As we wrap up another year, I’m going to take a minute to think back on what this year brought. 2019 was a complicated year with some highs and lows, and I’m feeling good that it is over.
In March, Five Senses Literature Lessons celebrated our one year anniversary! At the same time, we launched a new curriculum that took my curriculum writing to a whole new level. Foundations & Fundamentals was my answer to the question “How do we start to teach kids reading and writing?”
I never thought I would write a worksheet heavy curriculum, but to teach handwriting, we had to make worksheets. I designed a different kind of handwriting worksheet and my good friend, Melanie, helped make those come alive on the computer. We tweaked the fonts and worked hard at creating something that would work for kids who need a program to learn to read and write. Because I’ve taught kids who are dysgraphic, dyslexic, have ADHD and ASD, I made a program that would work for those kids. And I had to make sure it had great storybooks, hands-on activities and taught kids about not just letters, but the world.
When we got the first version done, we went back to square one and made two more versions of the workbook. One is for lefites and the other is for kids who have significantly delayed motor skills. Kids with mild delays may still do best with the regular workbooks. As an OT, I felt that I had to create something that worked for the kids who need more.
In 2019, I attended 3 different homeschool conferences and got to give several talks to homeschoolers. I love getting to tell people ways to enjoy homeschooling more and to share what I’ve learned from homeschooling my own kids. I also enjoy being at the Five Senses Literature Lessons table and letting people stop by and see what I have created.
Home Sweet Home
My personal life got very busy in the second half of the year. My husband and I bought a house! It involved a long hunt and a lot of patience. But I am really thrilled with our new home. We are still figuring out where everything goes, as moving is always hectic. Most of the rest of my life had to take a backseat while we moved.
Also, in this second half of the year, my son had to have a complex surgery which resulted in complications. He is now recovering, but we spent a lot of time at Children’s National Hospital in DC this fall. I have gained so much sympathy for parents of children with major medical challenges. Sleeping in the hospital with your ill child is exhausting. Watching monitors and wondering which doctor will figure out what to do next is a form of torture. We were very lucky that the medical team my son had was excellent and his recovery is now going well.
So, what do I have planned for 2020?
In 2020 I hope to release several more curricula from Five Senses Literature Lessons. I have 4 different programs at different stages of development as I write this. Each is at a different developmental level and each is unique. Taking each one from its current rough draft state to completed and ready to sell takes time, but I hope to get them all out to you this year. I love each one for a different reason.
I will be once again speaking at and attending the Virginia Homeschoolers Conference, which is in Williamsburg this year. I’d love to see you all there!
And one of the biggest milestones of 2020 is that my oldest child will graduate from homeschooling! The journey of homeschooling from kindergarten to graduation has been amazing and I am so glad I got to spend all this time with them.
I hope you take some time to pat yourself on the back for all you accomplished in 2019 and that 2020 is an amazing year for us all!
Happy New Year!
About the Author
Laura Sowdon, OTR/L is an occupational therapist, writer, speaker, educator and creator of the Five Senses Literature Lessons homeschool curriculum. She has worked as an occupational therapist with children in public and private schools, as well as private practice. Laura has taught and managed homeschool co-ops as well as homeschooling her own three children. Laura is dedicated to the idea of educating children at a pace that aligns with brain and physical development milestones and respects neurodiversity in all its forms.