Test Day

Today was our first test day at Serenity Spectrum School. We are 4 months into our school year, and I thought it was a good time to gauge where the girls are. Since we will be schooling year-round, three assessments per school year seems reasonable to me. What do you think?

I used the Pre-K Assessment forms, for Alphabet and Math, which are generously provided for free by Prekinders.com. I also used the Color Chart and Shapes Mini-Book printables; which are generously provided for free by PreschoolMom.com.

Beth was able to identify all her numbers from 0 to 10 correctly. She was also able to count objects (play rings) up to number 20, with only skipping number 13. Beth really liked counting the rings and putting them in her favorite red bowl, so we did that a few times. 🙂 She was able to identify all the colors on the chart correctly. She also knew all the shapes on the printout.

The assessment was going extremely well until I brought out the Alphabet sheet; at that point she started to shut down. It was almost as if she was having a panic attack, and just could not think straight. I tried several approaches, with no avail; I even had her taking trips to the trampoline, spinning and crazy shaking (Team UmiZoomies) between attempts. In the end, she identified 16 upper case and 12 lower case letters accurately. While, I do not believe this to be an accurate representation of her knowledge, I did learn something very important. I learned that whatever approach they were using in public school was stressful and possibly traumatic for her. I learned that this sheet was too similar to the public school’s version, and would never give me an accurate measure of her knowledge. I learned that I must find another way to assess her abilities, which will allow her to relax and truly show all that is in her beautiful brain.

Anne was able to identify half of her numbers from 0 to 10 correctly. She was also able to count the rings up to number 13.  She knew all her colors, but did have some trouble with yellow. She correctly identified all but 2 of the shapes on the printout. She did awesome with the Alphabet sheet! She accurately identified 17 upper case and 14 lower case letters. The only trouble we had were with “M” and “N” due to her speech issues, but we worked through it just fine.

I am extremely happy with our first assessment. I can see where the girls have grown in many areas. I was also able to identify areas that need extra attention. I was blessed with a little more insight, as  to how stressful public school was for Beth. Witnessing her extreme reaction to the ABC printout, taught me a valuable lesson, and provided an opportunity to help her work through some of that angst. Today, I feel as though I became a better teacher and mom. As usual, my girls make the BEST teachers, I just have to remember to always follow their lead. 🙂

 

Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥

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Reblogged: To Build (or Break) a Child’s Spirit

Thank you Hands Free Mama for sharing your To Build (or Break) a Child’s Spirit  post today.

I cried as I read the post. It brought me back to a day, not so along ago, one that was far from my finest. I scolded Beth for not trying at her schoolwork, and told her we needed a break. She went to the couch, started crying and said (repeatedly): “I a smart girl, I good.” My heart broke, I held her and cried with her. I apologized and told her why I was wrong, and that mommy should have done better. I assured her that I was always proud of her, and that she was one of the smartest girls I know. In the end it was better, but it was a painful lesson. I pray I never make her feel that way again.

If you do not follow Hands Free Mama, I highly recommend heading over and reading her blog, it is life changing. ❤ You can also follow her on Facebook.

I am not associated with the blog or author in anyway, I simply love seeing her posts in my newsfeed every day. Her sharings help me be a better mom to my girls, and I want everyone to know where to find such extraordinary inspiration.

 

Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥

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Serenity Spectrum is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Why We Started Homeschooling

After our Healing Touch session, it occurred to me that I never really shared the reason why we homeschool. One thing I have learned in Al-Anon is that sharing your story, helps you to heal the wounds from it. Since our homeschool story is quite lengthy, I will share it in parts. This is the emotional part of Why our journey began.

Beth was being bullied by three typical boys, in her blended class, at our public school. At first we did not know the extent of the bullying. Thankfully, when we asked the school for assistance in helping her identify the correct emotions, and understand the difference between a friend and a bully (for lack of a better word), the response was unbelievable. The Director of Special Education cut off all our communication with the staff, and became VERY defensive. Her extreme overreaction, and attempt at “handling” us, was a HUGE red flag that there was much more to the story.

The director told us our daughter did not need to know what a bully was, because it could not happen at this age. She told us our daughter created issues where there were none; her examples only proved that she knew nothing about Autism and the literal thinker. She told us when we spent hours trying to console Beth during her meltdowns, we were telling her, that her issue was more important than it was. I could go on for pages, but I will spare you all the other inappropriate things this “professional” had to say, except this last one. Her ultimate solution to the problem was to teach Beth not to cry, so that the children with less control (aka the bullies) would not be as compelled to target her.

As I explained to the Director in our last communication, before we withdrew the girls, her solution did nothing to help our daughter, and only served to foster more bullies. To not reprimand the bullies, and teach them to behave with respect and kindness is wrong. To teach a victim to not cry, and just accept that they are less than their peers, is WRONG. Her way of “helping” special needs students, which is sadly the same almost everywhere in the USA, is one of the reasons so many of our children are abused and tortured every day at school.

Having taught preschool myself, I know this is the age that can set the tone for a child’s future. I was disappointed and outraged by the way this situation was handled. I was also horrified by how Anne was starting to behave, after only being in that school for a few months. She was becoming disrespectful and cruel. I knew exactly what was happening to Beth at school, because I was seeing it happen at home.

We knew our daughters deserved better, as a result we withdrew our children from the public school district, and began making plans to homeschool. The socialization the school had to offer, was nothing our children needed.

You may have caught the word thankfully above. It may be hard to believe, but we are thankful for this ugliness, because it led us to something wonderful. Also, please know that if it were not for Al-Anon, this story would be very different, and not in a good way.

Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥

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Healing Touch

Have you heard of Healing Touch? If not here is a great post that explains Healing Touch.

On Saturday, I had a Healing Touch session with Sarah, from Color My Spirit. In this session, the intention was to work on Beth, through me. I was the one on the table, while Beth was at my parents house playing the day away. Before I left for my session, I put Chakra Balancing Oils on both Beth and myself. I also put a Chakra ring on both us. I then brought a picture of Beth, for Sarah to have during the session. Since Beth loves rocks, and is always on a quest for the perfect gold one, Sarah also placed a beautiful pyrite stone (amongst others) by Beth’s picture.

We talked about what I hoped to achieve through the session. My main goal was to help Beth process, and move on from, the negative energy that resulted from bullying. She had been bullied for months in public school, and is still trying to work through all those emotions. Beth is Autistic, and for her that means her memories are sensory based. Unfortunately, many activities such as painting, eating, playing, etc… tend to bring back painful memories from her experiences at public school. Sometimes she talks about how sad she is, while other times she has massive meltdowns. I am doing my best to help her work through her emotions each time she shares an incident with me, but I was hoping Sarah and Healing Touch could help her on another level.

The session was amazing! The energy that comes from Sarah vibrates in the air when she is working on me. When we started I had a lump, that felt like a rock in the upper left side of my chest. As the session progressed, the pain and weight I felt in that spot slowly dissipated. At times I had to take a deep breath, from the power of the energy moving through me. During the session, I felt another rock-like lump manifest in my lower abdomen and slowly travel up toward the center of my chest, where it rested, before dissipating as well. There were moments, when I felt as though I would weep, and others when I smiled from immense feelings of joy. Toward the end of the session, Sarah was moving her hands from my knee to my toes in a sweeping motion. Each time her hands swept downward, I felt as though she was pulling something out of me. My arms automatically stretched toward her, and I felt as though I was fighting to keep my body flat on the table. It was as if whatever she was focusing on, was being dragged out of every fiber in my being.

I pray this helps Beth. The overwhelming feelings of peace and love that I felt at the end of our session, is something I pray my children feel countless times in their life. Today Beth and I are exhausted, despite both of us sleeping very well last night. Sarah warned that we may feel more tired in the coming days, as our bodies detox from the negative energy she attempted to remove. I will be watching Beth in the coming weeks to see what changes are apparent. I will also be paying close attention to myself, since Sarah sensed that I must heal my own (old) wounds in order to fully help Beth heal hers.

There was one new thing today. For the first time, while talking about the boys who tortured her, Beth said: “I don’t like K anymore. He said I was bad team, but he is bad team and I don’t like him anymore!” This is HUGE, because just a few days ago, she was still crying about how he broke her heart because she wanted to be his friend and he didn’t like her. This change in her dialogue is like a beacon of hope for me! It is the shining star that tells me, she will not only overcome this, but she is going to use it as a base for something wonderful.

I believe the Lord has great plans for Beth. I know she will encounter good and evil on her path. I also know that when she must endure the bad, He will help her heal, and take what she needs from those events. I am very thankful that He has blessed us with people like Sarah, to help her on her journey.

 

Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥

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Happy Birthday Jesus

This year we did something different for Christmas, we celebrated Jesus’s birthday.

Since finding Al-Anon; and building a relationship with my Higher Power, whom I call God, my outlook on life has changed. I do not come from a religious family, but I want my children to have a good spiritual base. One of the ways I am building their foundation, is by having bible study everyday in school. Another way is to teach them about Random Acts of Kindness; and helping others, simply for the joy of knowing you made someone’s life better with your thoughtfulness.

With our more Christian approach to life, we had a birthday party for Jesus on Christmas day. We had the Nativity scene set-up in the middle of the table, and each girl got a cupcake with a candle to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. Even our parents joined in the singing. I love that even when they don’t understand/agree with us, they still participate for the kids.

After we sang, it was time for the girls to give their gifts to Jesus. We pulled up the World Vision gift catalog, for them to pick-out their gifts. This year we decided to give an animal to a family in need. Beth gave a share of an alpaca, and Anne gave 3 ducks as their birthday gifts to Jesus. It is something small, but their gifts will help two families have it a little easier in the coming year.

I think our first year having a birthday party for Jesus was a success. I cannot wait to see what next year’s party will consist of. I am proud of my girls willingness to give to others, and the joy I see in Beth when she does something that “makes God proud” or “makes God happy.” Her words are simple, but potent. One Day At A Time, we are being the change we want to see in the world.

Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥

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All Lives Matter

My heart is heavy, when I think of the sad place our world is of late.

I see all the horrible news stories.

I see countless, senseless tragedies.

I see the sanctity of life disregarded time and time again.

I see the parents, who have lost their children.

I see the children, who have lost their parents.

I see a lot of “_______ Lives Matters” memes, where only one group is identified as being worthy of life.

What I would love to see is simply ALL LIVES MATTER. It does not matter what someone’s race, religion, ability, job, sexual orientation, age, etc… is, ALL LIFE MATTERS.

This is what I teach my girls, and the mindset of ALL LIVES MATTER is what I pray for daily. #SpeakLife with Respect and Kindness, because #AllLivesMatter.

Please be the change you want to see in the world and remember ALL life is sacred. Our job is not to judge, but to love, please leave the judgement up to God.

 

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Changing Christmas

For as long as I can remember, Christmas has always been about gifts, and spending time with family (even if you didn’t want to). You were obligated to see every family member, and you should always have a gift for them, even if you could not afford it. I remember years, when we were barely making it, but there was still an emphasis on gifts, because they made people happy.

Although, I have changed in many ways, I still have that gift mentality; however, I want to change Christmas, so our children can experience the true meaning of the season.

My children are only 3 and 5 years old, but they are already developing that mindset of instant gratification, and needing to have everything they want. I will admit we have been a big cause of their entitlement mindset, which is why it is our job to change it. We want them to be grateful for all they are blessed with, instead of expecting and taking it for granted.

This is our second year doing a gift drive for a local Crisis Center For Domestic Violence. While we do not get into specifics with the kids, we tell them we are helping Santa, by bringing gifts to women and children, who had to leave their homes and would not have Christmas without our help. Beth is VERY proud of her part in this, and talks about how proud God is when we help others. Anne is happy to do as her sister does, but does not really understand yet.

These are the gifts we collected the past 2 years:

2013 Holiday Wished Gift Drive Donations

2013 Holiday Wished Gift Drive Donations

2014 Holiday Wishes Gift Drive Donations

2014 Holiday Wishes Gift Drive Donations

When the girls are older, we will involve them in other ways, perhaps even volunteering our time to help out at the center. When the time comes, they may be drawn to helping others in different ways, and we will let them lead the way, but for now this is how we help.

We are thankful for the family and friends, who contribute and help us teach the girls the true meaning of Christmas. While we ask that the shelter not recognize our donation, we take pictures every year, so as the girls grow-up they can see the ways they have helped others. Our wish is that one day we will have a wonderful (and large) scrapbook, of all the love we have put out into the world.

love-in-action

Image used with permission from Just Me. Photography by Jessica Marie

 

 

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Serenity Spectrum is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.