Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Loooong Awaited Update

So since I only blogged a whole *2* times last year, there's kinda been a lot missed. The somewhat condensed version...

Dylan: 19, lives with his mother. Dylan graduated high school. He took an intense 8 week course for heavy equipment operator. He is now working at his first full time job, which he loves!

Isaac: 16, lives with his grandmother. Isaac got his drivers license over the summer (which he is super proud of). He got Honours on his most current report card. He is still very geek/computer driven.

Brianna: 13, at home. Brianna had a slow start to the year. We did minimal core subjects and otherwise unschooled. My brain just wasn't having it. While this helped heal my brain, it didn't do much for Brianna. She does great unschooled learning for self taught or guided learning but anything that is required, but she doesn't particularly want to do, she NEEDS to be "sat on" to do it. Thus, she did poorly to failing miserably at several things. After a summer of normal summer schedule, we got back to business for school. She is doing great in all areas other than math. Don't get me wrong, she is actually good at math! She just doesn't like it, so she slacks off.

In November she again took part in NaNoWriMo. Last year she wrote nearly 10,000 words. This year she more than doubled it to 20,000+ words by the end of November and isn't even done her story! She took a couple month break from it and starting next month will be working on finishing it and editing it. She story is Minecraft fan fiction.

Brianna started working for our neighbour, being a regular babysitter and also doing random jobs around their house. She saved half her money all year and did really well with what she kept. She even took on a couple other babysitting jobs and is building herself a good reputation.

She finally started Rosetta Stone French and is excelling in it. The program doesn't "pass" you unless you have set grade (I believe 75 or 80%), but for most lessons this is easy as pie for her. She is struggling with the writing portion as she's a horrendous speller, even in English. And she has some issues with the grammar portion but French grammar is hard.

Brianna really didn't do all that well in her training or races last year. It's a goal she's working on for this year and thus far she's doing pretty good!

Brianna took part in a science fair with our homeschool group. She put together a project on Earth Sciences, focusing on various rocks. She did really well with the project and even did a presentation in front of the group! She is very stage fright and didn't want to do the presentation portion (not required anyway), so I was super proud of her when she chose to.

Brianna got an undercut and then a short bob in the battle of her amazingly thick and heavy hair. The undercut did a lot over the summer for heat control but the knots she was getting in the remaining length was still a lot to take care of. Once we chopped her hair to jaw level AND kept the undercut, she is both cool and able to take care of it better.

We've started looking into high school and college requirements for the course she wants to take (Environmental Technician). I am not looking forward to high level math. Or writing transcripts. Or high school in general *sigh*

Olivia: 6, at home. Olivia has been working hard at learning to read. She's got a list of 22 words she can fluently read and is excellent with sounding out phonetic words. She is confused over a lot of the English rules, but they ARE confusing.

Olivia took, and failed, swimming lessons last spring. I am very glad she failed as she didn't do well enough to pass. She practised hard over the summer though and I have no worries that she will easily pass this spring.

Olivia joined soccer last year and just loved it! Her favorite position is defence and even got a Player of the Game award for her defensive skills. She can't wait to join again this summer.

She is still excelling in math. She is flying through her Gr. 1 work and will easily be into Gr. 2 work before the school year is done. She loves doing Khan Academy like Brianna.

We chopped off all her hair last year from being almost to her butt. She wanted it "short like Daddy". We convinced her to get a cute bob with bangs. Not good enough, she still wanted it shorter. She now has a short pixie cut, which she loves.

Olivia has started learning French. Brianna's Rosetta Stone requires fluent reading so for now, we'll just be working on the basics. Brianna is doing a lot of the teaching. Olivia can't wait to use Rosetta Stone too!

While Brianna was doing her NaNoWriMo, Olivia decided to write a book as well. She drew pictures then dictated to me what to write. She's not quite done yet but she's done really well so far!

She also lost her first tooth (and now 2nd)! It had been wiggly for a while and the adult tooth was even growing in behind it, but she was very worried about pulling it out. Finally when it was barely hanging on by a thread, she let me pull it out.

Joshua: 2.5, at home. Joshua is not doing tot school yet (though he probably could!). He is mute. No particular reason for it. He checks out medically, has perfect hearing and is at average or is advanced for normal toddler development. Except in speech. Because of this, we are holding off potty training and schooling until we can get some better communication, which is our current focus.

He is excelling in sign language. He consistently uses 22 signs on his own and is learning many more. The girls are also using/learning sign language with him. We (Lee and I) are currently in a parent to child class and after that we'll be doing further speech therapy with Joshua.

Eventually we'll care about school for him. Right now, him being able to communicate is our number 1 priority. He's only 2, we're not worried about the rest.

Lee and I: As we're fairly open about, you may know that Lee has Generalized Anxiety Disorder. On average, it's well controlled. Sometimes he has bad days, some times he has really bad days. Last spring he had several bad months. He was actually so bad he was off work for 5 months. It was hard for everyone, most of all him. He was raised in a "man-up" generation and has always had a hard time dealing with feeling out of control or depressed. With a LOT of support, he made it through. He's back to work, though his first month was really rough, but now is going great.

Towards the end of his time off, we went on our long planned cross-Canada road trip for his best friend's wedding, in which he was the Best Man. It was so awesome to get away, just the 2 of us. We missed the kids like crazy, but thankfully Skype kept us in touch. I'll have a big blog post about this trip later.

I have been busy with my business. I've been trying out new fabrics and techniques in me sewing to try to get past that "beginner-novice" title. It's been surprisingly easy in some areas, and really tough in others.

My grandma died just before Christmas. She'd been struggling with various health problems for years and open heart surgery (which completely fixed her heart!) seems to have sped up some other issues. The girls, Olivia in particular, took it really hard. It makes me sad that Joshua will never really know her. It makes me sad that we don't get to see her any more. But I'm glad that she's not struggling with her health any more.

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