Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Baby Girl's Kitchen Center

I am very excited about this Christmas gift from Santa. It will be such a great tool for teaching vocabulary & communication skills to Baby Girl, as well as just plain fun!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Different Christmas?

  Christmas will be different for me this year, right? My oldest son is currently deployed to the Middle East and won't be home for Christmas. My parents have just moved three hours away, so for the first time in my life, I won't see them on Christmas Day. So that means Christmas has changed...or does it? Does any of that change the fact that Jesus, the son of God, came to earth as a baby and was born in a manger and is the reason for the season? Does it change the fact that He is my Redeemer, my Lord, and my Savior? Does it mean that I won't celebrate as joyfully as I should? No, Christmas has not changed. Jesus has not changed..."Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." (Hebrews 13:8) Therefore, this Christmas I will keep my focus where it belongs: on Him. No matter what you're facing right now, Christmas is still the same. Celebrate!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Help for Homeschooling Your Visually Impaired Child

This post is definitely link-heavy, but I've decided that I should share the books and blogs/websites/etc. that I have discovered that have helped me in working with Baby Girl. First of all, per Wonder Baby, which is a great site for parents of visually impaired children, I discovered that The Hadley School for the Blind offers free online courses for parents of visually impaired children. I've taken one course already and will start another one after Christmas. I highly recommend taking advantage of this offer! My instructor even sent a wonderful gift to Baby Girl: Braille blocks! Here are some pictures of my certificate of completion & Baby Girl's gift:

My certificate: I earned an A!

Braille blocks

  Also, there are some other ideas I'd like to share. I've found that Montessori style learning suits Baby Girl well. This technique works for many special needs children, not just for those that are visually impaired. Here you will find a list of great Montessori blogs. In addition to this, through the genorosity of my parents, we were able to go in together and purchase an iPad for Baby Girl, which has been very beneficial to her. Many of the apps for her are free, and the ones that aren't are usually less than $3. If you have an iPad, this list is helpful for finding apps for children with special needs. This site is also helpful for locating apps and has reviews. Here you will find toy ideas, as well as at this link. Another thing I do that is simple & free...talk, talk, talk! I tell Baby Girl almost everything that I'm doing/that she's doing/that Daddy is doing/that siblings are doing....you get the idea. When you can't see well, you have to rely on other senses in order to learn. We also do a lot of singing. Baby Girl loves music, so it's a great avenue for teaching her. I have blogged about lots of activities that we've done, so if you look for posts tagged with preschool or Montessori or special needs homeschooling or visually impaired homeschooling, then you should be able to read about them. Here is a list of books that I've read that have also helped a great deal:

I hope this post helps, and if you have anything to share, please do so!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Two Years as a Family

Two years ago, Baby Girl was placed in our arms for the first time. What a joy she is!

Rinnah then...on Forever Family Day

Rinnah now...she's come a long way since that first day!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

More Christmas Fun

This week has been great! We've enjoyed lots of Christmas activities. We did a lot with gingerbread, from making, baking, and decorating... to reading both The Gingerbread Baby and Gingerbread Friends. We also read The Nativity Story.  Here's a sampling:

Our gingerbread village

Bug makes a gingerbread tree

Doodles helps Baby Girl with her gingerbread girl

Baby Girl decorates her gingerbread girl

Even "Daddy" got in on the action

Cookies decorated by Baby Girl

Cookies decorated by Bug

Cookies decorated by Doodles

Cookies decorated by "Daddy"

Scenes we drew from our reading of The Nativity Story
Top picture was drawn by Doodles
Middle picture was drawn by Bug
Bottom picture was drawn by me

Friday, December 2, 2011

Our December "Tea Time"

Several months ago I posted about our weekly "Tea Time." Here is the link that shows you where I got the idea. This week, since it's the first of December, we chose to do a Christmas theme. Doodles, Bug, and I each chose a Christmas song to listen to and then drew the scene that came to our mind as we listened to our song. Here are our results:

Bug's picture is at the top; he chose "Jingle Bells."
Doodles' picture is in the middle; she chose "The Christmas Song."
My picture is at the bottom; I chose "Baby, It's Cold Outside."
We had a blast doing this activity!

Christmas Fun

Well, the season is upon us again...YAY!!! I turn into a big ol' kid every year at this time. I love everything about Christmas...celebrating the birth of our Lord & Savior, decorating, baking, special times with family & friends, the sights and the smells, and the joy. So, Merry Christmas to all!!!

Baby Girl is completely thrilled about the Christmas tree

Our Sock Advent Calendar...the kids find a gift in their sock for each day of December

Doodles & Bug show off today's Advent Calendar gifts

Christmas Kool Aid: One cherry and one lemon-lime

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sonlight Science

We are really enjoying Sonlight Science. Bug is currently studying the ocean, fish, and water. Doodles is now studying the skeletal system as part of this year's human anatomy. We are all learning a lot!

Bug tests the absorbency of certain materials

Doodles works on her "skeleton man" project

Completed skeleton man

Dad, who works in the medical field, explains the skeletal system in more detail :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin Fun

We did something different in school today: an entire day devoted to pumpkin fun. We had a blast! Here are some pics from our pumpkin activities that we enjoyed. We also had fun tasting pumpkin and reading Five Little Pumpkins to Baby Girl.
Baby Girl weighs her pumpkin

Our pumpkin activity sheets

Measuring the circumference of Bug's pumpkin

Checking to see if our pumpkins sink or float

Glyph key (I got this idea here.)

Glyphs done by Baby Girl, Bug, & Doodles--look at the key posted in the previous picture, can you guess the identity of these "pumpkins?"

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Autumn Nature Study

We've been enjoying nice weather this week...perfect for an early autumn nature study. We took a walk, collected leaves, sketched some nature, and then did leaf rubbings.

Our Nature Buddy! Doodles was in love with him, as you'll see in her sketch posted on down the page. 

Bug's sketch of autumn leaves and a flower
My sketch of autumn leaves collected on our nature walk


Doodle's sketch of our nature walk

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Tea Time

The original by Van Gogh

I've shared my inspiration for our weekly "Tea Time" before, but I just wanted to reshare it in this post. :)
This week we looked at a painting by Van Gogh titled: "Wheat Field Under Threatening Skies." Then Doodles, Bug, and I all tried our hand at repainting this masterpiece. We had a wonderful time with this project. I was fascinated by the fact that each of us noticed different things in this painting as we discussed it and prepared to paint our own version of it, as well as all starting at different points. For example, I started with the middle of the field, Doodles started at the left side of the field, and Bug started with the sky. This was really a natural, relaxed, and fun way to learn about art.

Bug's painting

Doodles' painting

My painting

Friday, September 30, 2011

Writing with Baby Girl

I read on a blog that it's a good idea to have preschoolers write "horizontally" by placing a dry erase board at their level. I thought that was a great idea, especially for visually impaired children. I have found that Baby Girl really enjoys writing this way as opposed to sitting at the table to write. Here's a short clip of some of the "writing" that she did today.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Nature Study with Baby Girl

"Studying" a tree

Examining a smooth green leaf

"Crunching" dead brown leaves
Baby Girl and I enjoyed the cooler weather this morning by having nature study in our yard. Since she is visually impaired, it is very important that she uses all of her senses to explore the world around her. We listened to the birds and to the wind blowing through the trees, and I made a point of telling her exactly what she was hearing & used my voice to mimic what we were hearing as well. She felt fresh & smooth green leaves, crunchy & dead brown leaves, and the rough bark of a tree. We talked about the feel of the green grass as we walked in it-barefoot. With each day I am learning more & more about what works for her. I have to do even more "thinking outside the box" than I've done previously as a homeschooler, but we are both learning as we go.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Guest blogger: "Doodles"

My daughter will be blogging this post. She is sharing a recipe that she created herself. Enjoy!

Hi! Ok, the recipe I am showing you is called "Salsa Circles." First, you take three or four pieces (Depending on how much you want to make) of bread. Then, you take a round cookie cutter out and cut as many circles as you can in the bread. After that, you put two or three eggs into a bowl and dip the bread circles into eggs. (Make sure you cover as much bread as possible.) Then, put them on a plate and stick them in the fridge for about five minutes. While you have them in the fridge, put some salsa in a bowl and get out some cheese. (You can use shredded or just little squares of cheese.) Then take the circles out of the fridge and dip them in the salsa. Then, top them off with your cheese. (If you use shredded cheese completely cover the circles. If you use the little blocks of cheese then just set them on top.) Then, you put them in a frying pan and fry until brown on both sides. Then you will have a tasty dish! :D

Frying the circles

"Doodles" is proud of her recipe

The finished product

My guest blogger: my precious "Doodles"

First Picnic of the Fall

I love, love, love fall!!! It's my favorite time of the year. The heat & humidity fade away, and I can enjoy spending time outside with my kiddos. We took full advantage of today's nice weather and had a wonderful picnic lunch. I'm looking forward to many more picnics now that fall is on the way!

Self-Care That's Not So Fun

As promised in my previous post, I am now going to talk about self-care that's not so much fun. This kind of self-care involves thin...