Hi. My name is Laura Sowdon and I am an occupational therapist. I am also a homeschooling mother of three.
In my work as an occupational therapist, I saw a need for a new kind of homeschool curriculum. One that would give parents the tools to help their children grow physically, emotionally, and mentally to be healthy people. I spent years piecing together lessons for my own children that were developmentally appropriate and would work for any child.
My own children are twice exceptional, meaning that they are gifted but also have learning disabilities, so I had to write my own curriculum for them. And none of my 3 kids were the same. Therefore, I know from experience that this program can work for any child that is willing to sit and listen to a story.
How it all started
Eleven years ago, I was very pregnant with my second child and working for a school system. I realized that I would be homeschooling kindergarten in the fall with an infant along for the ride.
My oldest child was 5. She was bright, happy, interesting, and talkative at home. She also had fine motor delays (still holding her crayon in a fist), took everything anyone said literally and used a bigger vocabulary than any other 5-year old I knew. Preschool had been a nightmare. My vibrant, engaged, curious child withered before my eyes each time I dropped her off.
So that summer, I started on my journey as a homeschooling mom.
I didn’t know I was a special kind of homeschool mom.
I honestly didn’t think about how my kids weren’t “typical” or the fact that having a degree in working with people who weren’t “typical” would change the experience for us. Every day I woke up and just did my best to meet my children where they were. I adapted every curriculum and changed things. I found book lists and made up go-along activities for every book.
Over the years, I participated in, ran and taught at various co-ops. My favorite kids (besides my own of course) were the ones whose mothers said: “He’s not on grade level. Are you sure he’ll be okay in your class?” As an occupational therapist, those were the kids I was actually used to working with and loved to see succeed in class. I came up with hands-on projects, scoffed at worksheets and insisted on giving every single kindergarten age child safety scissors to learn to cut properly.
Taking the Leap
Then, one-day last year, I was in a homeschool chat online and someone asked what they could do for kindergarten for their child. The mom wanted to have a playful year of helping her child grow and learn. She just didn’t know how. All the ideas she was given were based on skills like reading, writing, and math that every child is ready to do at a different time. The only other option she was told was to “unschool” and she didn’t know how to do that. I wanted SO badly to tell her how to have a great year of school. But there was no curriculum I could refer her to.
So I sat down and wrote it.
My first attempt at writing resulted in our Red Farm Unit. My second attempt, after many months of work, resulted in our Orange year-long curriculum. Once I started writing, I realized that I really have a passion for making curriculum choices that work for non-typical children. That doesn’t mean that the choices here at Five Senses Literature Lessons won’t be appropriate for your typical child. It just means that they will also work for the child with ADHD, ASD, autism, delays, and other challenges.
As an occupational therapist, I have a passion for creating educational options for kids and parents who don’t fit the typical mold and need more out of their education in a variety of ways. As a homeschool mom, I want my life to be as easy as possible. I have taken these two desires and combined them to make products that are easy to use and work for a wide range of children so that as the mom, you won’t have to change things and make things up, the way I did.
Thank you for your interest in Five Senses Literature Lessons. This program truly is a life mission for me and I hope that you find it useful in your homeschool. If you need to reach us, please feel free to reach out on our Facebook page or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.