Tuesday, August 31, 2010

First day of school....

Tomorrow is our first day of school. Andrew has been dreading it for weeks and today was so upset. I gave him a new backpack...with a monkey. He said, "I wish it was Mario."

At some point today we were talking about something and he said "that is 50 of the whole." He meant 50%. I asked him if he knew what that meant and he said, "yea mom. That's half." I mentioned that indeed he could do math. He balked and I broke out the skittles I was saving for tomorrow. We did no less than 20 minutes of math. I built his confidence. And he is actually (somewhat) excited about school tomorrow.

After using the skittles for math we transitioned into the tasting them for our current RDI objective which revolves around joint attention and we are working on using taste as a vehicle for this. It went nicely.

It didn't dawn on me until writing all this down... After the skittles Andrew started saying that he felt like he had to pee constantly. He was also doing some weird eye 'things' and some snorting/sniffing. I guess that would be what artificial dyes do to a kid who never gets them. I was thinking it was the sweet potatoes but nope..it's the dyes. I will have to find another delicious treat for our math manipulatives. Any suggestions??

I was also thinking today on the new 'options' for homeschooling K12 within the public school. (Does one call this public schooling at home?) So thankful that we currently have the freedom to do what we want..in the timing that is right for Andrew. Skittles and all.....

Monday, August 30, 2010

Peterson Directed Handwriting- A TOS Review

I was given the opportunity to review Peterson Directed Handwriting

I wish I had known of this program about five years ago. Perhaps it would have made the difference. We were given the opportunity to have a training session with the folks at Peterson which really helped us to figure out where to start. Originally I was to review the 'print' materials but I was given a chance to change to the 'cursive' because of the struggles we have in handwriting. Andrew has already developed some really poor habits. We have many fish to fry and he loves to draw..so when he does that I don't correct how he holds his pencil or positions his paper. I just let him go to town. For me that is 'non-screen' time where I get a break. (Most other break times include a screen of some sort.) I decided to ask to move to the cursive because I knew it would be a gigantic struggle to start from scratch with printing and they were very accommodating as they want success for your child.

As just a SMALL example of a 'static struggle', we were recently discussing capitals and lower case and when when you use them. This was the same time we were reading The Fourth of July. Andrew says, "I am doing writing independently. I don't need to make certain things capital or lower case because I am an independent writer." Going back to square one for printing was not going to happen...however... he has expressed interest in cursive. I wanted to 'capitalize' on that.

I decided however, before even tackling this, that I would try to work on one of the basics of the Peterson Directed Handwriting method: writing while you state what you are writing. Both the print and the cursive give some 'games' to play that help guide the child in development of proper habits. Peterson Directed Handwriting bases much of what it does on 'muscle' memory. So while you are learning the different strokes that make up letters, you say them out-loud. You can find the full information on how this method is taught by going to some of the presentations here which are free.

This is a teacher intensive program but I am a hands on teacher and so that worked for me. We spent much of this 'trial period' just doing the first step of 'Illustrate and describe" while air writing strokes. We also practiced with short pencils on a piece of paper on the wall. I had to make this somewhat 'fun' because handwriting is such a chore.

I like that this program works on muscle memory. Andrew has learned to 'draw' his letters. I can write my name in cursive and he can 'copy' it. This created angst in the past also, because if he didn't 'copy' his copywork correctly, he'd get upset. I think this method takes a more graduated approach. With cursive, we can go to square one and maybe make some good habits.

There are various prices for the products. You can find a variety of products and packages here. Each cursive book is $29.95 and you can find pricing of other products via the above link. There are many other additional items you might find useful with this method. You can see other's reviews on this product by clicking on the top banner.

As part of The Old Schoolhouse Crew of reviewers, I was given a complimentary copy of the Peterson Directed Handwriting materials. I am not compensated for this review and am not obligated to provide a positive review.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A whole decade....aka..things I have learned regarding birthday parties

Andrew turned 10 last weekend. I can hardly believe it. It was the BEST birthday ever. Truly it was, for so many reasons which I may or may not blog about at some point. This summer has been the best summer ever. (I must get out my thesaurus.. best: it was aces, fine, outstanding.) I say that even though this will be known as the summer of the root canal. It was also the summer of God's great provision. But that is another post.

This entry is about the things I have learned about birthday parties over the last decade:

  • Simple is best. Andrew chose his theme: Cardboard. No I am not kidding... We made a banner on brown paper, gift bags were lunch bags personally written on by Andrew, simple table settings. Andrew did not want balloons therefore we did not have any. The woman who made our gfcfsf cake last year could not do it this year...and we (my sissy and I) made a very simple white and chocolate cake which was disposed of by the end of the party. No leftovers. Simple party fare. It is OK to have just foods your allergy kid can eat..and it's OK to have other stuff too! Whatever makes the least stress for you the party planner mom. Thank you mom for the food you brought. It was wonderful.

  • Presents are opened when the people arrive. It isn't for everyone but it works for us. Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt Nancy came earlier and Andrew had time to read the comics that Grandma had wrapped the presents in. He was able to read the book Aunt Nancy brought. Then as people came, Andrew was able to give a bit of individual attention to each person.

  • Breaks for Andrew are fine. I mean, it's HIS party!!! So he would go outside and play and then go inside and play his DS and then come back out to play. The weather was beautiful and the other kids played in the mosh pit bounce house and had lots of fun. I had a very very simple craft set up in the corner; foam bookmarks with peel foam stickers.

  • Invite the moms and pops. Seriously, and I'm not just saying this, I think they had a good time. It is funny how small the world is. We actually had more people (adults and kids) at this party than any other. I have homeschooling and church friends..and relatives and they all just melded together. Some re-connected. Some made new friends.

  • It was incredible to 'extend' the party to the whole weekend with my sissy and brother's family. I don't know how ya'll can apply that one but it was so carefree and and stress free...and a real blessing.

Here ends Amy's tips for a fantastic party!!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

God's Timing..God's choice...

When Andrew was quite young we went for a speech eval at Beaumont. We had a wonderful speech therapist for the evaluation and when were told that we would not be having her as a therapist I was, well, kind of upset. God prompted me however and it is one of the first times I decided to leave it up to God. The woman we got for speech was wonderful and THE perfect fit for Andrew. We stayed with her for two years before she left for another job.

We started OT about a year ago at Abilities Center. It is the first time we have done formal 'sensory OT' at a center. We have done it in bits and pieces with therapists at the home and for a short time at another facility. But once we found Carol at Abilities I knew it was a good fit. We have been there for a year. Earlier this summer we had about three weeks off because of other appointments, vacations and camp. When we went back I truly thought we needed it. Then about three weeks ago, I started 'forgetting' that we had OT on Wednesdays and last week I asked Carol if we left, what kind of waiting list would there be to get back in. It just felt like the right 'timing' to take a break. But I wasn't SURE. Well...Carol is leaving... to go work in the schools. So I just love the way God spoke in this instance. I needed reassurance, and he provided. He's been doing that a lot lately. I love that He loves me that much to give me the assurances that I need when I need them.

So next Wednesday is our last day with Carol. We will miss her but she has been a real blessing from God over the past year.

I have many more thoughts on how and why this last year has been so different from years past. As Andrew would say...t.b.c.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Remembering Songs...

OK all you cochlear implant users...and parents of users.. We had an interesting thing happen this morning. Andrew made a cardboard 'flute' and so I was humming Happy Birthday to him. (He will be 10 on Sunday.) I asked, "what song was that?" He said, "I have heard it but I don't know." This is a kid who remembers EVERYTHING. Then I hummed ABCs/Twinkle Twinkle. He said, is that Jingle Bells? I did it with a few more and he didn't catch any of them.

This is a kid who remembers EVERYTHING. (Did I say that already?) Of course we haven't done these in awhile. I can play any 'techno' song from a video game and he gets it. Is it just a 'remembering' thing? I thought about doing some 'testing/quiz' work but we are on antibiotics and coming off a couple of high intensity weeks. Maybe next week.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Awesome and Amazing...

Have I mentioned how amazed I have been lately at God's creation and his just plain AWESOMENESS??!!! So that I can make a friend happy who is tired of the words AWESOME and amazing... I am in AWE of the things I have seen... He has done marvelous, wondrous and even surprising things.

We have our challenges to be sure. Our life is not a normal life. At least not what most people think of normal. But I have found lately that there MUST be some sort of peace in this abnormality or I might just go off my rocker. So I'm looking for the wonderful....the majestic....and seeking it out. To be sure at times it is daunting.

Andrew was born deaf. At 13 months he received a cochlear implant. At two years old he was still quite far behind even his hearing impaired peers. Sunday he will be 10. His language is awesome magnificent.

He is on a poetry mission lately and wrote about 10 today. I just can't help myself to write another one down tonight. He does not get the capitals and we must work on punctuation. The poetry is written more in prose format on his paper (he would probably get a D from a PS teacher).... but he is so darn creative. When I heard 'writing time' in school, I froze up. This is Andrew's strong suit.

The Clover

I met a clover,
it was square.
Know the desert?
it was there.
"That's ridicoulis," I said.
"You can't be there!"
But the clover said:
"You know we can be everywhere."
I said: "You can't talk!"
He only responded, "take me for a walk."
I did it and he turned into...a hand?
It became a genie..
The size of a rubber band.
Then there was a swarm,
It was like a genie farm.
They said: "What do you wish?"
Then a fork struck me in the hand,
it was a dream.
My wish was missed.

There is always something a little umm..dark.. in his poems. (The whole fork in hand thing is a little weird. )

I wrote the above last night. Now it is morning. It is only 10:30 a.m.....and I am tired. I am going to have to try very hard to look for the stunning things today or it will become overwhelming soon.

The Old Schoolhouse Expo ...Fall Season

It's back to homeschool time and registration is open for the online Schoolhouse Expo, October 4-8. It's five days of top homeschool speakers, fellowship, and fun door prizes.

Save $5 per ticket! Register between August 16 and midnight August 22, and you'll pay only $19.99. Plus you'll receive over $200 in free E-Books.

You'll be inspired by speakers including: Zan Tyler, Dr. Jay Wile, Jeannie Fulbright,Carol Barnier, Diana Waring, Todd Wilson, Davis Carman, Kim Kautzer, Lee Binz, and many more!

A special teen track is planned--the entire family will definitely want to listen to these special sessions. We've also planned a special focus on a topic that touches every homeschool--writing. Plus, an array of other topics that will inform and inspire you throughout your homeschooling years.

Don't forget, MP3 copies of each session comes with your LIVE event ticket.

Two special preconference shows on August 24 and September 21 with Dr. Jay Wile, Jeannie Fulbright, and Kim Kautzer!

Register starting 12:01 a.m. on Monday, August 16.

The theme this fall is "Celebrate Homeschooling!" We're going to celebrate the unique blessings of homeschooling, the beginning of another school year, our families, and the freedom to tailor our children's education to best meet their needs.

If you cannot make the Live event, then the October Expo To Go is just your ticket! You'll reserve MP3s from all of the workshops. This week only, pay just $14.95!

You can visit either of these links to get more information.

I am receiving free Expo to go tickets in exchange for this post.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Tonight's Poetry

Batman's Death

Batman and Robin met their fate.
Even they didn't have to wait.
The moment they knew, they felt x-tra blue.
Batman yowled.
Robin howled.
Where they went is-
The Dentist.

by Andrew Lapain

I'm thinking Andrew processes through his art. He is smiling and running around even while writing this poem. I'm blog more on the root canal tomorrow and God's provision. He is good...all the time...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

My Bunny Lies On The Garden

Andrew wrote this little ditty tonight!

Sung to the tune of "My Bonny Lies Over the Ocean."

Oh my bunny lies on the garden,
He looks sick to me!
My bunny lies on the garden,
Because of my moldy cheese.

Ick cheese
Ick cheese
My bunny is sickly is sickly
Ick cheese
Ick chesse
My bunny is sickly.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Dozens upon Dozens

We are off to Cedar Point Grandma and Grandpa's today. Just Andrew and me. Mark said he could never sleep the night before Cedar Point and Andrew is just the same about a big event. Last night he was so tired and our conversation went like this:

AJ... "Dozens upon dozens I love you mom."
mom..."Awwwww.... Did you think that up yourself or read it in a book?"
mom..."No really. That is very sweet Andrew. Did you read it or think it up on your own?"
AJ..."I read it in a book."
mom... "What book?" I'm thinking Emily Dickinson? Ralph Waldo Emerson? Robert Frost? or even Shel Silverstein?

but no......

AJ..."Nintendo Power DS magazine! Remember Mom? In the July issue Captain Falcon says it!"

I mentioned that no I did NOT read it and he was a bit surprised that I didn't recall it at which point he said, "Your mind is like a sieve." I asked if he remembered what was in the July issue of Rachel Ray Magazine. He did not. Point made..I think.

When he showed me The Captain, it only said "dozens upon dozens (something else)" and not the " I love you part." That he added on his own. I heart my kid.

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