Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Snapshots of "Benny and Destiny's World Homeschool"

It's no Secret - I love teaching my children and taking a 'non-traditional' approach to education. While schools are cramming academics into kid's brains (which they may or may not retain, much due to the ridiculous standardized requirements that teacher's are forced to meet nowadays), I'm nurturing and educating my kids in using a "child-centered approach".

Benny and Destiny both do some worksheets, but as much as we can, we learn three-dimensionally. For example, check out these clocks that Benny created, using specific requirements set by me...

Check out these number counting worksheets Desty did at the library the other day...

Here we all are studying away...

Benny doing more math...

Benny's favorite picture of himself at Patchwork School...

And some random cool assignments...

Both kids have authored and illustrated their own books, which have been digitized. I'd love to share these amazingly creative stories on here, but I haven't figured out how to attach PDF's to blogspot...if it's possible, please enlighten me...

A Few Books That We Are Enjoying
Burly and Grum and the Secret City
Beyond The Forrest (A Burly and Grum Tale)
by Kate Tenbeth
Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.?
by Bonnie Bader
The Berenstain Bears and Too Much TV
by Jan Barenstain
Garbage! Monster! Burp!
by Tom Watson
Better Than You
by Trudy Ludwig
The SkippyJon Jones series
by Judy Schachner
And last but not least...
The Secret Zoo series!!!
by Bryan Chick

Of course, Benny's addicted to the Captain Underpants series and Desty wants to read anything about Love or Bunnies!

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Benny spent the day on a wonderful playdate with a new friend and his new friend's father. He made this new friend at The Patchwork School, and this was his first playdate from his new school, so it was pretty special!

This evening, on my way out to my first Patchwork School "Learning Dialogue", I gave him three assignments to do before bed.

When I returned, my son handed me this report...

I hope you can read's pretty impressive!

We began studying Martin Luther King, Jr. on January 8th. Fortunately, Benny was so enthralled in the book, Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr., all 116 pages, before everything was put on halt on the 10th for Desty's five day hospital fiasco. He got so much out of it - he could actually imagine the sit-ins, the non-violent civil disobedience and the injustice of inequality - moseso because of his experience marching in Washington, DC and Chicago with ADAPT, and seeing those arrests. He'd get ecstatic over mention of the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol.

His understanding made my heart swell!

And last night, we were finally able to watch "Martin's Big Words". He had to put MLK, Jr.'s quotes in chronological order.

Halfway through, he asked if we could watch it a second time!

We still have a MLK, Jr collage poster to do, and both Benny and Destiny will be making a "I Have A Dream Cloud" this week.

Desty began school the day after she was discharged. Check this out...

And on Tuesday, she went to Patchwork School for 1.5 hours and learned enough to drive!

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Thursday, January 5, 2012

I'm the Luckiest Mother in the World!

At 4:38 this morning, I lay on the edge of my bed with one child's arm and leg over me, and the other child sitting in the Purple Lover (my favorite rocking chair!), leaning within three inches of me, sucking down some Albuterol and Pulmicort from his nebulizer - works like magic! During these few minutes, I had this thought: "Oh my gosh, I'm the luckiest mother in the world!" Generally, not a common thought about me, but it's true! That doesn't mean that life as I know it is easy, or that it doesn't royally suck sometimes. But I have two kids that pump my heart, and we are able to do things that we shouldn't be able to do.

Such as attend The Patchwork School. I looked at this school last year but thought I could never afford it, and thus never pursued it. Well, in December, I pursued it and it was a match made in heaven, both financially (the scholarship they offered to us and philosophically! Literally a miracle from every single aspect.

Do you know how it feels to go from being told we are a major liability in public school thought, to being invited and actually told our family is an asset to a community?!?! Well, grand!!!!!

My intent was to enroll both kids into Patchwork two mornings per week. To give Destiny a group educational experience in a compassion-based, free environment, and to de-institutionalize Benny, and sort of 're-define' his self-worth.

Desty was able to visit the school last month, and she kept telling her big brother, "Don't be scared! This school is awesome!". Benny was reluctant, so I told him to try it for one month; if he didn't like it, I wouldn't send him.

Here they are on their first day of Patchwork School...

After one morning at Patchwork, my son decided to withdraw from Horizons (his charter school) completely! Now both Destiny and Benny will attend Patchworks on M/T/TH mornings and homeschool the rest of the time.

Let me tell you what "Benny and Destiny's World School" involves the first couple of months! - on top of my reading/writing/math/social studies curricula, Benny is in an agriculture program on a farm, a science class and a Lego Robotic class. Both kids are going to Homeschool P.E. and Homeschool Rock Wall Climbing at the local Rec Center, plus they are enrolled in Saturday classes each month at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Did you hear Benny dissected a chicken wing and a cow's brain last month at the Denver Museum? Pretty cool for a second grader!

Playdates with Benny's friends from Horizons will be the best! Sleepovers are on the calendar, as is bringing his friends along to museum classes!

And after one morning, he talks about kids at Patchwork School by name!

Patchworks School ROCKS for Destiny, as well! Destiny was NOTon her best behavior, but they were incredible at working with her, not as a child with special needs, not as a 'medically fragile' child, nor as a behavioral problem, but just as a kid (Diastat ready too!) They are about freedom within safe limits, not control nor manipulation to get her to comply with a system. It's really wondrous!!

When I picked Benny and Destiny up at 12:30, Desty quickly fell asleep in my lap...and slept for hours...ya, public school is not for her...

Yesterday was Benny's last day at Horizons. It is sad. Horizons is the only public school option I'd consider, and we already miss some friends. If our lives were different - it'd be a good fit. But, I know too well now, that life is fragile...and I have to weigh my future regrets...


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