Saturday, November 17, 2012


I was going to post about some of the fun activities we have done this week, but I will have to do that another time.  We have had some fun learning opportunities.  Instead I want to share a a bit about some of our journey and the struggles we have had and the recent progress that has encouraged us. 

When Caleb was two I went to the pediatrician and told him that something seemed not right with Caleb.  The doctor and I had a discussion about it and he told me that my concerns were valid and real.  We talked about the options and in his opinion we should wait a year and if when Caleb turned 3 he was still having these issues that we would take further steps.  Caleb turned 3 with no improvement.  He was then sent for evaluation at the school system.  They tried to diagnose Caleb with autism.  I suspected speech apraxia and ADHD, but not autism.  I was a mental health/ substance abuse therapist at the time and I used the diagnostic manual (DSM-IV) regularly so I looked up the autism symptoms and Caleb did not show signs of autism.  So I told the school psychologist she was wrong and went back to the pediatrician.  The doctor agreed with me.  However, my husband was about to have brain surgery so I was not able to continue this matter further for a while. 

Four days after my husband's brain surgery we moved back to our hometown community.  We had Caleb evaluated again by the school system.  They agreed that he does not have autism.  They agreed that there were some speech issues and something more, but wanted to try some other things besides treatment.  So I worked with Caleb at home and he did show improvement, but something was still not right.  So we continued on with what we were doing at home because he was improving.  Then it came time for kindergarten.  I truly believed the Lord wanted us to homeschool, but we needed my income so I was not going to be able to.  Then 2 weeks before kindergarten was to begin I was laid off.  So we declared our intent to homeschool to the district and withdrew him from the school system.  Then we started homeschooling.  This was one of the best things we have ever done.  We were even so convinced that when I was recalled to go back to work about three and a half months later we continued to homeschool (I am now home full time for good).  I have only been back working for a few days when we discovered Caleb had been having seizures in his sleep and judging by certain symptoms that only those familiar with seizures would know it was apparent that Caleb had been having them for quite some time.  The doctor was never able to quite determine the cause of his seizures nor the reason for some bizarre patterns in those seizures.  The appeared to come in clustered time spans.  This is not normal for epilepsy.  Then one day he just stopped having seizures.  The doctor had not medicated him because he had not been able to determine in which area of the brain the seizures were happening .  We went through periods of time with other neurological issues such as tics and night terrors were the worst ones.  Then last year we repaired a floor in the house that was rotten and full of black mold.  His symptoms all disappeared within 2 weeks and have not returned.  It baffled us and the doctor as to why he only had symptoms in the late fall and winter.  Then when spring would arrive the symptoms would disappear.  Now I understand that he was having neurological issues during the times of year the house is closed up so mold was not escaping.  Hind sight is 20/20 after all. 

The floor was repaired 11 months ago and Caleb finally started retaining reading skills.  Before this past year he would do well in math, but could not seem to retain reading skills.  We had tried so many different methods and curricula.  Nothing had helped.  Since his neurological problems have left Caleb has had to work hard, but he is learning.  A few weeks ago (3 or 4) we were in a shopping center.  Out of nowhere Caleb says Cash Store.  Right in front of us was a sign that said Cash Store.  At that moment Caleb said, "That is why you have been trying to make me read, there are words all around every where."  He finally decided there was a purpose and the skills were coming together.  Now Caleb wants to read every day.  I find him looking at just about anything around us and trying to read it.  He does too.  Today he was rewarded for his reading effort.  He was given a kids cookbook this week and was looking through it.  He came to me and said, "Mommy this says Pumpkin Smoothie and I would like to try it."  We did not have all the ingredients so he had to wait, but this afternoon we made the pumpkin smoothie and it was yummy.  I gave him even more opportunity to practice his skills by letting him read the spice labels until he found cinnamon and nutmeg.  Then this evening we were cleaning a church we are contracted to clean.  Caleb was helping me clean the bathrooms.  One bathroom door says Eve and another bathroom door says Adam.  Caleb came to me while I was helping Simeon with some dusting and said, "M-O-M, I finished cleaning Eve."  Then when I came back to help him he said, "M-O-M, I am cleaning Adam now."  I asked him where he was getting these names from and he told me, "The sign on the door."  It has been exciting for Caleb and for me.  I am proud of him for continuing to work hard and learn to read. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Let's Start Again

I started to blog about our homeschool last year, but then it fizzled.  I actually remember what happened.  A rather large type of repair happened right at Christmas time, then our family ended up going to the Appalachian Mountains to do some volunteer work and I did not have internet while there so I lost momentum.  Now, however, I think we can get the momentum back.  I will try to post something weekly to let you see what is going on here at Vanderhoof School of Excellence.  For now let me post some pictures of this school year.

These were from our trip to the Indianapolis Children's Museum.

Of course no school year is complete without a sick day.  I told Caleb that day when he had the stomach flu that he sure knows how to get out of school.  He told me that school is much more fun than the stomach flu.

Reformation Day. 

Here are just some pictures around our schoolroom this year which ironically I feel like we school all over the house more this year than in this room.

We are studying anatomy and physiology in science this year.  So we traced ourselves and I trace different organs, bones, etc and we discuss what they are, color them, and then put them on the body tracings.

This is a sample of our year so far.  We love school and are so glad the Lord called us to homeschool.  We look forward to actually sharing our journey with you this time.