Saturday, November 30, 2013

Who doesn't love Radio Drama?

Our Family loves listening to Adventures in Odyssey.
This is great for Character study and Bible memorization. You can link your bible verses to the lesson of the day etc. We listen online because the radio that would most likely play, doesn't do it on days we can listen-in. They are great for Clean Family Fun. What I like most about this radio drama, is that it stimulates children's imagination and thinking skills while keeping God the main subject with heart pulling stories. Often times, I am the one that is crying at the end of the drama and the kids are looking at me blank, blinking their batted lashes and thinking I am the weirdest thing yet! But I love it anyway....hey, at least they know I am a real person ;D You can listen for FREE online at

Another Great resource for some OLDER Children radio Drama is Radio theatre from the same company who does Adventures in Odyssey, Focus on the Family.

Get Informed with Abundant Life

I found this great article on the Abundant Life's Blog.
It covers what Dyslexia is in a simplistic-style. 
She speaks from experience and that is what I like! She is a Dyslexic Homeschooling mom and knows how important understanding these facts are to her home. She looks at Stats of Dyslexia and Signs of Dyslexia, as well as, some of the characteristics that are associated with Dyslexia. She touches on what Dyslexia isn't in a Myth-verses-Fact way which I love!

She has so many other wonderful tidbits riddled throughout her blog. 
If you are new to Dyslexia and need this information, I encourage you to click the link and start reading. I believe it will leave you with a nice clean-cut understanding guideline of what you may or may not be going through. In the series, it also covers things like Testing, Curriculum etc. Very beneficial information!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Dad colours in child's drawings...

Just some nuggets that I found.....
 I love this! I guess his daughter asked him to specifically colour it in as a barred rock and chic. I think this, not only shows how much he loves his children and wants a part of him to be there when he is gone off to work, but it also fosters a love of art; a love of learning, creativity, unity within a family etc. 

I especially like the use of animated-type of artwork here. It brings the artwork to life. How proud his children must have been to see their work come to life like this :D I bet my kids would love for me to do that. YOU know, I might give it a try...probably won't look as nice though .

This one made my heart melt. I can see that their father could look at these drawings with a keen eye to get the emotion and the thought of what his children were trying to protray. Quiet incredible. 
Something to note: Going along the theme of fostering a love of learning, that we Home Schoolers really try to advocate, he mentioned also that his kids will keep an invention journal that they go over every week as well. Creativity, Invention, Graphic Artistry, Artistry in any sort is often times the strength of a Dyslexic Learner. What a way to help encourage our children in their strengths! I am going to try and do this. Let me know if you do too!
I fly out of state to work 10 days out of each month. When I go, the kids give me pictures they've drawn. I color them on the plane and give the pictures back to them when I return. Nothing fancy. The kids love them. My wife wants me to put them up.  

Black Friday for Home Schoolers!

Theo is an awesome Bible animation that our family absolutely LOVES! They are so clear and gives very good visual descriptions of the foundations of Biblical Principles. They really bring it to the children's level. Of course, their animation is superior as well. Here they have listed one of their items for sale for Black Friday Specials and you can also download one episode for free. Here's the link

RosettaStone is have a 40% sale now. Link is at

You can find CurrClick's link here  

You can find Compass Classroom's Link here

Here is a link for The Deep Blue Bible for Kids...

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Day in the life of: Beginning Bible Time & Calendar Time

 We try and start our day together with the Bible...right now we are in the book of Ruth using the Elgermeirier's Bible Story Book. We follow along the stories and discuss each story afterwards.

After Bible reading time, we try and memorize our scripture verse for the week...if we have struggled with the verse, I will  bring it up again. Then we rotate and add another scripture verse. Sometimes I will gear a scripture verse based on a Character that my children might need help on. This one is geared towards encouraging ourselves in the Lord...I will often link this to another story in the Bible. eg. David who also encouraged himself in the LOrd! These are the most important parts of our day.

Home schooling has given me the opportunity, to instil the Word of God in my children's hearts. I may fail them in areas...but God will not. Also, I want them to build relationships with God and learn all they can about Him. I want them to know how to pray and discipline themselves in reading God's Word. I want to build in them, Godly character through the best resource which is His Holy Word! Homeschooling gives me the blessings to do so. This is invaluable to me.

Sometimes I find it difficult to nurture these aspects, especially now that I have changed the structure of our days. Before we would all sit down for school and start with Bible reading and memory verse. Then all do math, then all do whatever the other subjects were. But what I found was, if one had an attitude towards school (at this time it was our oldest who we made to read and write up to the standard of everyone else and kicked and screamed through it we scribe and read for him 100% of the time, now it is down to 80%) this would cause a break in the attention of the others or a similar battle with the others. Plus, they are all in different grades, with different outcomes! Then, if I forgot something they all were sitting waiting and I lost their attention.

Now, I have separated them...this I find to be harder in meeting PLO's, especially if one of them is having a bad day. Because they are rotated, if I am taking too much time with one, the other lacks that time with me. I am working on a better system eventually, but for now we make due. Also, here in Canada, PLO's are serious business!! We really feel the pressure to meet every one. Unless you are unschooled or just Registered, or are enrolled in a school that is more lenient, PLO's is required to be met and your over-seeing Teacher is there to encourage, remind, help and assist you in achieving them. In many ways this can be good in helping you set goals and know they are meeting their grade level acheivements. However, many times it can be discouraging if you are learning very valuable lessons that are not intended for their year. For example, last year and this year, my son is following the war of 1812. He could describe, act and be informative on the details of this war. Now he builds T.P's in the back yard using real wood. He analyses what works best and applies it. He looks at the material and noticed what is better or worse for the environment to make a better shelter. I can think of so many outcomes for this...but if it's not in the PLO's of their grade level ( although it is good learning) it most likely wont be applied to their outcomes and the traction is lost for meeting those required expectations. Now that I have vented a little LOL...we can continue...

For the little ones I will Begin our day with the Calendar

This is an awesome, awesome resource! The only complaint is that it doesn't have a lot of Canadian cards...but they have blank ones that we use for them...they are just not as pretty :D
This is great for weather, number counting, days of the week, months of the year and lots more. On the reverse I have an Alphabet Chart which I use a lot too. It is nice to have the letters there when they need them. For our Dyslexic learner, it is a very good visual for numbers and letters when writing and he gets lost. It is also nice to have the date always present for our journals or whatever writing we have.

So that is the wrap up of what we use for our Bible and Calendar time...stay tuned for more resource reviews and ideas for your Homeschooling!

Don't forget to Subscribe to my Posts and write a comment! I would love to hear what you use too, so don't be shy!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Learning with The Barton System

Susan Barton is an incredible women who has truly hit the mark. 
I sincerely feel the care of what she is doing throughout here videos 
& the scientific research that was put into this System. 

What I like most about this System, is that it is simple and there are no letters on the blocks. Why this is important, I never realized, until we came to our first hiccup doing a lesson.  My son was getting frustrated with the simplicity of the lesson. For example I would say a non-sense short word. (VC-Vowel Consonant), he would repeat back each sound in that word, say it together following our signs and then tap each sound on two different coloured tiles to represent the two different sounds. He thought this was pretty silly because he knew what it said and could tell there was two different letters in it. So he would slur the sounds together while tapping the blocks and then try to push the lesson along.

In my heart, I felt that it was a bit too simple as well. However, I sat there and thought to myself, what was really happening?! He quickly blended the words together and didn't realize that the sounds were separate, even though he could distinguish the letters to be separate. I asked him to do it again, and with some nagging he agreed. That is where I noticed this to be true. I told him to purpose himself  to slow down. This made him concentrate on the individual sounds even more and he was even shocked that it was hard to break apart those isolated sounds just using his ears. This became even more apparent when we went into the harder activities. We are at Lesson 2 now for Level 1 Phonemic Awareness.

Just recently Our Dyslexic boy read me a whole small book. Then another one and this morning he was actually excited to get a book and read. What he wants for Christmas...a bible with large letters that he can read on his own. What an incredible break through for this family!

Larger letters is much easier to read, even for me (I also have Dyslexia). In a future post I will give my thoughts on Irlene Syndrome too. But for now, this is working incredibly for our family.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Traveling the Globe with Little Passports!

So, I just stumbled across this very cool and fun looking Adventure! 

I personally LOVE to get things in the mail. I know, I know, snail mail....but there is something about getting a physical item that you can hold and touch or read in the mail! It does help that my husband is a Mail Man though ;)

I haven't tried this out, but it is certainly making it on my curriculum list for next year. Once you Subscribe to Little Passports you get the Starter Kit which includes your large world map, passport and little luggage cute!. Following that, you get a monthly Country, which includes stickers, a letter, and some crafts for that particular Country etc. 

Thankfully, they Ship to Canada, but if you are outside of Canada and the U.S. I don't think they do. Also, they do have a States Adventure too, that focus' on traveling through each State. I think they should get a Canada one too :D
What a fun and exciting way to learn about the different Countries and the thrill of not knowing which one is coming next! 

If anyone has tried Little Passports and would like to share their experience please let me know, I would love to hear about it. When I start it, I will keep you updated with our experience as well. 
Until then, happy learning!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Am I willing to be Thankful?

Riddled throughout the bible there are many different subjects; One of which, is Thankfulness. I can't help but look around and wonder if I have been truly Thankful for all that He has given me. It is funny, in a sad way, that I can look back when I first came to know Christ and clearly see how thankful I was. I remember in my prayers, always trying to show, or say how thankful I was that He would delight Himself in me. So much so, that He laid down His life for mine. All this He did, even when I had rejected Him in times past: How thankful I was.

Fast Forward:
I am facing my, 'Mountain of Sorrows' again! (code word for; clean laundry pile on the floor in our bedroom waiting to be dealt with...the one the kids have trampled on and yes, I rearranged back into a mountain for the 3rd time today) Kids attitudes have gotten the best of me and I broke down today and resorted to raising my voice and speaking harshly to try and be heard in the midst of other children still trying to interrupt and a screaming toddler. Traffic was jammed and made me late, rushing to get things ready for us to leave again. On the way out the door we can't find any clean or matched socks again! The youngest is fighting to not go in his car seat, while the others are not even buckled up yet and we need to leave right now. One of our children was asked to wash their face and used their shirt as the napkin like always. Haven't had a chance to really talk with my husband or God for that matter yet today. And on...and on...and on it can go....

Let's face it: Life is hard. It is not easy. Throw in more adults and children who need you constantly, work, friends, school; This life is real and has a real list of chalk-full challenges. But, did Jesus just leave us and say, "Hey! I will save your life to give you more troubles and leave you to your sorrows?" Let me answer that one for you....NO ;)

He promises to be there to help. Sometimes, I think we are too busy to realize all the things that actually are good in our lives and we (I mean, I) tend to focus on the negative.

I got to cuddle with my little girl before she went to bed and she had fallen asleep in my arms. My husband came home and let me go out and talk to real adults and not children for a few hours. God spoke to my heart in the van alone and I got to sing praises to him.  I had a heart-to-heart conversation with one of my boys and we grew closer to each other and to God. My littlest man amazed me with how much he has grown and what a sweet little man he is becoming. Family called just to see how I was doing and told me how much praying for them really helped. My Dyslexic child read a whole book to me....his first ever doing this all on his own. My heart swelled with Joy. My husband quickly grabbed me for a hug and we shared a moment together un-interupted. He made breakfast! What's not to be thankful about that! We had dinner on time and I was able to tidy up before we left to go to church and minister to God's people. And on....and on.... and on this one could go too.

I guess, in a nut shell; It is really, what my hang-up is or what I want my focus to be? There is a reason why God reminds us in His word, "to be thankful always, in all things..." or, "whatever things are good...think on these things." It involves our will.

When I was young my life was so full of Joy, it was easy to praise God. Now that my life is super-full and the Joy can easily get squeezed out, my will needs to step in and give room to still be thankful and let that Joy in.

God is still God and has changed me. This fact has never changed. I still get to make Heaven my home and that is all that should matter. Then why doesn't it sometimes? This is what I return to time and time again: I need to encourage myself in the Lord like David and say, "I am free from the bondages of sin and get to spend eternity with the one who saved me! What more could I ask for?" Then on top of that He has blessed me with children when some could not have them. He has given me food and clothing when some has had none. When I am feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders and I am getting the stare-down from those mountains...this is what I rely on. For my Joy to be renewed; His Love and the Salvation He gives. Being Thankful is only a 'will' away!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Dirty Pots and Baseball: When it is hard to find Joy...

I have been reading in Ezekiel lately about the story of the crusty old pot that God said He would burn because it was so badly crusted with scum that it would not be able to get clean. It was really funny ( I love God's sense of humour sometimes) because at that time I was actually making a soup. Most of the family wasn't going to be home until later and so I thought I would let it simmer for all the flavours to really combine. I took a break from reading that paragraph to check on the soup and reflect on what I read. As I approached my pot, I thought maybe I would have a quick bowl before they came home because the hot buns just came out of the oven and they would still be another hour or more. So, I turned the heat up to a boil. I like my soup hot! As I am standing there reflecting on God's word and how it could apply to my life I watched the pot start to roll. I noticed that there was no scum on the surface, but now that the roll began to happen and the heat was stronger, the scum immediately began to appear and so I grabbed my ladle.

You know, even though the two incidences were happening at the same time...I did not fully register the thought was linked to my actions until the second time I checked on the pot and realized that there was a lot of scum I had to remove! Then it dawned on me....

The heat was the force that made the scum or impurities leach out. While my pot was simmering, there was no impurities getting out. But, once a hotter heat was applied, it was finally able to release.

I thought about this in my life. How often God needs to turn up the heat to refine me and my heart. Especially when it comes to Homeschooling. Well, actually, every area of my life.  So often I am complaining about this or that. Yet, God is saying He wants to refine me. This is a humbling experience at its best I think. Which, in turn, turns our hearts back towards Him!

Homeschooling is probably the most challenging thing among others that I have had to face. Then to add Dyslexia on top, that is a whole new ball game! Many times I feel like I am in the dugout. I don't know which base I am on, whether or not I should be in the outfield or batting? Sometimes I can't even find the ball. Then, after all that, I can get angry with the Team if we come up short, or if the player strikes out! Many times this is the son with Dyslexia. After three times explaining ( and many many more) he can easily strike out. I think, if I can run to the Home Base, which is my Lord and Saviour, and cry out to Him in those times of struggle, I would be 'SAFE'!

So when the heat is on and the boil of PLO's, reports, expectations, paper work, writing assignments, getting to things on time, start to add on pressure; allow God to purify your heart and use it as a time for Joy! That God cares about your purity towards Him and the children He has given you. Allow it to guide you to your knees and reflect on His Righteousness alone, His perfect timing, His love and Grace which is sufficient for you. Let the Peace of God fill you and not the troubles of the world. Lay your heart out before for him and then go back and give the Team a high are doing not too bad after all. You can get'em next time! Buy your players some ice cream and tell them you love them for their dignity is in Christ and not the worlds standards. You are a great Team with God's help!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Susan Barton

For those of you who are new to teaching your Dyslexic children or who have not heard of Susan Barton, I encourage you to take the time out and listen to her many videos. I found them to be personally an incredible amount of reliable information and understanding for what I was going through. I often cried with tears of joy afterwards, just knowing that things that I had gone through as a child was something that others had faced too. I also left quite shocked with facts that I thought everyone thought. For example, I see most things in a 3D sense of view. When I turned to my husband and asked, "If I said, 'An apple falling from a tree.' Do you see it actually falling from a tree?"
His reply was simply, "No" and that it would be hard for him to consciously make that image in his mind. I was really shocked by that.

Didn't everybody think and see things in their mind like I did? Doesn't everybody's stories jump into movie-action for them? And well, that is mostly true for all of Dyslexics from minimum to extreme, I was shocked that I was different in that sense.

We have set out and purchased the Barton's System, which is an Orton Gillingham based education, that encourages the student in Phonemic Awareness. Reading abilities are strengthened and taught in a very different way compared to just learning their phonetics...which can be very helpful for Dyslexic's.

When we started our Homeschooling and had no idea about Dyslexia, we started our Language Arts with Sing Spell Read and Write. This is an excellent Curriculum that I still use today coupled with many others for richness.  However, with Dyslexic learning often times, it is their auditory input that makes it harder for them to become a fluent reader. They tend to rely more on image and I know this to be true for me and our family. I will often mix up similar looking words while doing our Reading Aloud Time, because I have relied on image rather than reading through phonetics and have very poor phonemic awareness. Phonics based teaching will not help on its own. I have noticed this to be true with our children. They get phonics when we are doing the sounds. When we start to blend they kind of get it (even with repeated practice on each sound and slowly blending a consonant with a vowel etc.) But then try and do a Consonant, Vowel, Consonant (or CVC word) they don't want to sound-out, they resort back to image memory. They struggle and don't want to go that route in the neurological sense. ***Disclaimer, I don't know how many times I have had to use the spell check, just in this paragraph alone!**

Just a note though: On Susan Barton's website, if you are planning to use her system you should first do the Teacher or Tutor Test and the Student Test. The actual tests do not take a long time. But you do need patience to get through her videos. I would not recommend skipping any instructional videos if they are required. They have been very fruitful for us and I am so glad we did not skip over these things due to impatience, which was easily encountered! P.S. I almost failed the Tutor Test, so don't feel bad if you do, she gives other options for those of you that might struggle with the test.

So, this has been our first week using the Barton System and it has been awesome. I can not stress enough the use of her video's. Please watch them carefully and do the instructions just as she intended them. That way the student and you have full confidence going in. Also, practice the sounds she does on your own. Using Sing Spell Read and Write gave me a great advantage to the part in her videos about how to pronounce letters properly, but I still messed up. So practice them as intended.

Once I was set up it was easy. Everything came in the box and so that made it very helpful. The blocks do not have any letters just colours. I have to tell you this actually works. I can feel my brain working in different will be different for you too if you area also Dyslexic like I am. I will keep you updated on how we are doing using the System.

If you need any information or just want to hear her videos explaining what Dyslexia is and the signs associated with it etc. You can take a look on her website at:

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Crafts for Boys

Raising 5 children can be extremely Homeschooling, plus house chores and the list continues to pile from here on in...and you have got the perfect recipe for a very tired Mama!
To ease up frustration and to get a little more fun back into your day, I recommend doing some really fun crafts!! Four out my five kids are boys! So having crafts that are interesting and easy for them to do can be a struggle. But I found three that were a lot of fun to do and had many benefits for our Dyslexic son as well as all the other boys in the house! Warning...lots of giggles and fun Alert!
Doing these projects is highly recommended. Not only does doing crafts stimulate the Dyslexic's creativity, but you will also learn more about their individual strengths. Ask them what they want to build and go with it. Find something to do in their strengths. Also, doing things that are small helps with fine motor skills which are very helpful for any student. Keep in mind that their were areas that I would help or assist them in. Showing them how to do something and then letting them do it on their own while still vocally guiding them through the task. This is also helpful for the Dyslexic learner.
So here is the first craft:
This was perfect for our Oldest!
Note: another idea is to set up a mini-market with some other Homeschooling buddies using all the crafts your children made to enhance knowledge about Businesses and money concepts.

These were leather bands that came in a set (including the leather strips for fastening). I believe the cost was $13. We then found some gift bags and made our own raffia out of recycled material. We then took the task of designing the bands and the display. Very easy and very fun!
Tip: You can also tie these into Native Studies! pun intended :D

Second was:

This one had to be one of my favourites and super, super easy.
Note: Very addicting to play with!

We found the recipe from Domestic Charm's Blog.

Very cool and very fun. My son said it looked like Teanage Mutant Ninja Turtle Slime. We actually don't have T.V. or watch them at home...however I think that Grandpa might have had some influences on him! So I looked up how to draw one on a gift bag and voila! You can buy those gift bags at any Michael's I think...maybe even a dollar store. And the little jars were actually spice jars from a dollar store! On a side says slime but doesn't quite act like it. It holds together well, almost like playdough but not really? This one we made to glow in the dark which I believe is on Domestic Charm's website :)

And the last:

Last but not least, a mini bow and arrow set. This one will take a lot more of your help, but will be well worth the efforts. I was very amazed at how well these shot! You can probably google search these to get direction's. I found them on many different blogs so you can pick and chose which one you prefer but it is so simple I can just tell you...

Get basic wood pieces found at dollar store or a store similar to Michaels. (look like tongue depressor's from the doctors). Get more than you think. I started out with Twenty Two and ended up with will break some by accident.

Notch out little groves on either side of each end.
Soak the wood over night or for at least 2 hours.

After it is done soaking, take one and tie a not with dental floss around one end. Wrap it with the dental floss many times.
Bend the wood slightly and hook on to the other end in the notches you had made before soaking.  Pull till it is tight and not lose and then quickly wrap to secure. Tie a not and set to dry on a clean dry surface. Start the next one and so on.

For the arrow; it is just q-tips with one end of the Q-tip cut off. We coloured the Q-tips and made quiver's for them. It was a lot of fun for us and hopefully for you too.

Let me know if you would like me to upload a video of any of these for demonstration. I work better with visuals, so just let me know and I will do my best :D

Doing Crafts like these are not a lot of mess and simple for supplies. They can relieve stress and get you one on one with your children in something they enjoy doing. Now if only I can get them to think laundry is a really super fun, that would really relieve some stress!