Hyper on coffee

Well I just had a wonderful (but too short visit) with a follow Brillkids member. I have to say I’m terribly jealous that she is on her way to the first day of the homeschooling conference, and I’m still here sitting at home. But I forgive her because she brought me then Yummiest coffee from Starbucks, and I have begged her to email me the Coles notes to this speaker:

The Profound Influence of Music on Life – Andrew Pudewa: Music has become such an ever-present influence in our daily life, we seldom stop to consider what effect it has on us. But we must. As we changed over the last 100 years, from being music “makers” to music “consumers,” we have gradually lost control over, and even awareness of, our auditory environment. In what way is music beneficial to our bodies and minds? In what circumstances can it actually be harmful? Solid scientific research provides some astounding answers to such questions–indeed, facts that must not be ignored by today’s parents and children.

I’m so excited to be able to listen to the rest of the topics tomorrow by Andrew Pudewa.
Andrew Pudewa is the director of the Institute for Excellence in Writing and a homeschooling father of seven. Presenting throughout North America, he addresses issues relating to teaching, writing, thinking, spelling, and music with clarity and insight, practical experience and humor. His seminars for parents, students, and teachers have helped transform many a reluctant writer and have equipped educators with powerful tools to dramatically improve students’ skills. Although he is a graduate of the Talent Education Institute in Matsumoto, Japan, and holds a Certificate of Child Brain Development from the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, his best endorsement is from a young Alaskan boy who called him “the funny man with the wonderful words.” He and his beautiful, heroic wife Robin currently teach their three youngest children at their new home in Locust Grove, Oklahoma.

Kizudo and I plan on cornering this poor man and picking his brain about what he learned at IAHP. Its just so exciting that this years Keynote speaker is someone so knowledgeable in such important subjects to us.
Tonight is another quiet Mommy-Wesley night. We have to practice violin especially because his dad is taking him tomorrow. And once my little man is in bed, I’m hoping to clean house and listen to my Tweedlewink Overview course MP3s. I have to keep moving while I listen to them, the woman that speaks in them (Pamela Sue Hickein) voice is so soothing and if I lay down I fall asleep. Not that the info is not interesting, it really is so fascinating. I’d also like to read a few chapters of her book “Right Brain Education” and also work on a review or two. Get ready for giveaways guys!!

Suzuki and other Updates

A couple weeks ago we discovered that Wesley did better at his Suzuki violin lessons if his teacher played violin with him. However this made if difficult for her to correct him. So I borrowed one of my mom’s full size violins and I am now taking lessons with him. Last Saturday was the first lesson we had together, and it was the best lesson he has ever had.
So far he can play
– no fingers on all 4 strings
– one finger on all 4 strings
– two fingers on E and A string
– three fingers on E and A string
It doesn’t always sound fantastic, but that’s part of learning violin.
I’ve been listening to my Tweedlewink Overview Course mp3s and I’vew come to realize that I need to do some more right brain flashcards with Wesley. Since he is language delayed, this means his right brain is still very open. So I need to get a flashcard program running, and remind myself that it is 100% input and not to expect any output. The point is to stimulate the right brain and create connections in the brain. If he chooses to show me what he knows from this program great! If not that’s ok too. I think I’m going to start using Semester 2 of Little Reader as well.
I’ve started having to keep data for Wesley’s ABA program. The program requires all parents do 5 hours of therapy a week on their own. Well it is well know by our team that I do more then that, however I am awful at taking data. Well apparently the program has been auditing clients files and if they don’t have “Parent Hours” documented they are getting in trouble. So I’ve had to start taking my own data. I was a little OP’d at the start, but now I find that it is helping me stay on target with my programs.
Right now the programs I’m keeping data for ABA are:
– addition
– Pathway Phonics
– Reading trials
I’m going to add in:
– Canadian Geography
– Hooked on Phonics (I was taking data for this, but it was confusing so we stopped, but I think I can take data another way) 
Our afternoon ABA tutor quit 🙁 This is very sad for us because it has taken us so long to finally get the perfect ABA team. I’m hoping it won’t take long to find a good replacement. However she may only be gone for a month or so and if that’s the case she will come back and work with Wesley.
I was going to cancel daycare tomorrow to go to our local homeschooling conference, however I had 3 kids booked, so I didn’t. Well one child is leaving for Mexico tomorrow and one is staying home. Now I only have one child. Sadly it is too short notice to cancel so I’ll have to wait till Saturday to go. No big deal I just wish I had know.
Wesley has gotten a little cold. Luckily I have some homeopathic remedies here and they seem to be helping him. I’m hoping he will feel 100% soon.
Have a great day!!

Sparkabilities DVD Review

Wesley, my daycare children and I have recently had the chance to review the DVD series from PlayWise called Sparkabilities.

The Sparkabilities segments are designed according to specific developmental stages. They build on one another becoming more challenging while remaining familiar to your baby. Each title repeats theme segments creating a pattern within the show!

The Sparkabilities DVDs were created based on the PlayWisely method.

“PlayWisely®, a curriculum and pioneering developmental play system for little ones ages four months to 3 years, serves as a potential mechanism to jump start a child’s intellectual and athletic foundation, something that may prove to help children learn more effectively during their formal education.”

The DVD’s build on each other and progressively get more difficult as your child gets older and mature.

Babies 1– is designed for children birth and up. It introduces the concepts of math, reading, art, music, language and emotions

Babies 2– is designed for children that have just started to sit and up. It introduces the concepts of math, reading, art, music, language, and communication.

Toddler 1– is for children who have started to walk and up. It builds on the concepts learned in Babies 1 and 2.
Math- geometry, fractions, addition, subtraction, and numeration
Reading- letters, letter sounds, visual discrimination, and directionality
Art- hue, saturation, and value
Emotions- happy, sad, mad, and ok
Music- instrument families, notes
motor skills- throwing, catching, kicking and more.

Toddler 2 – is for children who talking to Preschool (even older if they are interested). It builds on the concepts in Toddler 1.
Math- 3D Forms and patterns are added
Reading- c-v-c words are added
Art- Primary and secondary colors are added
Emotions- opposites are added

Also you can download apps for you iPhone and iPad for when your out an about with your child.
What did we think?
We love it! Even my kindergartners have gotten into it. I have used other flashcard DVDs in the past, but what I like about these Sparkabilities DVD is the fact that they are very playful. You will often hear the children giggling while they watch these videos. My little ones seem to really focus on what they are watching so I believe they are really absorbing the information. Whats funny is I have one little one that is on Babies 2 and another child that’s on Toddler 1 and you can notice that when Babies 2 is on my 12 month old is totally engaged and the 22month wanders in and out, but when Toddler 1 is on my 22 month is totally engaged and the 12 month old pays attention on and off.
If your looking for a fun and engaging system to expose your child to a whole new world of learning Sparkabilities is what your looking for. It helps busy parents teach their children. Parent don’t have to gather, buy, print and store flashcards. All you have to do is plan a special time each day(or as often as possible) to cuddle up on the couch with your little one(s) and watch these videos.
Thank-you Jana from Sparkabilities for allowing my children and I to review your great product!
I was provided the Sparkabilities DVD in exchange for my unbiased option. I was not required to write a positive review. The options expressed her are my own, others my have a different experience.

Cross Lateral Training

Ok so I’m back in business. New hard drive in the computer and were good as new!
Today I had an extra little one to watch. I was excited when one of my first daycare children’s mom called me and asked if I had a spot available for the day. I agreed as long as he was dropped off after 9am and picked up before 3pm as that is Wesley’s tutors hours. So seeing as he is busy working, I only had 3 other little ones to watch. Well of course first thing in the morning Welsey’s tutor called in sick. So I have 5 children to watch today. Yikes! Thank God one of the parents brought me a coffee, and that kept me going. All and all it was ok since all my children are well behaved.
Wesley and I have Suzuki violin lessons tomorrow. I was suppose to start playing with him this week but the bow that came with my mom’s violin is awful, so I’ll have to go tomorrow and buy another one. Then after lessons he’s off with his dad.
Wesley didn’t have any mini-seizures today, but seemed a bit spacey from time to time. I’m hoping this new remedy the DAN! doctor sends us will balance him out. We stopped the digestive enzymes today. So far so good, he seems to be just as hungry. Hopefully his digestive system can take over from here. Our plan basically is to support the body in a way that it can do the work on its own eventually without supplements.
After the mini-seizure incident, a friend suggested I look more into cross-lateral coordination training. Glenn Doman talks about this in his books What To Do About Your Brain-injured Child and How to Teach Your Baby to Be Physically Superb : Birth to Age Six (More Gentle Revolution). I’ve been thinking of doing a crawling program for the last year or so since I talked to someone at the IAHP. But I keep fail miserably at this task. So this weekend I’m hoping to go look for some of those big 2’x2′ interlinking mats, and start a program.
Anyhow its late. I have to be up early to get my monster to his lessons.

Seemed to have stopped

Well seizures seem to have stopped. We had a seizure free day yesterday. 
I can’t wait to get my computer back tomorrow. I spent the day arguing with the computer place about a fair price. Finally we came to an agreement. It needed a whole new hard-drive, this apparently happens every once in a while, they don’t last forever. I am also going to order a new battery and my laptop should last me another 3years 🙂 I’ve been watching my part time daycare child a bit more and watching a child I use to have full time a day here and there to pay for the repairs. 
I’m not sure what’s with Wesley, he seemed to be figuring out his addition problems just fine and now he seems to be forgetting them again. I’m just going to back off for a little bit I think. 
Thank God it’s Friday! I Haven’t been sleeping well. 
Once I get my computer back get ready for a bun of wonderful reviews! I have them all ready to go.

Seizures

Well things were crazy yesterday! Wesley started having mini seizures. I never saw any of them, but he had 6 yesterday and 2 this morning(thou the two this morning were with a minute or two apart, so I believe it was the same one. He basically freezes and his eyes roll up in his head and the tutors have to say his name a few times to get him back to reality. I called his DAN! Doctor and she said right away mini seizure, so we put him back on a medication we recently took him off. I’m suppose to call her tomorrow if they haven’t stopped. 
Then I had to call our vet, our cat has displaced aggression towards our senior tutor, she attacks the tutors feet or hides and hisses. 
Good news at least we discovered we can work on one new math fact a night and it seems to help him memorize it. 
Well all we can do is pray this is just temporary. 

Our weekend

Saturday morning Wesley and I went to violin lessons. His teacher and I decided that it might be helpful for me to borrow one of my mom’s full size violins and take the lessons with him. This is so exciting! Basically I get free violin lessons. May as well get two birds with one stone. He is getting so close to learning his first song. Lessons are less combative. He really likes playing violin it’s just mornings he is so full of energy its hard for him to stand still. But each week gets a little better. 
Then Hubby and my stepdaughter were out at a birthday party. Wesley and I played ” beat the tv “. I put in the Hooked on Phonics DVD a good friend gave me (we have the older version of HOP without DVDs) and Wesley would try and sound out the words before the narrator said it on the tv. He’s getting good! Before he would just look at part of the word and guess. Not all the time but when he was feeling lazy. But now he seems to get it. 
We also sat and did a few puzzles together. A year ago Wesley was really into puzzles, but he kind of lost interest. So I’m trying to spark that interest because it’s so good for brain development and building math skills. 
I also had him watch Kids 20/20 Math Facts. I’m hoping that might help him remember his math facts. But I know I have to get my printer up and running and use some of my HeidiSongs resources. I’m sure there is plenty available on that disc to help me teach him. 
Saturday night Wesley and I have a Mommy/Son date. We went to Wendy’s for supper. It was so nice to sit and relax with him. He is just so sweet to be around. I love him to pieces.
We came home and watch Elmo in Grouchland on Netflix. I really can’t stand Elmo, his voice is so shrill. But oh well the kids enjoyed it.    
Sunday morning I forgot about daylight saving time and I slept in and missed church. When I came downstairs my stepdaughter was waiting for me. She wanted to make her princess party cupcakes she got as a party favor the night before for her daddy’s birthday. So we whipping some cupcakes, cooled them in the freezer so we could decorate them asap. Then we whipped up the icing and put it on the cupcakes. By the time I was carefully placing the edible decals on I heard hubby stirring upstairs. So I sent my stepdaughter up to tell him he couldn’t come down. He called down and asked how long he had to wait and I told him 15mins. So he requested Chloe bring him a bottle water and he waited patiently while we painted the cupcakes. Lol poor guy got princess cupcakes for his 27th birthday, but I think he love the fact his daughter made them for him. Wesley was with us while we were baking but his dad picked him up before they were done. But that worked out because they were not Wesley friendly cupcakes. Saturday night he gave hubby a card he made with his tutor. It was actually super cute. He drew himself and hubby. Hubby was like “Oh you gave us wings!” I whispered to him “those are your hands” lol. When Wesley draws people his hands are so disproportioned because he has to draw each finger. 
I took my computer in Sunday for a tune up. Just waiting for them to call me back about what needs to be done. 
Our fish tank is turning into a real interesting place. I have never seem so many Fish murdered and killed. Then Larry our crayfish shed his shell. One fish had babies. It’s very interesting, and we can use it to teach the kids about the cycle of life. I wish it wasn’t so gory though. And it’s all no aggressive breeds of fish doing the murdering. Lol except Larry, he’s crazy. But thank God our eels are still alive. 
Later on Sunday we went for a car ride and then dropped off my stepdaughter. After she went home I asked Hubby if he would like to go to Earls for his birthday. I didn’t really have lots of money but want to do something special for him. He said instead he’d like a nice home cooked meal. So we came home and made a yummy roast beef dinner for two. With the left over roast beef I’m make us Beef Pot Pie for supper tonight, Yum!

Another DAN! Update and other random things.

Well it’s a Wesley and Mommy night tonight since hubby is working. These days I’m usually able to get lots of school stuff done that we missed during the week. And then we can cuddle on the couch and watch a movie on Netflix. It landed up being more cuddling on the couch and less school. I’m taking a round of antibiotics for a kidney infection and it’s just knocking me on my butt. 
Since I only had two daycare children today I had a lot of time to go through my homeschooling items. I need to get a good feel for what I have before the conference. I’m so excited this year now that I know what to expect. Last year I felt like a deer in headlights. This year with one year of homeschooling under my belt I feel like I can benefit more from this. 
I also have to get down to the basement and make sure everything is off the floor. Things are melting outside and with the record snow this winter on an already over saturated ground, I worry our basement will get water in it. But then again it doesn’t look like spring is ready to come yet, now that the sun has set there is yet another blizzard running through Manitoba. I don’t mind because we are inside but tomorrow morning I hope there is not too much snow because we have violin lessons. But give me a blizzard over earthquakes and tsunami any day. 
Oh I feel for all those people in Japan. A friend of mine from high school teaches out there, but thank God she updated her Facebook and let everyone know she was ok.  
I spoke to Wesleys DAN! doctor in Calgary today. I told her we started the DMG and his eczema flared up something bad, but has seem to settle down. She said since DMG is a detox he must be detoxifying through his skin. If his eczema gets too out of control to lower the dose, but since it started looking better this morning not to worry too much about it. At the end of March we should try and up the dose from 1/8 a teaspoon to 1/2 a teaspoon. Then call her back a week after that.  We will also be discontinuing 4 items we no longer need. Some of the other items will need to be run for about 3 more months. His body is so clogged up with toxins from all the antibiotics and immunizations he had as a young baby. 
His tutors have told me his inter-verbal programs that were a constant battle before treatment are finally going very well. As well they have requested more programs because the programs they have that use to last him all day now last 45mins. 
Every evening before bed we cuddle and talk about his day. Usually he says “Mom you cuddle.” meaning he wants to cuddle with me. This even he said “Mom hope in my bed. We cuddle!” This is like music to my ears. I love watching him develop like this. It makes all the money of sunk into this treatment so worth it. 
And the kids appetite has gone through the roof! This afternoon about 1.5 hours after lunch he wanted a snack, so I made pancakes. He ate 4 large pancakes!! I can’t eat that many! His tutor and I were just shocked. It’s so nice to see him able to sit still at the table, not struggle to digest foods, and obviously be absorbing so many nutrients from his foods. I figure this is way he’s eating so much now. His body is working better and realizes “Holy smokes this food gives me vitamins and minerals that I can actually use!”
Well I should get to bed, we have violin tomorrow should we not be snowed in. It’s blowing pretty hard out there. 

Preparing for the next school year

So with the homeschooling conference happening in 2 weeks I figured I’d better get all my ducks in a row. Figure out what I have and what I still need.
I’m looking at purchasing Early Bird Start Up Science. It’s made by the creators of Singapore math. A friend of mine from the board uses it and seems to enjoy it. And Wesley has fully been enjoying his science class every afternoon with his tutor Cassandra. I’ve been getting together little projects from some kitchen science books. But I think a more solid curriculum would be beneficial. The kid loves Science!
Geography, I think I can do this for now without a curriculum. There is so much available on the Internet and we have our Canada map as well as our world map. 
Math, mixture between TouchMath, Christian Light Units, and Singapore Math. 
Language Arts, I’ll be using those Little Books, Headsprout, and I’m thinking of starting up those books I had call Pathway to Phonics and Pathway to Reading. 
Now the only thing I need to decided on is my handwriting program. I’m leaning towards HWT, however A Beka has some workbooks for young children to start writing cursively. So I’m interested to hear what that vendor has to say about that. I really don’t enjoy the Canadian Handwriting program I ordered from HR, it’s like pulling teeth. I guess the sessions are too long for Wesley. His OT always says short session are the key. Otherwise he will get sloppy and just be practicing mistakes. 
I also have some dollarama workbooks, and some Reading Eggs workbooks I need him to complete. Eventually I would like to get us back to doing his Explode the Code workbooks as well. 

Dan! Update and homeschooling info

Well I just got off the phone with Wesley DAN! doctor. She is sending him some homeopathic medications to deal with his horrible eczema outbreak. Thankfully this is the only negative side effect we have had with our protocol. And to be honest, this is a small price to pay for the positive outcomes we have had. That being said, I still feel bad for the little guy. He told me “Mom I just scratch it off and it will be better.” Yikes! No! Overall his language is improving, he’s adding more words into his sentences, and he tells me about his day. Last night before bed we told me about all the characters on Bob the Builder and his favorite foods.

His reading is excelling! We completed Set 1 of the Little Books series, and we started Set 2. Now while the stories a very basic, my son loves the antics of all the characters. After completed Set 1 we are very familiar with all the characters and both of us have become very fond of them. I figure it won’t take us nearly as long to get through this set, but we also don’t want to rush through it either.

We are also using Education Cubes. Which is proving to be a Wesley Favorite. Right now we are primarily using it for Sight Words. But soon I’m going to progress to adding provinces as well. In the evenings after we complete our reading, we play a game with these. The game is simple, but Wesley loves it. We basically just take turns rolling the giant dice and reading the words. The fun part is throwing high in the sky and seeing where it will land.

We also started working on Canadian Geography. I printed up these maps from Montessori Print Shop. I was very lucky to receive this as a gift from a wonderful friend. This CDROM is full of so many useful printouts, that the morning after I received it, I ran to Walmart to buy new ink cartridges. Last night we sat down and started flipping through this book and he jumped up on his bed and flipped over his Scholastic Bilingual Talk ‘n Teach Blackboard Playmat to the map side and started finding the provinces and territories on that map too. So it turned into a fun time!