3 Ideas for Fall Family Fun

3 Ideas for Fall Family Fun - jenniferajanes.com

3 Ideas for Fall Family Fun

We always enjoy fall. The cooler temperatures after the heat and humidity of the summer are a relief, and there are a lot of fun activities going on. It’s the perfect time to take field trips and have some fall family fun!

1. Frontier Days / Civil War Reenactment

We live fairly close to Historic Washington State Park, where they have Frontier Days and a Civil War reenactment every fall. We always try to make one or the other—or both! We learn so much about life in the 1860s in ways that are fun and understandable because we’re right there in the middle of it!

This year we enjoyed a tour of the Block-Catts house, which is the oldest wood frame two-story home still standing in Arkansas. It was built in 1832 and is also notable as the home of the first Jewish immigrants to Arkansas.

In Block-Catts house - jenniferajanes.com

We also visited the blacksmith shop, where everything is crafted by hand.

Inside the blacksmith shop - jenniferajanes.com

The girls enjoyed another trip to the candle shop, where they learned more about the way candles are made and the fine art of dipping the candles and mixing colors to create new ones.

In the candle shop - jenniferajanes.com

Near the Sanders Kitchen, we had the privilege of seeing the wool dyeing process. Since we enjoy knitting and crocheting, it was fun to see how this is done with natural dyes.

Near the Sanders kitchen - jenniferajanes.com

2. A Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze

I have wanted to take the girls to a pumpkin patch and corn maze for years, but it hasn’t ever worked out. This year was different. We have a friend who is working to build a portfolio for her photography business, and she asked if the girls would model for her—at Noble Oaks Farm’s Fall Festival! (Note: The following photos were taken with my cell phone. Sherry took professional photos with her fancy camera, and she has the right editing software to make them look good too. I’m sure she’ll post them soon on her Facebook page. I’ve seen her work, and it’s amazing! I can’t wait to see the girls’ pictures.)

Noble Oaks Farms set - jenniferajanes.com

Corn maze victory at Noble Oaks - jenniferajanes.com

Candy corn pumpkin roll at Noble Oaks - jenniferajanes.com

Hay bale jumping at Noble Oaks - jenniferajanes.com

3. An Out-of-the-Way Museum

We’ve visited the Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources before, but when we found ourselves in the area for a family birthday celebration this month, the kids begged to go again. So we did!

There’s nothing like spending the afternoon in a 1920s jail.

Inside the jail at Natural Resources Museum - jenniferajanes.com

It’s fun to find out about life on the frontier too.

canoe at Natural Resources Museum - jenniferajanes.com

And it’s always interesting to see what oil field laundry looked like. (Trust me. We don’t have real laundry problems!)

Oil field laundry at Natural Resources Museum - jenniferajanes.com

Fall Family Fun

You probably don’t live close enough to these places to visit this year, but if you look around, you’ll probably find something similar near you if you ask around and do a little research. Activities like these are a great way to spend a fall afternoon, especially if you want everyone to get a good night’s sleep!

Tired child - jenniferajanes.com

What are some good spots for fall family fun in your area? Leave them in the comments for others to see!

Posted in Family, Fun, Homeschool | Leave a comment

VeggieTales – Beauty and the Beet {Review}

VeggieTales Beauty and the Beet {Review} - jenniferajanes.com

*I received a free DVD copy of Beauty and the Beet from FlyBy Promotions for review purposes. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

VeggieTales – Beauty and the Beet

My daughters have watched VeggieTales since they were very small. They were excited to see Beauty and the Beet and find out how they had adapted the “beauty and the beast” storyline to fit the VeggieTales characters. As with every other VeggieTales adaptation, it was wonderful!

Beauty and the Beet is about Mirabelle, who travels with her family band, the Veggietones. They’re excited about their next performance at Vegetable Square Garden, but on the way, they get stranded in a blizzard. Fortunately, they find themselves near a rather run-down resort, where they find themselves short on cash—and long on working for the owner for their room and board. As you might expect, the owner is a gruff and rather hateful beet (a real beast ;) ), and Mirabelle finds herself challenged to show him kindness and unconditional love. How he responds is something you’ll have to find out for yourself!

My kids declared this “the best VeggieTales movie ever!” My nine-year-old liked “the point to it, the song, and that it was about a girl.” My eleven-year-old liked “the message and the songs.” They asked to watch it again shortly after we finished our first viewing, and that’s something I haven’t heard requested for a while!

As a mom, I liked the family-friendly entertainment, the focus on a character trait I want my children to exhibit, and the music (including the new Silly Song), which has my kids begging for a soundtrack. I love that my kids enjoyed the DVD so much.

If your children like VeggieTales, this would be a great addition to your DVD library—or maybe even a stocking stuffer for Christmas, if you can wait that long!

Get Your Copy of Beauty and the Beet!

FlyBy Promotions has agreed to give away a DVD copy of Beauty and the Beet!

Here are the details:

  • The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. or Canada ages 18 and older.
  • The giveaway ends on Thursday, October 23, 2014, at 9:00 pm CDT.
  • To enter the giveaway, leave a comment answering the question below.
  • Only one comment per household.
  • Duplicate or “extra” comments or comments left after the giveaway ends will be deleted.
  • The winner will be notified by email within 24 hours of the end of the giveaway and will have 24 hours to respond with the requested information. If the information isn’t received, another winner will be chosen. The information will be sent to FlyBy Promotions so your DVD can be shipped.

Additional information from FlyBy Promotions:

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Ready to enter? Leave a comment answering the following question:

What will your family enjoy most about Beauty and the Beet?

Posted in DVD Reviews, Giveaway, Review | 5 Comments

Special Needs Parenting Moved Me Out of My Comfort Zone

Special Needs Parenting Moved Me Out of My Comfort Zone - jenniferajanes.com

*As a co-author of The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas, I get paid for my writing through sales of the book. For this reason, this post contains affiliate links. Thanks in advance for your support.

Special Needs Parenting Moved Me Out of My Comfort Zone

Parenting my younger daughter has been an adventure. She has chronic health issues, neurodevelopmental issues, and learning difficulties. Parenting and homeschooling her has moved me out of my comfort zone in ways I never expected.

I am a very traditional learner. I do fine with visual and auditory teaching methods, which means that lectures and textbooks always worked pretty well for me. That’s what most of my school experience consisted of too—both as a student and later as a teacher. My older daughter is a pretty traditional learner too, so I wasn’t required to change any of my methods . . . until my younger daughter started formal lessons.

It didn’t take me long to realize that traditional methods weren’t working with my younger daughter. Through a lot of trial and error, I realized that she learns best through hands-on activities. I had to completely change my thinking and the type of educational experiences I planned for her. It took me way out of my comfort zone.

In addition to a solid academic foundation, my husband and I wanted our kids to be involved in volunteering and service in the community from a young age, to think about others and their needs. The trouble is that it can be hard to find volunteer opportunities for younger children. We learned to start small and work our way up to bigger projects as they got older. We had to move outside our comfort zones, and do some creative thinking to find projects we could do as a family, especially ones that our younger daughter could participate in. (Delays in motor coordination and mild hypotonia can make physical activity tough!)

Parenting a child with special needs has made me move outside my comfort zone to do two things that are very important to me: homeschool and volunteer in our hometown. My passion for these two things led to me to write the two chapters I contributed to The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas.

The first chapter, “Making Learning Fun for the Struggling Learner,” is full of simple ways to make learning more enjoyable for the student who struggles. (You’ll be happy to know most of them have nothing to do with books or curriculum!)

The second chapter, “25 Ideas for Ministry and Volunteering in the Community with Kids!”, is a list of ways the whole family can serve the community, beginning with those right next door! You’ll find activities like the ones below—and more!

  • After you pick up your paper, put your neighbor’s paper on their front porch to save them the trip.
  • Volunteer to watch a friend’s child so she can go to the doctor, hair salon, or just out for a cup of coffee alone.
  • Make a meal large enough that you’ll have plenty to share, and then deliver a meal to an elderly neighbor or two.

We have learned to start small and work up to bigger projects with service clubs and non-profit organizations. (Our family went on an in-state mission trip together this summer!)

If you’re interested in reading more, please find my chapters and lots of other great ideas in The Big Book of Homeschool Ideaswhich is available in a bundle with the 23 MP3s from iHomeschool Studio (my time management session is included) for only $15, which is a fantastic savings at more than 50% off!

Studio and Big Book Bundle

Or, if MP3s aren’t really your thing, you can get The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas for $2 off, using the code homeschool.

BigBook2offpromo 1

Both of these deals are available through November 10, 2014!

AND – my coauthors are also highlighting their chapters this month, some with fabulous giveaways!

Be sure to visit:

  • Michelle Cannon from Heart of Michelle. Author of the chapters Transitioning from Elementary to Middle School, Homeschooling the Child with Bipolar Disorder, and Navigating from High School to College with a Dyslexic Child. Michelle will be giving away a one-hour homeschool consultation.
  • Renee Brown from Great Peace Academy. Author of the chapters How to Find Resources for Gifted Child Homeschooling, How to Homeschool During Job Loss, and Prioritizing your Marriage While Homeschooling. Renee will be giving away a $25 Amazon card.

You can find more about the authors of The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas (and their giveaways) on iHomeschool Network’s blog tour landing page.

 

Posted in Homeschool, Parenting, Special Needs | Leave a comment

The Hardest Peace by Kara Tippetts {Review}

The Hardest Peace by Kara Tippetts {Review} - jenniferajanes.com

Disclosure: I received a copy of The Hardest Peace from FlyBy Promotions in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

The Hardest Peace by Kara Tippetts

When I agreed to read The Hardest Peace and share my thoughts, I didn’t know anything about Kara Tippetts. What I did know is that my family is going through a difficult time, and I longed to move past “fear and control and toward peace and grace,” as stated on the back cover of the book. I figured if Kara could find peace in the midst of mothering four children and living with stage IV cancer, that she might have a thing or two to teach me.

And she does. In The Hardest Peace, Kara doesn’t offer pat answers. She doesn’t act like devastating situations are a piece of cake. She admits that life is incredibly hard and shares how she has made peace with her situation by accepting that she is not the author of her story. She reminds us that God is in control of everything, including our pain and suffering.

What touched me the most was Kara’s joy and peace in the midst of a terrible situation. I was encouraged to seek God in the midst of my hard and to turn my story over to Him, remembering that He is the author of my story. Letting go of control and fighting through fear is hard, but if Kara can do it, so can I.

The Hardest Peace Giveaway

FlyBy Promotions has agreed to give away a copy of The Hardest Peace by Kara Tippetts!

Here’s the scoop:

  • The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. or Canada ages 18 and older.
  • The giveaway ends on Tuesday, October 21, 2014, at 9:00 pm CDT.
  • To enter the giveaway, leave a comment answering the question below.
  • Only one comment per household.
  • Duplicate or “extra” comments or comments left after the giveaway ends will be deleted.
  • The winner will be notified by email within 24 hours of the end of the giveaway and will have 24 hours to respond with the requested information. If the information isn’t received, another winner will be chosen. The information will be sent to FlyBy Promotions so your book can be shipped.

Additional information from FlyBy Promotions:

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Ready to enter? Leave a comment answering the following question:

Why do you want to read The Hardest Peace?

Posted in Book Reviews, Giveaway, Review | 6 Comments

2014 Texarkana Autism Conference Schedule Released!

2014 Texarkana Autism Conference Schedule Released! - jenniferajanes.com

*Disclosure: I am an advisory board member for the local autism support group working with FEAT-NT on the 2014 Texarkana Autism Conference.

2014 Texarkana Autism Conference Schedule Released!

When I initially wrote about the 2014 Texarkana Autism Conference, I promised to let you know when more information became available. That time has come! The finalized speaker schedule and sessions descriptions have been published. You can see them at texarkanaautism.com, and I’ll post the highlights here:

Friday, October 24, 2014

1:15 to 2:45pm

Administrator Tool Box
Presented by Cindy L. Peavey, M.S.

Administrators have to deal with a wide range of topics on a daily basis. When you throw a student with autism into the mix, it requires the administrator to do some “out of the box” thinking. This session will focus on providing tools for administrators to appropriately address routines, schedules, and discipline for students with autism, as well as maintain positive and productive relationships with key stakeholders.

1:15 to 2:45pm 

The Sibling Relationship: The Unique Needs of  Siblings of Special Needs Children & Sibshop Programs
Presented by Laurie Snyder, President of Families for Effective Autism Treatment – North Texas

The sibling relationship is a unique one within a family. This presentation will bring to light the special concerns of siblings of special needs children, how autism impacts the family and siblings specifically, ways that we can support them and how important it is to acknowledge their special perspectives.  The nationally recognized program, Sibshops will be briefly covered with examples of the program’s fun activities that approach these concerns and promote open communication in families and lift up siblings of special needs children.

3:00 to 5:00pm
Using Phonics to Teach Language
Presented by Dr. Regina Crone, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Come learn strategies for teaching reading to individuals with limited language or who communicate non-vocally. This presentation includes strategies for teaching phonics, vocabulary building and testing for comprehension in a meaningful way.  Video demonstrations and case studies are reviewed during this session.

 3:00 to 4:30pm 

Sensory Processing in the Home and Classroom
Presented by Mia Kemp, OT

Come learn how Sensory Processing Disorder also known as Sensory Integration Disorder affects children in the classroom and at home. Understand how to identify when a child is struggling due to sensory issues and how sensory processing affects a child’s ability to function appropriately and effectively. In this presentation you will learn sensory diet strategies and techniques that can be incorporated into the child’s daily schedule, that will help improve his/her sensory processing. Practical information will be provided to help guide the child to be better aware of their own special sensory needs and how to help them begin to self-regulate.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

8:45 to 10:15am 

Understanding Why and How Behavior Changes
Presented by Dr. Regina Crone, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is founded on over 500 studies supporting the effectiveness of working with children with Autism and related disabilities. Changing behavior is the first step to teaching new skills and motivation is key!
Learn functions of behavior and how to address problem behaviors effectively by learning to create an effective Behavior Intervention Plan based on the evidence based strategies through the science of ABA.

8:45 to 10:15am 

Transition – What Families Need to Know

Presented by Janis McClure, LPC, Region 8

“What does transition mean?” This presentation will provide information on what the transition process includes, when it begins, and how it helps students and parents better prepare for adulthood. Information will be provided on vocational education, continuing education, independent living, community participation and adult services. Understanding individual rights, transition options and considerations will also be covered to help better prepare the individual and their family for a successful future.

10:30 to 12:00pm

Verbal Behavior 101: Language is Behavior
Presented by Dr. Regina Crone, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Understand how language is behavior and how to apply ABA to shaping speech and language. We will walk through the verbal operants as mentioned in the ABLLS-R and VBMAPP. Teaching strategies will also be demonstrated. Handouts, demonstration and videos are included.

10:30 to 12:00pm

Welcome to Asperger’s, Now What?
Presented by Daniel Durany, Bachelor of Science, Communication Studies
Daniel will be sharing his experiences in what life is like for him with Asperger’s Syndrome since his diagnosis. He offers insightful information about how to cope with the condition, goal setting strategies, and helpful tools toward becoming a contributing member of society. His insightful information on how and why his struggles can directly affect how others view and/or understand an individual with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Come share in Daniel’s personal story and gain perspective, knowledge and strength from his journey.

1:45 to 3:15pm (Part 1)

Breaking Down the Barriers to Effective Social Skills
Presented by Dr. Regina Crone, Ph.D., BCBA-D and Kimberlee Flatt, MA, LPC, BCBA

Let’s teach social skills that lead to meaningful relationships!
Social skills are dynamic and complex. Social skills not only require a learner to actively interpret cues from their environment and respond fluently based on the unique context of the social moment, but to be effective require one to navigate and understand others perspectives all while processing and organizing abstract information. This training will provide strategies for social understanding, and provides practical strategies targeting a breaking down of social barriers that are common in non-verbal learners and verbal learners with Autism.

1:45 to 3:15pm 

Having a Successful Parent and Professional Relationship
Presented by Laurie Snyder, President of Families for Effective Autism Treatment – North Texas

Have you often felt a little weary trying to work with one another? Do you feel your perspective and situation as a Teacher or Parent is misunderstood or not fully appreciated? Lack of or ineffective communication can thwart the best efforts and intentions of any parent or professional. When we stop to consider the various aspects of each other’s position, we are better capable of respecting and supporting one another. Strategies for helping one another for the common goal of the child’s progress will be provided. This interactive presentation will include opportunities for collaborative communication while being led by Laurie Snyder, a parent and professional with over 12 years’ experience mentoring and working with both parents and professionals throughout North Texas.

3:30 to 4:30pm (Part 2)

Breaking Down the Barriers to Effective Social Skills
Presented by Dr. Regina Crone, Ph.D., BCBA-D and Kimberlee Flatt, MA, LPC, BCBA

Let’s teach social skills that lead to meaningful relationships!
Social skills are dynamic and complex. Social skills not only require a learner to actively interpret cues from their environment and respond fluently based on the unique context of the social moment, but to be effective require one to navigate and understand others perspectives all while processing and organizing abstract information. This training will provide strategies for social understanding, and provides practical strategies targeting a breaking down of social barriers that are common in non-verbal learners and verbal learners with Autism.

3:30 to 4:30pm 

Transitioning Smoothly from High School to College
Presented by Daniel Durany, Bachelor of Science, Communication Studies

Daniel will be discussing an in-depth awareness about the transition from high school to college. Transitioning Smoothly from High School to College discusses several points: key factors toward a smoother transition, typical struggles for people during the transition and Daniel’s personal experience while transitioning from high school to college. His insightful information on how and why his struggles can directly affect how others view and/or understand an individual with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Come share in Daniel’s personal story and gain perspective, knowledge and strength from his journey. Daniel Durany is a public speaker and advocate for individuals and families affected by autism spectrum disorders. He pioneered an adult asperger’s support group and volunteers with FEAT (Families for Effective Autism Treatment). Durany received his Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Studies from Texas Christian University.

For more information about sessions, registration, SibShops, the Casino/Silent Auction fundraiser, and more, visit texarkanaautism.com.

 

Posted in Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, Special Needs | Leave a comment

Well Planned Day Wall Calendar {Review}

Well Planned Day Wall Calendar - jenniferajanes.com

*I received a free Well Planned Day Wall Calendar from HEDUA in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Well Planned Day Wall Calendar

If you know me at all, you know that I kind of have a “thing” about planners and calendars (but we’ll stop short of calling it an addiction, okay?). Every day I use a blog planner and a homeschool planner, share an electronic calendar with my husband and older daughter so we can easily communicate activities with one another, and keep a bullet journal to help me prioritize everything and see it in one place. (Okay, so maybe I have a *little* problem.)

As if that weren’t enough, I also like to have a wall calendar hanging in the kitchen where everyone can see it. My family glances at it throughout the day to see what appointments and activities we have each day and what’s coming up. You would think all the other calendars and planners I’ve got going would be enough, but my family really relies on having that wall calendar for quick reference. The problem is that most wall calendars don’t have squares large enough to hold everything I need to record for the month.

September 2014 Well Planned Day Wall Calendar - jenniferajanes.com

Fortunately, that’s not a problem with the Well Planned Day Wall Calendar. The boxes are almost twice as large as the ones on my old wall calendar! There are other features I like too:

  • I mentioned it before, I know, but I love the large space allotted to each day.
  • It is longer than other wall calendars, but it’s not a lot wider, so it still fits in the space where my other calendar was.
  • It’s pretty. (I always have to say it. It matters when you’re looking at something umpteen times a day.)
  • My children can easily find the information they’re looking for because the big boxes leave plenty of white space and the notes aren’t so crowded that it’s impossible to read.
  • It’s affordable.
  • There’s an inspiring or thought-provoking quote for each month.

March 2015 Well Planned Day Wall Calendar - jenniferajanes.com

How to Get The Well Planned Day Wall Calendar

If you would like to get your own copy of the Well Planned Day Wall Calendar, you can buy one from HEDUA (they’re on sale now) or enter this giveaway!

Update: Congratulations to Martie H.! She won the Well Planned Day Wall Calendar!

HEDUA is allowing me to give away ONE copy of the Well Planned Day Wall Calendar. Here’s the scoop:

  • The giveaway is open to US residents ages 18 and older.
  • The giveaway ends on Monday, October 13, 2014, at 9:00 pm CDT.
  • To enter the giveaway, leave a comment answering the question below.
  • Only one comment per household.
  • Duplicate or “extra” comments or comments left after the giveaway ends will be deleted.
  • The winner will be notified by email within 24 hours of the end of the giveaway and will have 24 hours to respond with the requested information. If the information isn’t received, another winner will be chosen. The information will be sent to HEDUA so your planner can be shipped.

Ready to enter? Leave a comment answering the following question:

What’s your favorite feature of the Well Planned Day Wall Calendar?

Posted in Giveaway, Review | 12 Comments

Playground Safety for Kids with Sensory Processing Disorder

Playground Safety for Kids with Sensory Processing Disorder - jenniferajanes.com*The required FTC disclosure: I am a Better Beginnings brand ambassador. I get paid to write an article for them once a month, but the best thing is that I get to learn, and in turn share with you, great information about how kids learn and helping them learn through play. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I believe in the mission of Better Beginnings – quality early education for all.

*          *          *

I’ll never forget the terror I felt when I looked up and saw my preschooler about to walk off one of the top levels of the playground equipment. It was clear she had no awareness of the danger she was in, no understanding that the platform didn’t extend any further, no fear of plummeting to the gravel several feet below, no clue that the fireman’s pole in front of her was the right way down from that point. I screamed her name, intent on getting her attention, on keeping her from taking that last step, while I ran toward her, praying to get there before it was too late.

I made it. Just barely.

A couple of years later, my daughter was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), and the playground incident (and so many other things) began to make sense. I also understood better how to keep my daughter safe on the playground.

Playground Safety for Kids with Sensory Processing Disorder

Playgrounds provide great therapy for children with Sensory Processing Disorder. They’re also a good place for you to find out your child’s strengths and weaknesses. You will discover quickly if your child is over-responsive (avoids certain sensory input), under-responsive (it takes a lot of input to get him going), or sensory seeking. My daughter can be any of these on any given day, depending on how her body is processing (or not) the sensory signals it is receiving.

While sensory avoiders tend to cry a lot at the playground because they’re scared and overwhelmed, they don’t seem to be in quite as much danger as the passive child or sensory seeker, whose lack of ability to process the environment or craving for as much sensory input as possible put them in precarious situations.

fireman's pole on park playground - jenniferajanes.com

Here are some good tips for keeping kids with Sensory Processing Disorder safe on the playground:

  • Be aware. If your child hasn’t been diagnosed yet, but you see some strange behaviors, realize that SPD might be part of the problem. Our scariest playground incident occurred before I realized that my child’s behavior might indicate Sensory Processing Disorder. Knowing it’s a possibility will help you to understand potential issues better.
  • Enlist help. It can be hard to see what your child is doing during every second on a busy playground. Ask other moms to help you keep an eye on your child, walk the playground to keep him in sight, or pay an older child or teenager a few dollars to help you watch her.
  • Discuss safety rules. Before you go to the playground, you should discuss safety with your child—rules for safety on playground equipment as well as basic safety rules (which should be part of an ongoing conversation with your child).
  • Introduce your child to the play equipment. Point out the different levels on multi-level pieces of equipment; discuss appropriate ways to play on the swings, slide, monkey bars, etc.; explain games other children may want to play there—anything else that might be difficult for your child to determine on his own.
  • Get a diagnosis. If you’re able to have your child evaluated to determine if your child’s dangerous behaviors are due to Sensory Processing Disorder, and your child receives the diagnosis, your child can get therapy, you can do activities with him at home, and you can gradually see changes in your child’s behavior as her sensory integration improves.
  • Play. Spend time playing with your child on the equipment. You get the chance to revisit some of the simple pleasures of your own childhood, and you stay within arm’s length of your child.
  • Consider alternatives. If you’re tired or not feeling well, and you don’t have a friend or mother’s helper available, consider doing something besides playing at the playground. There are lots of other things to do outside that both of you will enjoy—and can learn from. When she was younger, my daughter liked digging holes to find earthworms and roly-poly bugs to hold and watch. We took the opportunity to learn more about these critters too, so it was also an educational experience! You can also enjoy the sandbox, jumping rope, learning to ride a bike, and other outdoor activities—all without risking the playground equipment.

If you’re looking for more information about family safety rules and great ideas for outdoor learning opportunities, check out free resources in the Better Beginnings Resource Library like 10 Family Rules for Safety and Play, Explore, Learn Outdoors.

If you’re in Arkansas and need child care, please consider a Better Beginnings provider. They have fun, hands-on educational activities for every child!

Other articles in the Learning Through Play series:

Back to Basics: Learning Through Play - jenniferajanes.com

Posted in Parenting, Sensory Processing Disorder, Special Needs | 20 Comments

October: A Month of Homeschool Ideas!

October: A Month of Homeschool Ideas! - jenniferajanes.com

*This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting this site!

October: A Month of Homeschool Ideas!

October is going to be an exciting month. I’m joining some of my coauthors for The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas blog tour! Each day one of the authors will share something about her homeschooling story, her passion for the topics of the chapters she wrote for the book, and a sneak peek into what those chapters contain. (I’m up on October 17!)

To make the month even better, iHomeschool Network is offering The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas AND all of the MP3 recordings from the 2014 iHomeschool Studio (including my time management session) for only $15.00! This is a $36.00 value, so it’s being offered at a huge discount.

iHomeschool Network is also giving away 10 bundles (see giveaway widget at the bottom of this post) this month! But don’t wait to see if you’re a winner. Buy your bundle today at no risk – iHomeschool Network will send you an immediate refund if you’re a winner!

Studio and Big Book Bundle

Blog Tour Schedule

  • October 1 – Heather Woodie from Blog, She Wrote. Author of the chapters Teaching Geography with Geography Quests, Teaching Sewing in Homeschool, and Being a Homeschooling Mentor Rather Than an Instructor.
  • October 2 – Stephanie Harrington from Harrington Harmonies. Author of the chapters Everything You Need to Know About Gardening and You CAN Teach Art. Stephanie will be giving away a Teaching Art Basketful of Goodies.
  • October 3 – Joan Otto from Unschool Rules. Author of the chapter Learning from Video Games. Joan will be giving away a $20 GameStop gift card.
  • October 4 – Mary Prather from Homegrown Learners. Author of the chapter How to Teach with LEGO. Mary will be giving away free LEGO scripture copywork.
  • October 5 – Amy Stults from Milk and Cookies. Author of the chapters Learning with Maps and Genealogy for Kids. Amy will be giving away a copy of WonderMaps from Bright Ideas Press.
  • October 6 – Eva Varga from EvaVarga.net. Author of the chapters How to Use Postage Stamps for Learning and Inquiry Science with Middle School Students. Eva will be giving away Getting Started with Inquiry Science.
  • October 7 – Colleen Kessler from Raising Lifelong Learners . Author of the chapter Hands-on Science. Colleen will be giving away Science for Smart Kids: Electricity.
  • October 8 – Sallie Borrink from SallieBorrink.com. Author of the chapters Allowing Play to be Your Child’s Preschool, Parenting a Spirited or Highly-Sensitive Child, and Parenting an Only Child. Sallie will be giving away a $25 shopping spree at Sallie Borrink Learning.
  • October 9 – Karyn Tripp from Teach Beside Me. Author of the chapter Homeschooling with Games. Karyn will be giving away a printable Build a House – Math Bingo Game.
  • October 10 – Selena Robinson from Look, We’re Learning. Author of the chapters Teaching Foreign Language, Active Learning Ideas for Kinesthetic Learners, Using Movies for Learning, How to Add PE to Your Homeschool Day, and Homeschooling Through the Summer. Selena will be giving away We Got Jazz.
  • October 11 – Janine LaTulippe from True Aim Education. Author of the chapters How to Encourage Math Haters, How to Answer the Critics of Homeschooling, and Character Development. Janine will be giving away a Character eBook Set and a Free Character Building Activities printable.
  • October 12 – Marci Goodwin from The Homeschool Scientist. Author of the chapter Nature Study. Marci will be giving away a field guide.
  • October 13 – Jennifer Dunlap from Forever, For Always, No Matter What. Author of the chapters Homeschooling in a Large Family and Homeschooling through a Move. Jennifer will be giving away a couple of Florida learning resources.
  • October 14 – Ticia Messing from Adventures in Mommydom. Author of the chapters Tools to Teach the Bible to Your Kids and Hands-on Learning. Ticia will be giving away an Old Testament Bible study.
  • October 15 – Alicia Hutchinson from Investing Love. Author of the chapters Children’s Literature, Homeschool Conferences, and Unit Studies. Alicia will be giving away Mrs. Hutchinson’s Classroom Guide: Homeschool Basics.
  • October 16 – Michelle Cannon from Heart of Michelle. Author of the chapters Transitioning from Elementary to Middle School, Homeschooling the Child with Bipolar Disorder, and Navigating from High School to College with a Dyslexic Child. Michelle will be giving away a one-hour homeschool consultation.
  • October 17 – Jennifer Janes from Jennifer A. Janes. Author of the chapters Special Needs Homeschooling and 25 Ideas for Ministry and Volunteering in the Community with Kids.
  • October 18 – Renee Brown from Great Peace Academy. Author of the chapters How to Find Resources for Gifted Child Homeschooling, How to Homeschool During Job Loss, and Prioritizing your Marriage While Homeschooling. Renee will be giving away a $25 Amazon card.
  • October 19 – Adelien Tandian from Blessed Learners. Author of the chapters How to Start Research With Your Logic Stage Kids. Adelien will be giving away Basic Science Notebooking Pages and Graphic Organizers.
  • October 20 – Heidi Ciravola from Starts at Eight. Author of the chapters Making Tweens and Teens More Independent Learners and High School Literature. Heidi will be giving away The Ultimate Homeschool Planner and The Ultimate Weekly Planner for Teens from Apologia.
  • October 21 – Dianna Kennedy from The Kennedy Adventures. Author of the chapters Keeping Babies and Toddlers Occupied While Homeschooling, Managing Extra Curricular Activities and Homeschooling, and Homeschooling While Pregnant. Dianna will be giving away a $25 Amazon gift card.
  • October 22 – LaToya Edwards from Learning to Let Him Lead. Author of the chapters Homeschooling Elementary Aged Boys, and Single Parent Homeschooling.
  • October 23 – Carisa Hinson from 1+1+1=1. Author of the chapter Homeschooling Tots. Carisa will be giving away Animal ABCs Bundle.
  • October 24 – Shannen Espelien from Middle Way Mom. Author of the chapters Getting Started with Credit-by-exam, Where to Buy and Sell Used Curriculum, and Transitioning to a Virtual School from Public School.
  • October 25 – Marianne Sunderland from Adundant Life. Author of the chapters Homeschooling Teen Girls, The Power of Interest-led Learning, and Raising Kids With Vision. Marianne will be giving away a DVD/study guide bundle of Intrepid: The Zac Sunderland Story – Part 1, Part 2 and Wild Eyes: The Abby Sunderland Story.
  • October 26 – Kyle Suzanne McVay from Aspired Living. Author of the chapter Classical Homeschooling. Kyle will be giving away A Home Educators Guide to Living Math.
  • October 27 – Mama Jenn from Mama Jenn. Author of the chapter Homeschooling Twins. Jenn will be giving away an Education Cubes Set (membership AND cubes/photo blocks).
  • October 28 – Amy Matkovich from A Journey of Purpose. Author of the chapters Making the First Day of Homeschool Special, and How to Make a Homeschool Budget and Stick to it. Amy will be giving away Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover book and The Graduate’s Survival Guide (book and DVD).
  • October 29 – Amy Maze from Living and Learning at Home. Author of the chapter Free eBooks and Audiobooks.

Big Book Blog Tour Calendar

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Growing Up with Sensory Issues by Jennifer McIlwee Myers {Review}

Growing Up with Sensory Issues by Jennifer McIlwee Myers {Review} - jenniferajanes.com

*I received a free copy of Growing Up with Sensory Issues from Sensory World for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Growing Up with Sensory Issues by Jennifer McIlwee Myers

It was the subtitle of Growing Up with Sensory Issues, the Insider Tips from a Woman with Autism that grabbed my attention. I’ve read a lot of books about Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), but all of them have been from the perspective of a clinician, therapist, or researcher. I couldn’t wait to read a book that covered SPD from the point-of-view of someone who grew up with it, who still lives with it. I wanted insight into what my daughter experiences every day.

I wasn’t disappointed. Growing Up with Sensory Issues gave me the inside information I was looking for, and Jennifer McIlwee Myers did it with a sense of humor and grace I didn’t expect. I came away with tips for helping my daughter with sensory integration, a better understanding of what it’s like to live in a body that doesn’t do sensory processing well, and an appreciation for Jennifer and her writing. (I’ll be looking for more books she has written!)

This is one of the most parent-friendly books about SPD that I’ve read. Jennifer broke down the complicated terminology and explained it in ways that were easy to understand, even creating some of her own phrases to use in place of the official terms so that the information was easier to make sense of. I highly recommend Growing Up with Sensory Issues: Insider Tips from a Woman with Autism by Jennifer McIlwee Myers.

You can get Growing Up with Sensory Issues from SensoryWorld.com. (You can use the code JJANES for a discount!)

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Posted in Autism, Book Reviews, Review, Sensory Processing Disorder, Special Needs | Leave a comment

The Struggling Reader – Fluency and Comprehension {Review}

The Struggling Reader - Fluency and Comprehension {Review} - jenniferajanes.com

*The Struggling Reader has been a sponsor of my blog for over a year. Sadly, this partnership is coming to an end. This is the final review of The Struggling Reader products as part of that agreement. I received the products free of charge, but all opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

The Struggling Reader – Fluency and Comprehension

The Struggling Reader’s Fluency and Comprehension products are much like their other products. Both come with a test that is easy to give and is explained well in the spiral-bound book as well as on CD, if needed. They are also easy to score so that you can see where your child’s strong and weak areas are.

Both products also use multisensory activities to help struggling readers improve in the weak areas. If your struggling reader is like mine, there will be huge relief that there are no worksheets involved.

Some of my favorite fluency activities are Closed Caption TV (with proper pre-screening and some thought to what teachable moments can be capitalized on) and Tape Check Chart (which involves recording a section of reading and then listening to the recording and marking mistakes). There are also many other activities that will allow the struggling reader to practice fluency alone and with friends and family members.

I also especially like the Comprehension activity Story Impressions because it uses key words from the story the child is about to read and asks them to try to guess what the story will be about. Their reading then has a new purpose—to find out how close their predictions were to the actual story. The Think Aloud is another activity I find valuable. This allows the parent or teacher to model the thinking processes used while reading by speaking them aloud so the student can hear your brain at work. Hopefully, with continued modeling and practice, the struggling reader will begin to use some of the same thinking processes in his own reading.

If you’re looking for products that can help your struggling reader develop reading skills using hands-on, multisensory activities, The Struggling Reader might be just what you need. You can find out more on their website.

Reviews of other Struggling Reader products:

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