Leaf Unit


I realize it’s been a while since I posted. It’s been crazy busy. Our Leaf Unit went really well. The Bible lessons really impacted Snicklebritches and she realizes sin cuts her off from God and that she cannot survive without God, for God is the source of life. It also impacted me. This curriculum looks like it’s a light fun year, but in reality, it has a lot of meat to digest even for adults. I understood that God is the source of all life, from the Sun Unit. I understood that I can reflect God’s glory (Moon Unit). But I, as an adult, admit I did not truly understand the stark reality of what being cut off from God means. I understood that we are not going to have eternal life without God, that Jesus made it possible for us to have a blameless soul when facing God, and without Jesus’ blood covering us that we’d be cut off. What I did not fully grasp is what being cut off means. Yes, death. But what exactly?


When I went through a hard time in my past, I had to hit rock bottom to realize that life isn’t what I make it (on my own, pulling myself up by the bootstraps, that kind of mindset.), but what I do with what is given to me. I have come to realize God’s Will is sovereign, I cannot change what his will is, but I can change my attitude about God’s will, life’s circumstances, and what’s thrown my way. I have been given special needs children to raise all the while struggling with my own sickness. It’s not easy. I had to hit rock bottom, or as I explained to Snicklebritches, I almost fell away from the vine like a leaf falling off the tree. I can choose to reject God or I can choose to live and grow in God. Life will be the same either way. I can tire myself pushing against a locked door or I can just accept the circumstances and let God unlock the door.


Snicklebritches got into her dad’s pipe tobacco, which happens to be dried leaves of the tobacco plant. I pointed out she is like this tobacco. Is it alive? No. It’s just shredded dead leaves. Do you remember what happens to the leaf when it falls off the tree? (death) Ok, do you remember what makes you fall off the tree of Life, the vine of Jesus? (sin) Okay, tell me, what is it called when a little girl decides she does not want to listen to her daddy and play with his tobacco? (crying and saying “disobey?”) Right. You disobeyed. You did NOT honor your dad. What happens if you do not do what God told you to do, to honor your daddy? (shrug) I remind her of the AWANA memory verse, what was it again? “All have sinned”. Ok, what’s sin? (shrug) I got out the iPad and went to the Gospel Project app that her church’s doing that talked about why Adam and Eve were kicked out of the garden. She finally remembered and said “sin bad.” Right. You sinned when you disobeyed your daddy.

She was so heartbroken and I made her clean up the mess. It’s amazing how all the things from church, AWANA, and her curriculum all lined up to make this lesson click for her. God truly planned all this. He put it on the Hazell family to write this curriculum and the AWANA’s timing worked out, if we had succeeded at the first church we tried, we’d have been at the wrong unit for the lesson, and my church recently switched from Generations of Grace to the Gospel Project which has been clicking beatufiully with My Father’s World. This is not a coincidence, it’s a God thing. Leaf came up right when the kids became restless about having to listen to me in order to do school. Leaf is about sin, it was perfect timing to drill what disobedience is and that sin cuts them off, making them die. I am in awe of how God planned all this. Wow.



ON to the pictures!!  ImageImage


We spent a lot of time outdoors running around trying to catch the falling leaves before they hit the ground. Best part is they had no idea they were working on their eye-hand coordination and getting exercise!Image!  






Snicklebritches has a mathematical mind. She figured out she can split large numbers into smaller equal numbers after getting past 20 days of school (20 sticks, two sets of ten). She was like, wait, you also can split it 4×5, 5×4. 






We also went out to make a leaf nature journal. 




WiggleAngel also did a lot of school, but I don’t have many pictures because he’s a very hands on kid, meaning, I have to have both hands in order to assist him with his things. Here’s what he did with my help. 




It’s been beautiful so we did school at the parks. 



Moon unit

We covered the moon this unit. Moon unit


We learned so much! A lot of what we did was by active play so there is not many pictures this time. Oh, for the reflection activity showing them about the reflection of the moon- I found that a bike reflector worked so much better at demonstrating reflection than a mirror.


This week, NASA launched a moon mission and I am amazed at God’s timing. I used this to impress the fact that even the very smart scientists still don’t know everything about the moon and how awe inspiring God is with revealing the mysteries of his creation, bit by bit. http://foxnewsinsider.com/2013/09/07/nasa-launches-ladee-moon-mission


Snicklebritches enjoyed jumping around pretending she was on the moon. Many of the pictures were blurry, so I’m not putting any of those up. However, here’s a picture of her moon activity (shaving cream and glue)


Moon activity




Another proud mama moment: While doing a lesson in ShillerMath counting to 10 using unit cubes, Snicklebritches figured out completely on her own that there are square numbers! Hopefully this means when this concept comes up in the future, she’ll recognize it and get it right away.

ShillerMath Square Numbers



Here’s the book that I found and chose to use for this Unit. I loved this book, “Faces of the Moon” by Bob Crelin. It has cut outs on the inside showing the phases of the moon. We read this book and then did the oreo moon phase activity, please look it up to see what I mean by that.
Our book this unit.
Inside of that book











We enjoyed these videos.








Also, we have a children’s museum here in town. A perk of membership is that the curator will do one-on-one tutoring. My children loved it and she went over it with them. My children are autistic, so I was shocked when my daughter piped up when asked “what is the sun?” She said something like “Sun, that’s the big star we see all day.”

MFWK Sun Unit and ShillerMath

The past two weeks were full of ups and downs. There was the day that Wigglebutt kept strutting around like a proud peacock because of his sun craft that he had done after I modified it to help him be able to claim ownership over it by precutting strips so he could rip them off himself.

Then there were the dozens of meltdowns. He headbutted new holes into our walls. Plus he ripped out one of my toenails. Yeah…. ouch. Big time ouch. That is life with a developmentally disabled child. There are going to be moments of happiness and moments of frustration.

There was the day that I got to witness the spark in Snicklebritches’s eyes when she grasped that numbers represent groups of items; not just the order of items. Before, she could read numbers and count to thirty. However, up to just recently, she seemed to think the purpose of numerals were that they represent order, such as the seven days of the week/creation; we are the 4th house on the left; the number 3 checkout is the third one over from the door, and so on. As an orderly person,she loves numbers because they represent a specific order. Now, after the MFWK lesson using pennies, something seemed to click in her mind. Now she understands that numerals represent amounts as well as order. She now understands that although five pennies lined up counts to five, it also means she has five pennies, no matter which order she has them in. If it’s in a stack, it’s still five pennies. If she has ten dolls (she has OCD, each doll must be in a specific order), it doesn’t matter which order they’re in, that’s still a group of ten dolls. If the dolls are in a pile, that’s still ten dolls. I am so blessed that I was the one to witness the light come on in mind. This is why so many teachers love being teachers. I’m just saying what a blessing it is to witness my own daughter learn something so fundamental to her future; that major Ah-ha moment was mine to treasure.

Speaking of treasured moments, the sun kept on hiding behind clouds, but no worries. I took the opportunity to point out that the sun is not gone. Even though we cannot see the sun, we see evidence it’s there. Warmth. Light. Rays. Bright edges of the cloud. Wind. I compared this to how Jesus is not seen, but we feel him and see evidence of him all around and within each one of us. We were having a picnic and Neva exclaimed “Jesus is in my drink too?” Ha! Yes and no. We can drink in remembrance of Jesus, when you are old enough, you will take communion. (And that lesson whizzed right over her head.)

As for ShillerMath, she finished the first few lessons and is stuck on learning left and right. It is essential that she understand left/right, so we are going to take our time helping her figure that out. The beauty of homeschooling is that we have no deadlines. I don’t have to, as the teacher, declare “oh well, we’re out of time. Let’s move on to the next lesson” and then leave the child trailing behind because the child never grasped a crucial foundational concept, such as this one. The rest of the program will assume she understands left and right. If it takes a month for Snicklebritches to finally get it… so be it. We have plenty of time.


Light and Shadows sensory box


Our shadows


The sun hid itself from us the whole two weeks.Image


With these molly bang books, I added references to Jesus, i.e. I am the living sunlight inside you (the sun talking), I said モJesus is the living sunlight inside you.


These books are ones that I’ve narrowed down from the library that fits my daughter’s reading level, aligns with our Christian young earth beliefs, and presented factual information on the sun and shadows.


She insisted on putting her own spin on it, using her handprints. Hey… it’s HER craft.


Thank you mamamonkeys and 1+1+1=1 (Links below)


Here is how I adapted the sun craft for my special needs son; I cut strips into the paper and allowed Wigglebutt to rip the strips off the paper and then he followed the MFW instructions of the mathematical pattern as specified in the teacher’s manual.Image


Good job Snicklebritches!




Thank you Dawn!

Thank you Carisa! 

And thank you to the creators of these videos.

Creation Unit

We are wrapping up the Creation Unit. It was a sweet introduction and we all enjoyed it. We are beginning a tradition where after each Unit, the children will present their projects and information they learned to their dad. We just finished doing this and Snicklebritches read “On the 7th day, God read.” not “rested”. That was cute.

Fair warning. I am a new blogger. I am not good with formatting. I will learn as I go. Here come the pictures.


Snicklebritches was able to do her Creation book independently. She truly made it HER OWN.   This is why hers look all messy. And that is exactly why I love it! 


Here is WiggleButt out at the park with us looking for things God created.



God created leaves and berries. And flowers.

God created ducks. 

Their Creation books will become keepsakes. These are precious and I love their handprints they made in the land one.


Man made this footpath. Not God.


Snicklebritches working on her numbers of the days of Creation. This  banner is now hanging up in her room and she is very proud of it.


I put together a sensory bin for creation unit. It has floral grass, dyed blue rice, white beans, and black beans. We read through Gerald McDermott’s book “Creation” as they play with the sensory bin.

ImageImageWigglebutt required heavy hands-on assistance with all his work, This is part of the package when you choose to home-educate your severely developmentally disabled child.


The children enjoyed this gentle begin to their kindergarten year. Snicklebritches knows her numbers and she knows how to read, but this is perfect because she lacks the fine motor skills to write and to enunciate certain sounds. Kindergarten will give her time to gain the fine motor skills necessary for the more intense first grade program MFW offers. It also gives Wigglebutt a chance to learn alongside his younger sister at first.


Both the children enjoyed this book, but as you can see, Wigglebutt hogged the week’s book to himself. He loved the bright crisp colorful pages that was busy enough to keep him engaged without sending him into sensory overload. His sister Snicklebritches loved how the letters were easy to read to herself and she enjoyed reading it aloud to us just to show us that she could. I tried to get a video clip, but she is still shy about reading on camera.

There it is- what we’ve done the past two weeks.

Let’s get HarvestBell Academy going!

I have not forgotten this blog. I just wanted to embrace summer and having fun with my little ones. Now that it’s beginning to become too hot to send the kids out to play, we’re going to start Kindergarten tomorrow! I’m excited, SnickleBritches is super-pumped, and WiggleAngel is like, “meh.” He’ll get used to it, I’m sure.


The past few weeks, my children participated in VBS. They were gone only half-days, but wow, I missed them! I was always so happy when it was time to come pick them up. Know what I mean? I realized that, although it is a challenge parenting two special needs children, that I do truly enjoy their company and getting to know them as the unique individuals that God created them to be.  Image

(On his 7th Birthday!) 

Stages of Play

ImagePennies in Playdough to improve fine motor skills 


Since I pulled my special needs son out of school, I’ve been researching how to give him what he needs at home. My son is mentally age 2, so I cannot expect him to do kindergarten work yet. I am starting him with Kindergarten, though, alongside his sister, then we’ll take it at his pace after his sister finishes kindergarten. If this means my son has to repeat kindergarten, that is okay. I will use different kindergarten curriculum so he isn’t bored. I think it will be good for him to be left behind in the “child’s garden” until he’s ready to move onto academically rigorous work. After all, kindergarten is literally the german words for “children’s garden”.


I have been researching the origin of kindergarten and I discovered that Friedrich Frobel started the movement as a transition from home to school. He named it children’s garden because he believed children are to be nourished like plants in a garden. He believed no educational activities should be part of kindergarten, only playing, experiences, social interaction, etc. That kindergarten is a place to develop playing skills.


That is what launched me into my current campaign for my son’s well being. “Playing skills”? What’s that? There are skills? What? I have an AA in developmental childhood and University of Maine did not teach us ANYTHING about the stages of play. Oh, yes, I learned about the purpose of play, the roles of adults in children’s play, etc. In my own independent research, I learned of Barnes, Lowe, Nicolich, Parten, and Wehman. I am somewhat angry that University of Maine did not teach us about this, yet gave us our degrees. Anyways, back to the point. I have learned so much and I want to share with you what I learned.


There are stages of play.


Unoccupied play; when the child is not playing but simply observing by remaining off to the side.
Exploratory play; when the child focuses on an activity, such as grasping, squeezing, mouthing toys, throwing, etc, but being uninterested in what others are doing.

Independent play; when the child learns navigate her environment as on playground equipment, manipulating toys together (puzzles, blocks, books, etc).

Parallel Play; when the child imitates other children at play, but stays separate. Not interested in interaction with other children, but interested in interacting with other children for the sake of the activity, such as coloring next to each other, swinging next to each other.

Associative play; when the child is interested in contact with peers, but not in coordinated play, for example, checking out what the other child has, but not sticking around to do the activity with the child. Example: throwing ball, but not sticking around to play catch.

Cooperative play; when the child is interested in doing an activity with a peer, for example, pulling a peer in a wagon, playing a true game of catch.

Symbolic play; when the child is cooperating with other peers to set up elaborate activities such as dress up and putting on a play, playing make believe with dolls, etc.


My daughter is at the associative play stage, which is only a year behind her actual age. This is a relief to have figured out. However, my son is still at the exploratory play stage. A child needs to get through all six stages of play to be successful in academics. Now I have a path marked out to take. Before, just knowing my son is developmentally/cognitively age 2 was daunting. How do I catch him up? But these stages of play encourages me. Now I have a map. I need to get him to master all the stages of play before I can realistically expect him to succeed in academics.


Play intervention will motivate my son to cooperate. If he is to succeed in school, he must learn to cooperate. Play will give him that motivation to want to be a cooperative little boy. It will also give him an experience to look for with everyone he’s around. Repetition is excellent, for example, popping bubbles and play will regulate his sensory system. I just pray that God inspires me with the perfect play activities to go with each unit we are doing this year.


Did you know about these stages? Has your kindergartener already passed all these stages?