Friday, April 30, 2010

These are the Champions- of our Multiplication Bee

Tonite before Bible we had a multiplication bee as the end of our week of multiplication review.... and these are the winners. They get an ice cream treat but actually Paul and I were so impressed at how they cheered each other on - Look at Mya hugging Luke after he won for his age :) that we all will visit Dairy Queen for a treat!

Welcome new little ONES...

I can share that both would fit on the top of this pyramid... by their age they will be our youngest... even counting Andrew and Gracie.

Remember in my post below I shared that we were adopting again... well we are adopting 2 new ones :) I can not wait to show you their pictures. They are so cute. They are siblings and we just heard this afternoon about being able to adopt both.... This is so amazing to us and from the look on the kids faces do you think they approve ?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

You know what is significant about these pictures ?

He is sitting... not to amazing for most 5 and a half yr olds but for Andrew it is pretty significant. He is choosing to sit now instead of lying down. His preference when we brought him home in Dec. was just like he spent the first 5 yrs of his life- to lie down . It is so good to see him upright.. even in his bed he will stand or sit and play :)

Home schooling questions answer post # 1

Some great questions and hopefully I will share something that will help. I asked my married daughter, Mary Kate what was one of her benefits to being homeschooled... her response," It helped me greatly in college because college learning is self paced, disciplined schooling like our home schooling was. "

She really summed it up well... I do some teaching and I love doing science projects or special areas like music and art.... but the majority of my kids now are self paced and self taught now.... I interact by grading . When I look at their work then I do teach the areas that I can see they need help with... whether it be multiplication of multiple numbers.. 1243 x 234. If they do not get a high c or better than we go over the skills being taught. I have many of them grouped by skill level- not necessarily grade level. So that I teach the same skills to many at once. Usually at least 2 times a week I do an all group review ... where I am teaching the whole group math or language or geopgrapy... It may be what the younger ones are learning but still a good review for all.

Question about how to teach younger ones to do independent work... really they are not ready at the ages to do all of their work by themselves because they need to be able to read... I have teamed them with an older one and they do the reading for them and explaining... this has helped the older one to review and to gain confidence. We use this for learning Bible verses for Awanas and learning rote skills like multiplication tables.... this way again the older child gets a review and the younger one gets the one on one... This technique has worked wonderfully for our kids. Now if you have no older ones or your older kids are not great students ( may need lots of time just to do their own work and struggle doing work by themselves) the ability to do this is harder and you would need to supervise more... I suggest quick learning that the younger ones can do... I have lots of easy manipulative type activities for the kids to do until I can be there... I have some coloring pages... like really unique and detailed designs pages that I require only pencils or crayons on.. and each part has to be colored seperately ( so they don't just color all the details one color), puzzles, or easy games... like memory, flash cards they can match,or have the 5 yr old play hide an object so the younger one can find it.. while you teach your 9 yr old...

Also I have lots of charts up all over the house. Charts that show shapes, numbers and other skills. These can be bought at educational stores and learning from them is often just caught... I will see even my little grandaughter, Ava standing in front of one and showing Gracie the shapes correctly or the colors. Move them around from time to time also... I have been amazed at how much the kids notice "old" things after I move them. I do this with toys even.

I do what I call "catching" teaching moments with the kids.... Mya right now came up to me and asked if she could get Gracie up.. usually at 4 pm.. I asked Mya what time it was and she could not tell me correctly... so I had her count by 5s and she got a review of counting by 5s and what nickles are... she actually just got home with Ben ( She went to Walmart with him on an errand) and she spent 11 dimes... I did not plan this but she again reviewed counting by 10s and dimes... these are moments that we catch... not planned and to be honest some of our best learning has occurred during these times....

Also the skill of multi tasking comes in handy when teaching multiple children and ages and skill levels... I will teach up and down the skill all in the moment of teaching and hopefully it is review for some and a look at what they will need to know for that skill later...

The amount of time spent on "real " school does not have to be much... we cover the basics- math, reading, spelling, writing Bible and language arts skills every day. I have been goal oriented for them and for the last 2 yrs we have had the goal to improve reading and writing skills... since all of my kids are now ESL kids where english was their second language- these skills come slower and so our emphasis has been to write and read better. We write a letter, thank you note , encouragement, get well or persuasive - write to a politician to convince or a newspaper about an issue. We are learning what is to us basic communication skills to help them in life.... For younger ages... you can have them dictate to you what they want to write and then they can color a picture to go with it....

I have done unit studies before and love to teach that way the best... but have not done this as much this year... We would pick a subject to learn more about like creatures of the ocean... and the whole weeks lessons would evolve around that with some very neat field trips to the Baltimore Aquarium or NC one... or going to the beach for some "real" teaching moments. The kids are interested in birds and so we feed birds, write about birds, do art projects and listen to and be able to identify birds by sight , nests , their young and their songs. It requires lots of preperations but so worth it. I keep folders on the units and they have in them lots of ideas, pages we have colored, links to online stuff that has been fantastic, art projects and phone numbers to call to set up field trips -once we studied community helpers and visited police, fire and hospitals in our area. We have studied the C and O canal which is by us and for our field trip we went to the C and O Canal in Georgetown and got to ride on a real canal boat... for one of the art projects we made canal boats and floated them ... lots of online stuff for kids to. We studied farming once and visited a farm and our vet has had us over... Fun way to teach your kids.

Curriculum ?

I have used many curriculums... ABEKA, Bob Jones, Calvert, and now I am using a variety of them... from books bought at an educational supply store ( not whole curriculums like Alpha Omega life paks - too expensive for us) , School Zone, Francis Schaffer, Trend, School Speciality and even Saxon ( we are not fans of Saxon like some home schoolers are ).. I buy some material at Sams Club and Walmart even.... Because I am aware of the skills the kids need for each grade level I pick material that goes to that... some are easier that others and you have to know your child to get one that will be more successful for them...

I am a member of NATHANN NEWS and they have lots of great information for teaching special needs children. I also network with other parents some and our therapists for the kids ( speech and physical therapy) have given me some wonderful resources or leads to some and I have bought them . ( I do the physical therapy for all our kids after being taught how to) and we do speech once a week but follow up with speech for those who need it the other 4 days.

I do have a college degree in education and child developement and so it is an area that I also enjoy living out daily in my life.

Now for the question about what works best for older kids with little previous education... all of our 19 adopted children have needed this system that we have done... even the ones who had gone to school... they start out in preschool material and move usually very quick up to the grade level they can do that challenges them... I teach basic skills at first like colors, shapes , names of letters, sounds and just move up.... all my kids were not english speakers and needed this... some just needed basic social skills and learning about our family - a family - how to be appropriate, hygiene issues, and lots of other interpersonal skills to function positively in a family and our culture... the first year we work lots in these areas... what is a family, how we forgive and not retatiliate, what is a mom and dad or siblings. This is the only goal we set for the first year.. it is not the only goal that they achieve... some do wonderful and others we are still working on :) My point is we do not only teach academics in our school but we teach about our faith, life and other equally important values... and we unteach lots of negative behaviors. Some even have to learn to "pay attention" to extend their attention spans ( listening to music and asking about it or finding out some things they get excited about and have them do these things to draw their ability to pay attention for more than a few minutes). Then adding the not so exciting things to learn in...

We have "aged " out a child before who was not going to college- Joseph did not have the ability to achieve in college and we feel that really was not in God's plans either- but boy has he achieved at his career at Sams Club. Abraham is not working regulary for money but does play the piano and sings at functions for ministry and sometimes he is paid like for weddings... ( he suffered some brain damage due to a severe beating in his orphanage) but his ability to play the piano is awesome and a blessing. Our daughter, Molly also did not want to go to college- she is now 26, is an EMT-medic and has her own business -since she was 18. It was not hard for them at all to find thier niche and they have all done it exceedingly well.

I knew this post would be long... but hopefully helpful...

Jodi- You have a personal email :) I can't write all that I want to share here on my blog about your situation... but you are a blessing to all of your children.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

How do we home school all of these children? Good Question

We have been home schooling now for over 25 yrs... Our first group of kids were taught at home and have all graduated and gone to college, technical training, and/or are running their own business. When we first had Laura Jeane our oldest we always wanted to teach her at home... Home schooling was just beginning as a movement back then and it took us a few yrs. to "jump" into it but we have never regretted our decision. We do feel called by God to teach our children and there are several verses I can quote ... but to be honest my main other reason for teaching them is because I love being around them.... yes ... all of them. When LJ - home schooled since 4th grade, Jenn-hs since 2nd grade, Molly only went thru 1/2 day kindergarten and Abraham was hs for up to only one half of his 4th grade-( Yes you can even home school your special needs children well- there are lots of support for this) would be out for the summer I loved it and when they would go back in the Fall I was down.... I would shudder when I would go thru the grocery store lines when I heard other mom's saying things like, " My kids are home and I don't know what to do with them." or " Yey they are going back to school" . I honestly never have felt these feelings . I love teaching my kids... and helping them to discover right along side of them. Now it is more of a challenge with as many children as we are teaching and with the needs of our children... but it works well for us.

These are some pictures of our school room area... shelves from Ikea are great "cubbies" - one for each child to hold their own books. We study in a very natural way and a purposeful way too. We have lots of maps around and study the world... especially since we have so many children from diff. countries...

We've raised fish ( guppies - anyone need some? Ours are very prolific-as well as we have had our birds-parkeets lay eggs) . These have been great science lessons. Jonas is helping Ben with a project for his college class. Abraham has taught music lessons and here Rachel and Caleb are reading the Bible to him and going over it. Even Gracie has been taught how to use the computer and she surprised us all :)

I want to open this post up to questions about home schooling... so please comment and I will try to answer....

We are doing a radio show next Wednesday about home schooling ...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Welcome new little one....

I have been so excited to be able to share some news.... We have been praying about another adoption and the Lord has called us to another child/children... I can't share much details yet. We will be adopting a girl and possibly another sibling... from a country we have never adopted from before and our daughter has a special need that is needing urgent medical care. We feel so blessed to be walking this journey of adoption once again... as a matter of fact my heart is singing to think of another new life into our family... It just does not ever get old or mundane to be a part of God's will or plans...

This is our entrance to our home... it is by our peace garden and we try to always make it a place that welcomes anyone the Lord leads to us. It is very humbling to think that we will be blessed by a child once again.

We bought clippers at Sams Club :)

We bought these clippers last week and Paul gave all the boys haircuts ... the clippers cost just 30 dollars and have worked well and what a savings... You can imagine - even when our barber gave us a break at 2 for the price of one...with 10 boys and Paul we have paid for the clippers and made some just with one use.

Monday, April 26, 2010

We are outside all the time.....

Even if it is raining which it did all day... we sat outside for a few hours just chatting...We eat lots of our meals outside and watch the sun go down, of course we swim all day....It is strange in our neighborhood there are not that many families who come outside... but we are outside all the time.. no matter the weather... of course the kids have to take off their shoes ( this is only about half of them). We will sit at nite and watch a storm coming from the mountains.... We love where God has placed us.... now 10 and a half yrs....

Of course the sun always comes out after a storm.....

Isaac turned 13 last week

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Mya pays it forward....

Remember Caleb helping Mya by feeding her dinner the first nite she came home from the hospital?.. I caught her helping her sister, Gracie get ready this morning without anyone asking...It started my day right :)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Introducing Eli Cade Hambrick

Here go to Jenn's blog....they finally got the news they have been waiting for and we are rejoicing with them!

Listen to my children speak :)

video video

Home 4 months tomorrow and listen... to their precious voices....Gracie and Andrew- my heart is just singing now.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Anybody else love IKEA?

Mary Kate, Ava, Joseph, Isaac and I went to IKEA this afternoon... MK needed a dresser for the baby and I go anytime I get a chance to. This is what I came home with. I was most excited about this swing I bought for Andrew.... It was only 42 total for swing, pillow and hardware to hang it ... I think he will love it. Others can swing in it as well... up to 220 lbs..

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I never talk about my older kids much but I sure do love them...

I realized that I do not share as much about my older kids... who actually most of them are married or engaged and not around as much. We live just 6 miles from Mary Kate and so we see them often and we love that... I do not have as many pictures of Laura Jeane-who is turning 31 next month, or Jenn who is turning 29 Sat. or Molly who is 26 and her virtual twin Abraham - who is 27 . Abraham makes it in some because he lives with us and our last bio. child is Ben - who is 18 and in college at a local community college for now.

They were what we refer to as our "first" group of kids and they are all now grown... I actually do not feel old enough to have adult children and I can remember when I was there ages.. and it does not seem so long ago.

I loved being a momma from the beginning... Laura Jeane was our first child and was born just after I graduated from college. I loved being pregnant and nursing my babies and enjoyed all the stages they went thru... We wanted lots of children and I was pregnant with Jenn when LJ was still a toddler.... We had Molly soon after. I remember a thread on frua that discussed how easy or difficult it was to go from 1 to 2 or 3 or more kids... I was so overwhelemed with taking the "best" care of LJ and when I was pregnant with Jenn I wondered how do you love another child as much as I loved LJ? How silly but as a mom I think it is very natural. I even remember crying when I went into labor the second time and Iwas tucking LJ in bed...knowing that it was the last time we would be a family of 3 :) Now we are a family of 26.....

When I had Jenn it was hard but somewhat easier than when I just had LJ... when Molly was born I was so much more relaxed about things ... the jump to 3 was easy for us....I had a miscarriage after Molly and we did our adoption of Abraham.... It was a difficult first year for us with Abraham mostly because of his issues and my difficulty bonding with him at times... but we learned so much and even laugh at how we were then.... Then Mary Kate came along and it was very healing to me to have her after my miscarriage and 5 yrs later Ben was born.... We wanted more children but never were able to conceive again and eventually I had a hysterectomy... then a few years later after our fostercare experience we have adopted 18 children in 7 yrs.....

We have changed our parenting some but that is another post... These pictures are of Mary Kate's recent celebration for her 23d birthday. I love how Ava and Gracie helped to make her brownies ( she loves hot brownies with hot fudge and ice cream) ... You can tell they were having a great time.

I love all my older children and wonder at times where did the time go.... Paul and I have felt very blessed and are so proud of them.

Believe God or Not- Is it real to you?

Your life and how you conduct yourself both hinge on whether or not you believe God. Abraham in the Bible did all God asked him to do because he wholeheatedly trusted God. Trust is a huge thing for all of us. We have to make a step of faith to trust when we adopt , our adopted children have to learn to trust us and even our bio. children have learned to trust us. For some of us trust is easier to do than some... maybe because of some things that have happened in our life before, maybe our personalities are more rebellious and we need to question, taste and live it more before we can trust... either way our life and how we walk it really does depend on this ... believe God or not.

I think that one of the reasons I love children is their ability to trust more easily than adults... they are guilable ( in a good way that does not hinder their faith) , you ask them to come with you and they usually follow ( instead of adding up the costs or what will be in it for them). They show us the way to the purest form of faith ... believe, follow and walk.

People are still encouraged by Abraham's story today-because of his great faith and how God blessed him and the world through it.

Every day we have the same choice as Abraham- believe God and do as He says or not. You can make an extraordinary difference in the world if you will step out in faith. We all have areas or issues that we have to trust in Him... to provide for another adoption, for our travel home or there, for a document, for an authority to sign a paper or make a decision in our adoption walks. To see us thru the valley of the shadows that pass across our lives here ... be it a health issue, a wayward child, a marriage or relationship that is struggling in ALL the areas of our lives we have to trust what God says in His word...the Bible. I will never leave you or forsake you-Joshua 1:5. Either He means it or it is a lie.. I choose to believe. I choose to step out in my faith and do even more.... my husband and I do desire to adopt more children... our hearts feel the Lord moving strongly to encourage others by our walk and to speak for and be the voice for a child who no one cares for or could not love easily....

I burn to let others feel my joy, my pure contentment at watching a child overcome, see them discover love... a love greater than even I can love them... to watch them choose also to have a faith in Jesus Christ and then to hopefully watch as they walk their own walks and make their faith REAL to others....

Abraham's faith and deeds worked together. He proved that his faith was real by what he did. James 2:22

Is there something the Lord is calling you to do, to address to move on ?... Are you going to believe or not? It is as simple as a child taking His hand and walking with Him to the next journey that He has called you to....

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

This is one reason why he has developed muscles in his legs now


He really got to swinging today and you can see why his legs are getting so strong.

Andrew's meals and look at his legs

This was Andrew in December as we were giving him his first bath... and the one with me is in July...Look at how much he has put on weight... He uses his legs now especially in the jolly jumper and you can see muscle developing...

Now on to his eating... He usually eats 7 plus bottles a day now....This is how I prepare them. I used to use the blue Munchkin food grinder ( great when we traveled to pick him up) but now I fix so much food for him . I boil chicken, or beef ( usually 6 at a time of chicken). He gets 1 chicken breast daily or the eqivelent of beef and sometimes I will do a hotdog . Then I add 2 slices of whole wheat bread, graham cracker, bananna,applesauce, pears, peaches, peas, green beans, sweet potato, baked potatoe and or whatever others we have as leftovers...I add 3 fruits and 2 vegatables to each mix I make. I use whole milk as the base ( fat content is important to brain developement) and add cottage cheese and yougart. cottage cheese is so high in protein... and I add 1 egg a day to each batch. I do not change to much from this and we put a vitamin in his first bottle. The pitcher is full and there are 13 bottles made... that will go thru 3 days. He gained 2 plus lbs. in 2 weeks and we will check him in a week or so but he seems to be in a healthy eating cycle... He still does not want anything in his mouth but that is normal for a blind child especially one who was neglected and was not offered the chance to experience textures even with touch or his tongue...He does lots of oral discovering with his tongue and will lick the floors or anything he can... we let him as long as he does not chew , which he has tried to do some.

I can't even express our joy watching him bloom... we are still hoping and praying for lots more but each little change is a huge success to us.