Friday, October 28, 2011

Product review: Time 4 Learning

Ahh.. back to reviewing homeschooling stuff! I love trying new things and reporting back to you all and this particular product is one I'm especially excited about!

As you know, we have been through complete chaos in the last two months. We've gone from completely homeschooling, to completely public schooling, and finally settled on homeschooling some and public schooling some. I think we are going to stay at this level of schooling, as it feels like a perfect happy medium. I'm definitely looking forward to homeschooling everyone next year though! it will be SO nice to have our family back!! But Time 4 Learning is a very interesting product because it met the needs of both my homeschooled AND public schooled kiddos.

Homeschooling using EXCLUSIVELY Time 4 Learning

I pulled my 7th grader and Kindergartener out of school pretty quickly and without much of a back up plan, so for the first week or so they both used Time 4 Learning as their primary curricula. I loved how thorough the subjects were, and how it covered interesting topics that I have found tend to get Neglected, like my 7th grader's "idioms" and "roman numeral" lessons. I, personally, am NOT a huge fan of doing ALL our school work on the computer though. I guess i'm old fashioned :) As we procured other supplies we gradually weaned off of the computer a bit.

Homeschooling using Time 4 Learning as a supplement

This, by FAR is my favorite of all the scenarios i'm presenting. We had the main curricula for most of our subjects but certain subjects were still a bit sparse for my taste, so I had the kiddos do whatever we had in book form, and group work early in the day and in the afternoon, Nikolas would finish his book work, having more since he's a Jr. High school student, and Leif would get to use Time 4 Learning when he'd finished his chores and whatever else i wanted him to do, because Time 4 Learning, is FAAAABULOUS bribery material because its WAY more fun than book work!! So, after i'd extorted tons of of schoolwork out of Leif in the morning and chores after lunch, I was so generous as to allow him his fun computer time (WINK, WINK) and he did many, many more learning activities. Now, the one caveat to this plan, and I think, honestly, that this is Leif-specific, is that once he's ON the computer he never wants to get off, and so it was a real struggle to get him off the computer after a couple hours of Time 4 Learning. Nikolas also enjoyed using time 4 Learning. He found it to be a nice break from reading his textbooks and literature- He eventually found he liked alternating a subject he was doing on Time 4 Learning with a book subject and he found that to make his day go nicely.

AfterSchooling with Time 4 Learning

Now, I'm probably not the best person to review for this particular way of schooling- as i'm finding that with our size family, the school kids get home, get snacks, do homework, play with their little brothers, and then its time to start dinner, and more homework with dad and family stuff and bedtime, so I found it REALLY hard to have time to encourage my girls to give it a go, but they did a few times and both really enjoyed it. I think our family is unique in having very little time at the end of the day since it takes us SO ridiculously long to do everything, with there being 7 children, including 2yo twins. I think this program would make an EXCELLENT after schooling program, and if you are blessed with MORE time than you need in the evening, this would be a much more productive way for your child to spend time than television or video games.

Time 4 Learning overall

Overall I am VERY pleased with the program and think its economical and useful and has SO many great features. I'm planning to continue with Leif, and possibly Nikolas, later when our finances start to settle down a bit.

I love how the parents can customize the learning experiences for their children. For example, I have learning disabled children and i was able to go into Annabeth's settings and lower her grade level so it was manageable to her. Also I was able to modify how long they had to work to use the playground, which was awesome. There's so much I didn't get to try out, either, just due to being insanely busy. there's lots of parent support features and a forum and everything!

I guess the one thing i'd like to see differently is the pricing structure. I'd LOVE to see a single family rate, instead of the base price plus add on additional child prices. I appreciate the price break anyway, but realistically, if you have a whole bunch of kids, they aren't going to be able to use the program as much as a one child family would, and it would be a LARGE difference. I would LOVE to get it for all my children, but that's just not in our budget right now.

All considered though, I think Time 4 Learning is a FANTASTIC program, well worthy of your consideration no matter WHAT kind of schooling you do.

As a member of Time4Learning, I have been asked to review their online education program and share my experiences. While I was compensated, this review was not written or edited by Time4Learning and my opinion is entirely my own. Write your own curriculum review or learn how to use their curriculum for homeschool, after school study or summer learning.

What it is like having children with special needs.

Today I felt like a good rant. And I feel completely qualified to address this subject since right now, Andrew and I are managing 5 with special needs 2 without. Each carries with them their own special set of requirements and preferences, and I'm here, with my other full time jobs, of managing our large household and managing schoolwork, homework and homeschooling, trying not to be completely buried in it all. And not doing a very good job.

Let me introduce you to my family, First, there's Andrew. He's my awesome, hardworking husband. He works for Fedex, He's a swing driver. He's incredibly talented and has this incredible set of navigational skills that if you don't have them, (like me!!) its particularily notable!! he's 39, now, i think? LOL. I'm Rebecca, I'm 35, I am a SAHM and love to homeschool the little ones that i'm able to right now, that would be Leif, my 5yo and Nik, my 12 yo and a bit of alex, my 16 yr old who is currently attending community college concurrently with homeschooling high school.

Alex has autism, he's an aspie. He is the one who gives me hope that there's a light at the end of the tunnel- he's become a sensitive, caring, and phenomenally SMART young man. He's gotten nearly perfect scores on both writing and reading Compass tests and scored into Calculus in college, where he's currently pulling a 3.8 average. He struggles with social issues and has some temper problems but is overall doing very well!

Nikolas is my 12 yo. He tested into the school district a couple of years ago several years behind grade level in math, reading and writing. We suspect he's dyslexic, but never got him dx'd He is so hard working and buckled down and pushed through his slow reading by doing it CONSTANTLY. The result is that while he still struggles with writing in particular, his math and reading are near grade level and he's got college level comprehension skills and vocabulary. I'm so proud of him.

Next is Chloe- my little mini-me :) She has Autism as well. She was diagnosed with Aspergers last month, and is currently in public school. Being an Aspie, she likes things really cut and dried and likes rules. She is a bit behind in math, but advancing nicely, and reads at a 9th grade level (she's in 5th grade) She reads Beverly Cleary books pretty much nonstop. Though i think she might have just run out. She is precious and loving and beautiful. I struggle with her to get her to understand the idea of the Gospel. You can tell it doesn't make sense to her.

Then we have Annabeth. Annabeth is my8 year old precious double dose of Grace (her name means Grace and her middle name is Grace :) She's a spark plug and is always running. Shes full of joy and a natural hard worker. She's one of the most extreme special need children in our family right now. She is struggling with reading, writing, math, being able to hear and absorb what people say and has a very very depressed vocabulary system. We have no idea what is wrong, and we are struggling to figure it out.

Leif is our 5yo. We always talk about how he and Annabeth would have made the cutest twins. He looks like a boy version of Anna, cute, petite, blond, with a winning smile. Leif has no special needs to my knowledge and is a BREEZE to homeschool. We think he might be an up and coming math whiz like Alex. Our struggles with him are having enough time with him, and that he seems the most morally negotiable of the bunch.

Asher and Elliott are our 2yo twins. Elliott was born first, is a tiny little bundle of energy and is so interpersonal and articulate! Asher is the opposite, except he's a bundle of energy too. But his energy is random, angry, and LOUD. He's been in therapy the last 6 months or so, and we suspect he has autism of some kind. We are praying its just aspergers. He, along with Annabeth, are our biggest focus right now.

So that's us! I'm finding life to be an extreme struggle right now. There's no time- there's no money- there's no forseeable hope that anything is changing any time soon. Right now, stuff just isn't getting done. School is getting done, I'm reading with annabeth after school, and thankfully Chloe is a self starter and easily gets her own homework done. but our house is always looking cluttered, meals are spotty, we're trying not to eat out, because financially we're nearly sunk, but that takes time too and i've not figured out how to get it all done yet. We're trying to manage asher's 6x a week therapy, anna's diagnostic stuff and visual therapy, Alex's bus schedule, homeschooling nik and Leif, and i have to admit, i'm near breaking point. I don't know how much more of this I can take! I'm currently in the process of trying to see if we can get respite care for Asher, as he's a full time job himself- he needs constant attention.

Did i mention that having special needs kids is EXPENSIVE?!? thankfully we qualify for dshs medical to supplement dh's medical from work or we'd be entirely sunk! But Asher is constantly breaking things, popping holes in the walls, destroying stuff, breaking windows... see a theme here? Andy has to find the perfect balance of work and being home to support me, and each carries with it serious consequences. I'm trying to squeeze blood from a lemon and its not happening. I would really appreciate prayer. I know that its God that's making all this WORK. As difficult as things are, they are going WAY better than they ever should be, and as much as I struggle, I know i'm witnessing miracles every day. I'm so priviledged to be in this position. But i'm tired!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

another day at home.

Might I say that Leif is about the most fun child to homeschool EVER! He's so enthusiastic and learns so quickly. I still have yet to order, let alone receive his curriculum from MP3 yet, so in the meantime, i'm working with an ebook i got from curr-click for phonics, and the Shiller math curriculum we had left over from last year

and an extra horizon K part 2 workbook we have left over. We skipped to the second half of kindergarten because Leif is so advanced, and i'm really hoping i didn't miss anything! Here is a video- my very first video ever posted to a blog! with Leif working on his place value. He's proficient now at tens and ones and is getting there with hundreds. This is all oral- we've not done written work yet. The sound cuts out at the end, dumb camera.. I don't know why it does that :( Anyway, he was so cute i had to get it on video :)

Here's Leif working on his horizon math book

Then when Nik went out to do his Bella walking and playing with, we read two books aloud, the first one had a really sad ending-about a tree! and we were both sad. That's how well it was written! Then we lightened the mood with "Truman's Aunt farm" I think we'll read it again tomorrow, pronouncing "Aunt" like ant instead of awnt. Then we can talk about homophones, fun!

Finally, Leif ended his day with some painting. No curriculum, just fun.

I *LOVE* how he can be done by lunchtime or a little after and still have gotten a packed day of work in :)

This week i'm trying to transition us into doing the majority of the Organic homeschooling schedule that I purchase. Have you heard of it? here's a link I HIGHLY recommend this. Its mostly a super gentle program, using real books and whatever math and language you use. What I really like about it, is how it integrates the things that go south for me almost all the time- read alouds, art, music. I love having it all on ONE schedule, and its reasonable, not like my typical "bite off twice as much as I can chew" pattern of lesson planning :) I LOVE the recommended literature books, I love the music study, (we'll be studying Bach soon) and i love how i can integrate my little one and big one for much of it. (though Nik will still be doing his own Apologia general science- because its the BEST one out there!) Rumor has it that the website will be updated soon and be more in-depth which i'm looking forward to. Hoping for a message board! i'd love to collaborate with other users and share ideas!!

So that's it for me today, i'm hoping to post both last weekend's fun and the weekend before, since I didn't get to it in the chaos that was last week!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Today is a good day.

I'm reminding myself of that a little more than usual today. Today i have 2 sick 2 year olds, 10 am appt. for my 13 year old to get braces. (which meant NO BSF for me! again... :( ) A 2:30 appt for my 7yo for vision therapy, and 5:45 appts for Asher and Leif, Leif for wart removal, and Asher for an ear recheck- (which i'm actually really glad is today since ever since the weekend he's been acting like the ear infection is BACK.) So inbetween appointments i'm trying to get the house cleaned up, BLOG :), check email, and tie up any loose ends with Leif's registration for MP3 and Nik's curriculum order, both of which we are trying to get pushed through ASAP. Its much easier to do school with the intended curriculum! Regardless, we are getting on just fine without it. The only major thing Nik is missing is his language arts, so he's working on time-4-learning until that comes and doing misc. stuff we have around.

Anyway, its days like these that tend to stress me out. But today, i'm taking it in stride. Maybe its because I just had a good long talk with Nik, as he agonized about his new braces. I keep trying to convince him he's SUPER handsome in them! See?? isn't he handsome?

We talked about how its under pressure that we really have the chance to grow and learn and develop our character. And if we never had trials, we'd never develop into who God wants us to be. And i TOTALLY feel authorized to tell him that, since i'm far from a stranger to trials! He knows that too and takes it well for me. We had a good, fruitful discussion, and then went home to have our emerald city smoothies and the little guys had a subway sub. I love that I have such a great relationship with my children, especially the big ones. There's something really great about watching them each grow into such diversely different people and to have that bond with them. I still can't believe i'm old enough to have teenagers!

Today i'm hanging on by little more than the promise that He's provided us, that:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

And its pretty obvious in our lives to who's purpose we've been called. I still have to stop what i'm doing every once in a while and say "I can't believe i have TEENAGERS!" "I can't believe I have TWINS" "I can't believe i have 7 CHILDREN!" "I can't believe I've been married nearly half my life!" Its so strange and cool. I wish I had better vocabulary to articulate that, but i can attest to this- God REALLY does work for the good of those who love Him! and He really does give us what we NEED and want, but don't know we want! I'm so GLAD He knows what I wanted better than I did. Because being a high powered trial lawyer would have been fun, no doubt. But i'd not trade THIS life for that, If i could go back, i'd do things differently for sure, but there's 8 people in my life that I wouldn't change for the world.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Ok, so I am feeling really guilty, because I jump to conclusions, and then, in typical Rebecca-style blaaaabbed all over my blog. The thing about my blogs are, they are a picture of what's going on on the inside of my head. I'm a very auditory processer... i talk and type and then i'm able to think things through and hopefully finally come to a conclusion.

In fact, when dh and I were in college, We were both on the newspaper staff, and I was the opinions editor (HAHAHA!) shocker there, huh? And Andy was the general editor of the whole paper. It frustrated me to no end that he had final say over MY articles. He'd always take the spiciest, the most verbally exquisitely precise parts OUT. That seemed ridiculous to me. But ever since then he's declared on various occasions "you need an editor" And today, sadly, is no exception.

Its really easy to compartmentalize life, there's school, internet, local friends, etc. and really, does anyone really READ my blog? (other than my 700 closest facebook friends???) I don't think so, its not a really visible one with giveaways and exciting useful articles (though I DO hope to get there someday, right now i'm mainly focused on the highlights of our school experience) but it turns out that sometimes my different life circles really DO intersect and someone who read my blog was hurt by something really insensitive that i had posted, in my own anger and frustration, and called me on it. I honestly didn't remember what I had said, having been posting a lot lately, and having been crazy crazy busy with all the changes we've been going through and piecing curricula together till our REAL curricula arrives for the boys and evaluations and stuff.

So, after my autism class today, (need to post about that!) I ran over to the school and worked some things out. In doing so, i was able to get a better picture of the situation with Annabeth, and as is almost always the case, my immediately jumped-to conclusion assumption was that any "niceness" shown to me clearly had to be a facade, and really, it was ME against THEM. Certainly its human nature to assume YOU have the best intentions and everyone else the worst, but in this case, as most, the answer was far closer to the other end than i'd expected. And so i sat down with the principal and the learning coach that Anna's been working with and they were both VERY helpful and I was able to get a more accurate picture of what is going on, and I feel really bad that feelings ended up getting hurt due to me. :( At any rate, i did NOT mean to in any way bad mouth the school my daughters attend. I LOVE their teachers and the principal and Learning coach are both very very accessible and helpful. I was also able to learn some more puzzling and frustrating things about Annabeth. And i do admit, it is REALLY helpful hearing others' input, since with your own child you get used to certain traits and characteristics and don't really think about it, if its not obvious. Like, for example, She didn't know what a CLOSET was!!! and she called a fish bowl a "fish basket" which, totally cracks me up.

So its clear to the school as well as myself that testing needs to happen soon, and it will be, so all is well, i guess. I'm still really mystified by Anna's bizzare combination of auditory and visual AND cognitive issues. Its frustrating and scary. i'm starting to wonder if a friend's suggestion that she, too, might be on the spectrum might have some merit. Ugg. God would NOT give me 4 autistic children, RIGHT??? RIGHT?? Tell me RIGHT people!! Oy... Ok, so back to my much neglected children. I just had to get that off my chest and clear the air.... Hope your homes are having less drama than mine right now :-D :-D

Monday, October 10, 2011

Leif's first day of homeschool Kindergarten!!!!

So despite being sick and drinking my vitamin C drinks like crazy, i'm feeling GOOD!!!! Leify is back home where he's happy... ahhh... and he's the most fun, most super smart and easy student ever!!!! The thing about Leif is, he has a really rigid need structure. He needs certain things and if he doesn't have them, he completely breaks down and shuts down. Its like no other child i've ever seen. One thing he needs- his mommy! CHECK, here i am :)

So anyway, I am sick right now, so my brain is fuzzy and i'm feeling really out of it, however, thanks to our wonderful one month trial of time-4-learning, the day was not lost!!! i had him start out with that, after doing some phonics pad (the letter "s") And found that he really really thrives on computer lessons. So he did about an hour and a half of that, and then i made him stop, because I don't think its a great idea for a 5yo to be on the computer all day!!! we did his phonics workbook page, and he had some playdough time, and later we did a lesson of verbal math which he took too like a duck to water, and called it a day!!! A good day!

Nik also had a great day. I need to check his journal to see what he learned about today, since i was very hands-off with him today, but he got everything on his list done! (he's SO dilligent!) including spelling, which I have to do, so it occasionally gets neglected, but not today, and he ACED it. I'm very very encouraged. He's doing level one of Sequential spelling and he has some major learning issues, probably dyslexia, which cause him to have a very very hard time with spelling but as i'm watching him work through his spelling words, i'm seeing him develop his own little tricks to making it work for him. And its working so well. Getting to see all this happen is such a miracle. Its such a blessing for me. I'm so grateful to get to homeschool my dudes!!!

Anyway, back to life, just had to share a tiny glimpse of our challenging, yet still successful day!!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

First day!!!!

So, sadly, (or happily, depending on your perspective) I was super busy all day actually DOING stuff that I barely got any pictures taken and they all stunk. But i'm posting them anyway!

We started out the day with several challenges. First, I was having some... discomfort.... you might say, so I was already feeling like i wanted to lay around all day- NOT gonna be happenin'! Secondly, Leif stayed home with us, sick, having had diarrhea all weekend, Nik was pretty down for the count too with nasty stomach cramps, and I was sick with a nasty cold, along with Alex (who went to college anyway, because you have to be half dead to skip college!!) and Elliott who had green boogers. All the little guys had fevers too :(

Another issue was since we had sickies we had to cancel asher's therapy, and Ash does not do well when we have to cancel therapy! he LOVES his "Gohgah" (Laura) and the structure she provides is awesome (along with his other buddies, Bryn, and Amie) So I knew it would be melt down city with asher, and it was, but i've noticed since having most of the kids in school, that if i can get through the first half of the day, naptime on is a breeze. So we did! I had Nikolas take the dudes for a walk in the morning while we waited for our landlord to come by and pick up rent, then we sat down and did some activities at the table. leif worked on some pipe cleaners and i tried doing this pipe cleaner and colander activity that I found on pinterest but it wasn't very Pinteresting, apparently, bwahaha... But as soon as i chopped up some apples they were all happy again, so it all worked out. They colored for a while and mingled and then i made sandwiches for dudes, and leftovers for nik and I, and we had lunch and put doodles to sleep. With a nice quiet house we were free to work in peace! i had Leif working on a really cool puzzle thing I got from timberdoodle called Pattern Play.

Doesn't that look like fun?!? It TOTALLY is. The one downside to it- its missing a small purple peice... sigh... and i've been SO careful to make sure Leif gets ALL the pieces put away when he has played.. sigh... Oh well, its still fun and the cards it comes with are stellar for helping him to visualize a design and then make it. He played with these through most of our school work and then cleaned it up into the nice cotton drawstring bag in which it came. I can't wait till I can place our next timberdoodle order! I love their toys.

So while leif played, we went over the 7 page Pdf I made for Goals for NIk's year, including basic subjects covered, goals, for him as a person and for each class. We talked about what curriculum we had, and what we'd be ordering.

We then proceeded to work on Science, lesson 1 on Apologia's General Science, a GREAT curriculum. It was a good lesson, Nik answered his on your own questions and wrote out his vocabulary definitions and then gave a quick summary in his notebook (which i'm encouraging him to do to help keep track of what he does each day, since much of his work is independent, then I'll have more of a clue what he's doing to report to his SLPC through MP3.

Next, we moved on to spelling, restarting Sequential spelling level 1. Nik has issues with spelling- BIG issues. I'm hoping this might stick a little better this time. We'll see! :)

Finally, he closed out his academic day with a lesson in history in Time4Learning.

At this point it was time to play with Bella (our neighbor's dog, and Nik's new job!) So he went and got Bella and he and Leif and the twins played ball with her while I cleaned up the house from the apparent tornado that whipped through it when I wasn't looking.

By this time the other children were coming home and after making them cookies, i went to my room and rested. I'm so tired today!

Overall though, i SO can't complain. It felt SO GOOD having my boys home today!!! I am so grateful to get to homeschool Nik again and will be looking forward so much to bringing the others home!!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Update on us.

So, things have changed! (again!!!) Where to begin?? I swear, its been such a roller coaster. First off, we did successfully withdraw Nik from middle school, which we'd planned for a while but set the date a week ago. (not sure if i mentioned that in my post) And i'm feeling so good about that! We actually chose nik first because he's the easiest, plus the long school day was really wearing on him. He's been going to bed early and getting up REALLY early and spending most of his time home just EXHAUSTED. Plus, he's had NO time to write his book, and that's really important to him. I discovered this curricula, The One Year Adventure Novel which seems PERFECT for him. The one caveat is that its for 8th on up, and he's a bit of a delayed 7th. However, he's HIGHLY motivated, and how can you turn down a highly motivated 7th grade boy. One thing i've learned, parenting, is that you do NOT discourage a teenager from a heavy academic endeavor even if it seems unlikely to work. So for the majority of english he'll be doing that. I'm also working on a mission statement/learning plan, i'll post it when I finish. its loooong.

Anyway, so we planned to pull Nik out of the public school, and successfully did, the only hitch being that he had a dentist appt wednesday, was sick thursday and nearly stayed home friday from the stomach bug we have going around our family, but i didn't realize that's what it was so i sent him late on friday. He wanted to be able to say goodbye to his friends! So I spent the rest of the day getting his enrollment paperwork for Meridian parent partnership program filled out and faxed. MP3 is an AWESOME program, which will classify us as public schoolers, even though I will still maintain all control over his curricula and whatnot. Its the perfect happy medium. I get some much needed funding toward educational items and keep good organization. The only real downside is that I HAVE to be really organized. its a LOT of accountability and honestly, i'm not sure I can hack it right now, but if not, i can always bail and make do with what we've got. I really wanted to get the adventure novel curriculum for him though and that was super expensive, plus time4learning, which will help to provide more work for him that doesn't involve me, so that's good!

So, i'm already 2 big paragraph's in and haven't even hit on the BIGGIE we have been dealing with this week. OY. I'm disgusted just thinking about it. This all went down on tuesday and I am still seething and just repulsed and confused and have NO clue how to deal with the situation.

Some background. First I called a meeting shortly after school started for Annabeth's teacher, principal, psychologist, learning coach, etc. to talk about getting her tested for a learning disability. She's had a lot of difficulty learning to read- which in and of itself is NOT a problem. I'm not a big believer in the "the child must be reading by 5" philosophy. Of course, i'm not a school district that needs to make itself look good, so that could explain part of it. So she's a lot behind in reading which i'd normally not be too concerned about. My 12yo didn't functionally read fluently till about a year ago, and my 16yo, the one who scored nearly perfect scores on his compass test in reading and writing, he wasn't reading at 7 either, it all works out. But in anna's case, i could tell last year that something was wrong. She started kindergarten 2 yrs ago ahead of the game, knowing all her letters and numbers and being inquisitive and obviously the smart girl that she is. Kindergarten moved slowly, but not a big deal, she's just a K, right. Well last year moved pretty slowly too. we had to repeat a LOT of lessons in her reading curriculum, she'd know it and then, seemingly forget it. Her handwriting wasn't improving. Spring of last year rolled around and with the difficulties we had been having with Asher all year we KNEW we had to do something. we prayed about it and felt lead to enroll the kiddos in PS next year. (this year) In retrospect, i don't know what happend with that. Have I lost all ability to understand God's will for our lives? we were both so sure! but this year has been a disaster! ugg. whole nother subject.

So this year, we enrolled them in school, I immediately sent an email to Anna's prospective teacher explaining her situation, and she was transferred to another class, with a more experienced teacher. Her teacher is AWESOME. She's super experienced, kind, compassionate, and I trust her with my most fragile baby. She, too has seen the issues i've been seeing with Annabeth. So anyway, I asked the teacher and principal if we could meet to discuss Annabeth's issues and try to initiate special education testing. The principal asked if we could also call in a few other specialists to see if they could help. So she did. it ended up being a pretty big meeting. I explained what I just did in this post, and they went on to reveal their testing results. It was a massive guilt trip, a "your child is operating at mid kindergarten level, look what you've done" guilt trip. I left the meeting, feeling like a complete failure. I quickly got it together and realized this was NOT my fault, and moved on. I had filled out paperwork at that meeting, requesting she be tested for a disability. My primary concern was NOT her reading or math skills but rather her difficulty in learning. When I read aloud to her, she can't tell me what I read about. In class, she doesn't understand her teacher and can't tell me what they studied. All the other kids including our Kindy son leif, CAN. Leif is quickly surpassing her in a lot of areas (they are very much alike personality and intellect-wise. even in appearance) SEE??

Today, even, after dad yelled at her for giving her a directive to wash the table 4 times, she broke down and was like "I just can't HEAR you with the music going!) by the way, her hearing test at her last physical was perfect.

So I made a visit to the school after the week before last week's visit to the Neurologist with Chloe, (That's my cutie- pictured above!) where she was diagnosed officially with aspergers. I wanted to see what needed to be done at the school regarding that and talk to her teacher, etc. (she, too has an awesome teacher, PTL!!!) So I went to the office and ran into the learning coach. She asked if i wanted to see the curriculum they use for the "at risk" kids (that would be Annabeth, of all ridiculousness!) she showed me the curriculum, explained that it was in the vast majority, phonics based, and tried to assuage my concerns about a sight word based reading program. She did! she also said she's be personally tutoring her each day. Sounded almost too good to be true. Turns out it was too good to be true. This week as she's been bringing home read aloud books (only one set this week, i think she only got either 1 or two tutoring sessions too. argh!) they were books that read like this:

Frog Food-

I like bugs on pancakes, left page, (big picture of a frog eating pancakes with bugs on it on the right)
I like bugs on popcorn (same as above)
I like bugs on soup
I like bugs on bread
i like bugs on pizza,
I like bugs on salad,
i like bugs on cake,
I like bugs


Waking up-

The rooster wakes up- Cock-a-doodle-doo!
The cow wakes up- Moo, moo!
The pig wakes up, Oink, oink!
The horse wakes up, Neigh, neigh
the turkey wakes up, Gobble, gobble,
the sheep wakes up, baa baa!
the duck wakes up, quack, quack
And the chick wakes up- peep peep

So you can see this has virtually no phonetic element to it at all- there's repetition, and super obvious picture clues. Honestly i find it really disturbing. One that I was obviously misled, and two that the school district is even using this "memorizing" strategy of "reading" in general. OY.

So, i have her on queue to get testing with the neurological something or other at mary bridge, as soon as the dr. gets the paperwork faxed it would be about DECEMBER when she'd get in. OY, and that's if she did it right away, and i'm afraid that's probably not the case, since i've been absolutely swamping her tiny medical practice's office with neurology referrals!!!! So that's a game changer.

Oh, i haven't even dropped the bombshell yet! Ok, so tuesday, i got the mail, and in it, was a letter from the school. Saying, GET THIS, that they refuse to test her for learning disabilities. The REASON? because she was homeschooled last year and i just might have done a crappy job.
Problem 1 with this assertion is that even though I referred in the meeting to us as being "homeschoolers" which is my bad, we were technically only part time homeschooling and 99% public schoolers through a virtual academy. SO, i've been supervised all of anna's academic career. TRY AGAIN! ugg. Though truly, i have to say i'm extremely insulted. How dare they suggest that just because we were homeschooling that she wasn't learning anything. That's horrible.

And SECONDLY and most importantly, aside from their finger pointing and guilt tripping they missed the most important issue of all- that I wanted to have her tested, not because of her reading and math delay but because she can't understand group instruction! And HELLO! have you ever TRIED Teaching someone to read who can't hear you and frequently has to repeat lessons or start over?!? Yeah. that's where I'm at. I'm completely disgusted. i'm in the process of speaking with an advocate who can help me decide what we should do. I'm honestly leaning toward pulling her out of school ASAP. the problem being that dh really really wants us to do it one child at a time, so i can acclimate to my many responsibilities and that makes MUCH sense, but it feels like such a crisis now, that EACH of them need to be pulled for different reasons. not to mention the bigger collective family reason! Sigh... I swear, i'm just so emotional, i want to look at these people and SCREAM- THIS IS MY BABY! look at her! she's precious and fragile and she NEEDS you. Please CARE about her!!!! but its no use! I guess that's why God made ME her mama... to make sure she's treated right.

So anyway I see my options as basically

1. pull annabeth out of school altogether- don't even bother to go through testing with her (after fighting for it!)

2. Pull annabeth out of school BUT fight for testing, get it and have her tested. but still keep her out of school other than special ed. They legally have to do this I think.

3. keep her in school and fight for getting her tested. Honestly, i don't see any point in keeping her in school if she's not actually LEARNING anything. Sigh.... Any feedback?