What We Read in June 2016

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

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

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

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

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

Check out a past What We Read post:

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

What books have you and your little ones read recently?

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Wesley’s 11 Years Old! What??

20160609_234227396_iOSAt the beginning of June, this guy turned 11. ELEVEN YEARS OLD?!?!?!?!?! I don’t even know how that happened. One month after my 20th birthday, this guy came into my life.

Another thing I can say is this… I managed to keep a child alive for 11 year. Woohoo me!!!

My life was changed. I have learned so much from being Wesley’s mother. I calmed down so much. I was an obnoxious hot head. I’m still a hot head, I may still be obnoxious. However I have toned it down several notches.

This guy showed me what unconditional love is. He made me appreciate what my parents have done for me all these years. I like to think he’s made me a better person.

A few days ago, I got to attend his Grade 5 Farewell. In September, he’s off to middle school. The option to homeschool is always on the table for him. Right now he’s enjoying the social aspect of public school, but only time will tell if I will bring him back home. Right now we are just supplementing his education.

Wes currently is learning to play piano, and is quite good at sight reading music. This September he will be trying his hand at the clarinet. We also signed him up for tumbling and trampoline lessons starting in the fall. He actively participates in the local Lego clubs.

I’m so proud of this guy. My heart explodes with pride knowing how far he has come, and how much potential he has.

I love you Wesley.

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Why Piano Lessons Are Important in Our Family

Every Monday I pack the boys up in the van and we head to Ms Cindy’s house. Wes has been taking music lessons on and off with Ms Cindy since he was 2 or 3 years old. But we didn’t start piano lessons with her till about 3 years ago.

Wesley’s first exposure to music was when I signed him up for a class through our city’s leisure guide call “Fun with Music 2s & 3s”. It was a lot of fun, but there was not much is the learning music department. It was more of a music appreciation style class.

I decided I wanted to find something a little more organized, that focused on the early music skills and consisted of smaller classes. That’s when I saw a sign on the side of the road for “Music for Young Children.” I called the number and registered Wes for his first sunshine class.

We did 3-4 sessions of the Music for Young Children’s Sunshine program. It was a nice small group, of 3 or 4 other kids. Wes loved it. Each term had a different character that thought he kids different bits of music. Buzzy the fly, Mellow Yellow the dog and so on.  But then we came to a cross road. We had completed the program but maturity wise were not ready to join a group piano lesson. Since we were moving across the city we took a little break from music lessons.

When we were settled in and ready to start looking into music lessons again we can across Suzuki. Wes did two years of Suzuki violin. He had two teachers, as his first one moved away. Suzuki focuses on playing the music by ear, they didn’t introduce reading music or anything. We just said the note name while we played.

But then I got pregnant with Little Z and I realized I needed to reevaluate. Violins are very delicate. Wes was a typical little boy who could sometimes be careless. I was about to have a baby and have less hands on time to practice with him. I needed to find something that Wes could play, but practice more independently. So a few months before Z arrived we quit violin.

A few months after Z was born and we were settled in with our new family member, I decided we needed to get Wesley back to music lessons. The last few violin lessons we had attended, his teacher was spending the last few minutes spending some time with him on the piano. She was impressed he already knew where Middle C was, and several other notes. I thank Suzie Piano Primer and BrillKids Little Musician. Because of these programs his new private piano teacher was able to skip the first music book and move on to the second. It was great to have Wes back in music. We stayed with this teacher for about 7 months until we bought our first home. At that point this instructor was too far away from our home to continue lessons with winter coming.

At this point I decided to give Ms Cindy a call. I was not very familiar with music teachers in our new neighbourhood. Since our old piano teacher was relatively new to Winnipeg, she did not know anyone in the area. But she suggested we call Ms Cindy, even if she didn’t offer private lessons herself, perhaps she could direct us to someone who did. Turns out Ms Cindy was happy to pick Wes up as a student again! We landed up skipping one more level and Wes has been her student for 2.5 years now.

I believe music benefits Wes in so many ways.

  • It requires him to sit still and focus. This can be difficult at times for Wes, but piano lessons have taught him he can do it if he really puts his mind to it.
  • Studies show it’s great for brain development.
  • I believe music is a second language.
  • It’s something for him to work hard at and showcase his talent 2 times a year.
  • His biannual recitals are a good way to learn to get up in front of a crowd.
  • Wes also loves to try and do things his way. Which can be good, but he also need to learn how to follow direction. Piano allows him to be creative, as well as learn to follow the notes and play a piece the way the person who composed it intended it be played.

Wes has just finished up another year of piano. To prevent the summer slide, I have him signed up for summer lessons at a local piano cafe. I have found it is better money spent to continue lessons through the summer months, then pay Ms. Cindy to reteach him concepts he has lost for the first month or two in the fall. He will be at the level she left him in the spring at the very least. But most times he is further ahead.

Check out Wes at his Christmas recital:

As while, here is Wes a few weeks ago at his year end, piano recital:

Do your children play and instrument? What benefits have you noticed?

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

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

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

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

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

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

The benefits of using duotangs are:

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

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Next I needed to create couplet sets.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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Little Z Completed Wink to Learn English

Winktolearn

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

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

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

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

Six years after my first review what are my thoughts?

Pros:

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

Cons:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This was my early introduction to blogging.

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

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

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

Here are my TOP 6 Educational Blogs I Follow:

planetsmarty

Planet Smart Pants

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

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

1+1+1=1

1+1+1=1

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

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

domanmom

Doman Mom

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

 

 

marta

Early Learning with Marta, Eaton and Nathaniel

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

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

 

 

larrysanger

Larry Sanger

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

 

 

figur8

Figur8

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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Afterschooling: 2016 Reading List For The Reluctant Reader (Post #1- 2016)

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.

Here is the list we came up with.

1) The Boxcar Children (The Boxcar Children, No. 1) (Boxcar Children Mysteries)

2) Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw (Book 3)

3) Midnight on the Moon (Magic Tree House, No. 8)

4) Horrible Harry and the Christmas Surprise

5) The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

6) Cam Jansen: the Mystery of the Circus Clown #7

7) The Berenstain Bear Scouts and the Coughing Catfish (Berenstain Bear Scouts)

8) MIB Men in Black the Novel

9) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

10) Geronimo Stilton #38: A Fabumouse School Adventure

11) Watch Your Whiskers, Stilton! (Geronimo Stilton, No. 17)

12) Vampires Don’t Wear Polka Dots (The Adventures Of The Bailey School Kids)

13) The Monsters Next Door (Bailey City Monsters, No. 1)

14) Scooby-Doo! and the Howling Wolfman

15) The Case of the Christmas Snowman (Jigsaw Jones Mystery, No. 2)

16) Blizzard (The Magic School Bus to the Rescue)

17) Who’s in Love with Arthur?: An Arthur Chapter Book (Arthur Chapter Books)

18) The Pizza War (Mercer Mayer’s Lc & the Critter Kids)

19) Kickoff to Danger (Hardy Boys Book 170)

20) Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants: Color Edition (Captain Underpants #4)

Bonus book because we apparently grabbed one to many books
Secret Agent Jack Stalwart: Book 13: The Hunt for the Yeti Skull: Nepal

Check out my quick video on these books.

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.

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Early Learning Mom Top 10 Blog Post Of 2015

Wow! How is it already the end of 2015. I feel like I was just writing my 2014 10 Top Blog Post a few months ago. In reality, it has been 12 months!!

Reflecting back to 2015, I want to take the time to thank all my readers for continuing to come around and read about my adventures with Little Z and Wes. I know I’m not always consistent with my updates, but I am so grateful for your patiences.

Here are this years Top 5 Post!

Light-Blue-Sky-with-Flat-Bells

#5 Preschool Prodigies eBook And Bells Review : This was such an awesome experience for Z and I. We had the chance to review Mr Rob’s music program. Little Z and I received a set of musical desk bells and since then we have been learning music and having fun!

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#4 New Years Goals/Bucket List : Well in my 2016 Bucket List Post, I confess that I did not do very well on this list in 2015. I managed to complete 8/52 challenges. However I have learned from my mistakes, and I have not given up. This year I have created a binder, which includes the list printed out, as well as charts to help me stay on track. 2016 is a whole new year and I plan on nailing it this year.

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#3 Toddler Tula Vs Ergo Carrier. My Experience with My Favorite Baby Carriers. : This post is actually a late 2014 post, but it still made the 2015 list due to popularity. I love babywearing! Babywearing kept me sane for the first 3 years of Little Z’s life. It’s how I was able to run my daycare, host birthday parties, and get through the newborn/infant/toddler stage. Sadly this year Z has decided he no long wants to be worn. So that is a stage in our life that is over now. While I did sell the ergo, I have both the Cuddly Wrap and the Tula, no babies are planned in the near future, however I’m not ready to give them up.

NACD Logo-Letters Only

#2 NACD With My Nine Year Old. Helping Your Child with Reading Comprehension. I wanted to cry the day my oldest said he “Hates reading.” As an avid reader, I could not comprehend how someone could actually hate to read. However, if you are not not understanding what you are reading, of course it is not going to be enjoyable. Currently we are on vacation from the NACD due to the awful Canadian dollar, however we still incorporate some of their programs into our day.

And my number 1 post of 2015 is:

TSI and TLP

#1 NACD Early Learning at 32 Months Old : This post received over two times the amount of views my #2 post received. I found the NACD really got me on the path to teaching my son in ways I had never thought of. While we are on vacation, I am still using a lot of strategies they have provided me. Rereading this post reminds me of a few others that I should be still working on. I am so excited to be able to get back on board with them again.

 

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52 Week Bucket List for 2016

So looking back at my 2015 bucket list, I realize that I should have printed it out and had it available to look at. I did check off several items, but I did not get done nearly as much as I would have liked to.

That being said, 2016 is a brand new year. I grabbed my list of 52 things I’d like to get done from last year and and edited it for the up and coming year. This year the changes I will be making to be more successful are:

  • Printing out my list and posting it somewhere I can constantly refer to it.  In 2015 I did several of my listed tasks without realizing it, and failed at others because I simply forgot to do them. By having them printed and posted, I’m more likely to successed.
  • Set reminders in my phone. I think having an alarm that goes off every day at 9pm will help me remember to complete my 365 pictures challenge. Or programming reminders in my phone to complete different tasks will help me plan for success.
  • Create check list or logs for task that are being completed over a longer period. Create logs to show what books I have read, checklist for blog post I have completed, etc. I’m a visual person, the more I see things being checked off and completed, the more likely I’m going to work to continue to complete them.

1) Clean and organize my bedroom closet and drawers.

2) Clean front entry closet and Linen Closet

3) Clean and organize all the kitchen cupboards

4) Follow the 365 day declutter challenge. (allowing myself to complete 2 or more days in one day to catch up or get ahead. This will allow me to plan for life’s bumps in the road, sick kids, surprise guest, lazy mommy day, etc.) I will log this by checking off the premade calendars at http://www.home-storage-solutions-101.com/declutter.html

5) Clean and organize laundry room and basement bathroom.

6) Read 20 books. Children’s chapter books with my son does not count.

7) Clean out garage so we can park both cars in.

8) Donate 30 garbage bags or boxes worth of items to the Canadian Diabetes Clothesline or other places.(Check list required)

9) Sell stuff we are not using and make $1000 to put towards debt. Can be via Kijiji, Facebook groups, garage sales,etc. (Log required)

10) Organize all my bills and paperwork into binders

11) Read the Bible in a Year. (allowing myself to complete 2 or more days in one day to catch up or get ahead. This will allow me to plan for life’s bumps in the road, sick kids, surprise guest, lazy mommy day, etc.)

12) 52 week money challenge. (Log Required)

13) Banana island for one week.

14) Pay off $5000 on my line of credit

15) Get back on the Dave Ramsey Budget (Log Required)

16) Take my kids camping or to a cabin

17) Potty Train Z

18) Pay off and cancel my Sears Mastercard.

19) Crazy glue the tracks to the train table downstairs in my daycare area to an elaborate town.

20) Clear all the NAET autism kit for both boys.

21) Exercise 160 time in 2015 for 20-30mins. (Log Required)

22) Lose 20lbs (Log Required)

23) Read 500 regular kids books with Little Z. (Log Required)

24) Create 100 Homemade Glenn Doman Inspired Books for Z. (Check List Required)

25) Create 15 Learning Binders.

26) Read 20 Chapter books WITH Wesley. (Log Required)

27) Organize and decorate Little Z’s room.

28) Blog 52 times in 2016 (Check List Required)

29) Give up fast food for 6 months. (Checklist required)

30) Instagram 1 photo a day challenge. (Set timer in phone)

31) Get Wesley back on the allowance system and teach him how to handle money.

32) Make it out to Hawaii to visit my Online Bestie.

33) Learn to cook 20 new dishes. (Log Required)

34) Finish my ebook.

35) Organize and clean out the laundry room.

36) Make my mom a scrapbook.(either digital or homemade)

37) Make my Auntie Doris a scrapbook (either digital or homemade)

38)Take the kids Strawberry Picking

39) Take a ride on the Steam Train at Assiniboine Park

40) Attend the local homeschooling convention this year.

41) Take the kids to the Snake Pits

42) Take the kids to Kids City

43) Take the kids bowling

44) Visit the Farmers Market at Birds Hill

45) Set up the window bird box

46) Donate Blood

47) Help the kids create Christmas Shoeboxes for the needy

48) Get a Family Photo taken

49) Take Wes to Skyzone

50) Take Wes to do Archery

51) Take an overnight trip as a couple without the kids.

52) Visit the International Peace Garden

What is on your 2015 bucket list?

Watch for blog updates on how I’m doing!

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Top 6 Learning to Read Websites

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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