December 13, 2015

Reading Goals for 2016

In addition to the Back to Classics challenge, I want to be a little more intentional with my other reading for 2016.  I read a lot of great books and a few subpar ones in 2015 - you can see what I accomplished on Goodreads.  Many of them were read with official or unofficial discussions on the AO forum.  I find that reading with others is a great incentive to both keep going and to finish!  I'm going to go ahead and include the ones already listed in the Classics challenge to fit them into categories that make sense to me.

*Asterisks indicate I'm reading with others from the Ambleside Online forum.  
^ indicates I will be reading aloud to my 11 year old.  

More may be added as the year goes on - follow me on Goodreads to see what else we read and how I progress on the ones below!

Educational Philosophy/Homeschooling
  • *I have been reading through all the Charlotte Mason volumes - 6 dense books - and will finish the last one (volume 4 - Ourselves) in February. [DONE]
  • *When Children Love to Learn by Macauley
  • Enjoying the Journey by Frank
  • *Minds More Awake by Anne White  [DONE]
  • Living Page by Laurie Bestavier

  • *Birth of Britain by Churchill  [DONE]
  • Democracy in America (Volume I and II) by Alexis De Tocqueville
  • *Christopher Columbus: Mariner  [DONE]
  • *Euclid's Elements

Classic Novels
  • Westward, Ho!
  • Middlemarch by Eliot  [DONE]
  • And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie  [DONE]
  • ^Little Women by Alcott
  • *The Betrothed (I, Promessi Sposi)  [DONE]
  • Emma by Jane Austen
  • *Utopia by Thomas More  [DONE]
  • Dracula by Brams Stoker
  • The Daisy Chain (Aspirations) by Charlotte Yonge
Modern Novels
  • Hood by Stephen Lawhead
  • War Horse
  • ^The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford  [DONE]
  • *A Man for All Seasons
  • ^Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing  [DONE]
  • ^Taming of the Shrew
  • ^The Winter's Tale  [DONE]
  • Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
  • Bonhoeffer Student Edition: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxes  [DONE]
  • Story of Charlotte Mason by Essex Cholmondley
  • Adrenal Reset Diet by Alan Christianson
  • Trim Healthy Mama - Serena and Pearl
  • The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome by Atwood  [DONE]
  • Natural Body Detox by Sue Woledge [DONE]
  • Food Chaining by Fraker et al
  • Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend  [DONE]
  • Beyond Boundaries
  • Easy to Love; Difficult to Discipline by Becky Bailey [DONE]
  • Hold On to Your Kids by Neufeld and Mate
  • Two Empty Bedrooms (foster care/adoption) by Vandepas  [DONE]
  • The Adoption Option by Hunt
  • Children, Parents and Chores! by Cynthia Tyler
Short Stories
  • ^The Peterkin Papers by  Lucretia Hale
  • Stephen Archer and Other Tales by George MacDonald
  • The Door in the Wall and Other Stories by H.G. Wells
  • The Everlasting Man (got halfway this year) by Chesterton
  • Teach Me to Pray by Andrew Murray
  • Praying God's Word by Beth Moore
  • Breaking Free by Beth Moore
  • The Message (Bible)
  • How We Got the Bible by Neil Lightfoot
  • *The Holy War  [almost done]
  • Endangered Minds by Jane Healy
  • The Shallows by Nichola Carr
Children's Books (from AO Year 4's free reading list)
  • ^Lassie, Come Home [DONE]
  • ^Gentle Ben
  • ^Gone Away Lake
  • ^Return to Gone Away
  • ^Calico Captive
  • ^Tree of Freedom
  • ^Justin Morgan Had a Horse
  • ^The Cricket in Times Square
I'm not including the scheduled reads from year's 4 or 5 that we will be doing as part of homeschool in this lists, but you can see that over at AmblesideOnline.

If anything seems to be in the wrong category, please let me know!

December 11, 2015

The Rhyme Bible - Storybook for Little Ones by L.J. Sattgast

This puffy-covered board book tells the major Bible stories briefly and in rhyme.  The Rhyme Bible is full of "joyful pictures and ten classic stories" and could become a toddler's favorite bedtime book. The "vivid verse" and "soothing sounds of rhyme" make this an enjoyable read for parents as well, so you won't mind reading it again and again.

I tested it out on the 2 year old I babysat this morning, and this active boy did manage to listen to several pages before wanting to flip through the pages at his speed.  So, he looked at the rest of the pictures and ran off to play.  So, what did I think?  Not bad at all!

Each of the stories has the Bible reference listed (God Made Everything is subtitled Genesis 1&2, for instance), and has edge to edge illustrations across one or two two-page spreads.  They don't contain any questionable theology or overly-cartoonish people, although Goliath is ridiculously large.  The fish that swallowed Jonah is identified as a fish, not a whale.  The story of the fall with the fruit and serpent is not included, but creation, Noah and Moses are all there.  Jesus birth, death and resurrection are all included, and the book ends with His ascension:
Jesus' friends went here and there,
Telling people everywhere,
"Jesus is God's only Son,
And he loves you, every one!"
Okay, that last line reminds me a bit of Dicken's Tiny Tim, but toddlers won't have that reference in mind. :)  I was mistakingly sent two copies of this book, and was allowed to keep both, so I will be giving them as gifts this Christmas!  Thanks, HarperCollins!

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.”

December 10, 2015

Back to the Classics Challenge 2016

I did a Reading Challenge on GoodReads for 2015, and surpassed my 60 book goal, but only some of those were classics.  This year, I may lower that to 50 books or less, and increase the difficulty and/or length of the books.

As part of this challenge for myself, I'm joining up in the Back to the Classics challenge at Books and Chocolate.  You can read her rules here.

I learned about this challenge on the Ambleside Online forum, and am happily using some of their books for my own list.  Thanks, ladies! :)  

The books with asterisks are scheduled for the AO book discussions and are from year 8 of the curriculum, to help us educate ourselves and pre-read for our kids.

1.  A 19th Century Classic - *Westward, Ho! by  Charles Kingsley

2.  A 20th Century Classic (but before 1966) - 
 *A Man for All Seasons by Sir Thomas More

3.  A classic by a woman author. -
Little Women by Louisa Alcott (will likely read aloud to my 11 year old)

4.  A classic in translation.  - *
I, Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed) by Alessandro Manzoni (June-Aug) 

5.  A classic by a non-white author. - Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

6.  An adventure classic -  *Fierce Wars and Faithful Loves from The Faerie Queen

7.  A fantasy, science fiction, or dystopian classic. - *Utopia by Thomas More  (Feb-May)

8.  A classic detective novel. Agatha Christie (some googling led me to And Then There Were None, so I will try to start there) (May)

9.  A classic which includes the name of a place in the title. - 
Middlemarch by George Eliot (completed Jan/Feb)

10. A classic which has been banned or censored. - *Paradise Lost by Milton (Jan-April)

11. Re-read a classic you read in school (high school or college).  -Emma by Jane Austen

12. A volume of classic short stories. (min. of 8) -
Martian Chronicles by Bradbury or The Peterkin Papers by Lucretia Hale, if my son is ready to hear those read aloud before the end of the year

Whew, that was harder than I expected!  I will do another post with my other reading goals for 2016.

December 8, 2015

The Therapy Update

I haven't done a post on sensory issues in a while, so let me get back on that, just in time for December's blog hop over at The Sensory Spectrum!

We have been consistently at therapy appointments since my last sensory post, including occupational therapy, speech therapy, and vision therapy.  Counseling has been less consistent, but it has begun and can hopefully be more regular once vision therapy is over (2 more weeks!) He didn't play soccer this fall, but did get much time on the trampoline at home, as well as a couple of days of free play at the gym with our homeschool group.

Some pet therapy in the hammock swing - I recommend both the swing and the cat!
OT and speech are weekly -OT for an hour, followed by 30 minutes of ST.  His OT is still working him through Minds in Motion, and he only has a couple of weeks of that left.  He also work on food school and handwriting during that time slow.  When the MIM work is done, he will move on to making more of his own obstacle courses using those skills, and she will work him harder on touching more textures, specifically papers, and sweeping a broom, and continuing working on handwriting and food school.  In speech, he has almost met his initial goals, so I keep making suggestions on what they can work on.  His biggest need is social - how to hold a conversation with kids his age, appropriate eye contact, greetings and general politeness.  He doesn't do badly when he is comfortable, but when pressure of any sort is applied, he still tends to lock-up (freeze, refuse to look at the speaker, etc.)

He did a few weeks of a Minecraft social skills group that was run by Western Kentucky University.  This was a trial to see if using Minecraft to teach such skills would work for kids with asperger's, and results should be forthcoming.  Here is a video with a brief glimpse of my son. The child that they focus on in the article and video is the son of the lady who diagnosed my son.  Cool, huh?
VT homework
As for Vision Therapy (VT),  he has two more sessions before his re-evaluation.  If he passes all the goals, we will be done with that long drive twice a week.  (If he doesn't pass, I'm going to ask about going down to weekly, as weather in the next few months will make travel more treacherous.)  He did make significant progress at the mid-way evaluation (after 16 visits), so I am hopeful.  I asked if he could tell a difference in his reading, and he says he can.  Unfortunately, it was so hard for so long that his interest in reading for pleasure is nil, but I'm taking that slow and easy and not giving up hope!

We also made progress on the genetic front, getting a referral to a geneticist and having that meeting just last week.  Now we wait for the genetic testing kit to arrive after insurance approves, and test his father and myself.  He has a rare gene deletion affecting a very small part of one chromosome.  There is little known about it yet, but the one study that has been done shows  'statistically significant'  increased ASD diagnosis in those with this particular deletion when compared with a control group.

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!

December 2, 2015

Wednesday with Words: Doe the Nexte Thynge

I have been reading Elisabeth Elliott's book, The Shaping of a Christian Family, How My Parents Nurtured My Faith.   It is a good biographical sketch, full of inspiring stories and practical child-rearing tips.  As I near the end of this book, which has been my Sunday reading for a few months, I came across a full quote which I had seen parts of elsewhere.  I love the whole thing!  Its anonymous, but is located on pages 212-213 in this book.

From an old English parsonage down by the sea
There came in the twilight a message to me;
Its quaint Saxon legend, deeply engraven,
Hath, it seems to me, teaching from Heaven.
And on through the hours the quiet words ring
Like a low inspiration: "DOE THE NEXTE THYNGE."

Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from Heaven,
Time, opportunity, guidance, are given.
Fear not tomorrows, child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus, doe the next thynge.

Do it immediately, do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand
Who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on Omnipotence, safe 'neath His wing,
Leave all resultings, doe the nexte thing.

Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
Working or suffering, be thy demeanor;
In His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
The light of His countenance be they psalm.
Strong in His faithfulness, praise and sing.
Then, as He beckons thee, doe the nexte thing.