Search & Win

Can Nutrition and Exercise Cure Dyslexia?

Campster shows off her color wheel painting
Sorry for my long absence.  Following the homeschool conference at MASS HOPE in late April, I had a lot to think about.  Having determined that Campster, now 8, is definitely dyslexic, I sought out advice and help at the conference, and from friends and family with experience.  What a vast difference in approaches I found!  (But more about that in another post to come).

For now, I had my "path forward":  Nutrition and exercise.  What?!  What do nutrition and exercise have to do with dyslexia?  Well, first of all, we were able to determine that one of the causes of Campster's dyslexia is that the two sides (hemispheres) of her brain were not talking to each other.  Here is a simple test to determine this:  Tactile Localization.  Campster failed this test horribly.  Whereas the other children could do it, no problem.

At MASSHOPE, we were blessed to have the speaker, Dianne Craft, talk about the corpus collosum, that section of the brain in between the two hemispheres.  It is made up of mostly DHA.  Children who are dyslexic need Cod Liver Oil (full of DHA) in order to build up their mid-brain and allow the communication between the two hemispheres to happen.  We have been taking Twin Labs Emusified Orange Flavor Cod Liver Oil, three times a day, ever since.

Secondly, Mrs. Craft talked about doing exercises for the brain, which cross over that mid-line between the hemispheres.   At first, Campster could not do this.  Wow!  We were so amazed.  But, within a week of doing "Writing Eights" everyday, she could do it smoothly.  We will continue to do these exercises at least four times a week for six months.

Having done these for a couple of months now, Campster is showing much improvement.  She is reading with enthusiasm!  She tied her own shoelaces, which she has never been able to do before.  We have hope that she will be a reader after all!

Wish you were here!

Blessings Revealed by Puanani Burgess — YES! Magazine

I love this wonderful example of what education could be, if we honored our uniqueness, and encouraged our giftedness!

Growing Up

In our family, a working definition of a "grown up" is someone who no longer lives with their parents, and pays all their own bills.  It is our desire to see each of our children become grown ups someday.  As much as we love our kids, we do not want them living in our home forever.  And, have you noticed?  There is a lot of that going around.

Please don't misunderstand me.  I am not judging those kids who chose to continue living at home or the parents who support them.  My dearest friend is twenty-eight years old and still lives with her parents.  However, she has an amazing prayer ministry.  She cooks and cleans for the family.  And she has plans to be a missionary.  There are situations where having your child continue to live at home is the wise thing to do.

It may be that when the time comes, one or both of our daughters may choose to stay home.  I don't know. Sher Bear says that she will always live with us and take care of us.  Perhaps we will need taking care of by the time she is grown.  LOL!  We will cross that bridge when we come to it.  But our intention is for all three of the kids to have the skill set, ambition and opportunity to make their way in the world and move out of our home.

Jor Man turned eleven years old this week.  And we took the opportunity to reassess what he is learning.  Big Dad and I explained that our intention is for him to use this time to discover God's gifts and talents, and explore how he might use those to support his family someday.  He balked.  He didn't want to think about it yet.  Yeah, well, who really does?!

We ensured him that this is just a time of exploration.  He could identify several interests to pursue, and change his mind if he wants.  Now is the time to do this.  We would like for him to have a good first guess (or two) at his future career by age 13.

Then, at 13, we will begin to pursue appropriate apprenticeship opportunities.  Trying out a job before you put your time and money into preparing for it, gives you the chance to find out if you really like it or not - before you've invested "too much" to change your mind.

Hopefully, assuming the field he wants to go into does not require an advanced degree, he will already be working, maybe even in his own business by age 18.  Then he will be in the position to move to his own place and support a family.

But for now, exploring the possibilities looks like talking with mom and dad about his interests, praying and asking God for direction, reading books and getting a firm handle on how much life really costs.  Our first go around, one thing was for sure, Jor Man want to be rich.  (Don't we all?!)

So I decided to begin a unit study in financial stewardship.  Here's the plan so far:

Reading The Total Money Makeover, by Dave Ramsey.  Jor Man has been reading (and enjoying!) five pages a day, writing down three things he learned in his journal, and then we discuss it together.  This has started many interesting conversations about such things as whole vs. term life insurance, car payments, credit card debt, and pawn shops.  I love this book because of its biblical basis.  It also warns against using debt as a tool for creating wealth.  This principal would have saved so many people during the recent financial crises.

We watched Maxed Out, a movie about the debt crisis in this country, on NetFlix.  I liked it because it showed many, many real examples of people in debt.  It also showed the desire of credit card companies to pray on the poor, and on college students.  It is important to me that my kids understand that the credit card companies are not their friends.

I want to go through Richard Bolles classic, What Color is Your Parachute, with him.  Perhaps we can further narrow down the field.  This book looks at many different areas to determine what job would best suit you.

When we were first married, almost twenty years ago, Big Dad did a form of intensive career counseling, called DOMA.  It was so helpful to us in determining that he wanted to get his Masters degree in Human Resource Development, and go into corporate learning and development as a career.  Ralph Mattson, the creator of DOMA, has written a book, Discovering Your Child's Design.  This book, from a Christian perspective, takes the parent through the process of learning more about God's specific design for each child.  We plan to read this and go through the process over the next couple of years for Jor Man.

Next we will read Rich Dad, Poor Dad, by Robert Kiyosaki.  I realize that there is a teen version of this book.  But, really, the grownup version is so "dumbed down" that it is easily accessible to an eleven-year-old - especially when he is checking in with mom and dad every day for comprehension.  The book is not well written, but the information is invaluable.  I will add the caveat that "Rich Dad" recommends using debt as a tool to build wealth, which I do not agree with.  That is why we are reading The Total Money Makeover first.

My favorite book for understanding how wealthy people get wealthy, Rich Dad's Cash Flow Quadrant, is next.  Also by Kiyosaki, it carries the same caveat.  It explains, in detail, the different ways to create income.  I think it will be revelatory for Jor Man, and I cannot wait to hear what he thinks of it.

Lastly, I want Jor Man is read the book, The Duggars:  20 and Counting! I have been reading it, and am inspired by their financial principles.  Not only are they debt free, they have no mortgage, and they have passive income from commercial properties.  (Rich Dad would be proud).  While the book is interspersed with stories about parenting, marriage and faith as well, I was struck by their faithfulness to God's plan to not owe money to anyone.  God regularly met their needs, just in time, in miraculous ways.

This has been my experience of God's faithfulness.  Countless times, by trusting in God, and doing as He instructs, I have seen God bless me financially.  This is not the prosperity gospel.  I do not believe that you will be rich if you really believe in God.  It certainly didn't work that way for either Jesus or Paul.  But I do believe that God is faithful to meet our needs if we will trust Him instead of trusting in debt.

The Campster, with her awesome new reading skills, noticed and read to me the other day from the top of a dollar bill, "In God We Trust".  She was amazed to find that on the dollar.

Perhaps our forefathers meant it as a reminder to each one who holds a dollars in their hand, not to trust the dollar, but the Lord.

Wish you were here!


I got a good public school, and private university education.  If you asked me, ten years ago, where man can from, I would have told you, with all the certainty I had, that men evolved from apes.   That's what I was taught.  And I didn't see the problem with that versus what the Bible said.

However, about 7 years ago, my dear friend took me to the Institute for Creation Research in San Diego.  And that began my interest in Creation.   Now we are getting ready to take a trip to the Creation Museum, just outside of Cincinnati, Ohio.  Can't wait.  Everyone I know who has been there says that it is amazing.

Whether you believe in God or not, the question of where we humans came from, is central to our understanding of who we are.  Why not find out what the Creationists believe?  I dare you to learn more, and let me know what you think.

Recently we have been watching movies about this very subject.  So fascinating!  Netflix allows us to watch as many of these movies as we like, at home.

Here are the movies we have been loving lately:

Wish you were here!

The January Freak Out

The girls playing Club Penguin 
A fellow Gabby Mom Blogger posted that she experiences The January Freak Out every year.  You know, that time of year when you wake up in the middle of the night wondering:  "What if I'm not doing this right?"  "Should I add grammar?"  "Am I ruining my kids for life by not teaching them about (fill in the blank) this year?"

Well, by now I hope you know me well enough to know that I don't do the shoulds or worry much, but I do find myself rethinking things each year.  I think we all do.  Sometimes my Freak Out doesn't hit until spring.  But this year, I am having a January Freak Out of my own.

For starters, computer time has gotten seriously out of control around here.  First the girls got everyone into Pixie Hollow, the Disney Fairies online game.  And then Huntz introduced them to Club Penguin (also Disney).  The games are fun and they really enjoy them.  Educational value is next to nothing, except that the girls are wanting to be able to read better so they can understand what is going on in the game.  So I am now dolling out computer time in exchange for other, more obviously educational things.

For example, the girls must each do their reading before getting time on the computer.  (And, it goes without saying that this can only happen when all their chores are done).   I also got composition books with cool covers at Staples for $ .50 each, and each child is expected to write a page each day.  About anything.  Even about how much they loathe writing in their journal.  So far, each has started a story and is enjoying continuing it each day.  I don't require them to worry about spelling, grammar or punctuation.  It's just to get them writing.  Oh, and it doesn't have to be neat, just legible.

Jor Man is wonderful about reading, so I don't ask him to complete any before playing.  But he needs to get his writing done.  The girls thought this wasn't fair, and I reminded them, for the umpteenth time, that life isn't fair, and they will never be studying the same things as their brother, so get over it.  It won't be the same.

So far, Sher Bear is just writing words, Campster has a princess story going, and Jor Man is writing a greek myth.  Huntz has not been at the house since the "crack down" so he's in for a surprise when he comes back!

Yup.  That's it.  That's me cracking down.  LOL!  It seemed like a big deal at the time, but now writing it, it's not.  The kids have gotten into the swing of things, and I feel better about having something to show the "officials" should it ever come to that.

Oh, and attitudes.  We are working on some major attitude adjustments.  Some negative, whiny, sorry-for-myself attitudes have crept into our home.  We are remodeling them.  Prayer, discussions, correction, and encouragement are all part of this.  A child, who shall remain nameless, was caught cheating at Killer Bunnies the other day.  Said child was immediately taken out of the game, and not allowed to play the next afternoon when we had game day at church.  Initially this child denied any wrong doing, and was in quite a huff about it.

But by the next day, the same child was overheard telling a friend, "I can't play because I cheated yesterday.  Boy, this stinks not being able to play.  I'll never do that again."  Well, I am not holding my breath, but I am encouraged by the change in attitude.  I'll take attitude over academics any day.

Wish you were here!

True Treasures Review

I have signed on for a dangerous assignment:  Reviewing books.

I say dangerous because I honestly don't know what all will be sent my way to read.  But, being the adventurous woman that I am, I have agreed to review one book a month for 2011.  I received this product for honest review from TEACH Magazine as a part of The Gabby Moms blogging program.  All opinions expressed are solely my own.

The first book, True Treasures, is a compilation of "the best" articles from ten years of TEACH Magazine.  For those of you not familiar with TEACH Magazine, the acronym stands for "To Encourage And Challenge Homemakers".  Well, I like the encouraging part!  But I'll admit I had a tough time with the challenging part.  TEACH Magazine was recently renamed "Eternal Encouragement" which I much prefer!  The book is very lovely.  Although I must point out that, unlike the picture below, the book is not hardcover, and it is not thick.  But it is full of articles!

Two things came to mind as I was reading the 100 pages of articles.  First, I was reminded how tiresome it is to be made to read something.  Granted, no one was making me read it.  I could have emailed and taken myself out of the group.  But I feel that I made a commitment and I want to stick to it.  It's been a long time since I have had "homework" and an "assignment".  It was good for me to see how it feels to be on the receiving end of such work.  Not great!  I let myself feel overwhelmed and upset.  (LOL!)  This was a good reminder to me that I want to be helping my children to find things to read that they love and want to read.  Reading something just because someone else says you need to can really zap the joy out of reading.  And I find it is much more difficult to remember what I've read if I am not as interested in it.  Having the deadline, I did not take my time and savor the great articles.  Now that I am done with the review, I will enjoy reading it leisurely and getting more out of it.  Once I got over my initial poor reaction, I did enjoy reading it very much.  (Note to self:  Start the next book much earlier!)

Secondly, I was struck by the language.  As I've said before, I don't like shoulds.  Here and there in various articles, there was a fair sprinkling of MSG.  You know, Manipulation, Shame and Guilt.  I love to be encouraged.  I really dislike being told I should be like this, or a good wife (or mother, or friend, or Christian) is like so.  I am thinking about how to apply that to my parenting.  

Okay, now that I have utterly convinced you not to read this book, let me change my focus.  There are plenty of wonderful, encouraging articles in "True Treasures".  And it is truly worthwhile to read the whole book and glean those encouragements and tips and tricks.  I admired the transparency of "Confessions of a Former Doormat" by Jennifer TeGrotenhuis.  "Yippee, It's STILL Free!" by Mrs. Lorrie Flem gives a wonderful list of websites giving out free homemaking and homeschooling resources.  I could really put the housekeeping suggestions to good use!  And I will touch base with Sher Bear regarding "7 Ways to Break the Breakfast Blahs".  There's even a recipe for granola!

There are sections on marriage, parenting, homemaking, homeschooling, and godly living.    The tips, tricks and encouragement from Christian moms who have gone before us is invaluable.  Older women are told to teach the younger (Titus 2).  This is what this book is all about.  Lastly, I was tickled to see authors whose names I recognized:  Cindy Rushton, Cyndi Kinney, and Marilyn Boyer.  

It will be interesting to see what book they send me to review for February.  I hope you can tell from this review that I will give my most honest opinion, the good and the bad.

TEACH Magazine (now Eternal Encouragement) can be found at  www.HomemakingWithTEACH.com .  My readers can buy "True Treasures" and get $4 off with the coupon code "GabbyMom"  through May 31, 2011.  

Wish you were here!

Skiing for the First Time, Ever

Sher Bear tries on her new long johns, hat and mittens
Ever since we moved from Sunny Southern California to New England, I've been hearing about the wonderful homeschool skiing program at Otis Ridge.  This was the first year that we tried it - in fact, it's the first time any of the kids have ever skied.

Such a deal:  It was $85 per child for 6 weeks of lessons (once a week), rentals, and lift tickets.  And while it is over an hour drive from our home, it is worth it.

Thanks to my Mom, who gave the kids the lessons for their Christmas gifts (at my request).  At first the kids were equal parts apprehensive and excited.   But as the day drew near, and we began organizing the "stuff" and getting ready, the excitement was winning out.

Everyone had new long johns for the occasion, and several got new gloves or hats.  The night before, we laid everything out on the beds to be certain no one was missing any important items.

Huntz on skis for the first time
On that morning, we got up early and had a good breakfast before suiting up and driving out to Otis, MA.  I gave myself extra time to get there, because it was my first time driving out to Otis, and the country roads can make everything take longer than one might think.

Campster flying down the bunny hill
I was amazed by the shear number of homeschoolers who were there for the lessons.  Because it was closer to Hartford, CT and Springfield, MA, there were a lot more kids there than we were used to seeing at a homeschooling event.

Getting checked in was a bit tedious, as was getting skis and boots for  the kids, and trying everything on.  But once the kids were all properly equipped, we headed outside where the real fun began.

Jor Man has the hang of it
Campster, Huntz and Jor Man, going around in circles

At first, they had all the beginners wear only one ski and go around in a circle to get the hang of it.  I'd never seen so many kids staring down at their feet!  Funny!

It was difficult for me to watch Sher Bear struggle with her skis, but soon I turned to my friend, realizing my tendency to hover, and we made a break for the lodge.  Better to let the professionals teach the skiing.  I don't ski anyhow.  I wouldn't have anything truly helpful to add.

I was surprised, and a little disappointed to find that from there the kids were basically left to their own devices.  At various points all the kids fell into ditches or just tipped over and couldn't get up.  It was hard watching them, and seeing no one was coming to their rescue.

Eventually, everyone did get up on their own, and learned something in the process.  As much as I am all for kids learning on their own, I guess I still want a little more instruction when it comes to skiing.  What do you think?

In the end, Campster and Jor Man really took to skiing.  Both skied from 10 am until 3 pm, and then left only on my urging.  They flew down the hills and absolutely loved it.

Huntz had a more difficult time, but seemed to enjoy himself.  I believe he will get the hang of it this week, and be skiing with the others.

Sher Bear (who apparently takes after her mom) much preferred being warm in the lodge, drinking hot cocoa and eating chili cheese fries following her one hour lesson.

To kill time waiting for the "big kids", Sher Bear and I played the Thankful Game from "My ABC Bible Verses" and I allowed her to use my digital camera to take some pictures.

In preparation for the next lesson, we went to the library and checked out some children's books on skiing.    I am also looking for some videos to watch with them (preferably ones without big crashes or tragedies).  I am also getting helmets for each child.  (I kept thinking of Sonny Bono as they came flying down the hill.)

Sher Bear, in full gear, tries one ski
Knowing how afraid I am of skiing, I didn't want to pass that on to the kids.  Recently, I was telling my mom how much I love thunder storms, and she confessed that she was always terribly afraid of them.  I never knew.

I am thrilled that the kids seem to take after Big Dad in their love of skiing and their athletic abilities.  I called him from the lodge with tears in my eyes, and said, "You really ought to take next Thursday off and come see the kids ski.  You won't believe it."

They are growing up!

Wish you were here!

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