Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Dragon Study Ideas

A friend asked for 'unschooling' type ideas for her son who is into YuGiOh and Dragons.

I thought I'd share what I thought of in case someone here maybe able to use parts of it with their kids:

Maybe he can design his own YuGiOh type game. He can make his own creatures with abilities and cards and points, etc......
AND if you have a friendly Gaming Store, There might be a few people there who would be willing to play test his game. My son designed his own game, the store manager there knows we homeschool and is a great guy. My son told him all about the game and he is going to test play it with my son.

This will have art, writing, math, history (as he resaerches Dragon Lore to create his characters), learning how business works, etc...

Then he can make clay models of his creatures.

Maybe even write short stories about his creatures.

(I know very very very little about YugiOh, sorry)

He can do a puppet show of one of his favorite Dragon Stories.

Drawing Maps of a dragon cave or a forrest.

You can buy poker chips at the dollar store, spray paint them 3-4 different colors. Hide them. He searhces for them, maybe with a map, maybe not... each coin type has a different value. He can calculate the total value.

At the end he can throw a Dragon Party for friends and family- Make invitatons, maybe think of Dragon or Knight names for his guests.

he can make a Dragon Dinner... Hmmm.. carrot spears/swords, Flame grilled Steak, Potato Skin Shields.... Maybe he can think of dishes and give them 'dragon-y names'. Have him make the grocery list and give him cash and let him shop and go through the checkout lane. Have him write a menu (use a fancy old english font with WORD and print it out, use tea and a match to 'antique' the paper -and you can talk about history of Pilgrims or something and their hand made paper.- maybe make youe own paper....). Then roll it up in a scroll and use a wax seal.

Have his new game out and teach it to people, have his diaramas of different dragon Lore or YuGiOh Scenes, Do his Puppet Show. He can have huge maps with Push Pins for where dragons have been reported to have lived.....

You can even teach his to sew, buy a sewing pattern to make a KNIGHT costume and have him help make most of it. He can wear it to his Dragon Party. He can design and make his own wooden sword and sheild.

I just found this in my email today...

Science Experiment.. click here to see

you may need to find a smoke machine for this one.... or not... It might be fun for a dragon study .

these might be fun, too......

Sceince Experiment- make your own homemade fire extinguisher to put out those nasty little dragon brush fire in the back yard...

here is one that was maked as "ADVANCED"..... but you might want to try it anway (after you make a fire exstinguisher...)
Shooting Sparks

Making Sparks and Fire Part 2


Monday, May 28, 2007


no school this week.....

here's a little of what is happening though:


My greeting cards are now up at the online store!

I need to write descriptions of each.

Wish me Luck! It'd be niceto have couple extra doallars a month for doing something I love to do!

Manuel in the race car-

You can't see him, but he's there in the car

Brian just left dor the grocery store and asked; 'Who wants to Come?" Manuel LOVES going to the grocery store. He was "ME! ME!!!" and ran and got his shoes... the rest of the boys went, too.

Friday, May 25, 2007


Today's school was easy. I told the boys to do something math, something reading and something writing. I told Manuel to pick any page he wanted in the Miquon book I have for him.

We went to the Rec Center and posed for picture passes for the waterpark pass.

Ate lunch.

Walked to the outdoor mall:

Here is Manuel (the one on red.... in case you couldn't pick him out...)

Here is Connor-

Here is Gavin (It was hard getting a face shot of him....)

Here is Connor and Ki (and Manuel and some kid with a mohawk)-

After we were done there, the boys got a sno-cone. No School next week, so Ki could have a little artificial....

Then I took a nap at home. The boys watched a couple Greatest American Heros shows on DVD. It is "Get your Own Dinner" night. Brian and the boys washed the Miata.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


My Knitting friend has asked me if I have ever considered taking up knitting. I have, but I really have a lot to do already...LOL. My hobbies right now are sewing (I love to deisgn and sew outfits, esp based on vintage patterns) and I love to make cards. This is a branch of my scrapbooking hobby.

Someone has asked me if I'd sell them on her online store. So I am getting some together that I feel are good enough for that.

here is a link to some of my pictures I have online:

My Cards

and here are a few sample pictures of some if you don;t want to bother with the link.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Hey... it's been a few days......

Hmmm. since last post Manuel saw the doctor and was out back into pressure garments and given the estimated date of early September for returning home. Which made him very sad..... I think he was better when he was sad about not knowing when. At least then he thought "Maybe this month!!" each month... now he knows it's NOT 'this month' for 3 more months.... (pic of pressure garments here Manuels' are for his legs)

(no school Friday- Brain took the day off work and took Manuel to Cincy for me)

Saturday a friend came over andhelped me organize the kids section of the bookshelf.

TOP SHELF- basket new reading books for Ki- who all the sudden started reading! YEAH! next to it, reading books for Connor. They often need help when I say 'it's reading time'. Esp Ki. He gets oberwhelmed with too many free choices. So having a group of books that 'count as school reading' helps. Cononr is reading a cat warrior series, but between books he can choose somehting from his school reading shelf and he also needed more advanced books than what was there last month.

2ND SHELF- books grouped by size/kind.... and a basket of mostly Fieldguides.

BOTTOM- books that are more scientific, 'schooly'.

By Sunday his feet and ankles were swelling from his pressure garments. So I called Monday. They told me to put him BACK into the ace wraps and bring him to Cincy Wed to be fotted for new garments. Being out of those nasty garments made him happy.. but going back to the hospital is NOT making him happy at all!

I took Tylenol PM Sundaynight- mild headache and hadn't slept well (due to sick kids), so I thought the Tylenol PM might help. I slept 11 hours before I dragged my half asleep body out of bed. I figured my body was just getting caught up on sleep. Hardly any school got done. Monday night I had a bad headache and decided to take the Tylenol PM again. Again, it was all I could do to drag my half comotose body out of bed. I was numb and my head felt like it was swirling. Conclusion- NO MORE TLYENOL PM for me!

Yesterday We did some school. Ki made fingerprint letters for his spelling words. With an inkpad. He'd make a fingerprint and then turn itinto a letter. (not all letters were fingerprintble) He seemed to enjoy it. Nothing else worth mentioning.

Today I was brain dead all morning. Gavin read to his brothers out of Pilgrim's Progress. (My eyes couldn't focus to read until around...well, they still aren't that great). Then they used clay to make amodel of a scene. Gavin and Connor wrote about their scene. Ki had a little meltdown over playdough ownership and mixed colors in the containers. I didn;t push for writing from him.


Connor's writing- (spelling errors fixed for your reading ease)
In the scene, Christian is running for his life out of the city. He wants to go to a different city.


Gavin's writing-(spelling errors fixed for your reading ease)
Bad City (yes, he gave it a title)
Faithful and Christian see the beautiful city. But Evangelist says it's a bad city built by the Wicked Prince. Faithful and Christian could be killed. The city is so nice you want to stay and not go to the Prince (the good prince). If you don't the bad men can throw you in jail or just kill you. Many pilgrims stay in the city and are treated cruelly. So, what will hapepen when they enter the city?
[j in jail is fine, yet j in just it backwards.. you'd think they'd be the same one way or the other]

Ki's picture came out very blurry... but art is so NOT his thing AT ALL! you didn't miss much.

We then went to the park to play. We taught Manuel how toplay Red Light Green Light. Ki was all out of breath after one game. He tires so easily..... We ate lunch there.

At home I gave Gavin, Manuel and Connor small assignments and took Ki to the coffee shop. He had hot choclate and I had juice. I read a book to him. He read one to me. (He is doing SO GREAT!! The lightbulb just turned on and he reads now!). Ki has been struggling A LOT with double digit multiplication. I asked him if he wanted to me sit and help him everyday or if he wanted to take a break and do something else for math. He decided to take a break and we decided on maps. He did 2 pages in his Miquon about copying a picture onto a smaller grid and making it to scale. He lovedit and did a third page. Then I hadhim measure the table. I choose this spot and pages inMiquon specifcally. The shop has tile topped tables. So Ki could count the tiles (after measruing to make sure they were the same size) and then draw it on the graph paper. One grid per tile on the tables length and width. Then again with 2 grids per tile. Then he did the same with the smaller end table with tile. Then he decided to do the 2 different sized tables where the people sit to eat. One was the same as the small tile table. The other was 35" by 35". I suggest he use one grid for every 5 inches. He very quickly knew it was 7 grids. it seems the multiplication comes easier when it doesn't look like a multiplication problem.

He was so excited! Then we played a game of chess. (after he measured the chess board and put it on the graph paper)

Then he finished the book he started at the Coffee shop.

Manuel did extra math and Ingles so he won;t have school to do tomorrow. He'll still need to read though. He was pretty excited to do extra today so he doesn't have to do it tomorrow!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

3 parts

This is a LOOOOOOOONG blog........ just a fore warning. The first part is some more on how I schedule school. The second is shorter and a bit about how school used to be in the early years. Then the last is a list of memory/listening skill activities.

With my of my kids being sick, School is not quit happening this week. There is some, but not enough to write home about.

Hence, I am blogging about homeschool schedules. Yesterday I shared out general weekly school schedule.

Today I will fill in some blanks. As you see on the general schedule it just says ‘math’… or just says ‘Going Places’…. or just says ‘Spelling”. On Saturdays I write a one week detailed plan. It might look something like this:


9AM- Breakfast and read-aloud –Pilgrim’s Progress. Story of the World, Proverbs 12:22

Spelling- G&C –Copy words and write a sentence for each. Ki- Copy Words, Do crayon Rubbings of each word with textured letters. Manuel- CopyWork John 2

Massage with
Manuel (who is Manuel?). My 3 boys read.

rest of School-
Gavin- 13 yrs old
1. Saxon Lesson 65, examples, practice +3
2.Critical Thinking 1 Mind Bender problem
3. Creative Writing Assignment

Connor- 12 yrs old
1.Going Places. Read Text pages 101-110, answer questions in complete sentences.
2. Online Science (cells) take notes in notebook.
3.Math Detective 2 cases

Ki- 10.5 yrs old
1. 10 math dice problems. Multiply Double Digit Dice
2. Beyond the Code-pages 6,7,8
3. Mind Bender

1. Miquon J-12, 13
2. Ingles in 10 Min/dia – pages 22, 23
3. Read

I can pretty much just write assignments down for my boys. Gavin and Connor can do most on their own. I flit between Manuel and Kiel.

And some days we just go on a hike and bring microscopes or we do science experiments. Some days Ki wants to write a story for most of the day.

When we first started homeschooling my boys were 4,6,7. We didn’t have much of a schedule. We mostly did science experiments, unit studies and projects. Almost everything we studies we had Lego Projects to go with it. We used Legos for math and sorting and classification. School was only a couple hours a day. Some school days were writing checked, paying bills, addressing envelopes, going to the post office, mailing a package, looking at the map to see where it is going, talking about who we know that lives there or if we have vacationed there.

Some school days were having them help plan a week’s menu, go through the kitchen to see what we had and help make a grocery list. Then go to the store and find things to go with our planned meals.

School was very free flowing and almost unschooled those early years. The schedules started to get a little more when Gavin was in 4th grade. And Ki still didn’t have much of a schedule at all. He often got to pick 3 school things a day and in what order he did them. I miss those early days. They were so full of learning and newness. I really think that unsctructured, quasi-unschooling is the way to go until kids are 8 or 9.

IN CLOSING- some activities you may enjoy-

Games to improve memory- ("her/She" is used, but of course is for ANYchild)

1.Play the classic simple game of Memory Match- with the cards that you have to find matching pairs by remembering what you have turned over.. but start with half the cards. Or 5 pairs- something smaller- with less to remember.

2. Play 'Repeat' – Tell your child you are going to play a secret game. A game with a secret word and she can't tell anyone else the word but you and she has a mission to tell you this word anytime you ask her. say a word (like 'cookie')and have your child repeat it. Have a secret code word that whenever you say, shge knows to say her secret word. Like whenever you say "poppadiddle' she says her secret word. . Tell her the secret word and have her repeat 5 times in a row. Wait 10 seconds –say YOUR secret word and have your child repeat HER secret word. Increase the time between "Secret Word". Go for 10 secind, then 15 seconds, then 45 seconds, then repeat it over and over and tell her you will ask her again in 5 minutes…… then 15 minutes…

Go as long as you and she want and have time for.

Later increased from 1 word to a 2 word phrase.

You can also use just SOUNDS.. have her secret word be the making the sound of a car or dog, or making the sound of a secret letter.

3. Play "Hidden Treasure" (do this outside, in the yard ot maybe at the park)—hide 50 cents. (or a plstic whistle or something small) Show her the money first. Then hide it. Tell her where it is. Have her repeat back where it is. Ask her to draw where is it according to what you have told her. Wait 20 seconds (OR however long you think would be good for her) then tell her to find the hidden treasure by remembering where you told her it was.

Gradually increase elapsed time and details of where it is hidden (like instead of "under the blue pillow on the couch" have it be " 5 feet from the cat's bowl"… or "turn LEFT at the chair and walk 3 feet then turn right and measure 18 inches"…

4. Play the word Card game (or picture card or number card).. have a card with a word/picture/letter, etc…. show it to her, have her tell you what it is. Then turn it upside down on the table and have her tell you what it is and turn it over to show her. Then wait 20 seconds and ask her what is on the upside down card. Turn it over to show her. If she got it correct, wait longer next time, if she got it wrong, don't wait as long for the next time.

5. Hand Letter- write the letter of the day on her hand. Frequently throughout the day ask her to look at her hand and go over the letter sound with her. Soon, JUST ask her the sound of the letter in her hand without going over it with her.

6. Put a little red X on one of her toes . Just one toe, either foot. Throughout the day ask her which toe it is (without her looking), then she can take off her sock or shoe, etc to see if she is correct.

7. "What's Next"

At the beginning of the day give her a small itinerary.

"after breakfast we will read a book. After we read he book we will go for a walk"

While you eat breakfast talk about what is next (the book) and what is after that (the walk). Then when breakfast is done, ask her what is next--- see if she can remember it is the book. If she can, ask her what is AFTER the book… the walk.

Increase your list as she gets better with it.

"what's missing"—have a tray with 3-5 items on it (unless your child can handle more). Take the tray away- remove one item, show the child and have them tell you what is missing. As you increase, you can have 10 things and remove TWO and see if the child can tell you both missing items….. (do this outside with things like rocks, leaves, seeds, flowers..)

"Sequence"—have 3-5 items. Call out the names of two items (make sure they are NOT next to each other) and have your child touch them (or pick up and place in front of them) in the order you called them out. Increase to saying 3 things in order, then 4 then 5…… We do this with letters and numbers and words, too. OR, instead of calling out the names of the items, have your child carefully wacth as YOU touch a sequence of items and then they have to touch the same things in sequence. (do this outside with things like rocks, leaves, seds, flowers..)

"What did I say"? Say a list of 3-5 words to your child and have her tell you the FIRST word you said. Make sure you tell her how to play the game first- tell her- "This is a game where I say 4 words and you have to tell me the first word I said." Then give her an example. "If I say the words 'cat, bear, cup, ball'- the first word I said is CAT- so that is what you need to say back to me." ---If 4 is too many, start with 2 or 3. (do this outside with things like rocks, leaves, seds, flowers..)

how to make a sandwich- Pick a task (making a peanut butter sandwich or making a bed) and have her describe EACH STEP involved. Write down the steps she says, then do them like she said them. So if describing a sandwich and she says- get out the bread and put peanut butter on it" you would get out the LOAF of bread and set the peanut butter jar on top the loaf- Then help her learn the specific steps in detail—you get the loaf of bread out of the drawer. Set the loaf on the table, open the bag, take out a slice of bread, put it on a plate. Get the jar of peanut butter out of the cupboard and put the jar on the table. Get a spreading knife out and set next to the jar, take the lid off the jar and set it down. Pick up the knife and scoop peanut butter out of the jar with the knife…."

Don't forget-- a GREAT way to engage them and to help them learn is to let THEM get a turn to be 'teacher'... let them hide something for you and give directions... let them have a tray of 10 things nad take 2 away for you to figure out..... let them tell YOU a word of the day for you to remember.....

this works great with ALL school... math problems, etc...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Take A Look - into my days

Here is my basic schedule for the week. On Saturdays I look through their books and make a schdule filling in the page numbers or assignments.
I think the schedule is esier to follow when each day is next to theohter, but for size and format purposes I have to show them one day under the other.
CLICK HERE to see a picture of the whole week at once

Our Basic day goes like this-------
9AM- Breakfast/Read Aloud (usually Bible, Pilgrim's Progress, Story of the Word)

After Breakfast clean up
BRAIN GYM stuff (sometimes obstacle course or other alternatives)

SPELLING/Language Arts (M/W/F- spelling, T/TH- Language Arts)

Manuel's Therapy-My Boys reading time

Individual Shool Work (the chart above)

We are usually done around 2PM

Gavin and Connor do a lot independant. I mostly help Ki and Manuel

Manuel and I go to a coffee shop, have a snack and I help him with his school work, we talk, play a game- my 3 do all their work on their own. Ki usually only gets half of his done. But I am fine with it now. Now it what I expect. He does whathe can while we are gone and I help him finish when I get home)

Saturday, May 12, 2007

SPELLING FUN! 20+ ideas

These ideas are not 0only great for kids with dyslexia or other reading/spelling difficulties, they work well to enhance the learning of any child!~

Ideas for dyslexia letter fun-
Choose a different activity each day! (let your child help choose which ones to play)

1. Writing in a tray of salt, shaving cream, sand.

2. Use clay to make the word. Then make a model of the word. (make the letters 'c-a-t', then make a little cat from the rest of the clay)

3. Use finger paint to spell words or practice letters, alternate hands, spell with toes, use you nose!

4. Use dry erase markers on the window. It is perfectly safe and wipes right off and kids LOVE IT! (though you may want to test beforehand)

5. Before starting the writing or spelling lessons, have the child make large infinity signs with their finger or on the chalk board. Have it so they cross the infinity sign in front of the middle of their body. (Brain Gym Lazy 8s)

6. Use plastic textured letters. Have the child hold one letter at a time to get used to the feel. Have them close their eyes, place the letter in their hand (the correct direction/position), have them figure out what letter it is. After they can recognize the shapes well, hand the letter to them upside down or backwards. Then do the same with simple words or sight words. Hand them the letters all at once, (while eyes are closed) have them figure out how to lay the letters in the right direction (not upside down or backwards) then open their eyes and move the letters ion the right order to make the words., when they can do that, have them figure out the words while their eyes are closed still.
Some kids with dyslexia often see words in jumbled order or letters backwards, upside down. It helps when they can recognize letters and words no matter what direction or jumbled order they are in. It helps the brain learn how to process the information.

7. Games like Scrabble and Boggle are good. But with your own rules or none at all. For Scrabble, get a list of words, set aside all the letters that go to those words, have your child spell the words out on the Scrabble board and find the best way to organize the words to get the most points. For Boggle, you may want to spend the first few times arranging the cubes to make sure there are some easy words there. Show the words to your child and have them write the words down. My middle son likes to arrange the tiles to make words and have me find the words. Then we make silly sentences with his words. The next time have them find the simple words (you previously arranged). Eventually you will be up to playing the game by the real rules.

8. The tiles and cubes can be used without the board. get letter tiles/cubes for an ending ( __ a t ) and take turns placing different tiles in front to make new words. Make 'cat', rat, bat..... Then ask "Which letter gets changed if we want to make 'bat' into 'bag'?" or “which part of the word gets changed; the beginning sound or the ending sound?” Don't ask what the new letter is yet, just work on having them identify which letter (beginning, middle, end) is different. You can tell them it becomes a 'g', if they can't figure it out yet.You can do this on paper, but the act of picking up and exchaging the letters by hand is great reinforcement for their brains! combining phsyical with mental helps to cement concept in the mind- check out this book- Smart Moves: Why Learning Is Not All in Your Head by Carla Hannaford

9. HOPSCOTCH- Make a Hopscotch board (with chalk outside or colored paper inside, each sheet a different box). Write a different letter in each square. Have the child call out the letters or make the letter sound as they jump along. Use all vowels, or random letters. It's fun to use for spelling words, too. You can change around the amount and layout of the boxes to fit what you need.More mental+phsyical.

10. Throw/bounce a ball back and forth while you take turns spelling out words. Or Have the child bounce the ball to himself (against a wall or on the ground) while they spell out words. More mental+phsyical. I try to use both when I can , esp for my son with SID/Dyspraxia.

11. Spelling words-Use Index Cards- use 2 cards for each word on the list. write the word in all lower case on card #1, write the word in ALL CAPS on card #2. Use the cards to play "Memory Match". My son also likes to play other games. One is "Five in a Row" I put out a row of 5 cards and he picks up the words as I call them. "Make a Sentence"- Put out 2-4 cards (start with 2 and work up). Have your child think up a sentence using the cards. To put less stress on them. Both of you think up sentences for the cards. Another one we play is "Pick Up". I layout 6 cards and say four of them (making sure they are not in order on the table) and he has to pick up the cards in the order I called them. You can start with 3, or even 2 if needed and work up to 6 or more. click here for more WORD CARD IDEAS. this post is 2 yrs old, but Ki still used Word Cards

12. Write/draw on each other’s backs- have a guessing game. Keep score, if you want.

13. Make a photo/word book. Make words PERSONAL. Take pictures of your child’s mom, dad, pet, car, van, etc. rite the words LARGE under each picture (one per page). Take a picture of the STOP sign on your corner…….

14. Let your child use one of those Magnadoodle boards or a large dry erase board.

15. Use beads. Have the child line the beads up to form letters/words.
16. Grab Bag Spelling. Use letters (tiles, plastic, written on seperate pieces of paper) for their list of words they are working on learning. Get one brown paper bag for each word. Number the bags. Put into each bag letters to make one word. Write down which word is in ech bag for you to check them. Give them a sheet of paper and have them take the letters out of each bag (one at a time) and arrange them in the correct order. They can write the word down on the paper or just tell you.
17. Write individual letters on index cards (or squares or paper). Scatters the letters for a word on the floor. Have them use their toes to put the letters in order. For more advanced- use letters for TWO words or just add extra letters that do not belong in the word.
18. Make your own crossword or wordsearch or other words puzzles online. Print them out for your child. I use this site= PUZZLEMAKER
19. Teach your child the alphabet in sign language. Use this to spell words. (more physical reinforcement- plus b, p, d aren't similar and therefore confused) ASL ALPHABET CHART ASL ABCs COLORING PAGES ASL Alphabet Font for printing worksheets
** from our Occupational Therapist- Spelling. Write each letter of the word on a separate 2-3" square of paper. Tape them out-of-order and jumbled on the wall about a foot above the ground. Have child be barefoot and 'crab-crawl' to point to the letters in order (pointing with their toe)

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

OBSTACLE COURSE & semi-unschool

It's been a good week so far- Yesterday's blog........ Monday's Blog. Lots of pictures this week, so far!

I don't really unschool. I do have 'unshool days'...and 'unschool moments'...


But I also have structure and rules for the kids to follow. I guess I might call it...."relaxed, child interest guided ecclectic school with therapy"We started the day with an obstacle course before Breakfast.


Jump over then boxes leading to the wheelbarrow, zigzag the wheelbarrow around the boxes – there and back.


 feet together hop over sticks.


one foot jump through ladder rungs.


 walk the beam



 crawl under the table



do 3 figure-eight loops around the chairs.



balance and count to 10



Breakfast was waffles. Gavin diced strawberries and added a little sugar. BACK outside for crisscrosses and Head Shoulders Knees and Toes. (with water)


SPELLING- G&C had to write variations for their words. So for evade- they wrote evading, evasion, evaded…. These variations were added to the list of words they will have to write on their test. The write all their words from memory. I don't say them for the boys to spell.

Ki played a toe touch game. I wrote the letters for his words on pieces of paper. Lay them on the floor out of order. He touches them with his toe in order while spelling them out loud. Half way through he decided to add a couple extra letters that aren't in the word and he had to find the correct letters (or figure out which didn't belong). This used both sides of his brain I am pretty sure (esp since he thought it fun to alternate which fot he used each letter) and using both mental and physical together is great for cementing facts and great for his dyspraxia.

Then Ki worked on writing a story. He likes to write stories with his words. He choose this activity. I asked him what he wanted to do with his spelling words today.(that's my semi-unschool moment). I added the toe game, because I know he needs stuff like that for his dyspraxia, dyslexia, SID.


Gavin and Connor wrote 10-15 sentences with their words.


 Ki choose to write in his story instead of read.(another semi- unschool moment..LOL)

 I sometimes allow that. It's good for kids to get some say in what and how they do some things…sometimes….. but it's also good for them to learn to follow the instructions of those in charge of their welfare, even if it is boring- after all- that's pretty much how life is …

The first school sessions are the ones that are something to write home about…… the rest is pretty boring… like last time. like usual… not much therapy or fun ways to teach going on the rest of the school day

GAVIN- 1- Switched On Schoolhouse- History (we only use the history- it's not great, but it's more of just something to do and maybe learn a bit at the same time) 2- Review Math Lessons with mom


CONNOR- 1. Going Places- reread story and draw 5 sequence pictures.(Connor asked to drawthe sequence pictures from his Cat Warrior book, I let him) 2. two Math Detective Cases 3- Online Science


 Ki- 1-Beyond the Code. 3 pages 2- Miquon F-45,45 J-13

Manuel- 1. Ingles in 10 Minutos 2- Miquon J-6,8,9

No real links this time, folks....sorry...

Tuesday, May 8, 2007


I slept in this morning. I had a headache.

We did some chores around the house to get ready for Breakfast. Even Manuel did work. Connor and Gavin made Breakfast.

The school day started with Brain Gym. With my headache, I put the boys in charge. Ki led Criss Crosses, Connor led Body Scales (these are not a Brain Gym activity. It is a sensory activity made to help Ki's dyspraxia.). Ki always wants to lead these, but I only can let him lead them if I do a round first. (to make sure it gets done as needed to work, LOL). Manuel led Lazy 8s with arms. Gavin led Hook Ups.

I made word worksheets for Ki while they did this. I used Puzzle Maker(free to use website) and plugged in Ki's spelling words for this week. I made a word search and a crossword puzzle with his spelling words.

During Brain Gym., I also used Babelfish to give Manuel his writing assignment. Babelfish is a free language translator online. Id does dozens of languages , but it's not perfect. You have to think carefully about your wording. If you type. I was right (meaning correct) it will translate the ord RIGHT ad the directional word. (right or left). So I have to think carefully about how to word things. and sometimes it's still a bit off, but if I use the correct wording it does a good enough job that Manuel can understand it.

After Brain Gym, I gave the boys their writing assignments. They had to choose an event from a short list I provided, as I have learned long ago, an open ended choice leads to 3 hours of trying to decide for my younger 2. They had to write a list of what happened in order. Gavin needed 25 things, Connor 20, Ki 15. Tomorrow they will turn their list into a story. I will Ki make a comic book story- less words, yet he gets the story writing concept. They all wrote more than needed. The seemed to enjoy iy. I had Manuel write 10 sentences about going to Danny's house on Sunday. (The boys' friends). Ki also choose their day at Danny's house.

Manuel was done first. I found a book with instructions on dinosaur origami. I started with the easiest in the book. The dinosaur snapper head. I helped a lot with the first time. He thought it was SO NEAT that flat paper made a 3-D toy! So we did another one, with him doing most of it. Then he did one all on his own. Connor loves these snapers and son all the boys were making them.


Link to Video of Connor folding Dinosaur Snapper

Then it was time to do Manuel's therapy and my boys to do their reading. it keeps them occupied and focused while I am off with Manuel.

That brings us up to lunch.

The rest of the school day will be boring to report. Miquon, Math Detective CD, Beyond the Code, Ingles in 10 Minutos, Online Science Study.

I put the online science studies together for my boys. Here is the CELL one that Gavin just finished.

Lesson 2 Cells

Go Here- read, take notes, explore-

Click on the link for Unit Membrane- Read and click NEXT to get to the next page. Continue this. Some pages have little animated diagrams with a PLAY feature. Make sure you watch them.

At the end is a quiz, Take it. Record your grade- Correct if needed.

Click on the Studying Cells Tutorial-

read, click Scientific Method and read.

List the 7 steps in your notebook.

Click- Size & Biology Read

Click Major Events Read

Click to Test yourself

Click on each of the 4 areas to test. record your grades I your notebook.

NEXT- Go the following Site-

Read, take notes, follow links


Read and explore


CLICK ON LESSONS- Do one at a time, starting with the first- Take all of the quizzes and record your grades in your notebook..

CLICK ON VIRTUAL CELL LINK- Explore- Click the PLAIN links and watch.


Read, take notes, don't do the Enrichment Links


Monday, May 7, 2007

Out for a Walk

We went for a walk at the nature reserve place . Lots of nice pics. The boys skipped rocks, caught insects, looked at fossils, climbed trees and swang on vines. I locked my keys in the van. Brian's dad had to come take us hone, I got the spare, then drop me off at the van. I took the boys to lunch. everyone wanted Panera except Manuel. So we went to Panera (because we almost always go where Manuel wants and I think it's not fair to my own kids if Manuel is always chosen instead of them and it's not good for Manuel to always gethis way)

So he sat and pouted the whole time and refused to eat. Kids are kids no matter what country they live in....Ki is like that, too when we don't go where he wants.

Now he is crying. Poor kid.Conor was reading in the bedroom and I didn;t think I should always kick Connor out of his room everyday. He's been getting upset and sad that we always kick him out of room 2 times a day to do Manuel. So I let him stay and did Manuel's massage and therapy on the sofa. I told the boys to make sure they didn't come into the room. It's turned into abad afternoon for Manuel.

This tree had long thin roots that were just drapped across the path!

I think I might enlarge this one for Mother's Day....

SHELF fungus put to use!

A big, fat lightening bug That craled on Ki for half of our walk. He had a little green inchworm on his face after this.

There was some large shelf fungi at this place!

Swinging on a vine

A better vine !!

Connor had wiped most the blood from his finger already.. Manuel and Connor got cut skipping stones...

A cool tree!

I have had to remind and correct Ki 5 or 6 times now. He is doinf double digit multiplication. He loves to use Dice. We have dice that is one dice inside another- so it works as rolling a double digit number. I explained it to him, showed him an example, made sure he rememver about carrying.... as soon as I leave he asks "Am I adding or timesing??"After I took 5 minutes making sure he KNEW i5t was TIMES/MULTIPLICATION.. I come back and he has done SINGLE times SINGLE (5 of them) so I had to remind him DOUBLE DIGITS... then he asks "Am I adding or timesing?"

... then a little later..he calls out "I forget- am I adding or timesing?"

we did tyhis another round... is it really THAT hard to remember, the problems he had already done were TIMES....


Friday, May 4, 2007

FUN VIDEOS and pics of science!

The only reportable events from yesterday are the Mentos Experiment and the fact that we were given a pop up camper trailer. It sleeps 8 and has a fridge, stove, sink….. The man is a friend of my husband and was thinking of asking $100 for it but decided to just give it to us. He said his family got more than their money’s worth out of it and hopefully we will get lots of fun, too.



Add to My Profile More Videos


Today we watched a few videos of the Metnos Experiment and read an explanation. So now we know ways to make our Mentos Experiment better. We will try it with diet coke and Mentos nd also try it with salt. I think I will assign the boys the task of figuring out how to implant a delayed trigger (like on the videos- whish are AWESOME and linked at the end of this blog)

And Manuel was singing a Tobymac song. He only knows 2 lines and slurs the third line all together. It’s funny because he only speaks Spanish (he does know a handful of English) and he has no idea what he’s saying. He sings “Shake it---Don’t break it….” the next line is “took your momma 9 months to make it”- but he can’t quite say that line.
He calls the Tobymac my “CD Muy rapido”

Soksey brought a bird to us. I guess he thought we were hungry. I really wish he’d eat what he kills

Ki got a 95 on his spelling test. I told him to study his words, he did, said he was done studying. I asked if he was sure, he said yes and told me to ask him his words. So I did. He spelled them all except for one. I gave it to him again and he got it correct. I figured he spelled them for me out loud and it counted as his spelling test. He missed 1 out of 10- then corrected it and got it right- so I gave him 5 points for it. Told me had a 95%. Later I had him spell a few words with his feet; using his foot to ‘draw’ the letters on the ground. I think I’ll add that activity to his spelling routine- It will be good for his SID.

After that, Ki made French Toast. He made the batter and made his French Toast, then the other boys cooked theirs. Ki helped Manuel with his.

Connor finished book 5 from Cat Warriors.
CatWarriors Barnes&Nobles

His reading has gotten so much better. He’s been able to read since he was 4 or 5 (it’s hard to tell exactly with autistic kids). He was always able to read on grade level. but he was very, very slow and had very poor retention and comprehension. I changed his Language Art program around _I stuck him with a reading program that was 2 grade levels lower than his reading level- but on his comprehension level. It is a Silver Burdett book and workbook-Going Places) and I added lots of things like doing puppet shows, dioramas, drawing book covers, etc… for each of the short stories. And now he just ZOOMS through books on his reading level with great comprehension. He thought he couldn’t read this book 5 on the 3 weeks you get from the library- so he bought the book. He read it in 6 days.

Ki has started reading ‘real books’- no longer those 10 words a page kindergarten readers. He wants to read the Cat Warrior books, too. He reads the titles (this book is called ‘The darkest Hour’) but he can’t read much more. He has read a couple other books that are about 3rd grade and he reads a passage here and there or bigger books.

This is why I don’t force my dyslexic kids to read 30 minutes a day of books that are a bit too hard. I do not push at all. I let Ki read simple Dick and Jane type books over and over and over and over and let him progress when he was ready and wanted to. same with Gavin). and it happens. One day (towards the end of 4th grade, they just decide they are now ready to go very simple Kindergarten pre-readers to reading on level AND the WANT to.. They are excited to read, they have the desire. I know they wouldn’t have the reading desire if I was continually pushing them to read before they were ready.

Today was spelling tests and math tests and Science Experiments. For Math tests- well, lately I have the older two doing Saxon- but JUST the examples and practice problems for that chapter (and make up 3 of their own problems), so I decided on Fridays they will do the Problem Set at the end of the last chapter they did.

I’ll grade them later- we’ll see if this works.

We did more science fun today. Last night I put a little water in one of the 2Liter bottles and topped it with a balloon.

I put it in the freezer overnight. We took it out this morning. The bottle was sucked in on the sides and the balloon shrivled. it's hard to tell with the small picture- but the ballon and bottle are both shriveled.

Then we put it in a pan of water and watched the balloon fill with air as the hot water melted the ice in the bottle.

a little more air into theballoon

enough to make it stand upright!

a little more air.....

It's getting quite full now...

The balloon at it's max. Though I think it would have gottenbigger once the water IN theballoon boiled.

At the end the bottle itself was swollen with air so I turned off the stove. I didn’t want it to explode.
Not sure if you can tell, but the upper portion of the bottle is expanded and fat with air. It was bulging quite a bit.

Then we did the Ghost in a Bottle trick…. Here is a poor video. You can’t see the coin hop- but it does. You can hear it.

It does tiny hops as the ghost is trying to escape. Freeze a glass cola bottle (we used IBC) then take it out the next day, put a drop or two of water on the rim. Put a coin on it. As the air warms and tries to get out, it pushes the coin.

URLS for cool Mentos videos!



DON’T Do this one at home- but neat to watch- MENTOS ROCKET

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Candy and Cheese

Candy meth

This is just disgusting!!! Meth made to look and taste like candy!

there is also some stuff called

SCHOOL-Thursday May 3, 2007

Up and breakfast….. so far so good. The boys asked to play outside before school. So I gave them 20 minutes. They are playing badminton. Is that how it is spelled? I bought some rackets for $1 each and they came with 2 cheap birdies, at the dollar store of course. I figured the exercise would be good before school.

We did some stretches, then we had spelling. Manuel read, Ki wrote his word card and wrote more in his story. Gavin and Connor wrote their spelling words, but with different endings… so instead of writing explore and argue, they’d write exploration and argument. Then they wrote sentences. After that my boys read while I did Manuel’s care.

Manuel earned $2 cleaning in the kitchen. Ki did a few pages in his Beyond the Code and his Miquon. Connor wrote in his Language Arts book. Gavin read in a Science text about solids. he liked learning the formulas for torque and horsepower.

Connor has art class later.

YESTERDAY was an unschool day- playing at the park, bike riding, looking at things in the microscope, reading books, playing games, dad teaching about some math/science stuff, Royal Rangers......

Manuel's knee is doing AWESOME!! He rode a bike yesterday! He even spend $1 at the grocery store! He has never spent money here before- he works to earn it, but saves it all up to take home to his mom.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007


Tuesday May 1, 2007

It’s almost National STAR WARS day!!!!

Once again, the boys took to digging their underground house before breakfast. School didn’t start until after 10. well, the ‘in class sitting down’ type of school. It is good that they were digging before school. The physical work is good for them The brain needs the body to work. Learning is more complete when both there is physical activity, too.

We started with Brain Gym and drinking water. Manuel was able to do the criss-crosses much better this week! Connor is just an annoying little goof. He ended up doing extra Brain Gym because he was just playing around and being so silly.

Then we went over Spanish/English words and phrases. The boys enjoy quizzing each other. My boys say a word in Spanish and Manuel says it in English- and he says an English word to them and they have to say it in Spanish. Manuel is much more wiling to try English words for my kids- then for me. I guess it’s less embarrassing to mess up with other kids than with a ‘teacher’.

We didn’t do spelling today. We did story writing. While Manuel read with his foot propped up, I did a little lesson on time sequence in story writing. I told them what it means to tell a story in sequence of events. Starting with the first thing that happened and moving on…. to the end. First I told a little story- part of it. I said something like”
The alarm sounded early in the morning. With my eyes still closed, I rolled over and turned it off. I took a deep breath then opened my eyes. I went to brush my teeth and hair. Then I got dressed.
I then asked the boys questions about what happened first and next and last. Connor didn’t do well. He just sat there. He couldn’t figure out what happned first and next. Kids with Asperger’s often have trouble with time sequence and with his bothers jumping into to answer he just sat back. So I directed some questions to him. Just for him and was detailed and tried to lay things out in for him. He did better that way.

Then I gave the boys a list of out of order sentences for the next part of the story. They had to put them in order. Then they had to write 5 more sentences to finish the story.
Here are the sentences they had to put in order:
I followed the drops into the kitchen.

In front of the fridge I found a bone.

As I stepped into the hall, I noticed drops of blood.

I picked up Soksey.

Soksey was eating a chipmunk by the door that leads to the garage.

Ki wrote 3 sentences (I told him he only had to write two or 3). He made them out of order for ME to figure out.

He had”
 I put Soksey outside. ( Ipit sokey ot siid)
 blood fell on my shirt (blod fal on my shrt)
 Soksey brought a bird in. (Soksey brot a bord in)

Connor wrote:
“Soksey had 79, 258,010,236,547,721 chipmunks. It took me 79, 258,010,236,547,721 seconds to count them. Soksey was very happy. The lanet exploded. Then Soksey was sad! Soksey was sadder than me because he lost 79, 258,010,236,547,721 chipmunks.”

He gave himself a HUGE RED A+

Gavin wrote:
“But he didn’t like it when I picked him up, so he bit me on the hand. I yelled and dropped him. He finished eating the chipmunk. Then I closed the door and locked him outside, but before I could close the cat door, he came inside. He ran under the bed and took a nap. I made breakfast and woke the boys. They ate breakfast and we started school. Soksey woke up and tore up the school books. We did a little work on blank papers. We made lunch and ate it.”

Then it was time for Manuel’s therapy and the boys did their reading while I took care of Manuel. After that I wrote a list of schoolwork for the boys and took Manuel to Taco Bell for doing such a good job with his therapy this past week or so.

I really enjoy spending time with Manuel. He opens up and tries hard to learn English and also to explain and teach me Spanish when we are one-on-one. After taco Bell we went to a School Supply Store. They had one of those 9 tile puzzles with a split picture on each side and you have to match the tiles…. B-Dazzle Puzzles
He loved it. He would get it almost done and the last 2 or 3 wouldn’t match up and he laugh about how easy it looks but it’s really very difficult. The he’d rearrange them and laugh when the birds had 2 heads… picture is link to website. bdazzle-

I finished my purchase and we stopped by the dollar store in search of index cards, to no avail. So we went to the little coffee shop to do sit and do his schoolwork. They had one of those triangles pieces of wood with the pegs that you hop over each other and try to get one peg left. I taught him that he really enjoyed it. He played it over and over and over. He got one left a few times and would say “YO GANA!” We worked in his Ingles in 10 minutos a dia book. We read outloud back and forth and he wrote things out.Then we did math. I couldn’t get him away from the peg game… I told him if hw could win again (one peg left) he’d not have to do his math today…LOL. He had 3 left…

so I used the pegs to demonstrate the math concept. having groups og 4 or 6 pegs, tmaking equal groups, taking one of the groups away, etc... He couldn’t get it for awhile. I finally was able to make him understand the problems. They were problems like:

½ X 6 = 6 - ?

he didn’t understand ½. I went over and over it, with pictures, and using the pegs showing that ½ is the same as 3/6 (and 2/4 and 4/8…) Finally we stumbles upon the word medio… and I finally got him to understand…medio de sais = the same as 6-3…. He finally caught on. He was getting confused my the word HALF.
He is great with math as long as there is only an equation on ONE side. So we are really exercising his brain here. Teaching different ways to see things. I wrote out a few more problems and he did great.
½ x 10= 10-? ½ x 6= 6-? ½ x 50=50-?........ etc.. I think I had 7 for him.
So I moved onto ¼ x 4 = 1 out of the group of 4 pegs…. same with 1/3 x 3 =1 of group of 3 pegs… THEN we went to 1/3 x 6 =2 (if you double the 3(6)- you double the answer of 1 (2). so he was able to get the answer to ½ x 12 = ? just by seeing to double the answer again.

We finished. He played the peg game again and won. And then said that because he won, he doesn’t have to math tomorrow…LOL. We’ll see….

Ki didn’t have his work done, but I knew he wouldn’t. I sat him in my lap and we worked on it together and he did well.

Manuel rested with his leg elevated (it is still swollen) and watched Star Wars 2.

Connor was asleep when I got home. and still coughing. I bet his antibiotics aren’t working… I’ll have to take him back to check in a day or two (he has one more pill left) And I think he has impetigo. He is a face picker.. a scab picker.. he used to have open sores all over his face until he was 4 or 5. He doesn’t scab well, so wounds stay open for a week often…. anyway, he finally got out of the face picking habit….. until he had chicken pox two months ago… now he has open scratches on his face again and can’t keep his hands off….. just another autism issue…

THAT’S IT from me today! it’s TACO TUESDAY here!


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