An Exciting Day for the PTA

staples steal

I mentioned on my recent post, about Caleb and his ADD diagnosis,that my friend Maureen sent me a thoughtful note in the mail that also included a Staples gift card. (Thank you again, Maureen!) I thought this was so cute. She said to consider it a donation to our PTA. 🙂

So…..tonight I cashed in. Check out these puzzles that I found for…….du du du………Woot!  50 cents a piece!!!

You might say I was kind of excited about this. I bought one of each kind of puzzle, two of the US states ones, since that is something we are working on a lot, and I happen to have two boys that are both learning their states and capitals.

Receiving an unexpected gift from a friend is something that will just make your day, isn’t it? Even a note or an email–just knowing, hey, there are people out there who are thinking about you–it goes a long way. This is a good challenge to me to make sure I do thoughtful things for others too!

As you can imagine, I’ve been thinking about the ADD thing a lot lately. You can bet there will be a post soon on good teaching strategies for ADD students. In the meantime, I’m experimenting.  I’ll tell you what doesn’t work: standing up at the board and talking to them…….total waste of air…..Joshua is excellent at concentrating on his work and staying on task. He just has a listening problem. Caleb, however, I’m still trying to figure out.

Today I decided to just ask him.

“Caleb, do you have trouble concentrating on what I’m saying when I’m talking to you, like at the board, in school?”

“Yeah! It just hurts, like right here. Right here (pointing to his eyebrows), when I’m trying to look up at the board it just hurts, and I can’t see it good, and I just can’t do it.”

hmmmm  Now there’s another thing that I should mention here. Caleb has sinus troubles. They come and go constantly, and they are definitely aggravated right now.

I also have sinus issues, and when I do, I get a headache in my forehead, in the eyebrow/nose bridge area. So, I can relate to what Caleb is saying. I’m going to need to give that poor boy some tylenol and some Mucinex before school. Tylenol is no problem, but I don’t have any Children’s Mucinex right now. If only going to the store were easier!!

I should probably also look into getting Caleb’s vision screened. We’ve had Joshua’s done, and his is perfect. Phew!

I think that Caleb, like Joshua, learns more by doing than by listening. I’m going to have to drum up some more hands on activities for Classical Conversations. CC has a lot of memory work, and that is hard for someone who doesn’t listen. There are two things that Caleb needs help with right now:  CC work (memorizing capitals, Latin, etc.) and Spelling. I switched his spelling program to It’s free, and I was able to pick a list that is right for his level. That has helped a TON. The thing is, I’ve noticed he doesn’t internalize the word spellings from writing them, only from really discussing them with me, and spelling them out loud.

Don’t discount Caleb yet, though. He has many subjects that he excels at. He aces every math assignment I give to him. Goodness knows he LOVES science, and he has caught up on reading, too. He’s also really good at puzzles, cursive writing, and art. Caleb makes very clean, straight lines. His thoughts are very organized. For example, we gave the boys these design-your-own toothbrushes. Joshua’s looks like mine would look: a mess of stickers all over the place in all directions. (I understand, Jman, I do.) Caleb’s looks like Alan’s would look: everything on it is in parallel lines–perfect–no tape that stuck to itself, no disorder at all.

Here’s a cute picture that Caleb drew this week. He drew this just for the blog. It’s a scene from his FAVORITE book series, Elephant and Piggy:

“Caleb A (as in he gave himself an A–ha!)  Let’s Go for a Drive”

So far this is what I’ve learned about ADDish kids:  They don’t learn from listening. They learn from doing.

If I’m at the board, they do all the reading and writing. I just tell them what to write. My part has to be pretty minimal.

I’m learning more every day about this. It’s exhausting. Some days I randomly get these mystery fevers. I have no idea what’s wrong with me. I’ve started tracking it on my calendar and have found no pattern, other than sleep deprivation. Alan’s mother said that she used to get fevers when she was sleep deprived, so I’m seriously wondering if that’s my problem. Have any of you ever dealt with this sort of thing? It’s been going on since during my pregnancy with JD, but happening more lately.

I’ll leave you with this photo of Caleb, hard at work. I make them do all of their most consuming, not fun, work first thing in the morning, while they are still fresh. That has worked really well. They do their math worksheet, writing, spelling, and character lessons during the 9-10am block, every day. I’m starting to find ways to ease some CC memory work into their writing assignments.

Of course, Daniel finishes anything I give him, crafts included, in 15 minutes and then asks me for more work. This kid will be starting his K4 books in January. I don’t care if he is still 3. He is ready. Don’t you love his war paint? It’s just part of the package, ya’ll!

Okay. Now I really must go do this:

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”

Matthew 7:7-8


  • another winning story for a wonderful mother of a beautiful family, My cousin she will enjoy reading your post since it a solution and practical!

  • queenmommyjen

    The PTA really did score! That war paint picture is too cute!

  • I don’t get fevers, but I get dizzy spells from sleep deprivation. I wonder if it’s from hormones–since they can fluctuate with sleep patterns? And I think most of us learn by doing, but it sure makes teaching a challenge! More planning, but the look of pride when they really get it is amazing, isn’t it!?

    • My favorite is when the younger brother fills in the correct answer (during oral questions for our memory work) for the older brother, and the older bro looks at him with new respect. I love that. But yes–constantly finding ways to help them learn–that feels like a job right now. I am hoping that next year will feel so much easier, since I will have more experience on my side.

  • Thanks for sharing. It was like standing in your “school” and observing. Very sweet. I have found that “air writing” is a great way for some kids to memorize spellings. One type of air writing can be found here:

  • My metabolism this year has been completely out of whack due to sleep deprivation AND anemia. Apparently you need sleep and iron to process vitamins and nutrients correctly. I ended up with a major vitamin deficiency and a horrible on-going case of hives because my body thought it was under stress due to lack of sleep. The fever could be the same thing. I feel for you. I really do. I know exactly what you’re going through only I have no idea how you manage to remain so upbeat and energetic through it all. You are amazing.

    • Oh anemia is so hard. I battle that sometimes too. I’m definitely not always energetic and upbeat. I try but I have days like yesterday where I crash and wait for alan to come home and order pizza. I feel for you. I hope you feel way better soon! ! I can so relate. We run ourselves ragged. I do wonder sometimes if I should hire help or if that would just stress me out more. You know?
      I enjoy your blog! ! I think about my “full Manger” all the time. I’m so glad you wrote that!

  • My boys names are Caleb and Joshua also. I also suspect my Caleb is ADD or ADHD. I have wondered about homeschooling a child with ADD/ADHD. Mainly if I can do it or if I am just setting myself up for failure. It’s encouraging to see you are working it out. Thanks for sharing.

    • Oh, Erica, I really never planned to homeschool in the elementary years. Then they just weren’t performing as well as I knew they could at school, because of their ADD issues. Soooo, enter home schooling. I’m so glad I tried this. It’s a lot of work, yes, but seeing the boys know what they need to know makes it all worth it.

  • Pingback: First Year Of Homeschool in Review: and 4 Things I Will CHANGE for Next Year | Stories of Our Boys

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