Skip Counting with Learning Disabilities

It's Saturday and I'm homeschooling. It's the Saturday after Christmas and I'm homeschooling!! I wonder if there are any other homeschool moms doing this today. I'm sure there are some moms who are planning their homeschool lessons for the new year, but probably none who's kids are doing homeschool lessons.

Samantha was awfully quiet, so I went in her room to see what she was up to. You know, we need to wonder what they're up to when they're so quiet! Trust me, with twins, I've had my share of "Oh, no! What were you possibly thinking!" although I didn't actually say that. hahaha. At the time it wasn't so funny. But now as I think back on those moments, they're quite amusing. Now if Samantha is quiet, she's either eating some snacks she shouldn't be eating (last month she ate most of her Halloween candy in one sitting!) or she's on her bed or on the floor reading. And she always has a selection of books lined up around her.  I've told her so many times that she only needs to take out one book because she can only read one book at a time. I guess she just likes lining them up around her. So that's what I expected to see again. Instead, I found her playing on her iPad. It was a game app where she was applying make-up to a face....which is fine. Sometimes. (The internet is off on her iPad and she can't install apps without a password).

Anyway, I've got a bit of time on my hands today. So I decided to go through her iPad apps to separate what I call the fun learning games from the fun silly game. It'll be easier for her to find the learning games before doing the silly games. I included some brain games on the same screen with the learning games. She enjoys playing these brain games on the computer.  These games are good memory and logic practice, but they're also great hand to eye coordination exercises. So I found some for her iPad, as well.  We started going through some of the apps together and deleting those she either doesn't like or are too easy for her. Of course, to do this, she had to actually play some of them. As we were doing this, we found one of the math apps had skip counting. Now, I know we've done skip counting by 2's, 5's and 10's in her first grade homeschool curriculum. She scored very well on her quizzes and tests before we moved on to the next lessons. But as I watched her play the skip counting game, I learned she had forgotten her 2's and 3's.  Of course, this is not uncommon for Samantha because of her Down syndrome. I think most kids with learning disabilities have this challenge. We often have to go back to something she hasn't practiced in a while and do some review.

So after seeing her struggle as she tried to answer the questions, I decided to pull out some notebook paper. I wrote out the numbers from 0 through 100 and had her count by 2's and circle the numbers in red, then count by 3's and circle the numbers with a pencil.

Then I had her write the numbers in columns as she counted by 2's. I taught her to whisper the number she didn't write as she counted by 2's. This will help until she understands and memorizes it. Counting by 3's was a little different. You can see 3 lines under the 1, 2 and 3. She used those to count by 3's.
I lined up the columns on the notebook paper so she could see a pattern as she counts by 2's and 3's.  It's much easier to do when counting by 2's though.  As you can see from the picture to the right, it didn't work the same as she tried to skip count by 3's. So I turned the paper sideways and had her do the 3's this way.

The 3's were difficult for her no matter what we did.  But at least she was able to see a pattern. We'll have to do more skip counting repetition the next few days and then maybe once a week until I'm sure she's got it...and then, of course, come back to it to be sure she hasn't forgotten. I've already found some great ideas on Pinterest.  I'm not sure how important it is for her to learn to count by 3's, but I think it's possible for her to learn it. So we'll try.  I showed her with pennies why it's important to count by 2's. We counted the pennies by 1's. And then by 2's. And she recognized how much quicker it is to count them by 2's. Right away she said, "That's much faster!" It's almost like one of those comic book strips where the light bulb comes on over their heads. :)

As she was trying to write out the 3's skip-counting, I had to have her take a break. It's almost like she started to shut down. She couldn't even remember what number came after 77....78, 79...instead she was saying 90 comes after 77. She knows her numbers very well. She was getting frustrated, and so was I. So she was definitely due for a break. This is the beauty of homeschooling. We can do that. Heck, here we are homeschooling on a Saturday! But that rarely happens. ;)

During the break I'm writing this blog post while we also watch this live cam (Southwest Florida Eagle Cam) on another laptop.
We've been watching a couple of eagles and their little eaglets. One hatched yesterday and the other hatched today. So we've also been learning about eagles. It's so interesting how mom and dad both take turns with the eggs/eaglets. They also both bring back fish to the nest for feeding. We look forward to watching them grow over the next few weeks. I've got to search for more sites like these! But now to get back to math......

I had to come back to say that we went back to the Number Math app and she did great!! I'm so proud of her. She finished and walked away saying, "I love that app, mom" and "you're such a good teacher, mom."  Now that makes it all worth it!!!

Christmas At Our House

That vacation I told you about last week....well, I came home to a surprise from my husband. Kitchen renovation! This is a good thing and a bad thing. We've slowly been doing small renovations throughout the years. Well, not we; my husband.  He likes to do everything himself.  The only thing we've hired anyone for is refinishing our pool.  I'm actually proud of him and how he can do so much himself, even if he's learning as he's working. And the final project always looks great to me. It's also a good example for our sons. Our oldest is married and he's taken after his dad. He also likes to do most things himself. If he doesn't know how, he calls dad. And if dad doesn't know how, he goes to YouTube. :)

It also teaches our kids hard work. Hard work teaches good character. You see, my husband works long hours. This may take him longer than he'd planned or than he'd like it to take, but he still does a little bit of work when he comes home late and tired. And of course, even on weekends he's in the kitchen working to get it done. This is probably the one room with the most need for renovations. It's fairly small with a small entryway. Even with only two of us in the kitchen, it feels crowded and we're in each other's way. So my husband opened up the entryway by tearing down part of the wall. He also tore down a whole counter from one side of the kitchen and raised the drop-down ceiling. This makes the kitchen roomier, but it also opens up the rest of the house and makes it look a little bigger. This is a good thing. We've been wanting to get this done for years.

So what's the bad part? It's right before Christmas and our house is a mess. Our entire pantry, cookware and silverware....everything in our kitchen is now on our dining room table-slash-work table. Yes, that's where I work and that's where the kids do their school work. Oh, and it's also where we eat. Haha! Yes. My first thought of missing the table is schoolwork. That's a homeschool mom for you...and one that doesn't like to cook, even though I do it every night. Originally I told him I wouldn't be cooking until the kitchen was done. Well, that got expensive within just a few days....and I was only half teasing, anyway. So I'm back to cooking, and we're eating where we can. We're also doing schoolwork wherever we can. Here's a picture of Samantha doing her school work while I work on my laptop.  We've both found a spot in the living room. She's trying to get through her 4th grade Language Arts online homeschool curriculum so she can move on to her fifth grade curriculum

See our Christmas tree over there in the corner? We bought it last week and it stood outside until last night. We finally made a little space and brought it in today to decorate it. But we've had a busy day and it looks like it won't get done until Thursday. Today is Monday. My daughter insisted on the tree. I've been tempted to give it to a family in need. We just don't have the space for it. I know. Bah-humbug! No....I guess it'll be good for us. We need some festiveness around here. And besides, I need to wrap those Christmas presents I've been hiding and put them under the tree.
Oh, hey, the house across the street looks really nice. We have a great view every night. Look, doesn't it look nice? Every year they add something new to it.

And here's Samantha at the ballet. We went to see the Nutcracker.  
And today we went Christmas Caroling. We also have a Christmas party this week. See, we're trying to have Christmas spirit.
How about you? Are you feeling as unorganized at home as I am this Christmas? Or are you done with your shopping, have all your decorations up, and you've been baking those Christmas cookies? If you have, send some my, really. I'd love to hear how your December is going. Maybe give me some tips to getting an unorganized under renovations home looking a little more festive.

Family Legacy

We couldn't have asked for a better Thanksgiving. It seems like each year it just gets better. I have 5 brothers and sisters. Including my mom, her 6 kids, spouses, and grandkids we total 35. About 26 plus a couple of friends made it out to our Thanksgiving family reunion. We rented a huge 10-bedroom house for all of us to stay in together. The house had a theater, a pool and a game room.  Did I say a theater?!  I mean, we live in Florida anyway, so the pool was no biggie for my family. And the game room was fun for the kids.  But a theater?! That was exciting. My own personal theater. Well, at least when the kids were out or in the game room it was my own personal theater.  It was also a favorite with the teenagers. My son actually slept in there a couple of nights. But when they were in the game room, the theater was mine! :) No, seriously, we had a couple of nights we all chose a movie and watched together. It was very nice.
Even though we were staying near the Disney parks, we had plenty of entertainment right in the house. Some days some of the families visited the parks, went to football games, and went shopping, but most days we just hung out at home. The guys watched the football games on TV or went swimming with the kids. My favorite was when we played Monopoly Deal or Uno. There were times that we had several games going at once because to have too many players in one game just made the game slow. And with a dining room table that sat 20, we could have several games going. We also had a blast playing Charades. Kids and adults together.

Thanksgiving dinner was catered, so we didn't even have to cook. Can you tell I don't like to cook? We do have some cooks in the family, though. Every day someone baked cookies or made some deliciously sugar-filled dessert, like bread pudding. My husband loves making big breakfasts consisting of pancakes, bacon, eggs...the works. 
This is a picture of our Thanksgiving buffet. There is an inset picture of the back of the house. I cannot imagine having to clean a home this size. We like our small house. :)

I can only tell you that we all gained so much weight in just a few days. We have a few athletic or fitness-minded family members, so there were quite a number of daily walks around the neighborhood. We actually had a Thanksgiving Turkey Trot. And still we all gained a lot of weight.
Turkey Trot!  This is less than half of our group.

I'm the only one who homeschools my children.  So I thought my kids would not be able to get any schoolwork done. I was wrong, though. One of my sisters' kids are in private school, but they're very disciplined and did schoolwork each day. The house also had an office, so the kids and I would work in the office a couple of hours. Fortunately, I brought two of our laptops. So while I worked, Samantha also did her 4th grade curriculum online. It helped that my kids were not the only ones doing school and that I, too, had work to do so I could supervise them.

Even my teens got a little bit of schoolwork done. You can see Noah doing his homework while listening to music. I don't know how he does that!
And Amber is doing her math online. She's got a dry erase board where she does her math problems.

Isn't this an amazing chair?! We wanted to take it home. No-can-do. We looked it up online and it costs more than our couch!

All in all a great time was had by all. Most of us stayed up late and woke up early, trying to fit in as much time together as possible. Saying good-bye was difficult, but hopefully we'll do this again next year. Some live as far as Nebraska, Texas and Costa Rica. Only one of my sisters lives in Florida, but still a 4-hour drive.

We loved the time we had together and the legacy we're leaving our children of love for family.