What My Child is reading,Learn to Read Kids Club Review

So I had the chance to review this great new program. Its called the Learn to Read Kids Club. There are so many great options with this company. You can sign up for the Yearly Program and once a month you and your child will receive 4 books. Each book relates to a different subject, Fun & Fantasy, Science, Social Studies and Math. As well you get a workbook and a parents guide. The workbook has fun little “assignments” for your child to do relating to all 4 of the stories. Including fill in the blanks, word searches, make your own books and much more. The workbook I reviewed contained 20 different activities. The parents guide gives you great tips on how to provide your child a more hands on experience.

When we got our kit to review, my son and I were slightly confused at first why the wonderful people sent us a jar of dirt, a bottle of water, a pile and shovel to us in our review. Then we opened up the package that contained the books and workbook. There it was a book called “How to Make a Mudpie”.
So first we sat down and read the book “How To Make a Mudpie” together. Then we did the activities in the workbook. My son really enjoyed doing book. The workbooks are so colorful and inviting it didn’t even feel like he was doing work. Then the next day was the fun part. We went in the backyard and made our own mudpies.
First we poured in the dirt

Then we added the water

Then we stirred it up

Then we added some leafs

And then some stones

We gave it one final stir and poured them into pie pans. And there you have it our very own MudPie! I promise he was really having a great time, he just looks sour because I kept shoving the camera in his face. I also included my 16month old daycare baby and 5 year old daycare child but they are not pictured here because I don’t like posting pictures of other children.

This was one activity for only one of the books in the set we got. There are so many great ideas. This would be a great Christmas gift idea for the children and grandchildren on your list. Its like the gift that keeps giving. If you are worried about shipping cost you can also buy the whole kit at once and use it to supplement your homeschooling curriculum or even to reinforce what your children are learning at school. They will love being able to cuddle up and read the books with you, as well as doing the activities together. They also have a Summer Reading Club that will send your child a set every 2 weeks so they can keep their minds sharp through the summer months. I have talked to many teachers about how children just seem to lose their skills during the summer months because they are not using them. You can start the Yearly Program anytime through out the year.

Thank you to the great people at Learn to Read Kids Club for providing me a basic kit to review. The options expressed here are my own and I was not required to write a good review for this product.

65 Day Shichida’s Math Program

For the last two weeks, Wesley and I have been doing the 65 Day Shichidas outline by one of my favorite bloggers Figur8. I thought I would share this entry that I visit often. I actually printed out so I can keep it in my box of Doman Math Dots.

Now I know some of you are thinking that Wesley is too old for math dots. The reason I’m doing this is is because of a conversation I had with the IAHP. The wonderful people there suggested because Wesley is still considered Brain Injured, his mind way still be opened to this type of program. So I bought a set of the Glenn Doman cards used from a fellow Brillkids Forum Member and started the program.

So far so good. While we went through Days 1-9 he was shouting out the answers because he knows how to count in order. But come Day 10 when I started presenting the cards, 1+1=2, he stopped and listened.

Why did I choose the Shichida Method over Doman Method?

Because the Doman method involves showing several sets of cards, several times a day. And the Shichidas method is once a day, and you repeat the cycle 4 times, so it really turn into the 260day Shichidas Program. This program fits better into our lifestyle. I present the cards before bed. I keep them out on the ledge by the stairs outside his room. Once I put him to bed, I go reorganize the cards for the next day, and Poof! we are done for the day.
Even if he is not getting the full effect, we are still

  • -Spending time together
  • -He still hears the math facts, and maybe can absorb them that way.
  • -Teach him to focus on a topic
  • -Its good practice for me when our next child comes into the world(not pregnant lol but hoping to be next year)
  • All and all since he is enjoying it, I figured there is no harm is trying to stimulate the right brain.

Please check out Figur8’s blog, it’s really wonderful and I visit several times a week.

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Toxic Childhood

WOW! Last night I read an article a friend recommended to me, about how in late 2009 they were testing newborn infants umbilical cords and found that most had been exposed to over 200 different chemicals before they are even born.
I started googling the topic and was shocked to what I found. Some people insist that this affecting our children. Others are saying the chemicals are innocent until proven dangerous. That doesn’t sit right with me. As a parent I’m so overwhelmed as to what I should do. I know for a fact certain heavy metals cause children to have foggy minds making if difficult to function. I strongly believe chemicals are related to the increased numbers in Autism.
When I had my son’s hair tested for heavy metals in early 2008 at the age of 2 and he came back with high leads of Lead and arsenic. We did a homeopathic Heavy Metal detox and it seemed to help him. Now a few years later I plan on having him checked again.
With toys being recalled left and right because of toxic levels of lead in the paint, triple the amounts of vaccines given then past generations, higher levels of chemicals in our foods, animals being tampered with to provide more meat without worry about the quality of the meat, high levels of childhood asthma, Autism and ADHD, and the fact that our children are the first generation that have a shorter life expectancy then we do. What is a parent to do?
Am I the only one concerned?

Memoflix 2 review/giveaway!!!

MonkiSee MonkiDo and Memoflix 1 have become an important part of how I teach my son and daycare children how to read. I reviewed what at the time was the whole collection of DVDs by the Intellectual Baby Company here. I’m excited that once again I have had the chance to review another one of Krista’s great products from Intellectual Baby.

MemoFlix Volume 2 video flash cards teach babies and young children how to read using a combination of the whole word method, also called sight-reading, and phonics. This is first done by introducing the upper and lower case letters of the alphabet and the sounds they make followed by whole words that reinforce and demonstrate the sounds and patterns being presented. Each word is followed by a picture, which helps the child better grasp the meaning of the words being taught. Sound effects have also been added where appropriate.

MemoFlix Whole Word Phonics ABC’s teaches the alphabet and the letter sounds using quick-paced video slide shows. By combining sight-reading with phonics children are able to grasp the rules of phonics quickly and easily, allowing them to be more fluid readers. Since the words are learned as a whole, without being broken up, children are able to pick up the phonetic patterns and read in a more natural and unbroken way.

While the slide shows are quick-paced, they do allow time for the child to say the word before it is narrated. Children may enjoy racing to read the words before they are read to them. This is a fun way to interact with the MemoFlix DVD.

The MemoFlix Whole Word Phonics DVD is designed for children between the ages of 6 months and 6 years old. It is best to use this DVD with babies that have already been exposed to a reading program and have learned many sight words. When beginning a reading program with babies do not show them sets of words that all start with the same letter. It is fine to do this a few months into the program, but it less confusing for them in the beginning if the words don’t all look the same. Since the MemoFlix ABC’s teach 10 words that all begin with the same letter it is ideal to introduce these patterns after you have been doing a program with your baby for a little while. “

Well my son was thrilled when the package arrived in our mailbox. The DVD wasn’t even in the house 5mins before my son and I were cuddled on the couch watching it. Because my son is older were watched the DVD from start to finish.
One thing I love about Memoflix is the fact that I can watch it with my son. Other flashcard DVDs for some reason trigger a car sickness like reaction or migraine. And with Memoflix I don’t get this feeling. This is a major plus for me.
Another thing that makes me feel great about this company is the fact it is a family company. Krista is a mother of 6, and she uses these methods with her own children. I have seen videos on Brillkids of her young children reading. It’s nice to know she has had lots if experience with teaching children to read and is now sharing it with us.
With Memoflix2 I love that both phonics and whole word methods are blended together. Of course some children will need more formal instruction to phonics before they can use it, others will learn phonics naturally and either way Memoflix2 is a great introduction.
Another thing I that crossed my mind is for the people doing Encyclopedic Knowledge, this video labels lots of different animals in it.
Would you like to win your own copy of Memoflix2? Complete one or more of these items, leave a comment for each With your email
– Head over to Intellectual Baby and tell me what other product they offer that you might like to try.
– follow Doman, ABA, Dayhome, Homeschooling Momma publicly
Like Intellectual Baby on Facebook

This contest is open to Canada and the USA. It closes Nov 15th @ 11:59pm. Thank-you Intellectual Baby for allowing my children and I to review another one of your products. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinion in here is my own.

New! Brain Quest Write & Erase Sets Review/Giveaway

Wesley and I had the chance to review the new Brain Quest Write Erase Sets. I love that Brain Quest’s philosophy is “adding a big dose of fun into learning. I have noticed some of their other products and they look great, but I’m thrilled to see that they have created some products for younger children too.
I was thrilled to receive these books because my son has been working on his penmanship for a while now with his tutors, and me in the evenings. When I opened up the Alphabet cards I almost screamed. A few months ago I spent HOURS and LOADS of ink printing and macktacking alphabet cards for my son’s ABA therapy. And here they were in my hands available to purchase for a mere $9 on Amazon. I bet when I factor in ink, paper and macktack alone mine cost more to make. Not including the hours is spent making them. Good news was Wesley was board with my homemade cards and thrilled to get to try out these new ones. Plus, the Brain Quest Write & Erase Set: Shapes &Colors set was great for practicing his pre-drawing skills that his Occupational Therapist wanted him to work on.

Brain Quest Write & Erase Set: AlphabetBrain Quest Write & Erase Set: Alphabet:shows kids the right way to write their letters, both uppercase and lowercase, and also includes letter-identification and vocabulary-building quizzes on each page.
 Brain Quest Write & Erase Set: PhonicsBrain Quest Write & Erase Set: Phonics: teaches early reading with fill-ins for long and short vowels and basic consonant sounds, letter scrambles, complete-the-words, and more.
Brain Quest Write & Erase Set: NumbersBrain Quest Write & Erase Set: Numbers: helps kids write their 123’s and includes the basics of math-readiness
Brain Quest Write & Erase Set: Shapes & ColorsBrain Quest Write & Erase Set: Shapes & Colors: uses tracing exercises, connect-the-dots, name-the-colors, and other fun activities to teach essential pre-writing concepts.

What do we think?
Well we love these cards! They have become a regular part of Wesley’s day. His tutors use them with him too and love them. One of them was actually planning on buying them for her daughter. Had I found these earlier I could have save myself a LOT of time and had a much nicer product then my homemade dry erase cards.
Would you like to win a set of Brain Quest Write & Erase for your child?
Head over to Brain Quest and leave a comment which of the four packs would be most helpful for your child. Please leave your email in this comment, if I have no way to contact you a new winner will be drawn. Sadly this has been happening a lot lately and I want to make sure the real winner gets the prize. Even if you are using a blogger profile, make sure that I can email you or contact you via your blog.

Thank-you to Brain Quest and Workman Publishing Co. for teaming up with me for this review/giveaway. I was not paid by either company, nor was I required to write a positive review. This is the option of only myself.
Contest closes Nov 5th,2010 at 11:59. Open to the USA and Canada only.

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

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

What is ABA??

Someone on the Brillkid forum asked the question, What is ABA? She had read about it on my blog and I realized I never went into much detail about it.
ABA stands for Applied Behavior Analysis, and from what I have been told, it is the only “scientifically” proven effect therapy for autism. Now I know a lot of parents with argue, will this worked for my child, etc. The reason ABA is scientifcally proven is because of the AMAZING records that need to be kept. For every trial, the results are taken, every behavior is charted, etc, etc. So they have the records to prove what plan is working and which isn’t by looking at the behavior graphs.
Good Old Wikipedia defines ABA as:

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the science of controlling and predicting human behavior. Behavior analysts reject the use of hypothetical constructs[1] and focus on the observable relationship of behavior to the environment. By functionally assessing the relationship between a targeted behavior and the environment, the methods of ABA can be used to change that behavior. Research in applied behavior analysis ranges from behavioral intervention methods to basic research which investigates the rules by which humans adapt and maintain behavior.

ABA is defined as the science in which the principles of the analysis of behavior are applied systematically to improve socially significant behavior, and in which experimentation is used to identify the variables responsible for change in behavior.[17] It is one of the three fields of behavior analysis. The other two are behaviorism, or the philosophy of the science; and experimental analysis of behavior, or basic experimental research

Now this is the exact description quoted from the Centre that runs my son’s ABA program

The Preschool ABA Program works collaboratively in partnership with our clients’ families and caregivers to provide sound, effective ABA-supported educational programs based on the provincial curriculum followed by the schools. Our main activities are detailed below.

Children are assessed on several measures upon intake and yearly thereafter. Results are used to determine learning goals an
Preschool ABA Program Activities
d to assess progress.
Application of learning principles

ABA Consultants design teaching programs that include the application of behavioural principles and procedures. The ABA Consultants ensure the outcomes of teaching strategies are continually monitored and change strategies if needed. They also ensure progress is demonstrated through the summary of data and production of summary graphs and break down teaching into achievable sub-goals. They also ensure prompting techniques are used to encourage independent responding and make learning rewarding, reinforcing when appropriate.
One-to-one teaching sessions

Children receive two ABA sessions every day, typically delivered by two tutors. Each session is 3-3.5 hours long. Every two weeks, the child receives one half-day off.
Clinic meetings

Meetings are led by ABA consultants every 2-4 weeks or every 2-3 months in rural areas. All team members participate to discuss current programming, successes and challenges.

The senior tutor provides training and supervision sessions to tutors and parents every 2-4 weeks, except in distant rural areas.

Challenging behaviour support

Behaviour Analysts specialize in supporting the improvement of challenging behaviour. Behavioural intervention plans and procedural recommendations are based on outcomes of functional assessment and analysis of challenging behaviours.

Promoting and ensuring parental involvement

Families are an integral part of their child’s education and have a significant role in supporting the ABA programs. Parents have a commitment to provide five hours of ABA programming to their children.

Annual review meetings

Families attend an annual review meeting where their child’s progress is reviewed and future goals are discussed.

One MAJOR thing with how well ABA works is parental involvement. Sadly from what I hear from our tutors, is a lot of parents us this as a form of babysitting. They have given up hope for their child and use this as a break from the craziness of living with an Autistic child. When I hear this, it breaks my heart. I can’t image the pain the parents must feel when they have lost all hope for their child. The stress this must cause for them. Also for the child. Maybe they can improve, maybe even be cured, but you have to try. I feel for that child who is trapped in his or her own world. It also makes me thank my lucky stars that my child has responded so nicely to ABA and all the other things we have been doing with him. Our tutors were saying, the children that do well have parents who work with there child. Who are commited to their childs recovery. The ABA team is important, but in the end like Glenn Doman says over and over again. Your childs best teacher is his mother and father.
For our family, I am crumby when it comes to record taking, so our reading and math homeschooling count as our ABA parent hours. I’m proud to say because of our ABA team, my son developed over 700 skills in one year. This is unheard of.
Anyhow I hope this clears up alot of questions. But if you have more please feel free to ask me 🙂

Our Violin arrived

Well my son was in his glory yesterday. I got an email that from UPS saying that our violin had been delivered. I started thinking, “What?” Then I looked and they delivered it to our old address. So called the new people that live there up and the husband was just walking in the door and he said “No I don’t think so.” Then I heard the wife say “No something DID come in for them, I was going to tell you to call them when you got home.” So we drove there and picked it up.
We got in the car and Wesley wanted to open it right away. When I opened the case he said “Can, Can, Can I please hold it!!!”
Now I was really worried. I bought this 1/8 violin on ebay and with shipping the total cost was $65. Yes that’s what I said $65. So needless to say I was concerned about quality. So I took it to the local music store and the guy looked it over. Besides the fact that one of the strings is slightly kinked(this may have been when I was installing the bridge*blush*) it looks to be an excellent violin. He told me not to replace the string until my son gets use to handling the violin.
On the way home we had to stop at Superstore and my son wanted to take his violin in with him. The case was sitting on his lap and he DID NOT want to leave it. LOL. I convinced him it might get broken, so he left it.
When we got home he ran upstairs and told my hubby and step-daughter “Look What I Found!!” Then he told my hubby to “Be careful not to break it.” When he was looking at it.

So I’m hoping this excitement will continue after we start his Suzuki lessons on Saturday

Dreambox Learning

Well I think I have written time and time again how much my son loves learning on the computer. We have two favorite sites we subscribe to for reading, but when I heard about a site that was for math I thought that was something we could use. So I contacted the people at Dreambox Learning and they agreed to let me review there product. So I sent up my five year old son and daycare child up on it, and we used it regularly for the 2 week trial.
Dreambox Learning says:

It’s serious learning because:

  • DreamBox individualizes learning through continuous assessment and adaptations during lesson game play. Lessons, hints, level of difficulty, pace, sequence, instructional tools, and many other aspects of the experience are tailored to help each student learn.
  • It’s a robust math curriculum, with over 500 lessons built on the math learning Focal Points from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
  • It builds understanding and confidence in math fundamentals being taught in the classroom, through in-depth focus on Number Sense and Computation, and Algebra.
  • To improve conceptual understanding, students use virtual manipulatives to “show their work” rather than just clicking on an answer. And because our adaptation engine captures every mouse click, this deep, rich data enables highly sophisticated individualization.
  • DreamBox has online Teacher and Parent dashboards that report on each student’s progress in real time. Teachers can review detailed progress for their whole classroom and for each student. And parents get progress reports and practical tips on bringing math fun into everyday life.

It’s seriously fun because:

  • Kids choose from 4 adventure themes (pirates, pixies, dinosaurs, and pets), each with 8 stories, and hundreds of choices for activities in the online adventures.
  • DreamBox makes math lessons fun and interactive, so kids build confidence and a sense of accomplishment!
  • Kids can choose from 36 characters to represent themselves on screen.
  • Positive audio and visual feedback encourages progress.
  • Kids get rewards such as collectible Adventure Friends, tokens to play Carnival games, and Achievement Certificate awards that can be printed out and proudly displayed.

The Pros

– My kids loved that they could choose what kind of story they were into that day. They answer math problems and collect backpacks
– The kids loved gathering tokens to spend at the carnival for fun games
– I like as a parent I can see how much of the total curriculum my son has completed as well as a break down in what areas Dreambox jumped him ahead or what areas he has completed on his own.
– It just so happened that we were working on great then and less then at home when we started and that was the area Dreambox Learning put us in.
-Getting the answer is not the only thing Dreambox is recording, it also notes how quickly the child answered, how many hints they needed, and if their score improved
-There is 500 lesson for Grades K-3

The Cons

-The Carnival is the first thing that the child sees when they opening page comes up. For my son this was very distracting
-I didn’t like that my son kept getting stuck on certain levels. Like where the card is flashed at them and they have to pick a card by memory. If your child has difficulty with this like my son, they might get stuck in those types of levels.

Overall I feel its a fun supplement to our Math curriculum. The boys seem to enjoy it and it mixes it up for them instead of workbooks and counters.

Thank-you to Dreambox Learning for offering my Readers the chance to win a free month subscription. I was not paid to write this review. These options are mine and mine alone.

Math Brought my son to Tears :(

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