Friday, May 30, 2014

Number Recognition (phone post)

It's been a long time since the last posting and truthfully,  I don't know when I'll be able to get back for the next update, but I had to share this with everyone..,

Today Vada and I spent a little over an hour going through the numbers 1-5. We used several different objects that we had in our classroom and grouped each number separately as their own individual lesson. 

Vada is awesome at sign language. She knows more than we do, which is funny because am the one teaching her the signs. However, I do have to give props to Rachael from Sign Time because obviously Vada is picking up tons from her shows as well! Because Vada uses more signs than verbal language her abilities can be easily underestimated, not just by those who don't know her, but us as her parents as well because there is a slight language barrier. Today I quizzed Vada on her number knowledge and she blew me away! While she acted bored and not overly interested in what were doing at times, she clearly was paying attention. And I realized that I need to step it up a notch (or two) in our next numbers activity!

Check out the below video see Vada showing off her number knowledge...

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Saying Good-Bye to the Blog

I feel so blessed to have this life that I am living. I mean that whole heartily and while that may sound as if I am trying to convince myself more than I am trying to convince all of you, you can rest assured that I am actually not trying to do either of the two, I am simply stating how grateful I am and that is the main purpose for this post. 

I have put a lot of time and effort into Making the Most of Today. The blog has almost become a part of who I am, in ways. Its important to me. I initially started it to keep everyone updated on Vada's and my medical issues while I was pregnant with her and then I continued with the blog after she was born. I often wrote about our hospital experiences and I always tried to write from my heart as I wanted others to take some knowledge away from what they were reading. Most of all I wanted everyone to see what a blessing Vada was, that this sweet little girl whom God had entrusted to our family was not a burden but a miracle. So many people say that God wont give you what you cant handle or God only chooses those to have the children with special needs who are capable of raising those children. I have come to believe that this isn't always the case. God does however have a purpose for each and every child that He creates and I believe that He created Vada for us and us for her. I wanted people to see that in this blog.

As time past and Vada grew healthier we as a family could breath normal breaths again. We could look into the future with more certainty and hope and we all began to live our lives a little more. Talk of early intervention for Vada was on the top of our conversation list and as most of you know, that option just didn't feel like the right path for our family to take with Vada and so we choose to homeschool her and here we are today with a blog all about our homeschooling and what we do with our three and a half year old princess who happens to have Down syndrome.

I have been asking myself and talking with my husband for some time about this subject, why do I do this? Why do I continue to blog?
Is it that I feel so strongly about the capabilities that individuals with Down syndrome possess, that I hope to inspire others to feel this same way? Well, yes, but I don't actually believe that I alone am not making that much of a difference just by sharing what Vada and I am doing in our homeschool classroom. To completely honest, I don't think that many people will understand how awesome it is to have someone as a friend or family member with Down syndrome until you actually have a friend or family member with Down syndrome.
Homeschooling in general is important to me as well but do I write this blog because I want others to homeschool their children with Down syndrome? Heck yeah! Homeschool all of your children! But that's not really why I am writing the blog. I believe that homeschooling has its place and while I think it is a wonderful option, I also know that it is not for every family or child. One reason that I share what Vada and I do in our homeschool classroom is so that others can get ideas from me. I love looking at other homeschool blogs and finding new ideas through them, to do with Vada, and I hope to do the same for others. The thought of inspiring others inspires me to be more creative!
One main factor to my blogging (and I wouldn't have to look too deep inside to find this), is that I am looking for others acceptance and approval. Im not an overly accomplished person at least not in the eyes of many and so the numbers of views and the comments and emails that came from this blog became comforting and almost uplifting and then kind of obsessive, in a silly immature school girl type of way. That's when I began to realize that I may be doing this for all of the wrong reasons.
On top of all of this, each post I write, takes a great deal of time from me. This time I could be cleaning my house, helping my children study, exercising, reading a book, preparing for classes, doing a Bible study and so on.
When it comes down to it, I really wanted to inspire others with this blog and somewhere along the way I kind of lost sight of something really important. The people who I want to inspire the most, who I want to make proud of me and who I want approval from are right here under my roof and in my family. They are my close friends and members of my church. They already know how awesome Vada and my other girls are. They know the great man, father and husband that I have and they know that I work hard and sometimes that I screw up but also that I always get on track. While I appreciate all of your comments and emails, all of your support and kind words I need to step back and focus on whats really important. I need to make God and my family first again and work on making them the focus of my getting their approval, appreciation and admiration.

Time goes by too quickly. If we waste what we have today we may not have tomorrow to get it back and so it's today that I say good bye to Making the Most of Today so that I can focus more on what I do have today, my family.

Friday, September 20, 2013

A Rainbow-rific Day

 This post is actually a day late. Our internet has been all wigged out and I was unable to post it on time. 

On many posts I have shared Vada working on different color recognition coloring books. I've never followed up on what we do with these books and recently I have had a couple of emails from curious parents wondering what we do with the books after Vada colors in them...

I save them. I laminate them all, place little rings in them to keep them connected and we keep them by the rocking chair in Vada's room where I read to her before her nap and bedtime and where she has easy access to them.

Today Vada and I read through her color recognition book once all of the way through and then on the second time around we matched the colors on the pages to the colors on Elmer the stuffed elephant.

We followed that activity up with an Elmer's book.

And continued to do some more color recognition activities with this gear puzzle from Melissa and Doug. 

We did more color sorting with the Farmer's Market set from Learning Resources. She seemed to have a hard time with this certain activity the other day. I am having a hard time knowing if it comes from not knowing the actual colors, not paying attention or being bored. So I thought that we should try again, at least once more this week.

She did great with this when she was focused but she really had to pay attention. Again, it was hard to tell if it was just luck when she was getting it correct so I brought out the crayon color sorters again as well. She really likes those and I figured repetition of a good thing never hurts.

The same thing went with this color sorting activity. Was it by chance or was it on purpose? Hmm...?

Vada and I did two interesting coloring worksheets. I say interesting because it was hard for Vada, yet I really wanted to have her finish the activity, yet I wasn't for sure if it was age appropriate and should press it. It turns out that we did two of the worksheets. The uppercase 'E' and the lowercase 'e' worksheets. They had Large, medium and small sizes for each upper and lowercase letter and for each size you were suppose to color each a different color. It was difficult and took a great deal of restraint on Vada's behalf but with my help and guidance, she did do it. She yelled at me a bit, she got frusterated a little but she completed the pages and I was proud of her but I did question myself...should I have stopped the lesson when she got frustrated? or what it good to push her a little even though she wasn't pleased about it? Seriously...Im looking for opinions and advice here...what do you think?

While Vada did put up a stink about coloring the upper and lowercase 'Ee's, she was all for writing practice, We used an orange dry erase marker for our hand over hand practice writing but Vada used a purple marker on her own. If you haven't already figured it out, I chose these two colors because they are are our colors of the week.

Vada's grasp does seem better with the mini markers. Thanks Christy, your awesome!

Check out Vada's horizontal line attempts! Not bad for a three and a half year old, ehh?
Notice the little 'v' as well...

Now check out this uppercase 'V'. Pure accident? Probably, but I am telling myself that there was some effort put into this letter 'V'.

I asked Vada to connect the "big E to the little e" and look what she did! All on her own! With NO, assistance or guidance from me! She is awesome, right? This is great, right?!? Oh my gosh, I am just smitten with this little girl!

After Vada had her own practice writing time we moved on to shape tracing. 
These last two sheeting activities came from

After talking about the tracing sheet we moved onto another puzzle-like activity. 

We also turned this activity into a math and color recognition activity.

At first Vada had a hard time getting the shape pieces off of the posts but once she figured it out she didn't want to stop. We did this activity two times.

Since I used the last activity as a counting activity (as well other things) I also used it as a sort of transition activity. We went from the puzzle onto the number one TouchMath flash card and counting single object activities.

After doing everything we did in our last activity yesterday, I added another step. It was simple but added more counting. I had Vada put each object, one at a time, into the cup. As Vada added objects into the cup I would count them, "One orange Numicon, One gray cat, one purple cup", and so one. I just wanted to highlight on the fact that we were focusing on one.

After Vada put everything into the cup I brought out the book that we worked on the previous day and we read through it then began coloring more in it.

And that was our rainbow-rific day.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


We spent half of our morning in our local public library today looking for letter 'E' books and left with a whole stack of Elmer the Elephant books! 

I was hoping to find at least one Elmer book so that Vada would be able to relate the Elephant to his character. I was surprised to have found this many!

Once we got home from the library it was time for lunch and then Vada was very tired so I laid her down for a nap. It wasn't until this evening when my older two girlies were at church for their weekly youth groups that Vada and I went into the classroom.

We only had a little over an hour, so we couldn't do a full days worth of activities but I wanted to get in somethings today. I always feel so guilty when we miss school time. Vada and I have such a good time, she gains so much from it and well, its my job. 

Yesterday Vada's occupational therapist (Christy) made a comment on one of my recent blog posts. (I love that she follows along and offers me advice, she rocks!) She said that I should look into getting mini dry erase markers for Vada to use for writing practice. So I went out and found some. At first glance I thought the markers just looked shorter. I had the packs of mini's in my hand but actually rehung them on their hooks and almost didn't buy them because I didn't get what the big deal was about them. I was half way out of the store when I decided to compare them to a regular sized dry erase marker (duh!), so I turned back around and did just that and guess what, they were smaller. Christy didn't just recommend the mini's because they are shorter but because they are smaller in every way and would fit into Vada's small hands better. In the words of my teenager "she's so smarticle!"

Staples had two packs with multiple colors and I got both. Were working on colors and I needed some markers from each pack. Yep, that's how I am justifying this purchase. Thank you very much.

 We used Vada's new mini dry erase markers on a letter 'Ee' pre-hand writing worksheet.

We then used it on the Pre-Writing Practice worksheets that also came from our LOTW, letter 'E' binder.

Check out those almost number ones!

Vada finished her color recognition 'Ee' is for Elephant book, from

I will say this about these coloring pages and Vada's work efforts. I think that she was just not into it. Look at these scribbles. They are the same and she doesn't really color like this when she is trying and yet the coloring is almost exactly the same on each page. It was like Vada was saying "fine", scribble, scribble..."here, now I'm all done. Can we please move on!"

Earlier today, after the library and right before Vada took her nap we read a couple of the Elmer books that we borrowed from the library. One of the books was Elmer's Special Day. It was about the day that all of the other elephants paint themselves in beautiful colors and Elmer makes himself look like a regular grey elephant. Anyway, it made me think of decorating our own elephant. I got onto google images and found a perfect Elmer printable page. I made two copies. Today we made our own Elmer, later we will decorate the second elephant in a more creative way.

I gave Vada a glue stick and told her what I wanted her to do with it. Elmer needed to be fully covered in paste.

After Vada worked at pasting awhile, I did help but just a little. Wink. Wink.

I then began to hand Vada 1x1 pre cut squares of different colors of tissue paper and asked Vada to push them onto Elmer.

Eventually, the whole elephant was covered with tissue paper. We then took out the scissors and together Vada and I cut Elmer out.

Some areas, like around the mouth and around the feet were too difficult for Vada and I to cut out together so I did that and after everything was cut I took a black marker and re-drew Elmer's features so that it resembled a elephant. After I added the features Vada and I added a dot of Elmer's glue and she pushed on a googly eye.

Tonight, before bed, I read another Elmer the elephant book to Vada. My daughter Jasmine took this picture and I had to share it because we snuggling with the blanket that my grandmother made for her, Vada is so sleepy and I just think it's precious.