Category Archives: Jude

Homeschool Plan for 2016-2017

This is a big year. I will be teach 2 kids for the first time. I’m excited but also a little concerned that I might over commit myself. I tend to bite off more than I can chew, especially when it comes to school. I’ve been doing a lot of planning and researching these past few months and I have to keep reminding my self to KEEP IT SIMPLE.

Noah will be starting Kindergarten this fall and he really doesn’t need that much work. Kindergarten should be a time of learning through play. This past year I tried to incorporate more outdoor learning time and I think that will be the best environment for Noah to learn (Jude too).

Jude will be starting 3rd grade so he will have to do the most work but I’m still trying to keep things simple for him. I’ve found that pushing him too hard makes him shut down and learning becomes a chore. My main goal has a home educator is to encourage a love of learning. So I try to create an environment that allows my children to explore the world around them and learn at their own pace.

So here’s our plan:

We will do a few subjects together each day or several times a week.

Classical Conversations
Both boys will be doing Classical Conversations Foundations this year. We are a part of a community where we will attend a group session once a week to be introduced to the new week’s memory work, conduct science experiments and have a hands-on art time. Classical Conversations is the bulk of our curriculum for the year(history, science, geography, timeline, Latin, math, grammar, art). If you aren’t familiar with the classical model you can learn more here.

Morning Time
Each morning we will go over our calendar, the weather, our Bible verse, the pledge of allegiance, a poem and probably an Aesop’s fable. (we will take the poem and fable from Jude’s English book) This part of our take should only be about 5-10 minutes long.

This year I hope to do more reading aloud to the boys. They will work on their listening skills and we will try reading longer more complex books. This will probably be the biggest challenge for me. We may do more reading at night before bed when Abel isn’t a constant distraction.

nature journal

(Top Row: Our Nature Box, Pencil box with color pencils and paint brushes, watercolor guide. Bottom Row: Audubon Field Guide Southeastern States, Trees of North America, Birds of North America, Nature Anatomy)

Nature Journal
We will be following the Charlotte Mason ideas of narration, dictation, nature journal, art, etc. The boys create art and a narration that corresponds with something we’ve recently learned. Each boy will have a 3-ring binder, they will add their art/narrations to their binder throughout the year. I’m slowly collecting some great books for the boys to use in their nature studies and other interests so we can create fun journal pages, you can check out my homeschool wishlist on Amazon to see the types of books we’ll be using. Noah’s journal will be fairly simple. Probably very heavily image based. He loves to draw and paint so we’ll focus on illustrating things we’ve learned with a small amount of narration.

Photo Aug 01, 2 26 10 PM

Noah Kindergarten
MathMath Made Easy Kindergarten Workbook  Math Mammoth doesn’t offer a kindergarten math curriculum but they do recommend a few affordable and comprehensive workbooks available through amazon. Math Made Easy is a simple workbook that introduces all of the basics he needs to know for first grade.

ReadingTeach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons  I’m excited to try this method. Noah is so close to reading I think once we really sit down and work on it he’ll get the hang of it in no time. I considered All About Reading but again it was $$$ and very time consuming. With 4 boys I need simple. I will also add in some easy readers that I either purchase or check out from the library. We go to the library every other week.

PhonicsExplode the Code Jude loved these workbooks and I think Noah will as well. He likes doing little workbooks and Explode the Code is simple and a great way to practice reading and writing.

WritingKumon: My Book of Alphabet Games – I bought this book on clearance at Target but it’s a great simple way to work on our letter recognition, upper case, lower case and writing.

Photo Aug 01, 2 23 45 PM

Jude 3rd grade
MathMath Mammoth This year we are trying something new. The past 2 years I’ve been using Math-U-See, I like the program but the Gamma level [multiplication] moved so quickly. Jude got a little frustrated with the level of work near the end of the year, granted he is a little ahead in math I just thought we should try a different approach. Plus Math-U-See is kind of $$$. I bought the complete set of Math Mammoth on CD (grades 1-7) so I can use it for all 4 boys and print the workbooks as needed. It’s super affordable too.

HandwritingA Reason for Handwriting Cursive Jude struggles with handwriting so we will continue to have handwriting in our studies until he feel more comfortable. We started introducing cursive at the end of last year and he was really excited about it. I’ve heard it can be a good option for kids that struggle with penmanship.

PhonicsExplode the Code 6 This will be our 3rd year using Explode the Code. It’s a fun workbook that helps drill in phonics. Jude really enjoys doing the workbook and he can always use a little extra reading practice.

EnglishEnglish Lessons Through Literature Again a new curriculum for us. Last year we used First Language Lessons which I still love but I’m excited to try ELTL. It uses great works of literature to teach grammar, spelling, reading, poetry, writing and more.

So that’s it. Once we get into a daily routine I’ll share what our typical days look like. We probably won’t do all subjects everyday and I’m not the type of person that can function with a detailed plan but we have an outline and are open to whatever the day throws our way. I like the flexibility that homeschool affords and we will take advantage of it as much as possible.

Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 2.55.41 PM

However, I did purchase a printable homeschool planner for the first time. Trying to remember what both kids need to get done is a little more challenging than just keeping up with Jude’s work. I bought this cute Charlotte Mason inspired planner from Vintage Kids Modern World.

We also reorganized our homeschool room and while I’m still getting everything in order I do hope to do a homeschool room tour soon. It’s not terribly exciting but I know I always like to see how other homeschool mom’s organize their materials and where they homeschool.

*This post contains affiliate links

Mom Guilt and Finding A Social Balance for Jude

Cafe Carolina

Christmas is only a few days away and as I see friends post pictures of their child’s school Christmas party or play I start to feel a little mom guilt for homeschooling Jude. He is an extremely social kid, he craves social interaction. Since we started homeschooling he receives far less socialization than he used to and it’s starting to become evident in his daily activities. I’ve considered signing him up for sports teams or other group events but it is not an ideal time for our family to start any new activities (Christmas plus expecting a 4th baby). In no way do I regret the decision to pull Jude out of his school and homeschool him but I am struggling to find a healthy balance for both him and I to help give him the social interaction he needs.

Part of Jude’s personality and quirks include a lack of understanding social situations which makes it difficult for him to fit it and difficult for me to help him regulate. Ideally, the easiest solution would be to avoid social situations however having him integrated into normal social events is crucial for him to learn what is acceptable and what is not. I know I need to find some activities that will allow him to play with other children his age but I cannot commit myself to too much right now. We are expecting baby 4 anytime within the next few weeks and I’m already feeling stressed about how I will divide my time among my current responsibilities.

Today I took advantage of Joe’s flexible work schedule and took Jude on a small field trip to the NC Museum of Natural Science and out to lunch. While we didn’t socialize much with other children is was a nice little break from our regular routine and I hope it made him feel special. One of the benefits of homeschool is having a flexible schedule. NC Museum of Natural Science

NC Museum of Natural Science

NC Museum of Natural Science

NC Museum of Natural Science

Cafe Carolina

It might take a little time to get used to our different schedule, especially after the baby comes, but I’m hopeful we can find some activities Jude can join that will help give him the socialization he craves. Right now I’m looking into evening activities like Cub Scouts or Sports that would allow Joe to be more involved but we probably won’t make any big decisions until after the new year and the new baby.

Jude’s Evaluation Results

Visual Learner

After weeks of meetings, tests, and questionnaires we finally received the results from Jude’s full psychological evaluation. It’s a very complex process with equally complex results but ultimately we learned that Jude doesn’t have any major psychological issues or learning disabilities.

He did score on the low end of the spectrum for ADHD and that was primarily because of his hyperactivity. He also scored average in all of the academic areas which ruled out a learning disability. But it appears his major struggle comes from his IQ. Overall he has an above average IQ. There are apparently several different areas of the IQ test and in most areas he scored slightly above average, however his visual IQ score was at the top of the chart. The discrepancy between his visual IQ and the other areas is where his struggle lies. Visual learning and subjects that require strong visual and spatial abilities come very easily to him which makes other areas seem more difficult to him (even though is is on-par or slightly above average in those areas). Mix that with his struggle to maintain focus and drive to be active and there in lies the basis for most of the challenges we face with Jude.

Of course the doctors recommended a variety of treatments including medication for the ADHD. However, we are hoping to avoid medication if possible, especially since he didn’t score significantly in those areas. So right now we are doing our research on how to assist a visually gifted child. We plan to continue to homeschool Jude for the remainder of the school year but will try to implement visually based learning techniques. Thankfully I already knew he was predisposed to visual learning and selected curriculum accordingly.

None of the test results were all that surprising, although I was shocked to see just how high his IQ was for visual. I’m glad we took the time to have him evaluated because it gives us a solid framework from which to build an action plan for his future. I often wondered if he had ADHD but didn’t realize there could me so many other variables that could effect his behavior. Now instead of guessing about what will work best for him we have a better understanding of how his brain works.

It gives me great peace of mind to know how to help him and also knowing he doesn’t have any developmental delays or other disorders. We were prepared to assist him in any way we needed but right now it just looks like he needs an environment that will be encouraging and can be tailored to his unique learning style.

Summer Learning with

Jude is a task driven child. If he doesn’t have a project to do he will create one which sometimes means I get my furniture rearranged or closet completely emptied. So this summer I will be spending a lot of time engaging Jude with different activities to keep his busy little brain occupied. Since he has 2 younger brother’s I can’t devote all of my time to him so we signed up for

Jude has been using for a few weeks and he loves it. To him it’s just games and puzzles but to me it active learning. We made a little video explaining how he uses ABCMouse and what he loves about it.

Jude has really come to love earning tickets so he can “buy” special items for his collections. We’ve been talking to him about saving up his tickets so he can buy bigger items and working toward a goal. I really love this aspect of the site because it’s helping me teach Jude about financial responsibility even at the age of 5.

abc mouse
I don’t like my kids to spend too much time in front of a screen so I do limit the amount of play time he has each day. However I don’t feel bad about letting him play because I know he’s learning while he plays.

I received a free membership to The opinions expressed in this post are my own and not influenced by the company.


My anxiety and Jude’s SPD


I worry a lot about Jude. As a mother I think it’s pretty typical to worry about your children but when you sense something might be a little “off”about your child it causes you too over analyze every little detail.

I want to talk about how I deal with Jude’s SPD (and other sensory issues).  To be honest, it’s pretty tough at times. His energy level is off the charts almost all of the time and his constant movement makes me anxious. In some ways I’ve become accustomed to it but when he’s around other children his own age I really notice the difference.

I find myself constantly fussing at him to “STOP JUMPING” or “sit down”. He jumps a lot especially if he is excited. I think what is difficult for me is that I don’t know how to harness his energy. I used to think that he needed to run and jump to get his energy out but I’m learning that just fuels his energy level. He is actually the most calm when his brain is focused on a task like building Legos or writing books.

Imagine someone constantly pacing around your living room all day. Bouncing back and forth between the walls and chattering on about everything. It’s nerve racking. Sometimes I hide in the bedroom just to make the room stop spinning.

As much as his constant movement stresses me out my desire to help him stresses me out even more. I want to help him integrate into social scenarios without changing him. His sensory issues may be a challenge for him on some levels but I know they can also serve him well as he gets older. His passion for life is what makes him so uniquely Jude and I don’t want to do anything to crush his spirit. But at the same time he needs to be able to function appropriately in social situations.

We are doing and have tried so many different things to help him. Minimal screen time. Schedules. Charts. Gluten Free Diets. Dye Free, Chemical Free, All Natural Diets. Occupational Therapy. Sports. Supplements. Etc… My brain is exhausted and my nerves are shot. I know that worrying about him won’t help him but it’s part of my motherly DNA to worry.


Explaining Sensory Seeking, SPD and My Son

Screen Shot 2013-10-12 at 3.35.52 PM

I could never seem to accurately explain Jude to people. Whenever I tried to describe Jude’s behavior my words would always fall short. He has to be experienced to fully grasp his “MORE THAN” nature.

Like most 5 year old children Jude is active, unaware of personal space, emotional, loud, and full of energy but there’s more to him than typical 5 year olds. Before we met with the occupational therapist and before we had a diagnosis I knew something was different. Even though I couldn’t explain it I could clearly see a difference in Jude’s social interactions, especially when he was with other children his age.

Then we met with an occupational therapist and even before his evaluation was complete she said she could tell he was a sensor seeker. She explain Sensory Seeking like this, “It’s like wearing a glove, you can still feel things but not the full sensation as when you are not wearing the glove. Jude’s senses are like being in a glove, they require more input to meet his sensory requirements.” That made sense to me. He is like most children his age just with a little “more”.

He needs MORE movement which is why he is always jumping.
He needs MORE auditory input which is why he hums when he is playing.
He needs MORE physical touch which is why he has problems with personal space.
He needs MORE visual stimulation which is why he likes bright lights.
He needs MORE physical/muscular stimulation which is why he likes to rearrange furniture.
He needs MORE body awareness which is why he is constantly running into things.

He seeks MORE input which is why we seem to have trouble managing his behavior. He wants to do the right thing but can’t seem to find a way to meet his sensory needs without breaching the boundaries of acceptable behavior.

What we initially thought were exclusively behavioral issues actually have a deeper root. However, in no way do we use SPD as an excuse for poor behavior instead we use what we are learning from observing his occupational therapy to alter our approach to help him meet his sensory needs and correcting his behavioral issues accordingly.

Jude is a very bright kid, he does very well in school when his social and behavioral struggles don’t interfere with his daily activities. Treating SPD with occupational therapy and adjustments to his “sensory diet” won’t rid him of SPD but it WILL help him learn how to properly meet his sensory seeking needs. He will learn to self-regulate and we will learn how to support him along the way.

Back-to-School Paint Project {Rich Art Paint Review}

1st Day of School Sign In just a few short weeks Jude starts Kindergarten. I wanted to make a 1st day of school sign for him to hold in his 1st day of school picture but I really wanted it to be personalized.

Rich Art sent me some of their Washable Paints so I decided to let him have full reign of the poster board. He created this beautiful poster and all I had to do was write “1st Day of Kindergarten” over top. RichArtPaints



  1. Get your supplies ready. I put small amounts of paint on a paper plate, set out a cup of water for washing brushes and laid out the poster board.
  2. Let you child paint anything they want. Encourage them to mix colors, use different size brushes and just have fun.
  3. Let the paint dry
  4. After the paint has dried use a large marker to write over top of the painting.

JudePainting I’m so glad we use Rich Art Washable Paint because Jude got it everywhere, on the floor, on the wall, on the table, on his shirt, on the carpet and it came clean from all surface. I’m also really glad they are non-toxic because he accidentally put the paintbrush in his mouth, he quickly learned that pain does not taste good. He really loved using the Glitter Paint he said the purple was the night sky and the blue was the ocean.


Like Rich Art Color on Facebook
Follow @RichArtColor on Twitter
Follow Rich Art Color on Pinterest

Disclosure: I received the featured product in exchange for my honest opinion. The opinions expressed in this post are my own and not influenced by the company.

Jude’s Preschool Graduation

Yesterday Jude graduated from preschool. Next year he will be starting kindergarten… KINDERGARTEN!

I was really looking forward to watching him participate in his class presentation and walk across the stage to receive his preschool diploma but alas my typically outgoing child caught a case of stage fright. His teacher offered to go with him but he refused.
I was a little disappointed that he didn’t participate but afterward when he came to find us he burst into tears.
I have never seen him react that way and it broke my heart.


He told me he got nervous and didn’t want to go on stage. I said it was OK and even though he didn’t go on stage he still graduated and we are very proud of him. Then Noah gave him a big hug.

brother hug

And then there was cake .
And everything was all better.


I think he was overwhelmed by this whole week. Between doctor visits, swim lessons and end of the school year excitement he was emotionally tapped out.

Jude did remarkably well at school this year and I’m glad we decided to put him in a 5-day preschool. Not only did he learn a basic education but he learned a lot about social interaction with other adults and kids (something he really needed).

I’m ready for summer.
We have a fun and busy summer planned before he starts Kindergarten in the fall.