Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Dyslexia Therapy with NON-dyslexic kids? YES INDEED! Part 1: My Son

      Sounds weird right?  I thought so too when it first started rolling around in my head.  I'll be honest though, it never would have crossed my mind if it hadn't been for the fact that the Do-it Yourself Homeschool Journals (that  we adore) are produced by/are the same company as Dyslexia Games.
     I joined the DyslexiaGames fb page in order to stay up to date on their homeschooling products and because of that, I received info in my news feed about dyslexia stuff.
     Why does this matter?  We are getting there.  Before moving forward though, let me tell you about my middle son A10.

A's story:  A tale of frustration...

     A10 gets mentioned alot when it comes to certain themes:  reluctant reading, reluctant hand writing, very little reading progression, inability to spell, difficult-ness in general, being a "hard" toddler and younger kid, impulsiveness, low early language skills (very early on and not for very long), etc in "those" types of areas.  At 10 years old now, he still keeps me on my toes BUT he is really pretty easy.  Consistency in parenting, constantly going after the heart issues, and continually allowing there to be Grace and Mercy in all areas with him and schooling has brought us to this point.  But man-alive!!!  Things could have been so much better, so much sooner!  To really understand all this, you need to know about A.

A when he was 18 months old
     As a young toddler, 18 months, he didn't say a whole lot.  He had started to talk around 10 months but as soon as he could walk, the language came to a halt... like he didn't really use it at all.  When he started talking consistently is was like a cave man.  He said "ME.  ME A"  the only other thing he said for a long time was "BAH" and depending on the voice inflection it meant different things.  BUT, also at 18 months he could ride a 2 wheel razor scooter 4 miles, without help or complaint.  I figured, and saw, that his active skills where moving along at a huge rate and his language skills just weren't.
     A10 continued in this same manner:  super active, super impulsive, super good at physical activity.  His language skills were fine (other than the weird start he caught right up and was never behind).  A was a super creative, loving, naughty, difficult little kid!  I say that with all the love in my heart.  To say he was difficult is an understatement.  A was busy, impulsive, and... self-centered to a fault.
  Many, many, many people told me that they thought he was ADHD.  But I knew him and I knew he wasn't.... and really it wouldn't have mattered, I wouldn't have done med's anyway.  A is a lot of things but ADD/ADHD is not one of them.  A is a boy.  A foolish boy.  He was extremely  impulsive  and the punishment was always worth the crime for him.  What he needed was good, old fashioned parenting and a Jesus moment (or two)!

     When A10 started  kindergarten, he did so as a "young" student, as his birthday is in August.  I didn't really think much about it; his oldest sister, F16's birthday, is the day before his and she did fine.  A10 was very bright, liked learning (though he didn't really like formal education type stuff) and was 5 so why not.  He was excited about school and likes to do things, so really, why should I have worried?

A when he was 5.  He was sooooo good at
physical things, like gymnastics.  Skill wise, he
was moved up to the "boys pre- comp".  This is
a class with mostly boys around 10 years old.
Needless to say, he was kicked out of that class
for not obeying his coaches and licking the floor mats.
Praise God for Coach Mike,  The only Coach
A could work with.  Coach Mike called A
"Hotrod".  He had a mohawk and tats.  A liked him.
     OH GOOD GRIEF!!!  The things I know now that I didn't know then!!!!  Long story short- this has been one huge painstaking problem!  You see, by this time in my homeschooling, my whole goal for kindy was to teach them to read!  Well, A10 more or less knew his letters and sounds but could not seem to retain anything.  He became easily frustrated and so did I.
     "Okay... he's young!  He will be ready next year!"
     Well, we did the same thing for 1st grade.... and 2nd grade... and 3rd grade.... and most of 4th grade too!  I just could not figure it out!  What WAS his PROBLEM??????  How is it that he could know so much and nothing at the same time?  Meanwhile, his math took off once we started teaching textbooks (which talks to him- no reading involved) and he loved other areas of school.... as long as there was no reading and preferably very little writing involved.

     I did everything I thought was right.  I separated reading and writing from the other things in his schooling.  We did everything verbally.  His comprehension was fine.  Creativity was fine.  Love of learning was fine... although he was not that impressed with anything that was more academic than educational.
     I soothed myself with so many "excuses" that seemed legit in order to feel like it was all fine:

  • he's young
  • he's A
  • he's working on so many heart issues
  • he really could be in the grade under
  • some kids don't get reading until they are older
  • he's doing fine in math (more on that later and there are some reasons)
  • he just isn't ready.
  • he's kind of pouty about it because his sister (who is in the same grade but almost a year older) is advanced.
  • he wold just rather be playing.
Back when school was more boring.  You
can't see A's face but he was NOT HAPPY.
     Now all of those things were REAL AND LEGIT but they were not bridging the gap.  Whatever that gap was!  I knew that something was amiss.  See, there were some things I didn't see in A that I saw in the other kids.  Differences with learning that I didn't see in my older children:
  • He didn't try reading/writing on his own.
  • Never asked me how to spell things.
  • Beyond his name he seemed to have no need for words.
  • It took him a lonnnng time to concrete letters and sounds and words as far as a written thing, the other kids never seemed to have that problem.
     I tried not to be too stressed out.  After-all, there is still time and I just figured that he would eventually get it. In the mean time, everything I chose for him to do was based on him not needing to write a lot or read much.  We still read out loud and listened to audio books- which he liked.  I just kept plugging along and figured that it would all just fix itself.

LINKS for this series:
Part 1,
Part 2
Part 3

Monday, January 25, 2016

Journals and Books from The Thinking Tree sample pages/links/reviews

     HERE IT IS!!!  Pic's, links and info on The Do-It Yourself Homeschool Journals by Sarah Janisse Brown!!!   To read about WHY I LOVE THEM, click HERE!   Before you go forward, here are some things to know:

  1.  I will keep adding to them as I get and/or get to explore journals.
  2.  Anything that has a personal description are things I have actual come into contact with.  Some things may not have additional pictures but they will come.  It takes time.
  3. The Journals all have some similar pages and a similar feel: calendar page, reading page, quotes page, film study page, etc.  I will post some "in general/in all" pictures but will post pics with each journal that I feel best represents that Journal.  They may or may not include pictures of page themes found in most every book.
  4. Some of the Journals are specifically Christian and some are not.  I will note the ones that are.
  5. My hope and goal here is to give you a better glimpse into each book so that you have an easier time knowing what you are looking at in order to make decisions. 
  6. Please be patient as this is a time consuming task for me and just takes a while =)
  7. Yes, I am working on videos as well.  Again, be patient!  they are coming!

     This is a compilation of pages you will find in the homeschool journal books by Sarah Brown.  Fun-Schooling books have less pages and are detailed at the end of this post.

     All the books have "similar" pages with some distinct differences.  The pages that seem to come up in every journal are:
  • reading time
  • calendar page
  • emotions
  • math practice
  • font writing
  • spelling time
  • film study
  • object lesson
  • geography/news page
  • copywork
  • meal planning
  • listening time
  • draw anything
  • nature study
  • coloring pages
  • self reflection
*pictures coming soon

     These are "similar" type pages that come up in most to all of the books. 
  • creative writing
  • animal research
  • occupations
  • recipes
  • learn something 
  • travel dream
  • art letter and fun
  • write one word that describes
  • who/what/when/where/why prompts
  • story writing prompts
  • write or draw something that really happened
  • watch a "how-to" video
  • watch an educational video
  • art and logic
  • what will happen next draw or write
  • history time
  • yesterdays news
  • animal quizes
*pictures coming soon.

     Some of the journals are older/younger looking, some are more cartoony/realistic. Some are specifically for boys/girls/everyone.   Pay attention to the sample pictures to get a good feel for the journals.

*pictures coming soon

JOURNALS FOR GIRLS (also look at the boy/girl section):

Creative Girls Journal
This journal is geared more toward girls 7-12 who do not want/need lot's of writing. It has a "younger" feel to it.  It has the usual pages in it but it does not have any creative writing pages.  It does have some "observation pages" that allows for writing and copywork pages.  Pictures are mostly all girly, plenty of coloring pages and "draw anything".  It's a great book for a girl who is not used to lot's of writing and needs a more fluid work load for more drawing and pictures.  If I had a struggling reader/writer in this age group I would pick this for her as she would not be frustrated by "too many words" going on.

Library Based Curriculum Journal: Delight Directed Learning for Homeschooling girls book 1
This journal is geared more toward girls 9-13+ .   It has a "middle girl" feel to it.  It has the usual pages in it but it does not have any creative writing pages.  It does have some "observation pages" that allows for writing and copywork pages.  Pictures are mostly all girly, plenty of coloring pages (but not as many as the Creative Girls book) and "draw anything".  It's a great book for a girl who is not used to a lot of writing and needs a more fluid work load for more drawing and pictures.  If I had a struggling reader/writer in this age group I would pick this for her as she would not be frustrated by "too many words" going on.

Ages 9 to 12 - Fun-Schooling Journal - For Christian Families: 

The Charlotte Mason Homeschool Journal:
This journal is perfect for the creative young writer.  It is filled with beautiful, real picture prompts, learn to draw pages and all the other wonderful pages we love in journals; including, film study, reading pages, copywork, spelling, draw anythings, and litening time to name a few.  While there is more writing/writing prompts, they are presented in short sections or small boxes as to not be overwhelming.  The only complaint one of my daughters had was that there was not MORE space for longer/real stories.  The book has a slightly older feel and works well with older girls for that reason but younger girls would love it too.  There are not a lot of coloring pages.  This book is best for girls with a passion for writing things down, ages 8-14+


 Girls Spring Journal
This journal is good for any age girl.  Has a "middle girl" feeling to it.  Not as young in feel as the Creative girls book, maybe just a step up.  My 14 year old is using it and she likes it but my younger girls would like it just fine too.  I would have picked a different one for my 14year old but I bought that one before some of the "older ones" came out.  There are no creative writing pages and it has a free spirited, fun feel to it.

Girls Winter Journal

This journal is good for any age girl.  Has a "middle girl" feeling to it.  Not as young in feel as the Creative girls book, maybe just a step up. This book has some beautiful pictures in it and feels a little more... settled.  Like, It's fun but still calm in all it's fun-ness.

Autumn Homeschooling - Library Based Curriculum Journal:

Kitty Doodle's homeschooling
This journal is good for girls who are 7-12 .  Has a "young girl" feeling to it but it has some more "big kid" stuff in it.  At first I thought this book was geared a little more to the "5-10" crowd but with it having geography and creative writing pages, I think that puts the skill level a bit older.  I love the drawing prompts in this book that use the same style of learning to draw as the "teach yourself to draw" series.  The different types of cat pictures are super cute!  There are coloring pages but it's a good amount and not too much.  I loved the feeling of this book- not too busy but fun!  I recently did suggest it to a friend to use with her 6 year old daughter.  She already reads and writes.  The creative writing spaces are a bit much so I suggested they just not worry too much about them and what she does on them and with the geo/world news, I suggested they look up a missionary to read about online and fill in the info with that.

Devotional Homeschool Journal: For Christian Girls:

Do It Yourself Homeschool Journal: & Delight Directed Learning Handbook (Home Learning Guides) (Volume 1)

Another beautiful book (ok so I may be partial to the girls book with inspiring pictures)!  This is another book that is best suited for the young lady who likes to write!  It is filled with beautiful and fun pictures to study, color, and write about.  It too has the usual pages as well, math, reading, spelling, brain games, ect.  My teen girls who like to write, especially like this one because of all the writing opportunities.  Great book for your young writer ages 8-15+



JOURNALS FOR BOYS (also look at the boy/girl section):

Homeschooling Boys: Library based Journal:
     This journal is definitely more "older" feeling.  Probably more of a 12ish +  although it would be fine for a younger boy too.  The biggest difference is that the pictures for creative writing and observation time are more "older" looking.  The other pictures like coloring pages and general dootles are in the normal "whimsical" style in the other books.  This journal includes creative writing,  travel dreams and observation time- so more writing.  That is another reason I think it's geared a little older.

Fun-Schooling for Boys - Winter Homeschooling Journal: 
This is a very cute journal for boys!  It does present a little younger with more "little kid type" coloring pages.  There are some fun new pages in this one like "draw something that really happened" and "write one word to describe".  There is a bit more writing prompts in this book than in some of the other ones.  If you have a boy who is not quite there, you can always use those pages as dictation (he tells you and you write it down).  I think this book is great for boys 7/8-10.


Homeschooling Active Boys - Do-It-Yourself - Spring Journal: 
My favorite boy book so far!!  I love this book!  This is packed full of different things from brain games and writing prompts, to picture studies and film studies.  There is a large mix between the "normal" appearing, more realistic pictures and these new cartoon like pictures.  Also the "emotions" pages are the same ones used for the "ADHD" book which all my boys love!  There are still math pages and world news pages in this book too.  There are some long writing pages but your boy would not have to fill up the whole page.  Just do know that they are in there, in case you have a boy who would see all those lines and panic.  There are some coloring pages but they are not as many or as girly.  Even my 12 and 14 year old boys like this book.  They say it's "more fun".   The book definitely presents more upper el/middle school but I think because of the longer writing segments and the fun cartoon guys/faces that it works well with older boys too.   They like the cartoony drawings.  This book is great for any boy who doesn't mind some writing ages 7/8-14+



For Eclectic Learners (space cover):
This book feels more "boy" to me but could definitely be for either or.  Age range would be a "writing grounded" 8-14+.  It has an "elementary/middle school age" feel to it.  I love the animal picture prompts in- there are quite a few.  It still has the girly zentangle stuff but it is not overwhelming at all (meaning if a boy had it, I don't think he would feel like it's a girls journal).  It has both writing prompts and geo/world news studies in it.  Over-all a great book that anyone would enjoy!


Do-It-Yourself Unschooling Journal:
This is just a good, basic, strip down version of all the other books.  There are no real coloring pages but there are some "art and logic" pages to color.  It all is just very basic.  If you have a child who gets over-whlemed/frustrated or just doesn't like all the coloring then this is a good book for them!  My 14 year old son doesn't care for all the coloring (although he does like the cartoon drawings) and likes that this book still has all the great learning pages without all the "fussy" pictures.  This book has an "older kid" feel to it just for the lack of all the coloring pages and busy stuff.  I do think it's more "boy" but it can go either way for sure!  Ages 8-14+


The Hyper Active/ADHD Journal:

The Asperger's Syndrome Journal

For the Creative Student Journal:

Eclectic Learners Handbook (telescope cover):
This journal is great for boys or girls (although it does have a less girly feeling than the girl journals).  It does have copywork pages and world news/geo pages in it, which some people like better for older kids only.  It presents more "middle school" and even the cover feels a little more mature. I do like that many of the pages still say "draw or write" which balances out the writing pages with lines. There are coloring pages and girly flares throughout  the book.  Overall, it's a great book and has all the stuff you come to love and want from these journals!  Best for ages 8-13+ who don't mind some writing.


Do It Yourself Homeschool Journal: A delightful learning guide (with daily bible reading)

3rd, 4th and 5th Grade - Fun-Schooling Journal - For Christian Families:


6th, 7th& 8th Grade - Fun-Schooling Journal - For Christian Families:
The grade level books are a great way to go for anyone who wants their journals to be more "meaty".   This book definitely has more writing it, includes bible reading and more "school like" prompts animal quizzes and history time pages.  If you are using the journals as a supplement to other LA curric then this is probably not for you (unless your LA curric does not have a lot of writing).  If you are using this as your main, then this is a great book to get in more writing and general learning.  I think this book is true to it's grade levels, though it would be "kind of light" for a strong 8th grader.



10 subject Portfolio:

12 Subject Portfolio:
This is a new format for the Thinking Tree.  This book is designed for middle school-highschool.  There are 12 subjects:
science, history, geography and travel, mathematics, buiness and technology, language arts, literature and copywork, the arts, social studies, films and tutorials, home economics, projects, blank journal pages.
There is a title/book page at the beginning of each section and then repeating document pages proceeding from there.  By requiring more or less quality/quantity work you can use this as your go to place for all of learning or as a way for your child to better collect and track their interest.  If you are using this as your highschool curric. you will want to make sure your student uses highschool/collge age books and uses one portfolio a year.  For younger grades, one will last the whole year.
One of my daughters is currently using this and it is going well.  She loves her regular journal and missed the lack of fun and coloring in the portfolio, so she does both.  We both love how it chllenges her to go beyond her rut (WW2/Holocaust) and explore other areas.  The math section was a littl weird to us but she figures she can keep notes in it (she uses KHAN) and we both wished that the history section has more room for writing.


FUN-SCHOOLING (do it yourself journals for pre-k-3rd):
Ages 3 to 7 Fun-Schooling Journal - Do-It-Yourself Homeschooling for Beginners: Homeschool Prep-Book For New Readers and Non-Readers!
This is a book is great for the little people!  It is a little shorter than the other books but still has a mix of all the pages.  There is some writing stuff in it.  I just encourage my kids to still find something to copy (I write it down and they trace it) and/or to find some words they can read and copy those words down.  There are also logic games, film studies, coloring pages, drawing, math pages, ect.  This is perfect for your child to use over and over until they are ready for "a little more".  For ages 3/4-6/7


Preschool, Kindergarten & 1st Grade - My Fun-Schooling Journal: A Delight Directed Learning Guide for Young Students - 8 FUN Subjects!

This is a great book to follow up the pre-k one!  Super cute pictures, just a little bigger and a few new prompts like "what will happen next".  Great for pre-K-1st!

Ages 6-9 Fun-Schooling Journal - Do-It-Yourself Homeschooling 1st - 3rd Grade:  Learning activities for new and struggling readers.
(pics coming soon)  This Book is another good one the little kids.  I did feel like it was a little harder than the "5 bunny cover".  The books are very similar but the logic games are a little bit harder.  I think it's more of a kindy/1st than a pre-k.

Learning Activities For New & Struggling Readers
 1st, 2nd & 3rd Grade Fun-Schooling Journal - Do-It-Yourself Homeschooling: Learning Activities for new and struggling readers:
This book is perfect for a strong kindy-3rd grade.  I think, in general, it's a great "1st journal" for a 2nd/3rd kid who needs a good introduction into these journals.  It's shorter than the bigger kid books but has a little of everything.  My 3rd grader did this and by the time he got to the end, he was ready for the boy's winter journal!



Teach your child to count to ten-number time: ages 2-5

 Teach Your Child to Count to Ten - Read, Write, Count,  Color & Play: Number Time - Fun-Schooling for Preschool

Count & Color - Just for Girls: Age 3 and Up - Fun-Schooling Math (Homeschooling for Beginners)

Count & Color - Just for Boys - Ages 3 to 6: Fun-Schooling - Math for Beginners

Kitty Doodle Math - Fun-Schooling - Ages 3 to 5 (Kitty Doodle Homeschooling) (Volume 1)

Student Homeschool planners:

The Eclectic Homechooler's PLANBOOK:
These student planners are meant to be used daily.  They have a good mix of "plan" stuff and some personal/day dreamy things and some coloring.  If you have a student that likes to write things down and "touch base" with themselves everyday, then this is a great book to get for them.  Ages 10+



  Homeschooling Handbook for Moms

The Busy Mom's Homeschooling Handbook:
The handbooks are all very cute.  They do not really help me as a "non paper, audio learner" but I could see how they would be a dream come true for others!  The book is set up in a similar fashion to the regular journals but add things to it that are specific to the homeschooling mom.  I especially like the writing prompts in there about "perspective and goals".  It helps keep in touch with the "bigger picture" and I think it does that well!


Mom's First Year of Homeschooling Handbook

Coffee Time: Quiet Time Journal

Mom's Homeschooling Handbook:

Bible studies and Devotionals for Moms and/or Kids:

1st & 2nd Peter bible study guide and prayer journal:
This is a great bible study/prayer journal for adults or kids, middle school-highschool.  The bible reading is right there in the book and there are spots for notes, thoughts, and some coloring.  IN the back are "prayer journal" pages.  My 13 and 11 year old girls are doing these together right now and they love it!  They read together, jot down notes and then discuss what it all means to them as they color.


Just for Teen girls quiet time devotional:
What a WONDERFUL BOOK!!!!  This book is great for girls 10-18 who want to grow in the Lord and express themselves.  I love that the book focusing in on things like, "purity, trust, faith" and have the girls go and look up things in the bible to learn about the topics.  There are spots for them to write down their thoughts, prayers and hopes.  One of my girls won this book and I have loved seeing her blossom in the Lord while using it!


Bible Time Journal (A devotional coloring book)
These are adorable little mini books written by Georgia Janisse (Sarah's Mother) and illustrated by Sarah Janisse Brown. 

 They have repeating 2 page spread pages that feature slightly different color prompts and encouraging words/bible verses.  2 pages= 1 day.  There is also a New Testament reading plan that you can use but do not have too (it's only a suggestion).  The journals feature different covers but, again, the insides are all the same.  These work well for kids and adults alike!


Kids Devotional Journal and Coloring book


Spelling Time - Master the Top 150 Misspelled Words:

This is simply, a delightful way to learn to spell.  I got one for almost all of my big kids to help reinforce their spelling.  I love this methode of activating the right side of the brain through coloring, tracing, find the missing, logic games, etc in order to concrete words to memory.  One of my daughters told me that she often "see's the colors she used" for a word and that helps her remember how to spell it!  This book is HIGHLY recommended!  Ages 10 (with a firm grasp on reading and writing) and up!


Teach Your Child - 100 Words To Read, Write, Spell and Draw: Dyslexia Games Presents: 100  Words That Every Child Should Master By Age 10

Fun-Schooling Spelling Journal - Ages 5 and Up: Teach Your Child to Read, Write and Spell
What a delightful and fun spelling book!  I love the idea behind this system:  you learn a poem and then certain words in the poem are your "spelling words".  You then work with the poem again and color in your words and then work with it again and write in your words.  The first half of the book is like that and then the middle is coloring and finding words to put in the book and then the last part is make your own comics and some fun stuff like that.  Most of the poems are short, all are fun and the pictures are adorable!  This book is great for 5-10.  (Older kids only if they are still struggling readers.  I did it with my 10 year old because he needed the practice in a low key way).

MATH for older kids 

Are You a Math Genius? The Inventor's Book of Calculation Games - For Brilliant Thinkers: 180 Pages of Mathematical Creativity for Ages 13 +

How to make money- A handbook for teens/kids/adults:




Timeline of WORLD HISTORY:
This book repeats the page preview below throughout the whole book.  I was actually a little disappointed when I got the book.  I thought the pages could have been laid out with less wasted space.  I also wish there was more room for writing.  With that said though, I have seen many people use this book very successfully in their homeschool.  I do recommend it, but it just won't work for how we do history =)


Picturing the Past:
This is one of the most beautiful books I have ever seen with art!  Your child will not only learn about art and artists, they will journey through history at the same time! There are little writing prompts on each page that ask "What can you learn about the past from this picture?  What do you think the artist was trying to communicate?  How does this picture make you feel?  Make up a short story about this picture".  The only thing I do not like is the "short story area" is really only enough room to write like a HAIKU poem.   Still, this is a GAH-JORGE-JUS book and I do love the prompts.  Pictures are around in historical order.  Great for any age.  If using with a "pre- writer" have them anwer the questions verbally.


 Reading Time - 180 Day Journal:
We love, love, love this book.  It has repeating pages of the ones you see featured.  The writing is minimal and kids are given a choice to "draw or write" on almost everything.  Even my reluctant reader was excited to fill this book up and keep track of his books!




How to Homeschool:
This is a great book for those new to homeschooling.  I love the "5 keys to learning" and how it walks you through the process of becoming a homeschooling family.  I would have really benefitted from this book when I was starting out.  It's a mini book, so it is not going to overwhelm you and there are some fun little doodles to color as well.  Do note; The back of the book is mostly "advertisement pages"  of some of the Thinking Tree's books.  I think it's nice that they are there so that you can get an idea of what you may want to purchase.


COLORING BOOKS (for kids and/or Mom):

Favorite Things Coloring book:
This is a cute little coloring book that is just perfect for your purse or diaper bag!  Most of the pages are "one sided" which leaves some open space for drawing and doodling of your own.





Teach Yourself to Draw AND Research Sea Creatures:
This is a fun book!  The drawing is not as systematic as the regular "learn to draw series", it's more of "look and copy as best you can".  The researching is a nice add and it's not an overwhelming amount, which makes it nice for kids new/struggling with reading and writing.  My 10 year old son really loves the researching bit!  Actually, he loves the whole thing!