Vacation From Homeschooling

Today was my first day back to homeschooling after a 2.5 month vacation.

Ok, so it was a working vacation, as I spent the time finishing my new book. My husband took over my teaching duties, and I have to say that he did a great job. Josh got to make a life-size human skeleton (complete with organs and muscles) out of paper. (My husband is very artistic.) They also made several different animal and car models and did a study of bird anatomy that included making several lovely paintings.

Unfortunately for Josh, I’m not that creative. Over the weekend, he was actually pretty excited about doing school with me again today. But after a morning spent doing math, practicing sight words and writing thank-you notes for his birthday gifts, he must have decided that he hadn’t missed much. His first comment at lunch was “When are we taking a break again?”  🙂

Doing School with Dad

For the last year or so, my husband has taken on the responsibility for homeschooling our son once a week. What a blessing that is! Since we do school in the mornings and I work in the afternoons, having that free morning is wonderful for running errands, doing chores or just playing catch-up around here.

But I’m not the only one who benefits. Josh loves doing school with his dad. They work on fun art projects while playing Tom Chapin cd’s. My husband is artistic and patient, so he’s very good at teaching Josh. They’re used to working with each other in the workshop, so they’ve already established a pattern of doing projects together. (I’m sure the fact that they’re creating things, instead of working on math or reading, only adds to Josh’s enjoyment.

Their most recent project was a nativity scene (figures and stable) that my husband found online. It’s now sitting in our dining room, awaiting the arrival of the rest of our family this weekend.

Having homeschooled my kids since the mid-1980s, I’m starting to want to do other things. My husband taking on homeschooling one day a week has made it easier for me to keep doing the other four days.  🙂

How iPads are Helping Kids with Special Needs

Years ago, we were acquainted with a boy who couldn’t speak due to birth defects. Thanks to a piece of equipment called a Dynavox, he was able to touch a screen so a computerized voice could tell us what he wanted to say.

It was a very expensive piece of equipment that many families couldn’t afford. Another young man we knew used a wooden board with pictures of faces; he’d point to the sketch of a face expressing the emotion he was feeling.

Times sure have changed. Now there are apps for the iPad that fill the same purpose as a Dynavox for youngsters with special needs. Wish we’d had something like that for our son when he was young.

The advantages of an iPad for kids with special needs go beyond supplying them with a voice. In a recent discussion here about the iPad, read Karen’s comment that explains all the ways she uses an iPad to educate her daughter with Down syndrome.

We do live in interesting times, don’t we?

Angry Dads

My husband sent me this video (yes, we email back and forth even though he’s in the next room) and told me he understood this dad’s frustration.

After watching it, I had to agree. I know this dad scared most of the kids on the bus, but he was defending his daughter, who has cerebral palsy. Maybe now the culprits will leave her alone, and the others will be too scared to ever pick on her.

I am so glad we homeschool our son…..I can’t imagine how hard this kind of situation would be for him, and how angry my husband and I would be if bullies were tormenting our son on the bus.

Facing the Facts

Josh is in our basement workshop, working on a project with my husband. They’re making an outdoor bean bag game to play outside this weekend when our older kids come home for the holiday weekend.  I can hear his happy banter with his dad as they work. Every so often he says, “Ha-ha! I did it!”

They’ve been sawing and painting for the past day, and Josh is very excited to see the project coming together. Most 17-year-olds wouldn’t get so excited about doing this. But Josh isn’t like most 17-year-olds because he has developmental delays.

When he was a baby, I sometimes wondered what homeschooling him would be like. I’d become accustomed to the pace set by his three older siblings. I wondered how much longer it would take him to learn the things they learned by certain ages. Continue reading