Saturday, December 15, 2012

Review: Christ-Centered Christmas by Hal & Melanie Young

I heard Hal and Melanie Young speak at a large Homeschool Convention a couple of years ago. They were a great team and had much to share, not only about homeschooling but also about having a large family with many boys. 

I already own their book “Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching and Appreciating Boys," and several of their CD resources, so when they put out a call on Facebook for bloggers to review their new Christmas eBook I jumped at the chance.

"Christ-Centered Christmas: Celebrating a Christmas Your Family Will Never Forget

This great all-in-one product includes the words to the Christmas Story and to many Carols. The Christmas Baking section includes a baking spreadsheet, shopping list, menu ideas, and numerous recipes. Among other things, there are chapters on decorating, having an "Ornament of the Year," and Advent.  The Youngs tackle the important question "What About Santa Claus?", explain their views on Gift Giving, and share a family tradition around Epiphany.

I enjoyed reading this eBook and feel it helps us to think about our Christmas traditions and to choose ones that reflect the reason for our celebration. It's a good resource to have on hand and a quick read as you prepare for the Christmas season.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Back to school

17 month old DS3
We got all the kids back to school backpacks and supplies.

2 1/2 year old DD

almost 6 year old DS2

8 year old DS1
They also each have a workbox that they store their school supplies and current work in, making it easy to bring to the table for school and then store away after.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Considering ADD/ADHD

My oldest ds has always been what we describe as "high energy". We figured it was normal behaviour for a little boy and that he would settle down a bit as he gets older. The possibility of ADD/ADHD has often been in the back of our minds, but looking through the symptoms list we just didn't feel he met a lot of the criteria - some yes, but many no.

This morning I read through the chapter on ADD in "Alphabet Kids from ADD to Zellweger Syndrome: A Guide to Developmental, Neurobiological and Psychological Disorders for Parents and Professionals" by Robbie Woliver (2009) and I think it's time to get an official diagnosis. 

According to the book, one in six children are estimated to have special needs due to interconnected neurobiological, developmental, and genetic illnesses.  According to Patti Wood, executive director of Grassroots Environmental Education, this number may actually be closer to one in four due to undiagnosed cases.

The clincher for me was this: "Lack of early intervention wastes the child's time, energy, and brain power as he or she develops compensatory skills instead of the real ones."  I don't want to add more frustration to my wonderful ds' life.

I have already researched and found places where I can get a psychological and psycho-educational assessment done.  It comes with a $2,000 price tag, but thankfully this is something my extended health benefits will cover.  The testing session is a 2-4 hour process, followed by many 1 hour sessions after that.  The main challenge, in addition to figuring out when both dh and I are off work at the same time, is figuring out childcare so that both my husband and I can be present through the process.  So it will take time.  

This statement in a 2007 research report in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science gives me hope: "ADHD may be more a result of delayed maturation of the brain than a defect in the brain."  I think I'm ready to embark on this new journey.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

past year's curriculum review

In about two months from now we will have finished this school year.
Both DS1 and DS2 have completed another year of AWANA.  This year they moved through the books more slowly than in previous years, which I attribute the increase in school work.  They also continued to be involved in "Y Kids" and swimming lessons for their Phys Ed.

DS2, SK, has done very well working through various Rod and Staff books.  He completed "
Do It Carefully," "Everywhere We Go," "Finding the Answers," "Going On Eagerly,"and "Hearing and Helping."

We did Piano, French, Art, Social Studies, and Science together.  

I have been doing their Piano and French lessons.  We've been working through Book A of "
Piano Adventures."  What I like about this curriculum is that it's fun and comes with a CD so they can practice on their own.  I've realized that in addition to the weekly lesson they need to practice - I know, such an epiphany! - so piano practice has been added to their school schedule.

I've used a mixture of things for 
French.  I'm still looking for the "perfect" curriculum.  I've looked at several, however haven't found one that seems to have a logical flow and allow for some independent learning.  So right now I'm actually using a picture dictionary where there are words grouped by topics - for example, a room or body parts.  I draw a simple picture on construction paper and label 9 things in French and English.  Then we make a bingo card and I call out the words and they find them and repeat them.  The reason it works is because they get jelly beans or smarties as counters and get to eat them at the end.

We used "
Art With A Purpose" for art and will use it again next year.  We also did some work out of the "Drawing With Children" book.

Social Studies we used the Voice of the Martyrsquarterly Bold Believers Magazines to discuss geography, cultures, and social issues.  (These are now out of print so we use the adult magazines with some discretion.)  We also allocated a fair bit of time to studying the War of 1812, both from the Canadian and American perspectives.

We used Answers in Genesis' "
Answers for Kids" for Science.  This was a fantastic curriculum that included PowerPoint presentations and worksheets for each lesson.  It went through the "Seven Cs of Creation" - Creation, Corruption, Catastrophe, Confusion, Christ, Cross, Consummation - and answered questions such as "How Old Is the Earth?," "Have Animals Evolved?," "What About Dinosaurs?," and "What About Aliens?"  I highly recommend this.
DS1, Grade 2, has really improved in the Language Arts area.  He is now writing in average sized writing on regular lined paper.  He is starting to successfully use both upper and lower case letters for his words and sentences.  We're using "First I think: (then I write my think)" by Leif Fearn.  We also used a "Natural Speller" book.  These are both oldies that my mother-in-law gave me and they appear to be difficult to find and/or out of print.  

We used a couple of different generic workbooks for
Math and plan to use Rod and Staff next year for Grade 3.

Lots more to say but it will have to wait.

What about you - how has your school year gone?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Birthday Blessings

I've blogged previously about how we've done Bat Barakah Blessings for my niece's 13th birthdays.  In my own household we also started blessing our children on their birthdays several years ago.  We ask their grandfathers to speak a blessing over them, or if they can't be there (one of them is about 8 hours away) they email it to us and Daddy speaks it over the child.

As great as they are, the festivities and food fade away and the gifts are outgrown.  But the blessing of a father endures a lifetime.  

Blessing DS3 on his 1st Birthday

What about you?  How and when do you pass on blessings to your children?