Thursday, August 23, 2012

2012-2013 Preschool with Apraxia Curriculum

I am hesitant to start this post as I am still working out the details, but I wanted to start laying out my plans. We recently saw Luke's developmental pediatrician, and the biggest piece of advice he gave us was to not focus on Luke being able to write letters just yet. Instead to focus on improving his hand strength. Between that bit of advice, and knowing what I already know about his abilities, and what his SLP is concerned about, I have a list of things I'd like to work on with him.

1. Recognize upper and lower case letters (he already knows most, if not all)
2. Numbers
3. Colors/Shapes
4. Improve fine motor skills. I love this blog post from Mommy with Selective Memory. She has lots of great ideas for this. I'm also a big fan of Montessori activities. Pre-writing activities would fit in here.
5. Improve core strength. I recently bought the Amazing Peanut Ball from Timberdoodle for this.
6. Visual processing skills. His SLP recently brought this up with me as a possible problem for him, so it will also be a goal in his therapy sessions. I bought the four pack of Developing the Early Learner and I think the books will be helpful.


2012-2013 First Grade Curriculum

 I am basing much of our curriculum on the book Home Learning Year by Year by Rebecca Rupp.  I highly recommend this book.  If you're going to buy one book to go along with your homeschool, I would pick this one.  It lays out what should be taught and when, and lists many living book examples that can be used to teach the different concepts.

I also used Timberdoodle to help me pick most of the textbooks.  I love this company.  They offer a complete curriculum package for each level (including baby and toddler!).  I combined their suggestions with the ones in Home Learning Year by Year.

Phonics/Language Arts:

All About Reading 1
Explode the Code book 2
First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind

Lots of reading!


Singapore 1A/1B Standards
Daily Word Problems, Grade 1 Math


Handwriting Without Tears, Grade 1, My Printing Book


We will be studying early American History starting with the explorers, and going as far as we can.  My plan is to get to early westward exploration.  This will be done with living books, very relaxed and fun.  Hoping to fit in many field trips!  May also do some ancient history using Story of the World I, as suggested in Home Learning Year by Year.

I plan to have a separate post listing which books we used for each period of history.


Daily Geography Practice, Grade 1


Daily 6-Trait Writing, Grade 1

Five in a Row, Before Five in a Row - This covers many subjects such as science, art, language arts, math, geography and history.

Various printables and worksheets to add variety.

Field trips, field trips, field trips!  I hope to make good use of all the great field trip opportunities in our area this year.

Apraxia Update

Luke has been plugging along on the apraxia front. He continues to amaze me on a daily basis. I have completely lost track of how many words and phrases he can say. The boy loves to sing. His favorite activity right now is to turn on Cody's iPod and play music. Ryan and I went to a Josh Thompson/Justin Moore concert a few weeks ago, and Luke has been obsessed with their music ever since. Every time Luke requests Josh Thompson by name I want to sit down and write Mr. Thompson a letter telling him how awesome he is for making music that my little guy loves so much that it prompts him to say new words. Luke sings along with the songs. He doesn't get every word, but he gets a lot of them. He asks for songs by name (Blame it on Waylon is a favorite). He gets mad at me if I don't get the iPod playing fast enough in the car, and even more mad if I have the nerve to turn the music down. And if a song comes on that he doesn't like? You better change it quick. He has also decided that Eric Church and 311 are pretty darn awesome too.

 All that being said, he still has a long way to go. I can understand most of what he says, other people (including my husband at times) struggle to understand. Luke hit his first real wall with PROMPT, and it came in the form of words such as kick, make, etc. He has trouble making sounds with the back of his tongue (go ahead, say'll understand what I mean). His name of course falls into that sound category, so he's still calling himself "Nute" most of the time. It will be an exciting day the first time he can say his name correctly! We're working hard on it though, and I have no doubt that he'll get it.

 His SLP recently raised some concerns about his visual tracking abilities. His actual vision is fine, but she feels that he may have trouble with tracking, sequencing, etc. This would of course affect his reading abilities in the future, so I was pretty upset to learn this. She's wonderful though, and came up with some goals to help him through it. Thankfully there are easy exorcises that can be done at home, so I'm adding those activities to our preschool activities.

Returning and Food Allergies

First, in my last post here, back in June, I mentioned that I was moving over to another blog. That blog would be to focus on writing about homeschooling and homeschooling with Apraxia. It never felt right, and I missed this, my original place, so I made the decision to move back. Oh how I've missed This Mama's Heart! Homeschooling and homeschooling with Apraxia will be a major focus here, but I wanted a space where I could write about other topics as well. {If you'd like to see the few posts that I made over there, they can be found at Potomac Learning.}

Which leads me to this post!

Today we saw Luke's allergist for his annual visit. We saw her several times last summer and fall for two different in office food challenges (IOFCs) for peanuts and eggs. Eggs he originally passed, but then went on to have major reactions to baked in eggs at home. Peanuts he failed after the second dose in office. She decided then that we would no longer base IOFCs on RAST (blood test) results because his RAST scores don't appear to match with his reaction. His RAST for peanuts last summer was actually negative, and the RAST for egg was extremely low. We decided to go for a skin prick test (SPT) today to see if an IOFC for either peanuts or egg, or both, would be in our future. The picture below shows his back, with the SPT in progress, about halfway through the test. She also tested for a few tree nuts.

1 - Positive control 2 - Negative control A - Almonds C - Cashews P - Peanuts W - Walnuts E - Egg

The wheals for egg and peanut got pretty big. Generally any wheal over 8mm shows a 95% probability of a food allergy reaction to what is being tested. The wheal on Luke for peanut was 13mm, the wheal for egg was 19mm. In the fall of 2010 the wheal for egg on Luke was 17mm. This was our first SPT for any food other than egg. Initially all tree nuts were negative. As we spoke with the allergist though, a small wheal popped up for cashews.  Because of this, we are continuing to avoid cashews (and pistachios as they are cross reactive), but his allergist wants us to introduce the tree nuts that he passed. We're to start in small amounts, and do just one at a time. We also have to be careful that any tree nuts he is given do not have cross contamination with peanuts, cashews or pistachios.

 I will be very nervous about introducing tree nuts to him, but I am excited that this will open up some new food choices for our family.

One more picture of his egg wheal. She considers this a major reaction. The worst part is that this makes her feel that he will probably not outgrow his egg allergy. This of course made me extremely sad.