Learning About Cells

When we covered cells in our Time 4 Learning Science Unit, I knew I wanted to enhance the lessons.  Science is no fun when you are just reading about it.  Science is meant to be experienced in order to be understood!  When I was a kid, I thought these topics were so boring.  Only once I was older where I could think about how the information affected my world and where I could learn to really play with the data and get creative with it did I develop a love for science!

Here are some things we did and used to enhance the unit on cells:

1) We got a microscope.  We paid nothing for it.  I asked on my local Freecycle Group if anyone had a spare and we got one!  Before we had this stroke of luck though, we also used this Virtual Microscope which was also fantastic in learning how to use the controls and see images!

2) We made cells.  First we did a good ol' diagram.  Then we tried being creative and making cells out of household items.  We used jello for cytoplasm and added various items for vacuoles, ribosomes, etc.  Abs decided to surround the whole thing with chocolate syrup to be the cell membrane.  In the end, it looked like smelly trash and we were pretty disgusted by the project, Ha!  But she did learn all the parts of the cell!

Ewwww

3) Awesome online songs!

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Some Great Nature and Science Website For Kids


Many of A's favorite lessons this year have been the ones about animals and nature.  I sometimes call her Miss Doolittle because of her connection with animals.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were so many free online resources that teach kids about the sciences and cultivate a love of nature.  I used these when they worked with a lesson we were doing and I offer them when we have extra time as a fun treat!

National Wildlife Federation's Ranger Rick Games, photo contests,and more

Printable Habitat Adventure Game

Rainforest Rangers- I think this is one of my favorites.  You create your own virtual rainforest and protect it. You advance through the game by learning more facts about the rainforest.  As you advance you can add more to your rainforest world.

National Park Services Web Rangers- This site has games and lessons for all subjects but I particularly like the ones on animals and nature.  They also link to an area called I Hike Virtual Trails where you can hike national park trails online based on your exercise activity out in the real world.

National Geographic Kids- Tons of pictures, videos, and facts on animals.

Dragon Fly TV on PBS Kids- Great videos! (They have games, too)

Lawrence Hall of Science-  This site has some great activities dealing with plants, insects, and how to clean up an oil spill!

My Botanic Planet- On this site you are in an interactive world that you can explore where you will find online lesson plans and games that teach about plants.

Macomi's Science Page - Cute animations and lessons.

Free PDF Book- Book About Rachel Carson, Environmental Scientist Who Helped Outlaw DDT, with Family Activities and Learning Lessons About the Environment


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The Iowa Test, Visual Processing Disorder, and My Ego

"Answer Sheet" by nongpimmy



If you took the Iowa test as a kid, I'm here to tell you that it hasn't changed.  Students are still filling in circles with a number two pencil.  I thought maybe they would have developed a better system; it seems like there is so much room for error this way.  For example, you can accidentally fill in the answer on the wrong line or you can smudge the pencil and be marked wrong, but this is still the way the test happens.

Not many people take the Iowa anymore.  Most states take other tests based on the common core.  Even Iowa doesn't take the Iowa test from what I've been told.  I actually called the company and tried to find out who does take the Iowa test outside of homeschoolers and private school students, but I could not get a straight answer.  They gave me the names of a few states but when I looked those states up, I found that it was untrue.  I don't think the operator I spoke with knew what she was talking about.

Anyway, I would have loved to have A take the NJ Ask so that I could compare her last year's scores with this year's and so that I could see how she was doing compared to the kids in the public school system. I would have gladly paid money and done whatever I had to do to let her take that test.  The thing is, I'm not allowed to. Nobody is unless you are a public school student.

I have a bone to pick with that.  If we are constantly looking to improve education, wouldn't it be beneficial to get a sampling from students in all different educational settings? For instance, if the kids in the Montessori schools were blowing all the other kids away in Language Arts, maybe the public schools would be able to incorporate what they were doing to make education better for all.  If all the homeschooled children were doing poorly in math, then those parents would be able to get together and come up with a way to improve in that area, learning from the curriculums that prove to be the most successful.  If we all pooled our information and took the best parts of everything, we could really learn a lot and advance the country's education.

If the powers that be in public education are against homeschooling and believe they are superior, why not prove it by letting us take the same test and comparing the results??  Is that a challenge?  YES!!

I know homeschool parents typically want to be left alone.  In NJ they seem to be content in the fact that nobody checks up on us or tells us how to do things.  I like that, too, now that I have a year in.  Truth be told, in the beginning I would have welcomed the guidance and the checks and balances, just to make sure I was on track.  I was nervous about not "getting it right."  Now I know I got it right so I'm okay with all of our freedom, but sometimes I wish I could show some people in the field what we have accomplished this year, how hard A has worked, and how she overcame actual disabilities.  Maybe I want to show off....  But then again, I'd also welcome feedback and tips from people more educated and experienced than myself.

Mostly, I'd just really like to be able to have A take the NJ Ask so I could compare the numbers.  Since that wasn't going to happen, I did the only thing we could do, the Iowa.  Thank goodness I did, too, because I found out that if I want to put her back into school, I'll need this to help to ensure they put her back in the proper grade!  When I consulted lawyers who specialize in homeschool law in NJ I was told that the schools had to place her in the grade she belonged in and then if there were issues they would test.  Apparently, this is not the case.  We have to show work and tests, particularly standardized tests.  Fortunately, this has been the one area in my life that I have remained organized and kept EVERYTHING.  I have files and files on every subject, plus Time 4 Learning has everything we did online in a PDF document for us.

But I digress....

I'm more nervous about the Iowa test than A.  I honestly feel like it is me being tested.  I feel like this is going to be MY grade for how well I taught for the year.  I know intellectually that this is wrong, that it's not about me,  and that these tests really equate to nothing, but try telling that to my ego!  My ego, the one that was bruised and battered from all the nay-sayers, my ego that is dying to feel validated and prove once and for all that I made the right choice...

I bought and administered the practice test at home.  Those only had a few questions in each area and they were pretty easy. I think they were just to get a feel for how to take the test.  But one thing I saw was that on two or three sections in Language Arts the students have to pick which line of text has a mistake like a misspelled word or a missing period.  A, who is a language arts wizard, did terrible on this.  Why?  Because as we found on her eval last summer, she has a visual processing disorder in addition to her auditory processing disorder.  This makes it confusing to do those IQ tests where you have to figure out how to fit shapes together.  It also affects her reading.  When she is reading she will actually fill in words or replace them with other words that fit.  Basically, it's like her brain has auto-correct and she is unaware of when she is using it.  This does not affect her comprehension at all, just affects what she sees as she reads.

So let's say you reading this sentence.  Did you notice I just left out the word "are" in the previous sentence?  Or did your brain automatically fill it in?  A's automatically fills it in.

So, on those sections she does not think she did very well.  Since she scored at a level 16 on Language Arts when they evaluated her last year I am not too worried.  I decided to think more about how she is going to do on math and see how much she improves there.  So, when I asked her how she thought she did on the math sections she said, "I don't know."

I then asked, "Did you use your scrap paper?"

She said, "No we weren't allowed to."

Gulp.  I asked if there were long division problems and two or three digit multiplication problems.  She said there were.  Double gulp.  I said, "Well, how did you figure it out?"

She said, "The test said to 'compute.'" 

I explained that this does not mean you can't use scrap paper.  She said she visualized it in her head to solve it and that she was not allowed to use scrap.  I know she could have used it!  The practice test lets you use it!  Once again, the auditory processing may have messed up what she heard when she was being given instructions....

I am trying not to stress about this. 

I suppose this can be a lesson to that ego of mine: These tests, and what other people think, don't matter.  I know A learned.  A knows she learned.  We bonded this year.  She feels better this year.  I dare say, she is thriving.  The test means nothing.

I will try repeating this daily.







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Dazzled

A had her first day of Iowa testing today.  It took place in a church with a bunch of other homeschooled kids.  I helped out as an assistant proctor.  The kids were so great that they inspired this Facebook status:

"Helping to supervise the Iowa Test,  Homeschooled children continue to dazzle me with their good behavior and excellent manners."



I've dealt with kids all my life.  I always liked them and wanted to work with them.  As a teen I babysat, nannied, and worked in a daycare.  When I got older I was a youth counselor.  When A was a baby and toddler I helped head up a playgroup and those little ones were great.

Then school started.

Volunteering in classrooms, scouts,  and seeing some classmates outside of school gave me a different perspective on kids.  I wasn't really sure I generally liked kids anymore.  I now liked only some kids.

I honestly feel disrespected by most children these days.  When I state a rule or request a behavior I get snickers or disobedience.  I am not talking about from my own kids, this is from other people's kids!  When I lead an activity, I get eye rolling and insubordination.  This is not from everyone, but there are always one or two (or three).

I remember one time A's kindergarten teacher asked me to watch the class while she had a meeting.  There were kids standing up on their desks and throwing paper.  Yes, it was a little funny and, yes, I got them under control, but it just shows you how much times have changed!  I would not have dared to do the things I see kids do today!

In the public school preschool a kid hit the teacher and was shipped off to "behavior school."  First grade was peppered with stories of daily meltdowns and tantrums.  By second and third grade there were fist fights and violent threats.

At school functions if a tray of snacks was placed on a table a few kids would run up and fill their hands with all the food so that nobody else could have any.  Once at an elementary school dance, I had to stop some kids from jumping out of the bathroom window (it was the first floor- but still).  Kids have come to my home and stolen things or rummaged through my cabinets and drawers as if they own this house.  Other people's kids expect me to take them places and buy them things with some sort of strange sense of entitlement.

No, I was not sure I liked kids anymore.  I only liked certain kids.

However, this year reminded me that I do still like children.  Seeing the good behavior of the kids in the homeschool band, even the younger siblings who have nothing to do but wait quietly, gives me new found faith in child-kind.  Observing friendly children at park meetups warms my heart.  Today at Iowa testing to have kids listen, sit quietly, and speak with perfect manners, solidified the rediscovery of my love of children.  Every kid I talked to today had engaging stories, unique interests, and a good heart to share.  All the students had books with them and every book was age appropriate.  Nobody argued or tried to manipulate to take a break when it was not break time.  Nobody whined or fussed.  When they were let out for a breather they all returned on time with no big scenes or destruction in the hallways.  I was truly amazed.

Some people think of homeschoolers as being overly religious and unsocialized.  Well, if that is the case then sign me up for ten more years because their results are much better than the alternative.

Again, not saying all schooled kids are bad.  As I said, there are always just a few that seem to ruin things for the others.  But the keyword here is always.

While the kids were taking their tests I pondered why the homeschoolers were so different.  I also thought about what was different today from when I was a kid that seems to have made schooled kids display more issues.

What I came up with was this:

1) There are more families where both parents work which means less family time for kids.  A lot of children go to before and after care plus school and often they are in daycare from a really early age as well. When they do get home there is not much time before bed and in that time parents are usually bogged down with things to do or with technology.  Without that family interaction maybe certain social graces come up empty.  Think about it.  Where are you going to become better socialized:  A) In an institutional like setting where you are one among many wild children being shuffled from place to place and told what to do, where you have to fight for your share and for your turn, or B) At home working one on one with a parent with the freedom to be yourself?  At home you're being guided by an elder, having conversations where you are fully listened to, learning from example, feeling always loved and cherished.  There is also no fear of bullies or feelings of injustice at home (usually). 

2) Technology is probably the biggest difference in childhoods when comparing past to present.  I did watch a lot of TV as a kid, but I also have a lot of memories of being outside in the woods, riding my bike, and exploring nature.  Outside you connect to something real.  You find creatures, you feel mud under your nails, you build bridges across creeks, and you attempt to climb trees.  These experiences affect specific parts of the developing brain.  Using a tablet and a DS affect different parts.  My kids do both of these things.  I have to say that I see a decline in mood and behavior when they play too much Minecraft or watch too much TV. They get edgy and then I ban them from screens for a while.  My personal,  un self-educated opinion is that if kids are spending more time connected to a computer or game than to people and nature, then they are going to behave differently, maybe have less empathy, maybe think differently, maybe feel more disconnected.

3) There is less religion/ spirituality (at least around here, I hear other parts of the US are different).  I am not as religious as most other homeschoolers I know, but I am very spiritual.  I raise my kids Catholic as I was raised, but teach them about all religions and try to instill some meditation, some lessons in karma, some nature loving, and more as we go.  I also tell them what is right and what is wrong.  I praise them for doing nice things and helping others and I correct them when I see them act selfish or rude.

I know when I worked with people in recovery that I was taught that they simply had to have a higher power.  It wasn't an option.  They would not be able to get through life and maintain a better lifestyle without this.  It did not matter what the higher power was, there just had to be one.  I believe this, too, not just for recovery but for life in general.  Nobody can go around thinking that they themselves are the end all and be all to everything.  The world does not revolve around us and we aren't that special.  This does not have to be a dog eat dog world where everyone is out for themselves.  It should be a world of kindness and sharing.  Somehow that perspective has to get across.  When I was a kid, everyone in school had a religion.  We'd talk about it and compare. Nobody would have dared to say that they did not believe at all, at least not in elementary school. That would have been shocking!  Of course, when we got older it was different.  Older kids question and have conflicts over their faith and the moral codes instilled in them.  I think that is healthy and all part of the process, but I believe it's necessary to have something there in the first place to even be questioned and reevaluated.  Without any sense of right or wrong and a respect for something bigger than yourself all you have is a sense of "how to get what I want." Sadly, I hear a lot of kids today say that they do not believe in anything.  Not God, not Allah, not the Universe, not a Higher Consciousness, just nothing.  I see their parents always pushing them to "hurry up and get in the front of the line."  "Hurry and get over there and make sure you get your goodie bag, snack, or free gift."  They're saying, "Screw everyone else, you just make sure YOU get YOURS."

I guess most people's higher power these days is money: Money to buy stuff and all kids want "stuff," mine included.  The media does this to them and maybe we do to if we use bribery certain kinds of reward systems. But it's our job to tell them that things are not what they really want, that things are not the way to happiness or peace.  It's our job to instill in them a higher purpose than "making a lot of money someday."  School is not going to do this. There is even brand messaging showing up in tests and curriculum now!  Why do we even tell kids they should go to school?  I think many of us make the same mistake: Instead of saying, "So you can make the world a better place." or "So, you can enrich your life," we say, "So you can go to college and get a good job and make a lot of money someday."  I know I'm guilty of this!

"Okay time's up!  Put down your pencils and close your test booklet."

I'll have to ponder more another time....

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FREE Math App Friday 5/16!!




Sometimes things happen just the way they are supposed to.  For one thing, I had to go searching through the closet from hell today to find my son's birth certificate.  While I was in there I found a missing library book- score!

Much more fun than that is this next event of synchronicity: I have not had time to blog much this week. I keep adding all the great resources we find and the moments of insights that I get to my "to do" list but I just haven't had much time "to do."  Because of this, I decided to at least share an older post on FB and Twitter.  For no particular reason, I decided to share my Review of Mystery Math Town.  It's just a really great app so I thought it should get another share.  Well, the next thing you know its developers at Art Gig tweeted back that they are giving away their other awesome math app, Marble Math, for FREE tomorrow!

I mean, really, what are the odds?

I am so PSYCHED to get this app!  Mystery Math Town and its sequel Mystery Math Museum did not disappoint.  They were fun, entertaining, and really TAUGHT.  They had everything I wanted them to have- complete customization of skills and levels, even allowing me to customize it differently for each child.  They were really a steal at $2.99; a lot of educational apps go for more.

I have been eyeballing Marble Math for a while now.  I thought it looked really cool.  My kids like mazes and that's what this seems to be, navigating a marble through a maze to answer math problems.


The type of problems vary.  This is intended for kids over 9 and you can customize what you want them to work on the same way that you can with the mystery games.  


And again, you can customize differently for each child!


Making math fun is so important!  Having a child with dyscalculia, finding ways to engage her in math means everything.  It is so critical to find ways to get her to practice without it feeling like a terrible chore. 

The Artgig apps are also great to keep kids sharp over the summer months!

So there it is.  I wrote something.  I had to so that nobody would miss out on this great freebie!  If you feel so inclined, hit me up in a comment, a tweet, or a FB tomorrow and REMIND me to download this.  I am so excited about it, but we have been so busy that I have been forgetting a lot!!  Thanks!

Download Marble Math Free 5/16


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Just for Fun

Have you seen what Google Awesome Photos can do?  Personally, this is new to me.  I just recently got an iPhone and I have been snapping pictures left and right!  The picture quality is excellent and there are so many enhancements. That alone was enough for me!

I guess because I am synched to Google and Google Plus on my iPhone, my photos are automatically heading over there when I take them.  Then, it seems, Google is taking it upon itself to awesome-fy my pics.  It has been doing this by mashing them together and making little videos.  Some of them are slightly creepy, like bad selfies I take where my eyes are rolling to the back of my head or something, but the ones of the kids I love!

I bought my daughter stop motion software for her birthday because she likes making movies of her dolls.  Now I don't think I needed to get that.  She could just use the iPhone and Google!



 





This post really served no purpose as far as homeschooling or learning disabilities go.  It was just for fun!  We need that sometimes!

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News for Kids!



My daughter loves current events!  She tells me things sometimes that I had never heard of before because she read it in the "news."

Unfortunately, I do not feel safe letting my daughter watch the news on TV or even reading the newspaper.  There is just too much in there that is not appropriate for kids and honestly, the older I get, the less I like to even watch the news myself.  It is hard to stomach some of the things going on in the world today.

Luckily, there are some excellent resources out there for kids to get the news!

First off, I ordered Scholastic News.  They let you do that as a homeschooler.  I even get the same discount price on books as a "real" school gets!  The Scholastic News is something that my daughter always enjoyed in school and I did not want her to miss out, so I ordered this right in the beginning of the year.  I do not remember exactly how much I paid.  I want to say $9 but I am not sure.  It definitely was not more than $24 (for some reason that number is in my mind in regards to this as well).  Not only do you get Scholastic News delivered to your mailbox (about 4 issues per month), you also get access to their website and, as I said you get their catalogs with their great discount book prices, too.

The articles in Scholastic are really interesting.  We have read about Lego sculptures, a robot in the space station, and school lunches from around the world.  There is a quiz at the end of every issue for reading comprehension. To order, I had to call 1-800-387-1437.  The person who helped me was great.  They were very accommodating with great customer service.  (Since I do call center work from home, I am a stickler for that sort of thing).

Aside from Scholastic we also use these sites to get our news:

Dogo News

Time for Kids

I learn a lot myself from the articles we read.  The stories are thought provoking and they do not talk down to the child but convey news stories in a way that is just right for younger readers.  They also cover stories that are fascinating to kids so there is no boredom.  My kids often get inspired to create new inventions, explore art, and solve problems when they read these news stories.

Another cool place we have gotten news is Flocabulary.  At the end of each week they release a video with a hip hop song that sums up all of the previous week's biggest headlines called "This Week in Rap." Flocabulary costs $10 per month or you can pay $90 for the full year.  We paid for it for a while and my daughter loved it.  It's not only news- they have great vocabulary lessons and hip hop videos about every subject for every grade.  After a while though, I just did not want to pay for it any longer and I did not feel like it was something I HAD to have.  Next year, if I homeschool again, I might splurge on the year membership.  They do offer some free videos and a free trial if you want to check them out.


As a side note, I'd like to tell you my favorite ways to get the news for adults.  When I watch network news I am usually flabbergasted as to what they consider newsworthy and all the important things they leave out.  For example, I don't want to hear about the local snow for 45 minutes when there are wars going on and laws being passed that may change the future of the world.

My favorite news sources are:

Link TV

BBC World News

PBS News

Vice

And I REALLY enjoy getting "good news!"  This is great to share with kids.

Good News Network

Huff Post Good News

Daily Good

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Have You Tried Fish Oil?

*This is a completely honest post but I am including my Amazon affiliate link.  If you order the product using my link I will be paid a very small commission. 


When my child was first (wrongly I believe) diagnosed with inattentive ADHD, I was asked if we wanted to do medication.  I opted not to.  I was pretty sure my kid had Dyspraxia, but the doctor we were with did not know what that was and I wanted to do my own research first anyway.

My child was not acting out and she did not appear to be suffering except in school due to the actions (or her interpretation of the actions) of other people.  Only now are some of the stories coming out of her being threatened and bullied in school, but that is another story...

Anyway, because she seemed to struggle due to outside things and not be in a constant struggle on the inside, I decided not to medicate.  I am not saying medication is wrong, it just was not right for us at the time.  I looked into alternative treatments.  The doc did recommend fish oil and a high protein diet so I started there.

We threw away a lot of containers of fish oil for children.  Neither of my kids could stomach the taste no matter what they masked it with.  When I thought they might be exaggerating about how bad it was, I tried it myself and immediately gagged.  I can get almost anything down if you tell me it is healthy for me, but fish mixed with fake fruit flavoring was not happening.

I tried to have them swallow the fish oil capsules I take.  My ten year old can swallow pills now but the fish oil ones were just too big!

Finally, I decided to try Coromega for kids.  The reviews were really good on Amazon and everyone stressed that there was no fish taste.  Of course, I had heard this before so I wasn't getting my hopes up.

We got the orange flavor and I tried it first this time so as not to torture the kids again.  It was great!  I did not even tell them what it was at first because I did not want to deter them.  They loved it and wanted more!  Coromega tastes like an orange creamsicle.  It comes in squeeze packets much like kids' yogurt.  It has become the favorite part of breakfast!

Now does it work?

I take fish oil for my cholesterol.  I do not notice any difference in my thinking when I take it.  As for my kids, it seems to me that they are more focused- that is not all over the place or as easily frustrated.  That being said, when we have run out of the product I have not noticed any drastic negative effects on the days they do not take it.

We also went from being in school to being home schooled.  We also went from winter to spring.  We also went to getting more exercise.  So I do not know if I can honestly attribute ALL the positive effects to fish oil , but I have had positive effects and adding the fish oil was one of the things we did.

My daughter actually has high cholesterol and Omega 3's are good for that and so other many things like joint pain, brain development, heart health, and more, so that whether or not it is a miracle cure for academics I decided to keep on giving it to my kids anyway.  They don't eat fish and this is something they really do need to have in their diet.

Coromega has a website and it is also sold on Amazon.  Usually it is cheaper on Amazon.


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Can Tylenol Cause ADHD?



I read an article a few weeks ago that made me feel terrible.  It said that a new study shows that women taking acetaminophen while pregnant can cause ADHD in children.

I took a lot of Tylenol when I was pregnant.  The doctor told me it was the safest thing for me to take.  I should not have taken anything.  I am a person that believes in natural remedies and is very anti-chemical so I feel like I should have known better.

It makes me wonder now, too, if it is even safe to give the infant Tylenol to babies?  ADHD is the hot topic these days, but could it also cause dyspraxia? What about other things on the autism spectrum?

If I had to do it again, I would do it differently.  That is for sure.

Here is a link to the article.


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Stop Worrying About Shoe Tying



In kindergarten it was mandatory that A learn to tie her shoes.  She went to a Catholic school for kindergarten.  I'm not sure if the public schools do the same thing, but this school had a shoe tying, buttoning, and zippering test to get to the next grade!

Needless to say, being as I am, I had A practice her shoe tying every night that year. A terrible thing to do to a dyspraxic kid, but I had no idea what dyspraxia even was then. She got it down, but her ties never lasted long even with a double bow.  I do not know why.  My husband has the same thing.  His shoes are always untied!  Mine used to come untied a lot as well but I am in a good place now with my shoes after almost 40 years.

So, since my daughter and hubby usually wind up walking around with laces hanging, I am going to order them both a pair of Synch Bands.  Synch Bands look cool like regular laces, but they are stretchy and do not need to be tied.  I found out about this product from Dyspraxia USA.  I did try no-tie laces once from a shoe store but they looked horrible because they were all coily.  These look a lot better.

When the code DFUSA is used when purchasing SynchBands, the company will give the person placing the order a 10% discount and donate 15% to the Dyspraxia Foundation USA.

I am not affiliated with SynchBands or with Dyspraxia USA for that matter (other than being a fan of Dyspraxia USA).  I just think this is another useful thing for people like us and our kids.

Now that I think of it, I don't think my C, who is nearing the end of kindergarten, can tie.  His shoes have not needed it.  I better see if I can teach him or if I should order him some Synch Bands as well!

Visit SynchBands.
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American Girl Doll Hospital


               



My daughter is doll crazy.  She always has been.  She gets it from me.  I used to LOVE Cabbage Patch kids and I still do.  I also collected porcelain dolls.  I even want to try my hand at making Baby Reborns and dolfies.  We're just doll people.

"A" collects Lala Loopsies and Monster Highs. She has over fifty Barbie Dolls and multiple Build a Bears.  Mostly though, her heart lies with American Girl Dolls.

Her first AG doll was Lanie, Girl of the Year 2010.  Her second was Girl of the Year 2011, Kanani from Hawaii.
Just look at that long gorgeous hair.  Yeah, it did not stay gorgeous for long.  "A" gives her dolls a lot of love and plays with them every day.  Kanani's hair was so loved that it became a matted, frizzy mess.  The more I tried to fix it for her with water and the brush, the worse it got.  Eventually, we resigned ourselves to the fact that Kanani would have to live with braids and pony tails.
However, this year my mom offered to take A to NYC to the American Girl Store for her birthday.  A decided to save up her money and bring Kanani with her so that she could visit the hospital and come home with her hair looking brand new again.
When they took Kanani in, the staff put her in a hospital gown, gave her an ID bracelet and took her away in a wheel chair.  They promised to take good care of her and that she would be back in 2-3 weeks.
Well, she's back!  And she really is brand new again!  Still wearing her gown and bracelet, she returned with a doctor's note stating that she could resume her normal activities but that she might need a little extra TLC.  How cute is that?







It was about $40 to rejuvenate Kanani and $5.95 for shipping. 

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Jewelry Your Child Can Sink Their Teeth Into!


My child chews on everything!  Pens, pencils, rubber bands, whatever she happens to have nearby.  Today she was chewing on her My Little Pony necklace.

I used to do the same thing.  Pens and phone cords were my chews of choice.  I remember not being able to help myself.  I just needed to chew.

I let my daughter chew gum.  To hell with the no gum in school rule.  She concentrates a lot better when she is chewing and I don't have to worry that she is going to choke or get germs.

Then, today I saw something even better.  It was like synchronicity because I looked at my daughter with her necklace in her mouth and then I looked at my computer and on my screen was this:


I did a double take.  Then I saw that it was posted on Facebook by Dyspraxia USA for kids who have sensory issues and need to chew.  They were promoting a company called Chewigem that makes chewable necklaces and bracelets.

I will be ordering one!  Here is the link if you are interested: http://www.chewigemusa.com/

I have no affiliation with this company whosoever.  I just think this is really cool.

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Storybook Character Day

I know this blog is about homeschooling, but I have another child who is in public school kindergarten.  This kid is my brilliant, athletic, funny, amazing son, C.  I was able to get him into the school across town, which I liked a lot better than the one in our neighborhood.  They did not have room to take A but they did have room for him in his grade.  The school is pretty great.  This is due mainly to the parents.  They have a PTA that is just fantastic.  There are always excellent activities and clubs happening for the kids.  The whole atmosphere is just so positive and fun.  The principal is really good over there, too.

I am still not crazy about common core or public school in general.  C needs speech therapy and I am really not happy with those services either.  But C is in kindergarten and he is very happy and has lot of friends.  He's thriving right now with an excellent teacher so things are good.

Anyway, tomorrow is Dress Like a Storybook Character Day at school.  When he told me, I started running through possibilities in my mind, like of possibly using his Halloween costume and I began wondering if a Power Ranger even counted as a storybook character.  Before I could even finish my thought, he informed me that he was going to use his magician hat and be "the guy from Alice in Wonderland with the tea."  I was pretty surprised and extremely proud that he came up with such a great idea all by himself.

Here is my baby as the Mad Hatter!

Pictures removed for privacy








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