Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Fun Stuff & School Update

In August, my adoption agency had their yearly party for families. It was also their 20th Anniversary.

By the end of our two weeks of public school, we were all EXHAUSTED. This was on a Saturday morning. Apple went to bed the night before around 8:50pm and I woke her up in the morning after 10am. She had her morning milk while waiting for me to get her cereal and fell back to sleep for another hour sitting like this without moving. She usually closes her eyes to sleep, but when she's super tired, they stay open like this because of her special need.

Let's here it for HOMESCHOOLING!!! This was our P.E. today since it's 103 degrees outside right now. They are on Urban Rebounders following the Kid Bound video. This is also what I'm going to be doing for the next month as I prepare to climb Half Dome again in October.

Homeschooling is going pretty well. I've joined and have been using them every day. I also signed up for Raz Kids and a vocabulary and help-with-reading program through the same website. We still have CTCmath and IXLmath. A couple of good free sites are, and We use a lot of workbooks. This year will be heavy on grammar and reading comprehension.

Sissy's (nearly 17) reading and writing are very poor. She is failing at a beginning 2nd grade level. It's not the language, it's her inability to process and think. She doesn't draw from any experiences she's had at all in any of her writing. Math, she's 6-7 grade and doing very well. We had a great surprise. If I give her a blank piece of paper and tell her to draw a picture, it's about like a 5-6 yr. old would draw, subject as well as ability. Last week, though, I gave her bottle of salad dressing to draw and it was very well done. She didn't even know herself that she could draw like she did. I, of course, had no idea either.

Blossom (nearly 15) is having a hard time with 2nd grade math. She can figure out the answers quite well if I help her understand the questions. She just can't understand the questions, again not a language thing, but a processing thing. Her reading level is hard to gauge, but it's much higher, and always has been, than Sissy's. She is a prolific writer, but it appears to be mostly gibberish unless you understand how she "thinks" and put aside grammar and spelling altogether. She's been much happier and content lately and she's been behaving well.

Jie Jie (11.5) is behind Blossom in math, but would move along faster if she'd obey me and stay on her math programs and not go to random websites involving princesses and movies the minute I leave the room. Her reading and writing are about a solid beginner 2nd grade, perhaps her reading a bit higher than that, but it's hard to tell since she can't explain verbally or write well due to the auditory processing and some other things yet to be diagnosed. She's still in speech therapy and making steady progress.

Apple is coming along in her speech. She's up to 3-6 word sentences, missing articles and often prepositions. "Uh, oh, I need towel please, mama." I am doing Razkids reading with her, too, and she really likes it, though it's more for speech therapy than reading readiness.

All three older girls are currently banned from all computers. They have repeatedly violated our rules and Sissy crashed another computer sneaking onto QQ on her sister's laptop. I will be getting a baby video monitor or some other type of camera to train on their screens when I cannot be in the same room with them, since, even though the computers are in the main family room, they switch websites the minute I leave the room.

All three older girls have a lot of trouble with honor, trust and obedience. The simplest rules are broken the minute I leave the room and the more serious rules are broken the minute my back is turned. They are good girls. They don't want to disobey. They just don't have self-control or the ability to reason with themselves. According to the book Hold On to Your Kids, they are stuck in immaturity and I can't budge them to reach the next level of maturity. Not surprising is that making this shift is all about attachment. Everything seems to come back to that and when you've lived nearly 14 years of your life unloved, never held, never nurtured beyond the basic necessities to sustain life, you just don't know how to attach, don't want it, don't miss it, don't know you need it.

As we delve deeper into the specifics of the girls' current levels of development and get hooked up with more and more specialists, I'm sure we'll get more answers, and certainly more questions. I'm glad that I tried public school. It really gave me the confidence I needed to understand that I am doing a great job and that I'm on the right path in the areas I'm working to improve upon.

Last Monday we went to the coast for the day with My Firefighter (pictures coming soon!). In the car we were teaching the girls about the rock formation on the beach and asked them if they knew why the rock was white. It's from the seagulls and other birds that live on it, but the girls couldn't come up with that, despite many, many clues and hints and just using their eyes to see all the birds. We asked, "What animal has wings?" with birds flying all around that we were pointing out. All three girls were unable to figure it out and Sissy said, "Deer!" One might again think this was a language thing, but she knows English well and knows what a bird is and that it has wings, but she can't THINK. She can only memorize, so she drew deer out of her brain (not the first time) because it's an animal I frequently tell them to look for when we are driving through the hills in the car. See, we were in the car, so the mystery animal must be a deer. Doesn't make sense to anyone but me, but I see why she said it. My Firefighter was stunned beyond anything. I was, too, but I'm used to it and could logic my way to seeing why she said it.


Lynnea Hameloth said...

Have you tried K-9 security program to block websites? We use it and it is easy to download and then you can block everything but their school websites?
So thankful for blogs but need to email you soon ;)

Teej said...

It sounds like you are doing a stellar job in a difficult situation. You have all my admiration.

Shecki Grtlyblesd said...

Wings deer ouch. Sigh. That must be so incredibly frustrating.

Anonymous said...

Sigh. Google or Bing is your friend, parents. Type in "How to Block Websites" into the search box and it will give you detailed instructions on how to block websites on your computer(s). Youtube will probably have a tutorial video if you go there. This is an easy problem to solve. Don't overthink it.

Also, Blossom's hair looks much cuter! Letting it grow out from the Dorothy Hamill 1970's style is an improvement. And Apple looks SO BIG, what a cute toddler she's become!

Jennie said...

You continue to amaze and inspire with your determined dedication. Blossom's haircut is gorgeous - she has lovely thick hair.

Anonymous said...

I love to see all three girls doing activities together. Blossom's hair is perfect length fits her nicely. Apple is to cute sleeping in her highchair.Nice bangs on Apple cute n age appropriate! nice to read some good news

dchang said...

As a someone who learns fairly easily and was gifted in gradeschool, I had a ton of anxiety when I went to graduate school and spent sooo much time on time wasting websites. Talks with the school counselor helped me see that I avoided working on my papers because I didn't like how hard it was, because the difficulty meant that I wasn't as smart as I thought I was. Obvs your daughters and I are starting from diff places, but I thought I'd throw out there in case part of the avoiding homework is anxiety over feeling dumb.

I used a lot of website blockers: LeechBlock for Firefox, StayFocusd for Chrome. Depending on how clever your daughters are at getting around this, it might be an option. Also you can use RescueTime which tracks their usage, and they'll know that every time they go to a website, they won't be able to 'get away' with it because it's tracked. Perhaps that will be enough disincentive...

Good Luck.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps those who could handle it (jie jie)? Could possibly be allowed free computer time? It might scratch that itch for enjoying princess websites or whatever without cutting into work time. I work in the tech field and am a huge supporter of girls and young women exploring technology. I understand the older girls it may not be appropriate but Jie Jie might benefit from the free time. Just a thought.

K said...

LOL! Jie Jie is the WORST offender of misused computer time!

I do agree with you, however, that understanding, exploring and learning about technology is important.

dottie said...

I think those kids need a special needs teacher that studied how to teach kids with learning or cognitive disabilities.

dottie said...

and with that I mean at a place where people take care obv like a montessori or a waldorf/steiner center .