Friday, April 29, 2011

Visiting Family

We made the drive to New York in 3 days. Much longer than we expected
it to take. We thought we would make the trip in 2 days, but weather
and the kids made the trip longer. Nearly the entire way to our
destination was spent having to deal with thunderstorms. As we reached
New York, the storms worsened and we drove through an area that was
under tornado warnings. The visibility was very low and we had to use
our hazard lights to make our car more visible to other drivers. Joe
did great driving through the storms. I would have been much more
nervous if I had been the one doing the driving.

Micah had a rough time as we were into the second day of driving. He
seemed tired of the traveling and enjoyed stopping to get a break quite
a lot. By the time we reached our destination, Micah was more than
ready to have a break from the car. I am really proud of Micah though.
This entire trip has been hard on him, yet he is managing better than I
thought he would. He is accepting family members that are new to him.
There is very little awkwardness in the way he reacts to them. He seems
to be enjoying them. He enjoys being around Grandpa. He has stood on
the couch seat behind Grandpa and leaned against him to show affection.
Grandma & Grandpa both are enjoying the kids being here.

Abigail is such a joy. She has shown great patience with Micah during
the long drive. Often she has helped in feeding him or entertaining him
as we drive. I am proud of her for the way she relates to Micah. Abbie
has met cousins and has been having fun playing with them. It is so
nice to watch her with them. This is the first time she has met any of
her cousins. Guess that is a downside of living so far from other family.

Dad is seeming to be doing a better. They changed his medication
dosages to give him more relief. He felt good enough today to take a
short ride on his motorcycle. As nervous as I may be able him riding
now, I am happy to watch him do something he enjoys so much. I am
loving getting to know Joe's family better. There is a lot of love and
laughter in his family. It is a precious gift.

During the drive to New York, we had the opportunity to drive to my
childhood home and get a picture of it. The old Methodist church I
attended as a child still is there. It is funny how large that
community seemed when I was a child. In reality, it is a very tiny
community with houses much closer together than I remembered them
being. The house looked good though and was easy to recognize. It is
still the same color that I remembered. The only major change to the
property that I noticed was the large old barn had been torn down. The
little trees that Dad had planted are large now, providing much shade
and privacy. There are so many memories tied to that home.

In 3 days, we will start the journey going back towards home. Joe has
to be in Dallas by the 5th in order to report back to work. He is going
to be assigned a different truck than the one he was using. Dallas has
a larger terminal, so this will make it easier to get him another
truck. From there, it is an easy day's drive home.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Workbox System Revisited

I have been using Sue Patrick's Workbox System for a few months now.  I loved the premise of the idea when I first learned of it through other homeschool blogs.  In reading her book, "Sue Patrick's Workbox System: A User's Guide", I found even more to enjoy about this method.  For those who are unfamiliar with it, here is a brief glimpse at how it works. 

The system is based on the TEACCH method used as a therapy for special needs children.  Ms. Patrick is a homeschooling parent of an autistic son.  She saw the benefits of the TEACCH method and incorporated it into the homeschooling.  She recommends having 12 clear bins, numbered 1-12 that you store on shelves or a rack near the child's desk.  In each bin you place 1 assignment or activity with all the needed supplies to complete the activity.  This could be a workbook, worksheet, art project with the art supplies, book to read, etc.  The idea is that the child can visually see a beginning and an end to not just the individual assignments, but to their schoolwork also.  As they see the bins being emptied or set aside into a "completed" box, the child is motivated to continue on and finish their work.  It helps to foster in the child the ability to work independently.  There are numerous blogs online that show examples of how the families are implementing it in their homes.  You can also find Ms. Patrick's book on her website.

I am working out the bugs in how we have been doing the system.  I am finding that I have 2 areas to work on.  I need to be more organized in the record keeping.   In Oklahoma, we don't have to keep a lot of records but I choose to do so anyways.  You never know when the information may be needed.  I am tracking not only Abbie's lessons and progress, but Micah's therapies and preschooling activities.  As I find a system that works well for me, I will post about it.

The other thing that I am working on is how to use the system in limited space.  Having a set of shelves for each child with the bins to store their daily work in can be hard to accommodate in a small home.  I am considering 4 different methods.  Again, I will post when I have come up with a solution.  My goal is to have it all worked out by June when we start our next term.  We are choosing to homeschool year round, so our school year will be starting at a different time than most.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Going to New York

Greetings! It has been a busy few days at the homestead. I rented a tiller and my wonderful son-in-law tilled the garden - all 1680 square feet of it. Poor fella had some nasty blisters on both hands once finished. He says that he loved doing the physical work though. One thing is certain, he wants to buy a larger tiller before next spring to make the job go even easier. The early plantings are doing very well. The onion patch is flowing with onion sets with tall green leaves reaching towards the sun. Potatoes are growing and will soon need more soil covering them. I add soil for the first month or two and cover the potato plants as they sprout up. This forms a longer root which gives us more potatoes at the end of the season. Zucchini plants are looking very good. I am going to plant more zucchini seed directly into the ground. This will help me to have a longer harvest time. Over the next few days we will be getting the rest of the garden planted. We have weed barrier cloth in place already to prevent any weed growth. With a garden of this size, I find the cloth to be worth the cost. It prevents weed growth while also helping to hold the moisture in the ground. We have used it before with great results. In that year, I never had to weed the garden even once! I have plans to home can as much of the harvest as possible. My oldest daughter, her husband, and their son live on the homestead now. This garden is going to be feeding all of us this winter. I am working at building up my cannign jar supply. A dear friend recently found some at a yard sale for me. I put in an order for a few cases of jars at a local store. We will have them next week. It seems that the first task will be to reorganize the pantry to prepare for the canned up harvest. We were planning to start building our house this year but that has been delayed. We got word that my father-in-law is not doing well. He has had stage 4 cancer throughout his body for a year now. He decided at that time that he would not do radiation or chemo treatments. He had been through it a couple of years earlier and just didn't want to do it again. Today, my beloved talked to his Dad and found out he is not doing well. He has been put on oxygen due to having an attack of some kind. We aren't sure what, but think it was an asthma attack. Beloved is going to talk to his dispatcher and see if he can come home a few days early. If possible, he will be home in a week to empty out his truck. The kids and I will then follow him to the terminal in Dallas so he can drop off the truck. From there, we will drive to NY and see his Dad. The kids and I have never met his Dad, so Joe wants to be sure we have that chance. Once we are back from NY, beloved will likely be assigned a new truck.