Thursday, March 31, 2011

Blog Party!

I found out about this cool blog party going on at a blog I follow. Since I love getting new followers, new comments and new blogs to follow myself, I thought I'd sneak in the back door and crash the place!

Ultimate Blog Party 2011

5 Minutes For Mom apparently throws this party every year and got over 2000 people to join last year! I'm joining with both of my blogs (which is hopefully allowed!).

If you're visiting from the party, HI!

(mini intro) I'm Sam (or Sandra), a homeschooling SAHM. We live in Canada and are fairly new to both blogging and homeschooling! My hubby, Lee, and I have 4 kids between us. His son, Dylan, lives with his mother, my son, Isaac, lives with his father, my daughter Brianna and our daughter Olivia live with us. On this blog I detail our homeschooling journey. I love following new blogs, but, while I read every new update, I'm bad at posting comments (working on that!). I do love getting them though, so feel free!

Garden Plans

We've joined up with the Homeschool Village for their Garden Challenge!

Now here in the Great White North, there's still snow on the ground lol However, we are starting to see perennial flowers popping up so my gardening fingers start getting itchy!

Here's a dark picture of our backyard garden area (pardon the crappy quality lightening of it!) I promise I'll put a better one up in sunlight!

We've got a long flower bed (15 ft or so), well, it's a flower bed in the spring, come veggie season it holds veggies too. Then at the end of this is our original veggie garden. It's waaaaaay too small IMO, but we live in a rental unit so can't really make it bigger. I dream of a 1/4 acre garden!

In the front we have 8 ft thin beds on either side of the front walkway and some more thin beds along our porch (sorry, no pics atm). This is where we have some day lilies, my mini rose bushes from the kids and some annuals.

For our annual flowers we always get inpatients. They have a large variety of color and ANYONE can grow them. They're really hard to kill and love everything from full sun to full shade. I also purposely planted them just a little too close together so they end up being a huge wave of flowers once they're fully grown. (I buy these from the stores as seedlings)

For veggies... in the spring flower bed in the back we'll be planting potatoes and tomatoes (cherry and beefsteak). Possibly peas too, depends on space. I'm a *bad* gardener and crowd my plants, but everything seems to grow like crazy anyway!

In the main veggie garden, I know we want to try *something* new this year, but not sure yet what that's gonna be. We will have fingerling carrots, sweet peas (though possibly in the other garden), radishes and green onions (which we replant all season), a few kinds of lettuce, cucumbers, green peppers (maybe some other colors too), and some kind of spicy pepper.

We also have a few window-style boxes for herbs. This year's selection will include basil, garlic chives, dill, parsley, and maybe oregano or a different type of basil or chives. Last year our herb got weeded out and we didn't get much from them. This year we'll pay more attention to them lol

Possibilities for additions to the garden this year are: spinach, sugar pumpkin or zucchini. Have to see....

Brianna loves gardening! Since the first year we put in the gardens (when she was 3 or 4) she's helped with planting, weeding, watering, harvesting, ect... She typically helps with the bigger seeds (green onions for example) or seedlings cause she's a little too generous with the little seeds lol But, she's a great weeder. If Lee and I don't even want to look at the garden for weeds, she'll do the whole thing. It takes a few hours at her pace, but she gets it done! Harvesting, though, I think is her favorite part. Especially since it usually means we're eating something garden fresh for supper that night!

One of the requirements for this blog post being in the link up is that we post our resources. Really, I don't use any. When I have a quick question and when I first started I'd call my grandma, but for the most part we wing it and figure it out as we go!

Ahhhh I can't wait til gardening happens!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wilderness Wednesday

Today was a beautiful day for a nature study! While the temps are still low, at least they're above 0C! It was also bright and sunny and things are finally starting to happen around the house.

Brianna did her usual counting of the flower sprouts and noted the large clump of tulips we discovered yesterday.

The daffodil clump has almost doubled in size since 2 weeks ago.

We also spotted a small (baby?) red squirrel. He was a very curious fellow who stuck around most of the time that we were outside.

We also attracted some nature by feeding the seagulls pretzels :)

Be sure to check out the guidelines for Wilderness Wednesday and grab our button there!

Fan-Freaking-Tastic Day!

Brianna must have woke up on the right side of the bed and took some happy pills. School was a breeze, even the geography test. Was completely done before 11am and watched 3 school movies. When the baby went down for her afternoon nap, she begged to do extra chores. She washed the bathroom floor, cleaned the tub and toilet, swept and washed the front porch, took out the garbage and recycling to the curb, picked up random garbage in the back yard. WOW! I could so use more days like this!

We also found out that the 3 movie limit at the library is actually 3 of each TYPE of movie. So we can take out 3 DVDs *and* 3 VHS tapes. Wooooo!

Sunday, March 27, 2011


We've entered Brianna into a Kids Triathlon Day here in town. Brianna was asking if we could start doing biking and running for phys ed once the weather was nicer so this fits perfectly. I've added a count down ticker to the blog so we can see how close we're getting!

Here's the Cornwall Triathlon site with more info including a map of the routes and distances. I will be training with Brianna to go along with my own fitness goals.

Homeschool Mother's Journal

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

In my life this week... Well, really the last 2 weeks since I slacked off last week. I have been looking through ideas for the Gr. 4 level. We don't really follow grades per year, but her level. Her level is anywhere from Gr. 1-6. But most of it is in the Gr. 3 area. I have pretty well everything we need for right now (other than Gr. 2 math and French), so now to discover the world of Gr. 4!

In our homeschool this week... We had an emergency human body study (see here). We also started Nature Studies (which Brianna loves), which prompted me to start my own linky for Nature studies (see here).

Places we're going and people we're seeing... Well, other than seeing drs, we were pretty well homebodies this week. Lee and Brianna did a bit of fun history though when they went skating today at one of the oldest rinks in town that's being closed. They did this big closing ceremony with the mayor and everything.

My favorite thing this week was... having multiple happy days. It's been so long since that's happened.

What's working/not working for us... educational DVDs from the library and going back to timing Brianna's work. She is looooving the "school movies" and I can barely keep up with taking them out/returning them. Timing her work has made life so much happier for both of us. It's like she *needs* the pressure of the timer. She's getting her work done with next to no problems and little dawdling.

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have... I'd like to get more into following sets of books/series for subjects. This year was a LOT of a book from here, a workbook from there, this site, that page, just all scrambled up. While supplementing with a little of this or that is great, I think it'll be easier to keep track of it all if I cut down the 56,468 areas I'm getting work from.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share...

Practicing one of her favorite spelling games
 Join up with the Journals at The Homeschool Chick

Lego Creation Thursday - Late

Oops! I forgot to take some pics of Brianna's creations over the week, but we had a great Lego day with Isaac on Saturday. Here's some of the fun!

Brianna's open-air airplane

This was it's landing pad

Isaac with the items him and I made

Non-Lego robot, space car, Pokemon's Chimchar, a scooter, and Chimchar's house with an XL chimney and strangely a nuclear power plant on the roof
Check out other Lego creations at My Blessings From Above!

Earth Hour

This year, we finally remembered to participate in Earth Hour! Brianna's been going to bed at 7:30pm lately (for the need of more sleep) but we let her stay up last night to take part with us.

First thing, I need more D batteries. I thought I had 6, the amount needed for my radio, but apparently only have 4. So in the spirit of Earth Hour, my hour was radio-less for an hour. If you know me, this has never happened before lol

So we lit 6 candles, pulled out the table and introduced Brianna to Monopoly! She's been begging to play it even though I told her she'd had to figure out her money herself (and she's not the strongest in math). She did pretty good. She needed help a few times, but otherwise figured any change out herself.

We'll definitely make this a yearly tradition :)

Brianna's Curling is Almost Over

Brianna's come along quite a bit in her curling! She stays up much better and is able to throw the rock/stone well. So well sometimes that it goes too far lol

There's only 2 weeks left and Brianna's disappointed. The curling season is pretty long (mid Oct-early April), but it's sooooooo long until next October!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

52 Books in 52 Weeks - 13

I am taking part in the 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge.

This week's book was Shopoholic Takes Manhattan by Sophie Kinsella

I honestly don't know why I keep reading this author. 80% of the book is piss-me-off-fluff with the last 20% (maybe) being worth the read.

In this book of the Shopoholic series Becky Bloomwood and her boyfriend go to New York for his work. She proceeds to spend a small fortune because you know "foreign money doesn't count". I mean yes, I'm sure some people DO actually think like this. But even the bimbo portrayed in the book supposedly worked for a financial magazine and knows her stuff enough to run a personal finance slot on tv. NO ONE who could do that is as money dumb as the main character. While I know the main character's "flaws" are meant to be cute or funny, I just think they are taken too far into the world of unbelievably stupid.


My lovely friend Dawn made me these great buttons for my blog and for the Wilderness Wednesday link up! Thanks so much!!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up

Monday - We did a food groups collage, which turned out to be harder than I thought it would be. Using a slew of parenting and household magazines, you'd think it would be easy to find all 4 food groups. Thought wrong! We also went back to timing each subject and earning screen time off time left over. School is so much happier (read faster than 12 hours) now!

Tuesday - Brianna's loving these school movies. They're mostly basic concepts, about 1/2 hour long, and IMO, pretty boring. But, Brianna loves them, so we'll keep using them.

Wednesday -Today in Geography, Brianna got to make her own province, which she named Canapuma.  It has a swirly boarder and produced lumber and oil. She thought this was great. It did take a lot of explaining the difference between the map of a province and the map of a city (at first she wanted to add houses and playgrounds and stores). 

Thursday - Today, in addition to regular school we took Olivia to the orthopedist to check out her arm. Her old plaster splint was getting grungy so she got a new fiberglass one. Brianna asked all sorts of questions about how the splint works and how it goes from looking something like gauze to being hard as rock. She also noted that the fiberglass one was a lot lighter and thinner than the plaster one.

Friday - Today we "went to McDonald's". Brianna wrote down anything she would want to order if money, and mommy saying no, was no object. Then looked at McDonald's nutritional facts and saw how much fat, calories, ect... were in her choices. Then we looked over the nutritional information to see how you could make healthier choices even at a fast food place. The differences between her first and second choices were amazing.... 300+ calories, almost 30g fat, 900+g sodium... crazy stuff we can save ourselves from if we just *look* at our choices rather than ordering the first thing that comes to mind.

Come check out other Weekly Wrap-Ups at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wilderness Wednesday

We've had some less than "spring" weather lately, temps around freezing, snow, ect...

Brianna got out on Sunday to get her Nature Study done, and she was surprised to see how much had changed in the gardens in not even a week!

We have 7 new crocus bunches coming up and the addition of some tulips poking through the snow and a very large clump of daffodils (that no one planted, they just showed up 3 yrs ago).

Mystery Daffodils


She also heard multitudes of Canadian Geese coming back and what she insists was a woodpecker (I wasn't with her at the time).

Please join our linky! Be sure to read the guidelines page if it's your first time linking up

52 Books in 52 Weeks - 12

I am taking part in the 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge.

This week's book was Homeschooling the Child With ADD (or Other Special Needs) by Lenore Colacion Hayes.

An excerpt from the back of the book: More and more parents are realizing that homeschooling is a great option for children with ADD, ADHD, and other special needs. Homeschooling parents can tailor learning experiences to precisely fit their child's requirements, a crucial necessity in the development of special needs children.

This book was not what I expected. Not to say it was a bad book, just not what I thought it was going to be. It seemed to focus a lot on before you start HSing, diagnosing (or not) your child's issues, dealing with using (or not) the public school services, ect... While this may be a great book for someone who isn't HSing yet and looking into the idea, I was hoping for a book of ideas to "tailor learning experiences to precisely fit their child's requirements". This was not it. While there was the typical, be patient, be flexible, ect... there wasn't really any different things to try at home in the book. I was surprised because the rest of the books in the series by Prima Publishing do go into more details and give hints, tips and ideas.

I would recommend the book for a new HSer or someone who is considering HSing their special needs child. But not for someone who already is.

Tooth Day

Brianna is nursing a sore mouth today. We suspect it's cavities or otherwise rotting due in part to her habit of eating junk food in the middle of the night then going back to bed. So she's spending the day reading. Still schoolish.

On tap we've got so far:
Famous Canadians from Ontario by Barb McDermott and Gail McKeown
Lost Cities by Joyce Goldenstern
Exercise by Beverly Goodger
and an Eyewitness Book - Early Humans

Back to Time

I am sooooo glad we went back to giving Brianna a time limit. We are actually getting school DONE before NOON! Much preferable. Seeing as how I only give her roughly 2 hours of work, I figure it's fair to say it shouldn't take her until 6pm to finish it when we start at 9:30am.

Monday, March 21, 2011


An update from this post of Olivia's arm: After talking with the orthopedist this morning, he has diagnosed a Type One or A fracture. After her still not using the arm much after 4 days, he said it's obvious it's not just a dislocated elbow. After I told him we noticed some bruising on the outside of her elbow last night he said it definitely is a Type One fracture. So now we'll keep it splinted other than baths and follow up again on Thursday.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up

Come check out the other weekly wrap-ups at Weird Unsolcialized Homeschoolers!

Monday - I spent the day planning our next few months. With spring coming and Earth Day next month, we'll be focusing a lot on science, specifically seeds and plants.

Tuesday - We did our first Nature Study today. Brianna went from "there's nothing interesting in our backyard" to "can we do this again tomorrow?!" I can't wait til things dry out more so we can go to more woody places.

Wednesday - Today we had a day off for medical reasons. I did start up my own linky though so Nature Studies/Reports/ect... I couldn't find any that ran once a week so I started my own called Wilderness Wednesday! Check it out here and feel free to join in!

Thursday -Another day off for medical reasons. Brianna did get to learn about x-rays and the arm bones/joints. I can see learning about the human body being a fun topic for her, she was just enthralled! We also joined the Lego Creation Thursday for the first time. Check out Brianna's creation here.

Friday - Today was a catch up day. We did more work than normal but it actually got done in less time than normal. As I posted earlier, I've discovered that Brianna NEEDS the added pressure of a time limit. She THRIVES on it. Strange, I think, but if it works, it works!


I discovered today that Brianna NEEDS time limits to do her work. We had been doing that for a while so she'd both get her school work done in less than 12 hours and earn electronics time.

For some reason we stopped timing her a few weeks ago. I SHOULD have noticed this a LOT earlier. Suddenly stuff that WAS taking her a half hour, was now taking more than an hour and a half.

Today I got frustrated at her for how she was taking 40 minutes to copy out 3 words and I blurted out "you have 10 minutes!" BAM! The work got done in less than 10 minutes. Next in line, 4 pages of English work, "you have 30 minutes," she got in done in 34 minutes, but that's WAAAAAY better than the 2+ hrs it would have taken her any other day.

So not surprisingly, we're gonna start using the countdowns again.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lego Creation Thursday

We've joined yet another linky type of thing. This time for Lego! Check out the other creations at My Blessings From Above!

Brianna's never been big for making REAL things with Lego. Just building block upon block and calling it xyz. 99% of the time you couldn't even GUESS what she's made. So this is a great challenge for her. I told her it didn't matter what she made, as long as it was something real.

For once, she actually took her time and thought it through. She decided she was going to build a farm based on the Lego pig that was at the top of her box. She vocalized a play by play of what she was making so I knew what it looked like before she even showed me lol She's quite proud of her creation!

Her farm, including a farmer and his dog watching over the pig in the pigpen with a barn in the background.

She's even put little jewel things in a trough for pig slop

Close up of the pig pen, everyone's favorite part

Medical Break

We've been school-less for the last 2 days. On Wednesday, Brianna went on a cleaning spree in the morning (desperate to help with "spring cleaning") so we figured we'd do school in the afternoon. Well after lunch the girls were playing and apparently Brianna tried to pick Olivia up by her forearms and popped her elbow out of socket.

So we skipped school to head to the hospital cause while I *know* how to put it back in, I'm afraid of screwing it up. There, we got in very quickly (skipping the usual 3+ hr wait) and the dr popped Olivia's elbow back in. He told us to go back to the waiting room and get her to play and use the arm. No go. He felt around some more, said it should be fine, but if she's still favouring it the next day to bring her back.

We *might* have gotten 3 hours sleep. Otherwise Olivia was up all night crying. Even snuggling her/rocking her wasn't doing anything. In the morning she was still in pain and not using the arm. Back to the hospital.

The Drs order xrays. THAT was fun *sarcasm* Olivia just *loves* to be restrained. While we're waiting for the orthopedists number a nurse puts her in a splint. Really cool actually, looked like an oversized maxi pad (think the ones for after birth) that kinda freezes into place. While she wasn't too fond of him putting the thing on her, once it was ON, she was a whole new toddler! It was like "heeeeeeey! this thing makes my arm not get hurt more!"

Theeeeeeen they say they need to re-do the x-rays *sigh* Lovely. More screaming. Brianna's freaking cause Olivia's freaking. Oh boy. Good news was, when they were done torturing Olivia the second time they had gotten a hold of the ortho and we could see him in about a half hour instead of waiting until next week (bonus of her being so young).

So we head over there, Dr checks her out, she's again pissed cause he's moving her arm. She's got a full range of motion but is refusing (or can't) to do it herself. He says the x-rays show that nothings broken, but there's a build up of fluid in her elbow that's probably causing the problem. Re-wrap her in the splint and we're told to un-wrap it everyday to see if she'll use it on her own. We'll go back Monday to see if there's anything else that needs to be done.

She is DEFINITELY happier with the splint on. She was able to nap this afternoon and fell asleep no problem tonight. Hopefully she'll sleep through even once the Tylenol wears off and we'll check her movements in the morning.

She insists on hanging the splint off the side of her highchair

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wilderness Wednesday

We did our very first Nature Study yesterday! Brianna was at first confused. "what could we see in the backyard?!" After spending about 30 minutes out there she discovered just how much nature there is in our very own backyard :)

It IS still only March and we're in Canada, so there's no where NEAR as much easy to find/discover stuff as there will be later, but Brianna was already asking when we can do the next one!

Some crows that we spotted

Brianna's first Nature Report!

Be sure to check out the guidelines here!

This may be late for this week, but still link up if you have a Nature post!

Wilderness Wednesday

Welcome to Wilderness Wednesday! This is a meet up for bloggers who do Nature Studies or Nature Journals with their kids. Homeschoolers or not, all are welcome!

The main Wilderness Wednesday post will be put up each Wednesday. It doesn't matter if you do your nature work on Wednesday or not, it's just a day for all to come together to share what we've done.

- Links and pictures are allowed but not required.
- Link back to this week's Wilderness Wednesday post
- Please link directly to your post not just your general blog so it's easy for others to see what you've been doing


If you'd like to wear our button in your Wilderness Wednesday post (not necessary though!), feel free to grab it here!

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Layout & Nature Studies

I've been playing with my layout. I'm not terribly happy with it, but want something new. Maybe it's just that I can't wait til the 20th so I can change my background to a spring background....

Also, since I can't find anything I'm happy with, I'm gonna figure out how to do my own Nature Study link up! Anyone is welcome to join me once I get it running :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

New Bits

I introduced some new stuff today. Brianna's been going off into a lot of lala land with her picture story (take any picture and write a 1 paragraph story about it), so I've cut that out. In it's place I added the daily editing and grammar books I bought.

I also found a great site that has drill sheets for math. Brianna likes races so hopefully this'll go over well. We've been working on her single digit mental math and the flash cards, while also in race form, have been slow going.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Homeschool Mother's Journal

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

In my life this week... My life revolved around being sick this week. Totally sucked. I had lots of household plans (cleaning, organizing, ect...) that didn't get done cause I couldn't pry my butt of the chair. Feeling much better today though so hopefully this next week will be more productive!

In our homeschool this week... We`re in the process of figuring out what can work for us in regards to school stuff, schedule, breaks, ect...

Places we're going and people we're seeing... Since I was sick, we pretty well stayed home this week other than running errands on payday.

My favorite thing this week was... Hearing Brianna ask for another school movie. She seems to really like them.

What's working/not working for us... The school movies are really working. When I brought back the old ones and picked up some new ones from the library Brianna was really excited about them. I wish I could get more than 3 at a time from the library though!

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have... Looking into Brianna having Sensory Processing Disorder is opening my eyes to a lot. I`m seeing some answers for why Brianna does the things she does, what new things we can try, what things I would have never thought of.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share...
Just because you have the right to do something, doesn`t mean it`s right to do.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

52 Books in 52 Weeks - 11

I'm taking part in the 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge

This week's book was The Incredible Shrinking Woman by Ann Douglas

First off, 2 favorite things about this book, it's Canadian and it's written by a woman who has more than 5 pounds to lose. The author had around 100lbs to lose. It's nice when weight loss books are written by people who actually NEED to lose weight!

The subtitle is The Girlfriend's Guide to Losing Weight. So true. It's not your typical weight loss tips book. It's written with humour, lots of reference to the perils of Tim Hortons, and TRUTH! It talks about the things you'd chat with your girlfriends rather than the censored stuff you discuss with a doctor or personal trainer.

I highly recommend this book if you have a lot of weight to lose. The author interviewed many women who lost up to 150lbs for this book and has al sorts of tidbits from them written in.


Yup, I've hit Scholar's Choice again! It was mostly a fun purchase day.

I'd been oogling these Telling Time Tiles for some time and finally picked them up. They show the time in analog, written and digital. Brianna's been having a bit of a time remembering written and analog so I'll make some games with the tiles.

I picked up this cute Hangman magnetic game. I always loved Hangman for spelling and since it's magnetic it'll be great to take in the car too!

Not a fun item, but a really great deal. This Daily Editing book (ebook version shown at the link) was originally $24.99, it was marked down to $12.50 AND I got an extra 20% off for being a member! Wooooo!

I picked up some fun cupcake trim that have all seasons toppers on them.

I also picked up this Activities book for the car. I got 2nd grade on purpose so it wouldn't seem like work (but still reinforcing the lessons).

Friday, March 11, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up

Monday - We did some Dictionary Skills work which proved to me that we need something better than our XL children's dictionary. Of 15 words, Brianna (and I) only found 4 of them!

Tuesday - Another bit of Dictionary Skills work. This time we were able to use the children's dictionary.

Wednesday - Brianna worked on some non-looking-like-finger-painting finger painting. She painted a little forest that turned out pretty nice! (especially for someone who has very little experience with paint)

Thursday - See alllllll about our lovely day here.

Friday -Brianna had 2 days of work to do today but did get them all done. She decided that since there was too much to do, since she didn't yesterday, that she should miss soccer. Of course, it took her longer than normal to finish up school, but once she was done she got to watch a "school movie" (little 30 min educational DVDs from the library on specific topics). She even asked to watch another one! I think these will definitely be a regular part of our schooling!

Come check out other Weekly Wrap-Ups at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Battle of the Wills

Today was fun *sarcasm*

As I posted earlier, our day started at 5am. Brianna started school work at 6am. I figured she'd be done before Olivia even got up and have the day to herself. Maybe catch up on some of her library books, watch some school movies, ect...

SO didn't happen that way! She started her day with a packet of 5 math sheets, part of her catch up work, it was Gr. 1 rounding to the nearest 10. Because there were 5 pages I knew it wouldn't be a 5 minute job. What I didn't think was that it would turn into a *14 HOUR* job. Yup, you read that right. Fourteen Hours.

She decided around 9am that she just wasn't gonna do it.

Me: "Ok, fine, but you'll sit there doing nothing."
Brianna: "I'm waiting for bedtime"
Me: "You realize that's 11 hours from now?"
Brianna: "Yup!"

Alrighty then. At 10:30am I warn her that we're leaving to run errands shortly and while obviously she'll come with us, it'll be a hand-on-cart day and she'll go back to work when we get back. Nope, she says she's still not gonna do it when we get back.

We come back from errands around noon. Lunch. Back to sitting, doing nothing. I refuse to get mad and start yelling cause I'm assuming that's what she's waiting for. Me to start fighting with her and send her to her room (cause then she'd be able to nap off the 5am wake up!). Not gonna happen.

I do however try to make sure that she understands what's going on. I explain to her that her only punishment for getting up to play on the computer at 5am was that she had to stay up and no napping. Otherwise, she was free to finish her work and have the rest of the day to play. She even pipped in about how her neighbour friend would be home since buses were canceled due to the weather. Yup, she could finish her work and go play with her friend.

Still no go.

Lee comes home, I explain the situation to him and book it for the couch to get a cat nap. When I get up, Brianna's still just sitting at the table. Oh boy. We talk again. I explain that because she has been willfully refusing to do her work she'll have to do today and tomorrow's work tomorrow if she won't do it today. And because of that she'd miss soccer. Brianna just stares at me.

FINALLY as supper is about to be served, she decides to finish the worksheet. Took her 20 minutes. So after 14 freaking hours, she takes a piddly 20 minutes and finishes. *roll eyes*

On an interesting note, she decided on her own that she should miss soccer tomorrow to catch up on her work.


The start of Brianna's day today. Well, what *I* know of as the start to her day. Lee left for work at 4am so she could have been up at any point after that.

I came downstairs for a middle of the night potty break and found Brianna sitting at my computer playing facebook games. When asked why she's not in bed she says "I'm not tired anymore." Here's a place where natural consequences are perfect. Not tired? Great! You're up for the day!

On the other hand, Brianna should have NO problem getting her school work done before noon seeing as how she started it at 6am!

Needless to say, she's not impressed with me.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Symptoms

This is a list of symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder that Brianna displays. I'm posting it here to make sure it doesn't get lost and maybe as something to look back on later. We're working on some paperwork for her health coverage and then will be getting in to see a counselor to see what they think.

Sensory Processing Disorder

Hyposensitivity To Touch (Under-Responsive):
__ may crave touch, needs to touch everything and everyone
__ may be self-abusive; pinching, biting, or banging his own head (nail/scab picking) ***in brackets here is my own addition***
__ mouths objects excessively

Poor Tactile Perception And Discrimination:
__ may be a messy dresser; looks disheveled, does not notice pants are twisted, shirt is half un tucked, shoes are untied, one pant leg is up and one is down, etc.
__ continues to mouth objects to explore them even after age two
__ has difficulty figuring out physical characteristics of objects; shape, size, texture, temperature, weight, etc.
__ may not be able to identify objects by feel, uses vision to help; such as, reaching into backpack or desk to retrieve an item

Hyposensitivity To Movement (Under-Responsive):
__ in constant motion, can't seem to sit still
__ could spin for hours and never appear to be dizzy
__ always jumping on furniture, trampolines, spinning in a swivel chair, or getting into upside down positions
__ always running, jumping, hopping etc. instead of walking
__ rocks body, shakes leg, or head while sitting
__ likes sudden or quick movements, such as, going over a big bump in the car or on a bike

Poor Muscle Tone And/Or Coordination:
__ frequently slumps, lies down, and/or leans head on hand or arm while working at his/her desk
__ has poor body awareness; bumps into things, knocks things over, trips, and/or appears clumsy

Signs Of Proprioceptive Dysfunction:
__ seeks out jumping, bumping, and crashing activities
__ kicks his/her feet on floor or chair while sitting at desk/table
__ loves/seeks out "squishing" activities
__ enjoys bear hugs
__ excessive banging on/with toys and objects
__ loves "roughhousing" and tackling/wrestling games
__ frequently falls on floor intentionally
__ would jump on a trampoline for hours on end
__ loves pushing/pulling/dragging objects

Difficulty With "Grading Of Movement":
__ difficulty regulating pressure when writing/drawing; may be too light to see or so hard the tip of writing utensil breaks
__ written work is messy and he/she often rips the paper when erasing
__ always seems to be breaking objects and toys

Hyposensitivity To Sounds (Under-Registers):
__ often does not respond to verbal cues or to name being called
__ appears to "make noise for noise's sake"
__ loves excessively loud music or TV
__ seems to have difficulty understanding or remembering what was said
__ appears oblivious to certain sounds
__ appears confused about where a sound is coming from
__ talks self through a task, often out loud
__ needs directions repeated often, or will say, "What?" frequently

Hyposensitivity To Visual Input (Under-Responsive Or Difficulty With Tracking, Discrimination, Or Perception):
__ often loses his/her place while reading or doing math problems
__ has difficulty locating items among other items; i.e., papers on a desk, clothes in a drawer, items on a grocery shelf, or toys in a bin/toy box
__ often loses place when copying from a book or the chalkboard
__ difficulty finding differences in pictures, words, symbols, or objects
__ difficulty with consistent spacing and size of letters during writing and/or lining up numbers in math problems
__ fatigues easily with schoolwork

Auditory-Language Processing Dysfunction:
__ unable to locate the source of a sound
__ difficulty discriminating between sounds/words; i.e., "dare" and "dear"
__ difficulty filtering out other sounds while trying to pay attention to one person talking
__ difficulty attending to, understanding, and remembering what is said or read; often asks for directions to be repeated and may only be able to understand or follow two sequential directions at a time
__ looks at others to/for reassurance before answering
__ difficulty putting ideas into words (written or verbal)
__ often talks out of turn or "off topic"

Social, Emotional, Play, And Self-Regulation Dysfunction:
__ gets easily frustrated
__ often impulsive
__ wanders aimlessly without purposeful play or exploration
__ needs adult guidance to play, difficulty playing independently

The Problems

This is cross posted from one of my homeschool boards. This is the short list of some of the issues we have with Brianna. There is more stuff and sometimes we have less stuff. This is just an in general list. The next post is about what we're going to be looking into.

I called my sister the other night about Brianna because she has a special needs child. My nephew has ADHD, Tourettes and ODD (along with several other not as prominent issues). After reading many posts on my boards, I wanted to ask her about Aspergers because I was starting to see Brianna in a lot of the posts.

One of the reasons we pulled Brianna out of PS was behavioural issues. She picked up and copied all the worst behaviours from her classmates. They just seem magnified now.

She has "listening problems". She knows the rules in the house. We are very consistent parents who don't change things all the time so the rules and expectations have been the same all her life. Yet she doesn't listen. You can tell her she can't do X and 5 minutes later you find her doing it as if she had permission to do so.

She has some very weird habits like picking/tearing her toenails. Yesterday she was sitting on the couch reading and suddenly came to me saying her toenail came off. Now her pinkie toenails are very oddly shaped and fragile so it doesn't surprise me how easy they come off, but this (tearing off the entire pinkie nail) has happened several times.

No kind of reinforcement works for her. Negative, positive, rewards systems, ect.... Reward systems seem to work a little bit but no matter how much she loves them (cause she does, she gets excited anytime one is introduced) they only work for a few days to a couple weeks.

The other day I let her pick out some toys that she could earn with good behaviour. Real toys too not just dollar store junk. She picked out stuff she was really excited to play with. The next day I reminded her of our "deal" of good behaviour/toy. At least 20 times that day she was reminded of this yet the bad behaviour stayed.

She has a food issue. She is boarderline overweight, something we've struggled with for a few years. She was worse around 5 yrs old but thankfully has become more proportionate. However, she steals and hides food. In plain view she eats more than I do, sometimes as much as DH who is a labourer for a living (read eats a LOT). Then she steals more. Usually junk food (which is "normally" restricted, it's a treat - not all the time, but not never), but also healthy food. She'll wake in the middle of the night, take food from the kitchen and hide it in her bed. She'll over eat to the point of an upset stomach.

She has extremes when it comes to empathy. Either she seems to not care at ALL about other people's feelings or care WAY too much. Example, Olivia fell and cut her cheek on a bolt on my treadmill, the baby cried for maybe 30 seconds. Brianna cried for 3 HOURS. And it wasn't a guilt thing either cause Brianna had nothing to do with it, she was on the other end of the room. Even after we came back from the drs and told her all Olivia needed was a special bandaid (one of those butterfly ones to hold the edges together) and was perfectly fine (at this point Olivia was laughing and playing) yet Brianna was still freaking out.

When she's asked why she does X, her tone of voice, her body language, her facial expressions all say she truely has NO IDEA why. It's almost like that old imaginary friend thing, ya know "I didn't do it, Boo did" (while she does have an imaginary friend she has not actually blamed "Naya" for anything, it was just an example.

She has immature social issues. She is 8 1/2 and seems far more interested in stuff (tv shows, toys, ect...) for preschoolers than anything her peers may think is "cool". While I am a great believer in nothing is too babyish for her to like, it seems odd that she really doesn't seem to care about anything that is meant for her age level.

She loves crafty stuff. Could do it for hours. But won't in any shape way or form take care of her craft supplies. If she steps on a box of crayons her demeanor is like "oh well" but then later gets upset when she doesn't have the crayons. At one point I told her I wouldn't buy anymore supplies since she didn't take care of them, she'd have to buy them with her own money. She went out and spent her own money and took care of them the exact same way. I told her at another point that I'd buy her more craft stuff or new different types of craft stuff if she could show me she could take care of them (and at this point all I cared was that they weren't on the floor), still, took care of them the same way as before, didn't.

She discovered nail salons. Her friend got her nails done with airbrushing pictures. Brianna fell in love. We made a deal that if she'd even just TRY to stop biting her nails I'd take her to get them done. She's never made it through even one day without biting them even though she constantly says she will and can we get her nails done next week.

So after all this, my sister says it sounds like it may be ODD (oppositional defiance disorder). I've gotten several people telling me Sensory Processing Disorder. After researching them, it sounds more like SPD. My next post is more of a keep track for me post of the list of symptoms Brianna DOES show.

52 Books in 52 Weeks - 10

I am taking part in the 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge.

This week's book was Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella

I actually picked up this book cause I was looking for the 2nd in her Shopaholic series and couldn't find it.

This one is about Lara Lington who is "haunted" by her great-aunt Sadie. Sadie is desperate for Lara to find her necklace. She can't rest without it.

Like the first book of Kinsella's that I read, the first 3/4 of the book is fluff. The last quarter you finally get into something worth reading.

I will continue the Shopaholic series though, simply cause I like series and I'm hoping Kinsella's writing gets better as the books go along. There is a bimbo-like cuteness to the books that make for an easy read.

Monday, March 7, 2011

52 Books in 52 Weeks - 9

I'm taking part in the 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge.

This week's book is Cook This, Not That by David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding.

While yes, this is a cookbook of sorts, it also has a lot of information in it. I don't eat out a lot, so a LOT of it didn't apply to me, but it would be a PERFECT book for someone who ate on the run a lot.

It's not a restaurant copy cat cookbook, but more of a "this will taste better AND be healthier for you" cookbook. It covers everything from appetizers to soup/salad to dessert. It scores food by a rating of fat to protein to calories and more. For every recipe, it shows a comparison from a popular restaurant with nutritional info.

And of course, there's zillions of great recipes in it!

Blog Hopping

Reading through my comments I realized I start following new blogs all the time (58 of them at current count!), but never remember where I found them. I've found several through my Weekly Wrap-Up, a few through my new Homeschool Mother's Journal, a couple from here and there and everywhere. I saw a comment today that someone found me through the Journal hop and oops! I never even tell the people I'm following where I found them! I'll try to be better about that *blush*

Homeschool Mother's Journal

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

Come check out some more Mother's Journals at The Homeschool Chick

In my life this week... This week was tax time for us. I finally got a long awaited new oven and computer. Very excited about both!

In our homeschool this week... we had an ok week. No really horrible days, but no really good days.

Places we're going and people we're seeing... We did a lot of shopping last week due to tax time. We also had a field trip on Sat to learn about the local geological history.

My favorite thing this week was... honestly, getting the new oven and computer lol

What's working/not working for us... our new schedule seems to be working so far. Having a lighter core schedule and more non-core stuff seems to cause less frustrations for both of us. Since we HS year round, it won't be a problem.

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have... HSing is such an ever evolving thing. Even if something works GREAT right now, I have to remember, it may not next month or next year.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share...

My pretty new oven :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up

Running late this week *blush*

Monday - Brianna was caught cheating again off the answer keys in the back of the book *sigh* While it's convenient to me, I guess I need to take them out of all the books.

Tuesday - We started our health unit. I was able to find some great links (Kids Health and Elementary Health are my faves) to help us along. Brianna chose to read school books on nutrition for her reading time. Today was also World Math Day, but with all the problems we're having even finding her level in math, we skipped out.

Wednesday - World Spelling Day! Brianna thought this was great since she loves spelling. It took us a while to discover that you needed to use sound to play (we thought you were supposed to guess then spell the word needed). We also did some Dr. Seuss stuff since it was his birthday!

Thursday - Tax Day! We took the day off school since we had zillions of running around to do.

Friday - First of we had some shop class when the delivery people came to bring our new stove. Brianna helped remove the back panel to check out some wiring and such. We also had a movie - Friction. I think I'll be adding these more often! I picked up some ebooks for school (more in this post). AND we got a new computer! It's so nice to have a current computer that moves faster than molasses in January! It'll be so much nicer for doing school stuff :)

Saturday - normally Sat isn't included in my Weekly Wrap-Up but this Sat we had a field trip! The local River Institute does monthly seminars but normally they fall on weekends that we're in Ottawa. This one we were able to make. We got to learn about the geological history of the area. Brianna was thrilled! Her 2 favorite subjects, History and Science! More about this in another blog post.

Check out some more weekly wrap-ups at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers!

Ebooks are awesome!

Being tax time, I threw some money at the credit card and bought some ebooks for school. And on the new computer they're awesome! So fast to load!

Pardon the crappy pics, but here's what I bought:

Fact-Opinion and Cause-Effect
Daily Handwriting (Brianna's made it through learning each letter so now we'll work on full words, then full sentences)
Main Ideas and Details (for making proper paragraphs. I got the Gr. 1-2 level cause the 3-4 level looked a little too wordy, now I'm thinking I should have gone with it)

Applying Problem-Solving Strategies
Science Investigations (it's pretty well a full Gr. 3 science curriculum which we don't really need, but it had so many cool looking things in it that our current science stuff doesn't have, I had to buy it)
Writing Skills and Grammar (basically some more practice type stuff)

Field Trip!

We went on a field trip to the R.H Sauders Power Dam this past Saturday to see a demonstration from the St. Lawrence River Institute on the local geological history.

They apparently hold these seminar type things at least once a month so we'll be watching out for them. Especially since they're free!

First the presenter did a slide show that covered how the last ice ages carved out the Great Lakes and how our area was actually under water about 10,000 years ago by the Champlain Sea! She also talked about animals that lived in our area around the time of the last ice age and all the way back to Pre-Cambrian times when the organisms broke down and became the sedimentary rock in our area.

She showed how certain types of rock actually makes a fizzing sound when mixed with vinegar.

Also how water moves through different type of natural and man made materials. Brianna really liked this one!

Next came a discussion on how the continents have moved over the years. Everyone was invited to think of how they thought the continents would look like in 65 million years from now. Brianna says the one towards middle is North America.

Afterwards we checked out some new stuff at the dam's visitor center, like the view finder that lets you see the dam up close!

Brianna also checked out a interactive quiz about the dam.

And wrote out her first field trip report. Even though it was a Saturday, not a normal day for schoolish stuff, she happily did it! (Pardon the spelling, it hadn't been corrected yet!)