The Glass is Half Full-Isaac's Hemispherectomy Journey
The optimist says, "The glass is half full."
The pessimist says, "The glass is half empty."
I, the mother of a stroke survivor and hemispherectomy patient say, "the glass may 'look' half empty; however, not only is it full, it is OVERFLOWING!!"
Isaac had a hemispherectomy in 2007 and we say, ... our cup runs over (Psalms 23:5c) and God is Good!!
Welcome-Inside Our Garden of Edens'
Got exciting news! The medical TV segment that Isaac and Rachel were filmed for will start airing this Sunday on WYFF channel 4 and will air for NINE Sundays during a 30 minute show. We saw the preview and it is so good. The kids did great. We are some proud parents! We got to praise the Lord in it for their health and they didn't cut it! What a blessing! The program is called "Discovery Health" and The Airing times will be:
TV schedule: March: 8 at 11:00am... 15th at 11am 21st at 1:30 pm 28th at 1:30 pm
April: 5 at 11 am 12 at 12:30 pm 18th at 1:00pm 19 at 11:00am 26th at 12:30 pm
Hope you tune in to see out precious babies!
I was asked to share our schedule for school and thought this was the easiest place because I can also explain how we make it work for us. When you talk about homeschool schedules, most people want to know how many kids you have and what ages so they can get an idea of what works for whatever stage of life their family may be in. For our family, we are blessed with a family of 5 beautiful children; 3 biological sons and 2 long term foster children. Our biological sons are 11 (doing some 4th grade and some 5th grade bc he is special needs), Our middle son is 7 (in 2nd / 3rd grade) and the youngest is 4 doing preschool work/ kindergarten. The other 2 are a toddler and an infant. So life here is definitely about having a schedule BUT a flexible one. I'm sure you've heard it said before but the best advice for me as a homeschooling mom was to always remember: we aren't just teaching our kids school at home but are at home, teaching our kids. Therefore why it's called "homeschool" not "school at home"; home first. That simple change of perspective changed it all for me. It lessened the stress for ME and My kids.
So, in daily life what does homeschool look like for us? Below you will see the schedule that I use for my oldest 3. We use this spreadsheet that I designed because I couldn't find a standard plan book that met our needs. We don't use it a "schedule" per say but more like a "checklist" that they each check off as the day goes. The sheet list 2 weeks for one child and I print another copy on back so I get 4 weeks per page. I do them in color because its easier for my special needs son to visualize that way. For detailed info, I'll go through each block below or you can just refer to the picture. We don't necessarily go in the order, but pretty much bc I really like us doing as much school together as we can by age appropriateness.
First Block-Review or History-
(This is done together as a family)- apprx. 30 minutes
The first block on Monday and Friday is a review for all kids of things they may need help with like; telling time, counting money, calendar review, a math fact sheet, etc. I used to do this every day until I realized it was burning us out and taking time that we could use for other things. They do much better doing it twice a week bc its fun again. In the review spot we switch and History on Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday is therapy day for 2 of our kids so that day the morning is taken off and we come home in the afternoon and do our unit study which covers science, creative writing, vocabulary, math, etc.
Second Block-Bible Verse or Bible Truth- (This is done together as a family)- approx. 30 minutes
Two days they do verse memory by writing verses in a journal which also is their handwriting and dictation practice. Two days are then Bible truths were we discuss a topical lesson from the Bible and journal about it which is also creative writing with Biblical life application. The 5th day (which is unit study day) we use the devotion in the unit study for Bible. Third Block-Math Facts-(Each child has his own 10 or so facts he is working on & practices indep.)- 15 minutes
I know this block is self explanatory, but I found with my guys that if we didn't include it in a box for check off then we either ran out of time that day or forgot to practice them. This block is just a reminder and something they can do independent whether it be addition, subtraction, multiplication or division. Fourth Block-Help Sibling or Math-45 minutes
block for one child will say “help sibling” and the block on
my oldest sons schedule says “Math”) I
do this bc math is a subject where I usually need to teach the oldest two
separately bc they are in two different grades.We use Teaching Textbooks for math and love it, but my special needs son
still can’t do it all independently so I teach him along with the
computer.While I do that the middle
son, loves to have a time to help his younger brother with school bc he gets to
play the “teacher.”He reviews letters
and sounds with him, does a puzzle, cut and paste, etc.This is their favorite part of the day. In the afternoon, the role is reversed and when the middle does math, the older one gets to play "teacher" to the younger so the middle one gets help with math too and they preschooler is still learning too. Fifth Block-Video- (while I prepare lunch) Up to this point in the schedule was stuff we cover in the mornings. Not at set times, just knowing it needs to be finished by lunch. When we get to the video section, that is the time that I prepare lunch. During video time, I have 15 learning DVD videos. Some from leap frog on math and reading and many from Rock N Learn on multiplication, Spanish, reading, etc. I can't say enough about Rock N Learn for visual learners, love, love it! I have the videos labeled so they know what to watch each day so I know they aren't watching the same thing every day. So even while I'm preparing lunch they are getting a 20 minute review that they enjoy. LUNCH TIME & Break-45 minutes Sixth Block-Reading (Each child does independent based on reading level) (30 minutes) During reading we read books from the library that we will be using to study our science unit study on Thursday. This way we get science every day with reading and they will know more about the material once its presented Thursday. Seventh Block-Spelling (together as a family) (30 minutes) I use All About Spelling for spelling and love it as well. We do it all together but can make it harder or easier based on their needs by either making words with the tiles on the board (my preschooler) or writing words on paper or making sentences on paper (the two older ones) Eighth Block-Math or Helping Sibling - (same as fourth block except I change which child I'm helping) ( 45 minutes) Ninth Block-Language Arts-(Done independently unless help is needed). Each child has own grade appropriate workbook for LA (45 minutes) Tenth Block-Click-N-Read or Click-n-Spell (we may not get to these everyday) This are extra computer time programs the kids love for review that they get to do when finished with school. They also have learning games on the nook or ipad they can do
As you read through these, Don't let 10 blocks seem overwhelming. I do each block bc as the child becomes more independent they can go ahead with that afternoons work in the morning if they are ahead. Many days my middle son has language arts and reading finished before lunch as well. The chart makes it easy bc I just insert the lesson number or page number they did for that day and they check it off when finished. I don't do detailed lesson plans anymore. If I need more detail, I refer back to the lesson number from their book. It used to seem like we spent all day trying to "get school done." Now, with rotating between days of review, history and unit study science, everything gets covered within the week and helps us not lose a day of school every Thursday when we have therapy. Rotation has been key for us. A unit study day has been such a blessing for our family because it's a fun, different day that everyone looks forward to. I have talked to many families that also use a unit study day on a day they do co-op, sports or on Fridays just as a nice change at the end of the week. Just as an FYI, we start school around 9 and are typically finished between 2-3 in the afternoon; but I'm flexible with that bc I don't require each subject be done from this exact same start time to exact end time, everyday. For example; I allow approximately 45 minutes for math; whether that is from 11:15-12 or from 11:45-12:30, we just know it needs to get done. We have tons of doctor appointments so many days are cut short which means we just leave that box unchecked and know that we have the rest of the week to get it done if we didn't get to it today, it's ok to leave a box undone. I have major OCD issues, so this has been something that God has really worked on me about, there is always tomorrow. With 2 little ones in the house, flexibility is the key and nap time is a great 2 hour block for math and language arts in the afternoon..
We also school through the summer because I have found that really helps with retention and having to review so much the next year. It has really helped my special needs son catch up and my advanced son jump ahead. During the summer we only do 2 or 3 days a week because my boys live in our pool during the summer. And I also drop down to the main subjects of math, reading, review and Bible for summer break. So summer school days are only about 2 hours a day (again, perfect for nap time).
Comment or email me at the link to the right if you have any questions, or send me an email and I'd be happy to email you a copy of the spreadsheet in excel for you customize for your kids.
As 2014 starts, I pray your homeschool is the best yet!
Since "Isaac's Journey" began we have gained many new friends and prayer partners along the way. As we approached Isaac's anniversaries to his surgeries and healing, several have asked that I go back and re-share some highlights of his journey. These are more detailed than what you read in the book, as the book was written several months after it all happened. What i'm going to share with you are the journal entries (from his caring bridge site, link to full site is to the right) as I wrote them, as they happened, in the very days of "Isaac's Jouney."
We are forever blessed and grateful for the many that we have met and continue to
meet along this path!
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8
From Caring Bridge Jounal, March 15, 2006,
is complete-Praise God
Well we are settled into the Pediatric
Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and Isaac is doing ok.Actually, we are in the same
PICU room that he was in when he was airlifted to MCG on 2/3/07 (what were the
odds).Again, another feeling of peace from God that this room feels so
familiar.Dr Lee said everything went as planned and he thought they would be able
to get enough information to still do the other surgery on Monday, but if not
they could just move it back a few days.He said that he got lots of seizure
activity while he was just putting the grids on the brain and that the
remaining tissue that he saw on the left side looked “pretty bad.”He could only
see the top of the tissue and only the grids will tell what it going on deeper,
underneath where eyes can’t see.
Isaac did get sick and vomited earlier
this afternoon, but they are sure it is from just being put to sleep.He also
started running a low grade fever about an hour ago, but again they say this is
normal b/c the body gears up to fight off what is foreign (the incision, the
drain, the grids).Please join us in praying that all of this is normal.Isaac is
on about 9 different medications: two for pain, one for swelling of the brain,
one for infection, 3 for seizures (like at home) & two for nausea.He had 3
IV’s (one in each arm and one in his leg), but is now down to 2.
He looks much better than what I
expected and to be honest, I don’t know what I expected.His head is completely
bandaged, but you can see the electrodes and a drain (attached to a bulb like
suction) coming out of the back of his head.The nurses told us not to be
scared, but he would begin to look worse tomorrow.He would have a very swollen
face and his eyes may turn black or bruised.
Isaac will go up to the epilepsy
monitoring bed some time around lunch tomorrow (as long as things continue to
go well). Which by the way, he just vomited all over his bed again-which we are
thinking came from him drinking too much juice too quickly.They will then hook
the electrodes up to the computer for monitoring, stop his seizures meds, and
then let the seizures roll.
We will update again for tomorrow.As
for tonight, we are all going to try to get some much needed rest.Thank you so
much for checking in on his webpage, sending emails, signing the guestbook
& most of all praying.Please keep praying & praying.We are glad that
one surgery is down & we are praising God for giving Isaac back to us
again.We will continue to thank & trust Him as we look to the unknown days
Hey Friends! Can you help me out by going to the link below and writing a review for my book? Doesn't have to be long. Can be a few words or a paragraph, but these reviews are important for the next step for us. Thanks so much for your help!
Whew..... Wanted to update you all on some pretty exciting changes “Inside
the Garden of Edens.”I know I have not been
around for several months and for a couple of reasons.My father was diagnosed with colon cancer in
September of last year, but after three surgeries and several hospitals stays,
I am blessed to say that a few weeks ago we got the news that he is healed and
is cancer free!Praise Jesus!He is 73 and still enjoys working a full time
job and is happily back to work after recovery.He is my hero!
Also, Mike and I opened our hearts this time last year to
the belief that God was leading us to again expand our family.Although we weren’t sure if it was through
birth or adoption.As the months went
by, God has shown us that we need to open our home and provide for children
through foster care.And in that, we are
praying, that at just the right time, in HIS time, fostering will lead to
adoption of our next child.It’s been an
exciting journey full of tons of paperwork, home inspections, home visits and
training classes.But after months of
working in God’s plan for us, we are almost there.We should be fully licensed by March 1st!Again, God is good!
For the next exciting info, Mike and I were offered the
opportunity to go to Houston, TX back in September and become presenters for
the National Center for Biblical Parenting.We were excited to meet them before we went, but even more excited as we
left because of the opportunity they had given us to conduct Parenting Seminars
under their material.We will be
available to teach the seminars on Friday nights or Saturdays.The NCBP information is the best parenting
advice we have seen and every piece is Biblical sound.If you or someone you know would like to book
a seminar, please contact us at our email or FB message us.For more info, on NCBP, view www.biblicalparenting.org
We will also continue to do speaking opportunites with "Isaac's Journey." (see links to the right under Everything Edens). As well as, I also speak to ladies groups, mother-daughter banquets, etc on a variety of topics.
One more bit of information. It was suggested to us to start a Facebook
Page to be the central location for us.So, if you are on Facebook, “Like” us there at www.facebook.com/insideourgardenofedens
for updates on “the inside.” It’s
exciting around here JYou also use the Facebook icon to the right.
And before I go, I want to share something I read today……….
While reading through Mark 8 today and the story of Jesus
feeding the 4,000 made me think of each of those 4,000 people, Jesus had no
problem caring for each and every one of them.Not one of them went without and not one was left hungry.And to top that off, He had extra left over
after caring for each of their needs.Reminds me that no problem is too small nor too big for Jesus.Nor are there too many of us that He doesn't
have time for each of our needs.But the
flip-side is this, Jesus provided the food to the thousands that day, but He
couldn't force them to eat.That's a
choice that we each still make today.Do
we know that Jesus IS BIG enough, yes even BIGGER than your problems?And do you seek HIM, earnestly seek Him, so
that HE can feed and nourish you?If
not, start today! Have a blessed weekend!