Christian Taylor Buchanan

Christian Taylor Buchanan

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Our First Semester of Homeschool

First day of Homeschool Co-op
Look how much they've both grown!


We wrapped up our last day of our home school co-op for the semester this week, and so I wanted to write an update on how our homeschooling was going. I get asked often about it, so I wanted to take the time to write out a little more detailed update everyone!

First and foremost, I am extremely pleased with how our first semester of homeschool has gone. It all started out a little rough, and has ended up looking nothing like what I expected, but I think the beauty of homeschool is that it has ended up looking like exactly what my kids have needed. 

I started the year with a plan in mind, (I would hope any teacher would lol) and that plan included lots of working through a reading curriculum with Christian. I have a great reading curriculum for braille, and I just knew that if we could get through that, Christian would be set. 

Well, that didn't work out, exactly. Christian was inattentive and not progressing with it. It was a struggle to get him to pay attention, to answer questions, and really, to get anything out of the lesson. I knew we were just struggling through it with little return, wasting our time really. So, I turned to my home school co-op moms and asked for advice. They were full of great suggestions and helped me refocus my goals. When I did that, everything shifted.

I began focusing less on the 'book work" and more on experiences. If I had to describe my style of teaching, I would describe it as learning through play. We have taken a ton of field trips, to airports and fire stations and the like, which the boys have loved. We visited Indiana and went fishing. We visited the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas. We visited Orlando, Florida and played on the beach. We have visited Little Rock, Arkansas. We watched a total solar eclipse right in our own home town! We have taken friends to explore Nashville. We have done radio and tv interviews (job skills anyone!?) We have swam, taken soccer lessons, played at the park, gone on hikes and found waterfalls, played in the creek and The boys have had TONS of experiences!

We have done lots of reading and some pre-writing, but instead of making it book work, I took a different approach and made it play. We have attended our home school co-op every week as well, where Chandler has learned about letters, done math and sensory games, read books, sang songs, played, and learned how to socialize. Christian has taken a creative writing class where he has learned about sentence structure and developed ideas about how to write. He has also done a US geography class and knows most of the states and capitols at this point. His lego class helped him work on team work skills, listening, fine motor skills, and engineering skills as he has had to figure out how to solve problems by building things. They have both also done a praise and worship class, learned several verses of the bible by memory, the books of the new testament, and are singing lots of songs praising Jesus.

Christian continues to take karate every week and we also added violin lessons last month. We visit the library often and chose books to read. We have read several dozen books this semester, as well. We have created art, sang songs, and learned so much!

As far as what specific gains have been made, I thought I'd list a few. I will be excited to look back on this in a few years and see how much further the boys have some! Christian is almost reading the entire braille alphabet now with proficiency! He actually loves reading braille! Chandler is starting to write letters and can sight read a few words!

Chandler is building with legos now and is able to set up and build scenes from his favorite movies and shows, and loves to pretend with them. Christian is really into technology right now, and we have read a few books on different technology and how it works. I hope to begin working with him on accessibility with his iPad next semester.



Beach bums!
I have spent a lot of time this semester on independence and responsibility with both boys as well. Both boys are now able to completely undress and help about 50% with dressing. That's a huge improvement from the summer. Christian can put his shoes on by himself, and both boys can put dirty clothes in the hamper, put shoes, hats, and jackets where they go when we return home from a trip, and help me clean up like pros. They also help me feed the animals at home each evening, and sometimes help me cook meals. There are so many tiny gains that I couldn't possibly name them all! Chandler has learned to order for himself at a restaurant. Christian is blowing through goals at his therapies. In speech, I just got a progress note today that he met 3 or his 6 current goals, which she said is amazing, and that she is now adding new goals, which just means progress! In occupational therapy, he has learned how to button and snap clothing, and is doing amazing with sorting objects and learning same and different. These are things he struggled with not long ago, and now he is doing them with ease. In feeding therapy, Christian is now tasting any food we offer, taking bites of yogurt any time, and holding foods in his lips and teeth. We are now working on helping him learn to hold foods in his cheek, and I truly believe he will be eating foods in 2018!!!

As for science, we did a big unit study on the solar system, and both boys can tell you just about anything you would need to know about it! I hope to do a study on the human body and on bees next semester! They literally know more about it than some adults. That is mostly because they were so interested in it. They were just hungry for the knowledge and I fed it to them!

With math, Christian can add and subtract easily, sort, and is doing well with patterns, getting more

complex as we go. He can count as high as I will let him with little help, and can count objects up to at least a 100, but I haven't tried to see if he can count objects any higher lol. Chandler is doing well with simple patterns and can read all his numbers 1-10. He can count well and can count items at least up to 20. Concepts like large small, big little, more less, greater fewer, etc are all mastered concepts for both boys!

sorting
Socially, Christian has really come out of his shell this year. He can now hold conversations and enjoys doing it! We were sitting at the car wash this week and he said hi to every person who came in and asked how they were doing. He loves meeting new people, greeting others, and telling them about himself. You should have seen him at our book signing last weekend! He was greeting everyone and having a blast talking to others. As for other kids, he loves having friends, and he couldn't ask for better ones in our co-op. These friends love Christian and treat him like another kid in their co-op, but also know that he needs some special help! A few weeks ago, a group of his friends were actually arguing over who was going to help walk Christian to his class! They love helping Christian. They understand his needs on a factual level, and know him on a personal one. Christian has come to understand, in the best way possible, I believe, that he has some differences, but that he is not different. It's a beautiful thing, really, to watch him coming into this understanding, because his confidence still shines through, and I think, even brighter. I was so scared of that, of how it would come about, of the pain that could be attached to it. But there isn't any pain attached, and in fact, if you ask Christian, he will tell you his eyes are special, and he is just like everyone else. I am so proud!
counting

Chandler has really grown up this semester. He really is a little boy now and not my baby. He is also my helper. He helps me mama Christian, even when I don't want him to. haha! He helps me around the house a lot and just helps me keep an eye on that cheeky brother of his, while still remaining mischievous himself. He loves helping.

One thing that I LOVE about this semester is that both boys are really starting to understand some character traits that I hope to instill in them. They are beginning to understand caring about one another, empathy, compassion, generosity. They are beginning to understand more about who God is and who Jesus is! We have learned a mantra this year "Do not fear, God is near" to help the boys when they are scared or nervous, and Christian told his daddy the other night to not fear because God was near. These are things we have really focused on this year. If my boys never do anything else in life, I want them to know Jesus and love others. I think that is our highest human calling, so that is where I am really trying to drive it home. I have slacked in the past with the excuse that they were just too little.

The boys are just doing fantastic, really. They absolutely LOVE learning. While I was folding laundry this evening, Christian wanted to talk about the states and their capitals! We spent about half an hour playing a quiz game where I told him a state and he tried to remember its capital. He did really well! (He knew more than his daddy did heehee!) We just play all. the. time! Everything is play, and all play is useful for learning!

I could probably write for the next hour about all the gains we have made this semester, but I won't keep you here all day. :) I hope this does give you a good idea of how successful this school year has been so far and how happy I am with everything! I am so glad we made the choice to homeschool. Not only have the boys done amazing, but I have learned and grown so much myself! <3
Lake Life
Captain Chan

I will treasure these days with my boys forever! <3

15 comments:

  1. Awesome! I too home schooled my kids 1987-2006... some days were hard but so worth it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
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  2. One of the beauties of home schooling is that - if your teaching method is not working, you can just change it.

    I think y'all are doing amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  3. God certainly knew what he was doing when he made you these special boys momma!! You are an amazing human being that certainly makes the world a better place!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love home schooling. Having worked in the education system my whole working life 30+yrs so far I would always advocate homeschooling to the right parents and children.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Just beautiful! You are such an inspiration. I'm so thankful for your page and blog.. I've learned a lot as well.. God is really using you, and it's beautiful to see!

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  6. I am absolutely amazed by what you have accomplished through home schooling. I am equally amazed by your sons' growth, Christian particularly. And I am so pleased to witness what God is doing through you for your children and for those who have come to know you. I remember the day you introduced Christian to the world. I shared your post with my wife and we both knew that you were going to be an incredible mom to him. Your love for your children is an absolute inspiration to many people, including myself. Thank you for your blog and taking the time sharing with us the beautiful lives of your to beautiful children. God bless you all.

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  13. Hello everyone my names is Shari from Pensacola Florida USA i want to testify of a powerful man called Dr Great and how he helped me get pregnant, I and my husband have been married for 10 years now without a child to call our own i have done everything i can but still couldn't get pregnant this was eating me up inside i was always ashamed whenever i and my husband go out because i see him playing with other children because he love kids so much
    One day when we got home i was crying bitterly i just couldn't bear it anymore i went online to look for fertility treatment when i saw someone testify of his great work and how he have help many in problems with his spell i decided to give him a try i contacted him through his email he assure me that it will take 24 hrs to cast the spell and i will be pregnant, 5 weeks after i felt ill so i went to see the doctor he confirmed that i was pregnant all thanks to this powerful spell caster Dr Great you are indeed a great man now i believe that there is no problem without a solution he can also help you, email him at

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    Hello everyone my names is Shari from Pensacola Florida USA i want to testify of a powerful man called Dr Great and how he helped me get pregnant, I and my husband have been married for 10 years now without a child to call our own i have done everything i can but still couldn't get pregnant this was eating me up inside i was always ashamed whenever i and my husband go out because i see him playing with other children because he love kids so much
    One day when we got home i was crying bitterly i just couldn't bear it anymore i went online to look for fertility treatment when i saw someone testify of his great work and how he have help many in problems with his spell i decided to give him a try i contacted him through his email he assure me that it will take 24 hrs to cast the spell and i will be pregnant, 5 weeks after i felt ill so i went to see the doctor he confirmed that i was pregnant all thanks to this powerful spell caster Dr Great you are indeed a great man now i believe that there is no problem without a solution he can also help you, email him at

    infinitylovespell@gmail.com

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    Hello everyone my names is Shari from Pensacola Florida USA i want to testify of a powerful man called Dr Great and how he helped me get pregnant, I and my husband have been married for 10 years now without a child to call our own i have done everything i can but still couldn't get pregnant this was eating me up inside i was always ashamed whenever i and my husband go out because i see him playing with other children because he love kids so much
    One day when we got home i was crying bitterly i just couldn't bear it anymore i went online to look for fertility treatment when i saw someone testify of his great work and how he have help many in problems with his spell i decided to give him a try i contacted him through his email he assure me that it will take 24 hrs to cast the spell and i will be pregnant, 5 weeks after i felt ill so i went to see the doctor he confirmed that i was pregnant all thanks to this powerful spell caster Dr Great you are indeed a great man now i believe that there is no problem without a solution he can also help you, email him at

    infinitylovespell@gmail.com

    Call/text  +19043372866

    ReplyDelete
  14. Matthew 17
    [15] Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.
    [16] And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.
    [17] Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.
    [18] And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.

    Revelation 17
    [15] And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
    [16] And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.


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