Friday, January 28, 2011

Resource for Teaching Children with Down Syndrome

My life has changed a lot since we learned Andres was born with Down Syndrome.  Before Andres was born I thought I had it all figured out.  I had done so much research about early childhood education and Montessori that I felt I was ready to teach him.  

Now I have lots and lots more to read about and learn about.  Montessori is great for Andres but there is a lot I need to be aware of.  


"For example, if the child does not begin to point or hold up objects at the typical age, this may result in parents naming objects for the child less often, so delaying vocabulary learning. If the child does not begin to try saying words at the typical age, it may not be as easy to keep up the same level of talk to the child as it would be to the child who is talking and is demanding a response. If the child's words are unintelligible, the adult may need to ask the child to repeat the words, to be sure they understand what the child is trying to say, before they can respond. This disrupts the normal flow of conversation and the adult's ability to respond to the child's message by expanding or replying in a natural way.

All these examples indicate that when a child has even one area of delay or difficulty in her/his speech and language skills, this will almost certainly reduce the quality and quantity of natural talk to and with the child, in comparison with a typically developing child. Yet the child with difficulties needs more good quality language experience and learning opportunities than the typical child in order to make progress."  Source:

As I read and research I will share what I learn.   I want to do everything I possible can to help Andres develop to his full potential.  


Friday, January 21, 2011

Baby Update

Sweet Andres is such a joy.  He gave us a wonderful gift on Christmas Eve.  He started to sit at 9 months!
Sitting, something I took for granted with my first two children, has been lots of work for little Andres. 

Andres has two physical therapy sessions a month for now and I work with him the rest of the month.  We will be starting aquatic therapy this Spring or Summer.  Here he is with one of his therapist.

9 months 3 weeks.  Andres at work!  I still use the pillow for support.

Andres has pretty good side control but no back control yet.  He sits if we place him sitting but not able to get himself up to sit yet but he is working hard at it!  The best therapy for Andres is floor time so he is always on the floor.  We do not use any type of contraption except for the highchair for eating.

Andres is very talkative making lots of sounds.  He is eating really well.  I started to blend the food we all eat for him so he is eating thicker type foods, what you would compare to Number 3 foods.  He has no teeth but has no problem eating these as well as the teething biscuits, cheerios, tortillas and fruit.  He also has had no problem holding and drinking from a sippy cup for about four months now.

I am currently working on trying to get Andres to clap.  I sing the Happy Birthday song and clap at the end and put his hands together and work on clapping.  I really want him to clap for his birthday.  Also, when he begins to bring his hands together purposefully we can begin teaching him sign language.

"Young children with Down syndrome are usually excellent communicators. They use facial expressions, gestures, mime, and vocalizations to express their ideas. Because spoken language often develops more slowly than receptive language or a desire to communicate, sign language is often the tool they need to build their confidence communicating." 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Homeschooling Blog Posts

What a wonderful Post from Living Montessori Now.  How We Homeschooled

Have you met Deb Chitwood from this Blog?  Probably so since she has almost 300 followers and many more facebook fans..  Deb homeschooled two kids through Highschool and is now telling us about it!  It is so comforting reading her posts because you know she did it and her children turned out great!   As we go through life, raising our children, we always ask ourselves "Am I doing the right thing?".  Will they be OK if I do this ______________.   Fill in the blank.  So many things we question.

The post How We Homeschooled and Top 5 Homeschool Lessons My Children Taught Me allows me to relax.  Read them!

Ask - You never know

The kids started  Art Class last week in our neighborhood in a homeschool morning class with four other homeschool children.  I've been wanting to put the kids in this class but it was so expensive.  Well, I mentioned this to the teacher and she gave us and another family 50% off the tuition.  I am SO excited about this class because this is Drawing with Art History.  I've been wanting to do an Artist of the month with drawing activities to go with it but I can barely keep up with everything so this has been a relief. 
I absolutely loved how the class was taught and what the children learned.  Just wonderful.  I also loved that it was in our neighborhood with my children's friends.  The kids also loved the class.  Very important!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sweet Boy and His School Work

Sweet Boy has not been very excited about school lately and it is my fault.  I've been pushing him.  The more I push, the less he does.  But I realized this and have backed off.  

Here are some lessons I've given to Sweet Boy.  My problem currently is that he is not practicing after I give him lessons.  In a Montessori classroom, the children see other children do the work and they get interested again.  I need to remember to pull out the work myself so he will get interested.  It works but I need to remember to do it!  How do you get your kids or students to practice?

Articles Lesson with the Farm

Using the Grammar Symbols with the Articles and Nouns.


There have been many more lessons that were not very exciting to take pictures of!  
For example:  Line and Point!

Human Anatomy


I am doing Story of the World Curriculum with the kids.  My kids LOVE stories on CD's so I got the CD's and Activity Book and they listen to the CD's OVER and OVER again.   We do some of the activities in the activity book.  I get the suggested books from the library and I then work Geography in there!

This is our Africa Continent Box. 

We are currently studying Africa to go with the Story of the World Chapters we are working on.  I sit and color with the kids. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

My Sweet Bella's School Work

My Sweet Girl turned 5 years old a couple of months back.

She LOVES learning.  She is always wanting to do school work and wants to be challenged.
She never complains about school work unless it is easy.  She calls it baby work!

Here is what Bella has been doing for the past two months.

Sweet girl is very motivated to read.  We work with the movable alphabet, beginning sound cards with the pink and blue series.  She also matches the words to the cards in the pink series.  She does this work with her brother or me.

Sweet Bella is adding using the addition strip board or color beads.  When she does addition problems, she usually does 4 or 5 problems.  She has problems writing her numbers and I have been meaning to get number stamps but keep forgetting.  Right now what I do is make the number she wants me to make with dots and then she traces it.

My beautiful girl LOVES Spanish and wants to do Spanish work and speak in Spanish.  I tutor a little girl in Spanish and she loves to sit with us and work.  This work she can do by herself but I do it with her because I want her to learn the vocabulary.

Here is her latest math work.  She has been wanting to do this forever.  She had seen it done in her classroom last year and wanted to do it.  Her brother and her worked on it together.

Big girl is starting to work with money but does not understand it yet.

Here she is working with her all time favorite since she was 3 years old, pin punching!

Something she does a lot is copy words from wherever.  She then asks me "What did I write?".  I did it all by myself, she tells me!

Exploring the continent boxes is another of her favorites.

I pull this work out every so often because it does not get used enough and she has not mastered it. 

Here she is with her MOST favorite part about homeschooling, playing with her baby brother.  She tells me that if she went to school she would miss baby :-(.  How sweet is that!  Bella is such a great big sister. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Volcano Study

Our Volcano Study began after I purchased a small Smithsonian volcano kit from Walgreens for about $7.

I googled the kit but could not find it.  I did find this set from the Smithsonian store that includes 6 science kits.  It includes the one we used.

Here is a small change I made to the kit so that I could put the string on faster.  The string makes the volcano shape.  You are suppose to put it through these little holes ( I am NOT that patient).  So, I just got some scissors and cut the little holes so they are open and then you just press the string INTO the card board.  See close-up picture above.

What else did we do?
1. Read books above Volcano's

2. Watched You Tube Video's of Volcano's.  The videos allow them to experience the lava.

3. Around this time we did the Layers of the Earth Lesson.  Here are some free Layers of the Earth Cards.

The kids really enjoyed coloring a layers of the earth and volcano coloring page.

ETC Press Inc. has free Parts of Volcano 3 Part Cards