Thursday, July 31, 2008






This one!!! For Babo's description see below it contains idioms!

I am planning a future blog where Andrew and I put together our lemonade stand. It was an excellent guided participation venture and I did catch it all on video. But for now I will upload a few pictures. There were quite a few customers at Grandpa's garage sale. And we learned a few lessons to boot- not to mention the language opportunities!!

Favorite quote: "This isn't fun, but it's exciting." When I pressed him he said, "It's hhhaaarrrddd work but I'm earning money." With his profits, he bought a new ugly doll- Babo. Mom and dad had to a chip in a bit extra.

I put Andrew in charge of the money and I poured the lemonade. This worked out very well. He was able to figure out how much for two people, how to make change and he learned about tips. Just yesterday we were at the mall and went for french fries at the food court. (a small feat and blogworthy event as well.) He wondered what a tip jar was and today he received a 95 cent tip!

He learned to be nice to all garage sale customers- even the crotchety old ones that wouldn't look us in the eye. After being a tad of a 'hard sell' he yelled at the second one, "HAVE A GREAT DAY!!!!"

Another 'tip' a friend gave me to make it even simpler for those that don't understand the value of money- just charge 'a coin' and then the customer can decide what they will give.

Babo Description:
Babo is best friends with Wage...and the cookie jar. But once he gets to know you and the kinds of snacks you keep around the house...he will focus mostly on the snacks! We all know Babo's got your back, and he will stick up for you when the chips are down...unless it's potato chips. If those are down, it's time to get over to the store and pick some up. Why does Babo seem smaller? He's just too far away from you! When you guys hug, he'll seem to be a lot bigger.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Free Audiobook

Christian Audiobook has free downloads monthly. I am listening to the July book- it is wonderful. Only a few more days to download for free: The Practice of the Presence of God. You do not need to listen in July- only download in July. Please do so!!!!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thoughtful Thursday

Who said:

Perhaps my sun shines not as yours. The colors that glorify my world...may not correspond exactly with those you delight in; but they are nonetheless color to me. The sun does not shine for my physical eyes,..nor do the trees turn green in the spring; but they have not therefore ceased to exist, any more than the landscape is annihilated when you turn your back to it.

OK I hate guessing games so I will tell you Helen Keller. I am on chapter five of a wonderful book on child development. I will leave you guessing on the book though as I plan to blog on it further. This quote was in the chapter on child development in children with disabilities- specifically blindness, deafness and adhd; not all together. I am depressed and inspired. As I read I realize Andrew has had seemingly insurmountable challenges to overcome. Thankfully God has taken me one day at a time did not give me this information when Andrew was born. I'd have given up!!! The inspiration is that a girl, although she could hear and see at birth, lost much of her early childhood 'in the dark' yet still through a patient and persistent teacher, changed the world.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

(not quite) Wordless Wednesday

Talk about living books. There is a giant "Alice in Wonderland" book where Andrew played 'teacher' to the other willing 'students' today at an outdoor courtyard in the library. The picture of Andrew as 'teacher' isn't all that great but the only one I had from my phone. Andrew's speech, language and relational skills were so nice today. Andrew didn't know them- they were just there and willing to play! And they specifically came back when they ran off so they could include Andrew!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Living Grammar Books in the Public Classroom

My mom is a retired public school teacher. I inherited many books from her teaching days. Some are geared toward classrooms but I am coming across some real gems. I keep them stashed away and each year I go through and see what I might be able to use. Way to go Mom! You really used some nice stuff! I know not all teachers go to the trouble to 'think outside the textbook.' I have found oodles of living math books and am going to put them in my librarything. I will update the blog after I do that.

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Today I came across a wonderful 'grammar' resource in my stash from mom; Dear Peter Rabbit by Alma Flor Ada. Andrew learns grammar mostly by osmosis during reading. We have (rarely) done formal language arts and when I do it doesn't really stick. We have also had pen pals from time to time and that has helped a bit but mostly Andrew absorbs through reading. This wonderful gem of a book is a series of 'letters' written to and from various fairytale characters such as Peter Rabbit of course but also Baby Bear, Goldilocks, Pig One, Wolfy etc... It has proper letter formation throughout the book. We have not read yet but plan to add it to the book list this summer.

note: For a long definition of a living book see here. For a shorter definition look here. The following excerpt is taken from the short version.

Living books, often called "classics," are the kind of books that joyfully enliven the imagination of a child. They are written by individuals -- not committees -- and display imagination, originality, and the "human touch." Living books do not talk down to a child's level or omit odd and interesting vocabulary. Children take to living books more than textbooks for these reasons; because such books are not crammed with facts and information at the expense of human emotion.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Working in the Zone

I am reading Awakening Children's Minds. It is a fabulous book and is giving me 'permission' to work with Andrew where he is at developmentally. You have to 'get past' the age labels in the book and just look at the progression when you have a child who is 'behind." It is explaining a lot to me. Several years ago, I bought a ton of board games because Andrew was the age on the box. As I am reading the book I am discovering how you need to establish imaginary play well before you can 'rule play.' Many times therapies will try to teach rules and that can indeed be done but the child will not be as actively involved in the game as if you waited until they are ready. They need to 'play with rules' through imaginary play and then are comfortable playing by the rules. So Andrew is clearly moving toward games thought imaginary play.

When Andrew was about two years old we received two batches of Brio and Thomas train tracks that probably are worth several hundred dollars. All boys love trains..right? Well, not exactly. There they sat in the box year after year. We'd get them out to play with them a time or two and back they would go. They are in plain site so we have easy access to them. Andrew is well into pretend play. He builds cities out of blocks, lines up figurines to be in a parade (vs. just lining them up,) and then acts out elaborate scenes. I decided to try to incorporate the trains tonight and build a track together.

How did it go?

I started it as a guided participation / regulatory exercise where I would hand him a piece and he would put it in and then ideally we would switch roles. I should have thought through things a bit better; this is the first time we were doing this exercise and to end on MY terms I should have stuck to maybe 3 pieces of track. He took over and as I write this is designing his own track. I walked away at one point and pouted (loudly) at which point he said, "I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. I just want to do it my way." He did just call me in to play on his "Andrew Express" LOL! We still struggle w/ the m/a relationship. I think all folks do at some level. If they don't then perhaps you just have a robot. He is however clearly in imaginary play. We do that together at other times- but it is nice also that he is developing the ability to play by himself nicely as well.

In any event, it is thrilling to see the progress the imagination and simply to see God at work.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Thrilling Thursday

The Oakland County Fair has an incredible service that it does- for two hours they open up the carnival rides to JUST special needs folks AND it's free. The workers are just wonderful and kind and I do believe that they are the same ones on each ride every year- give or take. I do remember the worker on the Dumbo ride from last year. You just know he knows someone with some special need. And the roller coaster operators were asking about Andrew's implant and wondering if it would work for Grandma who always says..."HUH??!!" LOL.

I created two montages. The first one is just an overview of our staycation. The second is the bumper cars. The emotion sharing and referencing is pretty cool, don't you think?! There is little in the way of spoken language at an event like this. At one point I said to DH, "we must get Andrew's map checked." He reminded me (gently) that we were at that point walking past a giant compressor.

I think everyone with special needs kids has 'markers' of how a child was "the last time they did that." This is one of those for me. This year we stayed longer, shared more things (including animals), had more fun, better waiting (although there was a 'this is long and boring comment') and no meltdowns when there were two rides we would not let him do! A funny language thing for the day; somehow we were talking about kids and Andrew says, "Speaking of kids, I want to see the goats."

PS...DH was playing around with a cool feature I didn't know our camera had until a friend showed me some pictures taken from her maybe yours can do it too. We could focus on one color and the rest are of the picture is black and white. Very cool.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

2008-2009 Schedule

I've finally narrowed down our resources for the next year. For those that might be reading from DeafVillage and are working on 'listening' exercises, you may find the music history and poetry resources interesting and helpful- something different than typical listening work.

I will say I am probably 'more' eclectic than 100% Charlotte Mason. A suggested schedule on SCM indicates heavy history and not starting science, other than nature study, until 4th grade. After much prayer and looking at Andrew's interest, I do plan to do a full science curriculum and use history and literature to 'practice' our reading. I will likely move back and forth between non-fiction history living books and literature, at least at the start, as I think doing everything every day would be too much for us to handle.

Math: We are going to stick with RightStart for the first half of the year at least. We still have half of book B to do. I also have a few other math resources tucked away for variation. (ie: I purchased way too much last year but can draw on it as needed.)

Science: I blogged about this a week ago. Since then I have discovered NOEO Science Kits and I am going to purchase the Chemistry I kit and supplement with additional books as Andrew desires- and as I find on ebay;)

Copywork: I am going to use resources from Simply Charlotte Mason, Scripture and verses from God's Wisdom for Little Boys. I plan to use paper from Donna Young. I am also going to purchase StartWrite software. I have looked at this for several years and think it would be useful at this point. Oh and I almost forgot; we do typing. We are using Type to Learn which has worked quite well. To some degree it is out of the 'zone' for Andrew; however, he has started using the internet and I would like to cement good habits vs. the hunt and peck method. We will be taking it slow. We have been doing the program all year and only made it to level 6. And I just took him back to level 2 to cement more good habits.

Poetry: A Child's Introduction to Poetry has a CD that is played with the book. Any chance I get to introduce another's voice, I take it. I will also be using various poem books including A Llama who had no Pajama. I found this while cleaning the "books from last year." I may have forgotten to mention that Andrew loves poetry. Check out his blog for his latest creations.

Music and Art Appreciation: Hymns for a Kids' Heart part two, The Story of the Orchestra, and Can you Hear it? .All of these come with a CD. The Hymns also have sheet music included in the book. The last book also contains famous pictures of art paired with appropriate music. I have written about this on my art and music blog.
I am also considering Art Through Children's Literature.

Art: Drawing with Children. It is for the novice to teach. Enough said;) what's missing...History, Literature / Reading, and Bible. First on Bible. As I was praying over everything and what to do next year I really thought that Bible shouldn't be a 'subject' but should be wrapped up into everything we do. That said, I plan to start the day with some sort of Praise and Worship and some Bible reading. I will have additional books lined up in addition to the Bible to help us. I am going to also download some music to the ipod that he enjoys. He thinks classical music and hymns are 'too pretty.' I am still going to do them weekly but daily I want to put on praise and worship music that he really enjoys. He likes things along the lines of "This is the day the Lord has made."

Second, History; I keep going back and forth in my mind on what to do. I think I will purchase the D'Aulaire packet from Beautiful Feet and call it a year. I love those books and even though we have read Benjamin Franklin and George Washington, I would love to re-read them. (So much for reading a book one time as outlined by Charlotte.) I was planning on continuing with SOTW but it just isn't right for us.

Third, Literature and Reading; I have a list of books 'left over' from my Sonlight core curriculum that I purchased. I am going to start with these and see where Andrew's interests lie. I will post these as I go along. We are reading in EVERY subject and will use narration to ferret out where he is at for reading and for listening.

I am continuing to refine our narrating activities. They will be oral this year but I will have Andrew draw pictures as a way of narrating and I also plan to use graphic organizers as a way for us to keep track of longer stories.

As a final note; We are going to continue to work on listening by using hearing journey exercises. I need to tackle speech with Andrew and will probably start with the Straight Talk program that I already purchased. I also have the Balametrics program which is similar to BrainGym in nature. We can call that PE. And of course there are all the sensory activities in the various SI books that are on the shelf.

As I type this I see that it will be a challenge to do everything although we obviously won't do every subject every day. And I am not even focusing on things such as language arts and spelling. As I map out the semester and weekly schedules, I will likely pare things down, at least in the beginning.

Happy 4th of July!!!!!

My aunt sent me, from the director of the Eddy Concert Band, a CD of their recent performances. It got me thinking that there MUST be someone who would have uploaded a concert or two to youtube. Sure enough! And it was a 4th of July song to boot. I have no idea how John Philip Sousa can make me about an episodic memory. I used to be able to play that piccolo solo at one point.

Anyway- Happy 4th of July a day late. ps: these aren't my kiddos...just pulled it off youtube.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

My Mosaic

I found this over at Boy's Rule My Life.

I won't tag anyone;) but do's's how and leave a comment if you do it:

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.

c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd's mosaic maker
d. you can then send it to Flickr to upload to your blog

1. What is your first name? Amy

2. What is your favorite food? Potato Chips

3. What high school did you go to? Douglass Macarthur

4. What is your favorite color? Yellow

5. Who is your celebrity crush? Alton Brown

6. Favorite drink? Coffee

7. Dream vacation? a vacation to visit all my cyberfriends- via private jet- w/ nanny. I typed in freinds;)

8. Favorite dessert? Chocolate chips

9. What you want to be when you grow up? a Mom

10. What do you love most in life? Jesus

11. One Word to describe you. caring (DH gave me that.)
12. Your flickr name. Amy

Here you go. Click on the mosaic to see it in a larger version.

My Mosaic
Originally uploaded by lapain.amy

1. my desk corner 2, 2. May 29th, 2008 Self Portrait Thursday, 3. Youth..., 4. Cd Art, 5. Soft Pretzels (w/recipe), 6. coffee & the city, 7. I s o l a t e d, 8. Mint Chip, 9. Fly me to the Mooooon..., 10. Life Passes By, 11. Entering Hyperspace, 12. Cupcakes from Amy Sedaris' recipe
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