Hello from The 4 Brothers Ranch! Our family has a lot going on and a couple blogs in order to keep things organized. You can find all our homeschooling stuff here! Annissa's regular everyday blog is called A PAGE IN MY BOOK and also there is a blog to update the kids medical issues at MY UNIQUE FLOWERS. Please check those out too!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Homeschooling Hedgehog: 1

I found these graphics on Pinterest ....  I had to share!  There are a lot of them so I'll share them in a few posts .....

Sunday, June 24, 2012


I am standing smack in the middle of a crossroad ...  Friday pushed that crossroads out a little and made us more determined.   Been talking about it, questioning it, trying to figure out what's best for our children and we had pretty much decided to let Calahan learn at home, Noah was up in the air.

Noah gets speech therapy and he's very social.  Those two facts alone had us questioning if homeschooling him would be right.  We fully planned on working through the summer with him to see how he did and make that determination later ....  but....  now.... after he handed me his report card, I'm so irritated and pissed ..... I am certain that my kids are falling through the cracks.

I have discussed in previous posts how Calahan is feeling uncomfortable at school.  There is a little bit of bullying that has been going on the last 6 months or so.  He is uncomfortable with the drinking and drugs and smoking going around.  He has some major anxiety issues.  But he's made some good friends.. and he was thrilled when he got his yearbook.  He thought it was super cool.

Now, I have to say that I'm really proud to know that I instilled in him ... I  never did any sort of drugs, unless it was prescription ... lol... highly against smoking and have many pet peeves of others smoking habits infringing on my direct air quality.  I have lung issues and my kids have lung issues, so it's a little more than just me not liking it.  I don't like the taste of alcohol.  So I would take sips now and then of my friends stuff, but I never liked anything.  Then I dated a bartender when I was 29 and he created a drink where I didn't taste the alcohol ... Drinking has never been important and I keep telling those I'm around that if you don't start it - you won't miss it.  That's one reason Calahan is uncomfortable around it - he has very strong convictions about it already.

Based on a lot of reasons, I think homeschooling is a better choice for him.

Then there is Noah....  we were back and forth over what's best with him... but when he handed me his report card for the year - it pushed me over the edge.

37 out of the 56 spaces for grades is marked *  .... meaning "ungraded"

He got no grades in Reading, Writing & Math... and Participates In Service (whatever that means)

In Science:
Effort - he got a "Satisfactory" when he got "Excels" the prior two grading periods.  
Content - He got a "2" meaning "Approaching Standards" which is what he got both the prior two grading periods also.

In Social Studies:
Effort - he got a "Satisfactory" when he got "Excels" the prior two grading periods.  
Content - He got a "3"meaning "Proficient" which is what he got the prior grading period, and a "2" the grading period before that.

In Health and Fitness:
Effort/Cooperation - he got a "Satisfactory" when he got "Excels" the prior grading period and "Satisfactory" the period before
Demonstrates Knowledge - he got "Excels" all three grading periods

In Music:
Effort/Cooperation - he got "Satisfactory" all three grading periods
Skills and Concepts - he got a "Approaching Standards" and was completely ungraded the two grading periods prior. 

In Behavior:
Cooperative Learner - he got "Excels" in all areas, all three grading periods, for:
  • Cooperates and interacts positively with others
  • Respects rights, feelings and ideas of others
  • Resolves problems with peers appropriately
Quality Worker - he got "Excels" in the following areas: Shows willingness to try and Keeps workspace and materials organized (for willingness he got Excels in all three grading periods, in organized, he got Excels, Satisfactory, Excels) ......  "Satisfactory" for Shows persistence (as he did in all three grading periods) ... and "Below Expectations" for Writes legibly (which is funny since he got a not graded the first period, and then Satisfactory for the second, then went down to Below Expectations?) and "Ungraded" for Produces Quality Work (as he did all three grading periods).

Self-Directed Learner - he got "Ungraded" for all grading periods for Works Independently, Completes assignments in a timely manner, Returns home assignments on time, and Makes productive use of class time...... and for Follows Directions he was "Ungraded" for all grading periods except the current one for which he got "Excels".... he also got "Excels" for Is prepared with materials, and Follows school/classroom expectations. 

He got two notes for June....  the first under Reading is:
"(Noah) is very sociable and interacts well with peers.  Displays a positive attitude towards learning."

The second note that was on this report card for June is the one that set me off (other than all his ungraded spots) ....
"Noah was administered the DIBELs Next Progress Monitoring in June. The DIBELS NPM consists of 3 sub tests: Oral Reading Fluency (Words per minute); Retell of the passage read; DAZE Passage (fillin the missing word comprehension passage).  A Composite score of 400+ is considered grade level performance in June and an oral reading fluency (ORF) words per minute (wpm) of 118+.  Noah scored a composite score of 10 and an ORF of 24 wpm." 

 Yeah ...  I'm kinda pissed.

  This is the graph I found for the wpm part....  I don't know if it's reflective on the previous grades, however - if it is - he's Kindy level....

And I can't find anything for the other part since it varies from grade to grade and isn't reflective on the previous grade.  BUT a TEN???  My heart sank for him!!!   So did my husbands!

Now that the decision is made, I'm feeling a lot of things - excitement to help encourage or refresh my children's love of learning....  creating fun interactive lessons for them on things they love or have interest in .... but I'm scared I'm not going to do the right thing or enough....that I'm going to fall short, and all sorts of things. 

I feel like yelling - WHAT ARE THEY DOING FOR MY CHILD!?!?!  Other than giving him self-esteem issues?   

There is a big ol' YAY and WOW in my head.... and the the hesitant Oh BOY!!

Do you have any advice?  Things you wish you had known starting out? 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Birdy Pictures

Here are some more pictures that I took of the birdies that come to visit us....  They sit on the inside of the holes, or on the inside at all....... and there have been 2 birds in it at once, or several birds FIGHTING over getting in there.....  oh and they are messy messy birds, I get bird seed all over my patio... ha ha....

This one is really neat - if you click on the picture, you can see it larger - and you'll see the bird seed in the bird's beak. 

 This picture you can see the bird seed in the beak again...

We're going to be looking again to see if we can identify some of the birds we get.

Last Day of PUBLIC School

So today is the kids last day of PUBLIC school...   I thought about letting them just stay home, but I also have this need to make sure that they do what they are suppose to. 

Calahan is finishing up his Sophomore year, which he completely and utterly failed. 

Why did he fail?
  1. He didn't turn in work.
  2. He has a lot of trouble asking for help.
  3. He has major anxiety.
  4. The School was not following his I.E.P. 
  5. He stopped caring.
  6. He was uncomfortable at school
  7. There was some bullying. 
  8. He had a lot of absences
So yeah, there are a lot of reasons - some in his control, some not.  Regardless - my biggest concern is that they aren't following his IEP.  I brought it up - and the first thing out of the counselors mouth was "are you reminding your teachers?"

I realize that a lot is piled on top of teachers these days... they are over worked, over stressed, and have to use a lot of their own money to make sure their classes are fun and interesting.... 

But since when is it the CHILD'S responsibility to make sure their I.E.P. is followed??? 

So we are certain we're going to allow Calahan to Homeschool/On-line School this coming fall.

Noah did really well this year... 
He "finished" 4th Grade, and by finished, I mean he made it through the school year.  He is at a 1st or 2nd grade level academically and they just keep pushing him forward even though I don't feel it's doing any good.  I have asked repeatedly that they hold him back a year.  I was told "no, we feel it's more important to keep him with his peers then giving him the stigma of being held back" .... Thanks No Child Left Behind Act ..... but let me ask you this....  How do you think it makes him feel to be pulled out of the class and exposed to the fact that he isn't at the same academic level as the other students in his class? 

When we moved here and decided to give the school district a try here ... I asked them to hold him back a year then, to make things a little easier on him.  They wouldn't.   So this past year, he was pulled out of class a lot, he couldn't work with his classmates because he wasn't at their level...  he was allowed to not do work because he couldn't... because it wasn't at his level.  When things were too hard in class, he had a folder of work (at his level) he could do ...  so he would pull that out and work on that while the class worked on something else.  Which is great, he showed initiative on pulling out work he could do... but ...  I don't think it's fair to him.  What exactly is he learning by this?

And then, he expressed to me one day - he doesn't feel smart because he can't do the same work as the other kids.

This broke my heart....

............ broke it....

So DB and I discussed it - and we're going to give it a chance through the summer and see if he'll listen to me and do his work, if he does - we're going to homeschool him, if he doesn't ... then I have no choice but to put him back in public school next year.  

Noah is a whiner - he whines at me all the time not to do stuff.  I still make him do it but it's a chore and hard  ... he doesn't act like this at school.  He listens, he's good, he's behaved....  I wish I had that Noah more often. 

In addition to that - we found out that Noah has Dyslexia - which I suspected and Calahan has something called Dysgraphia.   I actually wrote a blog about the Dysgraphia recently ...  check it out. 

I'm giving both kids a week off - one because it's my birthday on Monday - ha ha - and I don't want to start then.  But I think we're going to start the following week, on July 2nd.   That'll give me some time to get a plan in place. 

As for the babies ..... we'll see.  Nathan *hates* going to school - he cries everyday.   Kaedyn LOVES going to school ...    Nathan gets services through school like Speech Therapy and Occupational Therapy ...  which are important.  And he needs to be exposed to a structured social environment right now, due to his Autism.  So we feel it is important to at least *try* to get him to like school.  He's starting a new school next year, and Kaedyn will be returning to the same pre-school.  We have no idea how this is going to go over since they were in school together this past year, and next year, they aren't even at the same school.  

So we're going to start off with the older two, and see how it goes with the younger ones..I'm excited!!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

Just wanted to wish all the fantastic Daddy's out there a fabulous Father's Day ...
Hug your kids and be sure to say "I love you!"  After all  - if it weren't for them - you would just be honoring your dad! LOL

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Birdy Experiment ....

The Experiment....

We wanted to know if Birdies would still come and eat the bread if a dinosaur were present.  I don't know about you ...... but I certainly wouldn't......

So we put out some dried bread (which we do commonly) and a dinosaur.  The little ones picked out this one cuz they thought he would be scary to a bird....

And we waited.....

and waited....

and then......

So, we found out that dinosaurs do not scare birds..... at least not little plastic ones.....