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4KookieKids

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  1. Thanks for your thoughts. I appreciate the honesty, and I agree that sometimes you just have to do what works. I've been thinking that maybe this summer, I'll give the AoPS books a try (perhaps just alternating days, one day of book work, one day of alcumus and see how it goes). Part of me wonders if I'm (unconsciously) trying to have a "perfect little homeschool," you know, when your ideal of how you thought things would look clash with your reality (four 2E kiddos, in my case). I wonder if I'm being foolish even considering rocking the boat, when I've felt like I was fighting a losing battle just to keep my head above water the last 2-3 years. The rational part of me agrees that I should just do what works, and if we have a good rhythm that's working, then I shouldn't change it. But there's just this other part of me that's difficult to squash that still wishes things didn't look the way they do right now. (Maybe this is similar to my feelings/grief over being much more of an unschooler by heart, and then having three autistic kids who do awfully without pretty intense structure... parenting just really doesn't look like you plan before hand! lol.)
  2. By summer, my ds10 will most likely be finishing up his tenth level of Barton (whoot!), his middle school uzinggo (all three courses), and the alcumus preA to blue. Right now, he is also learning Spanish and German grammar online with DuoLingo (he already speaks German fluently) by his own choice, despite me not requiring a 2nd language because I know it's typically difficult for dyslexics. In general, I like the online stuff because 1) it doesn't require a ton of hand-holding by me, and 2) it's high input, low output, which is perfect for my 2E kiddo! I feel like we have a great rhythm with him this year, but I've had a growing uneasiness about the amount of time he spends hooked to the computer for school work. (In addition to the above, he also does typing and coding programs and drawing videos online.) He is very much 2E (AL but dyslexic, dysgraphic, adhd, and autistic) and struggles with a lot of EF skills. Although he gets enough problems on alcumus correct to pass his sections, he gets a lot of them wrong initially as well, learns from the solutions, and is then able to pass the next questions (he sometimes tells me he's reading the book, but I don't really think he is, and I've been busy enough with other kids that I haven't really pressed the issue, since he's able to eventually pass the sections...) I have three younger kids that also need a lot of hand-holding for their 2E issues, and just don't have the time to sit with the oldest for 3-4 hours a day of one-on-one, which is how we ended up doing SO much online. I'm embarrassed to write that, lest someone judge me or suggest he should just go to school. Any advice on curricula, routine, organizational tips, etc. that would help me get him off the screen so much? I can sit him at the table when my girls do math and just insist he read the Algebra book and work the problems out at the table; I feel like math is probably the easiest one to tackle. I speak German fluently and enough Spanish to be able to teach it, but don't know what to use that has high input/pace paired with relatively low output (again, the dysgraphia and EF issues) and isn't *too* teacher intensive (I would be happy if I could teach him new stuff and do oral practice with him for 10-15 minutes per language, per day, and then he could work on other components of language learning on his own -- just don't know if there's anything like this out there?) He started DuoLingo three months ago, and has already gotten an initial pass on almost all sections (he does use voice typing), and so is going back to start "leveling up" those sections, so I just don't feel like that's gonna cut it for another 12 months anyway. Given his love for audiobooks, any thoughts on doing a science program that is based on great courses, and then oral narrations after he listens each day? Do the great courses come with "cliff notes" of some sort that I could read so that I can help him with his narration and ensure comprehension? I think that would allow him to maintain some of his independence without putting unnecessary burden on him to write. (We'll be starting IEW over the summer, once he finishes Barton, and I think that will be plenty of writing for him - I just don't have it in me to start right now with the end of Barton so near in sight! lol.) I expect t I'll try to find an art book to replace the screens for learning to draw, but haven't spent much time looking yet. To be clear, I'm fine with a little screens for fun or education, so it's ok if I can't move *everything* to screen-free learning. I would just rather not have a screen be a requirement for the vast majority of his actual school time. Is it pointless to even try, given that I expect we'll start taking online courses through a CC before too much longer? Give it to me straight! lol.
  3. This is easy enough - we already have small chalkboards, sponges, and small chalk. lol. Thanks! Also good information! Thanks! It kind of reinforces my suspicion from looking at it that most of the stuff that I could buy from the store wouldn't be much more than I already do - but I will definitely give the training a look!
  4. That's good to know. I didn't want to skip it if it's the ONE thing that really would make a difference. But I also don't want to waste money if we're already (most likely) doing as good as we can!
  5. Has anyone here had success using CBD with their children with adhd, anxiety, asd, or depression? DH wants to consider it. He is also ASD with adhd/anxiety/depression, and has been feeling better with it, though he doesn't find it improves his attention significantly. But he's only been using it for two weeks. Just curious to hear what others have tried or think. It's too easy to find websites saying anything I search for ("Changed my life!" right next to "No evidence for it!") I'm at the point of wanting to medicate for adhd and anxiety in two of my children, one of whom is also showing signs of depression. I've heard so much about medicine being a complete game-changer. We've already addressed diet and supplements and exercise. I wondered if CBD would help without having quite as many side effects as standard adhd/anxiety/depression medicine.
  6. We had red flags with all three of my autistics by age 2. I take a little bit of an issue with the claim in the article that later diagnosis were associated with mild presentations. Our presentations were NOT mild -- they just didn't fit the boxes nicely and weren't easily seen for what they were at that age. I didn't know what I was looking for or understand what I was looking at. Come ages 7 and 8, I'm taking an 8 pages single-spaced document to everyone we see, outlining all of the struggles/flags we've seen since age 2. Finally, with my oldest dd, it dawns on me that it might be autism, so I went and wrote out categories for social interactions, rigidity, and repetitive patterns, and when through my 8 page document to sort things into categories, and realized that *every single* issue in those 8 pages fit into one of those three categories -- I just didn't see the pattern when I wrote out the document as a linear thing based on time/age. I was dumbfounded and quite upset that I'd not made the connections before. For a kid who was almost given anti-psychotics because nobody could figure out what was wrong with her, I would definitely argue that her presentation was anything *but* mild. But she's a girl, and a smart one at that, and her presentation was not "typical." I'm not bashing the professionals; even I answered "no" to the question of her lining things like cars up -- only to realize the day after that she rearranges and lines up her books on her shelf and the clothes in her dresser on a daily basis. The questions themselves led me to look for a certain presentation, I feel in hindsight. Once I focused exclusively on the diagnostic criteria, she was clearly met it.
  7. I think about this a lot with my three autistics. My ds wasn't diagnosed until age 7, but the professionals we saw at that point said we had been doing all the right kinds of "early interventions" that they would've suggested anyway (explicit social skills teaching, visual schedules, clear routine, etc.) - we just didn't know they were a "thing," and were making things up as we went along. By the time we had three more kids and suspected two of them were autistic, they'd been in speech and OT and had similar social skills teaching for years (we do lots of social thinking stuff in our "free time"), just because it's what we *did* at home. ADOS scores were near cut-off for both (one just over, one just under), but I strongly suspect those scores were impacted by all the interventions/teaching we'd already been doing.
  8. I wanted to write this update, just because I was laughing so much. So here's my child (from the original post) making "hopscotch" games to try to learn her skip counting (her own idea) because she still can't skip count easily from memory after practicing for over a year. Yes, I read the Ronnit stuff, and we're back at using C-rods and dice and cards and playing games a lot. So we've been happier and I'm not stressed or anything. 🙂 And here's what the same child brought me when I told her it was math time, recently. "Oh, I already did my math," she says to me nonchalantly. I hadn't taught her this (see above comment about focusing more on C-rods, Ronnit and games...) She couldn't tell me how she got any of her answers, but *every single one* was correct. She just said her brain told her what the answers were. 🤦‍♀️
  9. I've spent some decent time reading past threads about HWOT and dysgraphia. I've spent some time looking on the HWOT website. I get that everyone raves about how it works - but can anyone tell me why? I'm not suggesting it's not worth the $, but I'd like to understand what I'll really be getting for my $ before spending it at least (and be assured that it really would offer something new/better). 🙂 Currently, my dysgraphic kiddos practice their handwriting/letter formation the way taught in Spalding (clock letters begin at the 2 o'clock, with enough space to make the clock shape, line letters start near, always from the top, slight slant, etc., lots of details about how they should sit and hold the paper with the one hand, pencil grip, etc.) We do air-writing and multi-sensory stuff like kinetic sand or cloud dough or rice or tracing letters on various body parts. We practice a lot, highlight the bottom half of space to remind them where their "short" letters belong, etc. They do have low muscle tone and some core strength issues that we are addressing, but the fact remains that my kids aren't making the progress I'd like, and I'm not sure if it's because we really need HWOT and whatever it has that we don't already do, or if progress is difficult just because they're actually dysgraphic. (duh. lol) [ FWIW: We have seen three OT's in the past who had no constructive advice for us, and we are not able to pursue another OT right now, so I need to figure this out myself.]
  10. Looking for recommendations for Christian read aloud books for youth. While we've enjoyed stuff like Narnia, we're looking for something a bit deeper right now. Recently, we've been enjoying books like Hinds' feet on high place, the new Pilgrim's progress, the Trailblazers series of missionary biographies, and Kisses from Katie. I'd love to find more books in the same vein.
  11. I'm so bad at big picture goals that I usually just skip these threads! But I'll try this time, just because it'll be interesting to compare it with what we actually get done after the fact!! lol. I've really enjoyed our push to read more books together as a family this year. My oldest two have read the first five Harry Potter books and the Hobbit with me (takes so much longer than reading independently!! lol), and our entire family has read the first four Little House books together, as well as a few other classics a la Wizard of Oz, King of the Golden River, Pirate's Promise, and Reddy Fox. I'd love to see us continue this trend, and get into some deeper books (not just fun fantasy type stuff). DS10: Finish Barton, tackle IEW, work towards independence (though I'm not sure exactly what that means yet). He's flying through materials on Alcumus and has completed 2.5 years of middle school science material on uzinggo in the last 8ish weeks (low-output, I know, but golly he knows his stuff when I question him!), but I feel like the kid still can't independently feed and groom himself adequately, let alone remember to use his fork... DD8: Find something she loves doing and excels at. We just moved 1000 miles and she had to give up her one passion (there are no ballet schools within a 90 minute drive of us). She had made her peace with that at the time (though there's still been a grieving period), but now we're really noticing a dramatic decrease in confidence. While the little bugger is surely bright, she's very much 2E and the truth is that right now, almost *everything* is hard for her (academically, emotionally, socially, etc.) Nobody wants to be bad at everything. 😞 It does not help that she is currently refusing to do other things that she's really good at (she's a very gifted musician and has often used it to soothe herself, but has decided in the last year that she hates piano and violin, and so is refusing to play/practice). DD6: Get reading fluent, learn lots of board and card games, and try hitting HWOT to address dysgraphia. She could easily be more accelerated than she is, but prefers to be climbing trees and wading in the creek, so her academics are extremely slight. DD5: ?? Until oldest finishes Barton, I'm not sure I have it in me to start teaching another kid to read... Biggest goal for her would be to wean her off of the ABCmouse that gets more of her time than I'd like when I'm busy with the older three... All: Revive minority language (all but abandoned the last eight months as we prepare to move, and more and more difficult to maintain now that children out-number me and just use English with each other). Start learning Spanish. 1 hr of outside time each day, regardless of weather, on average (I'm setting a tracker that will keep a running average for me, and we bought good rain gear!). Try our hand at nature journaling.
  12. Are there Spanish programs for kids that are completely audio/video based with no reading/writing involved? I know there are audio programs for adults (CDs to listen to in the car, podcasts, etc.) Just looking for similar programs for kids! We looked at Muzzy, which seems to have a preschool program with no reading/writing, but I can't tell if the upper levels include reading/writing, and I also can't tell if the app supports multiple child profiles (I sent them a message to ask, but haven't heard back yet.) We're doing the salsa videos, but ULAT looks a bit boring to my elem aged kiddos.
  13. Wow, that really is good!
  14. I feel like so much of our issues with my tricky dd tie into gender roles. lol. Even as their mom, it is relatively irritating that my ds gets so much more praise for his smarts than my dd's. I live with them. I don't care what the IQ tests show - she is at least as smart as he is. Even our pediatrician, at our well-check appointments, would brag to his student interns about how my ds is fluent in German -- without even mentioning that, duh, my girls are as well because we're a bilingual family... I have a girl (not my super tricky girl) who was scoring 170 in certain verbal areas of her dyslexia testing, but I'll be darned if folks don't like to focus on my son. It just feels so ridiculous at times, but I also don't feel like I can correct it without sounding... something. Not sure what exactly I'd sound like, but I know it would be uncomfortable. lol.
  15. I didn't catch the original post before it got edited, but I can commiserate. One of mine excels at tricking adults into thinking she's normal. Even trained, professional psychologists and psychiatrists. When asked why she answered a certain thing a certain way last year, she actually said, "Well, talking about ((insert real issue here)) is just weird and uncomfortable. So I just told ((the psych)) what I knew would make her happy." I have to actually document every issue/concern that pops up (good and bad!) and go seek out a specialist if I want to get anywhere. She must have pulled a really good one on the neuropsych, who actually wrote in his report, "The patient was pleasant and cooperative. Mood was dysphoric, restricted and tense." Our pediatrician couldn't stop scratching his head as to how she could come across pleasant and cooperative and also dysphoric and tense, and how this didn't ring any bells... Funny story: When she was in preschool, she came home one day and told me her teacher had been teaching them to add, but that she hadn't told her teacher she already knew how. I asked her why, and she responded, "Because then she'll know my secret identity!!" And that's the only answer she ever gave... lol.
  16. I will check out mindwings. We had planned to try to start IEW with him after Christmas. We were waiting just to see if dd8 could get through Level 4 of Barton and potentially join him in doing it. Would that address some of these things, since you're talking about writing?
  17. We have since moved, and don't have access to a good SLP any longer, so I'm needing to do it myself. She had the same discrepancy (100% of explicit, 0% of implicit) when the stories were read aloud to her, so I totally get what you're saying - but I think it's definitely more than decoding / fluency. These are great thoughts. I'll definitely think more on this. I feel like this is one area where I don't even know how to make up good examples to talk about and need something scripted! lol.
  18. He listens to a lot, but I wonder if it's not his autism that hinders him from answering the questions correctly, because he doesn't get nuances and has a hard time seeing the forest for the trees, you know? Readtheory is basically like a test: you read a passage and then answer multiple choice questions about it. It explains why the wrong answers are wrong and why the right one is right after you answer them. It automatically adjusts the reading level of your passages based on how well you answered the questions on the previous passage (i.e., good answer -> higher reading level, more wrong -> lower reading level passage). It's pretty straight-forward. 🙂
  19. I agree it needs improvement. My dd8 got the dx even though she fell a point short of the threshold on the ADOS. I appreciated our examiner really listening to us when she made the final decision. In particular, she fell short of the threshold, despite being able to articulate things like: It's hard to understand people. In public, in a group, I'll say stuff like, "Yeah, yeah, totally!" But I'll walk away from the group thinking, "What just happened? I don't understand what's going." When I get in trouble for being mean, I don't understand how or why I got in trouble and I'm sad that people don't understand. I'm having a good day and all of a sudden I'm in trouble, but I feel so left out because I don't understand what I did or why they're so upset. It's hard because my brain just doesn't understand things. I feel left out because my brain doesn't understand things that other people understand. And even the things I do understand, I can't do in public because my brain gets so confused around people. She's smart enough to have learned how to avoid a lot of social mishaps by withdrawing and it passes for "shy," and some other things she's learned just because we've taught social rules explicitly since she was 2 because my older child and husband are also autistic. And the older she gets, the more obvious the signs are - but it took me a lot to actually see them. (E.g., I answered "No" to the question about if she likes to line things up, like toys, cars, etc., and never once thought about how often she re-folds and organizes the clothes in her dresser -- several times a week -- nor did I consider how often she rearranges her books on her bookshelf so that they are in some kind of order.) Even the *examples* they give (cars, trucks, trains) lead you towards a particular profile, it seems, and caused me to not see what was so obviously in front of me.
  20. DS10 is 2e (dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADHD, and autism) and taking the PSAT 8/9 this year through Numats. He really wants to improve his language score this year over last year, but I'm not actually sure how to help him. I will not put him in one of those actual "improve your score" classes at this point. He's in level 6 of Barton and is reading voraciously, though I don't really test him on what he's reading, so I have no way of knowing how much is being skipped or missed. That aside, when he does sit down to practice a bit on readtheory.org (please, no judgement! It's all his idea...), he'll call me over for wrong answers, and the answers are just SO obviously wrong that I'm almost embarrassed for him. lol. So I walk him through the question and why the right answer is right and the others are each wrong, but he just makes the same mistake again next time. He makes all the classic mistakes (like choosing an answer because they use the same wording as the passage, or focusing on a detail but missing the big picture) but doesn't write down any notes or keywords or anything because of the dysgraphia thing making writing hard. Does it make me a bad parent to say that I want to figure out something he can do on his own to learn what he needs to learn? I'm quite busy with other kids whose needs are more pressing than improving a score on a talent search test, you know? He's motivated to learn it, but I don't really know where to start on something like this, quite honestly.
  21. One thing that came up on dd8's most recent SLP eval was that she scored 100% on explicit comprehension questions on a story, but 0% on implicit comprehension questions. So one of the recommendations is to target implicit and inferential comprehension and question answering. I would've asked at the SLP about it, but at the time I was more focused on the dyslexia aspect of things. Since we've moved since then and don't see that SLP any longer, I thought I'd just ask here first if anyone knows what that actually means and what it means I should be doing? I do recall the SLP saying that it *could* be due to her dyslexia, but it's more likely due to her autism. I'm just not sure what that means for me -- just keep reading stories and talking about what's going on and what folks are feeling and why they're making the decisions they are? I confess that I don't really understand what "implicit comprehension" even IS.
  22. Only my attention and confusion. She has been known to say that it's fun to be sassy or rude because when you're sassy or rude, you get more attention. And she's open about doing things for attention on a regular basis. So, yes... it's confusing. lol. I may try a different day. Or take those top 3 and try all different variations of those and see what happens.
  23. Ok, so can somebody tell me if she's pulling my leg, or if this sounds at all legit? We got our overlays and I was just laying two at a time on two of the Barton stories and asking her which one looks easier to read . One color makes the words look "fuzzy," another makes them look "moving," and yet another makes them look like they're "jumping," she says. A few made the words stand still. With yellow on the left and pink on the right, she says they're about equal, but with yellow on the right and pink on the left, she says pink is fuzzy. She says her left eye just likes yellow more and her right eye likes pink best. I said that sounded ridiculous and asked her what words looked like without an overlay, and she said the letters just look like they're turning into a different letter all the time. I paired them 16 different ways, so not exhaustively, but each one was in 4 pairs, twice on the right and twice on the left. If I group them by wins, 3 colors count 11 wins total, and the other 5 colors won for a total of 5 times, so there's a clear preference for three of the colors. So if I start trying them, what kind of difference am I looking for? Immediate? Long term? Actual improvement reading, or more attention with focus? I can't quite shake the feeling she's pulling my leg a little. lol. I didn't tell her anything before hand except that we were going to make reading more fun with pretty colors and then asked her which she liked best.
  24. Oh, I didn't mean "get emailed" to me. I just meant that I go on weekly, and just click the student name and it pulls up reports for every class he's worked on, so I can check how it's all going. Sorry!
  25. We just ordered a set of colored overlays that are coming in the mail today and we're going to experiment and just see what kind of preferences my kids have. 🙂
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