Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Learning time

One of the beauties of homeschooling is to be able to do schoolwork if you are feeling up to it, but have a cold, you can rest when you need but you can also work on things when you feel well enough. Such has been the case with Veronika for the last couple of weeks. 
I thought I would share a little bit of our homeschool day that is a bit shortened since Veronika is not 100%.

Veronika works on a worksheet by Mrs. Brown's program, So Happy to Learn at Home. 
She puts dots on the numbers to help learn the value of each number. Number 1 - 1 dot, and so on.  
Once she has mastered this addition will be so much easier because she won't need pictures or finger to count on, she can just count the dots as she adds up the numbers. 


I LOVE this magnet game. It actually comes with several little pieces for each board and a cute little bag to store the pieces for each set in it. In the top corner it tells you what it is, and that is color coded to the bag color. As you can see in this one the top corner is green and it has a green bag to go with it. Veronika Is working on the sorting house. Each room has 2-3 items that go to that room. 

Veronika puts the pillow in the bedroom on the bed, she has already put the dress in the closet, she has put the sink and mirror and towel in the bathroom, the microwave, stove and dishes in the kitchen, and the toolbox in the garage.

This is part of the same game, but a different board. This board is, What goes together?
This one is set up like little shops and Veronika has to decide what goes to each shop. They have a music store, clothing store, grocery, pet store, post office, art shop, etc. 


 Working on Opposites


This one is a bit more challenging so we do this one together.  We look at the pictures and then we say the words together and then figure out what the first letter is of that word based on the sound.



Working on flash cards I have her flip through them and read them to me.
Veronika has mastered most of these cards but I just added a few new ones: again, around, about, almost


Next we practice writing letters. She is so proud of her letter N!!!
This worksheet and the one below are from Mrs. Brown's So Happy to Learn at Home program.



 Math worksheet. This worksheet I have from a workbook I found at Target. Veronika has to count the items and then circle the answer. I am so amazed at how far she has come this year, she can do this all by herself!

Cutting and gluing activity. Veronika had to cut then glue the pictures into the right spot to complete the picture.Any time we work on cut and glue we always stop and talk before I let her start gluing. Gluing can be so fun that she gets excited and might glue stuff just anywhere. By taking time to talk, we stop to examine the pictures, then look at the worksheet to figure out where it might go. Only when she has figured out where everything goes do I let her start gluing. It is a process I want to instill in her. I always want her to think of what she is doing before she goes off and does something.



Another cut and glue activity. This one is about a butterfly's life cycle. We read the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar then did the worksheet.


More math work. Veronika uses buttons for each number to show quantity.

At the bottom I wrote her name for her to copy. I have put each letter in it's own box so she can focus on one letter at a time, not skip any letters, and not put any letters on top of any others. 


Next we worked on what belongs and on another worksheet what does not belong. This worksheet was also from a workbook from Target.

We ended the day by reading Green Eggs and Ham together. I would read the longer pages and she would read the shorter pages. It is quite a long book so it can wear her out reading it on her own. This way she could enjoy our time together, practice her reading, but also listen to me model how to read without pauses and with inflection. 


Friday, February 24, 2017

Some highlights of our days

While currently only Veronika is being homeschooled we make it a bit deal to make sure the kids get lots of excersise and get their energy out before we start working on anything. By getting their blood flowing and getting them to move around a lot,
 with playing on the Gorilla Gym


Playing outside in the snow


 Riding the wiggle bike

Or dancing to the music


Or riding therapy bikes 
Exercise  is important because It signals the release of serotonin, which is a mood booster, dopamine, which helps with  learning and attention; and norepinephrine, which helps with alertness and attention.  According to  John J. Ratey, Ph.D., a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical Schoo,  "By elevating neurotransmitters in the brain, it helps us focus, feel better, and release tension."

Once they have gotten all their wiggles out they are able to focus more. 
That is when we start getting some work done.
 Willow has been working on writing her name. I wrote the top one for her so she could look at it and see all the letters, she wrote the bottom one.

 Veronika worked on counting the items on the puzzle card then finding the numeral that matches. Once she found the correct puzzle piece she counted out the bears and put enough bears to match the numerals

Another important part of our day is sensory play. 
This is oobleck. I love how it feels hard when you press it or try to pick it up...



but once it is in your hands it "melts"
Because it can act like both a solid and a liquid it is called a discrepant substance. With oobleck, pressure or lack of pressure influences the state of oobleck. By squeezing or trying to pick up the oobleck, or pressing on it, it feels solid, but when you just hold it and do not apply pressure it turns into liquid. It is pretty messy but very easy to make *cornstarch and water* and so much fun!

Water beads are also a lot of fun! 

One of the kids favorite toys is magnet blocks. 



I love how many endless possibilities there are with these magnet blocks and how the kids will often look through them so they can see the room in different colors. By putting two different colors together they can "color mix" and get a new color. They lover doing this! 


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Growth

Since pulling Veronika from school in December we have had one month of intensive PT, where she was doing PT 5 days per week for 3 hours per day. We will do a few more sessions of this throughout the year but I love watching her grow so much stronger and confident in her abilities!
She will have a two week session of intensive OT in March and we are very excited about that!
Well, back in November, Veronika was working hard on putting together the little toddler 9 piece puzzles. She was getting better, but still could have worked on it longer. However, for Christmas she got two 24 piece puzzles. To motivate her, they were of her favorite cartoon, Doc McStuffins. With us being so busy in January doing PT we never had time to get the puzzles out and work on them, so it wasn't until this month we finally broke them out for her to give them a try.
The first time we put the puzzle together I helped her a lot. We talked about corner pieces and how they have two straight sides, we talked about the pictures on the puzzle pieces, and how we always have to look at each piece carefully and reference back to the picture on the box of what it needs to look like when it is done. The second time she put it together ON HER OWN!!!!!!!!!!!! I was blown away! Blown Away!!!


Another wonderful thing she has been doing is being more active in wanting to do art. I have made sure she has access to scissors, glue, paper, pens, pencils, markers, and crayons. She has been going on her own to get what she wants and then working on her own projects. This is great for her creativity, plus gives her a chance to work on her fine motor skills which are so weak. (hence our need for intensive OT)

She also enjoyed playing soccer this winter and is looking forward to t-ball in the spring! We are blessed to have "adaptive" soccer and t-ball for kids in our area. It was a great intro to playing on a field, kicking a ball, and not having the pressure of a real game. Once she gains confidence and gets more skills then we can always move on to a typical soccer/t-ball team, but for now it is about gaining confidence, skills, and just having fun.
Just so proud of this girl!!!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Changes

This December has brought with it many changes.
Over the summer, our sweet Veronika was fully potty trained and she started off Kindergarten Jumpstart (a program to let kids get a taste of kindergarten for a couple of weeks before school actually starts) on a high note.
By the end of November she was having accidents every single day at school (but not at home) and had broken her glasses about 20+ times. (she had them for 3 years before school ever started with no problems at all).
Fast forward to December and something had changed. She was no longer looking forward to going to school and in fact had not been eating lunch for a week. I asked the teacher what was going on and was told they did not know. My sweet girl who had loved having lunch in the lunch room and playing outside, would now fall onto the floor curled up and scream about 3 feet from the lunchroom door, protesting that she didnt want to go in to the lunch room, didnt want to go outside.
I went the next week and got to witness this first hand. While Veronika has always had anxiety, this was the worst I had ever seen it. She was terrified!  I hoped that me being there would help, but you could tell she was still nervous about whatever was bothering her. Outside was just as bad with her not wanting to leave my side. The following week my husband went with her to lunch and he got to see it as well.
We are not sure what happened. Kindergarten-3rd grade eats together then goes outside to play for recess. Did an older kid accidentally knock her down and then get scared and run off because she started crying? Did she fall and get hurt but with the noise no one noticed? Did someone bump into her and with her being so small she got trampled on??
Whatever the problem was, it was not getting better, only worse. When she stopped begging to go to school and started begging to stay home with mommy we knew we could not keep sending her to school.
Gavyn will finish this school year of preschool and then be homeschooled as well. But for now he will finish his preschool year. Our other kids will be staying in public school and are loving it.
Veronika and Gavyn will be able to participate in intensive PT, OT, and Speech with not being in public school as well as enjoy a lot of other activities that they are currently not able to do now due to their school schedule.

We were hopeful with the public school option for Veronika, and I must say the kids really welcomed her and loved her being in school. The teacher seemed to like Veronika as well, but we just can not send her to school when something clearly happened and she is not able to express what it was that happened and her anxiety has just gotten worse. She also has had some issues with the way certain things are taught. Some things she needs to work on are not being worked on and she is missing out on some of the things she needs to focus on (things she knew before school started but since they have not worked on since then she has now forgotten).

We are looking forward to once again getting back into homeschooling and if today was any indication, she is going to do great!!!