LifeSchooling: "It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see." -Henry David Thoreau

Our journey with the schools of life, home and otherwise.

CAMA Beach year-end trip – smashing success! June 25, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — cadamski @ 3:51 am

CAMA Beach, Camano Island, WA

Kitchen Hall was dynamite!

Friends and fun activities all weekend long!

Collecting Shells and Sea Glass on the beach.

CLASSES:

We designed beach buckets with Mrs. Elves.  We made watercolor art overlooking the beach with Ms. Samples.  I also made some shell and bead jewelry in my spare time – so therapeutic!

THE ADVENTURESS took the students out for 3 hour tours on which they got to take mini classes on map reading, sea life, watershed, compass reading, and basic sailing familiarity.  VERY COOL!

Day hike to Cranberry Lake.  Toy boat making class for the younger kids and rowing instruction and water course for the older kids.

Campfire songs, S’mores, soccer, horseshoes, football, swings, etc.

ALWAYS something going on :)

We had so much fun being right on the ocean, with friends, learning and laughing all three days.

Who says homeschool is boring?  Who says homeschool kids aren’t socialized?  Ha…take a look at these pics, I beg to differ:

 

So now what? June 4, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — cadamski @ 6:36 am
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Have you ever wanted something and then when you got it, didn’t know what to do with it?  Or worse yet, wanted to give it back and it was a “forever” thing  that couldn’t be given back?  Have you ever invested so much time and energy into something that by the time you reached what you were striving for, you almost forgot WHY you began the journey?  Have you ever loved someone so much you wanted to protect them from everyone and everything all of the time?  2008-yesterday and the pursuit of a diagnosis for Seth has been this for me.  So now what????

It’s taken months and months because of job changes, job losses (thus periods of no insurance), filling out form after form, after form about him and his “behaviors” , asking teachers and doctors to fill them out on his behalf, etc. to finally get a diagnosis.  It took getting an initial ADHD diagnosis that didn’t sit right in my gut.  You know, that “motherly intuition”  Yeah, I have it BIG TIME when it comes to my boys.  The initial diagnosis didn’t settle with me…and the medication they wanted us to try DEFINITELY didn’t settle with Seth.  Not to mention, in my head, I felt that what Seth had going on wasn’t necessarily something to be fixed, rather, more managed and coached.

So here we are now, with a diagnosis that I finally concluded myself, a few months ago (after being asked by 3 different people if Seth was autistic mind you!), and a good friend who pretty much assured me, in her unprofessional opinion, that Seth had Asperger Syndrome like her husband.  Of course I was completely taken aback when she initially said this, then contemplated it, then me being me, started researching and studying and asking questions.  So yes, his diagnosis comes out high-functioning Autistim/Asperger Syndrome.  Wow.  I didn’t think it would be any big deal, I mean he’s still the same Seth I’ve been living with and loving for eight years, so what if someone finally put a name on his “uniqueness”  Right?  Wrong.

At first I took it in stride…for the first 18 hours or so…then I turned into this woman I didn’t recognize.  Thinking I needed specialists from the Public School Dist. for him because he now has this “condition” that needs attention.  And he has been asking to go back his old private school for the upcoming school year, 2010-2011, and I started going through all the scenarios in my head that would be involved in even considering that with the information we now had.   I talked to the District Psychologist about his condition and asked all sorts of questions about the right school and the right teacher, none of which they could tell me until I chose a school and applied for a variance apparently.  Hmmmm, how am I supposed to know what would be best for him?  I had never attended any of these schools!  Then we discussed what sort of “needs” he would have, and I quickly realized that in the spectrum of Autism and AS Seth is VERY high functioning, comparatively speaking, and I started to get the idea that there wouldn’t be too much “help” because of all of the others who “really” needed it.  Hmmmm….  So, from 9am yesterday until 11:30pm I was a complete mental wreck trying to figure out what in the heck we were going to do with our son and his educational future.

So what did I do?  I went to Zumba!  Yes, seriously.  I decided to go Zumba it out.  It really does work :)  While in Zumba, I just kept staring at myself in the mirror (we have mirrored walls in the studio) and felt like something or someone was saying, “YOU know what he needs.  YOU know.  YOU have the answers.  It’s all in YOU.” (hey God, was that you?)

It was very surreal and invigorating all at the same time!  I came home and ended up having an hour long talk with my mother in law on the phone where I proceeded to work through the rest of my anxieties about his education (and Jonah’s, but that’s another blog post entirely!) and felt so relieved when I hung up the phone with her!  I ended up talking to my husband until almost midnight about it because it was weighing so heavily and guess what the conclusion was?  HOMESCHOOL.  Yep.  Continue to homeschool Seth, implementing the daily structure I know he needs as well as fill up 2 of his week days with classes on the Stilly campus for social interactions.  I DO know what he needs right now.  He knows the people there and has made friends.  It isn’t overrun with people and noise most of the time and he feels safe there.  He knows his teacher well, and if he melts down or gets angry, I know she can deal with it and won’t have to wait for the specialist to be called in.  If it’s a “bad day” all around, we can call a time out and go get a snack or take a walk or go dig worms!   Yep, homeschool is the answer.  I asked Seth what he wanted to do for school next year, he exclaimed the name of the private school and I told him I didn’t think that was going to work because of the special way his brain works and how they like to take recess away from boys who are naughty and he NEEDS his recess time!  So I started listing off the classes I saw that I thought might interest him at the Stilly campus, “Oh!  I can take that next year?  Oh cool.  Yeah, I’ll take that.   …Oh, and that too?  Cool, yeah I’ll take that…”

So we shall see…but sometimes I think Mom really does know best.  Now if she just didn’t second guess herself so much!!!!


 

Our ABC’s of Lifeschooling… December 2, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — cadamski @ 5:43 am

As you can see by the irregularity of my posts, lifeschooling can be consuming at times.  Or rather, lifeschooling with MY children can :)  I was thinking that every homeschooler/lifeschooler does things their own way, with their own twist.  So here, are the ABC’s of lifeschooling for our family:

A:  is for Art & ADD

B: is for BOYS, Bach and Beethoven!

C: is for Creativity, Computers, Cooking Class & Co-op

D: is for (2) DOGS & Drums!

E: is for English & Engineering

F: is for Frustration, Fun,  Football, Flexibility & Friends

G: is for Guitars, Grammar, Giggles & Grins

H: is for History, Hiking, Hugs and High Fives!

I: is for Investigate Interesting Insects & Inventions

J: is for Jump, Joy & Jesus

K: is for Kitchen & Kisses

L: is for Love, Laughter & Legos

M: is for Mom, Music & Math!

N: is for Never say Never!

O: is for Outside & Ornery

P: is for Practice & PlayMobil

Q: is for Quiet time

R: is for Redo’s, Reading & Robots

S: is for Science, Soccer, Spanish, Social Skills & Silliness

T: is for Time, Tae Kwon Do and Tests

U: is for Understanding

V: is for Vitality & Vision

W: is for Wiggles & Worship

X: is for Xcitement

Y: is for Yawns, Yes’s and Yard

Z: is for Zany, Zoo and Zillions!

It’s been a challenging few months for us, due to the fact that my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer.  She had lung removal surgery, and is still recovering, she is doing well, although the cancer is still present.  Who knew you could live with just one lung?!?  Hey….I feel a Unit Study coming on :)  Lapbook, perhaps?  So, our “schedule” lightened up a bit because I was in a bit of a haze there for awhile and off to dr. appts. and such, but we are catching back up and everything’s getting on track again.  We school through the holidays off with a few days off for Christmas and New Year’s instead of the full two weeks so we catch up a lot during that time as well.  It’s nice being able to be flexible.   Okay, so I have a lot more to say about what the kids are up to in their studies, but my oldest is adamant that I need to shut his light/door for him….ah, one day I just KNOW I will recall, lovingly, being needed.  Until next time…

 

Sports, Ice Caves, Bunnies and more…oh my! October 6, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — cadamski @ 6:20 pm

We have been so busy!  One thing I like about homeschooling is the fact that life can be messy.  For instance, my mother has been diagnosed with lung cancer.  She is currently in the hospital recovering from having one of her lungs removed.  Yes, life is definitely messy.  However, with homeschooling Daddy and Grandpa & Grandma Ski jumped right in to help out while I was at the hospital last week.  I suppose I could have asked myself, “Why am I homeschooling?!?  If the boys were in public school I wouldn’t have to even worry about them until after 3pm!”  But then again, I KNOW why we’re homeschooling and rejoice in the fact that family and friends are willing to support us in this effort for our boys.  Here are a few pictures, of our happy boys this past couple of weeks, totally unaware that anything “huge” was going on…thanks to those of you who made this possible!  YOU are truly a blessing to us! 

God is good.  God is gracious.  All we can do in this life is try to live up to His expectations.  Daily I fall short.  Daily I ask for forgiveness.  Thank you for being a part of my life!

Below:  Soccer, Picking Apples, Flag Football, Acquiring a pet bunny, Picking Corn, Rope swingin’ on the river, hiking to the Ice Caves

 

2009-2010 has begun!!! September 15, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — cadamski @ 6:10 pm

Oh my has it begun!!  All you parents who school more than one grade at a time – wow!  ESPECIALLY if they are high energy kids – DOUBLE WOW!  This is amazing!  They are like little, rubber bouncing balls all over the homeschool room!  I would LOVE to let them just play, play and play some more, but unfortunately I think I did a little too much of that last spring.  So this year I have made some goals for our little “homeschool”. 

 bouncy ball race

For my second grader I am hoping to get him adjusted to the homeschool mentality – right now he keeps wanting to show his papers to a “real” teacher.  Nice.  We take a few elective classes at the Stilly Valley School and he wants to bring anything he’s written here to school to show them for approval.  I’d also like to break some really bad habits I’ve noticed he’s making with writing his letters as well as build up his reading confidence.  Being the youngest, he has gotten into a BAD habit of just saying, “Read this to me…I can’t read!” when indeed, he can read, and better each day!  Little bugger.  Found that out one day when he read me the following joke off of a popscicle stick, “What spell did the magician cast on the dinosaur?  A Tyrannasaurous Hex!”  Pretty big words for a kiddo that “can’t read”!  Ha – busted! 

As for mredwally 6th grader, I am very proud of him that last year he discovered the love of reading.  YAHOO!  Talk about a HUGE milestone!!!!  Now he is devastated if we don’t allow him some free-reading time before bed.  What a nice dilemma to have!  The Redwall series by Brian Jacques is what did it for him, in case you are wondering.  Oh, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney!  He loves those too!  We intersperse the books because the Redwall series is VERY long and has tons of books, so a break for complete nonsense is in order at times :) 

love of books

diary the last strawThis year my goal for him is to get him up to speed in his English skills and to continue to nuture his love of all things math and science.  As well, to keep him ahead in his mathematics and not let him slide back to grade level (which can be very easy to do when you homeschool, thinking “Oh, he’s already there, it’s okay if we miss a day…”).   I want him to have the option to matriculate into public school in the 7th grade if he so chooses, and I want that to be an easy transition, so the English skills definitely need to be up to par.  He has also shown a great love for music which is wonderful – he knows composers now by ear – love that!  He took guitar last year and is wanting to try the drums or saxophone this year – we should know by next week what he will be playing.

jazz band

As for me, mom, teacher, wife, daughter, sister and friend.  I am overloaded right now.  I have just applied for a part-time job (and have been applying for others as well).  My mother is sick with lung cancer.  I would like homeschooling and my art to be my 2 priorities but alas, they are not.  With our current work situation we need the extra income a PT job would provide as well as my boys seem to need to be homeschooled this year.  We even went to the public schools and picked up the paperwork this summer and talked to them about their programs.    In the end, my boys plead their case for homeschool and so we are taking the road less traveled (though more traveled each and every day!)  It feels right for now. 

This blog is mostly to help me work out my thoughts/fears/hopes and experiences about our homeschool/lifeschool journey – I hope it leaves you with something as well.  Please feel free to leave me comments, helps and or suggestions. 

Go in peace; and remember, we cannot control the length of our life, just the depth. 

love apple

 

“Mom, you’ve got 3 minutes to be down in the homeschool room or else!” July 8, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — cadamski @ 4:26 pm
Tags: , , ,

clock montageYep, that’s what I rolled over to hear as my oldest son was leaving my bedroom this morning!  LOL..well he told me!  Today is our 8-10am homeschool day – a tad early for us considering the rest of the week we school 10-Noon, except for Wed/Thurs.    Although tired because Lar and I stayed up waaaaay too late watching Revolutionary Road last night I was VERY proud of my oldest for being dressed and ready to go this morning!  I considered it a major coup! 

My youngest is already half done with his work for the day, so he’s taking a break, watching the last 1/2 of a show on PBS called “Sid the Science Kid” – it’s a pretty cute show and he seems to remember EVERYTHING they teach him!  For instance, one day it was about why bananas turn brown and mushy; why it’s important to brush your teeth and today was about exercising.  Now a show called Super Why which helps him with his spelling and reading.  He made sure to tell me it’s a LEARNING show!  LOL…well won’t he be devastated when his daddy nukes the tv service later this week.  Gasp!  Yes, I know…tv is a HUGE topic amongst families and even bigger amongst homeschoolers.  But daddy has decided it must go, and I think I’m just about in a agreement with him, here’s why:

swamp tv1.  The kids can watch videos/movies that we have specially CHOSEN for them to view instead of random, tv shows that other people deem appropriate (even though we have a code on the tv, seriously, we type it in when we’re busy without thinking much so what’s the use?!?)

2.  Screen time will be monitored much better since dvds/videos are more apparent when they end, as another one doesn’t just automatically start up.

3.  Most shows that they/we watch now are available online for free if we REALLY want to see one.

4.  It will get them to look at books more often and their imagination toys too. 

So that’s where we are in this ongoing battle, tv/no tv…thoughts?  Oh, and the cost difference is amazing!  We’ll save almost $100/month!!!!  Ridiculous,  when all we had was the basic cable pkg, basic phone pkg (yes, our long dist/vm was included) and internet!  So now we’ll have basic phone service  (no vm/long dist – but isn’t that why we pay an arm and a leg for cellular service?) and internet – and SAVE!  Whoot, whoot!

 

“I forgot how to write in cursive!!” July 6, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — cadamski @ 10:53 pm
Tags: ,
All those Letters!

All those Letters!

Yes, it’s true.  I heard these words exclaimed from the mouth of my almost 12 year old son today.  I don’t know if he was more frustrated, angry or sad!  It was hard to determine through the gritted teeth and growling….and no, he didn’t really forget, just a letter or two, and he needs some more practice overall.  Whew!  Crisis averted…well sort of, he still wasn’t HAPPY about it!

Once we got past that though, it was a fairly good session for homeschooling today!  Yes, today was a standard “homeschool” day…reading, writing and ‘rithmetic….right now the boys are building forts and scheming to get Dad to paint WarHammer figurines with them in a bit.  Ah the life of a boy! 

Things that went GREAT today:  math.  My boys just LOVE their mathematics!  I am so blessed that they love it and for the mostpart “get” the concepts pretty quickly.  Makes things much easier :)  J came up with some wonderful metaphors today – was very proud of him!  He also worked on his own pretty good for quite awhile before asking for help – whoo hoo!  Not to mention, even when S finished up before him and happily trotted off, he didn’t flinch!  He just kept on task.  WOW!  S read a Dr. Seuss book almost all by himself today – he’s really enjoying reading more and more!  He also took the dry erase pens and created a mural on the closet doors that Daddy made into “dry erase” boards with this special “white board paint” – all on his own accord!  Very creative and detailed!

What didn’t go so great:  need to incorporate more positive reinforcements.  Give more kudos.  I was a little short on patience today (hmmmm, maybe I need to put myself back onto a better sleeping schedule!)  Keep computer/video games limited to M-Th!!!  We always seem to give in on this one, I don’t know why!  Oh wait, yes I do…because we want to GIVE them everything!  Grrrr….does anyone else have that problem?  Anyway, that only leads to them fighting and squabbling…it’s ALWAYS over the computer or gaming system.  Take it away and whoa!  They get along for the mostpart!  Like right now, downstairs building forts and whatnot, no problem.  They have to work together, therefore they have to get along or figure it out – you know, like in the real world?  LOVE that.  Also realized now, at almost 4:00pm that I should have taken them to the Children’s Museum or something today so they could get their energy out for awhile since it was raining…but hindsight is 20/20….there’s always later this week :)

Today’s challenge to you:  catch your child/significant other doing 5 things “right” before bed tonight and tell them how it makes you feel (we’re starting small here…) – so often we only tell people when we think they’re doing things wrong…and let’s see if we can’t just make someone smile! :)

 

 
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