Saturday, November 10, 2007

Week 13 Report

This week was full...full of good and not so good. I'll share the good first. That's so much more fun!

Math (Horizons 2) is going well and next semester we are going to try to start supplementing with this program. I looked at tons of great programs but this one won out for now - mainly because it's free and has lots of what I am looking for: activities to encourage thinking "outside the box".

Language - We didn't touch FLL lessons this week. We'll play catchup next week.

Reading - We are struggling a little here. Thatcher has regressed in his oral reading skills again. He mumbles, skips words, inserts new words and is generally showing some laziness. We are stopping Magic Tree House books for the time being hoping that some fresh books will inject some life into this aspect of school.

History is still going very well. I had pretty much stopped doing narrations (just hard to fit it all in) but after reading several threads relating to the value of narrations on the Well Trained Mind Boards I was encouraged to start back up again. Here is his narration from Chapter 13 of SOTW1. I copied down his narration but had him write the title. I loved his artwork, too! It shows Hatshepsut on her throne wearing a crown and surrounded by gold!

Science - We are playing catch up in this area but we are loving the life science plans Jessica created and shared at her blog, Trivium Academy! Here are two of his animal profile pages from this week: worms and ants. He is really enjoying learning to draw the animals. Coloring and drawing have been a long time coming for us and are just starting to emerge but oh how fun!

Spanish - We just completed Unit 1 of the Elementary Spanish program on United Streaming. Thatcher scored 100% on his test! We have acquired a Spanish pen pal for Thatcher, too! I'll post more about that later. :)

Just for fun here are pictures of Thatcher (wearing his red-eyed tree frog glasses!) and Haddon (wearing his new birthday outfit from his paternal grandparents) from this week.
Now for the not so good. We have had a tough few weeks with Thatch; I am at a loss for how to help him many days. He is stuck in a negative spiral, and I don't know how to break the cycle. His ADHD/SPD/Spectrum Disorder stuff is really rearing it's head: emotional outbursts when life doesn't happen just the way he thinks it should, disrespect, impatience with his brothers (more than just normal "sibling stuff") and more. Raising kids is *tough*. Period. No matter what. Raising a kiddo with special needs is sometimes downright...I can't even think of a word to describe it: exhausting, sad, make you want to crawl under the sheets and hide some days...

We are starting fish oil supplements on Monday as some have had great success in treating ADHD this natural way. Oh, if it could truly be that easy for us! We are also getting more strict on his diet as I've grown a little lax since school has started: absolutely no sugar, refined flour or white rice, no dyes, additives or preservatives and limited dairy and wheat. I am also researching a parenting/behavior program that may work for us as well. I will post more as I learn about this as well.

Next week is a new week and I am looking forward to a fresh start!


Sheryl said...


I do not understand your challenges with teaching and raising a child with I won't claim to understand how you feel. I can say having taught second grade in the past in ps with two students with ADHD that I know!! you are providing him with the best case senario. I loved my "children" deeply and was pained at their failures just as much as I rejoiced in their successes and they weren't even my own kids. I was one teacher with a huge heart with 25 second graders and no assistant. One boy in particular, Tommy, was this amazing kid with artistic talent oozing out of him but unable to focus, often with outbursts of anger at what seemed like the smallest things. I put every ounce of effort into loving him, helping him succeed....but I had 24 other sweethearts that needed me too. so I guess all this is to say that when the days seem unbearable remind yourself that Thatcher is getting the best from what you are giving him..plain and simple. God's grace is sufficient..I don't know you but I know that you know this from how you speak and write. I will say a prayer for ya'll in church this morning...

Sending one up from GA,

susie said...

If y'all get fish burps, you can try to take some lecithin. It seems to help to emulsify the fish oil, so that there aren't as many burps.

Limiting dairy and wheat may not help. Eliminating them completely may. Soy protein is also very similar to the proteins in wheat and dairy, so many families are helped by elminating all of them at the same time. If you need help, email me. suseyb @ We've been down this path before.

Hugs. It's tough when kids struggle.

Rhonda said...

I love your son's narration page. What a great job he did!

{{Hugs}} on working with Thatch. I fight some of the same battles and know what you're going through. We go through up and down cycles with my son.


Tami, part-time blogger - full time scrapbooker said...

Hi Jennefer!

As a mom of an adhder, I know "exactly" what you are talking about with the negative spiraling. It is really exhausting! Some ideas that have worked:

*Have an unschooling or theme week

*Use a dime or chip behavior system. They start they day with 6 dimes or chips, and with each misbehavior they loste a dime. What they have at the end of the day is their allowance. They must have 3 chips in order to have media time

*Cut down on written work. Dramatize, act out with army men or stuffed animals, argue for or against, sculpt something from the history, science, or literature chapter. More ideas here:

*Increase choices. I have learned that it is not worth it to be inflexible on certain book, activity, or writing choices. Allowing my child to have some say in what she is reading and writing increases compliance. At times my inflexibility has triggered unnecessary oppositional behavior. One strategy is a book basket, activity basket, or art/music center with many selections that you are "ok" with.

*Outside exercise every day for 2 hours. I live in Minnesota, so we bundle up!

*Know that you are not a bad mom if you get frustrated, sad, disappointed, or tired sometimes!

*Try online learning or software for a while. Sometimes we need a break from one another. has been a God-send for me.

*Limit school to a set number of hours per day for an adhder. Make the curriculum plans fit YOUR time parameters, not the other way around.

*Spend time developing your child's gifts. Provide time, materials and encouragement -- and let them GO! This is why a short "school" day followed by productive choice time works so well for adhders. They already know what their weaknesses are! Let's spend at least 50% of the day on their STRENGTHS.

Also, the Lord is working patience and wisdom in you that you will be able to bless others with someday. I love stopping by your blog! I share many of the same struggles.

: )

PS: We also use Fish Oil - 4 grams a day, as well as Calcium/Magnesium and morning caffeine(tea). It works wonders. : )

LisaWA said...

Hi doll...

Tell Thatcher congratulations on his Spanish! Yeah team!

Cant wait to talk more... hugs...


Life With My 3 Boybarians said...

I know I've said it before, but Thatcher is so very lucky to have YOU as his mommy. Your patience is is very best blessing. *hugs*

Thanks for chatting with me and keeping Trouble in your heart this week. Now, you and Thatch will be in mine.

Life With My 3 Boybarians said...

eek.... is HIS very best blessing.

Kerri said...


I'm sorry that you had a tough week and that Thatch is struggling. I'm praying that this next week will be smoother and that God will give you insight into Thatch's heart and mind to help you decide how to proceed.

I don't know much about ADHD and you mentioned that you are paying close attention to his diet. I have heard of a program called Fiengold mentioned in a couple of places in regard to ADHD so I just wanted to mention it to you just in case :)

I had the same WTM board motivation regarding narrations this week. :)

Thanks so much for responding to my post on the WTM boards about how you are mapping out K-8. It was very helpful and my dh and I have been discussing mapping out our school too.

Praying that you have a wonderful week.

Way Out in The Desert

Trivium Academy said...

You found a free math supplement program! How wonderful Jen! I don't know how you handle three boys...I just don't know how. That alone leaves me clueless on how to help at all.

Here's a little help, don't "catch-up" you can say pick-up where we left off and it has a better positive tone to it. You're the boss, remember??? I've had to remember that.

Happy Tree Birthday Haddon, a little too late. I'm just now starting to visit my favorite blogs. How weird it is to see the science notebook pages on someone else's blog! But very cool.

Hugs and I hope the fish oil works (sounds so yucky).
:) Jessica

Tammy said...


I love Thatcher's narration & artwork...but my favorite is the pic of him in the red-eyed tree frog glasses! Just one of the many perks of homeschool, right? As for the challenges you face with ADHD...I cannot even begin to understand, much less offer advice. But I will keep you & your sweet boys in my thoughts & prayers...and send a *hug* your way.