Now They Call Me Teacher

Here is the second part to our adoption story. If you haven’t read the first part check it out HERE.

First published August 9, 2018

Not long after the adoptions we were surprised again by another little miracle. Mr. Jacob came into this world in the spring of 2013. His arrival was a little bit rough as he was quite a bit bigger than his brother (both were 9lbs +) and we spent a little extra time in the hospital. Everyone was ecstatic to have their baby brother join them at home.

Not long after this joyous occasion was when my marriage really began to crumble. The stress of a large family coupled with the extraordinary needs of our special needs children was taking its toll on our little family and soon afterwards my husband walked out on us. He did eventually come back, for a little while, and then left again.

Round and round on that chaotic merry-go-round we went.  Then In the Spring of 2014 , just before Jacob’s 1st birthday, he walked away for the last time. It was a very hard time for all of us but once again we made it through. It took us a little bit to find our new ‘normal’ as I wasn’t really sure what normal was anymore.

Then that fall William moved schools. That was a major catastrophe! He did not adjust and we just didn’t know what to do to help him make the adjustment. The teachers couldn’t handle him so we would go to the doctor. The doctor would prescribe more medications.

The medications would make him sick or have crazy side effects. Then we would go back to the doctor to eventually find something that worked.

The problem was that each medication would only work for a short period of time before it needed to be increased or changed out. The side effects were scary but I trusted the doctors and their knowledge.By Christmas of 2014 I was worn to a frazzle from the impending divorce, the issues William was having at school, and then Caitlyn was experiencing some behavioral issues and was put on medication as well.

Momma was one crazy mess! In fact everyone was a crazy mess. It was at this time I began to experiment with essential oils to help calm and relax everyone. We eventually got everyone squared away and over the Christmas break I had decided to do a ‘medication vacation’. I discussed it with the doctor beforehand and he encouraged me to make an appointment if I needed him for anything. I think he was a bit curious as to what the outcome would be.

Surprisingly enough everyone did very well and the oils seemed to help at least until school started back.The kids started back on their medications after I received several notice from the teachers about their behavior. I had made appointments with the doctor and we both felt that they ‘needed’ the medications to go to school. Read the last part of that sentence again… they ‘needed’ the medications to go to school. Yeah, when that hit me I realized that I wasn’t the one having the issues when they weren’t on medications.

However when they were on medication I had to deal with the mood swings, tantrums, and everything else that they had been holding in all day long! No wonder they were so grumpy with me after school. In January of 2015 I made the decision to pull William out of public school with his doctor’s support. (There were several reasons that the decision was made as he also had dietary restrictions that weren’t being adhered to at school as well as the reactions to the medications.)

The change in him was instant. He was back to being his fun loving little self again and that made my heart happy.Now trying to teach him was another matter but after doing a TON of research we finally figured it out. We found so many resources that have helped us along the way and we are so thankful for each and every one of them. There was some trial and error though but with every failure we were learning what did and didn’t work.

By Spring he was off all of his prescription medications and doing wonderfully! This change encouraged me to make the leap and pull the girls out of school before the school year ended. I still didn’t really feel like I knew what I was doing at all but I kept trying. Half the battle is won by just showing up and every morning I showed up ready to try again.

Part of the problem we weren’t having the results that I expected was because I didn’t know that homeschool looks different for every family and every home. I was trying to recreate ‘school’ at home and that didn’t work for us. It was at this time I really started getting involved with some of the groups on Facebook and taking advice from more seasoned homeschool Mommas. Boy did we see a change in our attitudes around the house.
Everyone was having fun! The biggest problem I had was affording the materials that we wanted to use. Luckily I stumbled across the Easy Peasy All-In-One Homeschool. It was just what we needed. The lessons were simple and already planned out. You really didn’t need to do much of anything except print out a few things here and there.
That fall big sister also decided she wanted to homeschool much to my surprise. She was able to help out with the younger kids as well. This allowed me more time to research other things that I hoped to incorporate into our learning experience. Again I kept running into the MONEY issue. That’s when I remembered the Florida Gardiner Scholarship I had applied to earlier in the year. It has been such a lifesaver for helping to purchase materials and supplies to help William have an exceptional educational experience right here at home where he is most comfortable.
With new materials and a new zeal for teaching we started on our homeschool journey which is going on its fifth year here and has seen one graduate already. Over the past few years I have grown in leaps and bounds in my knowledge of homeschooling. We have also learned to homeschool through the good days as well as the bad. Every day is a learning experience and we can make the most of every minute that we have,
We have also had several life changes over the past year which have resulted in the addition of 3 new family members, Mr. Awesome and his two sons, and a move where we did a drastic downsize. In the midst of all the chaos, which can often times spell DISASTER in our home, we try to keep calm and carry on. We do this with some simple, and not so simple, routines that I started way back when my nine was only four.
We have also found a lot of resources, tips, life hacks, and gadgets to help us get through those tough times and keep school entertaining. Some of these tools are so much fun the kids don’t have a clue that they are actually learning and they would probably still love them just as much if you told them Momma’s trick.
I encourage a lot of ‘free learning’ so we are always looking for new resources. I am excited to share these with you and your family so you too can provide your children with the most personalized and exceptional education to fit their needs.
I look forward to sharing a lot more with you all in the days, weeks, months, and years to come. Maybe, just maybe, we can help someone else’s walk down this path a little easier.

 

A New School Routine For The New Year

Continue reading “A New School Routine For The New Year”

Speech Therapy At Home: Video Links You Need To Check Out

I have a couple of younger kiddos who have a little bit of trouble pronouncing a few different sounds as well as a special needs kiddo who can be quite hard to understand if you haven’t been around him for a while.

This is just a short list of links that I found to help us with our Speech Therapy at home. I’ll try to update this as we find more resources as well.

Fun Videos

Speech-Language Practice Fun for Kids: Let’s Go Fishing

Phonics Music Game for Kids: Multi-syllable Word Fun

Holiday Tree Calendar Game! Super Fun Speech Language Turn-Taking for Kids

Rhyming Fun with Elf on the Shelf! Holiday Toy!

Speech Practice and Talking Turns: Fun Tips with a Puppet


Links by letter sounds

B

Childrens Speech Learn letters P, B, M (by Patty Shukla)

Speech Therapy Techniques: Early Speech Sounds Articulation Drill /P B, M, N/ | PART 2

C

Speech Therapy – “C” Sounds – YakBack Sounds #11

My secret to teaching my toddler how to pronounce the “c” “g” & “k” sounds

D

Childrens Speech learn letters T, D, N and L (by Patty Shukla)

Speech Therapy – “D” Words – YakBack Sounds #5

F

Childrens Speech Learn letters F and V (by Patty Shukla)

Speech Therapy – “F” Sounds – YakBack Sounds #14

G

Speech therapy targeting k and g sounds

My secret to teaching my toddler how to pronounce the “c” “g” & “k” sounds

Speech Therapy – Words Ending In G – YakBack Sounds #34

H

Speech Therapy – “H” Sounds – YakBack Sounds #4

Speech Therapy – “H” Sounds – YakBack Sounds #7

J

How to Pronounce the English J sound /dʒ/ – Pronunciation Lesson

K

Speech therapy targeting k and g sounds

Produce a /k/ Sound with ARK’s Spoon Tip

Teaching k sound in isolation (fronting) | Pronunciation | Speech Therapy Tips

My secret to teaching my toddler how to pronounce the “c” “g” & “k” sounds

L

Childrens Speech learn letters T, D, N and L (by Patty Shukla)

Phonics Speech Practice: Digging for l Sound Treasures

Phonics with the L speech sound

Speech Therapy – “L” Words – YakBack Sounds #13

M

Childrens Speech Learn letters P, B, M (by Patty Shukla)

Speech Therapy Techniques: Early Speech Sounds Articulation Drill /P B, M, N/ | PART 2

N

Childrens Speech learn letters T, D, N and L (by Patty Shukla)

Speech Therapy Techniques: Early Speech Sounds Articulation Drill /P B, M, N/ | PART 2

P

Childrens Speech Learn letters P, B, M (by Patty Shukla)

Speech Therapy Techniques: Early Speech Sounds Articulation Drill /P B, M, N/ | PART 2

R

Tools for Teaching the R Sound by Peachie Speechie

Speech Therapy: Eureka Approach with the /r/ sound

S

Speech Therapy – “S” Sounds – YakBack Sounds #12

Discover Fun with Dinosaurs!

How to Say /s/ and /z/ (Frontal and Lateral Lisp)

Making a Snowman Snack using /s/ blend words!

Let’s Go Fishing for Final /SH/ Sound Words

Speech Therapy – S Blends – YakBack Sounds #67

T

Childrens Speech learn letters T, D, N and L (by Patty Shukla)

Making the “Th” Sound

Speech Therapy – “T” Sounds – YakBack Sounds #10

V

Childrens Speech Learn letters F and V (by Patty Shukla)

X

How to Do Speech Therapy with Toddlers at Home: X sounds

Y

Kids Speech, Learn English – Y words – Yak Back #85

Z

How to Say /s/ and /z/ (Frontal and Lateral Lisp)

 

 

Loop Scheduling Made Simple With An Easy DIY Post It Note Loop Schedule

**Although I try to provide as many FREE resources as possible this post may contain affiliate links alt no extra cost to you. We may earn a small commission, if a purchase is made through these links, which helps to support our blog and our family. Thank you!

Instructions for the Easy DIY Post It Note Loop Schedule at the end of the post.

Many of us have started back to school and some of us started and then quit…errr… well, maybe I’m the only one that did that but I am happy to say that we are well on our way to getting back on track. The big project I have been working on is finished (YAYYYYY!!!!) and I am hoping it will be ready to post this weekend so keep an eye out for it.

In preparation of our new school year I pulled out our old Loop Schedule so I could change it out for this year. What a better time to show you how I do it?

Last year one of the sanity savers I used was this Loop Schedule. You may have heard of Loop Scheduling and I thought it was something new but actually it was something I had already been doing and you probably have too!

I always start the year out with all kinds of fun activities, games, and ideas for us to work on. Before our Loop Schedule I was always trying to make sure we got the ‘meaty’ subjects like Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, and Science finished before we moved on to anything else. If we didn’t get those areas completed we would just not do the other areas.

(These links will update soon and take you to our first Kirby’s Kids Academic Adventure!)

I always felt like we weren’t getting everything done that I wanted to get done. Our days got so BORING! We would be doing the same things over and over and never had time for the fun activities that I had planned for us to do. There’s only so much time in the day so what is an overwhelmed Momma to do? Continue reading “Loop Scheduling Made Simple With An Easy DIY Post It Note Loop Schedule”

Homeschooling Through The Unexpected

**This post does contain some affiliate links which could possibly earn me a small commission if a purchase was made through them. These links help to support our blog and our family.

We’ve all been there… or some of us have. I was once a very efficient, organized, multitasking homeschooling Momma. I still am for the most part but I have learned that you also need a lot of flexibility and patience.

There will be times when your plans go perfectly and everything seems to be so easy. But then there will be times when your homeschool is complete CHAOS! This can happen in the blink of an eye and without warning. Continue reading “Homeschooling Through The Unexpected”

Preventing The Back To HomeSchool Meal Planning Madness

**This post does contain some affiliate links which could possibly earn me a small commission if a purchase was made through them. These links help to support our blog and our family.

Hmmm… have you thought about what you’ll be feeding those hungry learners? If your kids were in public school you may not have had to think much about it before. If you plan to homeschool then you will be feeding them at least three meals a day and maybe a few snacks in between.

This can turn into a chaotic juggling act if you aren’t prepared. How do we prevent meal time chaos in our home? By meal planning. I even plan out snacks sometimes so I don’t forget to include them on my grocery list. Check out this link for some Healthy Snacks to Go.

10 snacks your kids can make star (1)

It might seem like a lot of trouble but when you find a system that works for then it is so easy. It will actually save you time and money in the long run. This is also a helpful thing even if you don’t homeschool.

Check out this post for some quick and easy breakfast ideas to help you beat that morning chaos and fill those tummies with a nutritious breakfast to start their day off right. Here is another link for even more ideas: The Healthy Breakfast Book. Continue reading “Preventing The Back To HomeSchool Meal Planning Madness”

13 Fun First Day Back To HomeSchool Ideas

**This post does contain some affiliate links which could possibly earn me a small commission if a purchase was made through them. These links help to support our blog and our family.

I can remember how excited I always was on my first day back to school. I loved school as a kid and I was always so eager to learn. My best memories were of the teachers who let us play games or gave us special treats on that first day. Maybe they were just trying to bribe us but it was something I remember.

As a homeschooling Momma I can find ways to bring that excitement into our homeschool. I try to keep things fun and interesting and sometimes do something a little crazy. Check out my new Pinterest board, Homeschool: First Day Activities. Continue reading “13 Fun First Day Back To HomeSchool Ideas”

Have You Bought Your School Supplies Yet?

**This post does contain some affiliate links which could possibly earn me a small commission if a purchase was made through them. These links help to support our blog and our family.

We’ve bought the majority of our school supplies for the upcoming year. I know from experience that this is something best done sooner rather than waiting to the last minute.

Not sure what to buy? Check out my post here with our Free Printable Back to school list. I’ll try to start planning for our next year’s school choices about midyear. This gives me plenty of time to research and make lists for supplies that we’ll need.

Not homeschooling? Check with your child’s school and/or teacher for supply list. Many times the local Walmart will have a handy checklist available when you walk in. Continue reading “Have You Bought Your School Supplies Yet?”

Skill Trek Sale

For one week only, January 24th – 31st,  you, my readers can save 15% off of an annual family membership AND receive a FREE Winter Skills Set of your  choice. by using the  the coupon code SKILLTREKJANUARY.

This is a great opportunity and my kiddos are loving this new program in our home. Even the four year is learning to tell time and they are all become very proficient in Tic Tac Toe among many other skills we are working on.

Youtube, Yellow Rocks, and Yamato’s

 

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Sunday was DS15’s birthday! Yeah, he is growing up. I am so proud of all the accomplishments and progress he has made over the past few years and I know that he will continue to learn and make progress in the years to come.

In case you don’t already know DS15 has Down’s Syndrome, ADHD, and several other disorders that can make life quite challenging at times. These challenges have been hard for me to overcome sometimes as a single parent and they can overwhelm anyone at times. Life has definitely been a roller coaster over the past few years. Continue reading “Youtube, Yellow Rocks, and Yamato’s”

Sneak Peek: November 14, 2017

Below is a sneak peak at some of my upcoming blog posts.

Stay tuned for some more exciting things to come as well!

Have a blessed day!

The Right Way vs The Wrong Way

I think everyone knows by now that I have a special needs child. He is 14 years old. Where has time gone? He can be the sweetest most loving child on most days. On other days he can be the most irritating and annoying child on the planet. He will test your patience to the limits and then some. So life can be a little crazy here especially when it comes to the toilet paper!

We quickly learned that routines were a must! He thrives on routines and schedules. He likes to know what is to be expected and when to expect it. He does not, I repeat DOES NOT, like changes. As we all know there are many changes in life and especially with this many people in our house things are constantly changing.

So what do we do? How do we handle the changes? How do we keep our sanity?

Well, we have our basic routines. We have routines for mornings, for afternoons, and for bedtimes. We also have our school routines and certain routines that we follow for extra activities. We try our best to stick to these as much as possible and give him something ‘constant’ that he can count on. By trying to keep things as normal as possible, even when we are away from the house, it helps him to stay balanced.

When there are changes we know to keep an extra eye out for him and they way he acts. He will usually give some kind of warning behaviors before he hits complete melt down stage. His older siblings have learned some of these signs are able to help me intercept when needed. We can redirect his attention and focus onto something that doesn’t upset him or we can try to explain what is going on to him depending on the situation.

There are times, like the holidays, when meltdowns are almost inevitable. We try to watch and listen for clues that one is approaching but sometimes a melt down will come out of nowhere. Once we get him through it then all is well again until the next time. The younger kids have learned that this just part of life. They know to give him space and to give him some quiet time so he can calm down and unwind. They have developed and understanding and show a lot of empathy towards him when he is struggling.

Some of the warning signs are in the picture above. I had not made it into the bathroom to do my morning Swish & Swipe and apparently the toilet paper was on the ‘wrong way’ and which was enough to send him over the edge a couple of days ago. He then proceeded to shred the toilet paper all over the bathroom, unfold all of the towels, and turn everything around backwards. Why? I don’t really understand why but I’m sure it made sense to him in some way.

After spending a few minutes in the bathroom he came out and went to his room and shut the door. This wasn’t normal and when I opened the door he was folding his socks and lining them up. He just kept saying something about ‘the wrong way’. It wasn’t long before someone found the mess in the bathroom.

After this event his older sister had me show her how to ‘properly’ fold the towels so that she can help to put them away right. She also had me show her a couple of other ‘tricks’ to cleaning and tidying up the bathroom to help keep it the ‘right way’. She is also displaying empathy towards him and towards me by trying to help with this.

 

Being a Momma of many can be tough. There are some days that are tougher than others. This day was no exception but I also know it could’ve been worse if we didn’t have our routines in place to help him. By helping him we are also helping each other. When one family member is struggling it causes the rest of us to struggle as well.

Something as little as the toilet paper roll can trigger a meltdown which can lead to a ‘bad day’. I know there are so many people who argue about what the right way is for the toilet paper. In our house it is the picture on the left, no exceptions!

I encourage you to look for things that you can do to help others in your house, no arguing about what is the right way or the wrong way, just do it.