Hot Housing Toddlers to Read?? Little Miss: a father, a daughter and rocket science (Book Review & Giveaway)

Toddlers that can read…

That statements holds a lot of stigma.

If you have taught your toddler to read, you must have pressured them with hours and hours of lessons and drills. Right?


Nathan Meikle shared the journey of how his daughter learned how to read at the age of two in his book Little Miss: a father, his daughter & rocket science.

This book shares day by day accounts of not only how he got his child interested in learning how to read, and how he taught her. But also all the conversations about he had with his wife through the process, as well as his own doubts.

Overall I thought this was a very well written book. I couldn’t put it down and read it in a day. Even though it didn’t add to what I personally knew on teaching young children to read, (I only say this because I’m 7 or 8 years into this life style of parentings, first with Wes and then Little Z) I couldn’t help but think…

Imagine! This book on the book shelves at the local bookstore in the parenting section. A mother to be comes in looking for a book on how to parent her baby, what to expect the first year, etc. She stumbles upon it and reads the back, “Interesting…” she thinks and adds it to the pile to buy.

What I’m saying is I believe this book could be the gateway to early education. Parents read it and then start researching. Next thing you know they are on the BrillKids site, reading about Glenn Doman, Your Baby Can Read, etc. What an amazing gift these parents will be offering their children!

Ok! Ok Monique. So this little girl could read when she was 2. What good is that if she is just going to burn out? Well I’m happy to say she hasn’t burned out. She loves to read. Kyla is 5 though she hasn’t started kindergarten. She still LOVES to read, as long as her parents find the right books for her. Nathan told me that just a few days ago she picked out two different 60 page book and read them to herself. The other day she also typed out one of her favorite picture books–took her about 2 hours. He is guessing she’s at a 4th grade reading level. She even corrects him when they are reading together and his skips a word or mispronounces something.

They are also doing the same thing they did with their 2.5 year old son Bennett, only difference is they started a bit earlier than they did with Kyla.

It has been much harder with him because Kyla gets bored while listening to us try to teach Bennett to read. She often helps, we try to include her as much as we can, but inevitably, she is not happy when the YBCR DVD’s are on because she wants to watch something else. Bennett has always been a little behind where Kyla was in terms of language progressions, but he has memorized a handful of words from YBCR and knows all his letters and the sounds (he’s 2.5). There plan is to do memorization for another few months and then get started on phonics. Though the process is going slower with Bennett, the bright side is that both Kyla and Bennett are learning patience (hopefully) because at every mealtime we alternate books (e.g., Kyla chooses one, and then Bennett chooses one). In sum, the process is much easier with just one child, but it is also fun (though challenging) to teach Bennett to read as a family. Kyla will hopefully remember the days of teaching her little brother to read.

So now the fun part!! I have 2 copies of this book to giveaway. If you would like to win a copy check out the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This review is my honest opinion. I received a copy of the book to read and review, but otherwise was not compensated.


10 Steps/Tip to Jump Start Your Child’s Early Education.

So you want to teach your child to read, count, etc. Here are 10 tips to help you on your way.

1) Read Glenn Doman’s books “How To Teach Your Baby to Read” and “How to Multiply Your Baby’s Intelligence.”

Glenn Doman has several books out there and feel free to read all of them. However I found they could be very repetitive. So if you’re a busy parent who doesn’t have too much extra time, I feel you will get the most bang for your buck with these two.

How to Teach Your Baby To Read, will give you different steps on how to teach your little one to read. Reading is the most important program to work on in my opinion, because if a child can read, the can teach themselves where else they want to learn.

2) Join the BrillKids forum.

Sometimes it can be lonely when you’re trying to teach your young child and the people around you are not very supportive. You start hearing things like, “Let them just be a kid!” “Stop pressuring them…” Then you start to doubt yourself. Visit my post for the 4 Reasons WHY You Should Teach Your Baby To Read, then go join the BrillKids forum and start connecting with like minded parents.

3) Read Little Miss: a father, his daughter & rocket science. Nathan Meikle, has documented his journey teaching his daughter how to read. It is awesome to read a first hand account of what they did and how his daughter reacted.

4) Don’t try and do everything at once. Pick one or two things you want to teach your child and start working on them. Remember 10-15mins a day is better than not doing it at all.

Start with one program and do it at a set time. I find mealtimes are a good time for lessons. Especially Breakfast and Lunch. Also bedtime is another good time to sneak in a lesson.

As tempting as it is to start all sorts of great program at once, contain yourself! You will burn out and your child with feel bombarded. Start by adding things one or two at a time. Allow your child to get use to them and allow them to become part of your routine before you add another thing. This way you can watch to see how your child reacts to that one program to make sure its the right one for your child.

read for 20 mins a day

This chart keeps reminding me why reading to my children is so important.

5) Children learn to be readers in the laps of their parents. Spend a few mins a day reading with your child.

Look up reading list online and put a bunch of books on hold at your local library. Hit up the local thrift store and garage sales to find affordable new books for your child and you to read together.

Make sure you are not just teaching them how to read words, but spending time enjoying books together. If your child learns that reading is a fun thing to do, they will want you to teach them how to read.

You can also find fun age appropriate books on topics you might be working on. Like counting, shapes, manners, etc.

6) Utilize smartphone apps and/or tablets.

Now while I don’t think that tablets will replace books anytime soon, using apps to help teach a concept is super motivating for most children and super easy for a parent to use. Check out my post: Teaching My Toddler: What Apps Are We Using.

7)Youtube is full of good quality materials. Plus its FREE.

8) Utilize otherwise wasted time during the day to learn.

Educational songs in the car.

Read in the car while waiting for daycare to open.

So a quick 1 min round of flashcards at diaper changes, in and out of the carseat, etc…

Counting how many cheerios on their plate.

9) Start early

It is never too early to read to your baby, sing them the ABC songs, and talk to them about everything. Check out my post: Can I Teach My Newborn, Infant or Toddler Basic Kindergarten Skills? YES YOU CAN!

10) Avoid spending too much time planning. Spend that time with your child learning.

Its easy to get caught up researching, preparing and creating beautiful materials for your child to learn with. But if that is going to eat up your time, or you never finish it, or your child uses it for a day or two and masters it, is that time really well spent? Your child doesn’t care if the edges are cut perfect on your flashcards, or if they are on the back of old cereal boxes, special pretty paper. So don’t waste time or money on that.


What tips do you think are helpful that I may have missed?

FarFaria Review and GIVEAWAY

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Farfaria2FarFaria is a subscription based library for children 2-9 years old on your tablet or smartphone. It currently includes over 800 titles, with more being added weekly. It is subscription

If you have little bookworm at home, and don’t want to keep making daily trips to the library, this is the app for you. For just $4.99 a month, or $39.99 for the year.

I also found this app has intrigued my reluctant reader . My oldest is more of a math guy then a reader. However he is required to do home reading every night. Now that we have been using FarFaria, its just a matter of me asking him once to do his home reading. Before it would take me a while to get him to sit down and read.

I also find it has brought us together as a family to read together. I’ll sit down with Little Z, and we start reading, then the next thing you know the big kids are sitting with us. If we happen to be reading about something non-fiction, dad will even come a sit down too.

FarFaria FamilyChoiceYour child starts off by choosing a island to visit.

Once you are on that island, a bookshelf of books appears based on what you selected. Each have a letter on the lower right corner indicating the reading level that book falls into.

What if your child is interested in a book, but the level indicates it is too difficult for them? Simple! Just select the Auto Play or Read to Me button and the book becomes an book and an audio book in one. Some of the books even highlight the words as they are read. I wish every book did this as it would be an awesome thing for little ones learning to read using the Glenn Doman inspired method.

Now for the best part! The wonderful people at FarFaria have given me two 3 month subscriptions to giveaway to some lucky readers!!


DISCLAIMER: I was given a subscription to try with my family in exchange for an honest review.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Not sure where I stand…

Well its now the middle February…
My son has been in school for a just over a month now.
He’s still loving it. His teacher is sweet as can be. The school seems to be on top of things. But…
I still don’t feel good about it.
I feel like I’m counting down the days to Spring Break and Summer.
I feel like even though I”m an active part of his education, I’m still in the dark.
I also feel helpless because his father, step-father, therapist, etc, all feel this is best for him.
But it doesn’t feel right.
I believe his education is suffering. I’m not sure this is the socialization I want him exposed to.
I feel so locked into a corner.
For now I’m slowly building his afterschooling program, and planning out some catch up time during his Spring Break and Summer Holiday. I’m looking at starting to teach him grammar and cursive handwriting this summer, both of which are not taught in grade 2. And supplementing his Science, Language Arts, and Social Studies with Classical Education at home. Also we will continue to work on Math using TouchMath,
I’m hoping this summer we can spend a lot of time hiking, exploring and enjoying the great outdoors.
On my goals list this week I managed to read two books, donate another 11 bags of stuff, and made a few more infant stimulation cards. So far I have managed to donate 42 bags of stuff, so I upped my goal to 60 bags before the baby comes.

This week I’m hoping to get my shelf built in my bedroom, organize my homeschooling and scrapbooking stuff. I’m also hoping to read another 2 books on my list.

Since I finished reading The Well Trained Mind(well I read the info that related the grammar stage and skipped over the middle school and high school stuff), I’m really excited to get started with Wesley. I went to the library and paid off my fines so we can start to use the books there again. As much as I like to buy books for our use, I don’t think it will be economical since I will not being working in a few months.

I’m very excited that next month I’ll be going for a girls scrapbooking weekend! I know it will be unlikely that I can go in the fall, so I decided to take advantage of it now.

As for the homeschooling conference. I’m still sitting on the fence. I want to attend, however its an extra expense and to be honest, I think it would be more upsetting to sit there and listen to people talk about the benefits of homeschooling when that’s not something I can do right now.

I’m hoping to write about our Soft Mozart experience. I had computer issue this weekend, so thats why I’m delayed.

MACHS Homeschool Conference 2011- Keynote Speaker Andrew Pudewa

Homeschool Conference 2011

What an amazing experience! This weekend I was able to attend our local Christian homeschooling group, MACHS, homeschooling conference. It was held for two days at Calvary Temple in Winnipeg.

I have to say this conference was AMAZING. Much to my excitement the keynote speaker was Andrew Pudewa, the director of the Institute for Excellence in Writing. While this was very impression, what really got our attending was the fact he was trained under both Suzuki and Doman. He actually worked with my hero Glenn Doman(author of the book “What To Do About Your Brain-injured Child“) at The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential.

Another early learning mom, who happens to be a good friend of mine, and I had the opportunity to talk to him after lunch.

Ok ok… We may have formed an attack to corner the poor man to try and pick his brains. He was busy looking for his missing cufflink, so we took this opportunity that he was in one area to speak with him.  As brief as it was, he was able to tell us about some interesting things.

– According to him, the IAHP is not open to new research. They have the mentality, if they didn’t come up with it they are not interested in it. After hearing this, I also heard something similar from somewhere else. This is really sad to hear and I hope it is not true because there is still so much to learn about the human brain. By limiting their interest in other studies they will eventually become dated.

– We talked about EK flashcards. He went on to tell us how the connections are made. Basically if you never saw anything you wouldn’t think about anything. By showing EK bits you are providing your child the chance to think about something, there for making connections in the brain.

– He also told us about another person that he use to work with at the IAHP that left the institute and opened his own clinic the Family Hope Center. I’m under the impression the founder of the Family Hope Center was fed up the IAHP would not consider new research on Brain Injured children. Another thing that seemed to bother them was the fact that the people who are now in charge of the IAHP are Scientology and as a devout Christian he did not agree with the way it was run. So I spent some time on their website and decided to place a call. They were already closed for the day so I left a message. I’m interested to see what this place is about.

We then spent time listening to the keynote speaker sessions, wondered around the 3 exhibit halls and ate lunch. I managed to control my spending habits. I bought Wesley a new bow for his birthday, 2 workbooks and and parents guide. I loved there was so much about Suzuki music this time around. I’m not sure if they will be able to beat it next year.

Disclaimer: This post may include affiliate links.

When Right Brain Education Meets Left.

Well I have full force started a right-brain education program for Wesley. We have always done a little right brain education here and there, but not as consistant as I should be. Now this is what we do:
– Little Reader
– Little Math (both Little Math curriculum and the 65 Day Shichida’s Math Program)

Wink To Learn Speak and Read English
Wink To Learn Speak and Read Japanese
Doman Advantage word cards
Now my son is traditionally too old for the math program, but we are noticing that these right brain programs, mixed with our fantastic new ABA tutors he is maturing so much when it comes to his speech and conversation skills. My mom almost feel out of her chair last night when Wesley ask my dad “Papa do you have a gameboy? We play two players?” My mom said it was the very first time she heard him ask a question that wasn’t asking for something he wanted to eat or do, he was asking if my dad owned something. Might seem small but this is HUGE for us.
We had our clinic meeting on Tuesday, and our team was shocked how many programs Wesley blasted through. Our consultant actually didn’t bring enough programs to replace the ones he completed.
We started him on some easy easy mazes( I found a Franklin work book full of mazes at the dollarstore), which he baseline mastered. Now I plan on going to Chapters and buying him some Kumon Maze books.
Now we do other programs that are not Right Brain as well, and they help him so much too. For example Headsprout, Singapore Math, Touch Math, Exploded the Code,, and now we also started Click N’ Kids ClickN READ and ClickN SPELL.
Sometimes I wonder WHY so many programs. But then I realize there is a method to my maddness, this provides my son a variety, making it so he is learning using different programs and making it so he doesn’t get board with our programs. I do each a couple times I week(right brain programs are almost daily as they only take 15-20 mins of our day)
We also read 2-10 books a day. Right now I’m learning how to read to him and ask questions so he stays focus on the story. He tends to space out during story time. Now I’m not sure if he is still taking it in or not, Tweedlewink creators claim that children can learn from background sounds just as much as when they are paying attention. But I don’t know.
Last night Wesley and I started a crawling program. We chase each other crawling for 5 mins. It was a lot of fun. I know five mins doesn’t seem like much, but my goal is to work us up slowly. I’m also going to ask my father to build us a set of monkey bars in the basement. I need to get him moving on the physical part of the Doman program. I just pray I can keep motivated.
I hope this combination of programs with help develop my son’s brain to its full potiental. Sometimes he resists programs, and I know its suppose to be child lead, but once I insist he does something he usually enjoys it. And in those situations I keep our sessions short. Our window of healing his brain is closing and we must move forth.

Sharing some handwriting practice tips for 5 year olds that I was given.

So lately Wesley and I have cooled it on the writing practice. His occupational therapist said that is best to do small amounts of writing, otherwise they do the first few words or letters proper, the they start getting lazy. If they write too much when then are in lazy mode, then they are actually practicing how to print the letters wrong. Yikes! I never thought of it that way.
The frustrating thing is that he is able to do 2 pages a day of Explode the Code. I asked her what we should do because I don’t want his handwriting to slow down his reading progress. His OT said that a lot of children are more mentally ahead then their motor skill. She suggest having him write until I see his handwriting getting sloppy, then to take over and have his dictate to me. Or split up his worksheets. Do one in the afternoon and one in the evening.
Also if we are practicing handwriting, at this stage I should write the word, then he writes and then I take a turn and make him a fresh example to copy. Children tend to practice their printing wrong because they are copying their own example over and over again. If you provide them a fresh example each time they are more likely to print their letters correct.
Just thought I’d share these tips with you guys because I didn’t realize this. I thought if you want to get better at printing you just have to keep practicing. But really the children need small, short practice sessions.

Math Brought my son to Tears :(

I made my child cry today. How you ask? I introduced subtraction. I was using the Jones Geniuses 4 question sheet and the first question was 2-1=? His immediate reply was 3. I show him counting backwards on the dots. Nope he said it was 3. I took 2 markers and laid them out in front of him and took one away. Nope in his mind the answer was 3. He got upset and started to cry. *Sigh* I put away the worksheet and while he was playing I would go up to him and show him with my fingers, “If I have 2 and I take one away, how many to I have?” He understood this.
So a few hours later I brought him back to the worksheet, he replied, “No minus, only plus!” I told him we had to give this a shot. Finally he got the question 2-1=1, the others like 16-3, were easier for him because he has not yet mesmerized 16+3, so he allowed me to teach him to count backwards with the dots. So I think from now on we will always have to start off with Subtraction and end with Addition.
I felt awful, just a terrible mother for not being able to get this through to him and making him cry. But I know he can do this, and he proved to me he could. I just need to make sure there is a equal balance between both types of problems.

Wink to Learn Animal DVD Review and Giveaway

Well this is my second review for the company Wink To Learn. The first was on a product called Speak and Read English, you can read it here.
I just love dealing with this company! Their products are amazing and they take what they are doing very seriously. They state right on their web pages their promises.

Within 6 Hours – Customer Service email response time

Free Local Shipping for Singapore customers
Free International Shipping by air (except for restricted countries like Indonesia and Saudi Arabia)
100% Compatibility – our DVDs are in NTSC (Region-free format)
Free 1-to-1 Replacement for any defective DVDs for ALL customers
Free Gift-wrapping for ALL customers upon request

I know myself sometimes when I want to order a product the price doubles when I factor in shipping and handling cost. I love that when you order something from Wink To Learn, its free shipping!
The product that I had the honor to review was there Animal Facts DVDs in English. This was exciting for me because a)I’ve been dieing to try this series and b) I know my Brillkids friends online would like an honest review on their product.
The bundle I reviewed included:
African Safari
Amazing Rainforest
Australian Wildlife & Asian Reptiles
Jungle Feathers
Threatened Species
Wetland Wings
Here is a little preview from their website

Each DVD Helps your child to learn more than 70-100 encyclopedic facts on animals in Singapore Zoo and hence learn more than 100-150 words & phrases.
The first time I played this for my son, it was a few minutes before my hubby came home. When he arrived he looked at the TV and there was a Malayan Sun Bear. He asked me what the heck that was and sat down and started watching the DVD with my son. I find that even as a parent, I’m learning tons from this video. We keep our sessions short just like the people at Wink to Learn recommended. We do 3-4 animals 2-3 times a week. This way it keep the kids wanting more.
The quality of these DVDs are second to none. The videos are amazing and you get close and personal with the animals. I also love the little clips in cartoons that help explain some of the facts. The only thing like I mentioned in the first review the narrator has a slight accent. Once again this does not bother me at all, but some people are particular about accents when teaching their child.
Would I recommend this product? Yes! The information is interesting for both parent and child. Overall an excellent collection of what we call in our home “Children’s Documentaries”. My hubby and I watch several  documentaries a week and wanted to pass on the thirst for knowledge to our children. I feel these DVDs do just that. Not to mention the price is right and the no charge shipping is a MAJOR bonus.
Now the SUPER exciting part!!
Wink To Learn has offered my readers a chance to win a copy of the following titles. (Amazing Rainforest is my personal favorite, so I’m thrilled that it was included!)
– African Safari
– Amazing Rainforest
– Threatened Species
The contest is open WORLDWIDE (except for restricted countries like Indonesia and Saudi Arabia)
How to Enter: Complete any of the following task, and get one entry each. PLEASE include your email and leave one comment for EACH task. The more tasks you complete the better your chances of winning.
– Head over to Wink to Learn and tell me which of the Animal DVDs you would like to show your child the most
– Let me know what other Wink to Learn product you would like to try
– Follow Doman, ABA, Dayhome, and Homeschooling Momma publicly
– Blog about this giveaway on your blog (send me the link in your comment)
-Sign Up for another giveaway I have going on at the moment
Contest Closes October 15th at 11:59pm
Thank-you so much to the great people at Wink To Learn for giving me the chance to review their product, and at the same time educate my children. I was in no way required to write anything in my review, and the option here is mine and mine alone.

Starting our home speech therapy program with Super Star Speech

Home Speech Therapy

Well for those of you that have been reading me for a while, you would know the number one reason I decided to homeschool my son was because of his speech delays. So about half a year ago when I stumbled across a blog entry written by someone who was reviewing Deborah Lott’s program “Super Star Speech“, it really peaked my interest. I really can’t remember if the child had speech delays or the blogger had just received the book to review, but I kept thinking, this might be something for my Wesley.

Why Parent Led Speech Therapy?

Lets be honest, speech therapy is expensive. Not only for the actual sessions, but there is also the cost of traveling to and from therapy. Not everyone can comfortably afford it. Even if families has insurance coverage a lot of the time either the deductible can be super high, or the yearly cap is pretty low.

Parent Led Speech Therapy can be helpful for families:

  • that have no speech coverage
  • waiting on wait list for government funded speech therapy
  • waiting for the new year for speech coverage to reset, or
  • that live in rural areas with limited access to a speech therapist


Now I want to make sure that everyone that reads my review realizes that this program is designed for children that have a few articulation problems. Its not designed to “fix” children who have many articulation problems, speech delays, stuttering, or physical problems (ex: cleft palate, hearing impairment, cerebral palsy) If your child has these issues, they should see a speech pathologist.

How We Are Using Starting Super Star Speech

I decided to start with the book “Super Star Speech”, last week I printed it all out and placed them in plastic page protectors.  Now my son has speech delays and is seeing a speech pathologist once a month. However I look at this program like this, the more you exercise a muscle, the stronger it gets. I plan on using this book to exercise my son’s brain and oral muscles. In hopes speech will come more easy to him. It breaks my heart when I meet adults that have speech issues that could have easily been fixed when they were children, yet were not. Now they have to live the rest of their lives struggling to make people understand them.

Articulation Test

The first thing we will be doing next week is the Articulation Test. Debbie has set up an easy to follow check list(in order of what sounds your child should be able to make at different age levels) as well as the pictures. She provides you with pictures to test if your child can properly pronounce certain letters at the beginning, the middle and the end of a words.
After this test you then go on to word on the areas you child needs help with. She provides word lists, exercises and fun games.

Our Plan With Super Star Speech

So next week I’m going to run the Articulation Test, and I’ll update you guys about how it went. I’m super excited to get started. Even though my son is already seeing a speech path, I still feel he needs a lot more work then she is suggesting we do throughout the month, till her next visit. So because of Debbie’s program I feel as a parent I have more control in my son’s final outcome. I love that she is offering parents who could otherwise not afford speech therapy an affordable option to help their children.
Thank-you Debbie!
Please check out Debbie’s Website here and her blog which is also full of great ideas here.