11 Ways to Build Your Child’s Home Library Without Breaking the Bank // STUDY SHOWS: MORE BOOKS IN THE HOME MAKES KIDS SMARTER!!

Can a child have too many books? The answer is no according to a study done at the University of Nevada. Having more books in the home makes kids smart. Whether you living on a minimum wage income or are in the high income tax bracket. Or live in the United States or China, illiterate or college graduates, parents can help their children by have books in the home. This 20 year study says that this simple act can increase the level of education their children will attain..

Read this study HERE

For years, educators have thought the strongest predictor of attaining high levels of education was having parents who were highly educated. But, strikingly, this massive study showed that the difference between being raised in a bookless home compared to being raised in a home with a 500-book library has as great an effect on the level of education a child will attain as having parents who are barely literate (3 years of education) compared to having parents who have a university education (15 or 16 years of education). Both factors, having a 500-book library or having university-educated parents, propel a child 3.2 years further in education, on average.

Anyone who has been to my home knows that I have a love for books. Especially kids books. I have shelves and shelves of book bins in my daycare area along with a rubbermaid bin of board books. Boxes of chapter books put away for Z when he is older, and each child has 50-100 books in their bedroom at any given time.

When I read this study back in 2010, we had just moved from a tiny apartment to a more spacious townhouse. Reading this I knew I had to grow my son’s home library. However, even though I had a great job, at $4.99 and up a book, I knew it was going to be a long process. Especially since I was planning on quitting my good paying job to open up my own home daycare.

During this time I was part of a online forum called BrillKids and was constantly on Amazon or Chapters adding recommended books to my shopping cart. It was starting to get pricey. One day I met up with another mom from this group who happened to live in a city 30-45 mins away from me. She introduced me to this thrift store in her town that had an amazing used book section. Up until that point I was a bit of a snob when it came to buying stuff used. But when I saw I could get my son books for .10-.75 cents a piece, I got over them not being new pretty quick.

Over the years I have figured out many ways to buy books for my kids and expanded our family library without breaking the bank. Of course their are still times when I will pay full price for specific books. My oldest son loves graphic novels and comic books. He’s not as big of a bookworm like his younger brother and sister are, but he will pick up and read a graphic novel on his own. So in this situation, I have no issues, ordering him full price books off of Amazon.

Before someone asks, we don’t use our local library often. I am terrible with due dates. I often forget to return books and the late fees we incur get down right embarrassing. One thing I don’t like is to be rushed with a book. I like to go back to a book and have it available to me. So while this is a great for a lot of families, I can’t seem to get my act together.

11 Ways to Build Your Child’s Home Library Without Breaking the Bank

Over the last several years I have found a few ways to expand our home library without breaking the bank, here are a few ways I’ve done so.

1) Hit up your local thrift stores.  Parents are often shocked what they find on those shelves. I often drool over the Usborne Catalog. I have yet to place an order. Why? Because I have managed to find so many Usborne books at my local thrift stores. Many people go to Usborne parties and feel obligated to buy something. And well, what happens when you don’t really want something? Yep, it lands up at the local thrift store.

What about those Leapfrog Leapster Pen (formally known as Tag Pen) books that retail for $9-$15 a book? Yeah I don’t buy those new anymore either. I can find them at our local Value Village Thrift store for $1.29 a book. Of course you have to have patience, but after a year or two we have a very large collection of these books. The plus is since I have also been able to find these pens for $2-$5 at the thrift stores as well, when we are done with these books, I can bundle them in lots and resell them. I should be able to easily regain what I spent.

2) Garage Sales. As soon as the snow is mostly melted in my area, we start seeing garage sale signs popping up at the usual corners. This can sometimes be a bookworms paradise. I have picked up full box sets of chapter books for my kids for $5-$10. However be sure to pull each book out and quickly flip through them. A month or two ago I was so excited to find the Little House on the Prairie box set for $5. I was about to go pay when I thought I should check them out. Good thing I did, 2 of the books apparently had something split on them and the pages were are stuck together. Needless to say I left them behind.

A lot of people just want to clear out their kids books and will sell them for .25cents to a few dollars. Know your prices! I have seen people selling books for nearly full price. Or selling a book for $2 that has been widely circulated and can be found every other time at the thrift store for a quarter. However because I’m well aware of the prices of graphic novels, I’m willing to pay up to $5 for some of them.

If you find several books at one garage sale that you want to buy, try haggle down the price a bit. A lot of the time people just want to get rid of stuff as soon as possible.

3) Kijiji and Craigslist. When shopping on these types of sites I prefer to buy lots of books as opposed to individual books because I have to factor in the cost to drive to pick up. Many homeschoolers clear out their homeschool libraries as their children outgrow them to make more room for age appropriate materials.

Also remember you don’t always have to pay the posted price. Some people post their items for more than they think they can get to give wiggle room for haggling. Just make sure you are being respectful when making an offer. Nothing is more insulting when you’re selling something for $20 and a person offers you $5.

4) Library Book Sales. Our local library often has books for sale. They are usually withdrawn books, or books donated to the library that are no longer needed. This is a great place to get DK Encyclopedia type books, kids chapter books, picture books, even graphic novels for CHEAP. Where I live they charge .50 cents a book or a reuseable bag full for $5. Be sure to carefully look over the books for water damage and missing pages.

I love getting board books here for my daycare. Lets be honest, my daycare kiddos are all learning how to respect books and like a pack of wolves a little rough with them. If I have spent $5 on a bag of books and have to throw a few a way from time to time, I can live with that. If I had spent  $5-$15 on that same book, I find that a bit harder to swallow.

5)Hand-Me Downs. Maybe your mom saved a box or two of your old kid books?  Maybe a friends with older kids is looking to get rid of some of their kids old books they have outgrown.

When I was maybe ten years old, my grandma’s neighbour called her and told her to send us over. Turns out she had several subscriptions to the Archie comic series, and over the years she had boxes and boxes of them. She could no longer read the small print, so she had not renewed her subscription. She wanted to make more room in her apartment for other things and sent us home with hundreds of the comics. Irene may have passed away a few years ago, however her memory lives on, my oldest 2 kiddos are now working through those books she gave me and my brother all those years ago.

6)  Birthdays. When my kids birthdays come around, friends and family often text or call me to ask what the birthday boy or girl might like. This is the time that I sometimes suggest books that are harder to find in the thrift stores. Or my step daughter often asks for giftcards for Amazon or Chapters, so she can order books she has wanted.

7) Advent Books. Ok this is more of a suggestion on how to give books to your kids. But that being said, instead of buying those expensive $40 Lego Advent calendars, go to the local thrift store and buy 24 books. If your child is young, look for Christmas theme picture books. Wrap each book up and write a number on it. Each night before bed allow your child to unwrap one book and read it together.

8) Amazon or Chapters Book Market. This is a good option if your looking for specific books that are a bit pricier. This year we decided to use the curriculum BookShark(the secular version of Sonlight). But the complete kit would have cost me $500+ Canadian with exchange and shipping cost. Instead I ordered the Instruction Guide and went on the Amazon Market and bought used copies of the books for much less. While it was cheaper for me to buy a few of these books new, most were purchased used and I saved $200.

9) Mcdonald’s Kids Meals. While we try not to eat fast food, I have noticed that instead of getting a toy with your child’s Happy Meal, you now can request a book. That is something that will typically get a lot more use than a dinky plastic toy that will likely land up in the donation bin in a few months.

10)Create books for your child. Since following the Glenn Doman method of teaching my son to read, I have created hundreds of books for him. This way I can control the content, font size, and positioning of the words and the pictures. You can either do these by hand on cardstock, or create them on Google Drive. I prefer the Google Drive method, because this way I can share them with other parents. My thoughts are if a group of 10 parents each made 10 books, and everyone shared them, each family will land up with 100 books. Many hands make light work. 

I find my son enjoys books about the characters on shows he watches on Netflix. However I find with these books, a lot of the time are why too long. Not to mention they have itty bitty writing. Licensed character books are often easy readers with limited vocabulary and next to no story line. By creating my own books, I can take books he already owns, scan the pictures, and change the story. I can summarize and make a book that’s too long appropriate for him. I can also take those lame readers with no real story and make them more exciting.

If you want to see more about how I create these books easily and cheap, check out my video called “Glenn Doman IAHP Program.Make Materials to Teach Your Child For Cheap”

11) Sell the books your child has outgrown. Has your last child has outgrown those phonics reader? Their princess storybook collection collecting dust? Sell them and use the money to buy more age appropriate materials.

Of course you’re going to want to keep your kids favourites. Pull those ones out and put them away for their kids. But all the rest sell online, at a garage sale, etc. Clear some room on the old bookshelves and fill the space with age appropriate books that will be used .

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Is it important to you for your child to have a large home library? How have you grown your family library?

 

IAHP VS NACD – Autism Treatment Options

IAHP vs NACD Family Led autism treatment, which is better?

Debating between programs to help your child with autism? Family led autism treatment are a great option. But which program is better? Two that come to mind are Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential aka IAHP and National Association for Child Development(NACD).

I should mention right now, that my family has been involved in both of these programs. We are still involved with one. This article may seem bias to some, however it is strictly based on my personal experiences and feelings. Others may disagree, and they are entitled to their experiences and feelings.

I’ve known about The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential for years. But I had it in my mind that Philadelphia was too far away. I could never put together enough money to make that happen. Right?

The National Association for Child Development

However in 2014, I heard about a program run by Robert Doman Jr, Glenn Doman’s nephew. It was called the National Association for Child Development(NACD). A few things intrigued me about this program. They could conduct their assessments via Skype and I did not have to travel to start. Also if we did want to see them in person there was a chapter in Minneapolis about 7 hours south of Winnipeg.

I don’t want to say that they mislead me, but I was sold that this was a better, more modern version of what they do at the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential(IAHP). I guess I believed this because of what a speaker at a homeschooling conference years ago had also told me about the IAHP, when he had suggested that I skip the IAHP and go to yet another program called The Family Hope Center.

Over the years I had heard stories that the IAHP was like a military camp, everything was their way or the highway. I was led to believe that if you could not commit 10-15 hours a day to running IAHP programs, you were not good enough for them. These other treatment centre are sold as if they understand families, and they can help you and your child in the amount of time your family has available.

I should also disclose that in the past I have been quick to drink the kool-aid when it comes to helping my boys. I can be easily swayed on and sold an idea if there is hope that it can help my boys. You could say I have curriculum coming out the wazzu because others have said it was amazing. Over the last year or so I have become more selective of what I jump into because I realize I might be wasting money that could be better spent on proper treatments.

As we got more involved with the NACD, I started feeling like it was not what I signed up for. The monthly fee of $260 US dollars a month started to really hurt when the Canadian dollar took a dive. This wouldn’t have bothered me so much if I felt the money was well spent. However I just didn’t understand what these programs were really doing to help my children.

I was also told we would have a coach available to answer all my questions and be in constant contact with us to help us stay on track. While my emails were answered when I emailed my coach, the constant contact we were promised was just a Monday thru Friday mass email. Nothing personal, no checking up on how things were going.  If I didn’t email them, the only contact I got was this mass email.

I guess the straw that broke the camel’s back was when one Skype evaluation, our evaluator suggested we make some changes to Little Z Man’s diet. When the report came back with all the program changes, there was no mention of the diet. When I emailed to ask for more information I was told it was not actually part of the program. She suggested that we avoid processed foods and simple carbs, but besides that if I wanted more guidance I would have to set up a consult with one of their doctors for the fee of $250 US dollars. This was on top of the $260 a month I was paying for their support, and the extra $250 4 times a year when we had reevaluations.

I felt with the money I was paying, and the fact that the gut is the second brain, this should have been a more important part of the program. Eventually due to the lack of understanding why I was doing the programs, and the constant need to spend even money on subscriptions to programs, apps, mp3 lectures, CD programs we discontinued treatment with the NACD. The minimal changes in the boys was not worth the kind of money I was spending.

The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential – IAHP

Eventually I started connecting more via Facebook and phone conversations with a mom who had attended the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential course for well children. She started getting on me about having to go and take the What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child course. I agreed with her, but I didn’t really believe I would.

However she become ruthless about it. She cleared up some misconceptions that I had about the IAHP, and kept telling me, “Monique, you just need to make this happen.” Make this happen? How does one just make something like this happen. Money doesn’t just materialize when you need it.

Okay, maybe money doesn’t just materialize. However it is amazing that when you make up your mind to make something happen, you can make it happen. I decided I was going to Philadelphia and I put down my deposit, and made the rest happen.

On that early September morning on the way to the airport, I had butterflies in my stomach. This was really happening. I had been dreaming about stepping foot onto the campus of The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential for 9 years. Now after 5 months since deciding I was going, I had made it happen. It was surreal.

Nearly 10 months since taking the What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child Course(WTD course), life as we know it has changed forever. The programs that I learned to implement are making a HUGE difference for Little Z Man. We have in a general sense, to treat his whole body, physically, intellectually, and physiologically.

I realized that knowing WHY you are doing a program with your child is just as important as HOW to do the program. The staff at the Institutes made me realize that without knowing WHY you are doing something, I am less likely to be motivated to do it. This is why the NACD programs did not work for my family. The short 10 minute videos and 1-2 page write ups about their programs did not answer the WHY for me.

Notes and charts from the IAHP course

The literature available to me all about the programs available from the IAHP helps guide me on my journey and helps refresh all that I learned at the WTD course. After completing the course you can always find on my night stand or kitchen table my binder full of notes, What To Do About Your Brain-injured Child, How to Teach Your Baby to Read , How Smart Is Your Baby? and How to Teach Your Baby to Be Physically Superb(the newer version is called Fit Baby, Smart Baby, Your Baby!)

 Honestly when I was sitting in that course I realized a lot of the information was available in the books, however the course explained to me in more detail the WHYS and the HOWS in a way I could really get. Without the history of the program, the science behind how they figured out the brain works in children with brain injury and the experiences of other family who were successful, the books did not have the same power as they do to me today.

These books are also not the type you read once and put away. I’m always coming back to them and rereading them and referencing them. Everytime I read them something else jumps out at me. Something that we were not ready for the first time I read it and I forgot about jumps out at me and gives me new ideas.

I kept hearing that the IAHP is super secretive cult, and unless you are part of their Intensive program you can’t access their wealth of information to help your child. I have learned this couldn’t be further from the truth. The IAHP honestly wants to help as many families as physically possible. They are doing what they can to do that in a safe responsible way, such as:

  • Free webinars on Youtube
  • The What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child book. This is a must read for families, and the prerequisite to all of the other programs.
  • The Home Program Consultation- After you take the course you can do with with your advocate via Skype
  • The What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child course
  • Public Facebook group available to all families of special needs children thinking of taking the WTD course
  • Private Facebook group for families who have already taken the WTD course. Several staff members frequent this group.

There is one program that the IAHP seems very hush hush about, that is the masking program. However this is for good reason. The masking program is only prescribed to children that have had a complete medical evaluation. They must be found to be fit for this program. If done on a child that is not a candidate it could be very unhealthy for them. It has nothing to do with the IAHP wanted to keep their methods secret. It’s about protecting children from well meaning parents without the proper information.

That course is enough for many families to change their children’s lives without ever having to go back to the Institutes. However for myself, to keep my momentum I need to continue to learn. I need more, but that is just a personal thing. I have seen so much change in Little Z Man. Even so I feel like I need the staff at the Institutes to do a thorough evaluation on him. They will help me come up with a more personalized program for Z. I’m the type of person that will take on too much and not get anything done. I feel that having the staff guide me will keep me on track.

Next month we are jumping on a plane and the staff will be getting their hands on Little Z Man. Through the power of answered prayer and determination we have made another trip to Philadelphia possible.

Conclusion

In order for any program to work, not just therapies. It could be a diets, financial plans, etc, the WHY is as important, maybe more important than the HOW. I need someone with the heart of a teacher guiding me through the process. It is very discouraging when I’m promised a coach and a whole program to find out that parts of the program are not included. Let alone only come at yet another fee.

For me, the IAHP is the tried, tested and true path for my son. They have 60+ years of experience and data to back them up. Yes of course they do have their cases where they cannot help that particular child. After taking the course I can now see that the kids they cannot help are not forgotten about. Actually the opposite is true. Those are the kids on the back of their mind day in and out. Pushing them forward to find new techniques and programs to solve that problem.

 

You can read a bit about our journey with NACD in there past post:

Prepping for the NACD

What My Two Year Old and I Read Today. Mini NACD Update.

NACD Early Learning at 32 Months Old

NACD With My Nine Year Old. Helping Your Child with Reading Comprehension.

You can also read a bit about our journey so far with the IAHP in these post

Little Z update. Starting IAHP

UPDATE BEFORE LEAVING FOR THE IAHP

Day 1&2 Of My Trip To The IAHP

Monday- IAHP What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child

IAHP Nutritional Update

 

MACHS Homeschool Conference-Heidi St. John

Wow! I can’t believe it has been well over a month and I still have not not written about our local homeschooling conference. I originally wanted to wait until the materials I had ordered arrived, and then life got in the way.

A local Christian Homeschool group, MACHS, puts on the Homeschool Conference here in Winnipeg every year.  Back when I was homeschooling Wes I also attended. You can read about my past conference experience in 2011 HERE. It is such a great way to get motivated and inspired. As usual the event was 2 days long. I closed my daycare and took a personal day on the Friday to attend on my own and scope things out. Then Hubby and I attended together on the Saturday.

The Friday was a great time for me to reconnect with other homeschooling moms. We were able to eat lunch together and chat about our kiddos, what was working for us, and what wasn’t.

Saturday was a great time for Hubby and I to explore our options. We were also able to talk about what we really wanted for our son, and what we didn’t want. We spent the session before lunch that was biblically based at the vendors as hubby is not religious. It was nice to see what we think will really work for Little Z Man and what likely wouldn’t be a fit.

The keynote speaker was Heidi St.John, mother of 7, grandmother of 2, author of The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Daylight and blogger for the blog The Busy Mom. My friend was saying that all the women in her co-op were super excited to hear her speak. Tracy and I had no real idea who she was.

Now I can say I follow her blog and social media accounts. She was an awesome speaker. Some of what she said was not what we wanted to hear, but it was the truth. There is no sugar coating things in the way Heidi spoke.

I heard her speak on the topics:

  • Fearless Homeschooling: How to Ignore the
    Critics and Do What’s Best for Your Child
  • Real Life Homeschooling
  • The First Three Years: A Workshop for
    Homeschool Rookies

We also sat in on three sessions by other speakers:

  • Learning Disabilities, ADHD, and My Homeschooled Child – By Ross McCallum
  • Homeschooling 101 – By Stacy Fraser
  • Hands on Learning Fun! By Debbie Mogilevsky

The vendors. Oh the vendors. It is amazing how one could get lost in the 2 vendor halls. I could also spend our life savings. Heck, I could even miss all the speakers speak, because it so easily get lost in the shopping aspect of the conference. I think of my first conference, before I started blogging. I spent so much money on curriculum I didn’t really need.

The vendors are not evil. They are actually very helpful, but you have to remember to keep your wits about you.

Before you go to the conference, try and keep these things in mind:

  • Look at what you already have at home, how are you going to use it?
  • What are you hoping to accomplish next year?
  • What do you have missing to do just that?

Now you know what you have. How your going to use it. What you want to do, and what you still need to get.

Now when you get there and you see this amazing phonics program, and the sales pitch sounds unbelieveable, you can really decided if it’s necessary. Oh yeah, you have two other phonics programs at home, and they seem to be going well. Why fix something that is not broken? But now you have the name and contact information for a different phonics program, should you hit the wall with the ones you current own. You just saved yourself from buying something you may not have needed.

Answering the above questions also keeps you focused. If you love anything to do with Language Arts, and are not too drawn to Math, but you need to find a math program for your child, this will help you say no to the unnecessary stuff. You can now keep reminding yourself to focus on finding a shiny new math program that hopefully you and your child will enjoy.

So what did I buy? Isn’t this what all homeschool moms want to know. Well I’m happy to say we didn’t go crazy. I have A LOT of materials from when we were homeschooling Wes. We also are going to be going back to the IAHP(If you’d like to hear more about that, check out the video below.), so I know they will have an entire, intensive program for us. I do not want to buy materials, only to not have time to work on them.

I decided that this year, besides the IAHP program, we are going to focus a lot on fine motor skills. So we decided to start with Handwriting Without Tears – Get Set For School – My First School Book – Pre-K Activity Book. I already have the wooden blocks to work with back from when Wes was little. We will also be spending some time on the wonderful brachiation ladder my dad built the boys to build hand strength.

 

 

Now while Z is already reading, and has a solid understanding of phonics, I grabbed Get Ready for the Code A (Explode the Code). The main reason I grabbed this book was to work on following directions and another way to work on penmanship. I thought if I used a subject he was strong in(phonics) to work on a skill he needs practice in(fine motor skills).

 

 

I was really impressed with the whole Akeba curriculum. However Little Z’s level in different subject areas varies too much to follow an all in one curriculum. However I did pick up Readiness Skills K4 – A Beka. It is a great resource for skill appropriate activities for Little Z Man to work on those fine motor skills.

As you can see, I wasn’t kidding when I said fine motor skills are really our main focus.

One other thing that I will be sure to plan ahead for next year is to bring a lunch on Friday when I’m there without my Hubby. I found the lunches they served to be small, and overpriced. The food was good, but $9 for a small chicken salad sandwich, a few carrot sticks and a bag of chips was too much. I could have gotten the same at Subway and have been full.

The prices of the conference has gone up, but the price now includes a one year membership to MACHS(Manitoba Association of Christian Home Schools) as well as access to the video/sound recordings to all the sessions presented this year and last year for one year. This is great because there were times were two sessions were happening at the same time that interested me. But now I can listen to the second one at home and not have to miss either of them.

The one thing I always dread about the conference is its location. Calvary Temple is a beautiful church, however it is located right downtown. Traffic is horrendous during rush hour on the Friday.  Parking is a nightmare, and quite costly. So to hear the conference is moving to the Victoria Inn with unlimited free parking was amazing news!

What are conferences like in your neck of the woods? Please leave a comment and tell me all about them. Feel free to ask any questions. 

LeapFrog Letter Factory Leaping Letters Review

LeapFrog Letter Factory Leaping Letters ReviewLeapfrog leaping letters review

LeapFrog Letter Factory Leaping Letters Review

Little Z is not an easy child to shop for at Christmas time. Before the holidays, my mom had me on the search for some gift ideas. While we were shopping we landed up in the LeapFrog section of the toy store. Little Z had really wanted the My Pal Violet plushie toy to match his My Pal Scout. When were there we noticed this game, LeapFrog Letter Factory Leaping Letters.

Basically this game is like the game Perfection. Except instead of an assortment of shapes, this game requires the player to put the alphabet in order. There is also a second part to the game, level 2 I guess. You instead a card in the indent of the board and start trying to build as many 3 letter words.

I love that the timer is quite long. I mean the game is designed for 3-6 year olds, so I appreciate that they actually have a chance to complete the task. How frustrating would it be for Little Z to never be able to complete the game. However I do love that as they get older you can give them less and less time to complete the game.

playing LeapFrog Letter Factory Leaping Letters

I do have to say, keep your receipt when you purchase LeapFrog Letter Factory Leaping Letters. The first one we got was a dud. We sat down to play it with Z and the board would not click down. We landed up having to take it back to the store to exchange. The second one works great, and we have had no issues. However I wanted to be fully transparent as I would hate to mislead my readers.

I originally thought it was just a great game for fine motor skills and focus. Z already knows his alphabet and his letter sounds. However, this week I realized this game will be a perfect addition to the All About Spelling curriculum I plan to use with Z in the future. One activity that is required is learning how to put the alphabet in order. I think this game is a great start. Parents can talk to their child when they are looking to put the letter in its correct spot, “What comes before Q?” or “What letter comes after V”. It is a great tool to facilitate these types of conversations with with child, without them feeling like they are being tested.

Check out my Youtube video review:

What are your thoughts on the LeapFrog Letter Factory Leaping Letters?

Disclaimer: My son received this game as a gift from my mom. We were not paid or compensated in any way by this company to share our opinion. I just thought what an awesome addition to our homeschooling curriculum and wanted to share it with my readers.

What We Read in June 2016

20160612_233816159_iOSLately I have been spending a lot of time on Pinterest looking for book ideas for my preschooler. When find a good list, I take it and use it to order books from our local library. I have also been reading through the books in our personal library with Little Z as well. I thought that I would start to share what we read each month, in case any of my readers are looking for some book ideas.

Little Z’s attention span towards books is getting longer and longer. This is allowing us to hit up many books that in the past were to long for him. This is super exciting for me, as it allows me to expose him to new vocabulary.

So this is what my 4 year old and I read in June 2016

  1.  I Love You Always and Forever
  2.  Grandfather Twilight
  3.  Light Up the Night
  4.  Max and Ruby: Super Max Saves the World
  5.  My Grandpa Is Great
  6.  This Little Pirate
  7.  World of Reading: Jake and the Never Land Pirates Pirate Campout: Level 1
  8.  My Ponies (Hello Reader!)
  9. Your Baby Can Read Book 1
  10. Roadwork! (Disney/Pixar Cars) (Step into Reading)
  11.  Thomas and the School Trip (I Can Read It All By Myself Beginner Books)
  12.  The Berenstain Bears Catch the Bus: A Tell the Time Story (Step into Reading, Step 2)
  13.  When We Go Camping
  14.  Night Lights
  15. Superman Classic: Superman versus the Silver Banshee (I Can Read Level 2)
  16. Olivia Helps Mother Nature (Ready-to-Read Level One)
  17. Puss in Boots- I Can Read- Level 1
  18. Parts (Picture Puffin Books)
  19. I Can Do It! (Step into Reading)
  20. The Chick That Wouldn’t Hatch
  21. Dinosaur Ed (Reader’s Digest) (All-Star Readers)
  22. Olivia Helps Mother Nature (Ready-to-Read Level One)
  23. Blackout
  24. Curious George Cleans Up (CGTV Reader)
  25. Super Spies (Disney/Pixar Cars 2) (Step into Reading)
  26. Pumpkins (Science Sight Word Readers)
  27. Milk and Cookies
  28. 1, 2, 3, Bunny (Focus on Family)
  29. Old Mother Hubbard
  30. Good Night Bear! (Troll First-Start Science)
  31. Down The Drain – Finding Nemo Phonics Set
  32. Beauty and the Beast – Level 1 – I Can Read
  33. First On The Moon
  34. I Have to Go (Sesame Street Toddler Books)
  35. Planet Earth: Baby Penguins
  36. A Very Busy Firehouse (Community Helpers)
  37. Halloween Countdown
  38. Thank You Prayer
  39. Just Like Dad (Little Golden Book)
  40. Grover’s Adventure Under the Sea (Peek-a-Board Books)

Now this might not look like many books, however we also have been reading stories out of the book Random House Book of Easy-to-Read Stories. As well as a story from My Good Night Devotions (Bean Sprouts) each night.

Check out a past What We Read post:

What My 2 Year Old(32 months) And I Read This Month January 2015

What books have you and your little ones read recently?

Little Z update. He’s now 4 years old!

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I can’t believe I’m writing this, but we just celebrated Little Z’s 4th birthday!!! It’s amazing how fast time seems to go by.

A lot has been going on with him the last few months. I wanted to write, but I wanted to get into a good routine so I can really share how Little Z’s new program is working for us.

 I found out that we might qualify for a grant through a local charity to attend the IAHP’s course, “What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child”. So I thought what do I have to lose, and I applied. So one way or another I will be attending the Institutes for the Achievements of Human Potential this fall. I am over the moon excited to go. It’s been a dream of mine for the last 9 years. However I just decided that I’m going to make it happen.

Since my plan is to attend the course and learn to run programs using the IAHP’s methods, I decided I should start running more traditional IAHP programs with Z based on the teachings of Glenn Doman’s books. So I went to work and started making materials.

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First I started off making single word flashcards. To make it easier on myself I cheated a little. I found several vocabulary lists online (for example Flocabulary’s word list) copied and pasted the list into Google Drive and blew up the font to 130-150. Made sure they all fit one word per page and pressed print. I placed each flashcard into a page protector and put them in alphabetical order in a 3″ binder. Then I go and select 10 words from that binder, place them in a duotang and poof I have a set of IAHP words.

The benefits of using duotangs are:

  • Flashcards are always right side up and I fumble with them less
  • I don’t have to worry about Z or the daycare kiddos spilling the pile of cards.
  • I can write the date we started and the date the set was retired inside the cover. As well as tally makes to show how many times we have seen the set.
  • Should I choose to have more children (Which I don’t think we will) I will have everything ready to go. Or I can pass on a complete program to another family. Little work required on their side.

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Next I needed to create couplet sets.

I have been able to cheat a bit and have found 13 sets of pre made couplets flashcards on a website called Education Toy Planet. Because we are putting 10 words per set and a lot of these sets contain more then 10 words, I have been able to stretch these materials to last me a bit longer.

However I do like have a LARGE stash of premade flashcards ready to go, incase my print dies, we get busy, etc. So now I am going through the word list that I have used to create the single word flashcards and I am creating more couplets.

This is a bit more work, because I feel I also have to find pictures to go with each couplet. I know Glenn Doman does not require this, however I find the pictures insure my son will comprehend what he is reading.

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Then came the challenge of finding homemade books. I am not overly creative. I wanted my son to have good quality, interesting books to read. So I hit the library.

I went into the leveled reader section and selected some books that had characters that Little Z loves. I came home, scanned in the pictures and typed out the words on one page and inserted the photos in the next page.

This allowed me to make books that he will be interested in, without having to write original content.  I also am able to separate the words from the pictures. As while as change the vocabulary in his books to included more challenging words or expand on an idea.

I know some of you who are familiar with the IAHP reading program are wondering where my phrase and sentence part of the program is. I need to sit down and work on this, asap. But I refuse to stress myself out. We are doing a lot, they are getting phrases and sentences in the homemade books. If I find when the time comes he is not transitioning to phrases and sentences, I will focus on them then, but doing more couplets and adding in an actual phrase stage of the program.

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We have also started the IAHP math program. Honestly though, I’m not sure how effective it will be with Little Z as he already knows his numbers. However since I already own the flashcards I figured the 10 second three times a day might be worth it in the off chance he can benefit.

Originally I was showing the cards 15 times each before retiring out 2 and adding 2 more. But I found this was too slow for Z. So now I show them 3 times a day, then I retire 3 cards and add in 3 more cards each day.

In the next few days we will be adding in equations to the mix. When I first started I tried printing out my own cards and arranging them in duotangs. But for this program I feel the big 11X11 cards are a better fit. Especially with all the equations on the back of the cards.

20160530_175422000_iOSWe have also introduce a Encyclopedic Knowledge program to the mix. This I am being more lax on. We have several IAHP EK bits flashcards, so I figured we may as well look at them. I also found a few sets to print out. So while it takes little effort to do, we will continue to include them in our day.

However I feel like once I am required to start to have to make my own, I’m likely going to make them into book form. This just seems like a better use of my time, and we can combined EK and reading together.

 

So we are going on 2 months on this schedule. I’m also starting a music program with Little Z, but that will get its own review.

Do you follow a IAHP/Doman method to teach your children? If so I’d love to hear about your experience.

Little Z Completed Wink to Learn English

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My long time readers may remember back when Wes was little I did a review for a DVD program called Wink to Learn English. Wink to Learn English is a 4-DVDs program aims to help your child to recognize more than 500 words and to form proper phrases and sentences using proven flashcard-techniques developed by Dr Glenn Doman and Dr Shichida. Each lesson is based on the flashcard principles of Glenn Doman. Lesson duration is short (less than 5 mins) and captivates your child’s attention using real life photos and videos. It consists a total of 48 topical lessons which systematically help your child to recognise words and to form proper phrases and sentences.

If you would like to read my original review from 2016, you can find it HERE. I also wrote about using this program back in 2012 when Little Z was an infant, you can read that Here. Sadly dealing with the balance of running my home daycare with an infant, I struggled to stay organized and we never finished the program. I could never remember which lesson we were on.

Well now Little Z is 4 years old. He reads 1000s of words. However my next goal has been to provide him more couples, phrases and sentences. He will happily read words, but prefers not to read outloud phrases and sentences. However in true Doman/IAHP style, I am trying to avoid testing him. I also often see him looking at books and his eyes are tracking the words. I believe he is reading in his head.

When looking through our collection of DVDs to add some media to our IAHP flashcard program, I came across this program. Because he is able to read, but we are looking to fine tune his skills, we decided to watch the lessons only once. I presented him two lessons a day and wrote them on the calendar to stay organized. When we got to lessons 5 & 6 we presented them once and at the end played the right brain track that flashes through the phrases and sentences very quickly.

Six years after my first review what are my thoughts?

Pros:

  • Organized lessons that allow busy parents to present awesome lessons to their little ones.
  • Clearly printed words on a plain background, separate from the pictures.
  • Real photos were used, not cartoons.
  • Follows the Doman method, words, couplets and phrases.

Cons:

  • Strong accents. However since my boys live in an all English environment, I’m less worried about this.
  • Little Z wasn’t crazy about the videos after each lesson. They sort of bored him. So we skipped them. My oldest liked them, so this may just be personal preferences and all children have different reinforcers.

Overall I’m very happy that we used this as a review to fine tune Little Z’s current skills. I would suggest parents write what lesson they are on on a calendar or make a checklist on an index card to store in the DVD case.

Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this program 6 years ago in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion of the program.

My Top Favorite 6 Early Education Blogs (Post #2- 2016)

blogI love reading blogs! Back when I was a teenager I joined a website called teenopendiary.com. I really didn’t write all that often. But what I did do was save my list of favorites and go check on them everyday to see what was going on in their lives.

Then I got busy with college and work, and well teenopendiary.com just didn’t seem like a place for an 18 year old college student.

Then I got pregnant with Wes. I was 19 years old and while I had a good job and knew I could support us, my friends were all in a different place in life. I felt alone.

That is when I started writing on OpenDiary.com, the parent site of TeenOpenDiary.com. There I was able to meet people who were the same age or close to that were going through the same thing as I was. It was a real community. To this day, even though OpenDiary.com is no more, I am still close friends with many of the women I meet on this site. We become mothers together, we were there for eachother during pregnancy losses, divorces, marriages, custody battles, and the joys and trials of raising our children.

This was my early introduction to blogging.

A few years after Wes was born I started reading some stand alone blogs. And in 2010 I decided I wanted to start my own stand alone blog and share what I had learned over the years. I started my blog Doman, ABA, Homeschooling Momma.

In late October 2014, I decided to purchase my own domain and webhosting services. But I realized that Doman, ABA, and Afterschooling Momma(switched to Afterschooling in 2012) just didn’t roll off the tongue, and there were too many spelling variations for Momma. So that’s when EarlyLearningMom.com was born.

Even though I’ve been blogging for over 5 years now about parenting, autism, homeschooling, and afterschooling, I am NO MEANS an expert. There are regular blogs I read for ideas, and all sorts of information on how to raise my boys.

Here are my TOP 6 Educational Blogs I Follow:

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Planet Smart Pants

Planet Smarty Pants– Natalie from Planet Smarty Pants blogs about her adventures raising her only child. Her daughter is only one year younger than Wes, so while I was a working mom I read her blog quite closely, picking up tips on how to afterschool my child while keeping up the demands of being a mom who works out of the home.

Natalie also host link ups for other blogs to share what they have been doing to afterschool their children.

1+1+1=1

1+1+1=1

1+1+1=1 – If you’re looking for ways to teach your toddler, preschooler,or kindergartener this is the site to visit. There are so many resources that Carisa as created for her own children available for free right at your fingertips. She also has an online store where she has a membership only powerpoints, and several bundles of more educational materials. The prices are very affordable.

I have printed out plenty of her printouts when Wes was younger and in more recent years have started using some of her ideas with Little Z.

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Doman Mom

DomanMom : Liz from DomanMom is someone I have looked up to in the early learning movement since I embarked on my journey. Her two boys are just a bit older than my two boys. So I’ve been watching her blog very carefully over the years. Be sure to also check out her YouTube Channel, which is filled with awesome educational videos for your little ones.

 

 

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Early Learning with Marta, Eaton and Nathaniel

Early Learning with Marta, Eaton and Nathaniel: I love Marta’s blog, I can’t say that enough!! Her youngest is just a bit older then my Little Z, so I’m often snooping around her blog looking for ideas. The stuff her boys are able to do at such a young age blows my mind.

If I had to describe her style of teaching her boys, I would describe it as very montessori.

 

 

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Larry Sanger

larrysanger.org: Larry’s blog is not strictly a early learning parenting blog. However he written a 140 page Essay on how he taught his young son to read at a young age. Trust me, the 140 page essay is worth your time to read. We are lucky he has decided to share it for free instead of turning it into a book for purchase.  He is also the creator of the FREE online reading program Reading Bear.

 

 

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Figur8

Figur8: If you are looking for early learning information this is the blog to go to. I have been reading it for years and I keep finding new info I missed. Whether you are looking for brain training, child development, early learning ideas, etc. You will find it here.

 

 

 

Who do you regularly follow? I’m always looking for new learning blogs to check out.

 

 

 

Top 6 Learning to Read Websites

Often I get phone calls from my friends in real life about teaching their child. Usually its around report card time or after a parent teacher. Their child may be struggling with X,Y or Z and they want to of course like any good parent help them catch up.

Other times friends will see what I have done with Wes and what I am currently doing with Z and want to know how they can do that too.

So I thought I’d throw together a list of sites that I often suggest.

The first site I’m going to recommend I’m not actually counting in the 6 sites.  It is a suggestions for parents who stumble upon this post and have little babies, toddlers and young preschoolers. Visit the BrillKids website. If you start their Little Reader program, there is a chance you will be able to skip some of these sites. Or you might need these sites at a younger age to help grow your child’s reading skills, instead of using them to teach your child to read from scratch.

1) Reading Eggs: This is a subscription based program that can take a child from not reading to reading at a grade 2 level in no time. The program is based on Maps. Each map has 10 lessons.

2) Headsprout: I wrote about how we used Headsprout years ago in one of my first reviews, they can be read HereHere, and Here. I’m sure this program had a big part in my son starting half way through grade 1 reading at a high grade 2 level.

Recently they have upgraded their program to go up to grade 5! I started doing this program again with Wes to work on his reading comprehension and vocabulary skills. I can’t recommend this program enough.

(I should mention that this program has gone from a lifetime membership to a one year subscription based program)

3) Click N’Learn Phonics: Back when I was homeschooling Wesley, we had the chance to use and review Click N’Spell Phonics, you can read about it Here.

4) Reading Bear: Reading Bear is a FREE online reading program. Some people have found this to be a little too slow paced for their children, others have found it to be just right. Check it out to see if it will work for your child. With the price tag you have nothing to lose.

5) Starfall : Starfall offers both a free and paid for site that teaches children phonics, reading and other concepts like the days of the week, months of the year, holidays, colours etc.

6) Youtube: Believe it or not there are tons of amazing videos on Youtube that can not only help teach your child to read, they can teach anything from math, to the solar system, etc.

Spend sometime on on YouTube and create playlist for your child.

What sites have you used with your children? Which have you found helpful, and which were not so helpful?

Little Z Update. Nov 2015

I can’t believe it’s almost the end of the year. Little Z is officially 3 and a half years old. So much has been going on his life.

Little Z started ABA therapy at the beginning of September. It’s been a slow start getting staffing in place, but we are almost running at full capacity now.

  Z has really started building a relationship with his morning tutor, and looks forward to her coming every morning. His senior tutor is awesome too, she has even more energy than Z has. I’ve only met our afternoon tutor twice, but I think she is going to make a great addition to our team.

Right now we have a few program going to build compliance, a matching program and a waiting program. But mostly we are just trying to make our tutors reinforcing and fun for Z.

Little Z had a visit last week from our Occupational Therapist. She recommended we try having Z wear a Bear Hug periodically to help him calm down and regulate. She said that deep tissue pressure might do him some good.

He originally freaked out there first time we put it on him, but he settled and seem to be calmed by it. But the next time I put it on him, he did not resist at all. He is able to sit down and do activities more with me now when he wears it.

This is the one we are currently borrowing from our OT. You will notice that it comes with straps. Z didn’t seem to like the straps at all. But the good thing is the straps are removeable. We are going to see what we notice in the next month, and then decided if we should order one. But so far I’m leaning towards yes.

 We have been also implementing a homeschool/Glenn Doman style learning program.

Usually before ABA arrives, lunch time, sometimes in the evening and then before bed, we work through his learning binders and homemade books.

Little Z has also been playing with his own little Mortensen Block sets. Hopefully with time we will be able to transition to a full math program using this blocks.

Skip counting seems to be Zs favorite thing to practice. We have one skip counting chart per learning binder. However in the picture above my son got ahold of one of the binders full of stuff I have ready to put in the binder when he retires the material that is currently there. I guess he wanted to work on counting by 14s and 15s.

If you want to use these charts with your child, check out Homeschool Creations. Jolanthe has charts from 2-15 posted on her blog.

Before bed every night I’ve been trying to read him one story from this amazing book I found at a local church book sale. So far we have read classics like:

– Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

– Jack and the Beanstalk

– Goldilocks and the Three Bears

To name a few…

We are still logging books in our 1000 Books Before Kindergarten log, but seeing as he’s only 3 and already 25% done, I figured we can slow down a bit and work through some classical literature to work on enhancing his vocabulary.

So all and all, I feel like we are on the right path. ABA is hitting on the compliance and left brain skills. At home we are working on the right brain side of things.

What are you doing with your child? I’m always curious to hear, might be something we can incorporate into our day.