Got a lot of blackberries? Then check out this recipe for Blackberry Mojito Fruit Leather.

I'm not a huge fan of fruit leathers, but this turned out super good! And, really, you can't go wrong with blackberries, mint and rum.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Part-time homeschooling for full-time working parents

This school year started off extremely bumpy for my 11-year-old. The transition to 6th grade middle school for the H-man just wasn't going very well and his anxiety has been completely off the charts. He spent the first week+ hunkering down at home while we came up with Plan B and Plan C. Plan B was to homeschool him full-time, which neither my husband nor I was ready to commit to.

His middle school came back with a plan to have him slowly integrate into the mainstream classes. What this ended up being was him starting out with 1 class a day and working his way up to 3 classes over the course of several weeks. We'll call this, Plan C. It's where we currently are.

How does this work? Well, he does part-time at school (3 classes) and part-time at home (3 classes). We get the coursework for those afternoons by coordinating with the other teachers for what he should be doing. Since I work full-time, I've hired a tutor to pick him up from school, take him home and work on the missed material until I get home from work in the late afternoon. We've lucked out because his tutor is a certified WA state middle school teacher who is familiar with the material (although from a different school district) and really enjoys the one-on-one with him.

The benefit of doing this is that he still goes to school but at the comfort level he can manage. While I can't say that he is entirely comfortable even with 3 classes, it's better than nothing. I also can't say that it's working super well, since the curriculum for those 3 classes isn't exactly geared towards home study so we'll be discussing that with his teachers at his IEP meeting to see what other options we have.

The one thing I'm hoping that will come out of this is that we will follow a homeschool plan and drop trying to match the school assignments - it's just too hard to keep up with 10 hours a week of missing instruction. I'd much rather have his tutor design the material and instruct him based on what she usually teaches for those classes.

If I didn't work, I would certainly do things differently, but I'm constrained with having to keep my job due to my husband's cancer and his treatments. Plus, I love my job. At this point, I joke that he's getting a public school education at private school prices, but it's better than that. He has the comfort and freedom of doing schoolwork at home with a tutor who can cater to his learning style.

I'll let you know how it goes as this evolves. If you are interested in learning more about part-time homeschooling for kids with special needs, you can check out this book, Autism and Flexischooling: A Shared Classroom and Homeschooling Approach. If you want to read more about how to juggle working and homeschooling, read this great new book, How to Work and Homeschool: Practical Advice, Tips and Strategies for Parents.


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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Getting back on the blogging horse

I woke up this morning in bed with an odd thought and a twinge of excitement. And, no, it wasn't in my pants. It was about blogging. Yesterday, I had an IM discussion with Erica from Northwest Edible Life and one of the things that came up was about how many of the people she knew who had written a book had also stopped blogging shortly thereafter. She wanted to know why that was.

From my own experience, it was the pinnacle of writing burnout. My book, The Non-Toxic Avenger: What You Don't Know Can't Hurt You, was published almost two years ago. I followed up the book launch with a lengthy radio campaign and an aggressive blog book tour. That, coupled with the death of my Dad, hospitalizations for both my mom and husband and crap at school with my son and I just couldn't do it anymore.

I have occasionally tried to pump out a posting since then, but in all seriousness, I haven't consistently blogged since February of 2012. Also, since then, a lot has changed in my life. I was going to graduate school but some major changes here at the homestead have forced me to put that on hold. At least for now. So, now I find myself with some extra time on my hands and a renewed interest in blogging. I wasn't sure if that would ever happen again and I can't say that I'm making any promises, but don't be too surprised if you see more activity on this blog in the near future. The thing that makes me feel different about this time around is that I'm actually excited about blogging again. Which is something new.

Stay tuned.

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