Monthly Archives: August 2014

Our One Year Anniversary

We were married in March; our kids were born in April and December, but today is one of our family’s most important anniversaries.  One year ago today we brought home our foster baby.

Our story of foster care

I’m not allowed to post pictures of our baby to the blog. These photos seem empty without him.

Like most everything else in life, this journey hasn’t gone the way I thought it would.  I hoped we would one day adopt after providing a home to three year old for a couple of months and a sibling set for several weeks and there would be a heartbreaking good-bye after we kept a toddler for eight or nine months.  These were the stories I heard.  Ours is different.

Our licensed was signed on August 12, we got Baby on the 13th.  He was just shy of five months old.  I’m not allowed to tell you his story, so I’ll try to stick with telling you mine.  My heart was lost within the first week.

Every month, every milestone was a new reason to love him a little more.  Every sleepless night, every trip to the doctor was emotion invested in him.

I did everything I could to support his birth mom.  I bought picture frames for his 6, 9, and 12 month photos, I got her a Christmas present from Baby of practical items the worker said she needed for her new apartment, I held his first birthday party at a neutral location so she could come.  I encouraged her when we met for visits and calmed her during team meetings.

But please forgive me when I say that the more her life spun out of control, the more inexplicably intertwined my heart became with his.

Our story of foster care

Today when people ask I say I have three kids and leave it at that.  I long ago dropped the explanation that the youngest was a foster child and my older two readily accept strangers calling him their baby brother.  I tell myself it’s not their business anyway.

It is sheer terror waiting for a judge to decree what I feel in my soul.  Right now, my child doesn’t belong to me.

Still, I stick with what I said in February.  He is worth it.  Whatever happens tomorrow, my fingerprints are all over this child.  At his age he may not remember me in another year, but the first three years are the most formative and one of those will have been shaped and held and loved by me.  I choose to believe that matters.

And I know for certain that for one whole year he has been changing me.

Categories: Family | 11 Comments

Will It Work? Helping my Hyper Active Son

First I should explain that my son, Brett, has never been diagnosed as anything but a red-head. Spend a few minutes in his presence, however, and I think you’ll agree that a prescription for medication would be easy to get.  And while meds have their place, this isn’t a route I want to take for my son.  We chose homeschool and I tell myself this is how little boys were meant to be.  But I worry.

Will it work?  My journey to help my hyper active son.

Still a red-head!

So the first time I looked at a poster from the Brain Balance Achievement Centers it felt a little too good to be true.

I should first explain that Brain Balance is a program designed with the theory that ADD, ADHD, Aspergers, Autism, Dyslexia and other childhood disorders are actually the results of the same problem– an imbalance in the development of the right and left brain and their ability to communicate with each other.  At the center they test each kiddo, find the weak side of the brain, and unlike other programs that build on a child’s strengths, they intensely build up only the less developed areas.

The literature they gave me, the YouTube testimonials, even the mom in the lobby all assured me that Brain Balance had made a life-altering difference in the lives of children with even severe disorders.  But the program isn’t covered by any insurance and the cost is not cheap.  Plus the nearest center to our house is 90 minutes away, one direction, and the investment in time and money for driving, in addition to the daily homework exercises is a little overwhelming.

Which brings me to why I’m writing this post.  If you’re parent you’ve been there, the I would do anything for my child if I thought this was the right thing, but IS IT? feeling.  We’ve signed the paperwork, written the check, and been to the center a few times and I’m still not sure how I feel about it all.  Maybe cautiously optimistic?  Perhaps I feel a little scammed.  Can there be an easier target than a desperate mother?  I think time will tell.  And my plan is to tell you.

Will it work?  My journey to help my hyper active son.

He’s totally worth it– but is the program?

If you’re struggling, wondering, hoping like I am, I’ll be writing occasionally to let you know how this journey is going.  I’m hoping you’ll see how I went from fearing to believe to another one of those enthusiastic YouTube moms, but if not then maybe I’ll spare some of you some hard-earned cash and a whole lot of time and frustration.

I will tell you we’re going all in.  We’re doing the exercise every day, following the nutrition guidelines, providing lots of time for rest and recreation, and generally giving this 100%.  If it doesn’t work it won’t be because I didn’t try.

Here’s just praying it works.

Categories: Family | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments

How We Begin Our Homeschool Year

If you’re thinking it’s a little early to be back in the classroom you might be right, but I wouldn’t change the way we start off our homeschooling year!

As a public school teacher there is something of a shock when you go from working in your classroom whenever you want to the day the students arrive and suddenly you’re on a SCHEDULE.  That shock times ten best describes my transition as a homeschool mom.

How we begin our homeschooling year.

Getting my kindergarten classroom ready for the year was one of my favorite things about teaching public school. I still love preparing a bright, clean room for learning at home!

I think the adjustment is harder for me and my kids because we’re at home.  (Hence homeschooling…)  Our environment hasn’t changed, our behavior has to.  And there is no one to oversee that but me.

How we begin our homeschool year.

Like most homeschool families we make do with what we have. My craft desk doubles as a teacher’s desk. Not every teacher has a sewing machine! 🙂

I also hear this as a common fear from parents who want to try teaching their kids at home.  “I’m just not sure I could make us get the work done.”

So here’s what I do.  We start the first full week in August, but we don’t jump in with both feet.  Today we’ll be doing calendar, our first phonics lesson in two months, attempting a short handwriting session, reading together as a family, and playing with some of the “toys” that come in our curriculum for critical and hands-on thinking.

How we begin our homeschooling year.

This is today’s workload. A light schedule helps all of us transition to a full day of school!

Next week we add history, since we had the most trouble finishing this subject by the end of the school year in first grade.  I’ll also throw in two of our “daily” workbooks, geography and word problems, which are 5 minute daily practice lessons.  The third week we’ll begin math, add the daily writing lessons, and begin our religion read-aloud.  By the last week of August we’ll add science (it has the fewest overall chapters) and specials like art, music, and PE.

It means we’re doing a full workload about a week after most of Missouri’s public school are back in session, but we’ll have more total hours since we’ve been at it for three weeks already.

This is how we begin our homeschool year at my house.  What works for you?

Categories: Homeschool | Tags: , , , , | 10 Comments

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