Tricia Goyer Christmas Reading List

Tricia Goyer Christmas Reading List - jenniferajanes.com

*I received free copies of the three books mentioned in this review from Tricia Goyer and Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

Tricia Goyer Christmas Reading List

BookGirl and I really enjoyed all three of the Christmas novels by Tricia Goyer and other authors. I was pleasantly surprised that BookGirl wanted to read them too, but I shouldn’t have been. She’s a voracious reader. It was so much fun to swap off books and discuss them together as we finished reading them.

A Christmas Gift for Rose by Tricia Goyer

I was excited about reading A Christmas Gift for Rose from the time I found out that it was inspired by a true story. It’s the story of a young Amish woman who has rejected the man she loves because he went against the rules of their Amish community and helped the Englisch during World War II. As she tries to work through the fact that she still loves him, she discovers that she was adopted into her family and is an Englischer herself. In her mind, that changes everything, and she begins an entirely different process that involves changing the way she views herself—and the man she loves.

The story, while simple in concept, kept both my daughter and me wanting to turn the pages. We both read it quickly, and we couldn’t stop until we were finished. Rose’s journey of self-discovery and learning her community’s secrets are an amazing read, and the ending is very satisfying. (Warning: I needed tissues to get through the ending. ;) )

An Amish Second Christmas by Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, Ruth Reid, and Tricia Goyer

An Amish Second Christmas is the book that BookGirl couldn’t wait to get her hands on first. She read it quickly, and when it was my turn, I could see why. The book contains four novellas that revolve around Amish Second Christmas and celebrate the romances blooming between four young Amish couples. The four novellas are: When Christmas Comes Again, Her Christmas Pen Pal, A Gift for Anne Marie, and The Christmas Aprons. (BookGirl liked A Gift for Anne Marie best. I haven’t been able to pick a favorite, although Her Christmas Pen Pal and The Christmas Aprons are running neck and neck.)

If you like Amish romances filled with Christmas spirit, you will enjoy this collection. The novellas are full of situations that keep the stories moving quickly, and they are quite different from what I expected to see in Amish novellas—not boring at all! I enjoyed how different all the romances were. This was important to me because I hate to feel like I’m reading the same thing over and over again. I also like how God’s love, goodness, and grace are prominent in each one in a gentle way, not in a way that is preachy.

Where Treetops Glisten by Tricia Goyer, Cara Putman, and Sarah Sundin

Where Treetops Glisten moves away from the Amish community to connect readers with an Englisch family during World War II. This book contains three stories: White ChristmasI’ll Be Home for Christmas, and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Unlike An Amish Second Christmas, which consists of stand alone stories, Where Treetops Glisten’s stories can be read individually but are connected because they all deal with members of the same family and refer to events that are explained in the other stories, which leads to a unique reading experience that I really enjoyed.

Where Treetops Glisten follows a group of siblings from their Indiana hometown all the way to the Netherlands. They deal with betrayals, loss, pain, and rejection. They have great faith in God and in His care and provision for them, even in the midst of pain, but they are definitely tested as they walk through the situations that World War II brings to their family. In the end, not only does God see them through, but He brings them love in the middle of it all.

*          *          *

If you’re looking for some great books to add to your Christmas reading list this year, consider one (or all!) of these books by Tricia Goyer. The stories are heartwarming reads that have already brightened the season for my daughter and me, and I think they can do the same for you.

Posted in Book Reviews, Christmas, Review | Leave a comment

100 Resources for Special Needs Parenting and Homeschooling

100 Resources for Special Needs Parenting and Homeschooling - jenniferajanes.com

100 Resources for Special Needs Parenting and Homeschooling

This list of resources for special needs parenting and homeschooling isn’t meant to be exhaustive. It’s a collection of links I’ve found that are both informative and helpful. I hope that it blesses you and gives you a starting point for your own research as well as encouragement for the journey.

Special Needs Parenting

1. Embracing My Son’s Autism: A Dad’s Perspective

2. I’d Have It No Other Way

3. Making a Way in the Wilderness: Marriage and Special Needs

4. 5 Ways Our Special Needs Child Strengthened Our Marriage (and How We Stayed Together)

5. The Profile of the Special Needs Family

6. Understanding the Financial Needs of a Special Needs Family (and how YOU can help!)

7. Life as a Special Needs Dad

8. Our Journey with Tube Feeding: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

9. Parenting a Child with PIDD

10. Dark House of Hope (PDD-NOS)

11. Etched Upon My Heart Forever (Down Syndrome)

12. Yes, Jaundice Can Do That (Kernicterus)

13. A Special Needs Mom with Special Needs

14. Encouragement for the Pregnant Special Needs Mom

15. We Called Him Superman: A Decision for Special Needs Adoption

16. Ezra’s Story: Not quite “typical” . . . not quite “special” (for the mom of the undiagnosed child)

17. In His Hands (4 lessons learned from adopting older special needs children)

18. The Challenges and Blessings of Parenting Special Needs Children with a Chronic Condition

19. Shea’s Story (on being a single special needs mom)

20. Dialogue: What TO Say – and What NOT to Say – to Special Needs Parents

21. Special Needs and Community: How Walls are Built

22. Bridging the Gap

23. Special Needs Moms: Are You Special or Just Like Other Moms?

24. Community in the Midst of Special Needs

25. What is Normal?

26. Coping with Family Discord as a Result of Your Child with Special Needs

27. 5 Practical Tips for Successful (and Joyful!) Playdates with a Special Needs Child

28. 25 Ways for Special Needs Parents to Recharge and Reach Out

29. Good Things About Being a Special Needs Mom

30. You Might Be a Special Needs Mom If . . .

31. Love Notes to Special Needs Moms

32. Finding Hope When Your Child Has Special Needs

33. 15 Things Being a Mom of a Special Needs Child Is and Isn’t

34. The Blessing of Being a Special Needs Mom

35. Moms: You Choose Love

36. 15 Superpowers of Special Needs Moms

37. When Church Hurts

38. How to Start a Special Needs Ministry

39. 7 Ways Churches Can Love on Children with Special Needs

40. Confessions of a Special Needs Dad: The Pain of Losing My Son

41. 6 Secrets of Strong Special Needs Dads

42. 7 Things You Didn’t Know about a Special Needs Dad

43. 11 Things a Special Needs Dad Wants You to Know

44. 3 Ways to Make Your Marriage a Priority in a Special Needs Family

45. Staying United: Marriage and Special Needs

46. Is Happy Marriage Possible for Parents of Special Needs?

47. How to Take Care of Your Marriage When You Have a Child with Special Needs

48. Marriage with a Special Needs Child

49. Dining Out with Special Needs Kids

50. 11 Special Needs Parent New Year’s Resolutions

51. Navigating Disney with a Special Needs Child

52. A Comprehensive Guide to Special Needs Travel

53. The Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide for Children with Special Needs

54. Ten Steps to Living (a Good) Life Between Doctor Appointments

55. Self-Care for Special Needs Parents

56. When Your Special Needs Child Asks Why They Are Disabled

57. Pass the Pull-Ups Please . . . The Secret to Potty Training . . . not really

58. Resources for Parents of Children with Autism

59. 5 Tips to Reduce Sensory Meltdowns During the Holidays

60. Is it REALLY Sensory Processing Issues?

61. Is it Behavior or Sensory Problems?

62. Tips for Dealing with Family Members with ADHD

63. How Our Autistic Son Finally Learned to Ride a Bike

 Special Needs Homeschooling

64. Homeschooling Special Needs Children – It IS Possible! Our Story

65. Dyslexia: Spelling Tips for Struggling Spellers

66. Special Needs Homeschooling at Pea of Sweetness

67. Special Needs Homeschooling – the blog by Heather Laurie

68. Labor of Love: How to Homeschool an ADHD Child

69. Reasons to Consider: Should I Homeschool My ADHD Child?

70. Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Artistic Children

71. You CAN Homeschool an ADHD Child

72. Homeschooling the ADHD Child at Ben and Me

73. Homeschooling a Child with Special Needs at Lemon Lime Adventures

74. 2012 Top Homeschool Special Needs Blogs

75. How to Combine Homeschooling and Special Needs Therapies (Without Losing Your Mind)

76. Homeschooling for Free and Frugal: Affording to Homeschool a Special Needs Child

77. Special Needs Homeschooling: An Adjustment in Expectations

78. Don’t Give Up! Homeschooling Encouragement with a Special Needs Child

79. 31 Days of Special Needs Homeschool Pinterest Hacks

80. 31 Days of Homeschooling on the Autism Spectrum

81. Top Ten Wednesday: Best Special Needs Blogs

82. ADHD Homeschooling at Look . . . We’re Learning!

83. Homeschooling Special Needs Students on YouTube – recording of iHomeschool Network Hangout

84. Special Needs Pinterest Board – Deb Chitwood

85. Education | Special Needs Pinterest Board – Stephanie of Harrington Harmonies

86. iHN Special Needs Homeschooling Pinterest Board – iHomeschool Network

87. What is Sensory Processing?

88. Why School is Hard for Kids with ADHD – and How You Can Help

89. Resources for Homeschooling and Special Needs

90. Benefits of Homeschooling a Child with Autism

91. Why Eclectic Homeschooling Works for My Son with Autism

92. 10 Things We Did to Encourage a Struggling Reader

93. Teaching Kids with Anxiety

94. Tips for Homeschooling a Child with Dyslexia

95. Establishing Homeschool Routines for Your Child with ADHD

96. Using Visual Schedules in Your Homeschool

97. 10 Reasons Why You Should Homeschool Your Kids with Dyslexia

98. Tips for Encouraging the Struggling Learner

99. Homeschooling with Dyslexia: What to Expect

100. Homeschooling with Dyslexia: How Dyslexics Learn

Bonus: Experience Dyslexia (dyslexia simulations)

If you’ve looked through very many of the links above, you’ve noticed that none of them point you to the articles I’ve written here, on my blog. I did that intentionally, to give you as much help as possible from a lot of different people and viewpoints. But if you’re interested, I’ll list some of my most popular posts. Start there, and feel free to explore from there.

Parenting

Homeschooling

If you found this list helpful, please share it using the sharing buttons!

If you’re looking for more extensive lists on a wide range of topics, please visit the landing page for iHomeschool Network’s 100 Things Link-up! (There’s an awesome giveaway too, so be sure to visit!)

100things

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

4 Tips for When Your Child’s Best Friend Moves Away

4 Tips for When Your Child's Best Friend Moves Away - 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.

4 Tips for When Your Child’s Best Friend Moves Away

Parenting is an adventure. Although you’re dealing with the same kids for a couple of decades, there’s always something new happening. Right now I’m trying to help my younger daughter through a situation we’ve never faced before: her best friend is moving away in less than a month.

It took my daughter a long time to develop a friendship this close. She loves this little girl like she loves my older daughter. They’re practically sisters. The leaving hurts, and it’s hard to say goodbye.

Here are some tips I’ve found that are helping:

  1. Listen. I am doing a lot of listening to my daughter as she talks about the situation. I try to hear past the words to the root behind them. She is hurting, afraid, and uncertain of what the future will look like without her friend. Will she ever find another friend she loves this much? How often will they see and talk to each other after the move? Right now they see one another twice a week during church activities and have playdates and sleepovers. She’s going to miss the regular contact. She is worried for her friend too. Will she like her new school? Will she find nice girls to be friends with there? What church will she go to now?
  2. Validate the feelings. While I want to dismiss some of the things she’s saying and the feelings behind them, I have to be careful not to do so. She is genuinely upset by this situation and all the fear and uncertainty it brings. I do my best to validate her feelings, to let her know that what she’s feeling is normal and that her friend probably has some of the same concerns and feelings. She can’t help the way she feels, and validating her feelings lets her know that it’s okay to feel. She doesn’t have to hide it or stuff it away inside somewhere. I want her to keep talking, to keep processing.
  3. Make plans. It’s important for my daughter to have some idea of what interactions she might expect to have with her friend after she moves. We talk about how her grandparents will still live here and go to our church, and her friend will be coming to visit them. Those would be good times to try to get together with her. We discuss having video chats using smartphones and Wi-Fi, and we talk about how she can call her friend and talk to her every week. We discuss the possibility that she can go to visit her friend. I also talk to my daughter about other people she knows that she feels a connection with and discuss how she can get to know them better and develop stronger friendships with them.
  4. Lather, rinse, repeat. My daughter’s special needs mean that we repeat these steps over and over again, moving back and forth from one to the other as needed, trying to help her process what’s happening and find a way to deal with the sadness and fear. I don’t know exactly how long it will take us to reach acceptance and find a comfortable routine that keeps her in touch with her friend but encourages her to develop other friendships, but it’s something I’m already working on. And I’ll keep doing it until we get there.

Better Beginnings has great tips to Help Your Child Say Goodbye in the Better Beginnings Resource Library. While many of those tips are meant for younger children, I still found a lot I could use in our current situation.

What suggestions do you have for helping a child deal with a friend’s move? Do you know of books or movies that might help?

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, Special Needs | 13 Comments

For the Love of God by Jenny Lee Sulpizio {Review}

For the Love of God by Jenny Lee Sulpizio {Review} - jenniferajanes.com

*I received a free copy of For the Love of God as part of the book’s launch team and in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

For the Love of God by Jenny Lee Sulpizio

I wanted to read For the Love of God by Jenny Lee Sulpizio because I was intrigued by the subtitle: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Faith and Getting Grace. Who doesn’t want a faith boost and to live a life full of grace? I need more of both in my life!

When I started reading, I thought maybe I had made a mistake. The book seemed to be for seekers, not women who have been believers for decades. But I stuck with it, and I’m so glad I did. Jenny does a wonderful job of explaining the basics of the faith, but she does so in a way that makes even the basics relevant for everyone.

Jenny explains how to have a relationship with Christ, what it means to have faith, what the Bible is, prayer, and more. What makes her book relevant to more than just seekers and new believers is the personal struggles and stories she tells as well as the testimonies from other women included in each chapter. I can relate to so many of them, and I was inspired and encouraged by their honesty and transparency. It’s comforting to know I’m not alone in the doubts and struggles surrounding my faith.

While this book may be intended for the newbie to the faith, there is a lot there to remind and revitalize the veteran believer too. I do not regret a single minute I spent reading this book, and I will certainly recommend it to others, both those who are seeking and those who need to remember why they do what they do—and that God is with us as we work through our doubts.

Posted in Book Reviews, Review | Leave a comment

Daily Gratitude with a Gratitude Partner

Daily Gratitude with a Gratitude Partner - jenniferajanes.com

Daily Gratitude with a Gratitude Partner 

Happy Thanksgiving! I know many of us think of being thankful and expressing gratitude during the month of November, and especially on Thanksgiving Day. As I think of all I’m thankful for today, and of the blessings I’ve experienced this year, one thing that comes to mind is my gratitude partner.

At the 2013 Arkansas Women Bloggers conference, Jacqueline Wolven asked those of us who were interested in having a gratitude partner to turn in our business cards. Janeal Yancey and I both did so. Although we hadn’t met at the conference, we received an email from Jackie a few weeks later, introducing us to one another and letting us know that we were to send an email to one another each day for the rest of the year, listing three things we were thankful for. I set a reminder on my phone so I wouldn’t forget and began the daily process of emailing Janeal.

As we emailed our short gratitude lists each day, we began to develop a friendship based on those daily lists of three. The year drew to a close, and I didn’t want to stop the daily emails. When I mentioned it, Janeal said she wanted to keep going too. Over a year later, we’re still at it.

We have now added prayer requests to our nightly emails, and sometimes we add bonus items to our lists on days that are especially overflowing with blessings. Sometimes we add little asides to the emails, like the night Janeal was bursting with excitement to tell me that she sat at the same table as Temple Grandin at dinner at a conference she attended.

When the 2014 Arkansas Women Bloggers conference rolled around, we decided we were going to actually spend some time face to face, and we did! I even got to meet her beautiful daughters and her husband. We all had lunch together before the bloggers from Southwest Arkansas headed back this way. (The picture above was taken by Janeal’s husband after lunch.)

Now my gratitude partner is a friend too, one I have spent time with and look forward to seeing again as soon as possible. We are tremendously blessed by our friendship. We are very different, but we have found common ground in faith, family, and the practice of being thankful.

When I list my top ten blessings of the year, Janeal and the practice of daily gratitude are on the list.

How do you practice daily gratitude?

Don’t miss the giveaway of Tricia Goyer Christmas books going on now! It’s my way of saying I’m thankful for each of you.

Photo credit: Janeal Yancey. Used with permission.

Posted in Friends, Gratitude, Growth | Leave a comment

My Christmas Reading List (and a giveaway!)

My Christmas Reading List (and a giveaway!) - jenniferajanes.com

*Note: I received free copies of Tricia Goyer’s Christmas books from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for an honest review. Tricia and Litfuse generously agreed to allow me to do a giveaway so you can join the fun!

My Christmas Reading List

I know that it’s not quite Thanksgiving yet, but I’ve already started my Christmas reading list, and to express how thankful I am for you, my readers, I am offering a giveaway of some great books for your Christmas reading list!

I love Tricia Goyer’s historical fiction, so it’s only natural that I would partner with Tricia and Litfuse Publicity Group to get great Christmas books to read—and to give away to you!

My Christmas reading list includes:

  • A Christmas Gift for Rose by Tricia Goyer
  • An Amish Second Christmas by Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, Ruth Reid, and Tricia Goyer
  • Where Treetops Glisten (Three Stories of Heartwarming Courage and Christmas Romance During World War II) by Tricia Goyer, Cara Putman, and Sarah Sundin

I’ve already finished reading A Christmas Gift for Rose and have started Where Treetops Glisten. I was going to read An Amish Second Christmas next, but BookGirl ran off with it, and I haven’t gotten it back yet. ;) I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read so far, and I will share my thoughts (and BookGirl’s – Rose is next on her list) in December as we finish the books.

If you would like to join us in our Christmas reading, I want to invite you to enter this giveaway!

A #GoyerChristmas Giveaway

Tricia Goyer and Litfuse Publicity Group are allowing me to give away TWO of the books on my Christmas reading list!

Update: Congratulations to Jacque and Danielle, the winners of the Tricia Goyer Christmas books!

Here’s how you can enter to win a copy of Where Treetops Glisten OR An Amish Second Christmas:

  • The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. ages 18 and older.
  • The giveaway ends on Monday, December 1, 2014, at 9:00 pm CST.
  • 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 chosen at random using the plug-in And the Winner Is. The first winner chosen will receive Where Treetops Glisten. The second winner chosen will receive An Amish Second Christmas.
  • 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 Tricia Goyer and Litfuse Publicity Group so your book can be shipped.

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

What do you look for in a book to read during the holidays?

If you’re excited about this giveaway, please use the sharing buttons to let your friends know. Use the hashtag #GoyerChristmas.

Posted in Giveaway, Reading | 7 Comments

Thinking about YOU Thinking about ME by Michelle Garcia Winner {Review}

Thinking about YOU Thinking about ME by Michelle Garcia Winner {Review} - jenniferajanes.com

*I received a free copy of Thinking about YOU Thinking about ME  from Think Social Publishing, Inc. in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

Thinking about YOU Thinking about ME by Michelle Garcia Winner

Thinking about YOU Thinking about ME by Michelle Garcia Winner is very different from what I anticipated when I asked to review it. I was expecting a book that explains how to help kids understand a little better how to see social situations through someone else’s eyes and respond appropriately (what Winner calls “perspective taking”). It does that, but what I didn’t expect in this 300-page book is the amazing amount of resource material available.

The information in this book applies to children and adults alike. Winner shares three levels of impairment in perspective taking, and she includes a full Social Thinking Dynamic Assessment Protocol® to help you determine a person’s level of social thinking impairment. The bibliography is another wonderful resource full of lists of books, research, games, and more.

The book itself it well laid out, the information included is explained in a way that is easy for both parents and professionals to understand, including anecdotes, illustrations, charts, and handouts. Winner also includes games and activities to do with the socially impaired person to help him develop perspective taking skills.

If you work with someone (child, student, etc.) who has difficulty considering and evaluating social situations from another person’s point-of-view, evaluating that information, and adjusting his behavior accordingly, Thinking about YOU Thinking about ME would be a great resource to help you work through some of those issues.

For more information about this book and other Social Thinking® products, please visit www.socialthinking.com.

Posted in Book Reviews, Review, Special Needs | 1 Comment

Labels Have a Place: Thoughts on Labeling Children with Special Needs

 

Labels Have a Place: Thoughts on Labeling Children with Special Needs - jenniferajanes.com

*This article was originally published in March 2012. It has been revised and updated.

Labels Have a Place: Thoughts on Labeling Children with Special Needs

I have spent years of my life searching for answers for my daughter. I have sought labels and diagnoses because I want to know what’s going on and how to help my daughter reach her full potential. We have gotten some answers, although there’s a lot that remains a mystery. I have shared these diagnoses occasionally but have mostly kept them to myself.

Why am I not more transparent? It’s not because I mind people knowing what we’re going through. It’s more because I don’t want to be known as “the mother of the child with ________.” More importantly, I don’t want my daughters to be known as “the kid with ________” and “the sister of the girl with _______.” It happens.

We are not defined by our own or our children’s disabilities. We are people who happen to have a certain diagnosis. I love to read, write, and spend time with my family. I am a daughter, sister, wife, mother, and friend. My older daughter is a book lover like me. She loves reading and enjoys studying about animals and how the body works. She enjoys knitting, writing songs, and choreographing dances. My younger daughter, the one who needs an extra measure of love and care, loves all things pink and lots of sparkles and glitter. She loves to dance, sing, teach her dolls and stuffed animals, and create intricate sculptures from play dough. She makes up stories and draws wonderful pictures. We are unique individuals who are affected by labels, but we are not the labels.

Who do I share diagnoses with, and when do I share? I tell all the medical professionals we work with. Every diagnosis we get is another piece of the puzzle we need to figure out exactly what’s going on. The consensus seems to be that we are dealing with an undiagnosed genetic disorder. It’s critical that each specialist we see knows what everyone else is saying so we can figure it out.

Other than in medical situations, my rule of thumb is that I reveal the label when doing so will benefit my daughter. When it becomes necessary to ask for an extra measure of compassion and kindness or when she needs accommodations because a physical task is beyond her, that’s when I gently let the person know what’s going on and why she needs help. I also share when seeking support for myself or my family or when offering encouragement to others.

Most of the time, I think my daughter’s diagnoses should be like the tags on clothing—hidden, not scratchy and irritating, and only brought out when necessary to read the directions for care.

What are your thoughts on labeling children with special needs?

To read other perspectives on labeling children with special needs, click the graphic below.

To Label or Not to Label - Special Needs Identification

Posted in Family, Life, Reflections, Special Needs | 20 Comments

5 Apps My Kids Love (and I do too!)

5 Apps My Kids Love (and I do too!) - 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 allThis post contains affiliate links.

5 Apps My Kids Love (and I do too!)

A couple of years ago, the girls got an iPad as a joint Christmas gift from grandparents. They wanted the girls to have an iPad for educational purposes, but the girls had different ideas. Fortunately, we have found apps that live up to the girls’ standards for fun but still satisfy us with their educational value.

Here are my kids’ top 5 apps:

  1. Survivalcraft and Minecraft PE. These virtual building games are very similar, and they play them by turns and could do it for hours, if we didn’t set some limits. They love the ability to build fantastical creations, and I love that they get to use their creativity and learn some physics too.
  2. Wedding Salon. Both of my daughters play this game, but my younger daughter especially enjoys it. She wants to be a hair and makeup artist when she grows up, and this app gives her a chance to practice and hone her skills.
  3. Flow Free. This game was recommended by my younger daughter’s occupational therapist a few years ago, and it has become one of my older daughter’s favorite games. It really stretches her thinking to solve each puzzle, figuring out how to connect the same-colored dots to one another.
  4. Scribblenauts. I originally introduced my kids to Scribblenauts as a spelling game, but they play it much more than I ask them to. I love the spelling practice and problem solving and critical thinking skills required to solve each puzzle. They just think it’s fun.
  5. Bag It! HD. The girls enjoy packing the paper bags with the different types of groceries, trying to create certain combinations for extra points. They have so much fun they don’t realize that they’re improving their problem solving skills. (As a bonus, they also learn that putting heavier groceries on top of fragile ones crushes them. That’s an important life skill. ;) )

Creativity, spelling and reading practice, critical thinking and problem solving skills—they’re all things we look for (and more) in apps that our children spend time playing.

But what I love more than all of that is the interaction between my kids and me while they’re playing. In discussing the games and their creations, I learn more about their passions, what they think about different subjects, and how they go about solving problems. And the laughter is priceless.

What do you look for in apps for your kids?

If you’re looking for information about choosing great apps for your family, check out 6 Tips for Buying Children’s Apps in the Better Beginnings Resource Library.

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 Back to Basics: Learning Through Play, Homeschool, Parenting, Special Needs | 9 Comments

A Confession, an Invitation, and NaNoWriMo

A Confession, an Invitation, and NaNoWriMo - jenniferajanes.com

A Confession, an Invitation, and NaNoWriMo

If you followed along with my book writing drama this summer, you might remember that it didn’t go very well. Life was busy, and I probably didn’t plan as well as I should have.

But that’s not the only issue that stumped me. Confession: It pains me to admit it, but I got stuck. I got to a certain point and didn’t know where to go from there. That’s the same issue that kept me from getting much past 10,000 words during NaNoWriMo last year. As a result, I still don’t have a completed draft of my book to edit, polish, cover, and present to the world.

But I haven’t given up. I’m going to try again, and this time I’m determined to “win” NaNoWriMo by getting a minimum of 50,000 words completed on my manuscript. I’ve been reading a book called You’ve Got a Book in You by Elizabeth Sims that has helped me to see where my process fell apart so that I can be successful in finishing this time.

If you’re already planning to participate in NaNoWriMo 2014, add me as a buddy on the site so we can encourage one another! If you’ve been on the fence, I invited you to join me! You can find me on the NaNoWriMo site as jenniferajanes. (Big surprise there, I know.) If you’re not writing, I invite you to join me on Facebook or Twitter as I share my progress. (Feel free to cheer me on. I’ll need it.)

What does this mean for the blog? I’m planning to publish one post a week here so that it won’t get lonely during November. I spent the second half of October writing and scheduling these posts and turning in articles I write for other sites. That frees me up to write 1667 words a day on my manuscript in November without having to spend a lot of time blogging. I’ll be sharing those posts on social media, and of course, my loyal readers will receive the posts from my blog in their email inboxes bright and early the day they publish! (Thank you for subscribing!)

While you wait for the November posts to start rolling out, you can stay busy reading the posts I had published on other sites last month.

  • Yielding to God’s Plan = Awesome Results at Your One Tree. Another post in which I preach to myself about surrendering to God, giving up control, and living free.
  • Parenting a Child with PIDD at Beautiful in His Time. This is part of the 31 Days of Supporting the Special Needs Family series that Aprille is doing this month. I share my experiences parenting a child with Primary Immune Deficiency Disorder (PIDD). This is just one of the many diagnoses we deal with.
  • My Best Advice for Homeschooling a Child with Special Needs at Vibrant Homeschooling. It all boils down to one word.
  • Bridging the Gap at Beautiful in His Time. Another post in the 31 Days of Supporting the Special Needs Family series this month. I tell the hard truth about what it will take to bridge the gap between the special needs community and the community at large.
  • In the Storm at Comfort in the Midst of Chaos. I share my thoughts on how to navigate through life’s storms.
  • Take a Closer Look at the Runnin’ WJ Ranch blog. When people look at adults and children with special needs, sometimes all they can see is the differences and the need. I encourage readers to take a closer look and share what I see.
  • We’re More Alike Than Different at Different Dream | for my child. I share some early experiences that molded my thinking about people with special needs.
  • I Don’t Like Hands-on Activities! at The Mommy Mess. I write and speak about the importance of hands-on activities in children’s education, but I struggle with them. I share why I struggle and what I do to overcome my aversion to hands-on activities (and they mess they bring with them).

I’ll see you around!

Posted in Family, Homeschool, Special Needs, Writing | 6 Comments