Friday, February 18, 2011

Homeschooling a bipolar child

I have been thinking about a post on homeschooling a bipolar child for a while now. And since the kids have the flu and are resting.. now seems like a good time. First let me state that all children are different. Two kids living in the same house with the same parents can act differently even with a diagnosis of bipolar. Our neurologist told us that Bipolar disorder is like ADHD in that its the term doctor's use when all the symptoms don't fit into any other disorder and still meet the qualifications of Bipolar or ADHD. Did that make sense? My son has both. So life can be unpredictable.

For my son, the school day needs to be structured. It has to have a purpose. I can't just say okay we're going to work on this for a while. We tried that. It left alot of work undone and maybe some yelling (on both sides). So what I've learned to do to help him is make a full days schedule out the night before. Making it for more than a day or two does not work either. If for some reason I need to make a change once he's already seen it. Yikes! That can cause a meltdown. As long as it is on the list, he will do it. So everything has to be on it.
Here is an example of our list for the day.

Spelling - p 40 1-20
English - Read p 114-116, 1-5 Vocabulary p. 117
Science - Read pg 42-47 Vocabulary and review questions
History - Read p 4-7 Vocab and 5 questions
Math - P. 12 in workbook. Powers and Exponents
Read 30 minutes.. my choice of book

I use a teacher's blank book I bought and keep it all in a notebook.

A day goes something like this. We get up at 6:30 to get everyone ready to take my oldest daughter to pre-k. Back home around 8. Breakfast (if the other two didn't eat before we left) and then schoolwork. My son normally will just sit down and start working while I get my 4 year old started on something. Some days he starts easily and will get things moving without too much pushing from me. Other days it requires a bit more.. "sit down and do your work!!" from me. Or a few "no tv, wii, or games unless all the work is done". Let me say I am not a fan of TV, Wii or Xbox, or DSi but they have unfortunately become a part of my life. Lunch falls around 11am with a snack again about 1. Whenever his work is complete then his school day is over. I check work that night and correction work is put on the sheet for the next day. Or if there is something I need to go over, then we go over that before I hand him his sheet. I know that sounds like I don't do much teaching. Really he doesn't want a whole lot. He reads and does the work. I do tend to work with him over math. The powers and exponent worksheet required a bit of one-on-one. I suspect that as 6th grade approaches math will go back to being a teacher-led lesson.

You would think that sitting down and doing work with ADHD/Bipolar would be pure torture for a child. Honestly I don't torture him... I might revise that when he becomes a hormonal teenager but for now I swear its not torture. lol He really is pretty good at doing his work without too much moving around. He does talk his way through all the lessons. Usually the talking has nothing to do with his work. I'd love to see inside his head to see how his brain shifts from subject to subject. It doesn't interfere too much with schoolwork. The mood swings and craziness comes after all the school is done. I imagine that it would be that way if he went to public school also. Go to school, sit, be good.. Come home, go crazy, be loud.. Even with his meds there are some days when I think buying stock in Tylenol and earplugs sounds like a sound financial investment.

So there is a little bit about homeschooling at our house.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Flu and Birthdays.. Never a Good Combination

We've gotten the dreaded flu virus here. It started with a stomach virus my daughter picked up at school. Somehow it transfered to me and her two siblings and morphed into the flu. Go figure. So not much has been done last week. The girls' had birthdays recently that we didn't get to have a fun celebration for since we suspected that the victims .. I mean guests.. wouldn't care too much for their parting gifts. But we did finally give up and pile all the presents in the floor for a really fun unwrapping party! No cake, though, since there is still tummy trouble in the house.

Here is a little of the fun!

I even managed to surprise my son with a couple things I picked up for him. Didn't want him to feel left out. Its been a long, tiresome week. Even with everyone sick, we have still had to run here and there, do this and that. Doctors appointments, speech appointments, school stuff. I will be very glad when Saturday gets here! You won't be catching me up early!

Even though I plan to sleep Saturday and rest, Sunday I do have a couple things I want to do. I plan to make a batch of breakfast goodies McMom's Breakfast Sandwiches for the Freezer that I found on Homesteading Homemaker's blog.

My fiancee found a job (woohoo) so I have more things to do, less help, but hopefully more income. Having breakfast sandwiches that he can grab on the way out the door will help keep his spending down. :) Plus it will free me up from making breakfast and the kids can help themselves. Well the big one can and I'm sure the little ones will catch on quickly! So I think this will be worth the time to do. Her blog is really fantastic. Lots of great ideas on stretching money and great recipes.

Have a good night. And hopefully you won't have to experience to joys (cough cough) of the flu.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Picket Fence Blogs

Just an update post to say I put my blog up on Picket Fence Blogs where you can vote for your favorite blogs or just go check out different blogs. Warning: Its Addictive! lol If you like my blog, feel free to click on the picture on the left to vote for me. Either way you should go check it out! lol

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Testing thoughts...

I live in a state that requires homeschoolers to test in 5th grade. It also requires that in high school the parent must have a bachelor's degree to continue independently homeschool. Since, I don't have one my other option is to enroll him in an umbrella school. Basically a school that "hires" me as a teacher to teach him at home. Nice, huh. As for this testing, it is coming up really soon for my son. I'm a bit nervous about it. Way more than he is I am sure. So I found that the state of TN has a sample TCAP test on its website that you can print. Nice. Well nice for me.. Not so much for my 11 year old. We will begin the literature part tomorrow. I am not going to do the timing or super strictness that I remember. I want him to become familiar with the paper and what to expect. I printed the 5th grade booklet but some of this work looks like things we haven't gotten too in math.

I'd love to hear from anyone that has done this testing through the school.

Just a note. I changed up my theme and added some interesting widgets on the side bar!
I plan to try to post more. So if you want me to talk about something in particular in relation to couponing, homeschooling, parenting, being pagan, living in TN, or whatever else I can help with, just let me know.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Art and Math

I've been taking pictures and meaning to post them on the blog. I enjoy sharing our work with other people and I hope that someone else enjoys seeing it. :)

So we started Art back up. Lack of inspiration was what stopped us last time. But this time I am determined to keep it going if they like doing it. My son said he didn't like art because all he could draw is stick figures. So I found an art book that started with stick people and taught you how to transform them into more life like characters. We started that and went all the way to facial expressions. I am happy to say that his people look a lot better now. :)

Maybe not perfect but my son has more self-confidence now in his ability. And that makes me happy.

I am disappointed in that I misplaced the book after our last lesson. But I came across another one that teaches you to draw a Alien cartoon. We did that one with great success. There is more in that series that I think we will keep doing. :) His is the yellow and the green one by itself. Mine is the sheet on the far right. Of course mom was in on the fun!

So that has been are latest adventures in art.

I found a great math game online called Add It. Confessions of a Homeschool Mom made this cute game and uploaded it for her blog fans to use. I totally recommend you go check out her blog! I adore it. So I made this game for my daughter today and surprised her with it tonight. She loves it! Pushed her bedtime back a bit but it was worth it to watch her adding away!
Just realized it might be hard to really see the game since its upside down. lol

But you can see that she is enjoying it!