Originally Published in 2010. But I felt it needed a major update.
You might be a Doman parent…
Do you ever find yourself hiding what your doing with your child from family or friends? Making sure all the word cards and flashcards of the digestive system are put away before company comes over. The pediatrician laughs at you when you tell him your two year old know his letters and sounds of the letters, and knows how to read hundreds of words.
What is a Doman Parent Anyhow?
A Doman Parents or Professional Mother is a parent who follows the teaching of Glenn Doman. His amazing discoveries in child development have helped many special needs children:
learn to run when their parents were told they never would even stand on their own two feet.
learn to read and do math when other specialist told their parents they were “mentally retarded” and were “unteachable”.
Lose their labels such as Autism, ADHD and Developmental Delay
most importantly, grow to their full potential
Glenn Doman also created programs for well children. Teaching them how to read, do math, play violin, and speak second and third languages.
So Why is This Not Main Stream?
After I discovered the Doman Method of teaching my son, I made a grave mistake. I assumed everyone would want to do the same thing with their children too!
I soon realized this was not the case. It was actually the complete opposite reaction. People thought it was a terrible idea!
They told me I was Hothousing my son.
I was told he would be bored in school if I taught him to read early.
The best was during some testing I was told my youngest son was “Just Hyperlexic”. The way he said it was like it was a problem. Way to take a strength my son has and turn it into a bad thing!
I’ll never forget when I told my oldest son Wesley’s speech therapist he loved letters and words, and was learning to read. She told me I should be discouraging him from focusing on the words and to get his attention on the pictures. Thankfully Zakari’s Preschool team used his love of letters and words as a tool to help him develop in other areas. But from what I have seen and heard this is rare.
Why Many Doman Parents Go Into Hiding
I was having coffee with a fellow Doman parent. After realizing that other parents did not support what we were doing with our children, we started jokingly calling ourselves the crazies. We didn’t actually think we were crazy, but we knew that was what the rest of the world thought.
While I tend to still be on the more outspoken side when it came to using the Doman Method, my friend went into “hiding”. She knew what she was doing was right for her son, but other families made her feel self-conscious and misguided. She was pushed into the “Doman Parent Closet” so to speak. Which is a crying shame, because she has raised an AMAZING, bright and well adjusted young man. The blood, sweat and tears she poured into him from a young age has paid off a thousand folds. She has so much to share with other parents, but I know to this day she still shies away from sharing her earlier methods.
Its just too bad we are the minority. I wish this style of parenting could be more main stream. Every baby, toddler and child deserves the chance to be exposed to all this wonderful knowledge. Babies don’t want to play with rattles. They want to absorb every bit of information they can get their hands on.
What about children from families with two working parents? Single Parents?
Even as a working or single parent, it is possible. You just have to make sure you are being honest and factual. This method is not drilling math facts in your child head. It is not sitting at a desk working for hours on end. It takes minutes a day of your child’s time. In the end its a great way to spend your time with your children. Nothing makes a child feel more confident with themselves then a parent that believes they are worth it.
All you need are a few minutes during meal time, before bed, waiting to see a doctor, etc. There are so many minutes in a day being wasted. If parents spent a few of those minutes teaching their child, both parent and child would benefit.
Benefits of Teaching Your Children Before They Are Old Enough To Go To School
Strengthen the bond between parent and child
Build your child’s self confidence
School proof your child
Establish a love of learning
I can only image where my sons would be right now if I hadn’t been sitting alone at work one day while everyone was away at conference. while I was there “manning the phones.”
Well you can image one can only stare at a phone and wait for it to ring for so long. So I was looking how to educate small children and I fell upon Glenn Doman’s site. You can read more about this in my post How Glenn Doman Changed How I Parent.
Dealing With Rejection
While I in Philadelphia learning about the Doman Method, one lecture lifted a heavy burden off my shoulders.
Glenn Doman talked about how he would waste so much time trying to convince skeptics that this method worked. He soon realized that those who wanted to understand you will. The others would never understand. It was best for him to focus his time and energy on the people who wanted it, instead of trying to force the non believers into agreeing with him.
So he decided he would tell people once. If they didn’t agree, he saved his breath and didn’t try to convince them. This saved his valuable and limited time for those who truly wanted the information. Those were the people he could help.
So I tell them once…
I now realize people are different places in their lives. Everyone is programmed differently. Some parents are fighters, others are comfortable with the way things are. Sadly some parents are just not motivated enough to put the energy and time into research and created a program for their child. They are not willing to experience a tiny bit of discomfort for a large pay out. For example tweaking a child’s diet, or setting boundaries with a child.
YOU CANNOT SAVE THOSE PEOPLE… They are generally not bad people. Lead by example. One day they may come to realize your not so crazy.
My Most Recent Story of Rejections
A good friend of mine, who I have shared what we are doing with Zakari called me one day. She wanted me to share with her friend about what we were doing.
Over the years I have been more then willing to share our experiences with people. But as we have become more and more involved with the Doman Method, homeschooling, biomedical testing, supplements, etc, my time has become more limited.
I had a bad feeling this was not going to go the way my friend hoped. But reluctantly I decided to have a Facebook Messager Conversation with this woman. I told my friend that it was my work night and I had a lot to focus on but she could set us up the next day.
The next morning my friend opened up a group message and her friend asked me what we did with Zakari. I just dumped it all out as I was not interested in beating around the bush. I gave a summary of diet, supplements, biomedical testing, a tiny bit about programs we run though.
Of course what I expected happened. She thanked me for my time, but didn’t feel what I had said was “for them”.
How I Handled This Differently Then I Did in the Past
Instead of trying to talk her into it, or getting defensive and defending what we were doing, I wished her luck and left the group. I didn’t take it personally. In the past I would have.
My friend called me right away shocked. She apologized profusely. I was in no way upset at my friend. She has a kind heart and wanted to help. I told her that sadly when it comes to the journey of helping a child with disabilities, people are not willing to think outside of the box.
My blood was boiling that this woman did not want to go to all ends of the earth to help her child, but I had to let it go. Not my monkey, not my circus.
Why People Rejects the Doman Method of Teaching Children to Read
There are many reasons why parents don’t believe in teaching their young child to read, such as they:
don’t want to put in the effort
do not want to fail
don’t believe its possible
believe its detrimental
don’t understand its not hothousing, and that our children still have lots of free time
In the end it is not my job to tell other parents what to do with their children. We each have to sort that out for ourselves. I just share our journey here on my blog. People can take it or leave it. My goal is that if I can help one family by sharing our family’s story, it is time well spent!
Who I Love To Share Our Story With
My favorite people to talk to are the ones who are out seeking the help themselves. The parent’s who are HUNGRY for a solution. They are self motivated parent that wants answers. They are open minded and willing to learn. Of course I don’t expect every parent I cross to do exactly what I do. All of your journey’s are going to be unique. I learn so much for other mom’s that don’t use the Doman Method, or make different lifestyle changes. I think we all have something to offer each other.
How do you handle the skeptics? Do you hide what you do with your kids to just avoid the conversation?
(This is not a paid for article, we paid for our stay at the Canad Inns Grand Forks.)
Day In The Life
In the past I avoided doing a lot of “Day in the Life” of aka DITL. But then I started to think about this blog, and what I want from it. My blog is a place for me to share my journey. The regular DITL stuff is part of my journey. I learn so much about myself, my kids, autism,and what life means to me during those regular days.
I also learn a lot about my family and myself when we go away together. By blogging about this trip, it allows me to go back and see how far we have come. I hope to share more about our journey. I also hope by sharing I can help other autism mom’s along the way. Even if it is just seeing real life struggles happen to other mom’s and that your not alone,
Mama Can’t Stand When People Stop Her From Preparing
Wednesday we were suppose to spent cleaning the house and getting ready to leave for a long weekend away from home. But Wes and my dad went back to the hubby shop to get a part for his car then we went back to his place to hang out. Travis and I drove around and went out for lunch. Then I had to do some last minute running around. You know, make sure we had enough gluten free snacks for Z, pick up some raw cat food for my dad to feed the cats while we were gone, etc. We came home in time to make dinner. Next thing I knew my parents dropped Wesley back off at home and we had to leave to go pick up my stepdaughter.
I’m the first to admit I was stressed out. I wanted to have everything done early on and get to bed early. But as we came home from getting Chloe, it was time to get Z to bed. I was frustrated and anticipated a long night up finishing up the house. But while I did bedtime routine with Z, Travis and my big kids made sure the last bit of the house was picked up, which left me with only a few small things to do. I love that they are old enough to help out more. This meant I was able to get a good night sleep which I was so grateful for.
Mini Vacation: Grand Fork, North Dakota Here We Come.
Thursday morning we all piled in the van, made a pit stop at Tim Horton’s for coffee and headed south to North Dakota.We listened to an awesome Spotify playlist hubby had put together the night before. While waiting at the border, I’m sure the people waiting in line next to us must have thought we were crazy while we danced to the Village People’s YMCA.
After we crossed the border we stopped in the border town of Pembina, North Dakota. I had to stop at the parcel pick up service and get all the homeschool materials I had bought on eBay and some Facebook Homeschool Buy & Sell groups. It saves me so much money having them shipped there instead of to Canada. Look for a post in the future how I save money on curriculum this way.
We of course had to stop at the truck stop in Pembina for a washroom break. There my hubby with his sweet tooth grab us some American treats. Even though I am following Weight Watchers, I allowed myself to enjoy a few treats here and there. The big kids chowed down on some candies and chocolate while we jammed out to Disney Music.
Are We There Yet? YES!
Finally we made it to Grand Forks. We were too early to check in to the hotel, so we stopped in at Walmart.
School Supply Shopping
After we picked up some food for the hotel, I brought the kids to the school supply section. I had done most of their supply shopping the week before, there were a few things I knew I could get for cheaper, or better quality on our trip. The kids picked out there zipper binders, and I was sure to grab an extra to keep as a backup should one of their zippers break. They both wanted the fancier, aka more expensive ones. But they both managed to destroy their binders last year, so they got the cheaper ones with the promise if they take better care of their supplies we could splurge next year and get the fancier ones.
It is Just a Pencil… NO! Its a Ticonderoga
I was also able to get some My First Ticonderoga pencils for Zakari. Last year I based on a recommendation from Erica at My Busy Bees and Me, I order a box of these pencils. I searched high and low, at every store in Winnipeg, Canada I thought might carry them. But I came back empty handed. So I had to turn to the internet. They were expensive and the cost of shipping nearly put me in cardiac arrest. But in the end they are worth the cost.
So this year I decided I was going to look in the USA and try and avoid the extra cost if possible. I was able to find 2 packs for $1.50 a pack. Since I had paid over $1.50 a pencil last year, I bought a case at this price. For kiddos like little Z who have fine motor skill issues, these pencils are worth the cost. He has a much easier time keeping a proper pencil grasp with them.
Can You Say Chick fil A!!
It was still too soon to go check in, so we went to get lunch at my favourite American Fast Food joint Chick Fil A. Honestly it’s a blessing to my waistline and wallet we don’t have a location in Winnipeg. Little Z loves the fries and grilled nuggets there too. I swear I do the happy dance anytime I’m waiting in line at Chick Fil A. We also have to plan ahead for Z. He really can’t have many proteins at other restaurants when we are on the road. But of course it is closed Sundays. So we have to buy extra grilled nuggets on Saturday to put away for the next day. When we got to the window, I indulged in my Spicy Deluxe Chicken Sandwich and waffle fries. When it comes to Chick-fil-a I forget all about Weight Watcher. Afterwards we headed to the hotel.
Check In & Tim Horton’s
We arrived at the hotel 20 mins before check in. We decided we would try and check in on the off chance our room was ready. Of course it wasn’t, but they had us choose which theme room we wanted. Travis picked out the Circus room. The front desk staff said they would call the cleaning staff and have them clean that room next. After waiting for a few minutes we decided to go get some coffee at the American Tim Horton. They sure know how to roll out the red carpet for us Canadians in Grand Forks. Bringing us the comforts of home.
We came back about 30 mins later, and now it was after our actual check in time and our room still was not ready. Before I could even say anything, she handed us 5 free vouchers for the breakfast buffet. We waited about 15 or 20 more minutes and then we were give our key, and our package (3 pizza vouchers and passes for the water park). We made our first trip upstairs with our luggage, and the kids. Afterwards I went back down with the luggage cart and brought up all my parcels.
Box Day! Homeschooling Mom Simple Joys
While the kids picked their bunks, and Travis relaxed, I got down to business with all my boxes. I wish I had taken a picture. It was quite ridiculous actually. 16 packages, 3 were full curriculums(Two levels of Bookshark and 1 Calvert). I had to load up one of those luggage carts to get it all up to the room in one trip. The boxes had taken up the whole back trunk of the van and I knew it could be condensed into fewer boxes. I even brought a large clear tub to package all the chapter books I had purchased. Apparently I purchased more then I thought, because the container didn’t hold them all. Nothing is more fun for a homeschool mom then going through 16 packages of new curriculum and read aloud books.
Wishbone, Magic Tree House, Puppy Place, Kitten Corner, Bailey School Kids, Usborne early chapter books, the list goes on. It was so nice to be able to get all those books for a fraction of the cover cost.
Soon all the new and wonderful homeschooling materials were all packed up, and everyone else was rested up. Z was standing at the window that looked out into the pool area longingly, ready to get going. So once everyone was in their swimsuits we headed downstairs to explore the pool. We were just outside the pool doors when I was stopped by a woman. She asked how long we were staying and I told her till Sunday. She then handed me 2 free pizza vouchers that were to expire on the Saturday and asked me if our family would use them. They were leaving and didn’t want them to go to waste. We thanked her and told her we would make sure they were used.
We continued to head to the pool area. For being a hotel pool, it was awesome. There was a large climber with a huge bucket on the top that poured down on the kids every 10 minutes or so. If you were brave enough you could climb to the top of the structures and slide down one of the 2 fun slides, But not without the risk of getting doused in gallons of water. The structure also had switches and valves that allowed you to adjust the water flow from all the fountains and spouts.
And Then We Were Flushed…
Then there was the huge toilet bowl style water slide. Riders jump on a tube (either singles or pairs) and blast down a dark tunnel. In the middle of the slide you would go around and around like your being flushed down a toilet. After each round your tube gets turned this way and that way. You never know if your going down the bottom forward or backwards.
Once your sucked down the bottom you come splashing down into the lazy river and float off. Travis and the big kids loved this slide. I couldn’t even tell you how many times they went down.
Zakari on the other hand was not crazy about it. Travis took him down once and then he refused to go again. Whether this was a sensory thing because of his autism, or just a typical fear many kids his age have I don’t know. However our method stayed the same. We gently help him get out of his comfort zone. If afterwards he is still uncomfortable with it, we accept it and move on.
So every once in a while Travis or one of the big kids would come and watch Z for me so I could go down could enjoy the slide and lazy river too. I think the kids thought it was entertaining when I would scream while going down the dark tunnel to enter the toilet part of the slide.
Kids…. Enjoyment at their mother’s expense.
Kiddie Pool, Learning to Swim with Autism
The kiddie pool was beach entry style. It had a double slide, 3 spraying fountains, teeter totter and a single baby swing/jumper. This is the pool that also leads to and from the lazy river.
Zakari spent hours in this pool floating, sliding and playing on the other pieces available. Because he was able to touch the bottom of the pool, he felt comfortable practicing floating.
When it comes to learning to be comfortable in the water, I find that with Zakari, he needs to be in a safe zone where he can gently push himself. If we try to push him he panics. But if he is allowed to his own devices, in a safe and supervised manner, great things can happen. While we have to sometimes push our children with autism, we also have to allow them time to explore and discover on their own. This method doesn’t work so well during a 30 minute swim lesson, and the instructor does have to push him along a bit. But we do our best to give Z lots of opportunities to have free time in a pool where he can touch the bottom.
The Big Kid Pool
Finally the slightly deeper pool was the pool my oldest hung out with other kids he met. It was about 4 feet deep, and the big kids enjoyed meeting people while playing water basketball in it. Next thing you know the group of them were going down water slides together and running under the huge bucket of water and getting soaked together
Traveling With The Big Kids
After a few hours of swimming we all started getting hungry. I ordered the big kids a pizza from the hotel by the pool and we went upstairs to get changed. By the time we got everyone sorted out, I ran downstairs and picked up the pizza. The big kids hung out in their room playing video games, and listening to music while Travis, Zakari and I headed out. I love that my big kids are old enough to stay back and hang out if they want. Sometimes they just want to relax while we have running around to do and we don’t have to drag them against their will with us.
Walmart and Supper Run
First stop for us was back to Chick-fil-a to get Z some grilled nuggets. Then we went to Walmart to get some snacks for the hotel. We did not want to have to spend too much money poolside on snacks if we could help it.
I just about fell over with how expensive produce was. It seemed that fruit cost the same price at home, but you have to add 25% to that price for exchange. Cereal, candy, junk food, all seems to be so much cheaper in the USA, but produce is another story. Yikes.
We grabbed a few things we needed, and then went across the parking lot to the Panera Bread drive thru. We had eaten at Panera Bread once when we were in Philadelphia and really enjoyed it, especially my husband. After we were served we took our dinner and Walmart purchases back to the hotel. Once again the soup and sandwiches were delicious. We both really hope Panera decided to start opening up shop in Canada some day.
Magic Tree House. The Perfect Book
Reading as always been a great way to get Z to relax. It also helps him fall asleep. So when we travel I always bring some books to read aloud. Zakari loves the Magic Tree House, so it seemed like a no brainer to grab the next one in the series to read. I didn’t even look to see what the next book was about.
When we started to read Buffalo Before Breakfast (Magic Tree House 18), I realized that it was about the Lakota Native Americans who lived in North Dakota in the 1800’s. I could not have planned that better. We were able to talk to Zakari about how this story took place in the same location we were, but hundreds of years ago.
As I read he drifted off to sleep. Honestly having my child fall asleep in my arms while I read to them is the best part of my day.
Rough Early Morning Wake Up
Around 4:30 am, Little Z woke up and had no idea where he was. He was in one of those startled states, where you cannot console him. After about 45 mins of trying to settle him, I was scared the big kids would be woken up, or the people in the next room could hear him. I did not want to be kicked out. So I quickly threw in my contacts, grabbed my purse and took Z to the van. As soon as we hit the fresh air, he seemed to snap out of it. He settled down, and I drove around, not sure what to do at 5:15 am.
For a little while drove around parts of Grand Forks I usually don’t travel. During that little journey I found a thrift store I never noticed before. Mental note, find time to go check out the books there… While I was in the parking lot checking out the times, I text my mom, and told her to call me if she was up. She’s one of those crazy people that choose to wake up at this time, ON PURPOSE!
Mom To The Rescue & Walmart Therapy
But Grand Forks is not very big, so that did not take me long to drive around. Finally I decided to take the long way to the new Walmart that is a bit further from our hotel. I stopped to see what time Kmart opened at, and drove through the older area of the city. This whole time Zakari was completely content. I hoped my family was getting in some good sleep.
As I pulled into the Walmart parking lot, my phone rang. It was my mom. Such perfect timing, she had wanted me to look for some American groceries for her. I figured now was the perfect time, since Z and I were just killing time. Before I went into the store, it was great to just vent to her. I’m not naturally an early riser. I’m also not always the most pleasant person when I’m awoken before I’ve slept enough. So it was nice to talk to her and get my frustration of my chest. I was able to get back into happy mama mode.
School Clothes Shopping
We walked all of Walmart, and got my mom’s shopping done. While looking at the boys section, I found some fresh t-shirts for Wesley’s back to school wardrobe. Before leaving I grabbed some stuff for Zakari and I to eat for breakfast. I’m love to say I bought some health fruit for myself, but that would be a lie. Besides like I said before fruit is SO expensive here. I had a delicious glazed yeast doughnut. You know what, I don’t even feel bad. I was tired and needed a sugar rush. Good Old Weight Watchers got kicked to the curb. Well not completely, I only bought one doughnut. Before Weight Watchers I would have bought a package, ate a few, and brought the rest back to the hotel. Not this time.
Pumpkin Pie Pop-tarts to the Rescue
I was about 6:50 am when we had seen all there was to see at Walmart. So I googled Targets hours and was surprised to see they opened at 7 am. I knew it would take me about 10 mins to get there. So we checked out and took off. At Target I was able to find a few school supplies that were a good price. I also once again smacked Weight Watchers in the face. I mean come on, who can turn down Pumpkin Pie Pop-tarts.
It was still early, and I didn’t want to head back to the hotel yet, so Zakari and I went to a grocery store and did the aisles. When we got back to the car Travis called me to check to see if we were OK. The kids were still sleeping, but by now it was almost 9 am. So we hit up the Tim Horton’s, (because that’s what a good Canadian does when they need coffee)and head back to the hotel.
Traveling with Autism
Mr Zakari seemed to be in a much better mood. It is hard traveling when your little one has autism and anxiety. But setting realistic expectations is so important as a parent. It is hard when you have all these big plans and sometimes they are too big of plans for our special kiddos. Thing is to go in baby steps and that with practice it will get better.
Roll With The Punches
Even traveling with neurotypical children can be a challenge. I have learned we just need to roll with the punches. Some times I just want to lock myself in our house where it is safe. But that is not what is best for our family. Zakari needs to learn how to go out in and deal with the over stimulation the world has to offer. But we have to help him him learn to cope. These experiences mean so much to him. Even though he doesn’t talk about them, we know it is meaningful because of how he behaves after. He loves looking back at pictures of himself weeks and even years later. Or when we return he asks to do things we have done before there.
No matter how difficult it can be sometimes to travel with a child with autism, the life experiences are much more important. Both to the parents and the kid.
What We Bring To Help Our Son With Autism:
Ear Defenders: When things start to get too loud, we can easily help him block out some of those noises by putting on a pair of ear defenders. I know some kids wear them a lot, but Zakari just uses them to regulate himself and then he takes them off.
His own blanket and pillow. The comforts and smells from home helps my son relax and eventually fall asleep.
Books: As mentioned above this is a great coping strategy for our son. I cannot encourage people enough to read to your child with autism. Even thought they may not seem like they are listening, they really are.
Catnip Fennel. Now I take this with me everywhere we go. It is so helpful for dealing with upset tummies and it helps calm the nervous system. It is a product that has helped us so much over the years. During those meltdowns that we cannot figure out the cause, a lot of the time Catnip Fennel is able to help defuse the situation.
Breakfast Than Back To The Pool
We came back into the hotel room and I got the big kids up. Zakari looked out the window longingly at the pool again while every got ready.
Friday was an awesome day to spend by the pool. The kids swam their hearts out. When lunch time came around we ordered pizza, fries and chicken strips by the pool for lunch. The kids waited for the bell to start ringing so they could run with the other kids under the giant bucket and get soaked. Everyone had so much fun.
At dinner time the kids wanted Pizza, so seeing we still had the free vouchers we had gotten at check in and from the woman in the lobby we didn’t see any problem with that. Travis and I ordered Buffalo Wild Wings. It was so yummy. I just love their food. Another restaurant that we don’t have in Canada.
Little Too Busy Saturday
We woke up Saturday morning, and after lazying around we decided to head down to the pool. Before we left we noticed the lazy river and the kiddie pool were taped off. I called the front desk and there had been a pool fouling, so we needed to wait till it was properly treated.
Finally after an hour or so the pool was reopened. We went down and it was BUSY. Thursday and Friday we had been so spoiled. There was a good amount of people at the pool. Today the pool was swamped with people. Zakari was not having it. Several times he asked to go back to the room. So I decided to take him back and we went shopping.
Thrift Store Shopping
After we went back to the hotel to change, we headed to the car. I wanted to check out the thrift store I had seen on my early morning travels the morning before. We arrived, and of course I went straight for the books. Sadly I was only able to find one book we were looking for. I was impressed with some of the toys they had. They had some real classics from when I was a kid. But I knew we didn’t really need them, so I left them behind.
Little Z was tired. Of course when I had suggested a nap in the hotel, that was met with him jumping on the bed and running around like a crazy head. I really could have used a good nap, but now that we were out I wanted to at least check out Kmart. Sears was the last stop I made. They had just 8 days before they closed their doors for good. We looked around a bit, but Zakari was just not having it. So we headed back to the hotel.
This weekend was just meant to be a get away. Get in some swimming, eat some good food and hang out as a family. The kids were not hungry yet, and we wanted to take them to the arcade at some point in the evening. So Travis, Zakari and I went out on our nightly supper hunt.
We stopped at Chick-fil-a because we needed to get Z chicken for that night and Sunday because, they are not open on Sundays. Then we tried The Noodle Company. It was just OK. I’m not sure I’d go back again. But I’m glad I tried it.
Arcade & Dippin Dots
The one thing Chloe wanted to have while we were in the USA was Dippin’ Dots. So when we got back we went to the pizza place/ arcade. We had two vouchers left for pizza, so the kids each ordered one. While we waited we loaded up the arcade cards and the kids had a blast playing all the games.
We got Chloe some Dippin Dots for helping us out so much with Zakari at the pool. She went up the play structure with the slides and huge dumping bucket all weekend to keep an eye on Zakari. With my contacts I couldn’t keep up with Zakari and not get chloride water in my eyes. I did not want to lose a contact, nor do I like water that much.
When the pizzas were ready, the kids cashed out their tickets, and we went back upstairs.
Packing Up To Go
When we got back I started packing and organizing our stuff. We wanted to be up early and be able to try the breakfast buffet we had free passed for. The big kids ate their pizza and enjoyed one last night of snacks, video games and movies.
Sunday Rough Morning
Zakari had a rough night. I almost wanted to pack up the van and head home in the middle of the night. But Travis talked me out of it. Luckily we got him settled and he finally fell asleep. Only to wake up again at 4:30 am. He wanted me to take him to Walmart again. Of course I didn’t want this to be a habit he got into. But even if I wanted to take him, I couldn’t, Walmart was closed until noon.
Once I read him a few chapters I was able to get him back to sleep. But now I’m worried. Travis and I have not slept well enough to be driving him as safely as we would like. Travis had a pounding headache at this point and needed time to sleep it off.
Late Check Out
I called the front desk and explained that our son had a rough night, we were not sure if he was feeling well or not. We ask for a late check out. They were amazing, they said that even though they don’t do late check outs, they would give us an extra hour or two. We were so grateful, so even though we slept through the breakfast buffet, we were all well rested.
We packed up the trolley, brought all our luggage and my packages to the van, and then checked out. Overall I was very happy with our stay. 3 hours away from home and the kids had a blast. Perfect mini vacation.
Last Minute Shopping
Once again I’m so grateful for big kids who are old enough to babysit. I wanted to run into Sears and have a better look. Travis was not with me the day before so he wanted to look around too. But Zakari was NOT interested in shopping at that moment. So the big kids babysit him in the van. We of course left it running and they locked the doors behind us. All of them were happy playing on their iPads while we spent a few quick minutes looking around. We stopped at the candy store in the mall and went back to the kids.
Afterwards we made one last stop at Walmart. Of course Zakari loves Walmart, so he insisted on coming with us. We grab a few snacks for the road and some more Tylenol to keep Travis’s headache at bay.
McDonald’s, Worst Service EVER
My big kids wanted to have McDonald’s for lunch before we left the states. I swear that was the worst managed McDonald’s in North America. They messed up our order twice, over charged me, and when I asked for something for compensation for our wasted time I was offered 3 free coupons for ice cream or cookies. Offered might now be the right word. The manager rolled her eyes at me, then said she guessed she could get me some coupons. A few weeks later when I went back down to the USA with my parents, they stopped their for coffee and they had an equally terrible experience.
Plus I had a ridiculously hard time cashing in those coupons, they tried to make me wait for a manager to get off their lunch break which would be in 30 mins. I explained that these coupons were given to me for wasting our time. He was able to get us the cookies. At least they were good, but I refuse to ever go to that location again. I will drive down the road to get coffee from now on.
Last Supper Before Heading Back to Canada
Travis and I decided, after long, and painful deliberation we were going to try Erbert and Gerberts. I’m so glad we did! It was so much yummier then Subway.
We ate, filled up our tank and hit the road home. All I could think was, well the moment of truth is coming up. I have to declare what I spent to the border patrol. Which means I have to admit to my husband how much all those boxes cost.
Back Home Again
We landed up making good time, and getting home safely. We were all glad to be able to sleep in our own beds that night. It was so much fun being able to spend time with our kids.
What We Would Do Differently
This was a learning experience for us. We want to take a trip to Great Wolf Lodge next summer and this trip was a great practice run. This winter though we might head back to Grand Forks Canad Inns.
However we will be doing a two things different.
Going for 2 nights instead of 3. I think we all had our fill of swimming after the second night, and the money we save in hotels can allow us to do this trip more often.
I would not go on the weekend again. Saturday was WAY to busy for Zakari. Looking down to the pool on Sunday, it also seemed crazy busy.
What is your go to tip on traveling with a child with autism?
Summer Life With Autism & Year Round Homeschooling
Summer is officially over. My big kids are back at their respected schools, and Little Z is back to the homeschool grind. Well not that we really stopped learning since we are year round homeschoolers. But we did pull out the new curriculum a few weeks ago.
Life has been very hectic the last few months and I had taken a long unplanned hiatus from blogging and YouTube. I just felt that I was being pulled away from this platform. Instead I needed to put all my energy into my family. Last September my body was getting so run down. I got sick 2 times that month. It made me see I had to slow down.
Now with this fresh start of a new school year, I am hopeful that moving forth with this blog is the right thing to do. I miss sharing about our lives and journey. It is therapeutic to me, and I need that right now.
Attack of the Disappearing Blog
Something that made me realize how important this site is to me was when it went down. A few months ago my credit card number information was stolen. Someone in the UK had a blast buying things off of Google Play, and grocery shopping. So obviously my credit card was canceled, and fraud claims were put in. Thank goodness I didn’t have to pay anything for that. But when I received my new credit card, I forgot to change the number on my host site. For some odd reason I did not receive any emails from the company saying this was going on and my site was taken down. Thankfully I noticed soon enough and was able to do a disaster recovery.
The thought of my site that I have worked on and off on for the last 8 years being *poof* gone made me sick to my stomach. This made me realize I needed to get back here and start sharing our life journey again. Even if what I write about helps only one other mom, it’s all worth it. Plus on a personal level, its a log of how far my family has come during these last 8 years. I explained it to my husband as if all our family pictures burned and I had no way of getting them back. I’m so grateful to have my little piece of the internet back safe.
All About Day-camp
This summer just seemed to go by so fast. In July, Wesley was involved in two day camps.
The first full week off of school he attended a camp for kids ages 10-14 years old. They had 1:1 camp counselors that switched each day. This way the kids would focus on building relationships with their peers, and not as much with the adults. The best part was Zakari’s old ABA tutor, and the respite worker that took Wes to camp last year was a counselor there! They worked on social, life and planning skills. Some of that activities they were involved in were Skyzone Trampoline Park, archery, bowling, Shapes Gym, swimming, and sports. Lunch preparation and cleanup tasks were rotated so campers actively participated. Something else that impressed me was they showed the kids how to do some basic auto maintenance like checking oil, tire pressure and adding oil and other fluids to a car.
Two weeks later Wesley started a second one week day camp. A van came right to the house every morning and picked him up, and dropped him off in the evening. This was so helpful to me as a busy work at home mom. The camp two weeks before had me orchestrating a drop off and pick up schedule with my family and my ex’s family. It was one less thing to worry about. He spent his week learning to cook with camp friends, enhancing independence, trying out adapted sports, and allowing him to develop & grow friendships with the staff and other peers. They visited the Human Rights Museum, a local water park, and spent the day at Camp Manitou.
Zakari earned a total of 25 books and a back pack. Plus his group earned $700 worth of books for less fortunate kids. It was such an awesome program we can’t wait till next summer to participate again!
As his mother I’m most excited about the Hey Jack! books. They look great for a kiddo who grew up on the Doman program. The writing a large and clear. I believe these will be the first chapter books he reads to be aloud this year. Thank you again Abby!
Where Did August Go?
The month of August just flew by. From the 3rd to the 19th, Wes was off with his dad. He spent time at his dad’s place, then a week at a cabin, and then out to Gimli for a car show before he came back home. Between the 12th and the 22nd my stepdaughter was off to Disney with her grandparents. So during the time it overlapped that they were both gone Zakari was an only child. I think it was nice for him to get our undivided attention.
The kids are blessed with an aunt who owns a pool and loves to have them over to swim. Three times during the summer we went over there and lounged in her pool. It is fun to see each year how the kids have developed their swimming skills through all their swimming lessons during the year. Even Little Z was more independent in the pool with his life jacket. I did not have to be standing and holding onto him the whole time. I was able to float or sit on the side of the pool within arms reach and enjoy everyone’s company. Its sad the cooler weather is blowing in and the pool is closed for the summer.
Forget August, Where Has September Gone???
Like I said we have started school. Zakari was the first to start. We were so excited to dive into his new Bookshark Kindergarten curriculum. We started a day early on Tuesday September 4th. This curriculum is just such a perfect fit for my son. Several of the books these last few weeks have sucked us both in. I can’t image what we would have missed if I had just put him in the Grade 1 level.
A week later we introduced Calvert Grade 1. No, I did not purchase the whole Calvert curriculum new. $1500 US dollars is way out of my budget no matter how good the curriculum is. But I was able to get all the textbooks & most of the materials from a mom on an American homeschool Facebook group for $80 US shipped. I had looked at this curriculum years ago when Wesley was homeschooling kindergarten, but the price tag blew my mind.
Next up was Wesley. On September 5th he went off to his first day of grade 8. Guys, he’s in GRADE 8 now! I’m not entirely sure how that happened. This is his last year in middle school, then he is off to high school. He also started back up with piano & his once a week evening group at the local school gym. Two weeks ago we met his new teachers at the school BBQ. I also met one of his buddies that he has lunch with. I hope he’s off to a good start.
Then on the 7th we sent Chloe off to start grade 7. She’s already had one overnight camping trip with her class, and seems to be enjoying school. She’s soaking in book after book. I love that she shares my love of reading.
Portage La Prairie Here We Come!
September means Zakari’s favourite place is open again, the Portage La Prairie Aquatic Centre. We have already taken the 1 hour 20 mins journey out there. He loves that place so much. I look forward to several more visits between now and June when they close up again for the summer.
What Does Year Round Homeschooling Look Like For Us?
So I mentioned that we are year round homeschoolers. Because Zakari is a creature of habit, we have decided that homeschooling year round is in his best interest. This allows us flexibility throughout the year. If either of us is having a bad day, we can put the books away without fear of running out of time.
However year round homeschooling this past year allowed us the time to go through two full curriculums. We started the year with Bookshark PreK, which we finished in April. Between April and August we started and completed Build Your Library Level 0.
Homeschooling Year round allowed us to enjoy all the books in the PreK Level and still hit and complete our kindergarten year. So we not only stick to a routine that worked for him, and allowed flexibility, we also completed more this year then we would have if we stuck to a strict 36 week school year.
Weight Watcher Journey
Something this summer that I did for myself was joining Weight Watchers Online. My weight was climbing past my comfort level, and my body was starting to rebel. I’m happy to say I was able to lose 22 lbs since the ending of May. 18 lbs was thanks to Weight Watchers.
A few weeks ago I joined a meeting group, and I hope to get down to a healthy weight again. I’ve already been able to get past a frustrating plateau, and the scale is going down again. It’s amazing what years of stress and poor self care can do to a body. I feel now is such an important time for me to get back on track. The healthier I am, the more I can do for my family.
Starting Our Family Holidays
This year I took 1 week off of work. Part of it was spent going to doctors and dentist appointments. You know, all that stuff no one wants to really do. I’m happy to say check ups went well, and neither of the boys have any cavities. Although Zakari gave both doctors a run for their money. Thank God for patience doctors.
Waiting at the dentist.
Boys and Their Toys…
But we were sure to add in the fun stuff. Wesley saved $600+ dollars of his own money and wanted to buy himself his dream RC truck. My dad took him over to my uncle’s house to try out his RC truck and learn how to take care of them. Then on the Monday of our holiday we met my parents at the local hobby shop and with my dad’s expertise he picked out a Traxxas Rustler VXL.
Since Wesley has gotten his truck he has enjoyed spending time with my dad in the country, tearing up gravel and dirt, drag racing with my uncle and cousin, and just spending some quality time with his grandpa. Even though my dad’s main hobby now is RC boats, he loves spending time with Wesley racing his truck. He even fixed up his old RC race car he use to race when I was a kid. Since they are from the late 80’s they are not as quick, but even with a few modifications using today’s technology he was able to make them faster than they use to be.
Long Weekend Trip To Grand Forks
On the Thursday of our holidays we drove out to Grand Forks and stayed at the Canad Inns. But that trip deserves its own post, so stay tuned!
What did you do this summer? How has the start of the school year for your family?
(How to Teach your Baby to Read on a budget was originally posted in Oct 2014. Updated September 2018)
How to Teach your Baby to Read on a budget. 6 Helpful Tips.
In my world, I think every baby should be taught how to read before they enter kindergarten. When my oldest was 22 months, I stumbled across the work of Glenn Doman, and the way I look at my kids changed forever.
In the 1960s Glenn Doman and Temple Fay discovered that severely brain-injured children could learn how to read. After a while, they realized that these brain-injured children were not only reading, but they were doing it earlier and better than typical children. So they started using their method on all children and the results were nothing short of amazing.
Once I learned that I could teach my child to read much earlier than kindergarten, I dove into researching it. That is when I found the BrillKids Forum and the Little Reader Program. Back in 2007 before Facebook Groups were big, these were my people. 30,000+ parents who wanted to teach their kids not only how to read early, but how to do the math, play music, speak many languages. All this new information was inspiring and overwhelming at the same time.
So I started my journey teaching Wesley to read. As a working single mom, I had to be a little strategic about working time into our day. But while he ate breakfast I could play the DVD Program Your Baby Can Read(now called Your Baby Can Learn! ). Then once he was strapped in his car seat before we would drive away for daycare I would do a set of flashcards with him. When we arrived at daycare before I pulled him out of the car we would shuffle the cards and do them again.
At the end of the day in the daycare parking lot, I would show him the cards one more time after he was back in his car seat, then we would drive home. Before I started making dinner I would set him up again with his Your Baby Can Read DVD. Then after dinner and before bed, we would do a session of Little Reader.
This might sound like a lot, but it took very little of Wesley’s time.
Your Baby Can Read Sessions 20 mins each viewing
Little Reader Sessions 5 mins each
Flashcard sessions 1 min each MAX
So in approximately 52 mins MAX a day I successfully taught my son to read.
Little Z Man’s reading program has looked very different because we started earlier, I’m a work at home mom and had more time with him. Technology has changed so much as well that it has been even easier. But I wanted to share Wesley’s reading story because he was in daycare 9 hours a day and I was a single mom. If I could do it then, anyone can.
There are many products on the market that help parents teach their little ones. And as long as the parents stay consistent, playful, and gentle(ex: no pressuring) this is possible in most cases.
But what if you can’t afford to purchase these products?
Now while these products do make it easier on Mom and Dad, they are not required. There are cheaper ways to teach your young child to read. However, you might have to invest a bit more time. But I would not let finances get in the way of educating your child.
This is a back to basics, Do It Yourself, how to teach your baby to read program. All you need is some paper and a black and red marker.
One thing you should keep in mind when you read this book is, Doman has a very very strict schedule. Don’t feel like you have to do 3 sets of words, 3 times a day each. Figure out what works for your child and go with it. Some kids will set for 10 cards 3 times a day, some prefer 30 cards one or two times a day. Even when we attended the IAHP we were given different reading schedules than are in the book. Adapt to your child.
Also, don’t worry about his exact sizing too much. Making your cards on 8 x 11 white paper may be perfectly fine for your little ones. However, if you find that your child is not paying attention to the cards, then they may be too small. In that case, you can jump up to 11 x 17 inches paper. Once they are older you can cut that down to half or even quarters.
Card stock is obviously better, however more expensive. But a huge pack of plain white printer paper can be purchased for fairly cheap. If your budget is still too tight for this, you can use the unused side of scrap paper, the inside of cardboard boxes, etc. Contact offices and local businesses and see if they can save you a paper that has only been used on one side. A lot of places only print on one side. Also, look for back to school deals. This year I was able to buy 600 pages of white printer paper for just under $3 a pack. If you use both sides that 1200 flashcards.
#2 DVD section in the library or Netflix:
You can find MANY good educational DVDs at the local library. My library has a very limited selection, however they have good videos like Signing Time, Little Pim English(other languages too if that is what you’re looking for), and Leap Frog just to name a few.
If you have access to Netflix, that is another good option that has in the past had videos like LeapFrog and Signing Time on it as well.
YouTube is AMAZING when it comes to educational videos. There are so many good quality videos that are perfect for teaching your child to read for absolutely free. Create a playlist and show it to your child. I connect YouTube to my TV which has larger than my computer screen for my kids so that the words are easier for them to see. But they have also done well using just the computer screen.
Be sure to check out Songeez also known as Readeez on YouTube. Michael Rachap and Gerry O’Neill have done an amazing job with these videos and I know that all my kids and daycare kids have loved them. But most of all they have learned so much.
Do make sure you watch any videos on Youtube first to make sure it is appropriate for your child.
#4 Free Starfall
Check out the classic Starfall.com website. There are lots of great interactive educational games there. They do offer a paid subscription for more content. But the free content is still very good. Both my children have used the free site and loved it.
#5 Thrift Stores, Kijiji/Craigslist, and Garage sales
This is a biggie! I have gotten so many awesome deals during garage sale season, or at the local thrift store. Things that usually sell for $20 or $30 for $1.99, $5, 50 cents.
I also check for things on Kijiji before I pay the full price. I have heard Craigslist is good in other cities, but it’s not popular where I live. But check both and see what works best where you live.
In more recent years Facebook Buy & Sell groups have been AMAZING for getting great items to help teach my kiddos for cheap. So be sure to check those out too. Sometimes people even give stuff away on there.
Don’t be afraid to barter a little. People at garage sales and on Kijiji often up their prices because they expect to have people barter with them a little. If someone has several items for sale that you want, try and get a deal for buying it altogether.
Know your prices and keep your eyes open and you will be amazing what kind of treasures you can find.
#6 Join Swagbucks
Check out Swagbucks. It’s a search page/bar that rewards you with points while you search. Then once you collect enough points, you can exchange them for gift cards. I usually pick Amazon cards. I have earned hundreds of dollars doing this.
Lately I have been spending a lot of time on Pinterest looking for ideas for picture books for 4 year olds read aloud time. 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We 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.
First of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope everyone had a fun but safe New Years. Hubby always works New Year’s Eve, so we went with friends to a local fireworks display. Then we came home and ate chips and drank pop because I want to eliminate or limit them from our lives in 2016.
So after the clock struck midnight and we had welcomed 2016, Wes and I went and picked out his reading list for the year.
I’m pretty sure that most of my regular readers know that reading is not one of Wes’s favourite things to do. He struggles with reading comprehension, so before we started to deal with these issues he was not getting anything from reading. He could decode, but he wasn’t understanding what he was reading.
However with some hard work, he has come a long way. Now he is enjoying our reading sessions. Usually we take turns reading a paragraph. We do this because I find that he ones out if only I read, but I want him to get the benefits of being read to, so this works best for us.
Disclaimer: These are affiliate links if you are really interested in getting some of these books. However I would encourage you to check out your local thrift store, because that is where 90% of mine are from.
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.
Reading some National Geographic fact books we found at the thrift store.
So I love to read. I don’t read as much fiction as I did before I had Z, but I still make time to read non-fiction. I especially love reading to my kids. Its an excuse to read more of the old classic series I use to read as a child. I feel being a parent is the perfect excuse to keep reading all the awesome series designed for children, without anyone batting an eyelash. I’m also the person who left the movie theater in an uproar after each Harry Potter movie.
My 10 year old on the other hand, he’s not an avid reader. He would much rather watch the movie and skip the book. This drives me BONKERS! I just can’t wrap my mind around this one. I refuse to watch the movie, “The Time Traveler’s Wife” because I know it will ruin the warm fuzzy feelings I have about the book. That is what happened when I watch the movie “Where the Heart Is”. How can he not like cuddling up with a book and getting lost in another world.
Where did I go wrong? When I was a kid my personal library was on the thin side. I mean I know that in retrospect, it wasn’t thin in the eyes of a lot of people. But for a little book worm, it was not enough to feed my hunger. We were living on a single income and my mom did buy me the books that were on sale in the scholastic flyers, but a lot of the time they were not to my taste. I did what I could to get my hands on books, I reread books, saved allowance money, borrowed from friends and the library. Now the problem came when summer came around. We lived in a small town, and the only libraries I had access to were in the schools. That meant they were shut down during summer. I’m embarrassed to admit, I even went as far to steal books during the year from the library to have things to read. Sometimes I returned them… sometimes I didn’t *blush*. (Note to self, make a donation to my old high school library.) I later discovered that I could order books from a mail service library. I’m telling you, back then this BLEW MY MIND. The first thing I did when I moved to the city was get a library card.
So as a mother, who when as far as stealing books to read, how come my child, who has a library I would have KILLED for couldn’t care less to pick up a book.
Well that was until I realized I hadn’t found the right materials yet to bait him. Also his reading comprehension issues affected things too.
Looking back there are a few mistakes I made with Wes which I think may have stunted his love for reading. I’m trying my best to not make the same mistakes with Little Z. (… anyone else feel bad for their first child. I often feel like he was my practice child. I made my mistakes with him and try to avoid them with Z. Especially when my boys are almost 7 years apart. *sigh*)
I put some books that I needed to sort through in a playpen to keep them away from my daycare babies. Little Z climbed into it to check them out.
I didn’t start reading to him soon enough. I mean I read to him, but I would get discouraged when I didn’t think he was into the books, or really listening. I should have keep on reading. With Z I have made storytime part of our routine, just like brushing our teeth.
I focused on LEARNING to read, instead of learning to LOVE to read with Wes. Now with Z, I’m teaching him how to read, but also constantly reading to him without expecting him to read anything.
So is Wes a lost cause?
I’m happy to say he’s not! Last week Wes and I went to run some errands, on our way to pick up Z from a friends, Wes was in the back reading an Archie comic. I had bought it at a thrift store months before, and it was sitting in the back of the van all this time. When we pulled up infront of my friend’s house, I asked him, “Would you like to come in or keep reading your book?” I assumed I knew the answer, but he shocked me when he replied without lifting his nose out of the book, “I’ll wait here and keep reading.” It’s worth noting he LOVES my friend, and she also has a son his age that he loves too.
When I got back in the car I asked him if he really liked these comics. He told me he did. So I suggested he call Papa(my dad) and ask him if he could borrow some Archie comics from him. I told him I think he has a collection. I knew darn well my whole Archie collection was collecting dust in their basement. He called and Papa said he had “a few” he could have.
Back when I was a little girl, my Memere (French for Grandma) had this sweet old lady named Irene as a neighbour. They lived in the foyer in our home town. One day she stopped in when my brother and I were visiting. She was shocked to see us nicely putting away our colouring books and crayons where they belonged, and the toys my Memere had for us to play with were all in working order. She told my Memere that her grandchildren were awful with toys. She would buy them a doll and the next time she went over, it would be naked and missing limbs on the floor. From then on, whenever she when on vacation, instead of bringing back her grandchildren souvenirs she would drop stuff off at our home for my brother and I. One day she called my mom and asked her if we would like to have her Archie comic collection. My mom knew I would be over the moon. Little did we know her collection consisted of HUNDREDS of comics. The nerd in me was in my glory. I sorted them by series and issue numbers and read them all.
Sadly when I was 10 Irene passed away. Since this post seems to be getting personal, I may as well share. I remember the morning she passed, I woke up and all I could smell was cigarette smoke. No one in my home smoked and my window was closed. As I got out of bed, our home phone rang. It was my Memere, Irene had passed away. Irene was a heavy smoker. In my heart, I feel like she was coming to say good-bye. I still tear up thinking about that day.
But 20 years later she lives on in my heart, and her generous gift is blessing my now 10 year old son.
At the beginning of the year, I made a bucket list. I have to go back and check, but I do know that one of the items was for Wes and I to read 12 chapter books. We kind of snuffed off on that, we are sitting at 6 I believe, might be 7 as I think I forgot to write down a Geronimo Stilton book we read. We have still been reading, but just not chapter books.
But it’s not too late! I think we can make our goal in the next 6-7 weeks. We just finished “My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish” this week. I suggested to him we start “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl, because my 9 year old step daughter is reading it for fun. She is an avid reader, with reading skills I would have killed for at her age. I thought maybe they might land up chatting about it. But he wanted to read “George’s Marvellous Medicine” by the same author. “Then we can read “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Mom.” he said. His old teacher read it to the class, and he wanted to read it with me. I haven’t read this Roald Dahl book before so I agreed.
So do I think he will become this avid reader who can’t get enough books to read? Honestly, no. But I think he likes the time we read together, and will remember that when he’s older. I also think he will be a good reader, just not someone who will always have a book with them. And that is ok. I could have done everything right with him in regards to reading and he might still not be an avid reader. But he is an amazing mathematician and builder. These are his strengths and I’m proud of him.
I know it’s been a while since my last post. I do apologize. I have been active on Instagram and Youtube. I’ve had a reader or two requests I not completely switch over to Vlogging. I’ve been dying to get on here and blog, but since Little Z has decided he’s too cool for naps it’s been hard. Hopefully once Little Z is in full-day ABA I will be able to really get back to blogging. For now, I hope the sporadic post and the more regular Instagram and Youtube posts will be acceptable.
In the past, I have talked about our Learning Binders. But I do have to say in the last month or so we have really picked it up with these binders. Z is really responsive to a Glenn Doman Inspired style of learning. I also realized if I’m going to get him to take that next step to reading books on his own, I have to create more homemade books for him to read. So that’s what I’ve been doing. If you’d like to see what they look like, watch the video above. I show you what I have in the binders and what my homemade books look like.
One thing I did not mention in the video is font size. For the few that I made from scratch, I now realized I have to adjust the print size and reprint. I just notice the larger print keeps his attention much longer. SO even at 3.5 years old, large print is still important.
So to break this down a bit more we have:
1) Learning Binder to present Encyclopedic Knowledge, poems, and work on couplets, sentences, and skip counting.
2) Story Duotangs (3 prong folders) to present homemade books. I was able to speak to the IAHP via Facebook messenger. What we are doing after confirming with them is presenting one book a day, reading it 2-3 times, and retiring it to a place where Z can retrieve it himself and read when he wants. I’m sure once the books become longer, we might be reading them fewer times in a day, but for now, this seems to be working. The rep from IAHP also told me if he seems to be bored with a certain book, retire it sooner.
3) I’m currently creating 100s of word flashcards. I’m going to create a binder that breaks down words based on different topics, and another binder with the current words we are working on. We will flip through this binder to introduce new vocabulary. I was hoping to start today, but I did not want to start till we have at least 200 flashcards ready to go. My printer died at 76 last night. I will make a video showing this in more detail when it’s ready. However, I think this method, binder style, will help keep all the flashcards organized, and simple post its on each divider will allow me to know when to retire words.
So the learning binders will be less strict. I’m not interested in running a traditional Glenn Doman Encyclopedic Knowledge program. But when it comes to reading, since Z is responding well, I want to encourage it.
One thing I think is worth mentioning is this. If your child is not labeling items during the day, and by this I mean is not pointing out and labeling dogs, squirrels, bulldozers, naming items like forks, or describing actions, etc. You might want to include pictures with your words. While Glenn Doman does not worry about comprehension, other programs like the NACD do. Z is able to label 1000s of items, but with my oldest, this was not the case. At the end of the day, he can read and decode at a high level but sometimes still struggles with comprehension. I also believe not introducing Doman Style books to him affected things as well with my oldest.
If you’re trying to figure out how you can afford to print out all these flashcards and books check out my friend Liz’s(otherwise know as DomanMom) post. She was able to help me pick an awesome printer. While the ink cartridges from Amazon have caused me nothing but trouble, I have been able to purchase some from the local ink shop for a lot cheaper than my old HP, and they allow me to print out so many more pages for that cheaper price.
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