Styles of Homeschooling

six-books-1184809-mHow many different styles of homeschooling could there possibly be? You would be surprised. Until I started homeschooling I thought kids were either sent to public/private school or homeschooled. I could not have been more wrong! The world isn’t black or white and neither is homeschooling. When students attend a brick and mortar school there are options such as public, private, or college prep. Homeschooling is the same way; there are so many different paths on the journey of homeschooling. I will give you a brief overview of just a few of the different types of homeschooling.

Virtual Academy – A virtual academy is basically a public school available online. Attendance is required and monitored, assignments are completed and submitted to teachers, and school books are supplied.laptop-in-the-computer-lab-421814-m

Traditional – Traditional homeschoolers tend to use a curriculum, boxed or online, and keep a stricter schedule. This can sometimes feel similar to public schooling at home, simply choosing the method yourself (Charlotte Mason, Waldorf, etc.).776536_85651335

Relaxed – Relaxed homeschoolers take their time. Children who attend public school attend for 180 days a year for 12 years, which comes to 2,160 days. Homeschooled children are in their learning environment 365 days a year. According to this, homeschoolers must accomplish 5.9 years of education from birth to age 18. It is okay to take your time.girl-drawing-back-to-school-1239803-m

Eclectic – Eclectic, meaning, to collect A LOT of stuff! Eclectic homeschoolers collect their homeschool references from everywhere, online, boxed curriculum, books, workbooks, movies or videos, you name it, and they probably collect it. They use whatever means necessary to find a way to reach and engage their learners. Literally, whatever works.stack of notebooks

Unschooling – Unschoolers consider the idea of not using curriculum. To some it may even be considered to be no tests, grades, curriculum, or assignments. There is no typical form of academic work. Parents are the guides, constantly teaching their children what they need to know and learning through everyday life.trolling-380235-m

In my home we take a relaxed and eclectic approach to homeschooling. This is the best fit for us. Whichever path you choose remember that we are all on different journeys, no two children are the same and neither will their learning styles be. It can be easy to compare yourself to other homeschoolers, don’t. I take an undoubtedly different approach than many of the homeschoolers I have met in my area but that is okay, that is how we homeschool.

How do you homeschool?

 

Copyright © 2015 Enjoying The Chaos.

A World Without Compassion

This post is dedicated to the special needs mothers all over the world.

The world does not see our pain because we will not allow it to break us but it does not mean that we do not hurt.

earth ETC 1While sifting through medical documentation I heard a family member who noticed one doctor he was referred to was listed as providing psychiatric care say, “They didn’t send me for psychiatric care, I don’t need that, I am not a nut.”

Nut. Crazy. Mental Case. Schizoid. Lunatic. Freak. Cuckoo. Loon.

All of these words are used too commonly, jokingly, by the world, like it is not a big deal and people with mental health disabilities are not given the same respect or support as those with perhaps a physical disability or illness. While it may not seem like a big deal or like it should be to most people, to those suffering or caregivers to someone suffering with a mental health condition those words can be hurtful.

My heart sank, I wanted to throw up or cry, I wasn’t sure which. All I knew was my heart was in my stomach and throat all at the same time. I could not believe what I had heard, from my father, from my son’s grandfather. I walked away as quickly as I could and shut the door behind me. I wanted to turn around and scream at him but I held back knowing that would do nothing. So I came here, to my computer, my sanctuary. This is my safe place, where I can speak my mind and no one in the world can stop me. My thoughts still raced.

Excuse me?‏

My child receives that type of care; how dare anyone refer to him or anyone with a mental health condition like that.‏

That hurts, its ugly and offensive.‏

No, its not the R word but it still hurts.‏

I know I shouldn’t let that bother me, it is the small minded mentality, even within family but it still ticks me off to no end. Yes, family, sometimes, many times we must deal with pain and hurtful words and comments coming from parents, aunts, uncles, siblings, cousins, etc. Having a large family does not mean that we have a large support within our family, there are families that are supportive, but sadly there are also those that are not.‏

Because society is small minded, because society tells us we have to fit a mold, because society makes rules they want to enforce, we must compromise who we are, to fit closer to that mold or people stare and murmur because our children don’t fit their mold.‏

That’s why they need psychiatric care, because they have to find a way to act and react to a world without compassion.‏

We are the warriors of this world, fighting not a physical fight but fighting to break the mold of society, so that our children will grow up not seeing themselves as different but simply, people.

 

Copyright © 2015 Enjoying The Chaos.

A Day of Paddington

As you can see I am a fan of Paddington, I always have been.

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Family movie night is a favorite time for my family. The newest addition to our movie night collection is Paddington. Paddington was a favorite of mine when I was a child, so much that it was my baby theme for both of my boys. I still have the Paddington VHS tapes I bought many years ago. Paddington was a regular bedtime story. I was thrilled to find out that it was coming out again in theaters and when the digital copy came out we piled in front of my computer and laughed and laughed and laughed!

This wasn’t just a movie night for us this was quality family time. At Paddington-movie.com there are so many family activities to go along with this movie. From postcards to word searches and coloring pages in the activity center there are activities galore for your family to explore and enjoy just like Paddington!

Shhh! Parents. Guess what? There is even a section for parents and educators! As a homeschooling mom I was ecstatic to see this section with activities for grades kindergarten up to third grade.

Movie night, quality family time, learning, and lots of laughter! What more could a family ask for?

 

Copyright © 2015 Enjoying The Chaos.

Word of the Week

How is big is your vocabulary?

Could you expand it?

Could it be extensive, colossal, astronomical?

If someone were to ask you what a word meant would you have a definition?

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As a homeschooling mom I am always challenging myself right along with my kids not just to learn but to use new words and expand their vocabulary. Reading should be a fun experience for kids but what about those words in books they just aren’t sure of? I will pull some of those words and post them here with parts of speech, definitions, and synonyms. Moms, dads, and other adults challenge yourself to see if you recognize where the example sentences are taken from. Don’t simply learn a definition, expand your vocabulary. How about we take it one week at a time?

 

Copyright © 2015 Enjoying The Chaos.

Books That Changed My Heart

As soon as I read a blog post entitled, “Books That Changed My Life” at A Mom Blog I was moved by it and I knew exactly what my next post was going to be. My blog is inspired by my life but my life is led by my heart, so here I present to you, books that changed my heart.

His Bright Light, The Story of Nick Traina by Danielle Steel

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This is a beautiful and inspiring story of a boy who was above all, extraordinary. Nick Traina was a young man who fought manic depression fiercely every day of his life until his life was ended at the age of 19. So many times we hear of lives lost, young ones that just cannot endure any longer, they cannot keep fighting the battle inside. Then we hear, “If we had only known…” well, Danielle Steel opened her heart and in this loving tribute to her son helps us to see inside and gives us a chance to open our hearts and minds. This book is truly inspiring. I have never before connected with a book the way I did with this one, it rekindled a love of reading for me, and opened my heart just a little bit more.

Against Medical Advice by James Patterson and Hal Friedman

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This book takes you on a moving journey as you follow the agonizing daily struggles of a young man named Cory Friedman. Cory and his family’s lives were forever changed. He was teased, tormented, and pushed to his limits. For fifteen years he was given medication after medication. Even though Cory had his moments of happiness they only lasted a short time. When a glimmer of hope appeared, it came and went, instead of getting better it was getting worse and Cory was in a living hell. The pain he suffered and endured with the help of his loved ones will touch your heart. This story of love and determination is one you do not want to miss out on reading.

The third book I chose is not one I expected to pick, especially after my first two book choices. We all start out the same, young. So, my third book is a children’s book.

Why, Charlie Brown, Why? By Charles M. Schulz

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Who doesn’t remember Peanuts? Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, and Snoopy are characters we all remember from some point in our childhood. This book is a lesson geared towards helping children understand what happens when someone they know gets very sick. In this story Linus struggles to understand why his friend Janice had to get cancer and we see how this unlikely hero comes to be. Linus, even though confused as to why this happened to his friend never hesitates for a moment to come her defense when she is picked on or delays for a moment when speaking up about her condition. What a fine example Linus shows us all in this classic story of friendship and understanding. This is one book that I truly enjoyed reading and conversing with my sons about, a must read for family time.

If these were the types of books we all took a little more time reading, I can’t help but think, “Would the world be a little kinder?”

 

Copyright © 2015 Enjoying The Chaos.

Through His Eyes

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If I could see through his eyes what would I see? Would I feel the pain he feels every day? Would I see the world busy and overwhelming? Would I become anxious at the thought of going to a movie because it is too dark, too loud? Would I feel his frustration that every piece of clothing he puts on makes him feel like he wants to crawl out of his skin because it is so uncomfortable? Would I see the world becoming mad at me for not being able to do what they think I should? Would I become so angry all I can do is hit myself? Would I see how people stare at me? Would I feel like an outcast?

I wonder, what it must it must feel like every day for my son. I wish I could take his place and let him live without autism. As mothers of children with autism we hear one thing that frustrates us to no end, “Your child doesn’t look autistic.” There is no look to autism. There are different levels of autism. Every parent of a child with autism has different struggles because there are several levels of severity. I cannot even fathom what it must be like to care for a child severely affected by autism, I can speak only from my own experience. I will say that it is one of the most exhausting, stressful, draining, humbling, rewarding, and beautiful experiences in life. Yet still, I see my son frustrated, angry, and struggling every day. If only I could take his pain from him I would, I can’t. All I can do for him is my best. A part of that is what I am doing now. If I can help just a few people understand, reach a few hearts, move some to show a bit more compassion, a little more empathy I am doing what I can.

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), it makes noises too loud, clothes too itchy, nothing feels comfortable. Imagine a a school bell as loud as a fire alarm, a cotton shirt that feels like wool, or denim jeans that feel like a scrubbing brush on your skin; this isn’t a picky child, this is a child with SPD. Every time a new movie comes out my son gets so excited but then realizes he has to wait until after it goes to the movie theater then it will be on DVD. The movie theater is too much, the mere mention of going to see a movie brings on feelings of anxiety and disappointment because he doesn’t want to go knowing it is too loud and he won’t like it or he doesn’t want to be in the dark in a strange place. Again, he must wait. The dreaded grocery store, I am an adult and I don’t like trips to the grocery store but for my son, it is loud, there are so many people he feels anxious, it takes too long, people bump into him, he doesn’t want to wait, it is beyond hard, and it almost feels like torture. No, this is not a bratty child, this is a child with autism; for kids with autism the colors in the store, the price tags on the shelves, all of this information can be extremely overwhelming. Should you see a child struggling please, don’t assume they are a brat throwing a tantrum, they may be having a meltdown, which is very different. In a meltdown a child will hurt themselves as they have lost all control, it is not a bargaining chip to see if they can get what they want, once a meltdown starts there is no way to bribe a child into stopping, they have hit their limit and cannot handle anymore. As a mother it gets to me when I see people stare at my son for how he sometimes acts; my son is being himself, genuine, not censoring his actions as we all do because after all society expects certain behavior, does it not? It tears me apart inside when he hurts himself out of frustration or aggravation (meltdown). A comment was made that was one of the most hurtful I have ever heard. Someone told my son, “If you don’t behave, you are going to end up in anger management.” I wanted to lash out but knew that would do my son no good. My son is not losing his temper, he is struggling to learn to control it. These kids walk a tight rope every day and their parents walk right there behind them. If you see a child who, shows no physical traits of an impairment, but is maybe acting a little different and a mom or dad who looks a bit more than exhausted, remember this, a simple smile may do more than you realize.

Mental health is still taboo and until the world opens its eyes to increase knowledge and awareness these parents and their children that are growing into adults will have to struggle to deal with something they should not have to go through alone. Until we as a society make a change, this taboo will continue. Understanding and empathy is what we need. So I ask of you, don’t let this stay taboo. When you see a child, adult, or even a parent struggling think of how it may look through their eyes. If autism has taught us anything it has taught us this, these children fit no mold, they never will. They will always be perfectly unique.

 

Copyright © 2015 Enjoying The Chaos.

This Is Why I Speak

I speak for those who can’t.
I speak for those who are afraid of judgment.
I speak now because I was afraid to speak before and I know the pain that it brings.
I speak for my son.
I speak for myself.
I speak for those who should not have to speak,
those who should not have to explain
or defend themselves amongst a world of judgment.
I speak, in hopes that eyes are opened and compassion is brought back to society.
I speak for those with silent disorders, those fighting pain inside, the pain that the world does not see.

Some days I feel manic.
Some days I don’t want to leave my room.
Some days I feel like I am screaming and no one can hear me.‏
Some days I just can’t…

Do not judge me for what you see. Do not judge me for what you do not see.
You do not see the fight inside. You do not see how I do. You do not know what I feel.

I am flawed.
At times
I am rude,
hateful,
cold,
and just plain mean.
From the depths of my soul
where those feelings of hate and pain come from
also come love;
it comes in as fiercely as the other feelings do
and
when I do love
it is with loyalty,
truth,
and fearlessness.‏

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When I am angry,
I am hurting inside,
please let me be alone.
You cannot fix me,
I am not broken.
Just love me.
When I love you,
I will love you,
with all my heart,
unconditionally.

To the neurotypical people of today’s society, that don’t understand what it is to fight with inner demons, it is a pain greater than anyone without it could ever know.‏

Copyright © 2015 Enjoying The Chaos.

Seeing Love

This post I dedicate to my Bear, my youngest son, as he was my inspiration for it. I shared this with my Facebook friends but now I share it with all of you.

My bear walked up to me and kissed me in my left eye and then my right, I instinctively closed them as I didn’t want spit in my eyes. When I asked him what he was doing this was his response, “This way mom when you open your eyes you will see love, from me.”

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Seeing love. So simple, so true. Do we see love?

So many times in our lives we see pain, injustice, hurt, anger, and destruction but we cannot let these be our defining moments. A defining moment in one’s life is a moment of clarity, one that directs us and shows us a path to take and gives us a sense of direction and urgency, showing us something we must do. I almost let a moment of anger become my defining moment. My son changed that with his love. I needed that reminder. Anger and frustration are inevitable. Life is not perfect, people are not perfect, and we will get angry but do not let that anger be the cause of your actions. When we are motivated by anger, frustration, or even hate we may end up making wrong decisions that could have dire consequences not just for us but for our loved ones as well. Be motivated by love, by kindness, by unselfishness, not animosity or ill will.

I will close this post as I wanted it short and sweet because we know this already but much like me, sometimes we just need a slight reminder.

A kiss, if you will, to remind us to see love.

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Copyright © 2014 Enjoying The Chaos.

Scared But Sure

Back in late July I found a lump in my left breast.

I am 34 years old.
I have two boys, 11 and 13.
One of my boys is special needs.
My husband is an over the road truck driver.
My boys rely on me so much because they are with me constantly and only see their dad a few days a month.
They need me to homeschool them.
I have to be imagining this.
It’s not a lump.
It’s my imagination.
It has to be.
If it is really there it could be something else, maybe it is not a real lump, maybe it’s just my time of the month.

Any justification I could come up with I did. Two weeks later I checked again, it was still there and my heart sunk.

It was real now, it wasn’t going away. I called my doctor and he saw me that day. He couldn’t find the lump, he made me feel like I was imagining it when I knew I wasn’t. “Come back in six months and we will check again”, he said. Six months? Really? NO. I am not waiting. I am not imagining this, I am not making it up. I know it’s there, I felt it.

I called another doctor, surely enough she found it. An ultrasound and a compression mammogram.

My radiology reports came in.

I was sent that same day to see a surgeon.

“That is not a good sign”, was all I could hear over and over in my mind.

I returned home, not ready to deal with any of this. The only arms I wanted were my mother’s, she was there, to tell me I will get through this, whatever it is she will be right there with me. I needed that. As if the stress of knowing it was there wasn’t enough the waiting between appointments and results I felt as if I would lose my mind, I came pretty close. I held in the tears as much as I could until someone told me it was okay to cry, to be scared, to be angry.

Surgery day came and went.

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I spent the next two weeks sore and tired. Panic attacks, oversleeping, headaches, and just struggling. Thankful for my family, they were there for me and my kids, I had no doubt that whatever came my way I had them to help me. My mother fought breast cancer twice and is still going strong. At this point in my life that isn’t a struggle I have to face, my results, no cancer. I was so grateful, I felt alive, happy, I can’t describe the feeling other than one of the best feelings in the world. Sadly, this is not the case for every woman.

A woman’s best chance for survival in the fight against breast cancer is early detection. Check yourself regularly. Get your annual mammogram. I wanted to ignore it I was so terrified by what it could have been but I knew that wasn’t going to help the situation. Cancer isn’t a word any woman wants to hear but women are born warriors. Whatever may come your way you can face it you can fight it, but please, just don’t wait.

It is okay to be scared, but be sure.

Copyright © 2014 Enjoying The Chaos.

Let Love Prevail Over Hate #Love>Hate

It shouldn’t have happened, but it did. An act of love turned into an act of hate. The ALS ice bucket challenge went viral and why not it was for a good cause. Everyone was doing it, showing support, adults, kids, celebrities, and it even motivated a young man with autism to participate in the challenge.

This act of kindness and love was turned into a nightmare of hate and humiliation for this young man and his family. My children are my life. I think most parents feel the same way, we would give our lives for our children and when their hearts feel pain so do ours. My heart broke, not because of what one of my children had to endure but for the pain another child felt, a child over a thousand miles away that I had never even met.

The ALS ice bucket challenge gone wrong, horribly, terribly wrong. In Bay Village, Ohio a young man with autism, only 14 years old was traumatized by a malicious act created by a group of kids who said they would help this young man. Videotaped, but not for the reason he thought. These cruel, heartless beings did not want to help, they wanted to humiliate. The bucket was not filled with ice water but with human excrement. It was mortifying to see. People knew it happened, they were sickened by it. It is not enough to know, it is not enough to feel appalled. Stand up. Take action. Let this young man and his family know they are not alone. As the mother of a special needs child, a child who is so trusting, growing into a young man but still so young at heart and in mind this hits very close to home for me.

When I was given the opportunity to help Give Forward spread the word I was honored to be a part of this. No amount of money will undo the humiliation this innocent young man has had to endure, nor will it stop the pain he feels over what was done to him. If this was your child, your family, you would not simply be outraged but you would take action. Not everyone can make a donation, which is understandable, however you can still take a stand, take action, and show your support for him and his family by leaving a comment on the Give Forward page for them. Show him how proud you are of him for coming forward because standing up and taking action takes strength of heart.

As for me and my family, we choose love. What will you choose?

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Please, share with your friends and family so that together, we can all let love prevail and show that love is greater than hate.

I chose to share this post and my own personal feelings regarding this horrific crime, yes crime with you not because I am being compensated but because it’s important to not just take a stand but take action!

Copyright © 2014 Enjoying The Chaos.