Saturday, November 21, 2015

Why is My Child with Autism full of Rage?

Typically you will find Kaden is a quiet person....he doesn't make a scene normally, he likes staying close to home and to himself.  He sometimes makes blunt comments to us and even to people he doesn't know because he is brutally honest.  He's also EXTREMELY passionate about whatever it is he is creating, building, reading or learning.  He has recently learned to be more compassionate to fellow Humans.....yes this is new as of the past several months or so.  He has always cared and loved animals way more then people...but we are finally making the list of cherished ones in his life now.  YAY for us!!! 

The thing that amazes me Most though is for a child that is extremely logic based and has everything in his life categorized as black or white he has an immense love for Jesus Christ.  It's not uncommon for me to find him reading and studying the Bible.  He knows what it means to be a Christian and has accepted Christ in his heart.  He has full Faith and Believes in the Lord, but that's where the road ends everything else in his life must be concrete and logical.  When I ask him about God he explains him as a being, more then a feeling...he is concrete in Kaden's eyes.  He has a relationship with God the way I did when I was little....he was my Friend and Heavenly Father.  I see the same relationship forming with Kaden.

For the most part Kaden is so sweet and kind and all of his deficits caused by him having Autism are things we can live with.  All but one thing, his anger towards himself and what manifested a few weeks ago into hurting me.  He has never hurt someone else in that way before.  And since then he has prayed about it and has tried to wrap his head around what had happened.  This was no easy task for any of us as we think about the future with Kaden.  What will it be like 10 years from now, even 5 years from now.  

To begin with we have to have a plan and be consistent with it.  And of course together as his parents we decided that any and all violent behaviors exhibited deserves punishment. For the behavior he had towards me last week we decided he would not be able to play any video game on his computer, tablet or game system for a week.  Also, he was not allowed tv unless we were watching a Family movie together.  For some of you that may not seem like a harsh enough consequence for what he did and others may think it was too harsh.  But, we carefully took into consideration where he sees violent behavior and where he zones out...that would be video games.  And when I say violent I'm talking about Minecraft....and that's not really a picture of violence, but there is killings and fighting even though we are talking about pixelated blocks.  Also, some of the shows he watches like SpongBob and Tom and Jerry may also fuel the behavior.  We did it for a week because he may almost be 9, but in his world when it comes to time he is roughly 4 or 5 years old.  Anything longer then a week would totally not be beneficial.  Another thing I want to clarify is that I do not think the shows or games are Bad and is causing him this behavior.  What I believe is that because of his deficits there are certain game plays, scenarios and situations that he doesn't comprehend at the level a typical child may.  An example, over the Summer we were watching Tom and Jerry....I grew up with that cartoon, all my kiddos did.  There was a scene where Tom was cutting himself up into pieces trying to get Jerry.  Kaden said, hey that's like me.  I asked him to explain and he told me when he feels overwhelmed the pain helps him feel like he's there in the room and not scattered.  I asked him why Tom was doing it and he said because Jerry is overwhelming him by running all around.  See Kaden is relating it to how he feels, he's not getting the whole segment of the cartoon, just like I wouldn't expect a young child to get it.  They would be scared to see a cat chopping himself up into little pieces.  So, what may be age appropriate for him is still not mentally age appropriate.  And we as his parents have to take precautions and be consistent in the boundaries we set for him.  

His week is up now and I can't wait to tell you how he was amazing and there were several hard moments too.  We saw him through a mini detox, but the outcome was beyond what I had expected.  I'll share more real soon.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Dealing with Autism Rage

It's been awhile since I've shared about Kaden's progress.  It's difficult sometimes to share, because there is nothing nobody can honestly do to make our day run smoother and I sometimes feel like a broken record, so I think why bother.  And will people really understand?  Most do not and that's fine....I'm glad that you might not.  But, for us our lives are sometimes more then a slight struggle just to get through day in and day out.  Don't get me wrong I Love this sweet boy, he makes me the happiest Momma ever and if I didn't have him in my life I would have a huge unfillable hole in my heart.

That being said, sometimes I'm scared of him.  I used to not be fearful of his anger, because he was 45lbs. wearing elmo slippers.  Things have changed over the past few years.  He is a little over 100lbs and turning 9 in a few short months.  His hormones are changing and the rage he experiences is tolerable on good days, it's the not so good days when I loose hope briefly.  And then the anger dies down and I see my sweet boy again and just like child birth pains all stress is forgotten.....well, kind of forgotten. :)
The other day we had an episode after breakfast.  I was picking up things off the floor so I could vacuum.  I asked him to help pick up some of his things left out from the night before.  Of course he didn't want to and protested.  I told him that if I vacuumed his little toys might get sucked up.  Still he resisted and started to get overwhelmed, I knew it was about to happen.  If I pushed it he would start hitting himself, bang on the walls and totally thrash his body until he would almost pass out.  Afterwards in his room he would nap or rest and then come downstairs completely oblivious to what just happened.
So, to avoid this as much as possible I rate the situations and ask myself how important is it for him to do or not do what I'm asking or if there is a change in it necessary?  At that moment I decided it wasn't important to have him pick up, so I told him that I would do it.  And then it happened....he lunged after me and clawed my face to the point blood dripped down my chin.  I was in shock, literally in shock he has NEVER put his hands on me besides pushing me away or kicking at me.  I was trying to block my face and he punched and kicked me with strength I had never felt before.  I was scared, he didn't look like Kaden, his eyes were set with rage, you could see it was fight or flight for him.  I had told him if I vacuumed them up they were gone and then I started picking them up.  A typical child would be like cool, now I don't have to do it.  But, Kaden felt threatened.  In his mind he lost control of his belongings and I was taking them away forever and then what goes in the trash next.  I can see this clearly just a few hours after the whole thing, but sometimes in the moment I think I'm making his life easier and instead I cause a bigger situation.  Every day I learn how to navigate life with a child on the Spectrum.  Every day there is new challenges and many fun Blessings too.  It's a balance and sometimes I feel like I've I did on that day.  

Afterwards he ran upstairs and laid under the coffee table with his weighted blanket.  For 15 minutes he ran back and forth to under the table to at the top of the stairs screaming.  He needed the blanket and the tight space under the coffee table to help him get back to the real Kaden.  But, he didn't know what to do with the emotions of what had just happened.  I know he LOVES me, I am his rock, soother, caregiver, protector, hugger.....I am his Momma.  He was terrified of what he did, he came and touch my face and asked how that could happen?  How did this happen?  And he started hitting himself and screaming how he should die.  Mahala had to hold him down to protect him from himself until he was calm.  And then he crawled and curled up at my feet making little puppy noises.  This is part of the process, at this point all rage is over and now I mend him back together again.  I pulled him up to my lap and held him, putting extra pressure on his main joints....this brings him back to us.  At this point I couldn't stop crying, I normally don't, but my face was on fire.  I went to clean up and Kaden rested.  For the rest of that day every time he looked at me he shuck his head with disbelief and would get this scared worried face.  He told me he was sorry and when I tried to talk to him which I normally always do he had nothing to give me.  He didn't know what had happened.  

I didn't scream or take things away or ground him until after I had talked it over with Dad.  With these situations you have to be careful, it's a delicate situation.   Nothing can be said or done without follow through.  When Dad came home we talked about it and came up with a plan.....I'll share that with you next.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Grapevine Studies~ REVIEW 

 photo 5 Old Testament Overview Part 1 Level 4_zps2tcp2coh.jpg 
My final Review for the year is one that I figured would be a winner all around when I heard about it.  For the past several weeks we have been using the Old Testament 1 Level 3 Creation to Jacob (for ages 10-12)  and a Teacher's Book from Grapevine StudiesThis curriculum is by far unique and in a league of their own with the use of Stick Figures to teach their Bible lessons.  I think it gives even the youngest Kiddo the opportunity to learn about God's word.  Like I said I was very hopeful that this would be a fun way to go through the Bible with Kaden.  He has read through the whole Bible twice already and can have total conversations regarding Biblical events.  He is only 8 years old, but his love for scripture is strong.  But, he's just 8 years old, lighten up a little and have some fun Kaden.  The concept Grapevine Studies offers You is the ability to teach Biblical Studies with simple studies for Kiddos of all ages.  Their Early method is to use the "Hear-Draw-Review" approach.  This is from as young as the pre-school age.  Once your Kiddo gets a little older, they will begin with the Read-Draw-Review which progresses further with age.  Here your Kiddos will be introduced to more Scripture, Bible Geography and learn how to use Bible Study skills.  All of their products are available Printed or as Digital Books.  You can go and find out more about each of the Levels offered and make sure you try out a Sample of one of their Studies. 
Level 3 has 12 Lessons, I'm going to go over what we attempted to do 2-3 times a week.  Each day we Reviewed the Timeline that we made at the beginning and with each lesson we add on to it.  Next we have our Bible verses that we are working on to memorize.  Right now we just finished Lesson 6 was on the Tower of Babel.  Kaden can go on for days about this particular story.  The Sections for this particular Lesson in The Landing, Noah and His Family Worshipped, The Promise, The Sign of the Promise, God's Command, The People Gathered and Built, God Confused the Language and The People were Scattered.  As you read the selected scriptures and stories you go through the pages and fill in "stick figure" drawings to go with the lesson.  After all the Sections are completed your Kiddo has the opportunity to draw their Favorite part in the Lesson they have just studied. 

This sounds like so much fun and I truly thought my Kaden could loosen up a bit and just maybe I had hit a secret gold mine.  Well, I was no where near a gold mine in his eyes, at least for him.  So, I would say if you have a literal, closed minded Kiddo that doesn't like to walk of the designated path EVER this program may not be for them.  Mahala, who just turned 16 actually thought that it was a non-threatening approach to someone who may be new to God's word or if Studying the Bible is new for them.  Her and I actually did most of all the drawings and Kaden looked up all the scriptures and even took on all other readings for the Program.  We are at the half way point with the 12 lessons and he still wants to complete all 12 of them, can't complain about that. :)

Would we use this program again?  It's so hard to say, because I LOVE the Program and think that it's an amazing Method to get your Kiddos in God's Word.  But, I can't justify the price if he's not fully committed to drawing.  As I'm writing this I had a quick thought....Kaden's drawing skills are way bellow average, that is just one of his deficits that he has from being on the Autism Spectrum.  So, I hadn't thought about the fact that that could have some play into why he is not willing to draw the pictures out.  But, it's okay, not every program out there works for every single Kiddo...they are all Special in their own ways!! :)  As he progresses and continues to meet milestones maybe we can look into this program again.
But, would I recommend it?  Absolutely and especially if you have a creative Kiddo or one that needs help staying focused on a lesson.  My oldest Son would have benefited from this program growing up because he had a had time focusing for more then 10 minuted.  This program would have kept him engaged! :)  

Take a look into it, it's definitely worth the time to check Grapevine Studies out.  You can stay in touch with them to with Social Media!
Periscope: @Grapevine Studies

TOS Disclaimer

Grapevine Studies Review

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Practical Critical Thinking ~ REVIEW

I'm almost finished with Reviews for 2015, just 2 more to go.  This is one of those products I would have Loved having as a child.  The Critical Thinking Co.  generously gave us the opportunity to use their Practical Critical Thinking ($39.99) and Teacher Manual ($14.99) to use and Review.  It was like an early Christmas present to me seriously.  Honestly Mahala was feeling a bit worried as she pulled out 2 HUGE 370+ page books.  But, once she looked through some of the lessons and activities her heavy breathing returned back to normal.

I've admitted before that I had struggles in school, especially Math.  But, I always valued the art of learning no matter how difficult school became for me.  And I learned early on that you have to use what you do know to try and figure out what you don't!  One thing that we have always done in our homeschool is workbooks filled with puzzles, word problems and short mystery/cases to solve.  Critical Thinking produces Independent Thinkers....isn't that what we see in most Homeschoolers?

This workbook is divided into 4 Units with 2 Chapter within a Unit and each Chapter has up to 11 Lessons.  In the Practical Critical Thinking workbook you will find these Unit Titles.  

Becoming a Critical Thinker 
Adding to My Critical Thinking Toolbox 
Critical Thinking and Arguments 
Applying My Critical Thinking

Keeping things Fun and Interesting is key to learning a new skill or working on one that you have already gained.  Mastery doesn't have to be boring and routine.  In their workbooks your Kiddos will get to explore a wide range of activities that require critical thinking peppered throughout the workbook like the following:

Prediction Time-  Here they get to jiggle their brain to try and figure out what's coming up in the lesson.
Student Polls- This is sort of self explanatory....our whole Family took part in the polls, even a few unexpected guests. :)
Thought Experiments-  These also get that Brain Muscle pumping....thinking in ways you don't normally think makes a mushy brain strong(Kaden says)!

Group Activities- can be done with a group or solo, Mahala did most of hers by herself, but we did do some of ours together.

Since this is geared towards High School aged Kiddos I mainly did this with Mahala, who is in the 10th grade.  I did though have Kaden participate in a lot of the activities.  He is very Logic based, so this is something I think he would really benefit from.  Mahala, like I said earlier was a little worried because the workbook is so big.  But, after a few days I noticed when I came downstairs for my morning coffee she was normally working on it first thing.  So, I would say probably 4 days a week she would complete a lesson.  She found that the lessons were doable chunks, not too long or repetitive.  I think it's perfectly recommended for grades 9-12th.  

The Teacher's Manual is in black and white unlike the actual workbook that has color.  I love that the Teacher's Manual gives the answer and goes into a little extra explanation.  It was simple and easy to use.  Everything in clear cut, I hate when I can't figure out a Teacher's Manual or when the answers are easily understood.  It's not necessary to have the Teacher's Manual, but I'm thankful to have it.  On top of all Mahala's work load it was nice to have the answers readily available.  
So, what did we think of the Practical Critical Thinking workbook?  I Loved it, we loved it.  Mahala and I both thought that it was straightforward and interesting from the get go.  I honestly didn't know I needed this specific product until I was presented with it.  The Critical Thinking Co. have several other products that I can't wait to get into the hands of my Kiddos.  All of their products I've looked into are affordable.  And if they are anything like the Practical Critical Thinking workbook then you can add High Quality product too.  I can't think of a reason to not offer this product to your High School Kiddos, go check it out and let me know what you think!!!
You can always stay Connected with The Critical Thinking Co. by Social Media!!!

TOS Disclaimer
The Critical Thinking Company Review

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Eat Your Science Homework~ REVIEW 
Most of my Reviews I wouldn't call them Yummmmmmy.....but, this next one I sure can.  We are a Family that Loves to eat, so you can imagine our excitement when we heard that Ann McCallum Books was giving us a copy of Eat Your Science Homework ($16.95) for a Review.  The Best of both worlds for us, Science and Food! :)

Once we opened up and saw the actual book I was blown away by the artwork and quality of the book.  Kaden was most excited about the Atomic Popcorn Balls.  And I'm sad to say that we have not yet made those.....but we will be.  During the Review period Kaden was sick and he's still sick, we are going on 3 weeks now.  That being said we only attempted 2 of the Yummy Experiments/Recipes.  We have read the whole entire book though and here is a shot of the Table of Contents.
I haven't really went in any kind of order when it comes to teaching Kaden, we are a little unorganized in thoughts as far as subject matter and the order in which we teach it to him.  The other Kiddos had more of a schedule.  So, that being said he was impressed with the Scientific Method explained in the Discovering Delicious.  When I "discovered delicious" I found 50lbs....what happened?? :)  Kaden marveled at the fact that wheat he does every day actually has a name.  I have not gotten around to the formal name of  the Scientific Method, but Kaden is officially not deprived anymore.  He knows it, lives by it and all it well. :)  After you go through safety precautions you get to dive straight into the good stuff.

Even though we did not make the very first recipe of Atomic Popcorn Balls we did read through it and can not wait to enjoy both making and eating them soon.  Kaden did take Chemistry towards the end of last school year and this was a great review for him and once he's well, being able to use his hands and make something that he's familiar with in his head is something he will not soon forget.  That is one of the Main benefits I see with this kind of a book.


So, let me go over the two we did do.  The first one was the Loop, Whorl and Arch Cookies.  Of course we made the cookies and we also did the fingerprinting Science Sampler afterwards.  We needed sandpaper, tape and a pencil.  He was able to shave down the pencil to get a little bit of graphite for dusting.  I had him dust the plate before we placed the cookies on it and loads of finger prints shined dark gray.  He was shocked to see how a clean plate had been touched by many finger tips.  I used this opportunity to drive home the importance of Hygiene!!!  After he calmed down from all the potential cooties on this cookie plate he carefully placed clear tape over a few of the prints to lift them up off the plate.  And of course doing all this while working through the Scientific Method.  Kaden was mesmerized by the different loops, whorls and arches on our finger tips.  I honestly think he enjoyed this experiment more then eating the cookies. :)  He did have a little trouble with the directions for the cookies.  We didn't have any M&Ms so that was fine, but the whole place two cookies on top of another wasn't computing to him, I blame most of it on him not feeling well.  But, also being on the Spectrum causes him to see things in a different light sometimes.  And that's ok, we just modified it a little. :)

Oh my goodness, the next recipe we tried, we actually did 3 times....yes 3 times.  It was the Sedimentary Pizza Lasagna.  My two youngest Kiddos love all Rocks and Minerals.  So, once again Kaden was familiar with the topic right away.  Here you see the Mohs Scale of Hardness.  Explaining how Not all Rocks are created equally.  It compares the food needed in our recipe the same way.  He enjoyed this so much that he wanted to do one for Breakfast, Dinner and Dessert...and so we did.  Up first is the Breakfast Sedimentary lasagna.

Honestly, I don't think he would have ate that had he not been inspired by the book....Thank You Ann!!!  

The dinner version was more like the actual Recipe, he made that one with Mahala and Dad.  That one was super delicious, he was in charge of each layer....Mahala and Dad were just "Helpers" or I should say "Miners".

 The last variation of the Sedimentary Lasagna was for Dessert.  Yeah, this bad boy was just that....a BAD Boy, but very delicious.  Kaden said all Rocks should taste this good.  Dad and I had to confirm that he indeed had never ate a rock.  Just crazy Kaden talk. :)
At the very back of the book you will find a Science Review for each of the Recipes and a Glossary.  So, my thoughts on this book is that it's amazing, you get exactly what you need to understand each recipe and Scientific topic completely.  I didn't feel overwhelmed with a long list of ingredients, I actually had everything in my pantry already.  The format of the book itself is easy to read and understand.  The illustrations are out of this world cool and fun, they are sure to capture the eyes of most any Kiddo....even Kaden. :)  This book offers you a fun delicious alternative to your educational day.  If the Kiddos are having a rough morning or it's raining outside this book may be just what is needed to turn those frowns upside down.  Ann McCallum has many more books to try, we are definitely adding some to our Christmas list for sure.   

 TOS Disclaimer

Ann McCallum Books Review

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Blocks of Time

My Boy has been doing pretty well lately.  We have been working up a storm to set a routine in place that works for us.  Do you flip flop with your routine or schedule?  I's a constant evolving list of rules, timelines, dates, to-dos and to-don't!!!  We are trying to find out what works and what can be changed at a moments notice with out Kaden going into a complete melt down.  Right now we are using Blocks of time instead of actual times.  
We have a Morning Block that contains wake up time, eating, hygiene, quiet time and math.  Afternoon Block is when Kaden has lunch, a few subjects, chores and play time.  Almost Dark Block is filled with Reading, dinner and some form of project or creating activity.  The last Block of time is the Bedtime Block and that's when Kaden reads, bathes and gets ready for bed.  Each section has a color and they are loosely written so to not overwhelm him on days that life just happens and we have a game changer kind of day.  I have tried, but I can not predict the I have to make sure he knows at any time things could change and if it does then we will decide together how to handle it.
In between all of his Blocks of time he can be found outside playing, reading and playing Legos.  Another favorite hobby of his is creating in the Kitchen.  My boy loves to create new dishes and swapping ingredients around that surprise me every single time.  Depending on his mood you can find him in a corner reading, playing piano or loving on his Dog.  

We have lowered our expectations not his opportunities.  In Public School they gave up on my oldest, Skylar.  At least that was our experience and we don't want to do the same to Kaden, but we do recognize that he processes differently then anyone else in our home.  He is easily overwhelmed, but also highly intelligent.  So, we have to make sure his day is filled with many opportunities to engage him and stimulate his mind while eliminating stress.  It's a fine line I walk every single day.  And I know that every day he has to be somewhat pushed a bit into the uncomfortable zone because I understand that the real world is not going to roll out the red carpet for him and tiptoe around his sensory needs.  But, I do it with caution and I know when enough is enough on most days.

For now that is how we get through our days and it works well for the moment.  He is happy, learning and reading every single day and that makes me one Happy Momma!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Brinkman Adventures: Season 3~REVIEW year my eyes were opened to the amazing Brinkman Family and their Adventures. I had never heard of this wonderful Missionary Family before, but was thrilled getting to experience Season 2 of their adventures.  Right after I reviewed season 2 Kaden was in my ear asking about the next season......for several months I was questioned and he even would go online and check out their website.  I was so excited to be able to share with him that Brinkman Adventures was giving us the opportunity to Review The Brinkman Adventures: Season 3.  And this time we were given a physical copy.  So, we could take it along with us anywhere!  

The Series is a Christian Audio Drama/Entertainment Adventure suitable for the whole Family to listen to and enjoy.  The Brinkmans are a Homeschooling Family with 10 Kiddos that are what I would call Real Modern Day Missionaries.  The Stories told are based on real life situations and will keep you on the edge of your seat.

BrinkmanAdventures: Season 3 is 4 CD’s and comes in a durable plastic case.  Great for safe keeping and car trips.  There are over 5 hours of adventure in Season 3!  You will be in suspense in all 12 episodes and each of the stories are roughly 20-30 minutes long. You can also get the season as a downloadable MP3.

Here is a look at the stories in Season 3:

*God's Mule
*Mountain Mover
*The Silent Ambassador
*Translating Trouble
*Acorns & Oaks
*A Saint's Story parts 1 & 2
*Busy Bees and a Bullhorn
*Missionary Tourist parts 1 & 2

Like I said before, Kaden was waiting a long time for Season 3.  So, when the CD package was brought in from the mail one evening after we had been out all day I reasoned with him to just wait one more night and first thing in the morning we would listen to them.  The next morning at 5 comes Kaden with the Brinkmans and a HUGE grin.  Ok Buddy, let me make a troff of coffee put on my slippers and I'll be ready.  After an hour or so of listening and then checking out their website for Behind the Scenes goodies I started making breakfast and he went off and played with Legos.  Long story short Kaden wasn't just playing Legos, but also listening to more Brinkman Adventures.  He hardly ever gets excited about anything.  Honestly, Nothing intrests that kid unless it has a Lego logo or has something to do with coding/math.  So, even though I was excited for him....I was thinking hey, I didn't get to listen. :(  But, never fear you can definitely listen to these adventures more then once.  I got my chance a few days later when we took a long car trip and again while out and about doing errands. :)  Kaden is  thrilled to just sit back and listen to any of the Brinkman's Adventures while I make breakfast in the mornings and usually by the time he's finished eating the episode usually has ended and then we have a chance to discus what took place and what he learned about it.  All kinds of questions were brought up during each episode. I Love when that happens!!  And the Unit Studies we were able to build off of the episodes were amazing, not to mention some really nice art pieces that he drew while listening.  We honestly learned about things we had not intended to study this year.  For example we learned a lot about Alaska, Survival in Nature, Africa, Bible printing and Getting it into the hands of many, Insects, Glaciers and many others to come as we go back through them.  

On their Website you can go check out the Real Stories Section, this is a MUST!!!  There you will find each episode listed with more information, amazing pictures and videos.  This was one of Kaden's Favorite things to do after each episode.  I almost forgot, but you can also listen to a Sample Episode online too.

We ended up listening to all 12 episodes (over 5hours) in just under a day......maybe not the norm, but what can I say! :)   But, we didn't just toss it to the side.....instead we listened to them over and over and over and look for things missed from before.  You know how Kiddos can get hooked on a certain movie and it gets played over and over.....that's The Brinkman Adventures to Kaden.  One thing that I thought was neat that both Mahala and Kaden did after this season, was to recreate small portions of a few of the episodes.  Just yesterday they were checking Homer's pack for smuggled Bibles out on our huge hill in our backyard.  It was a sight....I wish I would have snapped a picture of it. :( 

So, what did we we even like this Brinkman Family?  Big Happy Roll on the Ground, Love to the Moon and Back YES!  We Love it because it's really with a small twist of fiction.  It's not just read to you in a monotone voice.  It's action packed and full of excitement.  You hear back ground noises that you would assume would be there if you were actually there.  You hear crunching snow, animals in the back, dropped items and life....the stories come alive as they walk you through their Adventure.  I think most Families would highly enjoy the Stories and Adventures the Brinkmans have to tell.  And all the Extras on their Website is just Major Bonuses!!!  And guess what?  Kaden's already waiting on the next Season.....trying to wait patiently!!

Make sure to stay in touch with the Brinkman Adventures with Social Media!!

TOS Disclaimer

Brinkman Adventures Season 3 Review

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Standard Deviants Accelerate~ REVIEW
Recently the Kids and I were given a full year membership to the Homeschool Courses from Standard Deviants Accelerate a few weeks ago.  We are using Online courses more and more as the years progress on in our homeschool.  I like to use them as supplements in all subjects when I can.  The Courses Standard Deviants Accelerate offers are all recommended for Kiddos age 8 and up.  Most of their courses are for the Middle and High school ages.  It was designed to be used in a Classroom, so set up was a little tricky at first.  Once we figured it all out we dove right in! :)

Here are the 14 different Courses available at this time:
Arithmetic - Grades 3+
Fundamental Math - Grades 4+
Earth Science - Grades 6+
Nutrition - Grades 6+
Algebra - Grades 7+
Biology - Grades 7+
Chemistry - Grades 9+
English Comp. - Grades 9+
U.S. History - Grades 9+
AP Biology - Grades 11+ AP
Chemistry - Grades 11+ AP
U.S. Government and Politics - Grades 11+
AP U.S. History - Grades 11+
AP Eng. Composition - Grades 11+

Once you are all set up and have logged in your codes for each course you will see 5 tabs on the student dashboard.  Mahala used the Biology and Nutrition with Kaden.  I wanted them to do something together.  She also used the U.S. Government and Politics and English Comp.  Kaden used the Chemistry along with the courses he used with Mahala.  I intended to use this program more on a schedule, but that didn't happen.  Honestly Kaden used it as a time filler.  On Sunday before church while he waited on us to come down stairs he would log on.  He used it on his tablet on the way to therapy or as we were waiting in line at the post office.  He just really enjoyed it!  So he didn't use it typically, Mahala logged on 3 or 4 times a week and completed several lessons.  I liked the flexibility of this resource a lot.
So here is what it looks like.....The first tab is labeled Video.  They are roughly 5-10 minutes long and some are goofier(in a good way) then others.  Kaden was not particularly amused, but Mahala's attention was captured.  :)

The next tab is Vocab, a fan favorite in this house.  We have been putting up new words and definitions on our fridge almost daily for the past 18 years.  So anytime we have a chance to learn and discus words my kiddos are totally engaged.  I love that you can click on a word to hear it and hear the full definition.  This is great for auditory learners and it helps when it's a new word you haven't heard and your not positive with the pronunciation. :)

The tab after Vocab is Diagram, this was Kaden's Favorite.  He gets competitive with filling in blanks of any kind.  So, he was in a constant challenge with his Sister on getting the diagram blanks correct.  This section is truly important.  Anyone can regurgitate facts from what they just read or listened to.  But, to sit down and write out answers helps concrete it in the brain.  My rule of thumb is to have my Kiddos HEAR IT, SEE IT, WRITE IT and TELL IT.  If they can do that then they will REMEMBER IT! 

The second to the last tab is the Quiz tab.  Here comes the questions, I felt they were sufficient as a supplement.  Kaden wasn't too impressed, but he is a tough critic.  A few answers are kind of off topic and funny, typical Kiddos would find it fun.  But, Kaden being so logic minded there isn't much room for sporadic humor.

The very last tab is Written Answers and for the younger Kiddos this would even be helpful to practice handwriting.  I had Mahala completely do this exercise.  But, for Kaden we mainly used it as a discussion.

Now for my thought....I liked it as a supplement.  It filled more gaps then I thought it would.  I don't have any negatives except that the set up was a little confusing, but we are talking about me here.  I can't even work our remote control for the television. :)  I do think this program would be a good fit for a Family with Middle school aged Kiddos and older.  It's great for independent learners and it hits the nail on the head for a Kiddo with Sensory Special needs.  You have all Sensory options available to them and if you have a Kiddo that get's over stimulated by sights and sound this is perfect.  Because it's predictable layout is not overwhelming and it's pretty straight forward.  We look forward to learning many more things with this program.  :)
 photo Student relaxing on bed using SDA_SDA is affordable_zps8g6ndvjx.jpgBe sure to Stay Connected with Standard Deviants Accelerate with Social Media

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Nutcracker Maestro Classics~ REVIEW

 photo The Nutcracker by Maestro Classics_zpsbe6mbswh.jpg

I feel like I'm doing one Review after another the past few weeks.  Lot's of amazing products to use in Our Homeschool.  This next one is pretty awesome too, it's one that fits perfectly with the fast approaching Holiday Season.  We were presented with a Classical Music CD of The Nutcracker from Maestro Classics to Review a few weeks ago.  We were very thrilled to do this because it has been a tradition of ours to take the children to see The Nutcracker every year around Christmas.  Since Kaden's Autism Diagnosis we haven't been able to go as a Family.  The last time we tried was 2 years ago and it ended horribly.  Kaden Loves Classical Music and I knew he would love The Nutcracker too if it was under different circumstances.  And now it's our chance to do just that with this CD Set.

I want to share briefly about Maestro Classics.  They have made several Classical Music CD series that help introduce Kiddos to classical music.  Honestly they do this easily by taking popular classic children's stories and bringing them to life through music. Every piece has been composed/arranged by conductor Stephen Simon and is performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. The stories are read aloud by a Narrator while the music is being performed.  The Narrator for The Nutcracker is Jim Weiss.  Each music CD set sells for $16.98 or for $9.98 as a downloadable MP3.

Here are the Twelve Titles that they currently offer:
• Peter and the Wolf 
• The Story of Swan Lake
• The Sorcerer's Apprentice
• My Name is Handel: The Story of Handel's Water Music
• The Soldier's Tale
• The Tortoise and the Hare
• Juanita the Spanish Lobster
• Casey at the Bat
• Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
• Juanita la langosta espaƱola
• Carnival of the Animals
Quickly pop over and listen to a Sample of The Nutcracker Now!  It's Beautiful....right?

Once we received our CD Set Kaden flipped through the complete 24 page booklet that comes along with the set.  It went over the Scenes and History of Ballet, the Harp and of course Tchaikovsky.  But, it also had some fun extras too like a themed crossword, word search and word scramble.  Not to mention the Amazing FREE Curriculum Guide that they offer with all the sets.  Our Guide was filled with everything from History, Geography, Science, Language Arts, Math, Music and Art.  We were able to not just pop it in and listen, but watch it come to life through real learning.

We listened to the CD fully probably 5 or 6 times now and because he can control the volume and his surroundings it has been a success.  Some of his most favorite activities he did was the lesson on levers and simple Machines.  The Brothers Grimm have always been Family favorites of my two older Kiddos and here in the Language Arts portion of the Guide he was introduced to them and even created his own Farytale game online.  Just a ton of fun extras to make your Kiddo's experience even more memorable.

 photo Maestro Classics_zps27pnhxwl.jpgSo, what did I think...would I buy any of Maestro Classics other sets?  Yes I sure would, I think they would make Excellent Birthday or Christmas gifts.  Anytime you can unlock your Kiddo's mind with Music or Art jump on it, I feel like the benefits exceed the stars in the sky.  Not only is this a high quality CD Set with a durable case and activity book, but you also have access to some really great Learning extras with the Curriculum Guides.

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