All I Want for Christmas is a Friend

My teenaged son has taken up songwriting this year. I shared a few lines in the Special Needs Homeschooling Facebook group, since I knew they would understand. The struggle of any mom wanting their kids to have friends is very real. You are not alone moms in wanting this for your kids.

Sharing in the group provided an eye opening chance for my son to realize that there are many other kids out there struggling to find a friend. This is an expression of that desire to have a friend, my son hates math but it worked for the song. He is currently putting music to these lyrics.

All I Want For Christmas is a Friend

Dear Santa this year I want something different, not a Mac I already have two of them. No, this year I want something different.

Chorus

All I want for Christmas is a friend, I’m super lonely and lowly my only friends are pretend.
All I want for Christmas is a friend, Oh Santa can’t you help me find a friend.

Verse 1

I wish I had a friend instead everybody calls me weird and I feel like I have disappeared.
My Mom is my only follower and I have 0 likes with many dislikes.
Nobody ever texts me and asks me to hang out.
Instead I’m always left-out.

Chorus

All I want for Christmas is a friend, I’m super lonely and lowly my only friends are pretend.
All I want for Christmas is a friend oh Santa please help me find a friend.

Verse 2

I don’t understand why no one likes me, I talk about popular things like Advanced Quantum Mechanics and Linear Algebra.
I always sit by myself at the lunch table reading my English books, While everyone gives me weird looks.
Don’t you see Santa why I need a friend? So I made a list of what I want in one: 1. you must like math. 2 Gotta like video games. 3 um that’s it I guess.

Chorus

All I want for Christmas is a friend, I’m super lonely and lowly my only friends are pretend,
All I want for Christmas is a friend, Oh Santa can’t you help me find a friend.

Verse 3

Once I asked a girl to be my friend she not even if it’s the bitter end.
My teachers hate me too because I answer every question and correct them a lot.
They look at me like I’m pond scum and say be quiet please.
Oh Santa please please help me I’m dying of loneliness. Oh I need a friend.

Written by A. Lane, age 16

How I Use Writing to Help my Son Practice Decision Making Skills

Using writing to practice making decisions.

How I use writing to help my son practice decision making skills.

If you are a parent of a child with Aspergers, I don’t need to explain how decision making can lead to meltdowns. For my son with his black and white thinking–seeing the gray is difficult.

One of our educational goals for my son is to handle decision making in a timely manner and with fewer meltdowns. It turns out that our WriteShop writing lessons served not only to hone writing skills but also to develop mature decision making skills. After using the steps I outline below, my son is finally able to start a writing lesson independently without any emotional turmoil.

Knowing how stressful a writing session can become, we might only complete writing once or twice a week. I never want to do writing when either of us are tired or the day has already had challenges, especially since deciding a character name or the setting can lead to a meltdown.

I have been using WriteShop for the past 4 years in my homeschool. My two favorite parts of the program are the games and the worksheets. My son loves to beat me in a game, so having one with each lesson in WriteShop Junior Book E engages him to learn. [Read more…]

High School Science for Non Science Students

High School Science

Planning High School Science for a non-science major. Do you have a high school student that might not have plans for college or majoring in a degree that requires in depth science classes?

My third child is starting high school in the fall and I need to plan a high school science class that meets his needs. I am not ready for him to do the Biology 101 that I planned for my daughter last year so I am constructing a general science class based on his interests.

The challenge with planning begins with my son who has processing delays and learns by doing. Often I get anxious when I construction my own high school lesson plans but I have to remember my goal is to build on his strengths. Not to mention the choices for high school science curriculum are hard to find for the non-science students.

Planning High School Science:

First I wanted to review the requirements for a high school credit. HSLDA provides some guidelines for how to calculate credits.

My goal is to construct 120 hours of high school science credit by reading, watching videos, writing, and completing projects. To keep myself from getting overwhelmed I am planning a different theme for each quarter. Which means I need to have about 30 hours for each topic.

  • Quarter 1 Gardening
  • Quarter 2 Chickens
  • Quarter 3 CSI
  • Quarter 4 Survival Skills

Since I do not have a science curriculum for a main text I am going to rely on my unit study planning skills from the early years of homeschooling. I did find a few free unit study planning forms at Teachers Pay Teachers and Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus.
Then the reality of too many forms overwhelms so I created a one page planner that I can use for each quarter. [Read more…]

Mission Field and Medical Field

Mission Field and Medical Field

I used to dream of heading to the mission field, but instead I have landed in the medical field. While I was not asked by the pilot if I was at the correct destination; I have since come to appreciate the similarities needed to serve in both areas.

Similarities to the Mission Field and Medical Field

Why we may never lose our clothing while flying to a far away place, we will find ourselves down to the last pair of clean underwear on an extended hospital stay.

We might never experience a tribal dance but we know the joys of the 94 dance. The magic blood oxygen number that gets us closer to being off oxygen and released from the hospital.

We might not have the joy of reading road signs in a different language but we can read the the numbers on a monitor with one eye closed.

We might not have the knack for learning to say “Hello” in a different language but we can rattle off the acronyms of 20 different medical conditions while discussing a course of action and it can sound like a foreign language. [Read more…]

Our Journey with Leg Braces, Part 2

Journey with Leg Braces

Read, Our Journey with Leg Braces, Part 1 first.

The amazing blessing about Eyes, remember the knitted alligator, well he fits in my son’s pocket. Now Eyes could travel with us to the hospital to pick up his leg braces. It brought tears to my eyes when I realized how God weaved all these details together.

While we waited on doctor appointments I read to him stories from Profiles of Valor- Character Studies from the War of Independence. We discussed the topics of courage and endurance.

The first 24 hours into leg braces…Mom I do not think I can do this. Yes son, just like the process Green Blankie went through being repaired, you can survive this. We just have to take it one moment at a time.

Mom I think I need a prize for all this hard effort. Me too son, I happened to have tickets to see the Battleship New Jersey has a reward for your hard work on wearing them. My son wants to join the Navy someday so this is a big thing for him.

Mom, I am glad I chose camouflage for my leg braces. It reminds me of being a soldier and it is my duty to wear these.

Since he has to be in them 18 hours a day, I let him decide which hours he wants to rest. He likes having a say about it.

He has not figured out running or hard playing while in leg braces, instead we are increasing his swim time. He now has a new love for his swim lessons because he can do this activity brace free. [Read more…]

Our Journey with Leg Braces, Part 1

Journey with Leg Braces

Three months ago when my son’s physical therapist suggested leg braces to help with his toe walking, I knew we were about to embark on a lengthy journey.

I asked some friends if anyone had some book suggestions for a young boy to read about getting leg braces. My son had a ton of questions and I had no answers. It seems no one had any leads on books discussing leg braces, at least none that my research found.

While we waited for doctor appointments and insurance approval, I began praying about ways to prepare my son. Part of the battle with him wearing leg braces would entail breaking the habit of toe walking and helping his brain to take in the new input.

One of my son’s huge comforts in life is his green knitted blanket that he has had since his birth. Green Blankie is an important sidekick to super hero fighting. About two years ago my husband saw a snag in Green Blankie and thought it was best to cut it off. Yes, my dear crafting friends, he cut one of the strings and soon Green Blankie started unraveling in the middle.

Green Blankie

[Read more…]

Psychology Movie for High School Class

Psychology Movie

My favorite part about teaching high school is opening up discussions of controversial subjects and asking hard questions. My daughter is working on a ½ credit elective by completing an Introduction to Psychology.

I found the Elephant Man to be a great psychology movie for high school class.

Even if you are not teaching psychology, the movie Elephant Man can open the door to discussions about how society treats those with special needs, why are people frightened by what they do not understand and if it is okay to choose when to die.

I remembered hearing the movie’s name but did not recall if I had ever watched it. I did a quick read on Wikipedia, not a place to cite from but a great place to get an overview.

History:

  • Since Elephant Man is based on a true story, either before or after the movie take some time to read more about Joseph Merrick. Take a moment to understand the rare disease that caused his deformity.
  • If you have a child interested in movie production, I suggest taking a look at why the producer chose to film the movie in black and white in 1980.
    • Then research which Academy Award came into existence because of the movie Elephant Man.
  • There is a brief scene where the doctor is performing a surgery on a man injured by a machine. In the scene you can quickly notice the difference in operating room protocols.
    • Complete a venn diagram comparing medical procedures of surgeries performed in the Victorian age and surgeries done today. If you can handle graphic blood scenes, BBC has a YouTube on the History of Surgeries.

[Read more…]

Junior Church, A Format for Everyone

If you wonder why the homeschool blog posts have been a little lacking on Layered Soul, I have been pouring a lot of my energy into the new junior church format at my church. I never dreamed I would use my homeschooling skills outside of the homeschool community, but the past 3 months I have been able to serve the children of my covenant community.

Junior Church

Guest Post from IRL friend, Kristen McGinnis

Thirty kids, special needs, no budget, small church…What do these all have in common? Trinity Church of Smyrna‘s new junior church.

Junior church is a time after praise and worship where the children age 4 years to 10 years come down stairs during the church service. Since our church meets in a local school we have to address some interesting challenges.

(The following video was presented to the congregation last Sunday. For copyright, basic background music was added from iMovie for Youtube. Originally the video had the song, King of Glory by Chris Tomlin.) [Read more…]

Handling Sensory Issues and Haircuts

Sensory Issues and Haircuts

How I have had to learn to handle sensory issues and haircuts.

Personally I don’t hate getting my haircut, but I can’t stand to have my hair washed. My family never understood why it drove me crazy but there is something about my head being wet and my body being dry that overloads my senses. Thankfully I can skip the hair wash and just get the haircut.

When my oldest was a baby, I learned how to do basic boy’s haircuts. This skill has served me well, since my younger two boys have sensory issues and haircuts can become a stressful event. Here’s a list of 20 tips for helping with sensory issues and haircuts.

Now that my boys are older and want more stylish cuts, they need someone else to cut their hair. Nothing produces anxiety like telling them today is the day they are going to get their haircut. [Read more…]

5 Activities that Helped Us Homeschool Occupational Therapy

Homeschool Occupational Therapy

Can you homeschool occupational therapy? First I am not a trained Occupational Therapist, but I am a homeschooling mom who has brainstormed and tried ways to address delays in my boys. When my health insurance would not cover OT, I had to figure out ways to help my sons. One book that really has helped  The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder, Revised Edition

My third son was 5 when we had him tested. It was half through the school year when I realized things weren’t going the way they had with my older 2 kids. Now that he is 12 we have benefited from some great activities that helped him address his OT delays. [Read more…]