Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Merry Christmas Musings and Random Thoughts:
I enjoyed my morning coffee from a Christmas cup that belonged to my mother-in-law. I remember how she loved Christmas, how she loved family, how she enjoyed serving December meals in her Christmas dishes. We lost her too soon. My kids didn't get to meet her. She had the most marvelous tradition of decorating the whole house, top to bottom, inside and out, at Christmastime.
Christmas always meant lots of sweets. My mother made a chocolate fudge that I could probably adapt with coconut milk, but that is the only recipe I can think of that is easily adapted to our food challenges here. I've never tried to make it. It involves the stove top, lots of stirring, and a candy thermometer. My grandmother on my dad's side made the best divinity fudge. My mother-in-law made chocolate fudge, peanut butter fudge, and peanut brittle. When the kids were little and before the food allergies and intolerances, I made the sweets of my mother-in law to carry on her traditions, but now I can't bring myself to make those recipes when one of my kids can't enjoy them with us.
The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten Free.
We have not yet seen any family. Some family members have the flu and we will wait to celebrate Christmas with them until they are feeling better. Makes Christmas last longer.
Meanwhile, I'm browsing my newest cookbook. The editors for the "Southern Living 2012 Annual Recipes" apparently love pimento cheese and bourbon. Who knew pimento cheese has so many uses in recipes? Does everyone keep bourbon in the pantry? (I don't.) If you put several tablespoons of bourbon in a salad dressing, can you serve it to minors?
This edition seems to use a lot more cheese, sour cream, sweetened condensed milk, cream of something soup in recipes than in past editions, pretty much impossible for me to substitute. :(
On page 118, chef Andrea Reusing says, her kids "...always like anything with eggs and cheese". She's lucky. A lot of kids are allergic to them (I have one).
I'd like to see a cooking challenge series on TV that features allergen free food items. Can you imagine an Iron Chef or Chopped that has chefs creating allergen free meals again and again? I would love it!
There's a tailgate section in the September chapter that focuses on recipes from Southern colleges. Maybe they have no idea that marching band boosters feed the band by tailgating, and we have some of the best recipes under the sun.
The January recipe for Slow-cooked Barbecued Chicken makes me want to run out and get a whole chicken, cut-up, so I can try the recipe - but stores are closed today. (I have a day to think this one over. It calls for - yep, you guessed it - two tablespoons of bourbon - would we miss that if I left it out?)
and I really want to make some pimento cheese, but I don't have all the ingredients. That'll have to wait a day, too. All these recipes have me thinking about my grandmother's pimento cheese stuffed into celery.
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
I want to know more about them.
J&M Botanicals is offering a FREE eight-week e-course in aromatherapy. Go HERE for more information.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Monday, November 26, 2012
Interestingly, I see her strengths and weaknesses by what she got right and by what she skipped and by what she attempted but got wrong. Makes my job a bit more difficult sorting through it all. Working through the workbook in order would have been easier for me than sorting through to find the concepts that need practice.
The ironic thing is that if I'd asked her to work through the workbook, she would have resisted, screamed, screeched, protested, thrown a big fit. When working through it is her idea, she's fine with it. I do understand that a lot of her resistance is about working alongside me, that she is anxious that I will move too quickly, expect too much and that she will feel incompetent. So, moving forward, we will work toward my being a good guide, someone "possible" for her, as we tackle the concepts of math that need practice.
Sunday, November 25, 2012
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Click here for more information.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Friday, November 9, 2012
My homeschooler with an autism spectrum disorder is one of many children with ASD who find reading a challenge. We continue to work hard to close the gap for her.
I opened a package from Woodbine House recently that is a fun surprise: Try Reading Again, How to Motivate and Teach Older Beginners, Age 10 and Up by DeAnna Horstmeier, Ph.D. The book is a 297 page, easy-to-photocopy paperback of how-to and activities that includes a CD-ROM of additional resources, all aimed beginning readers who are older.
The author's approach is three-pronged, a triangle approach, that focuses on phonics and fluency on a base of language experience stories.
The book is more than reading; Horstmeier gives us direction on creating "language experience stories" with our children as well. We learn about phonics and vocabulary, too. The gems for me are the structured stories and the back part of the book, the appendices of lists and flash cards games and activities that are beginner reader friendly. We need to work on prefixes and suffixes here, and contractions, too and there are pages that guide me through that as well. I realize I've never taught her about digraphs. We have work to do.
Try Reading Again is a thorough resource that covers a broader range of development than I thought on first glance. My first flip-through impression was that it is too beginner for us, as my child can rhyme, knows letter sounds (her phonemic awareness is quite good), knows beginner sight words, etc., but as I look more closely, I see more advanced activities for my girl and as I look over topics and activities, I recognize more gaps that we need to address to make her reading experience more full, less challenging.
The activities and exercises are arranged developmentally, building foundations and growing them. If I had to choose a favorite thing inside, it would be the structured stories. Or maybe my favorite thing would be the companion CD-rom that gives me forms, worksheets, more stories.
The introduction is located here for folks who'd like to look before they buy.
Students on the autism spectrum often have such scattered skills that we see the splinter skills without recognizing shaky foundations beneath them. I am digging in with enthusiasm as we strengthen foundations and move forward in all things reading. The activities and ideas are practical and provide in-context learning opportunities - and the activities are short yet packed with practice and experience. We need work on stories.
The book is priced at $24.95, on sale at the moment (check the web page for current pricing). A keeper, for sure.
Woodbine House sent me a review copy of this book at no charge to me. I am not paid for reviews and am not obligated to provide a positive review. RE: Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Behaviorists and medical types, I predict, will *love* it. Behaviorists and medical types love anything that has a completed scientific study behind it, and this book is full of research. Any intervention that is in the process of gathering research as it applies to autism is labeled "pseudoscientific".
The danger in a book like this one is that parents and professionals stick with approaches "proven" by science while refusing to consider what this book calls "pseudoscience" and those parents and professionals risk what we experienced, a behavioral program that was considered successful by the fact that my child learned everything we taught her, except we taught her out of developmental sequence and created a long list of bizarre splinter skills that translated into NON-success in a traditional classroom. We are still unraveling some of the damage we did by well-meaning behaviorists who understood the "science" but did not understand development.
If you want to see what research is and is not available, here's your book. Personally, I would not spend $35 on it. I wasted too much valuable time and money on interventions "backed by science" and did not get in return what was promised. I got prompt-dependent and robotic, lots of words without comprehension or conversation. Mom-to-mom, read this information with a grain of salt. Absence of proof is not absolute proof.
The value in the book for me is on page 293, at the very end, where the discussion turns to the fact that "The research in this volume demonstrates that we have made significant gains along several dimensions and are moving in a number of positive directions:" that include a shift to a focus on social competence and the role of joint attention in the social piece and cites the need for more research.
Brookes Publishing sent me this book free of charge to review for you here. I am not paid for reviews and am not obligated to provide a positive review. RE: Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Thursday, November 8, 2012
The kids began the season with fundamentals in a hot gymnasium...
PS: A photo from last year is here.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
In the whirlwind of high school marching band season and homeschooling siblings, we parents forced an opportunity upon our eldest child recently. Teens Drive Smart offers a driving experience for teen drivers that combines sit-down classroom time with real-life driving experiences in a controlled environment. If you are in the United States, go to http://www.teensdrivesmart.com/ and get yourself on the email list to be notified of the schedule for 2013. Teens Drive Smart has a facebook page and twitter page as well.
Hard for mom to watch: the pavement was flooded and the kids were taught how to navigate skidding *in a BMW*. The students got a second opportunity to drive a BMW during another driving portion of the program where they activated the anti-lock braking system and swerved to avoid an object at high speed. (Lookie-loos in vehicles on the highway beside us were stopping to watch this.)
A course of cones to navigate on golf carts gave students the ability to see the wheels and how a turn from the steering wheel affects what the back wheels do. The course was designed to be quite tight and we saw quite a few cones taken out. During this part of the course, we learned proper steering wheel techniques (something new to me!) and the kids were asked to navigate the course once while texting, something that was both hilarious and sobering, all at the same time. Not only did they knock over cones, but they ran the stop signs on the course as well.
The four hour experience was positive, well-organized, the instructors were upbeat and enthusiastic. I met a number of parents who were back with a younger child, having completed a similar program with an older child in past years. I learned something new about steering and we parents were reminded to be good role models for our kids while driving.
The kids left with lots of swag that included a jump drive that contains video of them in the cars, a t-shirt and cap, a lanyard, a water bottle, and a car kit that includes jumper cables and gloves but (oddly) no tire pressure gauge.
I wasn't asked to blog about our experience. I'm simply a mom who wants to pass along to you what was a super opportunity for us. Participate at your own risk (you'll have to sign waivers upon check-in). All of the rules and information are available on the Teens Drive Smart web site.
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
The book is divided into sections about the basics of puberty; outside changes; inside changes (includes voice, feelings, sexual feelings); a section about the penis; then sections that are more 'social skills' in nature that describes safe touch and what is appropriate to share and what is appropriate to keep private.
The books is paperback, 64 pages, with the right amount of text and illustration on each page. It is priced at $16.95 and is on sale at the Woodbine House web site at the moment. It is inviting to read. Better yet, the content is written in a way that is matter of fact, reminds boys that everything they're going through is *normal*, and it tackles a subject that can be difficult for kids whose bodies are ahead of their comprehension. Having it in book form means we parents can pick up the book again and again and reread it with our kids or revisit parts of it as we need to.
Woodbine House gave me a copy of this book to review for you on my blog. I was not paid for this review and am not obligated to provide a positive review. Re: Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Monday, November 5, 2012
The Sparkle Box is a new story book for families to illustrate the joy in doing for others, especially as we approach CHRISTmastime.
Written by Jill Hardie and illustrated by Christine Kornacki, The Sparkle Box tells the story of a child named Sam who eagerly anticipates the arrival of CHRISTmas and gift-opening. The story is one that most children will identify with in a big way.
Hardie's story is one of perspective taking, looking for ways to help others - both near and far - in need. When Sam's family helps someone, they write down how they helped one a slip of paper and put that slip of paper in the Sparkle Box. On CHRISTmas Day, they open the box and read the gifts they gave to Jesus as they were the hands and feet of Jesus to people in need.
The back cover of the book contains a Sparkle Box ready to assemble and sit on your mantle. Kornacki's illustrations are rich and warm, beautiful. In terms of working with a delayed reader, the font is quite big, and while some pages have quite a bit of text, the text did not overwhelm my child and she tends to resist anything that looks like too much on a page. The balance of pictures and text is good in terms of a beginner reader who is anxious about reading.
Children with autism sometimes struggle to perspective-take. The Sparkle Box gives me an avenue to practice perspective taking and helping by active participation with a child on the spectrum. The book makes the concept of helping someone in need more concrete for children who need that.
Take a peek:
The list price is $19.99. The book is adorable.
I received a copy of this book at no charge to me to review on this blog. I am not paid for reviews and not obligated to provide a positive review. RE: Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Propeller is generously offering a copy for one of my readers. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO ENTER TO WIN A COPY OF THIS BOOK, SIMPLY COMMENT BELOW. I'll choose a winner a week from today, Nov 12th. Enter by midnight CST on Nov 11th.
Sunday, October 14, 2012
Friday, October 12, 2012
My family received a complimentary game, Anti-Virus, to use and review for you. I was not paid for this review and am not obligated to provide a positive review.
Anti-Virus is a game of logic and thinking that practices the ability to problem solve and think ahead as players work to rid the game board of a virus game piece.
My kids really enjoy Rush Hour, and when I was offered the opportunity to review Anti-Virus, I chose it because it uses the same logic, planning, thinking skills.
The red two-circle piece is the virus and the object is to move that red piece out of the cell/game board.
It's harder than it looks.
Players are allowed to move pieces diagonally only - and I realized pretty quickly that playing this game with that rule will build visual processing skills as well. I have challenges visually seeing three or four moves ahead, and this game gives me practice at it.
I really don't like to compare a review item to another product - or even mention another product in a review - but the concept of Anti-Virus made me think so much of Rush Hour that I could not resist. If you have a Rush Hour fan at home, I suspect that fan will love Anti-Virus as well. I have to make myself sit down and play - this is a kind of logic and thinking that I definitely need more practice with, it does not come easily for me, and it feels difficult, which means I need it.
I do like to have some challenging games for rainy days or for days when someone has a cold and needs something without a lot of reading to do. This definitely gives us a thinking workout without the reading! I'm glad to have Anti-Virus in my educational game arsenal at home.
Monday, October 8, 2012
Pretty big deal that my homeschooler, the one with an autism spectrum disorder, was able to guess what was in my mind by the meaning in the clues she saw as we were shopping. I love the little signs of progress!
Thursday, October 4, 2012
Thursday, September 27, 2012
The B&B Media Group gave me a copy of The Rock Solid Faith Study Bible for Teens to review. I was not paid for this review and am not obligated to provide a positive review.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
We have Spanish files on the laptop; one of our math programs is online; we were using the DVD player on the laptop for IEW and another math program.
My public schooler not only completes homework on the laptop, but one of her classes requires that she watch online instructional videos every night.
When we finally got the laptop back with hard drive #3, we had just a few days to play catch up when our internet went out. We had spotty, on-and-off access over the weekend and then the whole thing went out for the rest of the week. Every time I phoned the ISP, I got a recorded message informing me that they were repairing an area-wide outage in my area. The story through the grapevine that I heard is that a man hit a utility pole down the street while texting and driving.
We are playing catch up again. I am catching up on reviews and my Homeschool Mosaics column. I'll blog again soon. We're still catching up on schoolwork that dragged along during the down times. Stay tuned. ;)
Thursday, August 23, 2012
We are using Spanish for You! as part of a review at the moment, and I couldn't resist buying a Spanish workbook at the warehouse club to go with it. I saw Buenas Noches Luna at a local Marshall's store and purchased it, too.
Spanish for You! has lesson plans for older children and younger children, so I am able to customize for my same-age learners who are working at different levels.
I took Spanish in college because it was required and I barely got by. When we lived in California in the early 90's, I took a Conversational Spanish offered by a local community education organization, and the teacher there used a lot of materials for children with the class of adults.
I'll continue to look for materials in Spanish; I'm sure I can find a Bible and the last couple of times we went to the Scholastic warehouse, there were story books in Spanish for sale.
I think we're off to a good start!
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Friday, August 17, 2012
1. Thou shall not yell when speaking to me. My disability does not impair my hearing and I am extremely bright. Perhaps even brighter than you are.
2. Thou shall not ignore me, talk negatively about me, speak unnaturally slow, or ask questions to others in the room that pertain to me. I can comprehend what you are saying just fine.
3. Thou shall believe in me and help me believe in my skills and self worth. Note the good in me and do not merely point out my negative behaviors. Believe in me and I will believe in myself.
4. Thou shall not perceive me as dumb. I am extremely intelligent. I do not learn in the same way as you, and maybe not as quickly as you expect me to. Have patience with me. Once I recall information, I never forget.
5. Thou shall not judge my behavior. I can get overstimulated in certain environments. I may be hypersensitive to sound and loud noises may hurt my ears. Fluorescent lights are distracting for me. They have a humming noise, and can pulsate. All the noises in a room can blur together. Please make accommodations to help me.
6. Thou shall not be so quick to scold me. Do not tell me that “I know what I did”. I do not. Tell me what my infraction was in a simple, concise manner. I want to please you, but I have difficulties inferring meaning within a vague statement. For instance, do not say please clean up your bedroom. Tell me exactly what you want, such as ‘Please make your bed and pick up your toys”.
7. Thou shall not compare me to others. Please remind me, and note the talents that I possess. This increases my confidence and positive self worth. Learning disabled or not, we ALL have talents to contribute within society. I need you to help me realize what mine is. Believe in me and I will believe in myself.
8. Thou shall not exclude me from activities. Please do not mimic me, ignore me, or bully me. Please invite me to play with you. It hurts my feelings when I am excluded. I like to run and jump in the playground, and be invited to birthday parties too. Grownups can help me make friends by encouraging other children to play with me. I can be a loyal friend if you get to know me.
9. Thou shall give me choices. I do not like being ordered about any more than the other children. Give me choices so I know you value my capabilities and opinions. Make them simple and concise. Present two options or so. I get confused when too many questions or directions are given at one time due to my processing speed. For instance, ask me if I would like to wear my blue sweater or green one, rather than asking which sweater I would like to wear.
10. Thou shall not judge me by my diagnosis, but by my character. I am an individual, just like other children. As my son used to say, “Mom my name is John (name changed for his anonymity) not Asperger’s”. A profound statement I would say. :-0) ~ Mari Nosal
Thursday, August 16, 2012
I spent the month of July sick. Pain, pressure, and numbness on the left side of my face, centering on my eye, had me hopping from doctor to doctor and in an MRI machine twice and a CT scan once. I still have no answers and I am glad that my eye feels better. A horrible cold wiped me out for a week, too.
We withdrew our son from public school last week, just before public school began. The public middle schools were much better in our former state and after a year of frustration at many levels, we pulled him out.
Yes, I am homeschooling two teenagers, the same age, who are working at drastically different academic levels, and who learn very differently. For my son, I am using Thinkwell Math; Apologia Science; IEW for writing; Spanish For You; and Tapestry of Grace Y1U1 for history; he is enrolled in the local homeschool band program and he participated in a camp with the local homeschool baseball team.
For my daughter, the child with an autism spectrum disorder, we are using Math U See; Spanish For You; we are going to try IEW (IEW customer service showed me a web page that has lesson plans for younger children that accompany the same package that I bought for my son); Apologia Science; and Tapestry of Grace Y1U1. She participates with a cheerleading team for kids with special needs; I want to enroll her in a homeschool ice skating class and possibly a dance class for kids with special needs. We have to fit in a speech therapy research project somewhere.
My public high schooler has a busy year with her first AP class among honors classes; she is in the marching band (which keeps us hopping until almost Christmas) and the Wind Ensemble there. She is learning to spin and throw a rifle as part of the marching band show. The first football game of the season is this weekend, followed by the first marching band camp Saturday as we head into football and marching band competition season.
We are still battling anxiety, sensory issues, eczema. We have a busy year that includes settling in with a new student. Wish us luck!