October: A Month of Homeschool Ideas!

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

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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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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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!)

Related articles:

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:

Posted in Homeschool, Homeschool Curriculum Reviews, Review, Special Needs | Leave a comment

Special Needs Parenting Pitfall: Therapy = Perfection

Special Needs Parenting Pitfall: Therapy = Perfection - jenniferajanes.com

Special Needs Parenting Pitfall: Therapy = Perfection

My daughter has been very resistant to therapy for several months now. We talked about it, and I addressed the issues that seemed to be bothering her. Her therapists talked to her too. Then we took a summer break, thinking that would help her to be refreshed and ready to start again. But as summer ended and I began talking about evaluations and a return to therapy, she became more unhappy, anxious, and agitated. I tried talking to her, but she couldn’t seem to articulate what was bothering her. Until one day, she did.

She was sitting at the kitchen table drawing, and I told her it was time to add therapy back into our weekly schedule. She started crying, and I asked her what was wrong. And the truth finally came out.

She said, “I’m never going to get out of therapy!” When I asked her why she felt that way, she answered, “Because to get out of therapy you have to be perfect, and I’m never going to be perfect!”

Ouch. Apparently, I had done a terrible job of explaining the purpose of therapy and what it takes to “be done.” I explained about using therapy as a way to get caught up in areas where she’s behind, about how it’s easier to do that when you’re younger rather than older, about how catching up will make life a little easier for her as she gets older, and about how you graduate out of therapy when you’ve met the goals that show you’re caught up in the areas you were weak in.

She looked up at me with tears streaming down her face and said, “So I don’t have to be perfect?” I sat down next to her, fighting tears myself, and told her that I don’t have the right to expect perfection from her. I haven’t achieved it myself.

What special needs parenting pitfalls have you experienced? How did you handle them?

Posted in Parenting, Special Needs | 4 Comments

How I Homeschool My Child with SPD

How I Homeschool My Child with SPD - jenniferajanes.com

How I Homeschool My Child with SPD

When I began homeschooling my younger daughter, it became clear very quickly that she functioned very differently from my older daughter. I wasn’t sure what was going on for a while. I bought books, did internet searches, and talked to everyone I thought might have a clue what was going on. It wasn’t until I came across descriptions of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) that things began to make sense. (*Note: This is not the only diagnosis my daughter received, but knowing this has made a huge difference in our family and homeschool!) I began making changes that helped us tremendously.

  1. Grace. Once I realized that there was a reason my daughter did the things she did, I became more understanding and offered more grace to both of us. I’m ashamed to admit it, but early on in this journey, I thought she was just trying to push my buttons! She does that too sometimes, but that wasn’t the reason for the behaviors that were really frustrating to me.
  2. Movement. I make sure my daughter moves during the day as part of her sensory diet. Whether it’s bouncing on an exercise ball or jumping on a mini-trampoline while she answers questions related to the lesson, movement is a big part of our days.
  3. Hands-on activities. When we started our homeschool journey, I worked with my kids the way I was taught—primarily with books and workbooks. I quickly realized that wasn’t going to work with our younger daughter. Multisensory, hands-on activities work better, so now our days are full of activities she can take part in rather than just looking and listening. Whether it’s practicing letters and numbers in shaving cream or doing science experiments, we do everything hands-on as much as possible.
  4. Awareness. It may not be true for every child with SPD, but I know it’s true at my house: children with SPD can have more difficulty with sensory integration when major weather fronts are coming through, when they don’t feel well, when they’re under stress or are experiencing a lot of changes, when there’s a full moon ;), or for any other number of reasons that don’t affect the rest of us as badly. This means that you’re going to have to be aware of these situations and extend even more grace and patience and provide more sensory diet activities, more movement, and more hands-on activities.

Here are some other articles I’ve written that might help in homeschooling a child with SPD (a few have been previously linked above):

If you’re interested in finding out more about how homeschool moms in a variety of different situations and stages of life teach their children, check out more articles about Learning Styles and Personalities: How We Teach with the bloggers of iHomeschool Network! (This page goes live on Monday, September 15, 2014, at 6:00 am PT.)iHomeschool Network How We Teach Graphic - jenniferajanes.com

Posted in Homeschool, Sensory Processing Disorder, Special Needs | 5 Comments

Why My Child Almost Failed Kindergarten – And Yours Doesn’t Have To

Why My Child Almost Failed Kindergarten - And Yours Doesn't Have To - jenniferajanes.com

*The required FTC disclosure: I am a Better Beginnings 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.

Why My Child Almost Failed Kindergarten – And Yours Doesn’t Have To

*This is part of the Learning Through Play series. While it’s not specifically about play, I think it’s an important story to tell. Watching your child play, and seeing how he plays, can be critical to future academic success.

My bright, bubbly daughter almost failed kindergarten. I felt as though I had two children in one – the little girl I interacted with every day and the one who struggled beyond all reasoning when books, pencils, and paper were placed in front of her. My daughter’s kindergarten year was very difficult. We survived through diligence – hers and mine, constant assessment and readjustments to the curriculum and assignments we were using, and tears and frustration on more days than I care to remember.

And it could have been avoided if I had paid attention. I should have watched her play more closely. She was content to play alone, and she played with her sister. But there was no imaginative play, and everything went according to some script she had in her mind. If another child deviated from the script (even though they didn’t know that there was one), she had a meltdown. She wandered the periphery of the playground, not playing with others because they wouldn’t do what she wanted them to do the way she wanted them to do it. Under extreme stress, she would line up objects or spin in our living room. She refused to wear anything but dresses or skirts and chewed the erasers of pencils until she had bitten through the metal. She chewed the sleeves of her long-sleeved shirts until they were soaking wet. We had difficulty understanding some words because of the way she articulated certain letter combinations. She couldn’t make eye contact for more than a few seconds at a time. It was right in front of me, and I missed it all.

I did see that she showed no interest in numbers, letters, shapes, or colors (except the color pink), that she had quirky ways of expressing herself and misused certain words and phrases, but I was assured by the professionals I asked that she probably just wasn’t ready yet and I shouldn’t worry too much. I accepted these answers because, as a good mother, I knew I shouldn’t compare my children to one another. I knew that my other child hadn’t done any of these things and had been interested in learning letters, numbers, shapes, colors, and more long before kindergarten, but I also knew that children develop at different rates. So I waited.

It wasn’t until kindergarten, when she was obviously failing miserably, that I began to demand answers for the questions I asked. I was no longer willing to accept that she might be “not ready yet.” I consulted with learning disability specialists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, and neuropsychologists. She went through testing and evaluations galore, and we finally had answers. She wasn’t just “not ready.” She had developmental delays and learning challenges that required specific, targeted interventions to help her compensate for or overcome them.

And she is. My daughter is now in the fourth grade. She isn’t failing school but is making slow and steady progress toward her goals. She is able to interact and play with other children more easily. She maintains eye contact pretty well with people with whom she’s familiar and comfortable. She speaks clearly enough that we can understand the words she says, although she retains some quirky turns of phrase and has difficulty with descriptions. She wears pants now and doesn’t chew her clothes up, although the occasional pencil still falls prey to her sensory needs. She still enjoys playing alone, but when she plays with others she doesn’t isolate them as much as she used to. She is still bright and bubbly and a delight to have around.

The good news is that you don’t have to go through the same thing we did. Use great resources like the Play is a Child’s Work! and the Kindergarten Readiness Indicator Checklist from the Better Beginnings Resource Library. Spend time interacting with and observing your child closely, and take any questions or concerns you have to a trusted professional. Early intervention is key. Trust your instincts about your child.

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!

Back to Basics: Learning Through Play - jenniferajanes.com

Posted in Autism, Homeschool, Parenting, Sensory Processing Disorder, Special Needs | 15 Comments

A Blogging Conference, Friends, and Me

A Blogging Conference, Friends, and Me - jenniferajanes.com

A Blogging Conference, Friends, and Me

Last weekend I had the privilege of attending the fourth annual Arkansas Women Bloggers conference in beautiful Rogers, Arkansas. This is the third time I’ve been to the conference, and it has always been a wonderful experience. But this year was different. Instead of driving to the conference alone, I met a group of Southwest Arkansas Women Bloggers, and we carpooled. I knew I liked these ladies from having regular blogger meet-ups with them, but on this trip I really got to know them and am blessed to call them friends.

What’s great about these friendships is that although we were brought together by blogging, we found a lot of common ground beyond that despite age differences, different educational choices for our children, varying religious backgrounds, vastly different decisions about hair length and whether or not to color gray hair ;) , music preferences, and other things that sometimes cause issues in relationships between women. We all accept and appreciate one another “as is,” and that’s refreshing.

Of course, the conference itself was amazing too! We had great fellowship, sessions full of information about branding, freelancing tips, taking great pictures with your smartphone, living great stories to tell great stories, and more. We also heard inspiring stories from conference sponsors who are providing jobs and creating products right here in Arkansas!

I am already looking forward to next year, and the venue and dates haven’t even been announced yet! If you blog and are in a state served by The Women Bloggers communities, or even in one nearby (they’ll adopt you), contact them and get involved!

Here are some of the highlights of the weekend (lots of selfies!):

AWBU 2014 Collage

  1. A wonderful selfie of the Southwest Arkansas Women Bloggers before we started our road trip. The photo was taken by Karen and is used with permission. From left to right are: Shelia, Alicia, me, Karen, and Jessica.
  2. Me with Tiffany, a new friend and colleague (we’re working on a writing team together) who was also one of my roommates at AWBU. Janeal, my other roommate, has been my gratitude partner since AWBU 2013, but I didn’t want to use her photos without permission, and I haven’t gotten it yet. ;)
  3. Me with Karen Jordan, an author I met at last year’s conference, who also happens to be the mother of a friend of mine from church! It’s a small world we live in.
  4. Me with the wonderful Robin, who represented sponsor Riceland Foods very well. (Grab some tissues before you watch the videos on their site. They’ll pull at your heartstrings, these families who grow our food!)
  5. The lovely Kellee modeling a dress made entirely of rubber bands to showcase some products from sponsor Alliance Rubber Company.
  6. Me with Heidi! I met her at the very first AWBU; she’s also the mother of a child with special needs.
  7. Me with Jamie, a faithful friend online and off. I’m excited that I got to visit with her more this year than last. (She’s giving me tips about freelance writing too!)
  8. Me with Jackie. She has great ideas on her website. Reading one of her emails inspired me to research and start a bullet journal, which has done wonders for my writing/blogging productivity. She’s got great ideas about branding too. You should follow her if you’re in any kind of business. She’s brutally honest, but only because she wants you to do your best work!
  9. Me with Taylor, who runs the Texas Women Bloggers community and is  a fellow blogger and Pinterest rock star.
  10. Last but not least, me with the founder of The Women Bloggers / Arkansas Women Bloggers – Stephanie – and Yavonda!

(I had other pictures, but some were blurry or the lighting was even worse than some of these. Maybe next year. :(  )

Posted in Blogging | 16 Comments

never ever give up by Erik Rees with Jenna Glatzer {Review}

never ever give up by Erik Rees and Jenna Glatzer {Review} - jenniferajanes.com

*I received a free copy of the book Never Ever Give Up from Handlebar Marketing in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

Never Ever Give Up by Erik Rees with Jenna Glatzer

If you’ve seen the gold avatars lighting up Facebook and Twitter this month, you’ve already seen NEGU (pronounced knee-goo) in action. September is pediatric cancer awareness month, and people are changing their avatars for children affected by cancer.

One child affected by cancer was Jessie Rees, who was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer at age 11 and died 10 months later. Her battle with cancer, and her family’s journey through the illness and beyond, are the subject of the book Never Ever Give Up, told by her dad, Erik.

Shortly after Jessie’s diagnosis, she expressed a desire to help kids who were going through cancer and other serious illnesses. She came up with the idea of creating JoyJars filled with items the kids would enjoy. Getting JoyJars into the hands of as many kids as possible became Jessie’s mission, and it’s one her family carries on today, through the Jessica Rees Foundation. Her motto was NEGU (never ever give up), and it is still going strong through the work of the Foundation and the people who partner with them.

I’m sure you’ve already guessed that the book is sad. That’s true. Reading about a child the same age as my older daughter who fights and loses her battle with cancer is heartbreaking. But Never Ever Give Up is also filled with hope and inspiration. I was amazed and blessed that Jessie wanted so much to give to others when she was going through so much herself.

At the end of the book, Erik asks that each reader find a passion to pursue, something that will make someone else’s life better. If it’s pediatric cancer awareness, that’s great, but if it’s something else, that’s great too. I appreciate his request that we each find what our passion is, but I would ask that during this month, we each do what we can for pediatric cancer awareness. Together, we can make a difference.


Posted in Blogging for Good, Parenting, Review, Special Needs | Leave a comment

To the Sibling of a Child with Special Needs

A Letter to the Sibling of a Child with Special Needs - jenniferajanes.com

To the Sibling of a Child with Special Needs

You’re on my heart more than you know. I know sometimes you feel like your sibling gets all the attention and I don’t notice you, but it’s not true. Entire days go by that I ache because I am so tied up in dealing with the newest symptoms, medications, and endless consultations with specialists and therapists that I don’t have time to sit down and talk with you, listen to you, like I really want to.

I see the tears you cry when a new set of symptoms means seeing another specialist, and we don’t know how many times we’ll have to travel to get to an appointment there, how many years we’ll need check-ups with that particular specialty.

I see your frustration and sadness when you witness another meltdown, are told about another surgery, or have to endure your sibling being in the hospital yet again. I see your struggle to help out when you’re asked to in situations where your dad and I aren’t around and other adults ask you to step in when they don’t know what to do.

Just let me say this:

You’re a child. You’ve had to take on far too many “adult” responsibilities and grow up way too fast already. I’m already wondering if you’ll end up being the one responsible for your sibling after your daddy and I are gone, and how you will handle that. Please enjoy being a child and let me take the burdens I can remove from your shoulders. They’re far too heavy for you. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: When something happens and adults turn to you, do immediate damage control and send them to get us. You are not responsible for handling the situation alone.

You are loved more than you can imagine. I see you, I see your pain, and I see the sacrifices you make every day—to not rock the boat, to not cause us any trouble, and to help in every way possible. I love you for trying to be the “perfect” child and not cause your daddy and me more stress. Please see You’re a child. above and know that we don’t expect perfection. We don’t expect you to be able to avert every meltdown. We love you exactly as you are, mistakes and all.

I love who you’re becoming. Despite the frustration, anger, sadness, and other negative feelings you experience from time to time, I love who you’re becoming. I see your compassion, kindness, and sensitivity to others’ feelings. You are wise beyond your years. God is going to use the experiences that cause you the most pain now to continue developing character traits in you that will be invaluable to you both now and as an adult.

I love your love for your sibling. I am always amazed at how you are the first to defend your sibling when someone says something unkind. I love how you play and share life together. Although at times your hurt is deep, your love is deeper, and I am so grateful for that.

I’m sorry. For all the times you’ve felt neglected, unseen, unloved, or unwanted, I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I am making an effort to find ways to spend more alone time with you—both in little moments we can steal at home and in times we can go out together for a soft drink, meal, or to browse our favorite stores. Balancing everything gets difficult in certain seasons, and I am trying to get better at it.

You are amazing. And don’t you ever forget it.

I’m here for you. I love you every bit as much as your sibling, and I want you to know that I’m here for you too. We only get one chance at your childhood. Let’s put the mistakes of the past behind us and make the most of every moment!

Love always,

Mom signature for blog post - jenniferajanes.com





Other posts you may be interested in:

To the Sibling of a Child with Special Needs - jenniferajanes.com

Posted in Parenting, Special Needs | 47 Comments

I CAN Be Two Places at Once!

I CAN Be in Two Places at Once! - jenniferajanes.com

I CAN Be Two Places at Once!

Make that three, since I wrote a quick post here too. ;)

I have writing up on TWO different sites today, and I wanted to share my excitement!

I have a post up at We are THAT family! “Saying YES is Always More Than You Bargained For” begins with:

When I said “Yes!” to my younger daughter’s life, refusing to discuss termination with my doctor, I had no idea what that would mean. All indications were, despite the doctor’s fears, that our daughter was just fine. Later we realized that she does, indeed, have medical and neurodevelopmental issues, and she is a struggling learner too. All of this information has come to us little by little, although we realized at birth that she was a bit different.

I had no idea that saying yes to my daughter’s life would mean an entirely different life for our family. . .

Read more

I also have a devotional for special needs parents up at Comfort in the Midst of Chaos. This month’s topic is “When You Just Want to Hide”:

Not long ago, we found one of our young cats buried in the laundry basket. She was hiding away from the rest of the family, and when we found her, it was obvious we had disturbed her nap. We dug her out and got the laundry put away, and the cat found another place to sleep. In a way, I envied her. There are many days that I’m just flat-out weary and would love nothing more than to hide somewhere that no one will find me for a few hours, a place where I can sleep, pray, or cry my way to a place of peace and rest. It rarely happens, though, except for those times I manage to escape to the shower at the perfect time.

When those days come, the really hard ones, I get through by. . . 

Read more

Please support the ministry of both those sites by leaving a comment or sharing some social media love!

(Don’t miss my new post: To the Sibling of a Child with Special Needs.)

Posted in Blogging, Special Needs, Writing | Leave a comment