Monday, December 6, 2010

The Change

Today I reasoned successfully with my son.  He got into the shower this morning even though he didn't want to.  This may not be a big deal to most of you but for me it's huge!   A month ago this would have devolved into an hour long screaming fight.  For the past four years we have  struggled with an extremely angry, easily frustrated, emotionally unstable, abusive child.    We have walked on eggshells and held our breath not having any idea what would set him off next.  We have lived everyday feeling like the worst parents on the planet.  We have spent more time and money that I care to remember in doctors offices trying to figure out what was wrong to no avail.

That all changed a few months ago when a client of Shawn's told him about how he was a different person because he had finally found the right doctor and was being treated for chronic Lyme disease.   This had always been in the back of my mind as a possible culprit because at 2 Michael had Lyme disease.  Unfortunately I listened to the doctors who told me that if he was treated then that couldn't be the cause of Michael's problems.  But after hearing about this man though and the difference in his life I decided that this was something I needed to pursue.  I didn't know where to begin so of course I turned to the internet.  It was there that I stumbled onto and got a doctor recommendation for a Lyme disease specialist that would actually see a child.  (believe me this is no small feat, there are very few that will treat children)

Michael has been on antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease for 8 weeks now.  16 days ago the change happened, my own personal Christmas miracle, it all went away.  I now live with a completely different child.  He used to complain that his brain shook but 16 days ago that stopped, he is now agreeable, helpful, sweet, happy, loving, and apparently can be reasoned with.  He doesn't fight at every turn, and I haven't heard the words "you're stupid" or "I hate you" in 16 days.  We have never gone 16 days without a meltdown, we are now in uncharted territory and I am a nervous wreck that it will end at any second.  I wonder how long it will take before I can breathe that sigh of relief.  For now I am just taking it moment by moment and enjoying every second of life with my happy little boy.    

I am lucky enough to have been given a miracle and even though I am not overly religious I will thank God every day until I take my last breath for giving me my son back.  

Friday, December 3, 2010

Week 14 - A Fabulous Week!!

This has been a great week full of math tests (Megan got 93% and Michael got 100%!!), paragraphs written without complaint (for the first time in 14 weeks!),  finding out about the Minoans and how they mysteriously disappeared, and learning about the brain in science.    The most exciting thing we did though was dissect a sheep brain!

This is how we started.  Megan was crying and refused to look and Michael was grossed out!
After 20 mins of crying Mom broke down and cut the brain in half herself.
Michael was the first to come around and actually check it out.
Michael pointing out the brain stem and Megan contemplating checking it out.
Megan pointing out the Frontal Lobe but not to happy about it.
Finally both past the freak out and deciding this might actually be pretty cool.
Actually cutting!!!

Not wanting to be out done by his sister Michael decided to cut to.  :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up - Week 12

Hard to believe we're 1/3 of the way through our school year already!  The checklists have been a huge help for both the kids and I.  We're back on track and getting all of our tasks accomplished.  

In History we learned about Ancient China.  We made our own pictograms and Ming bowls.

Rolling out the clay
Putting clay on the molds
After letting them dry overnight we were able to paint them.
In Math Megan began long division with remainders.  It took a couple days before she really got the hang of it but I'm happy to report she's cruising right along making great progress.  Michael is still working on 2 digit multiplication and basic division and is doing well with both.

In Science we finished up our unit on bones by doing some fun activities.  First we dissected cow bones so we could see the different parts first hand.  Megan insisted she was not touching them and Michael was near tears because it was "so disgusting".  After about 10 mins though they were both digging in and telling me how cool it was.  :)
Checking out the difference between the bone, spongy bone, and bone marrow
Scooping out the marrow
All clean
We also found it hysterically funny to do the "thumbless survival test".  I taped the kids thumbs to their palms and then had them try to do all sorts of things.  
Trying to write our name
Trying to open a pack of sweet tarts
The kids are still taking art class with Ms. Molly and loving it!  This week they made self portraits.  I might be biased but I think they did a fantastic job.  :)

Hope everyone had a great week!  We're really looking forward to Thanksgiving break, one more week to go.  :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up - Week 11

Our week started with soccer tournaments.  Team Germany made it through the 1st game on 3 goals  scored by Michael but unfortunately were eliminated in the 2nd game.  It was a great season but I am glad to have a break from sports for a few months!

Germany's last team huddle after getting trophies
Then of course on Sunday went out Trick-or-Treating...
Michael is Ed Reed, Allie is a Knight, and Megan is Taylor Swift
On the school front, in Math we continued our lessons.  Michael started on basic division and Megan continued with  2 and 3 digit multiplication.  In English we worked on some writing exercises that included picking out the main idea and supporting details, new spelling and vocabulary words, and handwriting.  In History we finished up our lessons on Gettysburg and the Civil War by watching Civil War Minutes: Gettysburg and Stories of Valor.   In science we learned more about the Skeletal system by putting together and labeling our models.

On Tuesday we celebrated Allie's 3rd birthday by taking the day off and having a party!  It's hard to believe that the baby girl is 3 already.
We even managed to get a decent family picture.  :)

We have been having some issues lately with staying on task so next week we will be implementing a checklist everyday.  Megan and Michael will each get a list every morning of the things that need to be accomplished that day.  As they complete their lessons they will be able to check them off the list.  Anything not done during the day will need to be completed for homework.  One of the things they've like best about homeschooling is not having homework so I'm hoping this will motivate them to get their work done! 

Hope everyone has had a great week and gets a chance to enjoy the weekend!  

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up - Week 10

Week 10 was a busy one for us filled with exciting field trips!  We went to Gettysburg on Tuesday (that deserved it's own separate post which you can find here) and to the local 911 Dispatch Center on Wednesday.  We owe a big Thank You to Granddaddy for coming out to watch Allie so we could participate in the Gettysburg trip!!  The 911 trip was a little harder as I had to chase and uncooperative 2 year old around the building.

Our Group at the end of the Gettysburg Trip
911 Call Center
In the "Situation Room" learning what it's used for
For writing we learned the proper way to compose a letter and wrote Thank You letters to our Ranger from the Gettysburg trip.
Working hard on our letters
The finished product
In math both kids continued with multiplication.  Megan is working on multiplying by 2 digit numbers and Michael is working on learning his multiplication facts.

In science we started learning about the skeletal system.  Did you know that bones are constantly reforming and in 7 years the equivalent of all news bones are grown?  We also began cutting out our skeletons to make our models.
Cutting out skeletons
We have a busy weekend ahead.  We will be spending this afternoon at Michael's soccer tournament cheering on team Germany and hoping that The Machine makes it to the championship game Tuesday night and we then will be heading out for a haunting Halloween night of Trick or Treating tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pickett's Charge

Today was field trip day.  We got to go to Gettysburg and reenact Pickett's Charge.  I've been to Gettysburg many times in my life but never experienced it like this.  Getting to hear about the men that were fighting while walking the path that they took.  It was an awesome experience!  The kids in our group were members of the 28th Virginia Regiment, each was assigned the name of an actual soldier and found out their fate at the end.  Megan's soldier survived but Michael's was captured during the retreat.
Our General Robert E. Lee
The Park Ranger that led our tour talked to us about our Regiment and the war.  She explained that the soldiers had likely never left Virginia and that while they were fighting for what they believed they were mostly part of the war because of their strong loyalty to their state of Virginia.   They had complete faith and confidence in General Lee who believed (to their detriment) that they were invincible.
In formation and ready to start our journey.
We then went about 200 yards to the place where the soldiers met up with other Regiments and waited for their orders.  They arrived to this point at 10am and had to lie on the ground until the orders finally came down at 1pm.  Can you imagine how scary that must have been for those men to lay there waiting for 3 hours having no idea what they were going to have to do next and wondering if they were going to survive the battle ahead?  

Rather than lying down on the ground she had the kids take a knee.
Here we had turned the corner and were headed toward the enemy.  Our Ranger was showing the kids the ammunition that the soldiers used.
Getting ready to cross the street and make our charge.  The one red tree off to the right in the distance is  The Angle
Getting ready to charge!
I tried to upload video of them charging but it just wasn't working.

Our group at The Angle after the charge
It was a great day and a wonderful trip!  We are so lucky that we live close enough to experience it.  Finally here are some pics we took on our trek back to the car.  Enjoy!  :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up - Week 9

Week 9 was a fairly boring one for us.  I'm not complaining though, boring is a nice change of pace!  :)

Both kids had Math tests this week.  Michael got a 100% and Megan a 97%!  They are doing wonderfully and making great progress.

In History we continued learning about Gettysburg in preparation for our trip on Tuesday.  We learned that  the equipment the soldiers had to carry around with them weighed over 55lbs, that they had very little to eat, and that disease ran rampant through the camps.   A lot of the soldiers were very young men who had to deal with the reality of killing another person and possibly being killed themselves.  The men held strong beliefs but this was not an easy time for them.  On Thursday we got together with some of the others going on the trip with us and created our Regiments flag and learned how to march together in line.  We are really looking forward to our trip!

In Language Arts we started a daily edit, writing work, and continued with new spelling and vocabulary words.  

In Science we finished up learning about DNA.  Did you know that if you untangled and stretched out the DNA in ONE human cell it would be 3 feet long!?  We learned a little about how police can use DNA to help catch criminals and how cells split apart and make new cells.

MamMom & Grandaddy are back from their Mediterranean vacation and we have spent all week oohing and aaaahhhing over the beautiful pictures and amazing sites they saw.  We can wait to see them this weekend and hear all about it first hand.

It was a great week for Megan who got her braces off!  She was very excited to eat popcorn for the first time in a year and a half.  :)
Non metal Smile

If you are anywhere near our area we hope you are able to get out and enjoy this unseasonably warm Fall weekend!  We will be spending it partying for the end of soccer season, Halloween, and celebrating the baptism of my beautiful niece.