Wednesday, April 16, 2014

not a typical 5th grader

One of the things that drove me nuts about Drew's old school is they would always say that things Drew did were not "typical" 5th grade behavior. Well, ummmmm, Drew is not a typical 5th grader.  He has a neurological disability that needs to be accommodated according to federal guidelines.  That never happened.

Drew tics A LOT.  ALL DAY AND ALL NIGHT. Moving 24/7 is bound to make a body tired. He is also on meds that can make him sleepy.  An accommodation that we tried to be put in place was that he be allowed to go rest if he was overly tired.  We were informed that being tired was not typical behavior and they refused to accommodate it.  Everytime he would dose off in class they would call me and force me to pick him  up.  I continually pointed out that other districts had accommodated kids with TS by allowing them a quiet place to sleep for 30 minutes or so if needed.  It was not an every day thing or even an every week thing.  But once in a while it would happen. I was told that there was no way the school or district would allow such a thing to be accommodated.  If he had a diagnosis of narcolepsy it would not have been a problem.

So today, Drew has done math and spelling.  Then this happened during silent reading.

It happens we adjust and move on.  too bad public schools can't do the same.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Experiment on having Tourette's

I never truly understood what it was like to have TS until I saw a demonstration on a DVD for educators. It is hard to explain here but I will try. 

Get a group of friends together. Tell them that they have to write the Pledge of Allegiance in 90 seconds ( a timed test). Sound easy right? Not so fast.

 Have one person be the time keeper. Every time they clap their hands you have to shrug your shoulders, turn your head to the side and blink your eyes. the time keeper should clap their hands about every 8-10 seconds. And you have to cross out every third word and rewrite it because you have OCD as well. And you have to continually move your left leg because you have ADHD.

 When I watched this it made me cry. I never realized how much work it was to have TS.  I did it with the DVD and got a momentary idea of what it was like.  trying to keep up and get it done with the movements was crazy.  It is no wonder kids with TS get so frustrated.

Grab some friends and give it a try. Let me know how it goes. 

remember 90 seconds only.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Reentering the Homeschool world

I loved when we homeschooled Drew when he was in 1st grade.  I liked the freedom it gave us to explore ancient history, the world  around us, current events, art...whatever we wanted.  Drew was shocked one day when I told him to go watch some videos on TV during shark week.  He could not wrap his mind around that those videos were counted as school time.

Let me back up.  When my older son was in school he went to a private Episcopal school who embraced learning outside the 4 walls of a class room.  It was then that I understood that ANYTHING could be a learning opportunity if we let it.  We took Phil on a vacation to Albuquerque when he was in 7th grade.  His teachers supported this 110%.  They changed his assignments to that they fit within what we were doing. For science he had to be able to explain how a hot air balloon worked,  For history we traveled the Jemez trail and have some great family jokes that still get said all these years later.( I still swear tarantulas can jump.) I can't remember what was done for english.  This experience opened my eyes to a new type of learning. 

So now back to homeschooling with Drew.  When we did the first time parts of it were a disaster.  His Tourette's, OCD, Anxiety, and other issues were not yet diagnosed.  So consequently, what I expected and what he was able to do were two different things.  This time around it is different.  Drew has a better understanding of what is expected of him.  I understand his TS and his need for breaks, and more hands on experiences.  We have talked and  he understands that spelling and math will continue over the summer.  He is behind in math and we want him caught up. 

The Spelling You See is wonderful.  Today I ordered Teaching Textbooks for math. It is done on the computer and it is self directed.  I am really wrestling with history. Before we did Story of the World and I am seriously considering it.  I feel that history doesn't make sense if it is not taught in order.  How can someone understand The Fall of the Roman Empire if they don't have the years of history before it?  It has lots of hands on experiences with it and supplementing it with Art  in  History.  

While I honestly don't care what they are doing in public school I do think that on some levels I need to ensure that he does some of what they do so I am thinking about a civics type block on how bills become law and the branches of our governing bodies.  Maybe a trip to DC might top it off. (being a travel agent could come in handy)

I enjoy the freedom of homeschooling.  I also like that I can tailor what we do to his interests on many levels. Unit studies can be fun.  It adds something to the day other than the basics.  Field trips are also great.  They break up the monotony of the week. I feel like Auntie Mame opening up a new world for Drew.  hopefully we will embrace the philosphy that LIFE IS A BANQUET AND MOST POOR SUCKERS ARE STARVING TO DEATH!!!! and we are going to step up to the banquet table of learning and embrace it all!

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

a minute in the world of tics

Yesterday was rough in Drew's world.  All of a sudden he is developing new tics.  We aren't sure why.  When we first took him out of school the tics diminished.  We know tics come and go and there is no reason for it.  Drew has been complaining lately about having strange urges in his legs. He says he feels like he needs to pull his legs off.  We are not sure if now he feels safe and knows he can tic and no one will say anything.

We have noticed that many times during the day he is getting up from work or play and just standing in a corner.  He says it makes the pain go away for a few minutes.  He is becoming resistant to going out anywhere because he is worried he will have to do this and people won't understand.  The only place he likes to go is to our favorite breakfast place on Sunday AM.  They all know him there and he has his fave waitress, Dawnelle. She also watches Drew when we go out of town. She is a child therapist so she understands him very well.

I am insane

One thing about Drew is he can be impulsive.  It is part of the executive function issues that comes with Tourette's.  I have told by many parents who have been where we are, that it will pass.  His brain just has to catch up.  That is one of the many things the school did not understand  It is part of the neurological process of Tourette's.  It got very frustrating at times. We know some things are not "typical 5th grade behavior" but the are typical Tourette's behavior.

We want Drew to have all the experiences possible that all kids his age have. He has no desire to play sports but he wants to go to camp.  He will be going to 2 camps this summer.  The second one he goes to will be Boy Scout camp.

We know that Drew would do alright at camp but we also know that things could go south fast if he gets overly frustrated and there is no one who knows the ins and outs of Tourette's.

Scott can't take a week off  in July so I am going to Boy Scout camp as an adult leader.  Anyone who knows me from my child is now laughing their BUTT off.  I HATED scout camp.  It made me quit scouts when I was 11.  I couldn't wait to get away from that place and never go back. The heat, the humidity in Kansas in July, the bugs, the camp food.  YUCK on all counts!

 I HATED camping until we moved to California.  We started camping with our homeschool group.  We would go a couple times a summer for 3-5 days on the coast.  We would go up around Fr. Bragg or the Mendocino area. I loved falling asleep listening to the ocean crashing on the shore.  It was so relaxing and peaceful.

Somehow I don't think this is going to be as relaxing as camping on a beach watching the birds fly over head and the surfers  in the waves. I think it will be about 34 boys and 6 adults and no wine and cheese for a week.

I will survive, I will be better for it and Drew will have an experience of a lifetime.  Who knows I may enjoy it so much I will do it ever summer. Or maybe not.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Spelling You See

Drew hates spelling.  The idea of memorizing a list of words is TORTURE to him. My friend Shecki writes a blog about homeschooling her kids.  She has homeschooled for many many years.  She knows every kid is different and adjusts her lessons to fit each of her kids.

She did a blog post about Spelling You See and how it was working for her kids.  I talked to her about it and decided to at least try the sample lesson online with Drew.  We had a huge hit on our hands.

It doesn't give lists of words. The child concentrates on a paragraph for the week. I read it to him, he reads it to me then he has to find a letter combination for all the words in the paragraph.  Drew then copies snippets of the paragraph the first three days.  Day 4 and 5 he does dictation.  One of the things about Tourette's, at least in our case is that Drew has problems with short term memory.  Spelling words and then not using them again doesn't work for Drew.  This builds each week on past lessons so he uses some of the same words but at the same time builds his vocabulary.

For Drew there is no monotony of doing the same thing over and over.  The lesson takes about 10 minutes. Then we can move on. I only wish math was this easy.

This is about a program I purchased my self and received no compensation or free items for my opinion