St Gabriel Windows

St Gabriel Windows
Photocopy c. 2013 Jamie Laubacher

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Summer days make me feel fine…



Some beautiful smiles here…….my dear little son and his only sister! True Love!

We are off to swimming lessons again this morning, this marks the third day in a row for Mark.  Yes, he’s been swimming before, his father has shown him all these years.  But now we decided to try some formal instruction at our local pool. The lessons have been so gentle and caring for him, the young ladies conducting the lessons through our YMCA have been very good with Mark. The classes are very small, so he isn’t lost in a crowd with too much action going on.  He has had some stubborn behaviors and sensory issues due to his autism, but overall it’s been a good week so far.

Tomorrow Mark will have a very big long day….It will definitely be uncomfortable for me!  I will probably be a nervous wreck all day…Mark will be going with his big brother to eat out first (with a friend of Mark’s who turns 8 yrs old), then they will be going to the Cars 2 movie at a small mall, small theater, that isn’t too much in your face.  I hope my oldest son is ready to deal with some of the issues – he thinks he knows it all (you know)…I’ve talked with him, and he seems to want to really do this with Mark, so I’m giving them permission.  I’m going to have to tell him that at any time Mark needs to come home, he’s going to have to bring him.  He has to remember that Mark can only take so much – he will have been swimming that morning, then eating out, then the high sensory movie….then the drive home…Then I won’t even be here when he arrives home!  I’ll be at a dinner at our church for our teachers.  Grandma will be here, and she is a gem of a helper with the children, she will have been dealing with Michael’s anxiety as I leave with my husband to the dinner…..So to say I will be a bit stressed tomorrow….wow, I’m starting my relaxation breathing NOW!  lol!

Wish US luck! 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Frivolous Friday

Yes, it’s another one of those Fridays….

How about things that I really like right now:

My Acer Aspire Netbook – love it, decided I can’t live without it, and I’m not big on technology as it is :)

Special K Strawberry Cereal – It’s just got flavor ya know, and it makes me trick myself into thinking I’m losing weight….er ahem *cough cough*

Aussie Moisture Shampoo – in that really beautiful purple bottle, for an inexpensive price – I love the smell, it somehow makes the mornings happier

Instant Pudding Pie Recipe (any brand) I’ve been doing vanilla or chocolate; lately I’ve been making this sweet fast dessert – a cream pie with chocolate shavings on top.  You need instant pudding (3.4 oz) 1 cup of milk, mix them together quickly, add 1 1/2 cups of cool whip, blend thoroughly and gently spread into a pie pan (or round glass pan, which is what I use), over broken coarse graham crackers that you already have at the bottom of the pan.  Shave chocolate on top – I use semi-sweet baking chocolate in blocks……Refrigerate….very pretty and very light and yummy….I think Banana instant pudding would be good – (and perhaps added real banana fruit)

That’s my short list this time ~ have a great Friday where ever you are!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

More wonderful curriculum…

I have a “wish-list” of curriculum finds for the upcoming year.  While we've utilized Mother of Divine Grace, and have two graduates from Modg, what I have always liked about this home study program is their flexibility and that all the religion and history and literature is integrated.  So, I am able to adapt some areas to fit my child.  Children with disorders and challenges seem to do better with some areas adjusted, one such area is oftentimes the simple adjustment of a work-text, rather than than using a separate notebook and a textbook they have to keep going back and forth to.  While this method works fine for most average children, it can be a total frustration to those with special circumstances.  For this reason, I have kept my oldest son in the Abeka math program (7th grade for him now) as it is not only excellent math and accelerated which is perfect for him, it is a workbook form and helps him move swiftly through his lesson with no fuss of a separate notebook to write in – he can write right in the book.
So having a friend give me a tip on this little gem, was wonderful….Emma Serl’s Primary Language Lessons, a reprint of old – good old fashioned grammar lessons.  This version is the same only put in workbook format for children who do better just writing into the source.  This will be great for Mark who has that motor coordination delay …but whom I wish to have a quality standard of work…this is perfect because it does not dumb-down the content, it just makes it more physically comfortable for children who need it.
So far these two boys have done excellent work considering their disorders (OCD/anxiety, and Autism Spectrum, respectively).  But treating their difficulties was the biggest step to doing well in school. Both have scored in the upper 90ieth percentile on their standardized testing, so I’m pleased they have followed the brother and sister before them who on college board tests scored perfect scores in a couple different categories.  Ok, our daughter scored one point off of perfect in the English/grammar section of the ACT, getting a 35 instead of 36.  lol!  Yes, she said she knew exactly what question it was and that it was an eraser mess up!  so it left a smudge and misread her answer....but she isn’t so much of a perfectionist she needed to do a re-take  :)

New hope for homeschooling in my corner of the world

The first day of summer!  Wow, it’s finally here and with it I am feeling new hope in my homeschooling endeavors for the new school season ahead.


Isn’t it just like a homeschooler to be on vacation, but thinking of the next schooling year at all times?!  lol!  Well, I guess I’m not that different…..

As we are making preparations for our daughter to be shuffled off to college this fall, (her dorm bedding just came!) I too am doing my homework this summer, getting ready for the ride of my life …..I can not imagine the challenges that await me while I home educate for the next eleven years, these two youngest sons both with their own different disorders.

Mark, with high functioning autism is truly a joy, and we would worry terribly about bullying with him in a school system;  of course he needs specialized attention in social areas that some argue only professional specialists in institutionalized settings can provide such help.  Well, we are convinced to continue to homeschool and we are going through private means for language therapy and possibly some skills groups, that our insurance will cover.  Recently, I am so pleased to have found and have in my possession a book that gives me far more credibility as a homeschooling parent of a special needs child especially in the social interaction area  – the argument being that a home school environment may by far be a better option as the social interaction/skills can be controlled, can be more frequent and varied (daily excursions), and the parent-teacher can be readily available to help the child learn and cooperate and practice the correct social responses and behavior with more positive impact. 

Homeschooling the Child with Autism, by Patricia Schetter * Kandis Lighthall * Foreward by Jeanette McAfee,M.D.

I’m really excited about this book because it gives testimony from other parents who have gone before me on this journey with homeschooling their autism spectrum disorder child.  It gives me practical information and it gives me hope.

When I look at each of my children I attempt to pray first about their potential and give to them all the things we can in our home school environment that will help them grow with that potential – each uniquely created.  For both my younger boys, I see great things in store, and several hurdles we must train to launch ourselves over….but all things are possible with God.  As I prepare for this new part of the journey, I prepare myself spiritually to be ready for the challenge and strong enough to withstand some of the blows that will incur.  I’m not sure why God has brought us to this spot in our lives, after 23 years of marriage and fourteen years of homeschooling….but I do know he brought us “seasoned”, we are not young at this, neither our marriage or the years we’ve raised and taught our children.  So, while I ponder and pray over this I will attempt to trust God even more knowing that He has called us to this place and His grace will suffice.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Social things.....

Last I checked in, I was working on Social Stories.....we covered Bullying thoroughly, wow, it was very interesting and very good to learn.  Now Mark needs practice - we role play, which is full of giggles, but I hate to see him have to do this in reality -- be bullied to get the practice and point in.  Another area is "helping"..he just doesn't get it most of the time, but we wrote a social story with him in it, "helping".  Hopefully it will spark his memory and actions.

We spent the afternoon at the library for a program and it was so fun, a magician, and he was very good and very good with the children.  The theme is traveling around the world for the summer.  Both my youngest are going weekly and it's pretty exciting.  It's good for Michael, although the first time there he was absolutely in full OCD fret mode....soon it subsided and he was able to participate fully.  That's a good reason to keep going!  It's good for him.

Our local homecoming festival is in full swing, having begun with our downtown parade on Wednesday; I sat with our Mayor's wife, (she's our neighbor) and chatted and enjoyed a fun time.  Mark and Michael stood watching the sights and collecting the candy as it was thrown.  The best float was for the local laundry-mat - of all things...a bubble machine, Don Henley's "Dirty Laundry" song and a washer in the middle of it all with someone coming up out of it on occasion -- very well done!  

In a couple weeks I'm going to be trying Mark at his first official swim lessons ever.  It took me this long because of Michael and his difficulties...long story....but I can only do so many things, and a mother attending a swim lesson I think is a mother thing to do, so I didn't feel right about sending Mark with someone else, especially due to his autism.  So, it's local, and we will give it a try -- if it works out, I'll sign him on for another session.

So now, we continue with major house clearing/cleaning, painting, fixing and remodeling our third story.  So far, so good, but in the background I'm preparing for school, keeping it in mind as I move things around this house, and preparing for our daughter to head off to college in the Fall.  Never a dull moment, although I could use some lazy ones.......

Have a great weekend wherever you are and whatever you are doing...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Summer Homework…for me…

This is going to be my homework for the summer:
The New Social Story Book by Carol Gray

This book was recommended by my son’s neurologist to help him along in regard to his autism.  We will be checking back in with neurology this summer and we also have language expression therapy scheduled (on the waiting list right now), but also for the summer.  Truly, I am feeling overwhelmed in some ways, and maybe a little defeated, but I’m going to try my hardest to do this within our homeschooling, utilizing both private means (facilities our insurance will cover) and our homeschool co-op, where I can be present and help our son along with hands-on instruction in the critical moments of learning.  It’s a good and safe social environment.  I really don’t want to jeopardize our being able to participate in the homeschool co-op by going through the local school system for further testing and IEP’s, etc., for which you have to be enrolled to receive the actual IEP – yes, they’ll do the testing – and may give you the test results….but no ISP unless enrolled.  Still, once I get myself into this deeper, I may inquire for my own sanity :)
I’m not exactly feeling like superwoman right now, although it is a blessing to have 14 yrs or so of homeschooling under our belts so it isn’t as difficult to navigate that part of it.  God had a plan, and still does, and I’m sure I need more faith and grace to accept it and embrace my role within it.

Monday, June 06, 2011

A mother’s heart and mind…

It’s been busy as usual in our household, having a homeschool graduate and getting ready for a graduation party in her honor.  Where have the years gone?  Sometimes, it seems so surreal to me.  While I enforce keeping the secular world “out there”, and  continue to nurture a domestic church within our home, home schooling and family life, I am both pleased with our outcomes at this point, but also very much on alert as the dynamics of our home continues to change.  With a set of older children now being more involved with the “out there”, but using good commonsense and keeping their faith lives active, I am on guard for the younger ones still very much in formative years in faith matters and character – virtue building; I don’t want to lose ground with our standards in place.  I have a reason for why not this…?…and why can’t we see this…?…or do that?….. I appeal to their good senses with clear reasons and how it ties in with their Christian upbringing.  Fight the good fight, is something I constantly keep in mind.  At times, I pray for the grace and strength myself, to do so….as I am growing older and I do not want to feel or be disconnected from my brood.  Eleven more years of home schooling……seems daunting, but where has the time gone already??…so quickly…. I consider my time with them short.  And now with a couple special needs children I feel I am needed more than ever.  I also feel that God gave me 14 years of home schooling under my belt before introducing me to this zinger!…I am trusting he will also give me the graces needed to see it through, and speak intelligently to specialists and therapists and doctors in the years to come about our conviction to home school for as long as we are able and can.  God-willing. 

Oremus pro invicem! 

God bless you!