Friday, March 7, 2014

Continuing on a Theme

This week, I had the wonderful experience of writing a guest post for my lovely friend Mrs Warde at Sceleratus Classical Academy. It's been a busy week here in Mooselandia, as our tax refund has finally arrived! What this means for our house is, of course, curricula buying, but also a Wii U for the family, and new computers all around (my compy was over eight years old, and had the video card held in by a 3.5" floppy disk, Skeeve upgraded his compy, and is passing his down to Mad Natter, who will now have a compy for things like Skype chat with Hammie and Buppa and Stellar Mama and Girl Friday, his Reading Eggs, his PBS Kids games... All that fun stuff). It's also meant a new bedroom setup for Mad Natter, which seems to be working out well for everyone thus far - I'll comment on that once I've gotten the room emptied of boxes and can share photos.

 The other new thing in just the last few days is the arrival of our visual scheduling cards. I'm really excited about this, almost ridiculously so. But, then again, anything that makes life easier is really worth getting excited over. This brings me to the workbox system we're using. I have no idea if we're using the same as the actual marketed Sue Patrick's Workbox System, largely because I'm not in a position to pay for the book and pieces if I can create something similar without it. Given the prolific amount of bloggers who are using this system, it's very easy to get a basic grip on the system to implement without having to invest in the book itself. Will I buy the book? Probably. Will I buy the book before I try the ideas to see if they'll even help us? Nope. As a result, I have a cobbled together version of the system, and we're getting set to start using it. 

We've been using it partially for the last two weeks, which has been wonderful. We've been in the midst of another break this week, both because I'm feeling a bit under the weather and because asking a boy with a new video game system to work on schoolwork seems a little like asking for trouble.

The gist of the system is simple. We have our ten drawer cart, which is labeled by subject and number. This way, Mad Natter knows what subjects are on the docket for the day, and which ones are due in which order. The numbers are his main manipulatives. As he finishes each subject, he takes the number off the drawer and puts it on the Master Chart.
 Our days usually start with Magic School Bus, followed by math. Once we're done math, we have a break for some activity, and this is represented on our master chart. This lets Mad Natter see what's coming, what's done, and what's left, and shows him visually, which seems to be exactly what he needs.
We also have cards for things like bathroom routines, morning and bedtime routines, and also for our 'during the day.' It seems to help - a lot - with transitions, which is huge for us. Add in the Walk With Me program, where we carry a double sided, laminated card that has a stop sign on one side and a green go circle on the other to help Mad Natter stay with us when we're out and about, and things have suddenly gotten a good deal easier. I'm really looking forward to seeing how this all plays out, and how our lives will continue from here. This is also the point where I just shake my head, and try not to cry, however. All these issues that we're solving - the excess energy, the running off in public spaces, the inability to stay to a schedule... all these things that the developmental pediatrician was insistent were related to my anxiety... They are all being addressed by Occupational Therapy - because they are not issues of my anxiety or lack thereof, they are sensory issues. Once again, a smart child with additional issues slips completely through the cracks in favor of telling his mother she's too worried and homeschooling is not right - he'll be "just fine" in public school... And we all know how 'just fine' gifted children are in regular public schools with no accommodations - especially 2E children.