Thursday, June 30, 2011

TOS Special Needs Planner

I had the opportunity to review The Old Schoolhouse Special Needs Planner.  This is set up similar to their other PDF planners but contains a variety of new information that could be very helpful to those working with special needs children.  It sells for $29 and can be found HERE.

After a basic calendar section where there are oodles of calendar types to choose from, the next section has some wonderful articles written by many authors; some you may have heard of before such as Cynthia Tobias, Melinda Boring and a personal favorite Carol Barnier.   There are many articles by lesser known authors too that are very insightful. Great stuff...

Many people with children on the autism spectrum follow a gluten and casein free diet.  The planner contains some very yummy recipes!  There is even a recipe that says, "A taste of Cinnabon®."  Now if they could just perfect that application where you click on the recipe and it appears on your counter!!!

I have last year's 'regular' planner from TOS and the forms section is unique and adapted in this selection.  There are places to work on an IEP, whether that be with the school as part of your homeschooling or one you do at home.  There are vaious ways to map out goals and objectives.  In addition, there is even a place where you can write information on your child's learning styles.

There is also a medical section that gives places to write down doctor information, therapy schedules, medical history and more.  I can't tell you the number of times I have been asked for information on a doctor form such as, "when did he first crawl" and I have no idea because I just didn't keep a record.  This might be a good place to keep track of that type of info as well.  This section of forms is quite extensive.  There are also 'diary' pages to keep track of diet or behavior.

At the end there are some very nice sequence cards for things such as washing your hands and charts that help show you and your child accomplishments they have made in these areas. Print these out on card stock, maybe laminate, and you are good to go.

At the very end is a list of picture books.  I love picture books. Even though Andrew is a great reader he still loves them.  And did you know that WORDLESS books are a GREAT way to work on READING!  It is true!  They make you think and discuss and have a GRAND CONVERSATION.  You can find one article on them here and have fun googling 'wordless books' and taking rabbit trails from the link. If you have a reader, even in middle school, and still have Hop on Pop on the bookshelf, pull it off for some good experience sharing.  I think sometimes that the older teaching the younger works so well for some because the older gets to 're-experience' some of the FUN that they missed the first time around because it was 'work' to them at the time.

You can find a sample of the planner here.  I received this planner in exchange for my honest opinion.

Monday, June 27, 2011


A few days ago I picked up a post on Proverbs 31.. it was great.  I posted it on my facebook and another friend read and and noodled on it and came up with her own thoughts.  I just loved them!  And so with permission, I post Liana's take on Proverbs 31..She Has HAND MAIDENS!


Have any of you really considered the life of the Proverbs 31 woman? Seriously, I read it this week differently than I've ever read it before. Before, I've always seen her as a Victorian work-horse, cleanliness is next to godliness, idle hands are a sin, oppressed, sacrificing her health for the good of her family and pampered autocratic husband. But this week, thanks to Amy's facebook post, I took a second look from within the context of ancient middle-eastern culture and the writer's perspective. And I was EXCITED!!!

First of all, this woman has HAND MAIDENS!!!!! That right there is the first clue to this woman's life. She's wealthy. She has women around her taking care of all the mundane details, providing daily support, while she focuses on the BIG PICTURE. LOL. I want that.

Secondly, her ancient middle-eastern husband trusts her in all things. I.E. -- she's EMPOWERED. She's esteemed and respected. 

Thirdly, she has enough cash flow to make large impulse purchases -- such as a field. They are landowners, and she can acquire MORE LAND on IMPULSE when she spots a good deal. And you know what... it's her OWN CASH. Which means she didn't have to wait to consult her middle-eastern husband, she simply purchased it. THEN... she was able to DECIDE what she wants to do with it. She gets to not only dream and plan, but implement -- hiring workers to prepare, plant, and harvest the best cash crops. Realize, this woman has hand-maidens. She's not out there with a shovel, planting summer squash. She's creating a vineyard and winery. She's a "Rich Dad" developer. No kidding.

She also uses her creativity. She's a clothing designer, and sells her work in the market place. Not only is she out in the community, interacting with her world, but I'm guessing she enjoys it too, because she's using her skills and gifts. And she has time to do this, because she has HAND MAIDENS!!!!!

She gets up early and makes sure her staff is taken care of. Consider the opposite from a king's perspective -- she's not sleeping off her hangover until noon, because she's a spoiled brat princess debutant habitually partying her life away. She takes care of herself and others, and is responsible.

She sees her trading is profitable, and her lamp never goes out at night -- I heard a sermon on this once. It doesn't mean she stays up late, it means she knows how to barter and get good deals. She shops at Costco. Lamp oil was expensive and a luxury of the rich, and if you didn't stock enough, you had to ration the amount of time the lamps were on, especially in the long winter when it gets dark early.

Her staff wears scarlet and she wears purple. Two very expensive colors. In other words, they were ALL well heeled, and she herself wears Prada. And remember... this lady has STAFF!!!!!!

She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar... SHE EATS WELL. They have imported bananas from the tropics, and spices from India. Today's equivalent would be organic, grass-fed beef and local free-range chicken eggs...

She speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction -- she's educated and wise, Charlotte Mason and Rich Dad combined... and people want her advice!

She gives to the poor and needy, she's also compassionate, instead of having princess like entitlement issues.

She laughs at the future... because she's so good at creating wealth.

Her husband is respected at the city gates. He has positions of importance, and probably studies the Torah and philosophy and judges the people. Their whole household has respect, in part, because of her, and her husband is also a noble man. A leader in the community. The kind of guy we all want.

She's a noble woman. She's the middle eastern equivalent of a duchess or at least a lady of a great estate. 

Sign me up! LOL!

Monday, June 20, 2011


I loved our vacation.  I mean, my kid goes everywhere and yells.. "HEY!  WE ARE TOURISTS!!"  And then he proceeds to take pictures of things big and small. (If you are my facebook friend you can see about 100 pictures!)  We had to stop at every state line to get out, take a picture and then proceed.  Illinois didn't have one but you can see where we have been.

And even little things give this kid a thrill.  The cereal dispenser, four slice toaster and pancake making machine were 'epic.'  (And they weren't even gluten free!)  It was a thrill and a thrill to share.

We have been to a factory that makes giant fiberglass sculpture.  We saw two men taking GREAT care in detail of this pumpkin which will be on the water tower on our ride back.   It was a thrill to share.  And I loved how they gave attention to detail in a place that was basically a graveyard of past used fiberglass sculpture.  Here is a link to their website.

One of the best parts so far is that I received an email from a friend who I haven't spoken to in many months.  She said I was on her heart and she was praying for God to be large.  He has been large...very very large...I know others prayed as well.  He has provided exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or imagine.

And it goes to show that it is the VERY simple things that can be experience sharing.   It is not about what you do- but about the sharing together.

God is good.
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