Friday, April 28, 2017

Blogging Through the Alphabet: Letter O Is for Overcomer

Welcome to another week of Blogging Through the Alphabet. This week we will be looking at the Letter O. When I contemplate what word I want to choose each week, I often discuss it with my Momma. She is a amazing sounding board. This week, my son joined in and came up with the perfect word. Our Letter O word for this week is Overcomer.

Overcomers do more than survive. They thrive! They see the beauty of their brokenness. They then use their brokenness to make a difference in the lives of others. They won't allow their storms to drown them but instead keep their eyes focused upon God and praise Him through the raging thunder and pounding rain.

Overcomers come in all shapes and sizes. They know what real pain and suffering is and can smile through it because they have hope. They know that the sun will shine again one day.

Overcomers have peace because they know that Jesus has overcome the world.

Thank you for joining me for another week of Blogging Through the Alphabet. Please take a moment to stop by my friends, A Net in Time and Hopkins Homeschool, who host this weekly blog hop to see what Letter O words they have to share. Also, take a moment to stop by the other blogs listed on the blog hop to learn about other interesting Letter O words.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Children's Book Spotlight and Review: How to Tame a Triceratops & Giveaway

My son loves all things dinosaurs. When I was offered the chance to spotlight this book as well as write a review about it, I didn't hesitate at the offer.

Book Cover: How to Tame a Triceratops by Will Dare from the Series: Dino Riders - Book # 1

Welcome to The Lost Plains!

A wild west frontier where dinosaurs never went extinct.

Josh Sanders wants to be the next great dinosaur cowboy! Ropin’ raptors and ridin’ bucking brontosauruses just like his hero Terrordactyl Bill.

Too bad he’s stuck working on his family’s Iguanodon ranch, riding his ancient dino, Plodder. The closest Josh has ever been to a T-Rex is reading about them in his Dino Cowboy Handbook.

To prove he has what it takes, Josh is determined to win the annual Settlement Race. But he’s gonna need one fast dino to stand a chance. With the help of his friends Sam and Abi, Josh will need to tame a wild Triceratops!

This wildly entertaining new chapter book series for ages 7 and up features exciting illustrations and real dino facts! A great way to get kids reading. And don’t miss the next book in the series: How to Rope a Giganotosaurus.


Two bundles of the first two Dino Riders books – How to Tame Your Triceratops & How to Rope a Giganotosaurus


It was 8:00 a.m., and Josh Sanders was sitting on a dinosaur.

This wasn’t unusual. He sat on a dinosaur almost every morning. In fact, most people in Lost Plains did. But Josh had been in his saddle for a while now, and his butt was beginning to ache.

“Plodder,” Josh moaned as he wriggled in his seat. “You’re about as comfy as a cactus!”

Plodder kicked his feet and snorted into the air. A gooey trail of dino snot splattered onto the ground.

“Ew!” Josh laughed. “And you’re gross!” He gave the gallimimus a friendly pat on the side. “C’mon, buddy. We’ve got iguanodons to find. We can’t sit around here all day!”

Josh made a clicking noise with his mouth and nudged the dinosaur with the heel of his boot. Slowly, he began to move forward. In the distance, Josh could see the huge fence that kept the predators out. Well, most of them. No fence this side of the Lost Plains could keep out a T. rex.

“Come on, Plod,” he urged, rocking in the saddle. “Sometimes, I think it’d be quicker if I carried you!”

Plodder was a long-necked, reliable gallimimus, used for herding iguanodons—but he was getting old now. Josh would do anything for a faster dino. His hero, Terrordactyl Bill, rode around on a triceratops, protecting the Lost Plains from fearsome dinosaurs and criminals. He was the greatest dino rider ever. Legend had it he’d once knocked out a brontosaurus with a single punch. Josh smiled at the thought of T-Bill in action. Now that would be an exciting life.

Eventually, Josh spotted the group of iguanodons he was after. They were wandering near the edge of the Sanders’ Ranch territory, right where the predators roamed. It was Josh’s job to herd them back where they belonged. With their bulky bodies and lumbering walk, iguanodons weren’t the fastest dinosaurs, but they sure could beat you up if you didn’t treat them right.

“OK, Plodder,” he cried. “It’s time for some action!”

Unclipping the rope from his belt, Josh gave it a twirl above his head.


Josh snapped the lasso like a whip in the air behind the iguanodons. At once, a deep roar went up from the herd, and the beasts broke into a run.

“Now we’re talking. Let’s go!”

As Josh yanked on the reins, Plodder hollered and set off in pursuit. Josh felt the ground shake as the heavy iguanodon herd grunted and snorted, thundering across the plains and back toward the ranch. As the sun rose above the Wandering Mountains in the distance, he let out a whoop of joy.

“Woo-hoo!” he yelled, raising the rope above his head once more. His hat flew backward, and he felt the wind whistling through his sandy hair. Sometimes, riding Plodder wasn’t so bad after all!

He moved toward the iguanodons, gently steering them in the right direction and dodg- ing in and out of their gigantic legs and stinky bodies. However, as most of the iguanodons made their way back toward their pen, Josh suddenly noticed one of the big brutes veering off from the herd.

“Uh-oh,” he muttered. A knot of panic tightened in his chest. This one dinosaur was running away from the others, right in the direction of the Sanders’ farmhouse.

“Get back here, you oversize lizard!” Josh called, but he knew words were no use. If the out-of-control dinosaur kept going, the house would be smashed to pieces.

This called for action.

Josh squared his shoulders and narrowed his eyes. What would Terrordactyl Bill do? he thought.

Suddenly, he had it.

“Yah!” Josh cried, digging his boot heels against Plodder’s ribs. The dino shot forward, and they thundered up a slope in quick pursuit.

Dust clouds rose up from the iguanodon’s heavy claws and clouded Josh’s vision. He pulled on the reins to dodge from left to right.

Plodder grumbled as Josh flicked the reins but managed an extra burst of speed. They caught up with the iguanodon just as it crashed through a wooden fence, sending splinters flying through the air.

“Not on my watch,” Josh growled, doing his best T-Bill impression. He grabbed his lasso and raised it above his head. He twisted his wrist, and the rope twirled through the air.

Josh let the lasso go. It flew through the air and looped expertly around the iguanodon’s neck.

“Gotcha, big guy,” cried Josh, pulling back on the guano. “Now, are you going to come quietly or—whoa!”

Book Photo: Josh Riding Plodder as They Wrangle Iguanodons


How fun would it be to ride an actual dinosaur? Children will enjoy joining Josh as he spends time among these magnificent beasts. They'll like the real dinosaur facts sprinkled throughout this fictional chapter book. They'll also enjoy the silly, boy humor scattered among the pages. The book is simple enough for independent reading but is an entertaining story for parents and children to read together as well. Children and adults will enjoy the black and white illustrations that, along with the author's words, help paint vivid pictures throughout the story. Is Josh's determination strong enough to win the annual Settlement Race? Pick up your copy of How to Tame a Triceratops today to find out. You'll enjoy the adventure. You won't want to miss Book # 2 in the Dino Riders Series: How to Rope a Giganotosaurus and Book #  3 in the Dino Riders Series: How to Hog-Tie a T-Rex which will be released July 2017.

Dino Riders: How to Rope a Giganotosaurus by Will Dare Book #2

Book Available from the Publisher Sourcebooks

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew Review: Drive Thru History® - "The Gospels"

My son and I were ecstatic when we learned about the opportunity we would have to review the newest Drive Thru History® series. My son learns exponentially from these amazing videos. We soared through Drive Thru History® Ancient History and Drive Thru History® American History on SchoolhouseTeachers. Furthermore Dave Stotts keeps my son engaged throughout the entire series. We couldn't wait to see what the Drive Thru History® - "The Gospels" series had to say about the life of Jesus.

The Journey:

Students of all ages will enjoy taking a journey with Drive Thru History® - "The Gospels" host Dave Stotts as he takes them on a trek through Israel to delve into the birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus as told in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in the New Testament of the Bible. Throughout the series, Dave visits more than fifty ancient sites that reiterate the truth of Scripture with archeological and historical evidence. As my son so clearly states, "You are virtually walking in the very places that Jesus himself walked." Seeing the Gospels come alive in vivid color makes them more than a dot on a map. It makes the history of Jesus's life come alive in a very real way as the DVD transports you to a different place, a different way of life, and a different time in history. You no longer have to imagine the Sea of Galilee where the Disciples fished or the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed because you've now seen them. This three DVD set has eighteen lessons total with each episode lasting approximately thirty minutes each for a total of nine hours of poignant viewing.

Beautiful Scenery:

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Drive Thru History® - "The Gospels" has the most picturesque and breathtaking video journalism as it walks the viewer through the very places Jesus himself once trod. From sanctuaries such as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre pictured above to ruins like that of the ancient Roman Aqueducts at Caesarea Maritima pictured below, these DVDs transport viewers to places they've only heard of before viewing this series. Seeing these places truly brings the Bible to life.

Roman Aqueducts at Caesarea Maritima

The Study Guide:

Drive Thru History® -"The Gospels" comes with a Study Guide, which has a section for each lesson. The Study Guide begins each section with a quote from a historical figure or Scripture. Then, it provides a short summary for the corresponding video lesson. Next comes a series of Discussion Questions that will facilitate in-depth conversation among students and parents. Each section also provides a list of corresponding Scripture. Finally, the lesson ends with a Side Road, which is a section of additional information related to the lesson just covered. Additionally, the Study Guide hosts various artwork and pictures of the areas visited in the DVDs, which accentuates its beauty.

Dave Stotts - Tour Guide Extraordinaire:

Dave Stotts is the Host and Editor of the Drive Thru History® Series. He is also the Senior Editor for Cold Water Media. Dave graduated from Greater Atlanta Christian School. He then went on to earn degrees from Abilene Christian University and Westminster Theological Seminary. Dave has combined his love for God and History to create fun and entertaining educational videos that teach children about Ancient History, American History, and now the Gospels. Dave and his wife, Rebekah, are raising their four children (three boys and one girl) in Richardson, Texas.

You can learn more about Drive Thru History® on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Drive Thru History® also has a Series on Ancient History and another on American History. To read more reviews about Drive Thru History® - "The Gospels," visit the Homeschool Review Crew site to see what other members have to say about this amazing product.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew Review: Planet 316

We recently had the opportunity to do a fun review for Planet 316's Daily Bible Jigsaw Game.

Anyone can play the Daily Bible Jigsaw Game for Free. The Daily Bible Jigsaw is available for play on Facebook, Facebook Gameroom, Google Play Store, and Apple App Store. When you connect Daily Bible Jigsaw to your Facebook account, you can even challenge your friends to timed games. Each day you log into the game, you get a new game to play. You can even earn coins to use to purchase additional puzzles and tools to help you solve puzzles more quickly.

Daily Bible Jigsaw promotes a healthy, active mind. It also helps one relax after a stressful day. Because it is an online game, I don't have to worry about any of the pieces getting lost or not being in the box, which would frustrate my son who has a diagnosis of Autism. With Daily Bible Jigsaw, he can complete a puzzle and not become frustrated. He likes to use the tools to rotate all of the pieces to the proper direction and then use the edges tool to form the edges of the puzzle first. Both of these tools require coins. Therefore, I play the game and earn free coins for him to use when he plays. You earn coins by playing the game and earning rewards: playing in a certain amount of time, playing so many puzzles a week, and other various tasks. The puzzles are also good for problem solving skills as well as spatial reasoning. Therefore, they do serve an educational purpose.

Unsolved Puzzle

Completed Puzzle - Scripture Verse

What I like best about the Daily Bible Jigsaw are the beautiful pictures and inspiring Scripture verses each puzzle reveals once solved. The Bible verses are uplifting and also help ease the tension of a chaotic day and remind me of God's loving presence.

Challenge Your Friends

Try Daily Bible Jigsaw by Planet 316 for yourself. It is fun and entertaining. It is educational. It is free! It is addictive. You will enjoy it. Your children will enjoy it. Furthermore, it is uplifting.

You can learn more about Planet 316 on Facebook and Twitter. To read additional reviews, please stop by the Homeschool Review Crew site and see what the other members are saying.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew Blog Hop: 5 Days of Homeschooling Children with Special Needs - Autism

At age eight, my son had been diagnosed with ADHD. Five years ago, when he was eleven, we were at our monthly meeting with his psychiatrist and I felt like we were still missing something. I began to give her examples from every day life. She then asked if he had ever been tested for a Pervasive Disorder. When she said the word Autism, my son immediately said; "I'm not Autistic! I look people in the eye, I like hugs, and I talk to people!" Thus began the testing and an official diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome or high-functioning Autism. Since my son was diagnosed, they have changed the parameters of Autism to reflect that it is a Spectrum Disorder, which is extremely accurate because no child exhibits the same strengths and differences in the same manner.

What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder from the National Center for Learning Disabilities

Autism is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by difficulties with social interaction, repetitive behavior, and sometimes speech and nonverbal communication. According to the CDC, 1% of the population has a diagnosis of Autism.  In the US, 1 out of every 68 births will have a diagnosis of Autism. (CDC)

Learn the Signs of Autism Video from AutismSpeaks

As I mentioned earlier, each individual with a diagnosis of Autism is effected differently. I know for us, each day can be different as well. Routine is very important as people on the Autism Spectrum do not adjust well to change. My son is also one for rules and he will follow them implicitly as he takes everything literally. My son has the most difficulty with social interaction. Once he knows you, he makes excellent eye contact. He has difficulty with the give and take of conversations. He will tell you everything he knows about topics he deems important. He can also have difficulty reading body language and facial expressions. With Speech Therapy and practice of these Social Skills, he is making excellent progress. He rarely has any repetitive behaviors. His behaviors only show when he is extremely anxious or upset. Then, you might notice him snapping his fingers repeatedly or hear him clearing his voice often (verbal tic). He does have his favorite topics: he can tell you every single detail of information about all things of interest to him. He finds comfort in his video games. He says they stretch his mind but I know they don't require social interaction. It's a "safe place" to be.

Inside the Spectrum of Autism

If you are a parent or loved one of a child with a diagnosis on the Autism Spectrum, I want you to know you aren't alone, dear one. I encourage you to look around your community for support groups. Talk with other parents. I have several friends who have children on the Autism Spectrum and it is comforting when you can speak with one of your friends and they just get what you are saying. There are numerous websites and blogs that offer insight as well. I have included helpful links in this post to sites that will provide useful information. Furthermore, I encourage you to focus upon your child's strengths. Look at what your child can do. Celebrate the achievements they make no matter how big or small. Finally, never give up. Always keep persevering, dear one.

The Homeschool Review Crew's 5 Days of Homeschool Annual Blog Hop 2017. Join us April 17-21, 2017. Check back here on my website for new posts throughout this week as well as the Homeschool Review Crew's website to see what new posts crew members have shared as well.

You can join in the fun. If you have a homeschool post that meets the criteria, please feel free to use the link-up below to share your post.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew Blog Hop: 5 Days of Homeschooling Children with Special Needs - IEP

Does my child need an IEP? What is an IEP? Doesn't this label my child as different? What are the benefits of having an IEP? For homeschoolers, the choice of whether or not your child should have an IEP varies widely. Some parents choose not to have an IEP for their children as it is one more hurdle to jump through at the end of the year when completing paperwork. Other parents choose to have an IEP for their child. The choice is individual and must be based upon what is best for your child.

My son, who has diagnoses of ADHD, Autism and various learning disabilities, has an IEP. When we switched to traditional homeschooling, I opted to keep his IEP in tact. Before I explain my reasons, I should explain what an IEP is. An IEP is an Individualized Education Plan. Every child who receives special education services must, according to the law set forth by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, have an IEP.

The purpose of an IEP is to ensure that the child's learning issues are addressed and establishes attainable educational goals. The IEP includes a list of educational supports and services (physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy). It also includes a list of modifications (ex. using Dragon Speak instead of writing essays) and accommodations (ex. untimed tests) your child can use to help them be successful in learning.  Finally, it provides transition planning for life after graduation.

The reason I chose to keep an IEP for my child is that it will go with him to college. Should my son decide to seek further education, his IEP can be used at a college level to provide accommodations and modifications that can be essential to his success as a student. I have never seen the IEP as labelling my child. Rather, I have seen it as a valuable tool to help my child have all of the tools he needs to be successful. As I said at the beginning, choosing to have an IEP for your child is an individual choice that each parent must make based upon what they feel is best for their child. I hope this post and the links contained herein help shed some insight on IEPs.

The Homeschool Review Crew's 5 Days of Homeschool Annual Blog Hop 2017. Join us April 17-21, 2017. Check back here on my website for new posts throughout this week as well as the Homeschool Review Crew's website to see what new posts crew members have shared as well.

You can join in the fun. If you have a homeschool post that meets the criteria, please feel free to use the link-up below to share your post.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

5 Days of Homeschooling Children with Special Needs and Blogging Through the Alphabet

Thank you for joining me for Day Three of Homeschooling Children with Special Needs. Today also happens to be Blogging Through the Alphabet day. We're currently on Letter N, which is perfect. Letter N is for Needs.

We all have needs. We all need air to breathe, food to eat, water to drink, shelter to keep us warm and dry. Some of us have different needs than others. It doesn't make us better or worse than someone else...just unique. For example, I need monthly IV Infusions to help my body fight against infections. Having diagnoses of Autism, ADHD, and several Learning Disabilities means my son needs extra help learning Life Skills, Social Skills, and School Subjects. This just makes him unique. I think he's amazing. But, I am very biased.

If we're truly honest, none of us is perfect. We all have areas in our lives that we need to work a little harder on to achieve our goals. Some of us will achieve those goals quickly while others will take a longer time. What matters isn't how long it takes. Rather, it is that we keep persevering that truly matters. We must never give up.

Children with Special Needs and Parents of Children with Special Needs have amazing courage and strength. They face their fears head-on because there honestly is no other choice. As parents, we push ourselves past our limits for our children. Yet, it is essential that we remember to take care of ourselves as well. We can't take care of those we love if we are not taking care of ourselves. Remember to reach out to others. Find support. Get rest when you can. Eat well. Stay healthy.

Thank you for joining me today for The Homeschool Review Crew's 5 Days of Homeschool Annual Blog Hop 2017 as well as Blogging Through the Alphabet. Join us April 17-21, 2017 for The Homeschool Review Crew's 5 Days of Homeschooling Annual Blog Hop. Check back here on my website for new posts throughout this week as well as the Homeschool Review Crew's website to see what new posts crew members have shared as well. 

Please also take a moment to stop by Blogging Through the Alphabet hosts: A Net in Time and Hopkins Homeschool to see what words they're sharing for the letter N this week. Also, consider clicking on the other links at the bottom of their pages to read more exciting letter N words.

You can join in the fun. If you have a homeschool post that meets the criteria, please feel free to use the link-up below to share your post.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew Blog Hop: 5 Days of Homeschooling Children with Special Needs - Learning Disabilities

Why was it taking my son two hours to write two sentences? Yes, he had been diagnosed with ADHD but I felt as though we were missing something. Momma, never doubt your inner voice. You know your child best. Ask questions. Seek answers. Advocate for your children. The answer to my question: my son cannot write two sentences because he has a learning disability. Knowing that, I am able to help him Instead of writing out answers, I allow him to verbally answer questions. Technology is also a huge benefit as programs like Dragon Speak allow my son to verbalize his responses while the program types them out.

Learning Disabilities are neurologic processing issues. In other words, the brain doesn't want to manipulate data in the typical manner. Learning Disabilities not only interfere with learning reading, writing, and math but they also interfere with organization, time management, reasoning, and memory. Most commonly known Learning Disabilities are Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, and Dyscalculia. Other Learning Disabilities include Auditory Processing Disorder, Language Processing Disorder, Visual Perceptual/Visual Motor Deficit, and Non-Verbal Learning Disabilities.

Dyslexia affects reading and language skills. Students who have dyslexia can have difficulty with reading, spelling, reading comprehension, and handwriting. Dysgraphia affects written expression. Dyscalculia affects math computation and numbers.

In addition to Dysgraphia, my son also has been diagnosed with Dyscalculia. We have determined that because math is not of interest to him, he places math concepts in his short-term memory. Then, he dumps them once we are done working on that particular concept. Because he doesn't store the math facts in his long-term memory, we have to teach him the same math facts all over again. At first, it was very frustrating for both of us. Once we understood the Dyscalculia and some strategies to help him learn better, math became easier for both of us. One strategy is repetition. We work on math facts all year long. Another strategy is to help him break a large problem down into workable smaller problems. When he sees a large problem, he would become overwhelmed. He would say, I can't do this. Now, he knows how to break down a problem into smaller, more manageable problems.

Knowing there is a problem is your starting point. Once the Learning Disability has been identified, a strategy to help your child succeed can be implemented. Throughout this post, I've linked to several sites I think you will find helpful. They list symptoms as well as provide strategies you can utilize with your children. If you are concerned that your child has a Learning Disability, you can ask your local school district to perform testing even if you are a homeschooling family. They are required by law to provide your child with access to such testing as well as resources such as Speech Therapy and Occupational Therapy. For more information on your Legal Rights, visit HSLDA.

Remember, dear ones, you are not alone in your journey. Others have walked very similar paths. Don't be afraid to reach out. Local Homeschool Associations and Co-Ops are good sources of information and support.

The Homeschool Review Crew's 5 Days of Homeschool Annual Blog Hop 2017. Join us April 17-21, 2017. Check back here on my website for new posts throughout this week as well as the Homeschool Review Crew's website to see what new posts crew members have shared as well.

You can join in the fun. If you have a homeschool post that meets the criteria, please feel free to use the link-up below to share your post.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew Blog Hop: 5 Days of Homeschooling Children with Special Needs- Intro

Welcome to the Homeschool Review Crew's Annual Blog Hop. This year we have quite an interesting list of topics from our participating crew members. I think every homeschooler will find encouragement in this year's blog posts. I will be focusing on 5 Days of Homeschooling Children with Special Needs.

My Blog Hop Topics:

Monday: Introduction to Blog Hop and Week's Topics

Tuesday: Learning Disabilities

Wednesday: Blogging Through the Alphabet Letter N is for Needs

Thursday: IEP and a special post on the Homeschool Review Crew site about ADHD/ADD

Friday: Autism

As a former Social Worker and the mother of a child with Special Needs, I know the importance of a good education, the frustrations that can occur when homeschooling, and the need for encouragement. My hope is that you walk away from this week's posts knowing you are not alone, dear ones. Parenting isn't always easy. Add being with your child twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week and wearing not only the hat of a parent but also a teacher and you can feel overwhelmed and exhausted. I'll be honest, there are days when our homeschooling endeavors are extremely successful. Yet, there are days when our homeschool efforts fail miserably and we call it a day. Then, we start fresh the next day when neither of us is frustrated and frazzled. That's the beauty of homeschooling: working at your child's pace. You can make certain that your child is not merely being pushed ahead without fully comprehending the material. If they need to review a topic longer, then you can take the extra time to do just that. If your child is becoming frustrated, you can take a break from that project and work on something different.

Recently, someone asked me why I always write children with special needs or child with a diagnosis of Autism. While part of that is due to my training as a Social Worker, the other part is because I realize the importance of seeing the child first rather than their disability or special needs. Our children may have special needs. They may not be able to do all of the things every other child can do. However, that does not need to define who they are. My uncles were both born blind. I never saw what they couldn't do. Instead, I saw their accomplishments. I saw that they could play the piano and organ. I saw that they could navigate the city of Philadelphia better than I could. I saw that they were both computer programmers. I saw that they both were teachers and published poets. I saw that they were both counselors. When my son was diagnosed with Autism, I knew he would be raised to see the blessings in his life and to focus on his abilities rather than the areas where he struggled. Don't get me wrong: we still work on communication skills, personal hygiene, math, and other areas where he struggles. However, these areas do not define him. Instead, he is defined by his strengths. He isn't ashamed to tell people he has Autism. In fact, he will tell you, "It just means my brain just works differently than yours." Helping our children feel safe and secure in who they are is extremely important.

Some parents are concerned about having the proper skills to teach their children at home. As their parent, no one knows your children as well as you do. Nor, does anyone have their best interests at heart the way you do. Homeschooling my son has been a series of trials and errors as we've found the right combination of curriculum to match his learning style. He's a teenager now so he'd rather play video games all day then do schoolwork. So, we have that attitude working against us now. Yet, I have always found praying peace over my son to be extremely helpful. I think it calms my spirit as much as it does his. My son is learning. That's the main point. He isn't being left behind because he doesn't understand the material or is too embarrassed or afraid to speak up in class. He has one-on-one instruction. His lessons are tailored to meet his individual needs. We explore things that interest him. We work on life skills, which will help him be successful. We incorporate therapies into our everyday routines. Did I mention he is learning? It may be at his own pace but he is growing and learning. That is all that truly matters. I don't need him to fit into a tidy little box or be compared to any other student. As long as he is making positive strides forward, our educational journey is successful. Be encouraged, dear ones.

Homeschool Review Crew Annual Blog Hop Line Up:

Debra - 5 Days of Growing a Heart for your Community

Chareen - 5 Days of  Charlotte Mason Resources

Dawn - 5 Days of Homeschooling Teens

Michele - 5 Days of Keeping your Homeschool Alive

Tess - 5 Days of Homeschooling when Medical Issues Abound

Carol - 5 Days of An Honest Look at High School

Kelly KL - 5 Days of Homeschooling Children with Special Needs
Monique G - 5 Days of Homeschooling the Middle School Years

Kemi - 5 Days of Helping your child struggling in Math

Annette - 5 Days of Things We Enjoy in our Homeschool

Jennifer K - 5 Days of Inspiring Reluctant Learners

Lisa M - 5 Days of Popular Homeschool Teaching Styles

Kirsten W - 5 days of Homeschooling Twins

Wendy R - 5 days of Homeschooling Kids with a Large Age Gap

Rebekah T - 5 days of Simple Homeschooling in a Complicated World

Kym T - 5 Days of the Rewards of Homeschooling Teens

Ritsumei H - 5 Days of Homeschooling Books

Cassandra H - 5 Days of Knowing When and What to Change in Your Homeschool

Amanda H - 5 Days of Homeschooling Without Going Insane

Kristi H - 5 Day of summer math activities for preschoolers

Hillary M - 5 Days of Morning Time for All Ages

Melissa B - 5 Days of Extracurriculars to Add to Your Homeschool

Meredith D - 5 Days of Homeschooling a High Achiever

Jodi G - 5 Days of Hiding the Word in Their Hearts

Missica J - 5 Days of Eclectic Homeschooling

Linda S - 5 Days of Wit and Wisdom from Veteran Homeschool Moms

Ashley N - 5 Days of "Kitchen-Schooling" with preschoolers

Karen W - 5 Days of 5 Days of International Studies for Young Children

Jacquelin C - 5 Days of Hands-On Learning

Emilee R - 5 Days of Homeschooling as a Single Parent

Felicia M - 5 Days of Living the Bible in Your Homeschool

Elyse R - 5 Days of Finding our Homeschool Strengths

Erin S - 5 Days of Homeschooling with Living Books

DaLynn M- 5 Days of Threadbare Homeschooling

Meghan W- 5 Days of Literacy in the Home{school}

Christina C - 5 Days of Building Positive Thinking

Crystal H - 5 Days of Creating Independence in Your Homeschooling

The Homeschool Review Crew's 5 Days of Homeschool Annual Blog Hop 2017. Join us April 17-21, 2017. Check back here on my website for new posts throughout this week as well as the Homeschool Review Crew's website to see what new posts crew members have shared as well.

You can join in the fun. If you have a homeschool post that meets the criteria, please feel free to use the link-up below to share your post.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Blogging Through the Alphabet - Letter M Is for Maundy

Thank you for joining me for another week of Blogging Through the Alphabet. This week we are taking a look at the Letter M. In honor of the Holy week of Easter, the Letter M we will be focusing upon this week is Maundy.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Maundy refers to a ceremony of washing feet. Maundy also refers to alms collected and distributed to the poor. Finally, an obsolete definition of Maundy is a feast.

Maundy comes from the Latin word Mandatum, which is defined as a Mandate or an authoritative command or an order or commission.  (Merriam-Webster)

When you take the definitions of Maundy and Mandatum and place them in context of John 13, Maundy Thursday starts to make sense.

First, Jesus and the Disciples gather for a meal often referred to today as The Last Supper. According to the obsolete definition, Maundy means feast. Three of the four Gospels refer to the Last Supper as a Seder: the Jewish meal of Passover.

Jesus - The Ultimate Sacrificial Lamb

Next, Jesus washes his Disciples' feet. Another definition of Maundy is foot washing. Jesus washed his Disciples feet as an act of love.

Finally, Jesus gives his Disciples a mandate: another definition of Maundy. Jesus commissions his Disciples to love one another.

These events occurred before Jesus' betrayal by Judas. The next day, Jesus would begin his journey down the Via Dolorosa, which literally means a painful or distressing journey. He would carry his cross and our sins to Calvary, which interestingly is defined as an experience of intense mental suffering. (Merriam-Webster) However, he would spend time with his beloved ones before his suffering. He would ensure that they would carry on the ministry he had started. To do this, Jesus would leave them with a great commission: to love one another. This mandate extends to us as well. We are to love one another. How better can we show our love for him than to love others as he would have us love them?

Thank you for stopping by my blog. Please take a moment to stop by Blogging Through the Alphabet hosts: A Net in Time and Hopkins Homeschool to see what words they're sharing for the letter M this week. Also, consider clicking on the other links at the bottom of their pages to read more exciting letter M words. Also, you can join in on the fun and share your letter of the week blogs there as well. Just be sure you read and follow the link-up guidelines.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew Review: Northern Speech Services

I was so excited to see this product, Color My Conversation from Northern Speech Services, become available for review because children with a diagnosis of high-functioning Autism often struggle with social skills.

Color My Conversation is a multi-sensory social skills program developed by a Speech-Language Pathologist. Its primary purpose is to teach children the essential skills necessary for face-to-face conversations. Color My Conversation is a unique tool that allows children to learn the basic skills of conversation in a fun way. The basic skills include: Conversation Starters (Greetings), Conversation Stoppers (Goodbyes), Turn Taking, Eye Contact, Questions, Comments, and Non-verbal Skills (Facial Expressions, Body Language, Tone of Voice). All of these skills are necessary for a productive conversation. If someone doesn't maintain eye contact while communicating, one might think the other person rude or untrustworthy. If someone does not understand body language, they may misinterpret what another person is saying. For children with a diagnosis on the Autism Spectrum, these are skills that must be taught. Eye contact often needs to be reinforced during conversations. Emotions need to be discussed and exemplified. One tool that Color My Conversation suggests is to utilize a mirror to have children imitate certain emotions so they can see what that emotion looks like on their own faces.

The Color My Conversation Kit Includes:

12 Conversation Path Stepping Stones
100 Topic Prompt Picture/Emotion Cards
50 Game Tokens
2 Dry Erase Pens
1 Cloth Ribbon
1 Game Board
1 Rubber Ball
1 Classroom Poster
1 Instructional Manual on CD-ROM
1 CD of 12 Songs
Reproducible Worksheets and Activities

The ball works well as a tool to help students with turn taking. The ball is tossed back and forth in a pitch and catch manner as the students take turns exchanging conversation. The various colored Stepping Stones enable the students to "walk" through a conversation. The green Stepping Stone signifies your Conversation Starter (Greeting) while the red Stepping Stone indicates your Conversation Stopper (Goodbye). To make the conversation more complex, additional Stepping Stones are added. The program starts at the basic level and continues to build upon the skills the student has learned. Each lesson reinforces the previous lesson. The lessons teach the students to ask questions so that they can become lifelong learners. They also help teach students how to develop relationships and foster a sense of community. Color My Conversation makes it easy for educators by providing online training videos. These videos show how to implement each component of the program by providing clear examples. Finally, Color My Conversation discusses how technology effects how we communicate.

Color My Conversation is a unique, fun, engaging program to help students learn skills essential for conversing in a non-threatening way. Students build upon their skills with each lesson and reinforce the skills they've already learned. This is a great tool, especially for students who need help working on their social skills. My son does well with eye contact, conversation starters and stoppers. He has made great strides with facial expressions and body language. However, he struggles with turn taking and listening to topics that don't interest him. He would rather tell you everything he knows without taking a breath or allowing you to respond. He is not very good at asking questions about what interests you. The ball is a great tool to signify turn taking. I honestly think that listening to topics that interest others and not him will require practice, practice, and more practice and Color My Conversation is a great tool for that practice.

Color My Conversation was created by Dr. Rosslyn Delmonico, a Speech Language Pathologist with thirty-five years of experience in both private practice and the public school system. She created Color My Conversation to help children with language impairments take conversations from the beginning stages and build upon them until they have accomplished complex conversations.

You can learn more about Northern Speech Services at Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube and Color My Speech at Facebook

You can also read additional reviews of Color My Conversation at the Homeschool Review Crew site to see what other homeschool families have to say about their experience with this product.