Posts from the ‘homeschooling’ Category

UNLOCKING THE PUZZLE

Dyspraxia: A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Dyspraxia and How to Help a Dyspraxic Child

Written by Cassandra Simmons

This book does not portend to be an authoritative guide to dyspraxia, but rather a guide to understanding the nature of dyspraxia and helping parents cope with the disorder.

What is it? Dyspraxia is a motor planning disorder labeled DCD or developmental coordination disability. It is a neurological disorder that results in an inability to plan and coordinate physical movements. Each individual presents with unique manifestations which may include slurred speech, poor social skills, and balance or posture difficulties. The disorder affects approximately six to ten percent of children, though it is more prevalent in boys. No definitive cause has been identified, but genetics, premature birth, and alcoholic mothers have possible linkages. Children diagnosed with this disorder usually require physical and occupational therapy as well as speech therapy.

I believe the most valuable parts of the book are the author’s list of symptoms for parents to look for in each age group of children. This developmental guide begins right after birth and goes up through the teen years. Parents of dyspraxic children are given the advice to follow such as making themselves knowledgeable, allowing their child to socialize and play sports, having an open ear to listen to frustrations, and teaching practical life skills. Simmons does not forget the health of the parents, reminding them to take care of themselves by getting all the help available and joining support networks.

I recommend this book to parents, teachers, and caretakers as a resource to understand why children who appear to be clumsy or speech impaired are frustrated. We need to ensure that they receive the proper treatment to lead productive lives.

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AUTISM: 101

Autism: Simple and Inexpensive Natural Autism Therapies to Help Your Autistic Child Live a Calm and Healthy Life

Written by Nancy Perez

The author is a proponent of natural therapies to relieve stress and anxiety. She has used them to treat her own diabetes for years and has written how to employ them to assist in the treatment of autism. In this book, Perez provides an overview of the autism spectrum. While there is a myriad of symptoms and behaviors, all autistic children suffer from communication and socialization issues. Autism appears to have connections with both genetics and the environment.

The heart of the book deals with treatments. While many patients diagnosed with autism require some sort of medication, Perez focuses on more natural treatments. A definite diagnosis is often not made until after age five, but early intervention is important to address a child’s needs. Speech, physical and occupational therapy may be needed as well as special education to address cognition. Depending on the issues the individual faces, music therapy, art therapy, animal therapy, nature therapy, and swing therapy, might be effective interventions. I found the discussion of using horses (hippotherapy) to help a child process sensory movements enlightening. Simpler steps that can be implemented easily in the home include removing chemical products, messaging the child, experimenting with dietary needs, and introducing yoga. Learning each child’s preferences and needs is the most difficult aspect of living and working with a child on the autistic spectrum.

As an educator who has worked as a member of an interdisciplinary team treating autistic children, I would definitely recommend this book to parents and educators who are new to the field of autism as an easy to read introduction to the subject.

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SWEET T AND THE TURTLE BLOG TOUR

 

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HERE IS MY REVIEW OF BOOK 3 IN THE SWEET T SERIES:

BLOG TOUR

SWEET T AND THE TURTLE TEAM

Written by Cat Michaels

Illustrated by Irene A. Jahns

 

Nine year old Tara is spending the summer on Gull Island at her Great Aunt Mae’s house with her mom and younger sister Jenna. Tara misses her friends. Billy, who lives next door, tries to befriend her. Tara is upset when she sees him being bullied and doesn’t understand why. Turns out Billy has a secret that he is unwilling to share.

Things are slow and pretty boring until one of the staffers at the Aquarium breaks her ankle. Tara’s mother is short staffed and needs volunteers to help supervise the hatching of turtle eggs on the island.

Tara, Jenna, and Billy study hard and dedicate themselves to protecting the turtle nests. But when a tropical storm named Parker threatens to destroy their charges, everyone rushes to save their mission.

I enjoyed the alliteration and onomatopoeia that the author uses so effectively. At the end of each day Tara texts her older sister Kristen. This is an effective way to keep the story fresh in reader’s minds, making it a good choice for beginning or reluctant readers. Michaels also includes a glossary to explain the texting code. In addition, there are “Mind Ticklers,” questions for readers to answer about the story, as well as a few questions soliciting the reader’s opinions.

This beginning chapter book targeted for children ages seven through eleven is well-written and engaging. The soft watercolor illustrations are pleasant and soothing. I recommend this book as the perfect summertime read.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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UNLIKELY ALLIES

Dragon Lightning: Dragon Dreamer Book 2

Written and illustrated by J.S. Burke

If you read Book One in this series, you probably already love the complex communities of dragons, octopi and squid that you have encountered. These beautifully described creatures introduce their readers to unique habitats in a fantasy world explained in real scientific terms. Readers become immersed in adventures, while learning about real scientific phenomena like volcanoes, lightning and glaciers.

Book Two introduces us to Drakor who is experiencing the red lightning from a volcanic eruption. He lands on a thin piece of ice. Arak, Taron and Dorali are traveling up north on a wooden skiff. They come upon the injured Drakor and rescue the ice dragon. He is mystified by these golden dragons as well as the octopi traveling with them. Each species will teach and learn from each other. The dragon communities are aware that their communities may face extinction. Their octopi friends under the sea fear underwater destruction.

Readers learn about the “might makes right” society of the ice dragons and the democratic, healing ways of the golden dragons. The peaceful octopi must use force to defend themselves against the squid. Principles of science are interwoven with fantasy and philosophy.

Smooth flowing prose accompanied by simple but elegant illustrations mark this tale as a winner for fans of science, fantasy and adventure. Widespread appeal for pre- teens, teens and adult audiences. What adventures await the dragons in Book Three?

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ANALYZING ANTS

Ants: Amazing Facts about Ants with Pictures for Kid

Written by Hathai Ross

The author packs a lot of information into this reference book about ants. Many kids enjoy watching them while exploring outdoors or under glass in an ant farm.

These fascinating creatures live in all parts of the world except Antarctica. More than 12,000 species have been alive for millions of years. Ants live in colonies and are social insects with designated roles. Broadly speaking, there are queens, workers, and male ants. The queen is the largest in the colony whose only job is to lay eggs. Male ants’ only responsibility is to mate with the queen. Worker ants feed the larvae, defend the colony, and remove the waste.

Ross spends a bit of time describing Argentine Ants, Pavement Ants, House Ants, Carpenter Ants, Crazy Ants and Fire Ants. The author describes their appearance, environment, daily life and interesting characteristics. Amazing facts include their exceptional strength, being able to carry twenty times their weight, and the fact that they fight till the death. Ants usually crawl in lines because they are following the pheromones of ants that have crawled before them. There are one million ants for every single human living on earth.

I would have liked to see more photos included in the book. At times the text begins to sound like a list of facts rather than a story about ants, but this book is an excellent reference for children who are interested in these fascinating creatures that are all around us. Recommended especially for young scientists in the eight to twelve age range. Good starting point for a research project.

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HOME SCHOOLING 101

Home Schooling: Home School Education and Parenting

Written by Margaret LaRue

 

This book is a general overview on the topic of homeschooling. The author is not speaking from experience as a homeschooling parent but instead attempts to present the pluses and minuses on the topic. LaRue begins by listing some advantages of homeschooling such as educational, physical, religious, and emotional freedom, fewer arbitrary standards, no busywork, and closer family ties. Her list of disadvantages include, financial and time restraints, less opportunity to participate in sports, being branded as outside the norm, and less free time for the homeschooling parent.

The rest of the book concentrates on the basics such as how and what curriculum to choose with their advantages and disadvantages, suggestions on determining a child’s learning style, how to create lesson plans, planning field trips, and suggestions on instilling and maintaining the motivation of students. La Rue packs a lot of essential information in one book for anyone considering undertaking the home-school experience. I suggest this book as an excellent resource for those not considering the process. Those already engaged in home school might criticize it for being too general. It does not specifically address the concerns those already engaged in the process face.

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PARENTAL POINTERS

Terrific Twos: Positive Views on Parental Discipline

Written by Merry Palmer

I found this book to be an effective resource for parents searching to get a handle on positive discipline techniques for toddlers and even for older children. The author presents a common sense approach coupled with examples of situations and suggestions as to how to cope. Toddlers are experiencing a rapid growth in gross motor, fine motor, cognitive and social skills. Beginning with the dreaded word “no” the author suggests providing other options and choices where possible. Readers learn about the tone of voice, making eye contact, and combinations of words that work well for the toddler. Language should be succinct and simple, while at the same time, encouraging the child to learn new vocabulary.

A large part of the book deals with discipline, how to explain the need for discipline, how to use it as a teaching tool and how to be fair in exercising it. The author explains how to get a child to understand the need for taking responsibility for her actions, and how to apply effective strategies of discipline for children of different ages. In conclusion, parents need to remember to exercise patience and control of their own emotions; advice that sometimes can be difficult for parents, but certainly a worthwhile goal for every parent.

I highly recommend this quick read as a great reference book for both new and experienced parents.

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