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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

FHE Book of Mormon Stories Verse Four-Abinidi

Family Home Evening
Book of Mormon Stories Verse Three

Preparation-Make a paper chain or use a bike chain or something like that to wrap around Abinadi. Also, make a simple paper crown and a thrown for King Noah. The thrown can be as simple as a chair, or you could decorate it. You could even decorate the crown and the thrown as part of FHE if your kids like that. Burger King often has crowns in stock that you could use as well. You could add a cape and a scepter (stick or paper towel tube) if you have one.

Sing the fourth verse of Book of Mormon Stories

Book of Mormon Stories Text

Book of Mormon Stories Music

Abinadi and King Noah Scripture Reader Video

Abinadi and King Noah PDF

Abinidi and King Noah Color Flannel Board Stories

(Assign an older person to be King Noah.   I don't like the idea of my young children pretending to be wicked.   Be careful in your choice.   Some children may enjoy it to much.   We had Dad be the King.)
King Noah was a wicked king.   He and his helpers hurt the people and made them work hard to take care of him while he didn't work.   

Abinadi was a righteous man.   King Noah did not like him and tied him up in chains.   (wrap a child in chains).   God told Abinadi to teach King Noah and his men about the gospel.   Abinadi tried to tell them but King Noah and his men got angry.   They tried to kill him but Abinadi said "touch me not or you will die" (this is not an exact quote).   (Have King Noah cower in fear) God protected Abinadi until he finished what God wanted.   King Noah was afraid and wanted to let Abinadi go but his men were angry.   King Noah and his men killed Abinadi.   (You can act out the burning if you want.   It depends on your children.   Either way have Abinadi fall down.)   There was one of King Noah's men named Alma.   He listened to Abinadi and repented and became a great leader and prophet.   Abinadi's testimony helped many people.
Sing the verse again and review the other 3 verses.

Family Home Evening rules #2 have a treat. It is okay to buy it. Always having treat brings everyone to the meeting, even teenagers. My teenagers have never complained about FHE. They always come and always participate.

Rules for John

I made two new rules for John that he is struggling with. #1 NO HITTING THE TEACHERS!!!!! He loses the computer for 24 hours if I see on his daily report that he hit or kicked someone. His teacher says that he is trying really hard. John hesitates at the top of his swing when he is going to hit so at that point the teachers say, “Computer at home!” She said it is working really well. He will clasp his hands together, bend over and turn red but he is not hitting. I feel so sorry for him to have to work so hard at it, but I know in the long run it is best for him not to be hitting authority figures. I did tell him he could stomp, scream, leave and shake his fists in the air or do whatever but not hit. It took about a week and a half to set in, but it is working now.

#2-if you stay in sacrament meeting and primary class, we will go home an hour early. Yesterday, he went to class for the first time in about 8 months. He asked a favorite person (who has an IPhone and I pad) to go with him and she agreed. Her daughter is in John’s class so that went well. I couldn’t go to Sunday school though, the room was totally packed. They are going to have to move it to the Gym if they don’t want a bunch of people gabbing in the halls.

Daniel reacted to the flu shot. He has a big ol’ red spot on his upper arm…like 3 inches by 2 inches. I’m taking him to the doctor know along with Mark for Mark’s well child checkup so gotta go.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

FHE Book of Mormon Stories Verse Three-Alma the Younger

Family Home Evening
Book of Mormon Stories Verse Three

Preparation:   Read Mosiah 27
Large white shirt or angel costume

Sing the third verse of Book of Mormon Stories

Words to verse 3

Music to Book of Mormon Stories

Scripture Reader Text-Alma the Younger Repents

Video-Alma the Younger Repents

We had a lot of fun with this one. I happened to have a white angel costume to dress my young son up as an angel but a very large white t-shirt of church shirt on a young child would work. Dad pretended to be Alma being mean and making faces. Our son stood on the fireplace hearth but a stool, the couch, a chair would all work. We had our child point at Dad and say, “Be righteous!” and dad fell to the floor. At the time we had 2 small children so that was all that could say. If your child can speak and understand more you could expand the story. We did this several times with both of our children.

If you have older children have them be the sons of Mosiah. They will love falling to the floor several times and making their younger siblings laugh. When we repeated this as more children were born, the older ones had a blast.

Sing the verse again and review the other 2 verses.

Family Home Evening rules #1, especially with young children, have fun! Lessons don’t have to be long and involved, even for teenagers. We all love the short easy lessons on our homework intensive Monday nights.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Why I'm taking a Montessori training course

I have thought since I found out about it, that the Montessori is a great way to individualize education. Paul and Chris did fabulously in it and I have wished that I could have given Mark and Eric more opportunities to learn this way. When Eric was a baby, I started a Montessori video course up in Washington but didn’t get very far because I became pregnant with Mark and didn’t have the time or energy to continue. I have wanted to get back to it for a long time, but life keeps throwing me curveballs like autism and motor tics and brain tumors and just plain trying to keep up with six kids. I have also felt that I wanted to homeschool but knew I couldn’t emotionally and physically handle it and Rob was against it, so I haven’t. Over the last couple of years we have watched the school struggle with John and try to teach Daniel. The longer Daniel is in school the farther behind he gets because his language skills are just not keeping up. He is doing the best he can with the way the school teaches and he is getting a lot of reading and language one on one teaching but school is a very auditory place and Daniel has an auditory processing disorder.

As Rob and I look into the future we don’t see the school district being able to meet Daniel’s needs. As for John, if he keeps hitting and kicking his teachers I don’t know how long he will be able to stay in school. When we went through the craziness of a couple of months ago with a passerby seeing teacher grabbing John as he tried to escape, I didn’t know if it was John or the teacher that was in trouble because John had hit another student. I was worried they might expel or suspend him. I knew if that happened it would be extremely difficult to get John going back to school and when he did he go back he would do even worse things in order to be suspended or expelled again. Although the lady over the YCAP programs said when I asked her about expelling or suspending she said, “Why would we do that?” I still wonder what will happen if he continues to hit and kick.

When all that is considered, Rob and I (believe it or not) feel that the school district will at some time in the near future not be a good place for John and Daniel. The Montessori Method is very hands-on and visual and individualized which is what Daniel needs to learn because he gets lost when there he is in a group. He just goes into his own little world and doesn’t learn a thing. That means at school he has to be taught everything twice; once with the group and, because he wasn’t listening or couldn’t process the information quickly enough, and again one on one with visuals. That is why I think eventually Daniel will be better off at home. Besides, I really don’t see Daniel being able the pass the 3rd grade STAAR (used to be TAKS and before that TAAS) test. He is required to pass in order to move on to the next grade. I am sure they will read the questions to him but even so, standardized tests are language intensive and that works against Daniel. I suppose it is possible that the test is easy enough that he could pass it. If it is, it is a disservice to the neuro-tyipical 3rd graders.

As for John, his main problem with school is that instead of finding his interests and working with that to get him to write and do other subjects (which are the way to interest autistic children in schoolwork) the school is required to teach whatever is required by state and federal law. John’s brain does not work that way. He can’t just shut off something that interests him to move on to something that doesn’t. We all don’t like doing that, but for John and other autistic children it is near impossible. I am hoping with him, that if he gets to choose his own projects so that he is studying his obsessions, that he will come to like to read and write, (aka giving him some control over what he studies and connect them to the things he isn’t interested in), that a lot of the fight will go out of him. I am hoping by approaching education this way, the Montessori way, he will learn to love to read and write and share his thoughts and ideas in creative ways.

So, to make a long explanation short (not) I am taking an online Montessori course just in case I need to homeschool John and/or Daniel. I will not be able to get MACTE (a Montessori certification place) certified because you have to do a practicum and have a bachelor’s degree for elementary teaching. But it will be good enough for homeschool. The course takes a couple of hours a day and I love it. I did stress out over the holidays when my 1st trimester assignments were due, but I am doing much better getting the work done this time. I picked a horrible time to start. I had our birthday season and all the holidays to deal with not to mention my normal every day something really weird happening regularly. I am expecting something any day now. Maybe John’s eye scratch will count for something for a while.

Speaking of the eye scratch, he is recovered by the regression from it has been awful. He has been having accidents at school and been really grouchy. He did really well this morning though so maybe he is pulling himself back together. I expected the backslide so it didn’t come as a shock. After having something like that happen anyone would have setbacks. It just takes John a bit longer to get over it. He actually did really well this weekend compared to how he had been doing at school last week.

As for everyone else they are all doing well. Daniel’s reading is improving but still slow. (How could it not be?) Mark was ordained a Priest yesterday by Robert and Eric got to be a part of it. The bishop likes it when we do that because then he teaches the rest of the Priests that they can ordain other Aaronic priesthood holders. He said, “I think it is a little known fact in the church that you can do this.”

Friday, January 20, 2012

LDS Pack Committee Positions

My friend Judy created this list.  These positions will create a well run LDS Pack.

Pack Committee Positions

1. Chartered Org. Rep. (Bishopric Counselor)- Staffing, Encourage training, act as liaison between charter org. and troop, see that boys graduate, assist w/ rechartering, suggest good turns, emphasize advancement, bring in district help and promote its use. Finance the budget, encourage recognition of leaders.

2. Cubmaster- Attend basic training, attend roundtable, plan and conduct pack meeting, work with committee on program ideas and recruiting adult leaders, help establish a budget, guide and support den leaders, Utilize parents, ensure a quality program and National Summertime Pack Award. Assist committee chairman in conducting annual planning conference and monthly pack leaders' meeting. Assist with recharter.

3. Den Leader/ Assistant- Attend basic training and roundtable, lead den at pack meeting, work with other leaders harmoniously, encourage boys' advancement, keep records, utilize parents, involve male role models, attend annual planning and pack leaders meeting.

4. Den Leader Coach- (Is an experienced Den Leader) Attend roundtables and basic training, aid den leaders with training and first few den meetings, Attend monthly pack leaders' meetings and committee meeting, encourage adult awards, assist with staffing, communications link between den leaders, and cubmaster, participate in annual planning meeting and pack meeting.

5. Outings Specialist- Help Cubmaster plan outings, secure tour and property permits plan safe transportation, ensure adequate first aid is available, take care of safe swim defense, National Summertime Pack Award, Serve as Day Camp specialist to pack, see that BSA Health and Safety policies are observed.

6. Advancement Specialist- Help plan and conduct induction and graduation ceremonies, conduct advancement ceremonies, train parents, fill out advancement reports, order badges, and promote uniform use.

7. Public Relations- publish quarterly newsletter for parents and leaders, inform media of special items of interest, write thank you's and do special recognitions for leaders and parents.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

FHE Book of Mormon Stories Verse Two-Columbus

Family Home Evening
Book of Mormon Stories Verse Two

Review the story of Columbus (this verse works well with the story of the pilgrims as well)
Picture of Columbus (if available)
Flat map and globe if you can.
Laundry basket or large box
Paper towel or toilet paper tube

Sing the second verse of Book of Mormon Stories

Book of Mormon Stories Verse 2
Music to Book of Mormon Stories

I always think of this as Christopher Columbus coming to visit so we pretty much do the same thing as the 1st verse.

Tell how Columbus petitioned the many Kings and   Queens (could have crowns to act out this) for money to sail around the world.   The people of that time thought the world was flat (show flat map) but Columbus thought it was round (show globe).   No one wanted to give him the money he needed until he talked to the Queen of Spain.   She gave him the money he needed to by a ship and pay sailors.

Columbus and his crew sailed for many days (put the children in the box or laundry basket and scoot across the floor).   The crew was afraid they would sail off the edge of the earth.   Everyone was tired and worried.   Then they spotted land.   (use the paper towel tube or toilet paper tube for a telescope).   "Land Ho!"   

(have the children get out of the basket and greet mom, dad or older sibling pretending to be a Native American).   

When I did this we skipped the beginning and started with the sailing part.   My children weren't ready for a large story. 

Repeat song, and close the lesson

The pilgrims or Conquistedors could be used instead of Christopher Columbus.

Monday, January 16, 2012

John's Birthday

It has been a very busy week.  Monday, after I wrote I spent all day shopping for tackle box/organizer plastic boxes for some of the stuff I am making for Montessori.  I didn’t find exactly what I wanted, but I found stuff close enough.  I went to several different stores searching and searching.  My feet were killing me.  On Tuesday I did the same thing only looking for a lady bug pillow pet for John’s birthday and the video games he wanted.  The video games were easy, the pillow pet…I never found a big one but I did find a ladybug pillow pet mini.  He loves it so I guess I won’t go online to order the big one. 

John had his birthday and loves everything he got. He has been very happy except for church. That didn’t go as well as I had hoped. I should have known it wouldn’t go the best because of the time change, class change, and we went home early because I was sick and Rob was conducting primary music on the 1st and we didn’t go last week because of his scratched eye. Actually, considering that the week before that was Christmas and it was only sacrament meeting, he did pretty well. He didn’t want to go to class and through a short fit in the chapel about it, but then we walked around the building and he played with all the babies in the hall. He went to sharing time just fine, or they didn’t come get us. So, I guess he did really well.

I don’t have any Daniel stories this week. We have been busy catching up on his reading I’ve been neglecting. He had about a week to get 100 minutes reading. That is tough for us to do. He is kind of a slow reader so listening to him is hard. He is always mixing up he and she, and of and for. It takes a lot of patience to keep correcting him over and over and over every day but we made it. He got his 100 minutes.

Friday, January 13, 2012

No Child Left Behind Opinion

It is impossible not to ‘leave some children behind’ because of the minimum required language skills to pass a standardized test. No Child Left Behind was based on the Texas model. When we first moved to Texas, the tests only affected how much money the school district received; and many of the special needs children were exempted or given modified tests. This year, about 12 years later, all children must pass the test in order to be moved on the next grade and no one is exempted. Do we really want adults who cannot and have not passed the test remain in elementary school? I suppose, eventually, special elementary schools will have to be built. I have asked teachers, special education workers, and principals what they are going to do with the children who are unable to pass the test. They shrug and shake their heads – “No Child Left Behind” makes no sense to them.

Another issue that has arisen is school funding. When schools are defunded due to low test scores they are less able to provide salaries that will attract the best teachers. This seems to be counterproductive to what is trying to be achieved. Also, the defunded schools are unable to provide the materials required for education such as books and other necessary classroom items. This causes the struggling schools to struggle more. A friend of mine, who has been in some of the defunded schools, has told me that she knows of schools where the students have to share texts and sit two to a desk. I understand the idea of incentives, but defunding isn’t the way to do it. I do not think that giving more money to underperforming schools is the answer either. Then schools are incentivized to do poorly in order to receive more funding.

I would prefer that every child have the opportunity to reach their potential rather than No Child Left Behind. Right now, teachers have to teach to the average. This means “the gifted” (as we call them) must slow down to the pace of the average, while “the struggling” get left behind. In order for every child to reach their potential, every child would need an IEP (individual education plan), not just the special education students. In my experience, the IEP helps but isn’t always effective. First of all, the teachers actually have to follow it, which has been a struggle for them in my experience. Secondly, the district is limited in how they teach. I have a ten year old autistic son named John. The district has been trying to fit him into the public education box since he was three years old. He outright refuses to do what they want when they want it. I have often thought that they need to change the way they teach my autistic child – instead of trying to shove his square peg into their round hole.

The hearts of the people who created No Child Left Behind were in the right place. But it simply does not work the way it was intended. Preferably, teaching children toward their own potential is a better goal. Instead of spending money on creating the perfect test, maybe we need to have evaluators go to each school and see how they are achieving the best for each student. Maybe, instead of defunding, we need to teach best practices in schools that are struggling. Maybe instead of standardizing education we should customize it. We are not all the same and that is what makes our world work.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

FHE Book of Mormon Stories Verse 1-Nephi

Preparation-review 1st Nephi
Bring a Book of Mormon, a world map or globe (if you want and the children are old enough) and a Laundry Basket or Large box
Sing the first verse of Book of Mormon Stories

Book of Mormon Stories Music

Show a Book of Mormon and say that it tells about the Lamanites.   Lamanites are American Indians or Native Americans.

On the map show Israel and the New World.   Tell how the family of Lehi crossed the ocean to get to the New World.

Place children in the box or basket and and scoot them across the room.   As you scoot, tell the story of the storm at sea.   When you reach the other side of the room, have the children get out and pretend to give thanks for a safe journey.

Repeat the Song and close the lesson.

Crossing the Sea Video Version
Crossing the Sea PDF Version

Sing the 1st verse again.

Friday, January 6, 2012

John had a mishap at school

John had a mishap at school. His teacher was taking him outside, which John doesn't like, and once John realized where he was, he tried to go back into the building. In the process of turning to get out of the teacher’s arm and head for the building, which he knows is locked, the teacher's finger got in his eye.

She took him to the nurse who cleared him for staying and since John was acting pretty good, they didn't call. By the time he got home from school he was pretty upset. I took him to the ophthalmologist because I know what a scratched eye is like. Sure enough, he has a long shallow scratch on his eye. The doctors and nurses there were saying it was pretty easy to see, so I kind of wonder how the nurse missed it.

John was not about to get the numbing drops or open his eye, but the nurse at the doctor’s office and I were finally able to talk him into it. I think my experience with corneal erosion and being able to explain numb because he had just had a cavity filled on Tuesday helped a lot to convince him. It was an ordeal, but we managed to get through it and like me he loved the drops that numbed the eye. I wished more than once they would give it to me for the three days of pain my stuff caused. They put drops in his eye to help with the pain and to keep it dilated so it wouldn't spasm and sent me home with some ointment to use and told me to give him Motrin or Advil. I asked if Advil pm would be okay. They said sure, so I gave it to him, he went to bed and slept pretty much all night. I gave it again this morning and he is now asleep again.

He kept saying he was blind, which he kind of was. He said on Friday morning, "I only have four senses, touch, hearing, taste and smell." He can say the cutest things, even when he is whining about it.

three buses show up

I had three buses show up on Wednesday. John's bus came, which was fine. Then two buses came for Daniel. No one had told the former bus people that Daniel's morning route had been given to someone else. The bus drivers were outside my door explaining that they had both gone to all the houses and wondered where the people were. Then they checked with each other to make sure all the kids were on one or the other bus. I guess the bus people need better communication. I'm glad they both showed up at the same time at my house so they could explain it to each other. I would have been totally stressed out if one bus picked up my kid and then another one came for the same kid. This way it was just plain funny.