Sunday, January 15, 2017

Adoption Talk Link Up: 2017 Intro

Our family has been through a lot of changes in the last year. Many years ago, my husband, P and I started the adoption process, and a couple years later, brought home our first child, Eli, from Korea.  More on this here. When Eli was almost four, we decided that it was time to consider adoption again. This time, though, P and I both felt drawn to consider foster care adoption in our state, and committed to becoming a foster family for a year.  Within a very few months of starting the process, we had our first foster child, W. Less than two months later W's arrival, we received a call about a newborn baby...and received Itty Bitty. In the first twelve months of being a foster family, we had FIVE foster children (no more than two at a time!). At the end of the year, we decided to re-certify for a second year, as we still had Scooter and Itty Bitty, and we were still going strong.  We've now officially been a foster family for 23 months. This year, we will re-certify again, but only because Itty Bitty is still a member of the foster care system; we do not have plans to foster another child until Itty Bitty is older.  Though I cannot yet talk openly and candidly about all that has transpired in Itty Bitty's case, we are still hoping, praying, and expecting to be able to adopt him : ).

No Bohns About It

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Project 52: Week 2

It was a week where it felt like almost ALL of my pictures came out blurry.  Still, this was one of my favorites.  This was one of Itty Bitty's favorite books this week :).

Weekly-Wrap Up: After Schooling

And here we begin, re-joining the weekly wrap-up :). Although we do utilize public school/daycare for our boys, they are not getting everything they need during the day. Eli is definitely underchallenged, and continues to come up with new ways to make mischief. Itty Bitty needs a little extra encouragement and support. I am a HUGE believer in the Montessori method, and believe in child-led learning...and that learning doesn't stop in school.

So what happened this week?

Even with beginning after schooling, the week was somewhat stressful for the adults, with too many items on our agenda.

Hence, there was probably too much of this:

Still, he did manage to practice violin and piano at least twice this week, although his music theory work is still untouched...I'm going to have to get after him a little bit tomorrow :). I tried to get a picture of him practicing, but all of them were so blurry, I didn't bother to use them.

Eli has being showing a lot of interest in cursive writing lately, so he chose to spend some time practicing.

We also began working on grade 2 subjects on IXL, and Eli completed at least one lesson in each of the four content areas this week.  Eli has also shown a renewed interest in all things Korean, and asked if we would reload Rosetta Stone onto his ancient laptop. He surprised himself with how successful he was, and was thrilled that the program had him speaking a few words within about five minutes. He really doesn't understand yet WHAT he said...but it's a start.  He's shown interest in Duolingo for Spanish, too, so I may give him a chance to start this week, just to see what he can do.

Eli continued working on his reading challenge. As of now, he's in the middle of reading "Night of the Ninjas" by Mary Pope Osbourne (a Magic Treehouse book, this will count as his mystery) and he began reading "Diary of a Minecraft Zombie Part 1"by "Zack Zombie", which counts as the first book in a series.

Itty Bitty is doing great with some of the new things we've been working on; he loves putting his laundry (and everything else) in the laundry basket, and really enjoys washing his hands. We focused on working on a lot of his occupational and speech therapy goals this week. He is absolutely using the word "out" frequently, consistently, and with meaning. He is definitely trying to communicate more :), both in sign language and his own toddler-ease babble. We worked on picking up large-knob puzzle pieces and putting them back in place (OUT is easy for him, IN is not). We are working on how use use various types of cups and straws, and with the encouragement of his speech teacher, we've begun NOT thickening small amounts of water for him to practice swallowing thin liquids. We also worked on stacking blocks, playing his apps on Kindle (especially read aloud books on Reading Rainbow) and playing airplanes/cars.

The books we read with Itty Bitty this week include the "Pout-Pout Fish" by Deborah Diesen and "Noisy Dinosaurs".

Weekly Wrap-Up

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

2017 Reading Challenge!

So, with the beginning of the new year, we are back to do partial homeschooling (what some would call after schooling) with the boys. I feel like, after taking 2016 off, that we really need to get back to it...Eli benefits so much from after schooling when we do it, and Itty Bitty is now at an age where he will, too. I missed the Weekly Wrap-Up with Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers, but will hopefully be ready for them next week!

Itty Bitty is just now old enough to handle practical life and sensorial activities (Montessori style), and we will be pursuing those, as well as singing songs, working through his therapy activities, and reading lots of books together.  This week, the things we worked on include putting dirty clothes into the laundry (he's VERY good at this 😊), helping Eli bring me clean clothes from the dryer to fold (he mostly tried to put the clean clothes in the hamper), using utensils to eat (this is a major work in progress), telling the dogs "out!", and peeling bananas that I start for him.  We read "Click Clack, Ho Ho Ho" by Doreen Cronin, "I Want My Hat Back" by Jon Klassen, and "The Little Duck" by Judy Dunn.  We've been singing the Daniel Tiger theme song, the Number/Letter of the Day Song (Sesame Street), and the Christmas version of the "Hallelujah" song (not sure who wrote's not Leonard Cohen's version?), which Itty Bitty attempted to sing a bit this morning. Itty Bitty LOVES all things music and sometimes surprises us with his preferences.

Eli is in public school Kindergarten. Even though his teacher really does try to give him challenging, individualized work, it's really difficult for her to do without relying on computers programs or iPad apps. His current reading level is about mid-3rd grade, according to the school's assessments, and his mathematical knowledge is a hodgepodge mixture of second, third, and fourth grade arithmetic. He is reading early chapter books competently, and has understanding of adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. For homeschool activities for math, we are going to use a combination of materials, including Art of Problem Solving's Beast Academy, Life of Fred and IXL. For reading, Eli actually came to me and asked if he could do a reading challenge similar to the ones we complete in the summer...and I'm all for it!  After much discussion - in which I suggested 12 books, and Eli begged to do 20 - we settled on an outline of 16 books, selected by the guidelines below:

1. A book he selects because of its pictures
2. A biography
3.  A non-fiction book
4. A book of the Bible (from his Children's Bible)
5. A book written at least 100 years ago
6. A graphic novel
7. A book suggested by his parents
8. A book about a different culture
9. A book that is the first in a series
10. A book published last year
11. A mystery book
12. A science fiction or fantasy book
13. A book published the year he was born
14. A book that teaches a skill
15. A book that won an award
16. A book with a non-traditional point of view

Eli has until the end of May (when summer reading programs begin in our area) to complete this challenge, and he has to read all books independently (with one possible exception...the sci fi/fantasy book he wants to read may require a little support). I'm reading/re-reading the books too, so that I can question him about each and check that he understands what he's read. So far, he's selected several titles, with help, for his reading project - and he's very excited about some of them.  We also set a reward for finishing this project with fidelity - and ice cream from our local parlor was his special request!

Soon, we will begin incorporating more science and social studies/history...and hopefully, a little bit of Korean or Japanese language, practical life, and fine arts.  Eli already takes piano and violin lessons, too, in addition to occupational therapy, so we've a heavy other words, we're going to take it all one step at a time and one activity at a time : ).

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Project 52: Week 1

I've decided to try to do a Project 52 challenge to help improve my photography and to make sure I'm taking the time to really take pictures of the boys as they grow.  It's still a little tricky because Itty Bitty's adoption isn't I cannot show pictures of his face.  Also, you'll notice (as I've said once before) that "Itty Bitty" is no longer a fitting blog name for him...he's gotten so BIG!! He's also always in motion...something I really wondered if I'd be able to say about him when he was a fairly immobile infant. I really wanted to get a picture of them in front of the fireplace in their matching PJs that Aunt Jeanette gave them for Christmas, but while waiting on Eli, Itty Bitty had climbed up on the couch and just discovered that it was bouncy. I kinda let it go for a minute so that Eli could join him so that I could get a picture : ).