Showing posts with label Convention. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Convention. Show all posts

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Planning and Purchasing next year's curricula-how I do it (usually)

So it's that time of year again, when we moms dive into websites, catalogs, stroll vendors at conventions [if you attend] and poke through various blogs to find all sorts of neat goodies we could purchase for our cherubs.  Usually this is a fun activity-especially if you need a break from the every day schooling to dream upon what you want to do next year.  I do that and actually enjoy it.  Crazy but true.  I love the thrill of the hunt and the planning of new things to study.  Others tho, may not.  I am not sure which category you fall under but if you need some 'how does that old gal do it?' kinda advice-continue on dear blogger pal.

If you have just started homeschooling or you can't seem to get a handle on it-maybe something here will help you out. For those out there that are can do this with mind-boggling precision, then perhaps this is not the article for you.

Now,  I know that some folks are all super organized with everything done all computery like-but  I do not go that route. Too old fashioned I suppose.  I like the ole pen and paper approach. Only after I have that done, I will go ahead and click the goodies onto the 'wish list'  for both Rainbow Resource Center and Amazon.  Mind you-that doesn't mean I will actually purchase it all there or even buy everything noted on it. I do that so it gives me a good visual of what I need to be on the look out for (of course, I can add to it as well) so that I will be ready to order when our pocket book is willing and able.  Plus, having it finalized (in loose terms) I have a list I can cherry pick from when I am out at local garage/library book sales, local shops and such.  I will also scan the resale online sites before paying full price on most things.  Not workbooks tho-I almost always buy those new unless there is a sparkly, spanking new one with the set.  I also make my book list (at least for the first semester) so that I can cruise the library website to see what I can find that way to help save money, then note what I cannot get and just order those books.

One thing I have learned over the years (mainly it's our funds for purchasing which have played a major role) is that you do not need to get everything new!  Seriously-unless you have a lot of kids coming up behind where you know for sure the program will work [for all] then a new item purchase would warrant forking over the larger sums of cashola. Less spency things are not necessarily in this category-I am talking the big bucks stuff. Of course the exception to that would be if it were a new program that just came out on the market.  But you get my drift.  I have also swapped books/materials with good pals from time to time to help save too.  But beware.  You should be sure they are responsible and loving toward your stuff (same goes for you) so that it isn't returned damaged or worse-destroyed or not at all.  Know who you trade with.

Here (finally) is my super simple but effective for me way of doing this.  

Step 1:  Write out some simple educational/personal growth goals you have for each child [and/or for the fam as a whole] for that coming year. Nothing deep or too wordy but just simply what you want to see accomplished. This is your first paper.  This is what you can pull out as the year progresses and see how you are doing. You can always add/delete to it, but by having this you can easily see if the fam is hitting those noted milestones. Remain flexible.  Life happens. I did not know we'd experience the death of my brother this year, so a lot of what I had hoped to cover, simply was not.  And that is OK.  I just carried a few things over to the new year's list. Actually, I was able to add a few things that we didn't think we'd cover too.  So it evened out. *No pic here.  I feel this is a very personal thing and don't feel the need to share-I believe you get the point by the above advice.  This is meant for our family and is something that should remain private-I suggest the same for yours.

Step 2: Take paper-fold into three sections with paper's long side horizontal-write out list. This one can be modified or just scribbled over as you double check and clarify. This is the messy, preliminary list that will be pitched once I am all done spending/creating and organizing this stuff. It's after all that when I make one final (nicely printed) list of the subjects and main curricula/materials needed (sans the have/order list) to refer to throughout the year.

Here is my chicken scratch list-made quickly. 
I went back to it later and noted a few changes 
as you can see with the pink pen. Again, it isn't
super detailed. I don't even have the artists/musicians listed yet.

First up: list each subject and main curriculum choice
and various other little additions. 
Do this off the top of your head and don't worry until you get to the have/buy sides.  Just list away. Sometimes when you over think it-you forget or miss stuff that the 'flow as you go' method catches. You can go back over after to find gaps or make corrections.
Middle-list what you already have.  
Third-what you need to buy in each category.
Once completed-go thru your stuff!  I found I had listed a workbook I actually purchased last year that we hadn't used yet.  I would have re-purchased it-not cool. Actually-I saw I had a couple repeats on it!  Yikes! So double check every nook and cranny first before finalizing 
the wish list on your favorite sites.
  Seriously, that is it!  Nothing too complicated. Just the facts ma'am. Just the facts. 

*When I had more than one student I would simply jot down each child's name at the top of the page and list what was needed for that year.  Then I converged all the 'to buy stuff' onto one big order list.

Step 3:  Once you feel you have the things you want to purchase noted, head to your favorite sites and start your wish list.  I didn't say 'buy list' because sometimes you can find them cheaper somewhere else or you may decide you don't want that item after all.  For example: I am still on the fence at this point for our Bible studies. I don't need to decide right yet-so I listed two curriculum choices that could work.  I have a noted list so I won't forget and I can pick one of those when I go to order or go with something completely different.  It just gives me a visual and frankly, it's a reminder that I need to spend more time figuring out that subject.
**I use Rainbow Resource Center mainly because they seem to have the largest selection and I can make and print a wish list quite easily.  Then I hit Amazon.  But there are plenty of other merchants that offer this as well-so the choice is yours.
For some reason the RR list didn't delete the geography art book had crossed off, so I did it after.  I also noted a few things to refer to later.  I also listed the Amazon and other companies here too.  I can go onto Amazon and see in my saved Wish List items in more detail and move them to my cart later.

This is my newly updated list-I just placed an order for a few things and could remove them. I figured I should type up a new one so I could read it. LOL
I also decided to print out a purchased list because I am already starting to get things for next year. I had to place an order now because we need the Monet calendar and a science kit (was already in my Amazon cart) immediately-hence why I have already made a dent in our next year's list.  I wanted to be sure I wrote those items down so I didn't repurchase or forget I have them.  The art list is for my shopping at JoAnn, Micheals and Hobby Lobby this summer or when I see sales on those items. I got ahead of myself (not sure why) and noted the math download as purchased-but alas, it is not.

Possible Step 4: If you plan on attending a convention then have your list ready to go. BUT for all that is good and gracious-save yourself the "UGH! I could have bought that for $$$$ less!" scenario. List the things you want to look at and or buy at the convention but only after you spent some time online/catalog researching to compare prices.  WRITE the lowest price you found next to the name of the source selling it with some sort of key like A for Amazon, or SL for Sonlight or RR for Rainbow Resource, so you can refer back to it later when you finish your shopping. AND for extra good measure, walk the circuit a couple times and 'window shop' jotting down prices as you stroll about because you may find things cheaper at other vendors or by ordering online later. Most vendors usually have convention sale prices/deals so watch for those as well. That way you know who has the best price for whatever it is you are looking for.  DON'T panic if you come back and it's gone. They usually give you the sale price on an order you can place right then and there which will be shipped to you. That way you don't come home having overspent.  Also beware of the 'bug eye' convention syndrome.  You DO NOT need every cool and dazzling thing out there.  Write down the name/brand/price and who is selling it. Get catalogs.  Think about it! Then after the fuzzy haze of convention wears off you can make a more informed purchase.  I have some books that are pretty much door stops now because I was careless (at first) and didn't follow that plan of attack.  Money gone for something that was an ill fit for us, that we never even used.

Possible Step 5: Now for giggles-I make another paper where I denote anything I need to make/put together for the coming year and that just simply helps me during the summer break.  I will pick and choose my point of interest and work on it as time allows.  Again-nothing elaborate or too detailed.  I don't need to drown myself in the nitty gritty but just give my ole brain a quick reference from the 'do it woman' list.
After I took the picture I wrote down the names of the artists and musicians. That way I can be on the look out for activities and materials to work on specific to them.

And there you go.  That is how I figured out a simple and easy way to plow through the planning of curricula and materials we'd need for our schooling.  I tried the super organized, super detailed way and all it accomplished was to kill the thrill of planning.  So I came up with this easy-peasy way that seems to be working. Hope you can glean a nugget of goodness to help you with your planning/shopping too.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Convention Post 3: Ludy's When God Writes Your Love Story

All the information I note is available in their books.  I have been using the Ludy materials for years with my kids and I can honestly say, they are some of the best. I will list (at the end of the post) the ones I have personally read and own.  I must say, they are doing a great job with our youth!  They are causing them to really think about what they are doing (not just in the dating arena, but what they are doing-or not-for God).  Now after so many years, I have had the pleasure of hearing them speak, and am convinced that the Lord has one powerful call on their lives!

Session: When God Writes Your Love Story
Ludy's Website 

Eric spoke about how we, as Christians, [usually] will pitch our tent just past the line of demarcation [barely past the desert line] over on the Promised Land side-to then simply set up camp, and call it quits He stressed we should not quit, or settle just past that Promise Land entry.  Due to the expanse being so great, we shortchange ourselves by being content with stopping there.  Keep moving inside of it, toward the other side to see what God brings.  Great concept actually. This would make for a great convo with your teens for sure.

He also pointed out that we should never measure ourselves with everyone around us (worldly view on things) but rather compare and measure ourselves to Christ (to go deeper into our faith and walk with him).

Now I must say, if you have never heard Eric speak-well, he has the gift of preachering (new word there) like those old timers who would set up a tent and fire up the town with their message.  He is the "Love Brother Love Traveling Show" [Neil Diamond song there, in case you are wondering] kinda preacher!  Seriously!  He has that kind of anointing on him and it suits his personality well.  He definitely is passionate about what he lectures on and teaches, and it is a nice, refreshing change.  Then his lovely wife, Leslie is much more subdued and gentle.  It is nice to hear them both speak during the session so you can get a change up in presentation, as well as a male and female point of view.

Product Details

Leslie got into the 4 points that allow God to write your love story (and again-all of this is noted in their book with the same title).  Ok, here is where it gets a bit muddled...they spoke so fast to cover the points, that I am not entirely sure which is which and if I have em right exactly.  Suffice it to say, I am slightly guessing but it sounds right (if my ole brain can recollect right).

Point 1:  Give God your pen.  IF you try to write your love story-it will come out a mess and can lead to well-nothing good.  (my words not hers) [Eric popped back into the chat with this ditty]...When God comes knocking we only let him in the front hall and a few rooms.  We need to allow him in all of our rooms, even the locked ones-so that He can lead our lives-not the other way around.  He noted that most of us cannot trust God because we cannot see His heart but by doing so-He can get into all the areas of our heart to make them ready.

Point 2:  Build your life around Jesus Christ.  I think that goes without saying.

Point 3:  Live in an Act of Faithfulness.  Be single in your mindset-that yes you are taken but not with a dude or chick-but with Christ himself. Live as you should-with a pure heart and mind.  Not to be a "somebody" or attract attention of the opposite sex.  I will save my opinion and preachering on this for another post someday (I am totally agreeing with them on this, in case you are wondering-and have brought our kiddos up to follow this point).

Point 4:  Draft a Winning Team.  Use your mom and dad to help you along in your story.  Have a good relationship with them. See their assistance not as a pain but rather as a blessing-esp. since mom and dad may have some inside info/feelings that you the prospective bride/groom doesn't.   You know you are in a Godly story when your relationship pulls you closer to God/Jesus Christ instead of farther away.  Use your mentors and such too-but (I don't recall if they said this exactly but it is a good way to live) always check your spirit (not your heart b/cuz it can be deceived) against the Word. This is one that you will have to work on (mom and dad) to help build that bridge of trust and respect.  Being overly involved to the other spectrum of taking a vacation to the moon, in regard to your child's life/love story, will not work-find the middle ground.  Pray for clarity and wisdom.

Also-they touched on the fact that -we (mom and dad) need to be praying not only for our children, but our children's future spouses!  How awesome is that!?  God is so amazing and wants nothing but the very best for our kiddos-including our children's spouses!  :)

Ludy Books we use/have read and recommend:

When God Writes Your Love Story
When Dreams Come True
When God Writes Your Life Story
When Dreams Come True
Authentic Beauty
Set Apart Femininity
God's Gift to Women
Teaching True Love to a Sex at 13 Generation (this one is for the folks more than teens)
Bravehearted Gospel (new-still reading)
Wrestling Prayer (new-still reading)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Convention Post 3: Generations Past, Present and Future by James Muffett

**Please keep in mind that I am going by my notes and may not have it all 100% correct as stated, altho I am pretty sure I have the gist of it correctly.  You will need to decide if what is penned here agrees to your family's beliefs or not.

This session focused on how we need to be aware of future generations as we are focusing on every day life.  How our actions will directly change (for the better or worse) the lives of our children, their children and their children (and so on).

Mr. Muffett is the founder and president of the Student Statesmanship Institute, which is a wonderful program meant to teach our children all about government, how bills become a law and so forth. How it is vital that they become, and stay involved to help make changes in our laws, for the betterment of our state and country.  My two oldest did the summer program a few years back and truly learned a lot (not to mention they had fun and made a lot of new friends).  If you are in Michigan or one of the surrounding states, this is a worth while program to look into.

As the session progressed, Mr. Muffett stressed how God requires us to be story tellers, to teach our children about Him and his Word and our very history [lest we fall away..sounds like today's world doesn't it?] by using Deuteronomy 32:7 as confirmation of this-

 Remember the days of old; 
   consider the generations long past. 

Ask your father and he will tell you, 

   your elders, and they will explain to you.

But what kind of legacy are we leaving our children?  Are we teaching them the foundational basis of our country's beginning-based on God not man?  We should be raising a generation that is not afraid to shine and be the light of the world.  We have forgotten to look at our past with gratitude [well not all of it is worthy of that but most is-was until corruption set in and God became a passing fancy].  The genealogical, spiritual and cultural heritages we have been given all have molded and set precedence to where we (our country) are today.  

The most thought provoking moment was when he highlighted Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's* statement....

"To destroy a people you must first sever them from their roots."

Which is exactly what the undercurrent is in our country right now-the removal of God in our laws and the very fiber of our nation as we once knew it to be.  

All is not lost though, if we forge through the wilderness and teach our children the truth of our past (that many have attempted, and unfotunately succeeded at removing from our children's history lessons, or as Mr. Muffett noted-"huge chunks" of it) by using primary source documents as resources and other books which acknowledge the Truth.

Suggested texts:   
The Light and the Glory by Peter Marshall
The Pilgrims Progress by John Bunyan
America's Providential History 
by Mark Beliles and Stephen McDowell

*I do not believe Mr. Muffett agrees with or would care to promote much of what this man had to say about things. He simply found this statement to be most appropriate for his lecture.  Now, I know not of this Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn except what I quickly scanned off of Wikipedia. I can say from what I did read about him, I honestly don't agree with much of what he touted.  But I do agree-as Mr. Sozhenitsyn correctly reconfirmed, (after studying and researching why Russia had so many great disasters and hearing the old timers explanation for this) that "Men have forgotten God, that is why all this has happened." [resource:] 
I wonder too, if that is why America has seen such a downward trend in all that is good and right.  I suspect it to be so.  You simply cannot remove the Lord from the very essence of a country without disastrous results.  
Obviously, this session gave my daughter and I some food for thought!  I hope these bullet points also cause you to research this some more as it certainly worthy of pursuing.  If you ever have the opportunity to hear Mr. Muffett speak-do so, as you will learn a lot!

I suggest the following
 history programs that do teach the truth:

Beautiful Feet Books Early American, US and World History Guides,  All American History I and II from Bright Ideas Press . I haven't used Sonlight [younger grades-we have the 20th Century World one that does touch on some AM. history, but it's been a while since I have gone thru it and I am not so sure how well it highlights the beginning of our nation as following God first...] or My Father's World histories for American studies, but am sure they follow suit and do teach it as HIStory.  If you have used those and can comment regarding them-please do so.  If I missed some, also leave a comment so others can find those curriculum programs that do stress GOD as our foundation.  Thanks.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Convention Post 2: Help for the Distractible Child: Birth thru Primary Grades Session

I purchased this book from their vendor set up.  I am about 2/3 thru.  
This is an insight behind the beginning of their mission/company 
and discusses the challenges of having a distractible child, 
and ways to help minimize the behaviors. And after hearing her speak, 
I am not surprised that this is punctuated throughout with Melinda's humor.
 Helpful insight for anyone dealing with these issues.

The Distractible Child-part I
birth - elementary age
Speaker: Melinda Boring 
(degree in Education, and Masters in Speech Language Pathology)

I actually was able to talk with Melinda and her hubby, Scott prior to this session.  I wanted to be sure to introduce myself because I had reviewed some items of theirs for the TOS review crew  (love the Heads Up! Frames they sent).  I am thankful for those because they help my son stay on the line he is reading [and not skip around] as well as help target areas I want him to focus on.  For more info on them, you can read that review here. These folks are wonderful.  It was clear that they truly want to help other families and it shows thru their kindness.  If you ever have the opportunity to hear them speak or visit their vendor booth at a convention-do so.  I also know that Melinda wrote an article for the Special Needs Planner for TOS-which is especially designed to address SN issues.  

I knew the minute she started this lecture that it was going to be a fun and informative one.  Melinda spent some time highlighting life at the Boring homestead (which is far from boring) and then dove into some ways to help eliminate or at the very least, minimize the distractions that cause the child to not focus or putz thru their work-making the school day drag on and on.  I am considering applying some of these techniques to my lovely hubby because if he were in school today-he'd definitely be labeled as unable to sit and focus without being distracted.  I noticed a few things I also do-so I guess we now know the apples did not fall far from the tree.  :)

I will highlight some of the lecture for you, but it certainly isn't all of it. Her book is a great source for ideas and their website has the goodies she suggests.

Tips for the learning environment:

  • Keep everything off the work area (this is for those that seem to find anything and everything grabbing their attention)
  • Allow for controlled movements (I am thinking this is where the little do-dads come into play-they can select one to a couple items that they can manipulate while working. Such as a squeeze ball or wind up critter [like the frog I bought] or a stetchy man or the Wikki-Stix) something that allows for a release of their energy without them bouncing off the walls themselves.
  • Avoid cluttered worksheets or reading assignments (she blocked off areas with paper that was not written on and left only open the area she wanted her son/daughter to read. Clever.  It meant he read only that little area and his eyes were not overwhelmed with the other business on the page)
  • Use contrast (so put the worksheet/assignment on top of a colored piece of paper [folders, larger paper that is colored] to outline or frame the worksheet.  I should think at least a 1/2" border or more would suffice in getting their attention. Kinda like a frame for a picture except the frame is bright and the picture is the paper they working on).
  • Have a reminder weight on them (for her daughter, they made a kitty that was filled with sand [now gravel] that weighed enough to help "hold her down". I am thinking this is a good idea for those kids that "fall out of their chairs" or get up constantly and may not even know why-esp. when they are not done working on their assignment/project.  She said to have it on their lap about 20 mins. and then take it off for 20 then if need be put back on and so forth. That way they don't get too accustomed to the weight which would make it ineffective).  Visit their site and take a look at their weighted kitty and turtles.  I picked one up at the vendor booth and they do weigh more than I thought-so these are serious stay in your seat critters.  We have a real kitty that does take over one's lap so I think we have this covered in our home.  But if I see we need one-well I now know a good solution to fixing it.

Tips for Structuring Time:

  • Predict time needed (this is done with a timer. If your child gets distracted by the noise of the ticking, then use a timer that is silent [which they sell])
  • Give assignments one at a time
  • Provide feedback in a timely manner
  • check with the child frequently during tasks (this may not always be possible tho)
  • Reward attention (this is the positive approach-mention how well they are working and whatnot instead of always noticing what they are not doing)
HERE IS WHERE WORKBOXES will be a HUGE blessing to you.  They met just about everything she mentioned as a help.  They have all the stuff they need in the box so the child won't get distracted and become "lost" looking for a pencil or a glue stick b/cuz it will be right there for them.  The assignments are in small slices and they only do one box at a time-so they know how much they need to do and what it is they are to do.  They can see where they are at in their day of assignments and know that when they finish the last box, they are done.  These have changed the way we do school and I even have an entire blog dedicated to ideas/helps and how to use them.  You can visit my What's in the Box? blog to get more insight regarding this awesome method of organizing and streamlining your schooling.  

General Tips:

  • Use auditory signals to get their attention (I do this and never even realized I was-LOL.  Use a sound of a bell or whistle or clap to get them to get back on track)
  • For fidgeters: using the little toys that keep their hands busy will help redirect their attention. She mentioned something that I have noticed a lot in my life-that many adults will jingle their keys (or snap the pen or the like) and that is because they are in need of fidgeting to focus (my words not hers but you get the idea). Wouldn't cha know-just the other day at the doctor's office  a guy came in and was constantly jingling his pocket change/keys (I wanted so badly to go to the guy and give him a busy item like a flour balloon**).  LOL  Maybe I should carry around several of those goodies to give adults, so they will have a less noisy item to fuss with! 
  • Use novelty, props or storytelling to help promote their focus and attention (her daughter enjoyed getting her stuffed critters together to re-enact a story or lesson, which I am sure she would then remember much better than if she was staring at some words on a page).
  • Allow child to draw or be busy whilst the teacher is speaking/reading (I HAVE to use this technique with my kids all the time-always.  My dd draws and my son will color, play with something or build with legos/toys or literally be rolling on the floor or walking around the coffee table whilst I read/instruct.  They DO retain better when they are moving/fidgeting and I stand by this recommendation whole heartedly!)
  • Take a picture of say the toy area all cleaned up proper like. Then have that picture handy and say to the child that you want them to clean up and make the area look "like the picture" (this is a Waldorf method idea and is effective-esp. for visual learners).
**flour balloon is a high quality balloon filled with flour and then tied off. The child can squeeze and squash this to release their energy.  I made one at home using a funnel and flour. Altho it isn't as big as theirs, it works. There are those squeeze balls that do the same job too.

And that wraps up this lecture.  There are so many easy, little ways you can help your child-so don't despair.  It is possible and it can help all of you have a smoother, less stressful day. 

Oh, I wanted to mention that they have this hall pass timer thing I am seriously considering.  It has two parts-one for the child (or husband who disappears whilst on a mission for ya) and the base.  You program in the allotted time (up to 5 mins) and then it starts timing them when you turn it on.  The base keeps track of the time too and supposedly, it will keep going [until the removable part is put back in] so you know just how much past the 5 mins. they are "late". This is a visual reminder that they have to move it to get the errand done to then quickly get back to "headquarters" to finish their work.  Thinking of all the times I see my kids disappear to "go find something" or "check on something" during our mini breaks-which then becomes a lengthy vacation for them- I am so thinking this would help us out a lot.  You may need one for your family too. :0)

Convention Post 1: Dyslexia: Neurodevelopmental Causes Session

First off, the INCH convention (held in Lansing, MI) was set up where you could attend one of the 12 options available during each time period. So after the General Session in the morning-there were 4 periods of classes to attend.  The 4 started after lunch and ended prior to dinner.  On Friday, the closing General Session was at 7 (and in this case, included recognition of graduates too) Now anyone who graduated this year and wanted to walk on stage/have their name read and have the fam look on could do this.  It was more of a gesture or official way to end the journey, it was not where they received their diplomas-which was the family's responsibility and to be done at home.  I am not sure what my take is on this...I guess for us it is not a priority...but some folks, esp. their family members "need" to see something like this, it is a way to accomplish the look of a formal graduation  And some kids want to experience that type of event-so hey, whatever floats your boat. We chose to not attend the closing session.  I was pooped and my ankle was swelling up-but I bought the Keynote speaker's Cd to listen to later. So this all started Friday, and ended on Sat. afternoon. I am penning the sessions as I attended them.  Some may sound mighty familiar b/cuz they were given by the same speaker (just a wee bit different topic).  I will also highlight the General Sessions in their own posts.

Up first:  Session on Dyslexia

given by Stephanie Lankhorst who is certified by the 
*they work with kids that have all sorts of issues, not just dyslexia 
so if you have an ADD, DS, autistic, etc. child,
 it would be worth investigating them

Disclaimer:  I am detailing this stuff from my notes and info I received at the session-I cannot guarantee the accuracy.  Research the material on the site and speak to them if you need more clarity and help.

Three of our four children have some form or another of Dyslexia-so this lecture caught my eye immediately. I wasn't so sure if it would go anywhere when the speaker first started, she seemed a bit shaky and I honestly almost got up and left.  I am glad I didn't.  She offered some insight as to how the brain works and what is going on when dyslexia is involved.  She also mentioned several ways to work with the student to help them. I was going to stop by there booth and get a free booklet on how to do the hearing stuff, but totally didn't find them/forgot.  But I did write down some ideas and helps.  There are some articles on their site worth reading and you can contact them too (helps if you are in their area-check their Members by State icon/page to see if anyone is certified by you).

Basically-the goal is to get the child to use one side for all their methods of inputting information.  So if you have a right handed child-you want them using their right ear/eye to collect the data so the brain isn't getting switched around when it receives it (hence dyslexic tendencies). Problem is-many will be right handed, but use their left eye more or their left ear more and that is when the issues arise.

She passed out a worksheet to check off issues your child had. So on one-I could check off that my son reverses letters or groups of letters-then scan to the right and see that means mixed-dominance issues.  Ah, this I suspected for a long time and when I think back to when he was a baby-he used both hands almost equally-so perhaps this is where it became an issue-no hand seemed to "take over" which means he became interdependent on both (I am that way too).  [I will see if I can scan that and get the info uploaded for you to see-]  Another example on the sheet is "Does your child read slowly?" (that would be a yes) so that shows possible visual issues, mixed dominance, low auditory processing, eye tracking issues.  Is he all of those? I don't think so -but it helps point toward some possible issues.

Anyway-after going thru the sheet she moved on to ways to help change the dominance or improve the skill.

To check dominance:

Hand the child a camera, Kaleidescope, paper towel tube or rolled up paper (I used the toy pirate telescope thingy) and watch which hand they pick it up with and which eye they use to look thru it.  That should be there dominate hand/eye...but I am thinking one should do this a couple times, esp. if they pick it up the next time with the other hand and use the other eye.  I guess that would definitely show a mixed dominance.

To check their hearing dominance:  stand behind them and ask them to keep their head straight until you say something (she suggested holding up a sheet of paper and then speaking behind it) -watching to see which way they turn their head.  Also-ask them to pick up a phone (play or real) and see which ear they put it to initially to answer it; or give them a large sea shell and tell them to listen to the ocean sounds in it.  That will tell you their dominant ear.

If they are using the opposite eye/ear than their hand-you know there is an issue.

Ways to help improve correct use (same side):

Army crawl  2x a day for approx. 3 min. each set.  
(this works to help vision issues.  I didn't write down what she meant by central vision issues but I know not being able to correctly copy something that is written is one clue they may struggle with it.  I wish I could remember what she said were some of the other signs but alas-I cannot...sorry.)

Pinhole glasses  15 mins. per day while using computer or watching TV
I think you can buy them thru them or on line..not sure really
These are for those children struggling with central vision issues

Flashlight w/penny taped or glued over light bulb (center)
2 mins. per day (so as many times as you can get on each eye during that time)
3 seconds on eye 10 seconds off-alternating the eyes as you go
so 3/10 on right, 3/10 on left, back to right and so on

(She said you would cover their other eye with your hand while you are flashing the light in the other-I believe this is meant to get the center eye focus)

Changing eye dominance via an eye patch or cheap glasses 
I didn't note a time frame here but bet that if 
they will be reading for a reasonable amt of time 
(maybe 20 or more mins.)
 that using the patch/glasses while doing so, will help 
train the correct eye to become stronger.

The eye you do not want them to use is blurred out (she used clear nail polish on the lens). One could also use that clear contact paper (maybe a couple layers) on the lens of a cheap pair of glasses-or if your child has prescription glasses, then the contact paper would be a better idea since you only want to do this for a while each day and can take it off without ruining them. I bet the dollar stores and even Wal-Mart/Target have those glasses that are for reading (I haven't looked yet, but there has to be some that don't change the focus much). Or even sunglasses, where you pop out the eye you want them to use and keep the dark lens in the other eye and maybe darken it a bit more.  This would have to be done for some time, but it is meant to get the weaker correct eye to now become the dominant one.

To change hearing dominance:

Like I mentioned, I forgot to get that brochure which I am sure had a great list of ideas-but what she mentioned was the swimmer's ear plugs and just put it in the ear you don't want them using (2 hrs per day) to help get the correct side to become dominant. 

That was basically it-time ran out.  I believe the folks will test/evaluate and then you can go from there, but if no one is near you or you cannot afford the program-then at least these little helps noted above should assist in lessoning the issues for your child.  

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Goodies we purchased at convention

Like any good convention goer, we had to walk away with some goodies-and we did.  I didn't find a few things I had wanted to preview and possibly purchase, so I have to just order them later. I also still have to figure out a couple things regarding our history.  But for the most part, with my previous buys from used sources,  and my vast collection of curricula already, I won't need to get much more.  The only thing not pictured here is the Abeka math I ordered for the boy.  Sad to say, the vendors simply did not have the merchandise like they used to.  Many vendors I had hoped would be there were missing and those that were, well-many are not what I need.  Rainbow Resources did not have as much as they used to carry either.

First day shopping finds
 One of my favorite FIAR books is the Another Celebrated Dancing Bear, which is about impossible to get thru our library-so I caved and bought a beautiful hardback edition (not too spency-I think it was about $15ish) and I also bought a few new Berenstain Bear books too. My daughter bbsits these little dudes who LOVE the stories, but after going through our rather large collection a zillion times, she was hoping I would get a few new ones-which I did.  I love them.  I think my kids have all read the ones in our set at least a zillion times too.
The diving sub is a little gift for the boy.  Plans changed and he couldn't come, so I bought him this.  We have the volcano and now the sub (so of course he went right to experimenting with them when I got home)-cheap entertainment for sure. My daughter bought that popcorn pen-which really does smell like it. When she was using it during the sessions, folks kept looking around for the source of the popcorny smell-too funny. And I decided to try those crayons for the white boards (the pens seem to never come off or make a mess when we clean it) and they work pretty good.  You have to rub a bit harder to get it off the board, but won't stain it up like the markers.  So that was a fun find. Oh, and the cinnamon covered almonds were delish and never made it past an hour or so of buying them.  That is our tradition when we go-buying warm, toasty cinnamon nuggets of awesomeness. :0)

The second day-I just couldn't decide on a couple things-so I felt it best to not get them right now.  I can always order them later.  So I didn't get much the second (or was it 5th time thru) around the vendor hall.  The little frog and timer are from Heads Up Now!  The gray and red color pencils and erasers we actually bought in an art store in downtown Lansing.  We seem to always be shy of the deep red and gray colors, so I was happy to be able to buy some.  I also ordered the CDs of the three main speaker sessions.  Very good stuff-which I want my hubby to listen to and then I will also lend em out-too good to not share!  The Ludy's and Voddie Baucham were excellent speakers.  Gained some new nuggets of wisdom and thoughts to ponder (I will highlight the sessions in separate posts later).

I did have the opportunity to stop by the Heads Up Now! booth and introduce myself. I ended up chatting with Melinda and Scott Boring quite a bit.  Very, very lovely if they are at your convention-be sure to stop by and say hi to them and check out their wonderful gadgets that help highly distract-able kids. I bought her book too-and am enjoying reading it.  I actually reviewed their reading frames for TOS.  Melinda had some great sessions (I was only able to attend one) and I learned some great new ideas for keeping the kiddos focused and on task without losing my mind or voice!  Oh, and Melinda told me she wrote an article about special needs in the current Special Needs TOS planner-so if you own it, or are looking to get it-look for her article too.

Those are our goodies from convention.  Look for the individual posts regarding the different sessions I went to soon-they were awesome!  I also have more pics of the time with my dear daughter, but have to use the other 'puter cuz this one doesn't have the tools I need to fix red eye and to flip those will be coming soon too.