Hi! Thank you for stopping by today! My name is Bronwyn. I am a follower of Jesus, wife of a Marine, and mother of 2 autistic boys. We have been a homeschooling family for going on 7 years now and loving it! I also love to read, cook, bake, and walk.

Monday, August 31, 2009


I haven't been here since Thursday and have been feeling a little guilty about it.  I have not been feeling very healthy this weekend and therefore couldn't compose my thoughts enough to sit down and type.  I started feeling a little under the weather on Friday and thought maybe I had caught something from Tyler who was indeed sick last week.  I went out to coffee Friday night with two friends and had a lovely time but just felt so tired by the time I got home.  Last night I had a tremendous headache that would not go away even after I woke up this morning.  I went back to bed which I almost never do and it was still there after I woke up again.  Finally around 2 or so this afternoon it finally went away and I am feeling a lot better.  I'll be honest it annoys me to be sick.  I am not a good patient.  I have so much else I want to get done and it puts a serious cramp in my style.  Then this morning as I was being all grumpy and aggravated about being sick light finally dawned on my thick little skull.  I have been taking really lousy care of myself lately.  I have been trying to get the house set up and get school going and a million other little things trying to make everything perfect that I have been ignoring the important stuff like eating well, getting exercise, and resting.  For instance this weekend I opted to start putting up my fall decorations and then I had all these great thoughts for school stuff I wanted to work on and then I thought I should start looking at pants for Christian and some clothes for me and then we were searching for the "perfect" shelves for the kitchen for my cookbooks and the list just keeps going.  I should have been resting and I should have been making something healthy for dinner instead of ordering out and I REALLY should have been thinking about why it is so important to me that all this other stuff gets done. 

I have been reading Educating the Whole Hearted  Child because I am not overly thrilled about the lack of interest Tyler has in school right now.  I like to fix things when they are broken and so I was hoping for some insight into what I am not doing right.  Last year we had a great school year with a lot of enthusiasm on his part and so I don't feel like it is a problem with our workboxes because they have truly been the best thing for him yet.  I have also been worrying if I am providing enough activities for him or if I have been adapting the material enough.  I have been feverishly trying to accomplish both and I am wearing myself out in the process.  I know he needs these things and I did them last year but I don't remember it consuming this much of my time and energy.  Anyways, this book has helped me a lot this weekend as I have tried to make sense of it all.  I have been homeschooling now for over 5 years and it still amazes me how I can fall back into the pit of trying to do school at home instead of the natural relaxed homeschooling I love.  I have become such a bad box checker over the years.  I certainly wasn't this way growing up so I am confused as to when the transformation occurred.  I think part of  my problem this year started when I thought about the fact that Tyler is entering into the teen years and therefore our textbooks should look more like textbooks.  I have to stop and kind of laugh at myself for that because it is the exact opposite of the advice I would give to someone else picking out curriculum.  I have noticed now how many of our boxes each day are filled with big old textbooks though.  I have tried to make lapbooks and activities to go with them but I thinking I am just overwhelming him.  I have had to face the fact that from here on out that maybe his grade level curriculum isn't going to be workable for him.  I guess the really hard part about autism is looking at a young man who is so smart on the logical side and has a great memory but whose ability to analyze and problem solve is way undeveloped may not be able to accomplish everything as quickly as a typical person can.  He was always so far ahead on everything when he was younger and didn't have to use reasoning as much that it is hard to watch him struggle more as the years go on.  It occurred to me today as I sat and watched him read all the way through a Kids of Courage newsletter that had come in the mail without any problems that maybe part of his recent reading problems are that what I am having him read is just to hard for him and requires too much analyzing.  I am feeling very enlightened today and a little scared of how dense I am on most other days.

My other big realization for the day is that I need to get back to all the wonderful little organizational tools that help to keep me going so I printed off menu planners and monthly and weekly calenders and put them on a clipboard so I can keep track of myself.  I need to write down what days I am going to do what is I can get done all the things I want to and not alternate between working like crazy and standing there overwhelmed and staring into space.  I need to get my menu planning done every week also and not just here and there to make sure we are eating healthy and not spending a bunch of extra money on food.  I clipped coupons today too which felt great because I haven't done much of that since we moved.  I hate spending extra  money on things. 

I think I am going to drop some of our formal school stuff for now and try to shorten our days a little so I can get into a better routine in the rest of my life.  Tyler wants to do Amanda Bennet's new dog unit study so maybe we will concentrate on that and some great fall stuff for awhile.  Christian on the contrary has been doing very well for me so far this school year so I don't see a lot of need to change much there.  He has also been eating really well too.  I hope he continues to do well.  Our children tend to ebb and flow! 

I was able to spend some time with my husband this weekend, hanging out and playing games together.  That was something I was happy about because I feel like we have been letting that take place behind a lot of other stuff.  It can be a struggle in a home with special needs kids to find time together but it is sooo important.  Fortunately I am married to a great guy and he works at it too.

I know I have rambled a lot tonight and I am not sure if it even sounds very organized so I won't keep you very much longer.  I don't have a bunch of pictures  from this week but I do have a few that I wanted to share.

A couple of pictures of fall at our house (so far)

A couple of pictures of Tyler

enjoying our new apple tree center

Reading Kids of Courage

So excited that his new Jonathon Park CD's are finally here!

A couple of pics of Christian

Big smile

Multitasking- bouncing and looking at a toy

Keeping mom up at night makes me really tired! 

(Don't tell her though!)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Quick update

I am going to make this a really quick update because I am worn out and longing to do a little reading and praying before I go to sleep. 

Tyler is feeling a little better although it is hard to tell because he isn't great at being able to communicate how he truly feels.  He did have a little more energy today.  He was restless and sick of being in bed so I let him lie out on the couch for awhile and watch NFL Network.  However after being out here for awhile I could see he was starting to look pale again and sent him back to his room.  He said his throat hurt today for awhile but then later when I asked him again he said it felt fine.  My favorite is when I ask how he feels and he responds with "how do you think I feel?".  He never seems to get the fact that I don't have some magical way of telling where he is hurting.  By the end of the day we determined that he is probably feeling well enough to do school tomorrow as he was moving around quite a bit tonight.  However since then he has been out here about every half hour since he went to bed so I guess we will see in the morning.  Experience tells me that he is either: a)not tired because he has been laying around all day or b) getting ready to spike a good fever.  I am hoping for a!

Christian has been a handful today.  For the most part he was in a good mood but very into everything.  He has about twenty different little behaviors he likes to cycle through (sometimes several at a time).  Right now he is into eating wood (he took some nice bites out of the shelves in his room today)  and spitting on the floor.  The eating of wood has been going on for a while and we have covered most of the wood surfaces with guards.  He is going to the doctor next month and PICA is at the top of my list to discuss with her.  The spitting on the floor really drives my husband crazy which I think actually drives him to do it more.  I have got to spend a lot of time with him the last couple of days while Tyler has been sick so that has been nice for him at least.  I made him a bunch of squirrel counting sheets that I want to use with some nuts.  I haven't taken pictures of them yet so I will try to post that tomorrow.  I am enjoying the fact that he is willing to try a lot more new things this year.  It's encouraging!

As for me I am looking forward to a coffee night tomorrow with some other moms who homeschool special needs kids.  We go out to coffee once a month which is about all I have time for but it is a lot of fun.  I am also hoping to spend a little husband and wife time this weekend as it seems like we haven't had a lot lately.  I am feeling bad for Tim as it seems like he is frustrated with his new position at work.  He seems discouraged and worn out a lot. I hope we can find something fun to do this weekend to take his mind off work if everyone is healthy.

I hope this doesn't sound too gloomy.  I know there was a lot more I wanted to write but my brain is not working at the moment.  

Y'all have a great night and I will type again some more  tomorrow.      

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What becomes of staying up too late

I just finished typing my last post here and went to check on Christian who just moments ago was making a bunch of noise in his room.  This is what I found:

He is so sweet!

He must of decided to get out of bed and fell asleep on the cushion on his floor.  I thought it was pretty cute.  It always amazes me how he can go from playing to sleeping in seconds.  He is back in bed now and snoring away.  I think I will do the same.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sick and not so tired

I know the title of this post sounds a little silly so let me explain.  Tyler  got sick about halfway through the day and Christian truly believes he is not so tired (even though it is almost midnight).   

Tyler was doing pretty well this morning but around lunch time he started complaining that he felt cold.  I didn't think a lot of this because we keep the air in the house pretty low.  I am a northern girl still in my heart and summers in North Carolina are WAY too hot for me.  I told him to go put on some socks and that seemed to help.  A little after lunch we got a package in the mail from a dear friend here in Blogland.  Tyler has been struggling with his reading this year and so Sheri, being the wise homeschool mom, suggested we try a product called line guards by Heads Up.  She reviewed this product as part of the TOS crew.  Please check out her review here  if you want to know more.  I am really hoping that these are going to help Tyler keep his place when he is reading.  I know how frustrating it is for him.  He was excited to try out the ones that Sheri generously sent to us.  He tried a couple of them out with his World Studies book and found one he seems to like.

After this though his day went steadily downhill.  I should have guessed something wasn't right when during his spelling test he was taking a super long time to write each word.  Usually he is very fast.  By the time my hubby got home from work he was all out of sorts and still not done with his workboxes.  I went over to help him with science and noticed his hands felt like ice cubes.  I felt his forehead and sure enough he had a fever so we sent him off to bed.


 I am not sure where he got sick but I am sure hoping it doesn't spread to the rest of us.  I am thinking since he will most likely be in bed tomorrow  I will work a lot with Christian and get some baking done that I am longing to do.  I have all the Marines at my husbands new work that I have yet to win over with my baking. 

Christian is doing well.  He is still awake (after midnight now)!  He has been enjoying learning to cut with his loop scissors lately.  He doesn't seem to favor either hand when he cuts which I think is very interesting.  I am working on adapting The Apple Pie Tree book for him and I think he is going to love it.  I am very pleased with his focus on what I am doing with him lately. 

There is one more thing I want to share before I go.  This morning Tyler was reading in an old devotion book we have while eating breakfast.  He looks over at me and says, "Mom, does ambidextrous mean you can use both hands?".  I almost fell over.  Tyler has a great vocabulary but it is a memorized vocabulary.  He has almost no ability to decode words through context clues.  He not only figured out the meaning to this one himself but also got it right.  Yeah for him!  It is a really big accomplishment.

Well, I need to go see if I can convince Christian that he is not nocturnal now.  I hope everyone else is having a nice night and hope you all have a blessed tommorrow!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Fall Writing Prompt Poster Center

Okay, the fall bug has bit me bad!  I have sooo many ideas in my head.  I wanted to make a fun writing center for Tyler and I am not quite sure how it all came about but I like how it turned out so here goes....
The Pumpkin Patch of Writing Prompts
I took some green construction paper and cut them into vines.  I am not sure how successful I was there because they kind of look like seaweed to me.  But, anyways, I glued them on to a brown poster board to form little pockets.  I then used Microsoft Word to put a bunch of fall writing prompts unto pumpkin patterns.  I then printed them out onto orange card stock.
I then tucked the pumpkins into the pockets and printed out a title for the poster.  This is super easy!  My plan is to put this out with some fall themed writing paper and some fun pencils.
I finally figured out how to share PDF files on the internet so here are the patterns for the pumpkins if you are interested.  They are black and white so you will have to print them on orange paper.
Don't forget to keep adding your fall workbox ideas to my giveaway.  I love all the ideas you have shared so far.
Have a blessed night!

Pumpkin Prompts

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Apple Tree Poster Centers

I have been wanting to incorporate more learning centers into our workbox schedule this year.  The problem is that with only two children and both being so different that after they are done using a center they are not used again unless I can find someone to give them to. I have been trying to think of some ideas for centers that can be changed around and reused by each child in different ways.  I made an apple tree poster center for each of my boys this weekend and I am excited about them because I think they can be used longer than some things I have created in the past.

Tyler's Apple Tree

For Tyler's apple tree I took a blue poster board.  I then cut out a tree out of a brown and a green poster board and attached them to the blue board.  My wonderful teachers assistant (my husband) took it to the local teacher supply store and had it laminated because I only have a small laminator.  I then used diecut apples and wrote one side of some of the equivalent mesurement problems he has been working on in math.  I laminated them and attached them to the tree with velcro.

After that I used Microsoft word to create a template for the flash cards that go with the poster.  Each card has an equal sign on it and I wrote the other side of an equivalency to go with the apples.  I then laminated the flash cards and attached a small strip of velcro to the side of the equation on wich the apple will go.  I holepunched the cards and put them together with a book ring.  They are hanging by the poster on a small hook.

His job at this center is to look at each card and find the matching apple and attach it to the card.

These cards and apples are for linear measurements but I hope to make some for liquid measurement, vocabulary words, Bible verse and reference matching, and a lot more. It took me awhile to make this but with a template saved on Word for the cards it will be simple for me to make a lot more sets.  Tyler was interested in the new poster and asked if he will be doing it tomorrow.  He likes anything that gives him an opportunity to get out of his seat and do something hands on.  I think this will be a favorite.

Christian's Apple Tree

Christian's apple tree started in exactly the same way as Tyler's.  His activities will obviously be a lot simpler.  It is important when trying something new with him that his initial experience be very positive and easily accomplished.  I made this a very simple two color sorting activity.  I first printed an apple pattern on to both green and red cardstock. I then laminated them and velcroed them on to the tree.  I used to Jello boxes for the sorting pockets.  I covered them with white cardstock and glued on a matching apple.

I also used velcro to attach the boxes to the poster so in the future I could use other boxes for different activities.

I forsee also using this poster for a variety of activities.  I will start with matching activities and then hopefully move on to classifying.  I hung this on the wall this afternoon and he took me over to check it out.  He completed it with me and so I think he will enjoy his poster a lot! 

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hurricane Tracking

We live on the Atlantic coast and so this time of year we pay a lot of attention to the storms brewing in the ocean.  Hurricane Bill is looming out there right now as a category 3 hurricane and Tyler has been excited to be able to use his hurricane tracking map that his grandma bought him last year while she was here on a visit. 

His map is laminated and so we use dry erase markers with it so we can wipe away the storms when they are gone.

This is a great way for him not to only learn about hurricanes but also to use lattitude and longitude lines.  We use the National Hurricane Center to get the coordinates of the storms.  You could use a hurricane tracking map printed from the internet covered with clear contact paper or laminted to do the same.  This could be a fun activity to include in your workboxes during the hurricane season. 

 Here are a few other links about hurricanes to check out:

1. How a hurricane is formed

2.  2009 Hurricane names

3.  lots of great hurricane printables and activities

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Christian's wednesday workboxes

I was going to try and post Christian's workboxes for today this morning but I didn't have enough time.  I thought that the best way to show what he does in his workboxes is to well...show you.  Because of his developmental level and still somewhat resistance to sitting down and "working" with me his activities are  fairly simple.  Perhaps a parent who has a severely autistic child will understand though that half the lesson is just learning to complete it.  He is doing a little better at that.

Here are some (not all) of his workboxes today:

These are his counting cakes.  They help him to work on his fine motor but also on his one to one correspondence.  He likes these but wants to put all the candles in at once.  Sometimes I have to hold on to the candles and only give him one at a time. This is what they look like when they are done.

This is our book I made the other day.  We are still loving it and I am amazed at his concentration when he does it.  I still need to make more like this.  If I could only find a way to give up sleeping!

This is our cherry scented playdough.  This is a sensory treat for him! He loves to play playdough.  Sometimes he doesn't want to stop.

This is our cutting box.  We do it a couple of times a day.  His scissors opens by itself which is much easier for him.  I tabe the strips of paper across the top of the box so he doesn't have to concentrate on holding the paper while he cuts.  I also stagger the lines so he can't just cut right through them all at once.

Next is our saxoflute.  He gets to put it together and then blow through it and play music.  He gets both fine motor and oral motor practice with this and music which he loves.

The next one I am going to show you is an activity he still struggles with and frankly doesn't like a whole lot but is good fine motor practice.

You have to use the tongs to feed the bones to the dog.  He doesn't see the need for the tongs when he can just use his fingers.  We are still working on this one but may abandon it and try something else if it frustrates him too much.                   

Finally is another rather new activity for him but one that is going a bit better.  Awhile ago at Michaels I got these scented paint markers and I print off some pattern sheets off the computer.  We use the markers to make dots to fill the patterns.  I am trying to teach him to write the letter C for his name so todays sheet is a big letter C.  We did this one twice too.

That's it for today.  I am going to try to show picture of his boxes at least once a week this year.  I wish I could figure out a way to show pictures of him doing them but I have to help him so I can't be taking pictures.  

See you later!                                

Tyler's workboxes for Wednesday

This is where Tyler does his workboxes every day.  Would you like to know what is in those boxes today?

1.  Keys for Kids devotion

2.  (Work with Mom box)  Prayer time with Operation World (We find the country we are praying for on the globe and then read the prayer requests in the book)  and Bible (Bob Jones)

3.  30 minutes of Rosseta Stone Latin

4.  Play Made for Trade boardgame with mom.  We are studying the barter system and the start of banking so this is a good reinforcer. 

5. Saxon math 76 (we are still finishing this book from last year) lesson on square roots

6.  Quiet time for 30 minutes listening to Jonathon Park on cd with headphones

7.  page in Spelling Workout

8.  Apologia General Science questions on experiments we did about atoms last week

9.  copywork from Queen Homeschool Copywork for Boys

10. file folder game to learn the musical alphabet

11.  Bob Jones writing and grammar lesson on fragments

12.  Bob Jones World Studies- read section on towns and trade and make a VENN diagram comparing the barter system with the system of money and banking for the lapbook/scrapbook we are making

I thought I would give you a little peek at what a normal day looks like for him.  He is doing pretty well with school so far.  He has been a bit unfocused and quite the chatterbox but we are working on it.  He seems to be enjoying science in particular and we are also trying to learn a little music theory which is something we haven't done a lot of in the past.  I will try to give you a peek at Christians boxes also but I will do that in the morning because everyone is finally asleep and I am on my way there too!



Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Bible teaching for special needs children

It has been on my heart for awhile to share this but I just keep forgetting when I sit down at my computer.     I had purchased Special Buddies Bible Teaching for Kids to use with Christian a couple of years ago and then forgot about it and it got shuffled away with a bunch of other homeschool stuff.  When we moved I rediscovered it and I was so thrilled.  I know that parents with special needs kids often have to either adapt regular curriculum or pay a lot of money for materials designed just for special kids.  This program is inexpensive and ready to use.  I think that it is actually intended to be used in a Sunday school or church program but it works great for homeschool as well.   It has a teacher guide that is sold for only $5.25 and a student guide that is sold for only $2.95.  Both are available at Lifeway.com.  I am not sure if they are available at their stores also.  They come out with a new one each season.  The copy I have is Fall 2007.  Remember this got lost in my clutter.  I am going to use the copy I have with him and then purchase the next season.  Here is a picture of my copy.

Inside it has Bible stories, activities (many of them that also deal with life skills), and even has Bible verses in sign language.  Here are a couple of more pictures.

You can also checkout samples on their website . I just wanted to share this with you all because I was excited to rediscover this.  It so important to me that we can share the Bible with our special kids too! 


Monday, August 17, 2009

I need two more hours in every day

I really do wish I could have about two more hours in every day.    I know though if I was given those two I would only want two more.  I am a lot like the mouse in the book If You Give A Mouse A Cookie as it always comes down to something more.  I have so many ideas floating around in my mind of things I would like to make for school, recipes I would like to try, or home decor projects I am wanting to do.  I try not to be distracted by it all but I must admit I am.

  I did get some stuff done this weekend.  I finished buying the drawers and shelves I needed to finish organizing my homeschool closet.  Now I just need to work on sorting everything.  It is amazing that even with my efforts to get rid of the things I felt we no longer needed I have so much stuff in there.  It is currently a rather scary place!

Football fever has arrived back at our house.  Tyler can be seen wearing a jersey every day of the week now.

Even Christian enjoys hanging out with dad and watching the game.

I think he is wondering why they get to play so rough and we always stop him from doing the same thing.

We also went to the mall this weekend and Christian did extremely well.  He made it all the way there. through the mall, and back home without getting upset once.  Yipee!  It was nice to go shopping as a family.  Tyler managed to get two new ball caps.  One is a Panther cap and the other is a Buckeye cap.  Those are his two favorite teams.  He has quite the cap collection.  They go well with the football jerseys he wears every day.  We also got a great deal on season 6 of Little House on the Prairie at Barnes& Noble which is the next season we needed because we have the five before that.  It was a good family time.

Today, my husband Tim re-enlisted in the Marines for another 3 years.  He has served already for 18.  I am proud of my hero!

I also recieved a ceritificate for my support of him and my sacrifices as a wife of a Marine.  I thought that was pretty special and it is nice to know that you are appreciated.

I think that about wraps it up.  School is going fairly well.  I will write more about that tomorrow. Before I go I just want to share one more picture.

Christian enjoying a big hug and kiss from daddy.

I love my guys!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fall Workbox Giveaway

I love Fall!!!!  I love the colors, smells, recipes.....!  I know it is not fall yet and many of you are still enjoying summer.  It is in fact still in the 90's every day here.  I, however, am not a summer person so I am looking forward to the fall.  We have a lot of things we like to do at our house in the fall.  I love to hang paper colored leaves on the windows and my boys love to play in the leaves outside.  We also like to go pick out pumpkins and do lots of baking.  This will be our first fall with workboxes and so I began thinking about all the fun stuff we could do with them for fall.  One thing we do every year is make pumpkin pie playdough and play with it with pumpkin shape cookie cutters.  It smells awesome and my boys love it.  This would be easy to put in our workboxes.  I would love to know what everyone one else will be putting in their boxes this fall though so I decided it would be fun to have a giveaway and let everyone post their ideas on their blog and leave a link here with MckLinky.  

Since this is also a giveaway let me tell you what the winner will receive:

1.   Everything for Fall: An Early Childhood Curriculum Activity Book

2.  Focus on the Family Radio Theatre: The Legend of Squanto 2 CD set

3. Draw Write Now Book Two (Christopher Columbus, Autumn Harvest, and The Weather)

4. History Pockets Life in Plymouth Colony by Evan-Moor

This giveaway will run through August 31, 2009.  I will pick a random winner on September 1 and will notify you and give you 3 days to get back to me or I will pick a new winner. The winner must live within the United States.

To enter you must:

1.  Leave a post on your blog for your fall workbox idea

2.  Leave a link to your specific fall workbox blog post (not your whole blog) below with MckLinky

3.  Mention this giveaway on your blog

If you DO NOT have a blog leave a comment with your fall workbox idea and email address in the comment section of this post.

I am really looking forward to hearing all your great ideas!

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