Wednesday, April 28, 2010

2010 Schoolhouse Planner

I wanted to clue you into to one other promotion that The Old Schoolhouse magazine is offering. That is on their 2010 Schoolhouse Planner.
I have used the planner for the last 2 years, and it has been such a blessing! Each year they tweak it and add new forms and new info, so you are not purchasing the same thing over and over. The popular forms are still there from year to year! The planner is chock full of not only planner pages, but homeschool resources, household helps along with those forms.
I have used mine so much this year. I actually printed out 3 different copies of the calendar! And have used it for all of my planning needs this year.
Check out the special they are having right now!

Home and school organization made easy! The 2010 Schoolhouse Planner is available and ready to help you plan your best homeschool year ever. With over 120 forms and 600 pages for home and school, everyone in the family can stay organized. You can even use the pages to make personalized organizers for each child. Plus, they've included recipes and helpful articles from homeschool experts.

If you order before midnight on April 30, you will receive a free gift--E-Book: The 2009 Planner Useful Excerpts--packed full of articles and recipes.

There are so many features, and this link has all of the information and the link to a 40+ page sample! Get organized now and receive the bonus E-Book!

Free Tote of Goodies from TOS

I have been a long time fan of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. I have been an on going subscriber since 2005! When my TOS magazine arrives in my mailbox, it is almost like Christmas!
The magazine is filled with stories of what other homeschoolers are doing, how to stories, unit studies, and product information. And what is best about it, is that it is an unashamedly Christian magazine! You will find articles that will help you on your Christian walk, as well as, helping you along your homeschool journey.
Another awesome thing about the magazine, is they really are in the 'business' of helping homeschoolers. And their current promotion reflects that! If you subscribe right now, at regular price, you will receive a tote full of goodies!! Read about it below!!!

You can have a free Homeschooling with Heart tote bag. The above link will show you a picture, and give you all the details on how to get yours. You'll also receive some free E-Book resources worth over $70 when you subscribe--shipping is FREE to the U.S. Plus, you'll receive the Spring issue free! Hurry, there are a limited number of bags--when they're gone, they're gone!

The FREE tote is made of poly-canvas with snap closures and shoulder-length handles. It's perfect for the library, a field trip outing, support group meeting, or homeschool convention! Its versatile design makes it the perfect bag to just throw over your shoulder and go!

Click here to get the details!

I hope that those of you who have yet to subscribe will take advantage of this awesome offer!!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What is Your Identity?

What is your Identity?
I was speaking with a group of mom’s the other day. And we were talking about our children growing up and what we were going to do once they were up and out of the house. What would we do? For me, it brought me to the place of , “Wow.. I have been homeschooling for a long time, what will I do after that? What will that look like?’ I have been Jennifer, homeschooling mom of 5…. What will my ‘new role’ be?
For a lot of us, our identity for the last many years has been wrapped up in our children’s lives. Of course, all parents feel that way, however, as homeschool parents that takes on a whole new meaning.
Because quite literally we have been an integral part of just about every aspect of our children’s growth. Spiritual, academic, and social. SO when our job is done, what will we do?
This brings me back to my original question.. what is your identity? What is my identity?
Are you indentifying more with being a mom, a wife, homeschooler, a certain kind of homeschooler, or a member of a particular church or perhaps being a member of one group or another. In the end, none of those things matter. What matters is our relationship with Christ. Can our identity be summed up as a Christ follower?
When we focus on our relationship with Christ, all other areas of our life fall right into place.
As we move toward Christ, building our relationship with Him. Answers to all of our everyday decisions and worries will become clear. Including, what will be next for me?
For I can do all things through Christ which strengthenth me. Phil 4:13
As homeschooling moms we often worry and fear about providing enough , are we doing enough, have we met all of their needs, have we checked all of the boxes, kept the right records and so on. While those are all important, after all, we have committed to homeschool our children and we do need to do it well. In 1 Corinthians 10:31 it says Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. So we should do our best. However, that is not our main role , our main role is to point them to the cross, point them Jesus Christ. And He will guide them and meet their every need. And far exceed anything that we can do in our own power. We as parents in the process, may be blessed and used as a tool in God’s hands, in our children’s lives, if we will just submit, trust and lean on Him.
There is only one thing in life that never changes, always stays the same, and that is Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. So, no matter what stage of life you are in, you can trust that Jesus will be with you every step of the way.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Ketogenic Diet-Curing Epilepsy With Food

Recently, I posted about working to heal myself of my health issues by changing my diet. You can read about that here. This is not a new concept for our family. In fact we have been doing this for years.

We have 5 children. They range in ages from 10 - 17. My oldest son has had epilepsy since he was 4 months old. Actualy diagnosis at 6 months. For the 1st 4 years we were n the medication track. We did not know there was any other option. The neurologists that we had, did not tell us of any other options,except, that when one medication became ineffective, we would need to change it or increase the dosage. And on and on it went.

That is until Feb of 1997. In that Feb, I was watching a show called 'Home and Family'. They had a family, the Abrahams family. And their son Charlie had seizures. I was astonished. I had never heard anyone discuss epilepsy before. Not outside our doctor's office. Charlie's Dad, Jim, is a movie producer. You would know him from the Airplane movies. Anyhow, when Charlie's seizures were not stopping, Jim went on a mission to help his son. And he discovered the ketogenic diet, something that has been used at John's Hoplins since the 20's. And to their amazement, the diet stopped the seizures. After medication and brain surgery could not!

Jim went on to make a 'Made for TV' movie called, First Do no Harm, starring Meryl Streep. That was why he was on that television program that day, promoting this movie. It chronicled the life of a mother trying to help her son, who finds the ketogenic diet. Of note, the movie was made for TV, for the purpose of getting the valuable information into as many hands as possible. And it worked!!!

A few days later we watched 'First Do No Harm' and were ready to jump on a plane to John's Hopkin's much like the mother portrayed in the movie. Our local ABC affiliate in Los Angeles did a profile on the 11 o'clock news about the diet, and a family that had been using it for their daughter. They also spoke with her neurologist. That night, we looked in our insurance book, and lo and behold he was listed! We called him the next day and started the process of getting our son on the diet.

Just prior to starting the diet. Our son had a series of seizures or perhaps several large seizures, throughout the night, that we did not know were happening. And in the morning I found him still seizing in and out, and unable to move on side of his body. We took him to the hospital. He had what was called a Status Epilepticus seizure ( or series of seizures) and suffered what is called Todd's paralysis following the seizures. In crisis, we had called our old neuro, and she placed him in the hospital for 3 days. Her answer, poly therapy. Dual drugs and a high dose of the current one. WE never filled those prescriptions. That was because...

The following monday, our son was admitted into a different hospital to start the ketogenic diet. Within in just a few days, his seizures were gone. And we were able to wean him off all medication. It was astonishing! Lights were turning on for him that we had never seen before! It was simply amazing to watch.

Later that year.. I had 2 more of my children begin to have seizures. And for them, instead of having to travel down the medication road, we were able to put them straight on the diet. With huge success!!! 2 years after our oldest started the diet, we had our last child. And to my horror, she began to have seizures. However, the ground work was laid. We put her on the diet, and again we had great success!

My young three children that had to go on the diet, were each able to only stay on the diet for a period of 1-3 years. They each returned to a 'regular' diet. And epilepsy has become just a speed bump in their road of life!

My oldest son however was not as fortunate. He was on the diet for 7 years. And it was always effective, as long as he complied. However, as he got older, he was choosing not to comply. And we had no choice but to remove him from the diet ( he actually did that himself, by not following it) and put him on medication. Today is still much better than it was when we started. He was having 30 seizures a day when he started the ketogenic diet, and for several years we were having them 1 every couple weeks.. stretched out to every 4 weeks. Right now we have not seen a seizure for 6 months. We went one year last year. He is still plaugued with grand mal seizures. So when they come, they are fierce. However, his life is much better today, because of the ketogenic diet.

If you have stumbled onto this site, and you have never heard of the ketogenic diet. I am not going to explain it for you here. Others have done it so well that I will send you onto them.

First, please vist our doctor's website, you will find a wealth of information there.

Also, I would like you to take the time to watch these two videos. They are from Dateline. They say 2004, they actually aired in 2003. They chronicle the jounrey of the movie producer and his son, and tells you about the diet. You will also see a tiny snipet about our family. ( should mention they say in the video 'all 4 of our children' have epilespy. Actually 4 of our 5 children have had epilepsy.

Here is part one.

And here is part two.

Friday, April 23, 2010

TOS Crew: Super Star Speech

As a homeschool group leader, I am often asked about homeschooling children with Special Needs. I was thrilled when I heard that I was selected to review Super Star Speech, by Deborah Lott M.Ed Speech Language Pathology.

As part of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was sent a free copy of Super Star Speech, Speech Therapy made Simple.

This manual is designed to help those children with mild articulation errors in their speech. It is not designed to correct physical problems that may cause speech issues.

As a mom with children who have had professional speech therapy, I can tell you that they would always show the most improvement when we the family, would work with them everyday, in between their speech therapy sessions.
This program builds on that principle. Deborah Lott saw the same results in her practice.

What I really liked is that they had an articulation test within the manual, as well as, the instructions on how to administer the test. And how to score the test.

The manual also includes blank lesson plan forms, blank games and flash cards. They do not have pre-made lesson plans, as each child will need a tailored plan to meet their specific needs. However, you will have at your fingertips, words lists and instructions on how to teach each sound. This is invaluable. Often times, parents will know where their child needs help, but does not know how to help them. This manual will help them do that.

What is great about this program, is that Deborah Lott, is a homeschooling mother, and Speech and Language pathologist. She understands what homeschoolers need.

If you have a child who is struggling with articulation errors, or other speech issues, please visit Super Star Speech and see what they have to offer.

Super Star Speech is available in Spiral Bound for $18.95 and Ring Bound for $22.95. You can also purchase an E-book version for up to 40% off.

Please visit the crew blog to see what my crew mates have to say about Super Star Speech!

TOS Crew: Alphabet Beats

The TOS Crew ship is docking at our next port! We are visiting with Alphabet Beats. As a crew mate for the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received a free copy of Alphabet Beats lower case to use with my family, in exchange for my honest opinion.

Because of our families history of special learning needs, I am quite familiar with the idea, of marrying movement, or song, and hands on activities and visual learning in order to help facilitate learning. And most important retention.

So what exactly is Alphabet Beats? Well, it is a DVD handwriting program.
It is geared for kids ages 2-8, however, I tried this out with 2 of my children. My extremely special needs child and my 10 year old. Both of them could write, however they both needed help with formation, and they both tend to tend to write only using capitals.

We sat down and watched the DVD as instructed. I watched along side them. It really is indeed geared for the younger set. When you are watching it, there is lots of reinforcement of letter sounds and letter recognition. The presentation of these letter sounds is not at all 'sing song'. It is very straight forward and distinct. While the Alphabet Beats videos are not designed for special needs kids, the way the program is designed will be very beneficial for your special needs student.

So what is so special about Alphabet Beats. Well, it's all in the song! Well not just the song. In the Alphabet Betas videos they use;

1) Visual: Most children are visual learners and tend to retain more when taught visually

2) Auditory/Rhythm: Children like rhymes and rhythm-it's a great way to learn. Most children learn their ABC's for the first time by singing the ABC song! We always incorporate catchy songs and chants in our videos that children will remember and which will help guide them through motor planning the desired action later.

3) Repetition: Children enjoy and learn through repetition! How many times have you read the same book to them at bedtime?
I can tell you that the little jingles they have come up with really did help with my kids. Both. They sing it to them selves if the forget. Or if I correct their formation, they go back and will use the song to help them along with the correction. Also, you can watch the 'TV Teacher' write the letter correctly as she is singing the jingle. Great reinforcement, as well as, using audio and visual learning styles! I can tell you that I have seen a marked improvement in both of my children's handwriting since they have started using Alphabet Beats.

If you have a little one just beginning to start handwriting, then this would be an awesome tool to have in your arsenal.

There are 2 DVD's in the Alphabet Beats Family, one for Uppercase and one for Lowercase. Each one is available for $35. What I thought was handy, was the fact that they have workbooks to go with it. 2 workbooks for each level, a beginning and advanced. The beginning books run for $4.49 and the advanced is available for $4.99. You can purchase these items by visiting their website.

My fellow crew mates have posted their thoughts about Alphabet Beats on the crew blog. Sail on over and check out what they have to say!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Technology... what a day!!

Darling daughter, child #4 is graduating from the 8th grade this year. As her and I at down on the floor to go through photos to add to her photo montage, she came across an envelope filled with negatives. Her comment was " What in the world are these?" Oh my word, that made me laugh so hard. I had recently watch a tv program where they howed a flah bulb, you know the old cube style that went on top of your camera.. and the 20 somethings that were persent, had no idea what it was!!

And on the other id eof the spectrum.. I have learned how to create the said photo montage. When my older kdis graduated 2 years ago, and even when my 3rd son graduated last year, I did not know how to do that.

It is so invigorating to know that you have the ability to create something like that. At the last two graduations, we needed teenagers to create these presentations! It has been so much fun to work on this project! And it has been a fun walk down memory lane!

My babies are all growing up!

I really think I should have started gardening years ago. I have heard it said for years that it is relaxing, and so rewarding... yeah, yeah, yeah is a bit of what I thought.

Well I must tell you, I am totally addicted!!! Now, at this very moment, there are only 2 items in my garden that I can use, dill and Romaine Lettuce. However, this week two things happened that was terribly exciting!!

First, earlier this week, I made a sandwich for lunch, which included lettuce from my garden! And second, tonight, we had a tossed salad with dinner. And all the lettuce came from my garden! What a blessing!

I am looking forward to all of my seedlings growing and maturing. But for now, I am enjoying watching them poke through the ground!

Do you have a garden? What are the favorite things about your garden?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

GIVEAWAY!!! Professional Pink Flat Iron!!

My daughter has very curly hair. However, she loves to wear her hair straight. So being the good mother that I am, I purchased a flat iron for her. Little did I know that the kind found in the drugstore was not going to be strong enough for her hair! Not until I took her to my friend, who is a hair dresser, did I learn that she needs one of those fancy expensive flat irons that cost way more money than I could ever afford!

Today, I learned that my dear friend from the TOS Homeschool Crew, Mrs. White, is hosting a giveaway for a Professional Pink Flat Iron. I must tell you, my daughter is praying that we win! Otherwise she has no hope of getting this any time soon!

Would you like to enter to try to win this for your family? All you need to do is visit The Legacy of the Home and enter for yourself!

Monday, April 5, 2010

From the Heart of a Father

This month, for our monthly newsletter that goes out to our local homeschool group. My husband was a blessing and decided to write an article for it. Not only that, it is his desire to continue to write on a semi regular basis for the newsletter.

Now, this blessing me beyond measure, because, normally, I have to come up with all the content. So this lifts a burden off of my shoulders! However, in this new feature he has focused on helping other homeschool dads. His desire is that many dad's will benefit, as well as participate in sharing their success stories or even their struggles.

I thought I would share with you, what he wrote to the group! Thanks Honey for all your help and support!


This is the first installment of our new feature,targeting the
home school dad.This column has been created to assist dads with the challenges, as well as, increase our knowledge. Guys, there is no way that I’m an authority on home schooling but I thank the Lord for the opportunity to share my trials and circumstances.

I’m a proud father of five. We have home schooled our children for the last ten
years and it has been the most challenging and rewarding experience for our
children and for us. In the past few years I have made tremendous strides
in having a better understanding of the dynamics of our home school.
This includes understanding what my wife is going through, as well
as,how my children are doing academically. It took several
years to learn how to accomplish that.

First you need to ask yourself this question, ‘Why are we home schooling our
children?’ There are a multitude of reasons why we take on this endeavor.
Once you determine your reason or motivation. It will help you when you
come to a difficult time. That’s right you will become
frustrated and discourage at times and people will also
think that you are crazy for not following the traditional classroom
setting. The benefits outweigh the trials; it is great to
know your child’s strong and weaker points. It is wonderful to to modify your children’s curriculum for need or special interests.
The most rewarding thing is no one knows your children better
that you do. The parent teacher conferences are also fun;
we normally go out and have a nice dinner.

Note: Gentlemen always be available to discuss matters with your
wife. I know we are normally in the secondary position. What
we need to remember, is that our wives have been home
all day dealing with the personalities of our children. She
needs a break, some quiet time maybe even some adult communication.
So before Sportcenter take some time to review the day’s events.
This will allows your wife to feel that she is not alone fighting
the battle teaching our children. Remember: We must remain strong
in Christ, strong husbands, strong fathers, and men that walk with
the light.

Psalm 27:1
The LORD is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear? the LORD is the
strength of my life of whom shall I be afraid?
Christian Home Educators of the Antelope Valley

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in the truth.
~3 John 4~

And , ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the
nurture and admonition of the Lord.
~Ephesians 6:4~