eastward to the Element, and when they saw vs at prayer they observed vs with great silence and respect, especially those to whome I had imparted the meaning of our reverence. To conclude they are a very witty and ingenious people, apt both to vnderstand and speake our language, so that I hope in god as he hath miraculously preserved vs hither from all dangers both of sea and land & their fury so he will make vs authors of his holy will in converting them to our true Christian faith by his owne inspireing grace and knowledge of his deity."

James asked if he could read it and he did a valiant effort.  James was asked to answer several questions about what he read and again, he had fun doing it.  The answers were brief but as James pretended to be a 13 year old boy from the Age of Exploration, I could see him in every word.

  1. Did you have fears before you went on the voyage?
    1. "Dying mostly... I never went on a ship, but I know that I might not last."
  2. How did you feel about the Natives after the first time you met them?
    1. "Curious, these people weren't like us, but we're friendly, I even met a Native my age. I had no idea what he said, but my bow with arrow's were there're but habbit's die with age."
  3. What do you think you can learn from these people?
    1. Not much, sign languadge was all I learned."

I know that some of his answers are hard to understand but he has really improved his ability to put words together to make sense independently over the years.  Homeschool Day 2 ✔

Monday, August 14, 2017

8th Grade!!!! I Can't believe it!!

So it happened!! My little man started 8th grade today!!! We decided to do the homeschool, (yes, I looked it up and this is an appropriate spelling) again this year which gives me the opportunity to really fine tune his needs for when he goes back to the classroom for 9th grade.    I nearly had a heart attack when I saw all of the textbooks that were going to be living in my house for the school year.  I have been dreading the Algebra 1, but we made it through the first day. For all families trying to decide if home schooling is going to be a good decision for their family, there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Homeschooling can be very flexible
    • you can take vacations that work for the whole family (just take the materials you will need with you)
    • you don't need to do all subjects all of the year.
      • we decided to do math and English all year and History for the first half of the year and science the second half.  That way, James won't get so bogged down with 4 classes.
    • you can do 5 days of work over the whole week making the actual time spent for one day much less.  This works really well for a lot of our kids because they like the same thing every day.
As a creative mum, I have spent a lot of time trying to find games and activities to teach James what he needs to learn without him knowing that he is learning.  This morning for English, I decided it would be great to start back at the beginning working on parts of speech.  James had a blast playing >>this game<<  he didn't even realize that he was reinforcing necessary skills.  

There are a lot of really great sites where you can find free and very inexpensive materials to help enhance you families educational experience.  One of my favorites is Teachers Pay Teachers >> here <<  I just put in the grade I am looking for and click on free.  YIKES!! There is so much there that James will have to be in the 8th grade for 5 years for me to use it all!!  

Finally, for James, one of his favorite things about homeschooling is he adores his classmates and they adore him back!!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Makes Sense to Him

I feel horrible that I haven't sat at the computer and blogged since last April!  Not that there hasn't been a ton to write about, I just haven't had the inclination to put it to the blog world.  That is about to change.  James starts 8th grade tomorrow (home school style) and I have promised myself that I will sit and write several times a week.  It will be my "homework".  But, to start us off, a little something to whet your appetite for all that is to come.....

James is responsible for several chores around the home.  He does his own laundry, cleans his bathroom counter, empties the dishwasher, and vacuums his room.  All of this with reminders but he does do them.  This morning, I called him to come and empty the dishwasher.  He came quickly, (which is unusual), stood at the kitchen table and asked, "Mom, Dad, when was the last time either of you emptied the dishwasher?" I replied without hesitation, "Yesterday Dad did it." James smiled and simply stated, "That's good enough for me." and off he went to do the dishwasher.  No drama. No "That's not fair's!" No "I always have to do everything's"... He just got to work and did what he was asked to do.  I have to wonder... Who is this child and how long can he stay?

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Guided Note Taking

This I made from the Social Studies lesson
on the Increase of Spanish Power (no plagiarism was
intended but this one follows fairly close to the lecture) 
James and I continue to grow in our home schooling experience.  I have enjoyed having him home and being more involved in his education and how he learns.  He has limited Executive Functioning skills, like a lot of kids with Autism. One of the main deficits James has is note taking. It is difficult for him to listen to a lecture, organize the information, and write at the same time.  One of the ways I have helped him with this is to listen to the lecture before he does and create "guided notes." These notes take the information and leave spaces for important words to be written in.  This does several things.  First, it removes the problem of a blank page that needs to be filled up with the wise words of the lecturer.  Second, it keeps him focused because he has to follow the lecture more closely.  Third, James remembers the information because he is getting it through many different avenues. I have asked his charter school to contact the company that makes the curriculum to see if this can be part of their program for next year.  Happy Note Taking!!!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Happy Homeschooling!!!

It has been so long since I have sat and blogged but today was just a day that I couldn't not blog. Quick update:  I am now homeschooling James because he had an illness that kept him out of the classroom for 3 weeks.  His charter school offers a home school program so we transferred him and although the first couple of weeks were rocky, we are now in a really great pattern of getting work done before lunch.
This morning, James was taking a quiz in Social Studies on European Exploration in Southeast Asia.  Up popped this question:

James cracked up rhyming Albuquerque with turkey!  He needed several reminders to focus on the task at hand.  He really wanted to take his break and he knew that he needed to finish the practice and quiz before he could do "James stuff." He eventually finished this question and finished the practice and quiz with 100% on both and was able to take his break.
I never thought I would home school either of my kids.  I have always said that I am a much better mum when my kids go to school and I have time alone during the day.  I am finding that with James, I am having fun, well most of the time.  I am relearning 7th grade curriculum and for the most part, James is cooperative.  He has very negative times but I have worked out a plan for that, (we have had several days without "James computer time." Today has been a great day, well so far.
I hope you enjoy this little clip of my silly guy enjoying Social Studies.