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Curriculum Round-up 2016/2017

So we’ve started our 6th year here at Lamp Post Academy. We still use the Workboxing System and have streamlined it since implementing it 4 years ago. Our school room is now the dining room, which happened a couple of years ago. It keeps my whole downstairs from being consumed by school stuff. I’ve implemented what I call “Boardwork.”

Boardwork is a series of index cards taped to my white board  that stipulate certain activities. The kids place a magnet with their initials on it on the card they’ve completed. These are mostly supplemental type activities and they are all to be done on their own time. Things like reading practice (read for an hour if  you’re Chi and 30 minutes if you’re Pieces and Pynni), math worksheets, various apps that supplement math and language arts, typing, free writing, copywork, etc. These are things they have to complete every day before they can hang out with their friends. I’m hoping it fosters personal responsibility that they don’t get from having to turn in homework.

Pieces has caught up with Pynni and we’ve been doing “class” together when we do “Work With Mom”s (WWM). They really like this and make a game of spelling and reading. All of the work we’ve been doing with Pynni has really been paying off big time. While she’s still behind grade level by quite a lot, she has less issues with doing the work and moving onward. Pieces was recently assessed for ADD/ADHD and we’ve started a low dose of Ritalin to see if we can help him organize himself a little better and focus better. This is new, and I can’t really tell yet if it’s having a positive affect.

Chi started 9th grade. Let that sink in for a minute. Chi is now in high school and everything he does here on out is to go on his high school transcript. I considered enrolling him in a virtual charter school but I didn’t like the idea of being beholden to someone else’s schedule and Chi was hard against it. I’ve been sort of panicked trying to decide what the right thing to do was and what direction we should take and then finding all the resources I needed to make this high school thing happen. I have been trying to decide if I feel like I can adequately teach high school English, Social Studies and Science. I’ve looked every place I can think of for information and suggestions. What you’ll see here is the culmination of months of researching, planning, scrapping, etc until I felt I had something both comprehensive and affordable.

So what follows, as far as the curriculum round-up is concerned will be first, what I’m doing with Pynni and Pieces followed by the course plan for Chi for this, his freshman year of high school.

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Pynni and Pieces (4th Grade)

Language Arts: spelling, reading, writing, grammar, vocabulary

Mathematics and Critical Thinking 

Extras: 

  • Handwriting Without Tears: all three kids with Pynni and Chi learning cursive
  • A History of US by Joy Hakim: all three kids
  • R.E.A.L Science Odyssey by Pandia Press: all three kids
  • Science Detective by Critical Thinking Co.: all three kids
  • Young Scientists Cluball three kids. This is a lab mailed to your house once or twice a month.
  • Which Way USA? and Top Secret Adventures by Highlights: all three kids (this helps cover basic geography on top of what they learn in their history curriculum)
  • Piano Adventures by Faber
  • Rosetta Stone: Spanish Level 1 and 2
  • Keyboarding Without Tears by Handwriting Without Tears: Pynni and Pieces
  • Study Island: I’m using this in lieu of other supplements and review curricula I’ve done in the past.

Joint Reading:

  • FINSIHED Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (We’ve been reading through the Harry Potter series. I thought I’d start including our group read-aloud books here, as well.)
  • FINISHED The Scorch Trials by James Dashner (We finished the Harry Potter Series and started with the Maze Runner series. The books aren’t nearly the tomes of Harry Potter and makes for fast reading.)
  • FINISHED Savvy by Ingrid Law
  • FINISHED The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee (This is just with Pieces right now. It’s for The Arrow. We take turns reading out loud. Chi will read this on his own and then he will read the passages used in the curriculum out loud to me. He’s read this book before about 4 years ago.)
  • FINISHED Scumble by Ingrid Law
  • FINISHED The Death Cure by James Dashner
  • Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

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Chi (9th grade)

English 1 credit

  • Brave Writer: Help 4 High School (writing papers)
  • Brave Writer: Arrow/Boomerang (literature)
  • Editor-in-Chief by Critical Thinking Co. (grammar)
  • Vocabulit by Perfection Learning (vocab)
  • All About Spelling by All About Learning Press (spelling)

Foreign Language 1 credit

  • Rosetta Stone Level 2

Math 1 credit

  • Math U See Pre-Algebra by Demme Learning
  • Math U See Geometry

Science

  • With us. I create a lesson plan, lessons, and use labs to teach various topics in Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. He won’t get a credit for this, but UNC requires only 3 science credits. He will start earning credits in science next year.

Social Studies 1 credit

Electives 2 credits

Supplementals

  • Study Island
  • Spider Island Logic
  • Spider Island Riddles
  • Reflex Math

The plan is for Chi to finish out any of his current supplementals. He has puzzle books that I won’t be buying more of, but I want him to finish them. Study Island covers language arts, math, science, and social studies for K-12.

He will also finish the Handwriting Without Tears book he is on and that will complete that, and he will finish out the All About Spelling level he’s on and that will finish that.

How much longer?

I was spending time revisiting some older posts when I came across this one. It still cracks me up and makes me a little queasy at the same time. My Good Ol’ Uncle, here after known as GOUB, thought it was amusing that I couldn’t find meter sticks anywhere and randomly texts me pictures of meter sticks as he comes across them. He owns something like three of them and likes to point out that they aren’t that hard to find. Maybe in Texas, GOUB, but here in NC meter sticks are hard to come by.

Don't Hold Your Breath

I need a meter stick. I do. I keep coming back to that and forget about it for a while until I come back around to needing one again. It’s mainly for school purposes. Sometimes I’ll be out running errands and I’ll remember and I’ll look and I’ll not find a meter stick. Then I forget again. And on it goes.

I finally put that meter stick on my LIST. I NEED it for science and we’re going all out with science this summer. So on to find a meter stick.

I looked at Target. No meter stick.

I looked at a Super Target. No meter stick.

I looked at Michaels. No meter stick.

I looked at Office Max. No meter stick.

I looked at Staples. No meter stick.

Then I have the best idea since starting this quest. Lowe’s Home Improvement! Solved!

Uh, right.

I go in the store…

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Prepping for School

Prepping for School

We’ve officially started our school year. We’re actually about six weeks into it now. The last two years have seen a lot of fluctuation in our curricula for various reasons. So the following is where we are now, and will hopefully be for some time to come.

Language Arts: spelling, reading, writing, grammar, vocabulary

  • All About Spelling by All About Learning Press: all three kids
  • All About Reading by All About Learning Press: Level 1 for Pieces and Level 2 for Pynni
  • Explode the Code by Nancy Hall: Level 2.5 for Pynni and Level 1.5 for Pieces (they will be moving up to 3 and 2 respectively in the near future)
  • Guinness Book of World Records Reading (comprehension): Chi
  • Reading Detective by Critical Thinking Co.: Chi
  • Writing with Ease by Susan Wise Bauer: Pynni and Chi. Pieces will start when Pynni moves on to the next level.
  • First Language Lessons by Jessie Wise: all three kids
  • Vocabulit by Perfection Learning: Chi

Mathematics and Critical Thinking 

  • Math U See by Demme Learning: all three kids
  • Splash Math App by Study Pad Inc.: all three kids
  • Mathematical Reasoning by Critical Thinking Co.: all three kids
  • Time App by Study Pad Inc.: Pynni and Pieces
  • Money App by Study Pad Inc: all three kids
  • Building Thinking Skills by Critical Thinking Co.: all three kids

Extras: 

  • Handwriting Without Tears: all three kids with Pynni and Chi learning cursive
  • Snatch: a programming language for Chi
  • Typing Instructor for Kids Platinum: Pynni and Pieces (Chi has done all of Type to Learn 4 and Typing Instructor. He is at a point now where he just needs practice for typing fluency and speed. I have him type three or so sentences about his daily reading. This correlates well with his work in Writing with Ease.)
  • A History of US by Joy Hakim: all three kids
  • R.E.A.L Science Odyssey by Pandia Press: all three kids
  • Supercharged Science  by Aurora Lipper: all three kids
  • Which Way USA? and Top Secret Adventures by Highlights: all three kids (this helps cover basic geography on top of what they learn in their history curriculum)
  • Piano Adventures by Faber: all three kids

And that about does it for this school year so far. I’m pretty happy with how comprehensive our school day is and that it isn’t frustratingly long for all that. We do 12 workboxes four days a week and on the fifth day we do a math box, a reading box, history, science, and piano lessons.

We aren’t joining two of the homeschool groups we were a part of last school year at this time. One of them took up a big chunk of one day a week and I felt like we didn’t get as much covered as we otherwise would have had we been at home during those hours. It’s a great co-op type group, but it really meshes better with unschooling and not our super structured school days. The other group is good for finding out about all of the things going on in the area that might be relevant to homeschoolers, but it requires a small amount of time commitment dedicated to the group. That bit of time really hung heavy over my head last year and I want to try going without this time around. We may rejoin mid-year, but for now we only have the group we go to the park with on Fridays. If we get more covered, we may join the group that has Wednesday park days as well just for the break those days afford and the society they provide.

I should have a better handle on my Pynni update after today’s visit with the language specialist. For now, we’ve started therapy, but I do not have the official diagnoses just yet.

Vegan-y Veg

Well, you all know I fell off the wagon, so to speak. It wasn’t because I was having an issue with my new diet. I just made crap choices. Again and again.

Here’s the thing: I don’t want to have heart disease. I don’t want to have a heart attack before 40. I know, intellectually, what I can do to change my health trajectory. So all those failures while I was on my epic road trip? I’m not going to let them derail me. I can rationalize them all away. I can make excuses all day, but in the end, I slid back, very comfortably I might add, into the skin of the me BEFORE my last physical. The Now Me, refuses to let that derail my intentions, my focus, my goal.

So I’m back home and I’m moving in that direction. I know from past experience that whole hog isn’t a successful road for me, but just knowing my end game seems to help me make the right decisions in the here and now. I have to plan and move in a general direction before I make the leap. So I’m back to moving in the general direction.

Today, I didn’t rule the roost with my choices. I had Chick-fil-A for lunch. Really it was more out of hunger and extreme tiredness than anything else, but there you are, I made a shit decision. My sandwich was on wheat… That’s about as good as I can claim. Oh, and it was dry.

Tonight, though, I’m happy to say that I made good decisions. I chose to have a veg bowl that consisted of black beans, corn, pico, avocados and nutritional yeast. It was yummy! I also had some cooked polenta patties. This is where my non- E2 happened with this meal. I sautéed those patties in coconut oil. Not much, but any is not E2 compliant.

Last night I made a version of my signature lettuce wraps without meat. It tasted delicious, but the veg was WAY too… oh, I don’t know SMALL. I used my food processor to cut up all the veg because I was in a hurry. The result was a moderately pasty concoction that tasted like the real deal. Next time I won’t be using my food processor to chop the veg.

For now: T’s Lettuce Wraps

1/2 cup soy sauce

8 tsp fish sauce

5 tsp sugar

2 shallots finely diced

6 cloves of garlic, minced

2 jalopeno peppers, de-veined, de-seeded and finely diced

4 tblsp fresh ginger,grated

1 bag or more baby spinach cut down into “strips”

1 bag grated carrots

1 pkg sliced, fresh mushrooms diced

2 cans water chestnuts diced

1 can black beans, vegetarian, drained and rinsed

1 pkg ground Seitan

Melt 3 tbsp coconut oil in a hot wok. Add jalapeño, ginger, shallot and garlic to the oil. Sauté for about 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add “meat”: black beans and Seitan (you could add cooked lentils here if you wished). Sauté for about 4 minutes to infuse the beans and Seitan with the flavors. In a separate bowl, make the sauce: soy sauce, fish oil, sugar. (I recommend doubling this part.) (Also to make it vegan, skip the fish sauce and add the juice of 2-3 limes. To make it E2 compliant, skip the sugar and add 2 tsp of honey, sauté everything in veg broth, and use Tamari instead of Soy sauce.)  Add veg: spinach, mushrooms, carrots, water chestnuts. Cook until the spinach is wilted and the everything is heated through, about 5 minutes. Add the sauce and cook for 2-3 minutes more.

Serve with big iceberg lettuce leaves, or bibb lettuce leaves as the wraps. Fill the wraps with the filling made above and brown rice.

IMG_0777I went on a road trip to see my parents. I took my kids, my homeschool, my yarn, some E2 Happy snacks, and a bunch of good intentions. Well, the trip was great and the kids were very well behaved. I got to see my grandmother who has been in the hospital for some time. I crocheted her a hat that looked fab on her and spent a bunch of time running errands for her. It was good to see her spunk and spark, again.

We had school during the week days and the kids were great considering that it was a modified version of our workboxes. I expected a bit of an issue with Chi, but that didn’t happen. He was very amenable to the change. That is amazing. Chi. Flexible. Chi. Chill in the face of change. CRAZY and so amazing! I’ve said it here before, but homeschooling him has been the best decision I ever made.

I spent some time before my trip looking for quilt designs for a quilt my mom is making. We usually do it like this: I pick a design, find the pattern, choose the fabrics and help cut out the pieces. Mom puts all the squares together and assembles the quilt and does the quilting. She does all the sewing. Due to all the things I was in town to accomplish, that gave me several days to actually do some of the sewing.

Triangles together with thread

Triangles together with thread

It was a sort of newsflash for me. I LOVED it! And this time, I made the quilt design based on a photo I found of a quilt I liked. I took the whole project to a whole different place when picking out the fabrics. So much so, that Mom wasn’t sold on the idea until we started piecing it all together. It’s going to be really fabulous and I’ve discovered that I don’t hate sewing at all, let alone how much I thought I hated it.

Toward the end of the week, I went to watch some basketball in the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the NCAA tournament. College ball is always great and live College Round Ball is always super fun. It’s been a thing I’ve shared with my dad since junior high. There were a couple of downsides. The main one being that Rupp Arena is old and crappy and uncomfortable, but also Dad got sick and missed a couple of games. The b-ball was fun, in the end. I’m glad I went.

Rupp Arena runs Cardinal Red.

Rupp Arena runs Cardinal Red.

So that leaves us with the good intentions. So I did okay in the first few days of the trip. I wasn’t eating entirely vegan and not even close to E2 Happy, but I was making good choices. Choosing the vegetarian option, which almost always includes cheese, and the veg where possible. Admittedly, I didn’t make any special efforts, like ordering things not on the menu and giving special dietary cooking instructions to the waitstaff.

My downfall is, and has ever been, soda. I don’t like artificial sweeteners of any stripe. They are just awful tasting to me. So when I have a soda, I go all out. For some reason, when I’m drinking soda, my inhibitions in other places, dietarily speaking, gets completely shot. It’s hard for me to resist sodas when I’m on a road trip. I don’t know why, but it probably has something to do with rationalizing wanting a caffeine boost, but not wanting coffee in the middle of the day. Perfect recipe for the drinking of sodas. And this road trip was 10-ish hours to my parents’ house one day followed by 6-ish hours to my grandmother’s house the following day. Doubled for the return trips. Lots of driving. Lots of time to convince myself I could have a soda.

So I did.

The rest of the trip/visit followed suit and my good intentions paved my way into food choice hell. But, I’m home now, and I’m recommitted. I want this to work. I want to be healthier. I don’t want to have a heart attack before 40. I don’t want to end up a diabetic because I can’t give up the damn sodas. I’m working hard to not beat myself up over the lapse, and just move forward, one food choice at a time.

WARNING: This post is full of TMI of a personal nature. Please avoid if you are allergic to such.

Self! Get it together!

Self! Get it together!

I don’t know if you know this, but I’m fat. I’ve not always been fat, but I was one of those people who gained a bunch of weight during a first pregnancy and never really lost any of it. I’ve gained more since then. I’ve now been fat twice as long as an adult than I was thin as an adult. Of course, I’ve hated this and I’ve dieted with some success, but nothing stuck. The only three things, healthwise, that I’ve done successfully in, quite possibly, my whole life is quit smoking so I could get pregnant without dealing with that addiction and successfully regulate my blood sugar with diet while afflicted with gestational diabetes so  I wouldn’t have to subject my baby to drugs and have three children naturally.

All pretty big things, I think.

For some reason, weight loss is not one of the things I’ve been able to do. I think because it isn’t directly FOR anyone else. I haven’t really held myself in the highest of esteems for quite some time (see this post), and that makes doing anything for me, low on the list of priorities. Then there is the whole “I HATE EXERCISE” bit. I don’t hate doing things (for example, I like swimming, and gardening and lite-hiking and camping and cruising around on my bike (in theory)), but I hate the whole endeavor of working out. On top of that, I have pretty bad back issues that result in a sort of Catch 22, damned if you do damned if you don’t, kind of scenario. I need to be moving, but I can’t move too much or in certain ways, or I’ll reinjure my back. So yeah.

A couple of weeks ago, I went in for my physical.

You know, I’m pretty smart. I have pretty great intuition and self-awareness. I’m not a hypochondriac. I probably deal with more pain than I should because I really HATE doctors (even though my doc is pretty awesome). I’ve known for a long time that if I didn’t get a handle on my weight, the shit would eventually find the fan and my health would be at risk for failing. Well, my dear friends, loyal readers, that time has come.

My cholesterol is way out of control. I’m extremely iron deficient. I’m extremely vitamin D deficient. I have inflammation indicating that my body is struggling with something (that something could simply be Epstein Barr, which I have, and which flares up when I get worn out, which I have been and is super easy to do when you are as out of shape as I am). Right. My Doc says I should look into removing all animal and animal by-products from my diet. She strongly urges me to do so. At the appointment, I smiled and laughed derisively at the suggestion. BAHAHAHAHA! Me? Vegan? Not in this lifetime.

I get home and I think. I go about my daily stuff and I think. I do some research on various dietary alterations I should be making and I think.

My grandmother is hospitalized and I go to sit with her. It’s a fourteen hour drive followed by 10 hours of sitting in her hospital room while she mostly sleeps. AND I THINK.

I do a lot of thinking. When I get home, I do a lot of reading. I watch some documentaries on food. And I think, “Self, you’ve done some pretty whacked out diets that SUCKED, but had good momentary results. Would being vegan to get your crap together be so awful? Don’t you, in fact, love fruits and veggies and nuts and legumes and whole grains? Well, Self, you do even though you seem to avoid them rather handily normally.”

So I came across this diet. It’s called Engine #2 and it’s all about the whole food, plant based eating. It sounds doable to me. It sounds deLISHous, to be honest. I’m not saying that I’ll be able to stay vegan forever, but making it part of my life in a sustainable, ongoing way? Count me in.

So I’m going to journal about the experience here. From one Omnivore who likes it that way out to the world. The plan is to actually journal, not just blog. I have added a, currently empty, board to my Pinterest boards onto which I will post foods that sounds yummy and I will label them when I make them, and stipulate their level of delishiosity. (I can spell it how I want. It is MY word.) Just in case you are interested.

We’ll see how this goes.

Pieces' hat.

Pieces’ hat.

Aye, that’s right. I’m bamboozling my kids. See I crochet and I’m almost always in the middle of a project, and if I’m crocheting a hat or scarf, I use my kids as models to make sure it’s looking okay or is going to be a good size. This year, unlike every other year, I’m making something for them. I’m making them hats. These hats will be in their cans. The great thing about these hats is that I’m making them right out in the open. I even got the kids to pick out the colors of yarn they like best.

They. Are. Oblivious.

Pynni's hat she insisted on the sunflower button.

Pynni’s hat she insisted on the sunflower button.

I’m taking pictures of the kids in the hats as I finish them. It’s GREAT! The best part is listening to their comments as they try on the hats:

“It’s so pretty!”

“It looks like Pieces!”

“I like it!”

etc.

Chi's hat. He may be suspicious.

Chi’s hat. He may be suspicious.

Depression is dark and insidious and it has long, grasping fingers that refuse to let go. I thought I was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel when I made my last post. I just didn’t realize how long that tunnel was.

So here I am, blinking into the sunlight wondering where to start. With a story, I think. Let’s get to it, shall we?

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~My nephew, Kip, used to wake up and in his cute little 18 month old lisp and language make audible lists. “Cay-yub, Day-ya, Poppa, Gray-ya, Mom-ma, Sissy, Pootner, Chi-ya.” My brother, Kip’s father, used to call it his “systems check.” Like Kip was making sure he could, in fact, remember all the important words in his vocabulary. Kip sort of chanted this list to himself over and over as his brain booted up and started working properly.~

~Hubs told Pieces it was bed time. Pieces hid. Hubs, pretending his inability to locate Pieces sat down on the ottoman and put his feet on Pieces as if on the floor. Pieces giggled and giggled. Hubs, feigning surprise, at the little boy under his feet said, “Are you the boy I’m looking for?” Pieces, in a remarkably low voice, said, “No, I’m not a boy. I’m 16 years old.”~

~Chi, who is shoulder high to me now, sidles up to me and gives me a hug with his arms around my waist nuzzling into my armpit (which is a questionable place to put one’s nose). I hug him back and place my hand on the top of his head causing him to peer up at me. I smile and he says, “I know. I’m getting so big.”~

~On a recent trip to Louisville, my mom took the kids and I to see Seussical the Musical performed in spectacular fashion by a local high school. Pynni fell in love (she is my daughter after all) and really got into the standing, clapping and cheering that happened throughout the show and during the ovation. So my dad thought it would be a great idea to take her with Mom and I when we went to see the Broadway touring Mary Poppins. It turned out to be a really great idea and Pynni was already old hat. She stood and cheered, cupping her hands around her mouth to “WOOOOO!” punctuated by very mature sounding clapping after each number. Cracked me up every time.~

~My niece, Abshie, recently discovered texting via her iPod Touch. Since I have the appropriate equipment she can text me. She sends me strings of pictures, little comments about mundane things, thanks me for piano lessons, and says good-night. Too sweet.~

~At a stoplight at a busy intersection. Heard coming from the back seat, “Uh-oh, someone got copped.” Sure enough there was a cop with his lights on with someone either pulled over or broken down in front of him. It was gloaming and hard to tell. I was struggling not to laugh when I asked, “Copped?” Pynni said, “Yeah, people rob or kill and get copped.” Chi, highly exasperated, said…well yelled really, “NO PYNNI! Police sometimes just cop people because they can! They don’t just cop bad people!” So my kids think police nab the bad guys AND abuse their power. Nice. Oh! And I love the verb “cop”. Something only police do.~

So, as Chris Cornell has been known to say, “I’m gonna break my rusty cage, and run.” That may mean something completely different to him than me, but to me it describes what coming back to my blog has been like. Breaking out of the cage that seemed to stagnate my imagination and unshackle my ability to see the fabulous things that go on around me daily. ❤ you readers. It’s good to be out and free again.

For Becca. ❤

I’ve spent a lot of time since we began this journey with Chi and the public school system thinking about pulling him out and homeschooling. I spend a lot of time everyday making sure Chi is ready for school, prepared for whatever the day may bring, armed with whatever tools I can give him to cope, and then repairing any damage being at school each day causes.

We have days that are what I imagine days for parents of neuro-typical kids are like. That means, to me anyway, that there aren’t the usual struggles associated with regular daily occurrences like brushing teeth, or walking out the front door, or maybe riding in the car to school. Maybe, when Chi comes home, his pupils aren’t dilated until there is almost no blue visible. Maybe he has a snack and heads outside to blow off some of that pent up energy (which takes a surprisingly short amount of time since a small part of his issue is his stamina level, or lack thereof, even though I make sure he gets lots of outside time away from his beloved video games) without me having to get mean about it. Maybe sitting down to do homework or simply being told to tie his shoes won’t result in limp-noodle Chi.

Awesome kiddos

Mostly, though, I have to go through the motions to make him do the things he would rather skip and get right on with the game playing.  Is body-brushing necessary? Does he need some time spent under his weighted blanket? Do we have enough strong flavored gum or sour-something-or-other to get him through homework? Is the trampoline cleaned off so he can jump to wake himself up or get the need to move constantly out of his system? Do I need to enforce the silence-in-the-house rule to eliminate one of his biggest triggers for overstimulation and meltdown?

All of these things are tiring. And I’m exhausted. I can barely keep my eyes open some days and my temper under control others. It can be so hard to see these issues as part of a larger problem that we are constantly working on, and not just Chi being difficult.

**note** I realize that Asperger’s is not a problem to be dealt with, nor is his SPD and the trial that encompasses. Still, when dealing with a lot of these things, they feel like problems. They make life more complicated. Harder. As if childhood is not filled to the freaking BRIM of pitfalls and potholes without extra obstacles to dodge. Or scale. As the case may be.**

They can be emotionally and somehow physically wearing, but they’ve become second nature by now. (Except, you know, when I fail to explain to Chi that the Zoo in Ashboro isn’t like the Zoo in Louisville before I send him off with friends and he proceeds to completely shutdown and require carrying through the Zoo. At 60 lbs? That’s not a comfortable proposition. Sorry, Taz’s Mom and Dad!) So I feel like (now especially, that we aren’t having a period of regression) I’ve fought the hardest fights at school (so far) and we’ve gotten the principal on our side which helps get the right sorts of teacher (Thank God for Ms. Eff. **gotta think of something GREAT to get her for a thank you gift at the end of the year**) for Chi and the help and environment he needs for certain special circumstances; that I’ve laid the paving stones to make passage through the future less treacherous.So with all of that, and even with the nightmare that was Second Grade (I imagine a deep booming voice saying that like “Pigs in Space” on the Muppet Show for some reason), I had not truly considered homeschooling again.

Now there’s my sweet Pynni. She loves the kids and even loves the various substitutes, but she cries (CRIES!!!!) over her homework. She cries over having to write a story. CRIES!!!! When she writes stories on her own without it being homework, but for whatever reason, the mere fact of it being for school pushes her over the edge. She is in Kindergarten FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! And already she wilts when it’s time for homework. She doesn’t throw fits or shutdown or anything even in the near vicinity of her older brother, but two months ago, three months ago, she lit up about homework. She would ask for MORE homework.

I cannot have her doubting herself. We are working, and working hard, to bring her self-esteem back up. We are working extra hard on the things the school says she is struggling with (which I STILL don’t see evidence of). We work all evening outside of dinnertime on homework.

It’s funny, really, that with all the setbacks, and struggles with Chi; it’s Pynni that has me researching homeschooling.

I am still not saying that I am doing it for sure because Hubs isn’t entirely sold on the idea, yet. I, on the other hand, have picked the curricula I’m going to use and I’ve started planning the order in which to start and how we are going to move forward. I’m a lot excited and a little nervous, but I see the way we work together doing homework. I know that we could have a blast and they could know how smart they really are.

Update. Decision made.

I have decided to take advantage of this terribleness that is Pynni’s lack of a permanent teacher. I am going to game the system and send invites to the few kids Pynni has chosen to invite to her party (which is less than half) and ask the teacher to put the cards in those children’s daily folders. Go me!

That means that I will be have the one party for two kids at the one place. So, less stress. Less mess. More fun!

And, I’m all about the fun, donchaknow.

Oh, and I’m gonna make cupcakes, I think. Red velvet ones. From scratch. It’ll be beautiful AND tasty. Multicolored and bright. The only theme is gonna be fun. LOTS of fun.