Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Plan Your Teacher Gifts Now

School is just beginning - the time is too soon to worry about Christmas or even end of the school year gifts, right?


Allow me to tell you about my favorite teacher gift. Are you familiar with the legend about the starfish? Here is one version. Here is another.

My favorite teacher/therapist gift is starfish themed.

I use card stock or construction paper as a background for a bookmark. I format the poem to fit on a bookmark, add "Thank you for making a difference in me!" and have my daughter sign her name. I size photos of my child working with the teacher to fit the bookmark and attach them to the back of my bookmark. Then, I laminate my homemade two-sided bookmark and I attach the bookmark to a gift with a starfish motif. Yes, I should have taken a photo the last time I made bookmarks, but alas, I did not. You'll have to imagine it.

When you begin looking, you'll probably notice all sorts of items with a starfish motif. You may find some bargains now as summer items are put on clearance. Look for jewelry, candles, picture frames.

Your to do list so you'll be prepared at gift giving time:
- take some action photos of the teacher or therapist working with your child
- cruise stores for items with a starfish motif

Hint: print extra copies of the poem in case your child needs to practice.

Thank you, readers, for making a difference in me.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

And the winner is... (Patterns of Evidence DVD)

We had four entries. 

Put them on paper 

Folded them, put them in a bowl, shook, and CHOSE A WINNER:

and the winner is... TAMMY!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Apologetics Study Bible for Students Review and Giveaway

We got the opportunity to use and review a copy of Apologetics Study Bible For Student from a special needs perspective.

I have never hidden the fact that the idea of God is a difficult one for my child who is on the autism spectrum. Some of the stories in the Bible are scary, and that fear makes Sunday School and Bible study sometimes aversive for her. I continue to look for products that reduce her anxiety about God and church while increasing her understanding. I want her to have a confident faith, but she is concerned about why the king wanted to kill all of Esther's people or why the men nailed nails into Jesus's hands and feet. Separating now from history and figuring out who God is when He is invisible is a difficult concept for many children with autism.

My first favorite thing about the Apologetics Study Bible for Students are the index (reverse) tabs on the page edges that allow us to find books of the Bible quickly. My daughter has never owned a Bible with the books visually imprinted on the page edges.

Everything about the Apologetics Study Bible for Students is inviting. The version of this Bible that we were given to review is weighty and substantial and the cover is hardback and easier to handle than a soft, slippery, floppy leather cover for kids with motor challenges.
A Few Features of The Apologetics Study Bible for Students HCSB:
- Book Introductions for each of the sixty-six books of the Bible.
- Study Notes provide evidence of the reliability and truthfulness of Scripture.
- 120 Articles written by today's leading Christian thinkers dealing with life's ultimate questions.
- 60 Twisted Scriptures address ways that various religious movements distort Scripture to support doctrine contrary to historic Christian teaching.
The chapter introductions give us historical context and background information. The text is smaller than my girl is accustomed to, more words on a page, yet the layout on the pages is inviting enough that she will pick up the book and read from it to herself. (This is amazing!) The study notes (extra tiny) add more important context and explanation. The 120 articles addressed things we've all wondered about; for example, "How were people saved before Christ?".  Twisted scriptures also answer questions I've wondered about - why didn't Adam and Eve die the moment they bit the fruit from the forbidden tree?

My homeschooler is a big fan of archaeology and the Apologetics Study Bible for Students contains 50 Bone & Dirt features  that tell us about important archaeological discoveries and why they are important. Other features are 25 Tactics, to equip students to withstand opposition to Christianity by outlining tactics and strategies for handling frequently heard anti-Christian arguments; 20 Personal Stories of encouragement; 20 Top Five bullet points.

As part of the PR materials that arrived with the Apologetics Study Bible, I learned that, this summer, the gift of Confident Faith is being celebrated with 16 brand new, but energetic and brief videos featuring Sean McDowell, free resources like Bible studies and articles as well as wonderful specials on apps and Bibles.  There are new resources every week - a full 16 weeks of resources when it is all done. The videos are located here. They are short (under four minutes long) and to the point. They give me insight into how to answer questions - so if you find the material is too advanced for your student, you may choose to watch them and teach the material yourself.

The intro to each video is a bit bothersome to me for my child with special needs (but not for the typically developing sibs). Allow me to explain. One of my problems with Sunday School lessons for typically developing teens is the topics are sometimes not developmentally appropriate for my child with autism. She is not ready to talk in a group about topics like dating, sex, cheating at school (that doesn't apply to her), abortion. The intro to each video is the same, a piece featuring Sean McDowell, and he mentions the topics that are too advanced for my teen w autism. I am able to fast forward through the intro and begin each video without the intro. The videos are clearly labeled, so I can avoid the topics that my child is not yet ready for - I like that flexibility and control and those are things Sunday School can't give me.

You can purchase the Apologetics Study Bible here in a variety of covers and prices. You can enter here to win one - I have one copy to give away. Leave a blog comment by Friday to enter. I'll choose a winner at the end of the week (22-Aug-15). AND, if that weren't enough, a Confident Faith Sweepstakes is being offered to give away Bibles, free mini libraries of B&H's best apologetics resources and even a trip for two to the National Conference on Christian Apologetics (NCCA) being held October 16-17, 2015 in Charlotte, NC where some of the world's leading thinkers will offer insights and teaching. Enter sweepstakes here.

We are enjoying this resource - it is inviting enough its own that my reluctant reader does not have to be coaxed to read a little. I like that a LOT. 

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Friday, August 7, 2015

Flying Creatures

Our local library is a wealth of field trips that are real learning experiences for a homeschooler who learns better by doing.

How often do you get this close to a flying squirrel, an owl, a bat, a hawk, a parrot?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Teeny Gecko

Palm trees, the ocean, sea shells, and teeny geckos - all things we saw in Florida that we don't see here where we live. My girl saw him. She notices the teeny things. I would not have noticed him. He blended in with the side of the swimming pool so well. He is a camera hog; he waited for me to grab my phone and stood still and allowed me to take several photos.


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Toes in the Sand

My 'Rella and I took a 600+ mile trip together to see an autism doctor. I drove. We spent way too much time in the car on the road. We headed to Florida, and the hotel was a few blocks from the beach. On the long, long stretches of roadway, she rides in the back and watches a DVD. When we headed to the beach, I asked her to ride up front with me and read the directions. She hopes to be able to drive a car one day, but operating a motor vehicle is just one small aspect involved in driving. And she has just begun to show interest in those pieces.

Giving Mom directions was a first - and she passed with flying colors. She wanted to read the entire thing to me all at once, but I can't hold all the steps in my mind, so she got a lot of practice slowing down and staying engaged with me and with where we were, with looking for the cues given to us by the hotel desk manager.

And we made it to the beach. I got to show her the ocean for the very first time!

We didn't have a lot of time because we were meeting friends for dinner, but we were able to stick our toes in the sand and find a few seashells and write our names in the sand with our feet. :)

I wish we could have stayed longer. The day had been rainy with more rain coming, so the temps were comfortable and the sun not scorching. Would have been a perfect day to relax and watch the waves for hours. I'm glad we got to meet our friends for dinner and wouldn't trade that for time on the beach without them.

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