Monday, August 29, 2016

Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst

Uninvited - Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely is the newest book by Lysa TerKeurst.  
Uninvited is about overcoming rejection with the power of God's love.  The author shares very personal stories from childhood and adulthood, showing that she has been there - rejected time and again.  She shares the lows and how God brought her through it, and includes specific verses and prayers to help you get through hard times, too.
I had previously read Terkeurst's Unglued, and admit that at this point in my life, Unglued had more personal meaning to me than Uninvited.  That said, there is much good about this  volume.  I would recommend it to any woman or man who is struggling with the hurt feelings of rejection, being set aside and not thought of.  Her thoughts on God are woven throughout, and I highlighted many truths she brought forward about God and life itself.  
Here a few of my favorites - there are many more, so I do recommend you give this book a try:
There is an abundant need in this world for your exact brand of beautiful. 
Self-rejection paves the landing strip for the rejection of others to arrive and pull on up to the gates of our hearts.   
When a man is physically present but emotionally absent, a girl's heart can feel quite hollow and helpless. 
The mind feasts on what it focuses on.  What consumes my thinking will be the making or the breaking of my identity. 
Jesus knew what being rejected felt like.  Jesus knew.  He knew the feelings.  He knew the struggles.  Ad in an earth-shattering moment, Jesus exposed the way of escape for us.  He matched every feeling - the emptiness, the deprivation, and the rejection - with truths straight from God's Word. 
We run at a breakneck pace to try and achieve what God simply wants us to slow down enough to receive. 
If we become enamored with something in this world we think offers better fullness than God, we will make room for it.  We leak out His fullness to make room for something else we want to chase. 
God's love isn't based on me.  It's simply placed on me.  And it's the place from which I should live...loved.

I review for BookLook Bloggers
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Out of Therapy, Into Holistic Play

My son is officially finished with OT and speech!  They were ready to release him several months ago, but I felt there was more to be done, so kept him in rather than take a break and fight to get back in.  Then we all got to the point of dreading the trip and wondering if it was time to stop, so we did.

The long-awaited social skills group did materialize, and he had 4 sessions of that before quitting.  He wasn't a fan, feeling that they focused too much on giving out rules and not any time letting the kids talk to each other.  I found that odd, as they can't improve social skills without speaking to others, but I wasn't in the room to be able to verify his observation.  It was an hour long session on Friday afternoons, and they tried to give a little homework each week- things like filling out a form, coming up with a way to self-advocate, or finishing the key chain they had started.  He liked the keychain handicraft, and hated having to write, which were both predictable reactions.

Since July saw the end of a solid year of OT and speech, but only the beginning of social skills, we switched to a holistic therapy in a different city (an hour instead of 40 minutes away) in order to continue the social aspect and the interactive metronome, which he has improved on but not mastered.  It's also on Fridays, but in the evening, so my husband can join us on occasion.  It's nice that we don't have to commit to every week, so our lives don't need to revolve around therapy anymore.  He acts like he doesn't like holistic therapy when I ask, but tells me it's better than any of the other therapies.  Let me tell you why.
Wearing the tie-dye shirt from last week's project time and the jellyfish from this week.
It's truly a holistic therapy playplace.  They begin with yoga and deep breathing and massage (complete with magnesium lotion and essential oils), with the aim of brain regulation.  The next block is a craft time, where they practice fine motor skills and get exposed to more textures and smells while making something useful, for the most part.  He has scented play dough and worked small beads into it, that can be worked out and back in as a calming activity.  This went into his sensory bin (shoebox), which was decorated another week.  They have done tie-dye tees, made party decorations, and more.  Those first two time blocks are done in a group of 2-6 children, within a certain age range.  (The younger group has their own time on Saturday morning.). If the group is large that night, they groups switch rooms instead of staying together.  After crafts comes Interactive Metronome time and social skills/gross motor.  They have to take turns on the computer for the metronome therapy, so the others do things like ball games, hula hoops, cooperative play in a nearby room while waiting their turn.  

The entire rotation takes about 2 hours, and parents are encouraged to participate or observe for the first half, so you basically get free yoga and massage and meditation for 30 minutes, then watch your child make a craft, then go to the parents room for a nice chat and break until the end.  Win-win, I'd say!  This program hasn't got insurance figured out yet, so there is a cost, but it's reasonable.

In the above picture, they are having a "beach party" for back-to-school night.

I think Holistic Therapy Playplace has the right idea, and am pleased with our experience so far.  I'm sharing in hopes that others might follow this example in what kids really need- mind-body-soul connections.  

Welcome to the Sensory Blog Hop -- a monthly gathering of posts from sensory bloggers hosted by The Sensory Spectrum and The Jenny Evolution. Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about what it's like to have Sensory Processing Disorder and to raise a sensory kiddo! Want to join in on next month's Sensory Blog Hop? Click here!


Saturday, July 30, 2016

AO Year 5 Plans

Before I get into year 5 (warning: its unconventional), I should briefly tell you how year 4 went.

Pretty well, considering how I stretched it out to fit the therapies in.  I think it got a little too thin for a while, and the term 2 exam reflected that, but we got back on track and the term 3 exam restored my faith in his abilities (and mine, as the teacher!).  As always, thank you to AmblesideOnline for an amazing free curriculum and support!  I'm still a huge fan of the Charlotte Mason education method - more so every year as I see the fruits of our labors.
Sixth Grade using AO year 5
Year 4 was scheduled over 42 weeks plus exams instead of the usual 36 plus exams.  So 45 weeks plus holiday breaks.  But quite a few of those "weeks" took 2 actual weeks, so we did about half of year 4 at less than half speed.  I don't recommend going that slowly, but we did get through it!  We started AO year 4 in March of 2015 and finished in May of 2016, and did school lightly through the summer.  This year, we took June completely off except for having him do reading practice and a little math.  Because *I* needed the break.
Summer visit to replica of Lincoln's childhood home
The method I used for planning year 4 worked well for us, so I just copied the file and filled in the year 5 information, and copied the new artist, composer, etc. over from AmblesideOnline.  I've shared the spreadsheet via Dropbox on the forum, if you would like to take a closer look at it.
1st day of school - everything done, handicraft completed!

I was hoping he would start filling in the bubbles (checkboxes) himself in year 4, but that only happened a couple of times.  Handing over responsibility is difficult when he is the only student and its just easier to do it myself, and hard to get him to remember new routines.  This year, I told him that was one of our goals.  As long as I stay out of the way (sit on my hands, if that's what it takes), he will do it himself.
2 weeks in, 9 days of AO completed
We are now 2 weeks into our AO year 5, and its going very well.  I did something unconventional in my planning - instead of adding extra weeks like I did in year 4, I've added an extra day per week.  Now since I'm no Doctor Who, that means if the week starts Monday, if finishes the following Monday and the next AO week begins on a Tuesday.  Therefore, every 12 AO weeks has 12 extra weekdays, or nearly 3 weeks, so that's 8 extra weeks over the year for a total of (38 + 8 + 3 exam weeks =)  49 weeks.  Now, in reality, I think once we are in the swing of things, the extra day may not be necessary, but we are also trying to move houses this fall, so the cushion is nice, and so far, he HAS needed that extra day so that the individual reading sections aren't too long.
Drawing tools, math game, and artists prints from office supply store
We started full time school 2 weeks ago, and with that 6 day per "week" schedule, we will go through June 22 next year.  Which is fine!  We've basically taken breaks at different times each summer, and its all worked out great.  The nice thing is, if he gets motivated for an earlier summer break, he can read more each day and make that happen while still having enough state-mandated days of school attendance.
Working hard on that paracord bracelet
So, the way I scheduled AO5 was to read all about Scheduling for Peace and Loop scheduling, listened to how others on the AO forum scheduled, asked questions about specific books I was concerned about (mainly difficulty level), and what I might use instead.  I ended up switching out the Lillias Trotter biography for Helen Keller's Story of My Life, and Kim for The Hobbit.  (The Hobbit is scheduled in year 6, so I will try to do Kim then, but over a longer period of time.)  I also am postponing the Book of Marvels and using Child's Geography of the World, which is a little easier and listed as an option.
Details about reading assignments, 1st 3 weeks

We did a good job fitting in Shakespeare and Plutarch's Lives in year 4, so we will continue that in year 5.  Instead of doing both each week, I do 6 AO weeks per play or life, which is more like 7-8 weeks, so its plenty of time to spread it out and take it slow, but not spread out TOO far.

We are also continuing Grammar this term (web activities and MadLibs), and will add Latin to that time slot in term 2 or 3, depending on how he progresses.  I found used DVD's for Latin for Children, so will get the books to go with that and see how it goes!  I did let Spanish drop in year 4, so we have picked that up where we left of in Rosetta Stone, and added the videos from KnowItAll.

For copywork and dictation, we now use Simply Spelling.  We started that in January after Vision Therapy was completed.  He did really well with it, copying in print in a 3rd grade copy book (the kind that has space between the lines and a center guide line).  I've gone back for some cursive practice in his old Penmanship book, and will use that now and then so he doesn't loose that hard-won skill. (Remember, he has dysgraphia and reversal issues, so spelling and handwriting don't come easy.)
Memory work remains the same as what I've described before, as does poetry.  We still do Bible nearly every day, followed memory work and maths.  For math, we are using Right Start.  I switched last fall after too many tears made the previous program just not work.  I chose to start 3/4's of the way through Level B, and we are now 3/4 through Level C.  (I hope to get him through that by mid-October and through Level D by the end of next summer so that he stays on track for Algebra in 9th grade.)
1st poem in year 5 to memorize
Other subjects on the checklist are Ancients (Bible, Plutarch and Shakespeare in that slot), Music Appreciation (folk song, hymns, composers), Literature, Biography (Lewis and Clark, scientists), PE, Geography/map work, Music (Solfa singing using SightSingingSchool, piano lessons at Hoffman Academy, and piano practice), Timeline/BOC (I hope to get in the habit of timeline entries again, then move to the Book of Centuries in a few months), Science and nature study, typing and art (handicrafts, drawing practice and artist study).
As you can see, I tried to have him using hands, body, mind and soul each day, but not too much of any during school time.  If he is drawing for nature study, he isn't drawing for art or doing a handicraft (unless he chooses to in his free time, which hasn't happened yet).  If he is doing timeline, map isn't scheduled.  I put a lot of thought into this framework, and, so far, it feels balanced.