Super Star Speech - Never Say Never Mood:
a-ok Topic: Homeschool Product Review
I've learned to never say never.
I used to say things like, "My kids will never act like that!" or "If I ever caught my child doing that I'd...".
Anyway, I found out long ago that God has a sense of humor. Don't ever say "never".
That also carried over to those non-controllable things. It's not that I thought it was impossible for one of my kids to have cancer or to have autism, it's just that I never thought about it or put it out of my mind. It was like I was living in a state of denial.
Well, guess what. John Allen did have cancer when he was a baby, and Joshua is on the autism spectrum, and, more recently, we found out that Jacob has severe speech problems.
Now, with the cancer that John Allen had, there was absolutely nothing that we could have done at home to prevent it or help cure it. It was just one of those things that happened. With Joshua, although no one truly knows what causes autism, there are ways to combat it and we are doing our best to do that.
It used to be with speech problems you just loaded them up to take them to speech therapy, or perhaps, if they went to public school, they went to speech during school hours. There was, however, very little you could do at home except for some mouth exercises or something like that...until now!
It just so happens, that at about the same time that Jacob was diagnosed with his speech problems, that the TOS Homeschool Crew was given a program called "Super Star Speech" written by Debbie Lott. Debbie Lott is a speech therapist and just happens to be a homeschooler. She recognized that there were many speech difficulties that is best left up to professionals to help, but there are many minor speech problems that can worked on successfully at home.
I was really wanting to dig into this with Jacob to see how much we could help him during our homeschool hours, but with his frequent testing, and recent tonsillectomy, I wasn't able to get very far. I have fudged and put off writing it until we could work more with it, but I really feel that in order for this review not to be totally drastically over due (it's already well over a week - maybe two - overdue ) I need to get at least a description of Super Star Speech written, and then give a more thorough update after we have used it for some time.
I can however view Super Star Speech with somewhat of a trained eye because, as an educational therapist, I did work with many children who had minor speech difficulties. I will tell you that what I have noticed from reading through Super Star Speech and using it briefly is that it is very well done.
The first thing that Ms. Lott recommends, if you haven't had formal testing done of course, is to give your child an informal test at home. Everything is laid out and explained in very laymen terms as to what to do. You test how well your child can say sounds at the beginning of a word, in the middle of a word and at the end of a word by having them look at a picture and tell you what it is. You then mark on a sheet if they said it correctly or if they had difficulty with that sound.
Depending on your child's age, there are going to be some sounds that he is expected to know and some sounds that he may be too young to be expected to say correctly. That is all taken into consideration when scoring the results.
After discovering their weak areas, the work begins. There are complete instructions, again in laymen term, on how to write a therapy plan and how to proceed with therapy. There are even specific instructions for when a child is having difficulty differentiating between two different sounds such as P/B, T/D, or K/G, among others. She explains all aspects of the therapy session from using a mirror to help you child see the correct and incorrect way to form letters, to making the session fun and using games.
Nothing is left out and nothing is left to chance. Everything is laid out and very well explained. From the testing, to the planning, to the therapy. i really like what I see and what I have used thus far, and am really looking forward to getting more into the meat of the program and writing to you all about our experiences.
To find our more about Debbie Lott's Super Star Speech program, you can click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. To find out what some of the other TOS Crew Members thought about the Super Star Speech program or some of Debra Lott's other fantastic homeschool products, you can click here. Happy home educating!
As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I was given a free download of the Super Star Speech program in order to try out and review on my blog.
Is There Power in the Blood? Mood:
happy Topic: Ministry
Saw this recently on the Our Compassion forum and asked permission to reprint it. Isn't this so true about most ministries and about most Christians. I know it is with our ministry at Good News Mission. It's something we fight all of the time.
Please prayerfully read this and think about your life and your ministry. It really made me think.
IS THERE POWER IN THE BLOOD? A Warrior Speaks by Jane Hamilton
There was an old man at Kiwawa whose life was changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. His name was Loitaluk. He was a headman of the village and one of the first to welcome us to Pokot territory. He was the first to bring is children to the school and later to bring his wives and children to church. Loitaluk put off many years of becoming a Christian. He liked the beer parties that are so much a part of the Pokot men's gatherings. He had been a warrior in his younger days and he sat on the council that planned the cattle raids and laid the battle plans. Even though he was chairman of the school committee and attended church regularly, he resisted surrendering his life to the Lord. But one Sunday, the Lord moved Loitaluk to stand up and the end of the church service and say that he wanted to become a Christian. Everyone cheered when Loitaluk came up out of the waters of baptism. He was somewhere in his sixties and had lost all but two of his sons in tribal warfare. (One of them was killed by Karamajong raiders the day that I had to flee to the hills with the school children.) Loitaluk had, at one time, 10 wives; 4 of his own and 6 he inherited from brothers who were killed. He had outlived most of his wives. His had been a hard life but had had the wisdom of those hard years.
One Sunday, at the end of the communion service, Loitaluk stood up and asked the question:
“Which is stronger, the blood of Christ or the blood of the Sapana?”
It was a question for which he needed an answer because he had seen something he could not understand. In his background, he understood the blood of the Sapana cow. In their culture, it was powerful and it worked. And this is the way that it worked:
When boys become of age to join the ranks of the warriors and become men, they go through a ceremony called Sapana. The group of the young men go through this ritual to become “blood” brothers. Through their whole lives they are a mutual support group, sharing their belongings, helping each other to obtain wives and supporting each other in all things. They go into battle together as a unit and are responsible for each other. They watch each other's backs. If one falls in battle, his age mates carry him on their backs. No one would abandon a Sapana brother in battle. They will literally give thire lives for each other. And what binds them together is the oath taken when they drink the blood of the cows that are killed at the Sapana rituals.
Loitaluk had been a Sapana brother and warrior. He had gone into battle and protected his brothers as they protected him. He knew what it meant. He knew that if two Sapana brothers had a quarrel, the elders would call them together, a cow would be sacrificed, they would drink the blood together and the matter would be settled It would never be spoken of again. They could not mention it or even remember it against each other. The survival of the group, and even the tribe, depended on the unity of the warriors. No division could be allowed among them. The drinking of the blood of the sacrificial cow bound them together. It worked for the community and the tribe for the unity needed to survive.
Loitaluk's question about the blood of Christ had arisen because he assumed that the blood of Christ would bind Christian brothers together in the same way that the blood of the Sapana cow bound together the age mates. However, in the church he saw division and quarreling and gossiping against each other. His words to the congregation that morning were:
“Those of us who take communion together are bound together like the Sapana group who eat the feast together. Why are there divisions and quarrels in the church that go unforgiven?”
We guiltily GOT what Loitaluk was saying. Does the blood of Christ bind us together strongly enough to look out for our brother and to put our differences aside? When we see a Christian brother fallen, do we pick him up and carry him until he is strong enough to stand again? Or do we run off and leave him alone in the midst of the battle? Or do we jump on him and get in a few blows ourselves with our gossip and our condemnation? A beautiful African Christian lady once told me that only Christians shoot their own wounded. When a Christian brother has fallen wounded by Satan, other Christians in their self-righteousness will often deliver additional blows to their brother. Where is our brotherhood in Christ? Do we recognize who the enemy really is, or are we quick to decide that the enemy is our brother? Oh, what we could learn as Christians about who the enemy really is and how necessary our unity is to the battle we are involved in. Satan has divided and conquered us for so long. The blood of that perfect sacrifice was shed so that we could be ONE.
Is the blood of Christ stronger than the blood of the Sapana cow? Can our differences be forgotten at the cross, the site of the letting of blood? Can we go out from the sacrifice as brothers, never to remember our hurt feelings or cross words again? It works for the Pokot because they believe it works. There is no power in the cow's blood except in their belief that it works. We as Christians, have the real power in the shed blood of that perfect sacrifice, Jesus.
The scripture says when we come to the communion table if we have anything against a brother, go and make it right. The scripture says that the blood of Jesus washes sin completely away. But do we let it be forgiven and forgotten or do we carry it around? How strong is the blood of the communion? We know that it is the blood of God's very own son. Powerful indeed! Power over all our weakness, failure and sin. Power to make us new. To make us clean. To make us forgiven. To make us united. To make us strong. To make us God's chosen. Yes, there is power in the blood. Yes, there is healing and restoration and wholeness provided by Jesus' blood. As we have just come through the Easter season and celebrated what Christ has done for us, let us embrace the love and forgiveness and oneness that he purchased for us on the cross.
Thursday's Child - My Kids Are Getting It! Mood:
happy Topic: Compassion International
Somi from Indonesia
So, it's not Thursday. Any day is special when it has to do with helping kids in need.
Our youngest, four year old Jacob, was watching me put the final touches on some things that I'm going to send out to our Compassion kids. He noticed a little sticker book with construction pictures that I had picked out for Somi and asked me about it. Here is our dialogue.
"That's for Somi. Do you think he'll like it?"
"Somi doesn't have a lot of toys to play with because he doesn't have a lot of money to spend on toys."
"Can we send him some money?"
"Well, someone else is sending him some money to help him out, and we are writing to him and sending him some things to play with."
"I can send him one of my cars." (Now that just got to me, because Jacob loves his Hot Wheels cars. Our midde son is mildly autistic, and Jacob is being tested as well. If you anything about autism, you know that they focus on things. Once they get focused on something that's all that they talk or think about until something else catches their fancy-if anything else ever does. Right now Jacob's is Hot Wheels.)
"Well, honey, we can't send it to him now, Maybe later." (Trying to put him off because Compassion only allows flat things to be sent and, of course, they won't accept a Hot Wheels car in the package.)
So, my kids are getting it little by little. We'll have to go out looking for some Hot Wheel's stickers or coloring book or something like that.
If you are interested in sponsoring a child with Compassion International, just click here. You won't regret it!
Have You Ever Dreamed of Just Getting Away? Mood:
chillin' Topic: General
I have been twitter friends (is that what you call it?) with a family who has been bike touring in South America. I don't even remember how I became friends with them. I think they befriended me first, but I'm not sure. Anyway, I have followed their travels haphazardly, reading their tweets from time to time. Tonight, however, something caught my eye. It was a tweet that invited you to click on a particular site if you wanted to know how to travel on bikes with kids.
Okay. Are you ready? Little known fact about me number three (or four or five, I've lost count). I used to be an avid cyclist. No, not motorcycle (could you only imagine ?) but bicycle. Touring bike to be exact. I have been on four bike tours in my lifetime. Nothing big, but more than the average person rides. Two of them were "Bike 150's" for Multiple Sclerosis. You take pledges and then bike 150 miles in two days. They are a lot of fun. The other two were tours for Cedar Lake Camp. Yes, many moons ago, they had "Bike Camps". We used to ride from Livingston, TN to the Smokies in about four or five days. It was a lot of fun!
Every once in a while I will dream of doing a bike tour with the kids. That seems like kind of a remote idea, though, with all of the therapies etc. that we have for Joshua and Jacob. I'm not sure I could even ride very far these days. I need to get the ol' bike out and try it.
Anyway, back to this family. After I clicked on the site, I found out that they had a journal that chronicled their journeys. When I clicked on this journal, though, I found out what this journey was all about, and found out that this was not their first journey. This first trip that they undertook with their kids was a year long tour of the United States when their twin boys were only eight years old! They bought a triple bike (yes, I said triple!) and attached a bike trailer onto the back for dad and the boys. Mom had her own bike with her own bike trailer attached. Finished the school year, and off they went. I'm only on page sixteen of their journal, but it is amazing. You can read about it by clicking here.
I know what you are thinking, "but you said that they were touring South America". Well, that's where their second trip comes in (at least I think it's their second trip. Like I said, I'm only on page 16). But, I was wrong on one thing. Their second trip isn't a tour of South America, it's a tour from Alaska to Argentina! And they are doing it for charity. An orphanage in Ethiopia that is for kids whose parent's died of AIDS. How cool is that? Of course, now their boys are around 12 years old, and I don't think that they have the triple bike anymore. And, I love it, because they have been homeschooled this entire time. You have got to read their journal. It is a real testimony of how God truly does provide!
Don't forget to click here to go to their journal. Their last name is Vogel and they truly are amazing. Ah, to dream. Well, maybe someday. You never know what the Lord might do or where He might lead !
A New Way of Eating Healthy! Sue Gregg! Mood:
happy Topic: Homeschool Product Review
We have been so blessed with items this year on the TOS Homeschool Crew that have to do with a healthy lifestyle. When all is said and done, when I am finished with all of my reviews, I might write a big, final review that highlights all of these products. One of the main products that totally changed our eating habits for the better was the Sue Gregg Cookbook - Introducing Whole Foods Cooking for Health and Hospitality by Sue Gregg and her husband Rich.
Probably the main thing that I liked about Sue Gregg's way of eating was that she doesn't expect us to totally change our eating habits all at once. Sarah and I have tried other healthy lifestyle plans that asked us to totally clean out our cupboards, clear our refrigerators, throw away our cookbooks and start fresh with their eating plan...and sometimes their expensive products. Sue Gregg has no food products to buy, she suggests no expensive products, she doesn't expect us to clean out or throw away anything, she just wants us to, little by little, change some of our eating habits and change the way we cook our recipes.
Let me give you an example of what she suggests that we do. Say you make a recipe with two cups of sour cream. Sue suggests that you use two cups of plain yogurt as an alternative. Instead of using lots of salt, lets replace the salt with other, healthier, spices.
She also suggests different ways of doing things that are actually more healthy using most of the same things that you normally have around the house. Who ever heard if partially mixing up a batch of waffles in the blender, then putting the top on it and leaving it sitting on your counter overnight? Yuck ! Actually not yuck! It really is delicious and brings out more of the healthy nutrients.
Another great aspect of this cookbook (not really a cookbook but a healthy way of eating) is that she teaches you how to prepare foods to be used in a recipe. One example is the way she suggests cooking dry beans and peas before using them in a recipe in order to make the whole recipe healthier.
So you see, it's not changing your lifestyle, it's just making your lifestyle better. She explains the hows and the whys and, since she is a Christian, even the Biblical aspect of eating healthy. There are plenty of recipes, menus, and even a Bible study that involves food in the Bible - I love it!
She even includes a CD with all of the recipes in a step by step power point format with pictures (the power point viewer is even included!) and other gems like "Food Allergy Alternatives", "Grain Identification" for cooking with whole grains, and even how to make foods like "Almond Milk", and a "Flax-seed Egg Substitute". The extras aren't required to use the recipes in the book, but they are there for those who may want to take their healthy eating habits a step further.
I am going to reiterate again how much I loveIntroducing Whole Foods Cooking for Health and Hospitality. It has really changed our way of eating for the better. Because of all of the problems that our kids have been having, we haven't been able to actually use any of the recipes for a long time, but we constantly find ourselves eating healthier because we have learned to cook healthier.
I feel that "Whole Foods Cooking" is a must for anyone who wants to improve the way they eat. And it's a lot cheaper than some of those expensive eating plans. Not only do you not have to buy special food, you don't have to buy an expensive cookbook or plan. Her collection of cookbooks include Main Dishes, Meals in Minutes, Soups and Muffins, and Lunches and Snacks,among others. Introducing Whole Foods Cooking is the most expensive cookbook on her website at just $23.00.
Not totally convinced? I wasn't either at first. Her website is fantastic with a wealth of information on it's own. It has many of the same recipes and much of the same information as the cookbooks have. Obviously not all is there, but enough to whet your appetite. You can get to her website by clicking here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. Sue is also more than happy to answer any questions that you might have. She corresponded with me by email many times and was very helpful. Many of the TOS Crew Members reviewed other books that she has to offer. To find out more about them, click here. Happy Eating!
As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was sent a free copy of Sue Gregg's "Whole Food Cooking" to try out and review on my blog.