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 | 11 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 | 14 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 | 45 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

A Typical Homeschool Day 2014-15

A Typical Homeschool Day 2014-15 - jenniferajanes.com

A Typical Homeschool Day 2014-15

As I looked at our “typical” days from the past couple of years (2012-13 and 2013-14), I realize how much things have changed—and how much they have stayed the same.

There’s still no “typical” day in our homeschool. Unless you want to count as “typical” the fact that no two days are the same!

Here’s a general timeline (all times are approximate):

6:00 am: BookGirl gets up. She spends an hour doing her personal Bible reading and devotional time, and then she reads whatever fiction book she’s involved in. She usually goes ahead and takes a quick shower too. Sometimes I get up at this time. Sometimes I’ve been up since 5:30 or so. Sometimes I’m still sleeping at this time. It’s all good. My husband gets up about this time to start getting ready for work.

7:00 am: BookGirl gets her reading, language arts, and math books out and starts her lessons for the day. She used to work at her desk in the school room, but now she does most of her work in her room, sitting on her bed or lying in the floor. Her cat, Midnight, hangs out in there with her, keeping her company. They’re quite a pair!

8:00 am: I’m definitely up and going by now. I pray with and for my hubby, and he goes to work. I like to do my Bible reading, devotionals, and prayer time first thing, so I make sure I have those done pretty quickly. BookGirl eats breakfast and wanders into and out of my room, asking any questions she has about her lessons. Sometimes she brings everything into my room, and she sits on the bed next to me and works while I read my devotionals. Princess Roo often gets up somewhere around this time. I make sure she takes her morning medications, and she usually hops in the shower to help her wake up.

9:00 am – 12:00 pm: Princess Roo has usually eaten something by 9 am, taken the rest of her morning medications, and is ready to begin her school work. Somewhere in here I eat and get ready for the day. I spend a lot of this window of time sitting on the couch or at the dining room table with Princess Roo, helping her with math, language arts, reading, and penmanship. (Now that I think of it, no one is working at the desks in the school room anymore. Maybe it’s time to think of passing them on?) BookGirl finishes her lessons, checks them (or has me check them if they’re quizzes and tests), and reads or knits while she waits for Princess Roo and me to finish up. If everyone finishes with the basics before lunch, we go ahead and start science, social studies, and whatever else we have planned.

12:00 – 1:00 pm: If my hubby comes home for lunch, we all eat together. If not, the girls and I eat together, and sometimes we listen to an episode of Adventures in American History while we eat.

1:00 pm: This year, a couple of times a week, the girls are working through a lesson from Here to Help Learning’s writing program. After lunch, we also finish up any activities or lessons we didn’t get finished with during the morning.

2:00 pm: By this time, we’re almost always finished with our lessons. This is the time when we leave the house to run errands, or we stay home to do laundry and prepare for supper. I try to do some writing at this time (but that’s been getting pushed back to late nights recently; have to work on that), and the girls enjoy reading, doing crafts, watching TV, playing games on the iPad, or playing together.

5:00 – 9:00 pm: This is family time. My husband arrives home from work, we eat supper together, we do our daily Bible reading together (we’re reading through the Bible as a family again this year, but this time chronologically), clean up the kitchen, do more laundry, play board games, watch TV, etc.

9:00 pm: This is the girls’ bedtime. Then my hubby and I finish doing whatever we need to get done to prepare for the next day, and we go to bed!

I love days that operate pretty much like that, but sometimes those days are rare. Some details are still being worked out, but our “regular” schedule for this school year also includes these activities (and some that are pending):

  • Dance lessons for both of the girls each week (not on the same night).
  • Wednesday night activities for the kids at church. (Hubby and I will help with this ministry.)
  • A weekly appointment for Princess Roo at a therapeutic riding facility.
  • OT for Princess Roo, possibly twice a week.
  • Counseling appointments twice a month for Princess Roo.
  • Specialist appointments (average of once a month, but I already know we have two in October).
  • Princess Roo’s weekly immunoglobulin infusion.
  •  Playdates (about once a week).
  • Homeschool science co-op class every three weeks.
  • Anything else I may have forgotten or that may come up.

Other posts in the Not Back-to-School Blog Hop:

Recent articles you might be interested in:

What does a “day-in-the-life” look like at your house? Write about it and share at the NOT Back-to-School Blog Hop for Day-in-the-Life Week!

Not Back-to-School Blog Hop 2014 Calendar

Posted in Homeschool, Special Needs | 2 Comments

2014 Texarkana Autism Conference

2014 Texarkana Autism Conference - jenniferajanes.com

2014 Texarkana Autism Conference

I’m on the board of a local autism support group, and I’m very excited to announce that we are working closely with FEAT-NT as they host an autism conference in Texarkana! FEAT-NT has built an amazing autism community in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and now we’re all working together to bring more resources and support to Texarkana and the surrounding area.

Date and Location

The 2014 Texarkana Autism Conference will be held on October 24-25, 2014, at the Texarkana Conference Center and Hilton Garden Inn Hotel. We went to look at the facilities and discuss setup a few weeks ago, and it’s a beautiful, comfortable space to hold a conference.

Speakers

The speakers for the conference will be (descriptions taken from the conference’s speakers page, where you can read more):

Dr. Regina Crone, Ph.D., BCBA-D:

She has over twelve years of experience providing services to individuals with autism and other  developmental disabilities as a public school teacher and ABA provider within the home, clinic, and school settings. As an invited speaker at state, national and international conferences, she has presented on topics related to behavior management, self-help skills, social skills, academic strategies for reading and research findings. In addition, she has taught graduate coursework focusing on autism programming and provided classroom consultation and professional trainings for school districts.

Kimberlee Flatt, MA, LPC, BCBA

She has gained over twelve years of experience providing services to individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities as a public school teacher and private provider within the home, clinic, and school settings. As an invited speaker at state, national and international conferences, she has presented on topics related to behavior management, self-help skills, social skills, academic strategies for reading and research findings. In addition, she has taught graduate coursework focusing on autism programming and provided classroom consultation and professional trainings for school districts.

Daniel Durany, Self-Advocate with Aspergers

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).

In spring 2013 Daniel was appointed by the Governor to serve for Texas Council on Autism and Pervasive  Developmental Disorder. Then in October 2013, Daniel became the Keynote Speaker for the Texas State Autism Conference.

Daniel will be sharing his experiences in what life is like for him with Asperger’s Syndrome. He offers insightful information on how and why his struggles can be directly affected by 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.

Something for Everyone

There will be something for everyone—parents, teachers, therapists, siblings (Sibshops!), and anyone else who comes into contact with people with autism! We’re also planning a silent auction on Saturday night to raise money to provide new resources and programs for Texarkana’s autism community.

Get Involved Today!

We’ll have more details soon, and I’ll share them as they become available, but in the meantime we’re busy signing up sponsors, exhibitors, and vendors (you can see who has already signed on at the bottom of the every page of the conference website), and registration has started! We’re also collecting donations for the silent auction. If you are interested in any of those or have questions, please contact me! I’m happy to help.

Stay Informed

To get in on the latest information about the Texarkana Autism Conference as soon as it’s available, join the conference mailing list and stay tuned to my blog and social media channels!

2014 Texarkana Autism Conference Logo

Posted in Autism, Special Needs | Leave a comment

To the Special Needs Mom Who is DONE

To the Special Needs Mom Who is DONE - jenniferajanes.com

To the Special Needs Mom Who is DONE

I’ve wanted to write this to you ever since we last talked, met for tea, or chatted via text or private message. (And it holds true for those of you I haven’t had the privilege of meeting yet too!)

I want you to know this:

I hear you.

I hear you when you say you are DONE. I hear you when you say you are beyond tired, past weary, and don’t know what else to do. I hear when you when you say you’re ready to throw in the towel, when you’ve gone to the last parent-teacher conference, heard the last evaluation result, spent your last night in the hospital, or sat through your last therapy session in yet another waiting room. I hear you when you tell me, through tears, that you feel like a terrible mother yet don’t know what you could do differently.

I love you.

Yes, even if I don’t know you beyond an interaction or two on social media, I love you. Behind the tears and the hurt and the frustration, I see a mom who loves her child fiercely but is just worn out with the fight—always fighting for a diagnosis, fighting for services, fighting for medications, fighting for appointments, fighting for people to give your child a chance. I love you for fighting for your child, for your marriage, for your other children, even when you haven’t had more than a few hours’ sleep in forever. I love you for being honest with yourself and with me, for sharing your struggle, for admitting that your life isn’t as perfect as you’d like for everyone to believe. I love you for the way you sacrifice for your family, almost always placing others’ needs before your own.

I pray for you.

My heart aches for you, and I often feel the same way, so I pray for you. I pray for all of you I’ve heard from, and for the countless numbers I’ve never had contact with who are in similar situations. I pray for God to blanket us all with His peace, a strong sense of His love, and an assurance of His presence stronger than we’ve ever felt before. I pray that He will give us favor with specialists, doctors, and insurance companies, with therapy facilities, our employers, our spouse’s employer, and everyone we meet during a day’s time. I remind Him of His promise to provide for our needs and thank Him for meeting every one. I pray for grace and strength for each one of us to get through the day. I pray that He would allow us to be His hands and feet to our families and others we meet in the course of our days. I pray that He would send you the support and encouragement you need to go on, knowing that no matter how “done” you are, you will get up tomorrow to do it all again, because you do it for love.

I don’t have all the answers, but I’m here.

I am honored when you ask me to recommend resources or tell me how my writing has helped or ministered to you in some way. I am blessed that you trust me with your heartaches, concerns, and fears. I enjoy hearing your family’s triumphs and victories. I love the pictures you send me of your precious children and your pet chickens. I don’t have all the answers for your situation, but I hear you, I love you, and I’m praying for you and your families.

In His love,

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How may I pray for you today? Please leave a comment, or send me an email or private message via social media.

Other posts you may be interested in:

Posted in Parenting, Special Needs | 17 Comments

Back to Basics: Learning Size and Capacity

Back to Basics: Learning Size and Capacity - jenniferajanes.com

*The required FTC disclosure: Awesome news here—I am now a Better Beginnings ambassador! I do 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.

Back to Basics: Learning Size and Capacity

I write a lot about hands-on learning and all the ways we do that in our home, but I have neglected to write about the way that all children learn, whether they have special needs or not, especially in the early years. They learn through play!

Princess Roo and her kitchen - jenniferajanes.com

I was reminded of this last week when my younger daughter brought me a small plastic pot with a plastic hamburger patty and bun inside. They were stuck, and she had already broken several toothpicks in an attempt to dislodge them, and the hamburger patty also had a significant gouge from a pen. I used a butter knife to get both items out of the pot and briefly explained to her that something that is almost exactly the same size as the container she’s putting it in is likely to get stuck. She nodded, took the toys, and went back to her play kitchen.

Food doesn't fit in container - jenniferajanes.com

I was fascinated moments later to realize that she was still playing in the kitchen, but this time she had several different pots and pans out and more plastic food items. She was putting different food items into various containers, testing to see which ones were big enough to hold the food, how much they could hold, and which food items would fit in which containers.

Learning size and capacity through play - jenniferajanes.com

I was reminded of the times when she was younger when she would play in the bathtub until her fingers and toes wrinkled and the water got cold, pouring water into and out of various containers, seeing how many times she would have to pour one cup into another to fill it up, pouring everything out again, and starting over.

Then it hit me. Children learn about size and capacity through play! I also realized that, because she’s older, I don’t give my daughter enough time to explore these concepts through play, even though she still struggles with them during math assignments.

I would have missed this revelation that will help me teach my daughter more effectively if I hadn’t just heard the Better Beginnings philosophy explained. Better Beginnings wants families to realize that learning often looks much different from the textbooks and workbooks we were given. Children in Better Beginnings programs don’t bring home worksheets. They spend their days in hands-on exploration, and much of it looks just like . . . play!

Children learn as they play quote - jenniferajanes.com

While Better Beginnings provides a ratings system for child care programs (both in-home and day care centers) in Arkansas, they offer resources and information about child development that are helpful to anyone who cares for children! Be sure to visit their website and social media channels for more information.

Are you in Arkansas? Want to know more about the Better Beginnings program? Here’s a video that explains it:

The Better Beginnings program has inspired me to start a year-long series called Back to Basics: Learning Through Play. I’ll see you next month!

Back to Basics: Learning Through Play - jenniferajanes.com

Posted in Back to Basics: Learning Through Play, Homeschool, Parenting, Special Needs | 33 Comments