Hoping to someday find M's brother adopted in the U.S. -
Myckola Oleksandrovych Markov - 8/26/2003

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Homeschool 2016 is going great!

We are doing ballet/gymnastics, a co-op, and another gymnastics class this year. We did no outside activities last year due to working on really getting homeschooling established. 

This year we are expanding a bit more and so far everyone loves it. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

How are you so smart?

V asked me, if your mom was so mean and didn't care about you, how are you the smartest person every what was in this world? You know everything!

His mom neglectful and substance abusing.
Mine simply abusive.
I said "Well I didn't learn things for her; I did it for me. I learned everything I could for ME."

Suddenly he saw. A weight lifted.
His bio mom has nothing to do wifh his worth or abilities. He can do things not to impress the mom he has now (me) but for himself. To better himseld. 

This is the gift I hope to pass on. The love of learning simply because its fun and does not require anyone else's approval.

I love my V so much.
He gets me.
I get him.
Our trauma, the mother wound, still hurts.

Maybe it always will. I get that.
Its ok. People were made to love and even if "she" screwed up, he didn't do anything wrong. I didn't either. We loved our mothers. They couldn't love us.

Now we learn to love ourselves.
I am forever gratefuk for these kids. They heal me more than I could ever heal them.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

7 Tips for Homeschooling Kids With Learning Disabilities

I wrote a post for The Mighty about homeschooling kids with learning disabilities. I've had 12 stories published on The Mighty so far which has been fun. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Help Us Get Back To School

As my readers know, since having a disastrous and traumatizing experience with the Special Education system in our local public schools, we made the decision last year to homeschool our six school age children. 
For several years, we advocated strongly for accommodations, adaptive technology, and research based programs to help them in school. We had the children evaluated by a nationally recognized neuropsychologist and have tried our best to give the children what he recommended. Even with social workers and lawyers involved, we were unable to have the children’s needs adequately met by the school system.  Currently we are doing our best to meet their needs by homeschooling.
One of our biggest frustrations is that adaptive technology and multi-sensorial programs for learning disabled children are expensive. The biggest challenge we face in teaching our children at home is trying to accommodate their Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, Auditory Processing Disorder, and Visual Impairments. While the public school had thousands of dollars in funding coming in for each of our children identified with special needs, as homeschooling parents, we get zero. $0. None. Nada. Zilch. Unfortunately, parents do not even qualify for a tax deduction for money spent on curriculum or supplies. 
We want to explore options of crowd funding or partnering with businesses or organizations who might want to donate their older model iPads or laptops to our children.
Two of our children have visual impairments in addition to their Dyslexia which means they greatly benefit from enlarged, highlighted text. We use a specialized app called Learning Ally for them.
"Learning Ally is dedicated to empowering blind, visually impaired, or dyslexic students achieve their goals".
Learning Ally requires a tablet such as an iPad to run it on. Without this app, several of our children are effectively unable to read. Currently we have one iPad and a few old iPhones that the kids run the app on. We truly need a few more iPads with larger screens to allow all of the children to use the app throughout the day.
Dyslexia can also cause difficulty with math. We have a computerized math program called Teaching Textbooks that is wonderful for teaching the kids in a way they can understand. We also plan to purchase Touch, Type, Read, and Spell. TTRS is a multi-sensory course that teaches touch-typing skills to help children improve their reading and spelling.TTRS can be used as a stand alone touch-typing course and is especially useful for those with dyslexia and other learning difficulties. 
To run both Teaching Textbooks and Touch Type, Read, and Spell we need computers that the kids can use. Currently we have one older model desktop computer that everyone shares for math. However its too old to run TTRS.
We also purchase materials from Dyslexia Games to use along with our reading and math programs. “Dyslexia Games is a series of workbooks packed with learning activities that empower your student’s brain with new abilities and new brain connections for literacy.”
We are hopeful that by sharing our story, businesses, schools, or organizations might think of us if they are upgrading to new equipment. We can use older model iPads such as the iPad1 or iPad2 to run Learning Ally. We do not need brand new laptops, just something fairly lightweight and portable that each child can run their programs on.
Please help us give our children the best education possible by sharing our story.

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We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life; but those who make their journey home across time and miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them,are carried on the wings of destiny; and placed among us by God's very own hands. --Kristi Larson