Thursday, April 30, 2015

Academic Success with FASD Kids Webinar

UPDATE: Here's the presentation!


OK, an absolutely, AMAZING webinar will happen next week. It's amazing because I struggle with homeschooling Smalls. It's hard for her to concentrate. I don't know if it's because of the FASD or if it's because she never had any formal schooling before we adopted her. She hates school. I will definitely be attending this webinar in hopes to learn strategies on helping her succeed in school.

I've found this information and have copied it from one of the facebook groups that I'm a part of. I couldn't find a specific link for information on this upcoming webinar.

Students with FASD: Simple Strategies for Behavioral and Academic Success
Presented by Deb Evensen, MA

May 6, 2015, 1 pm ET, 1= 2 pm CT, 11 am MT, 10 am PT, and 9 am AKT
*Arizona (outside of Navajo Nation) is aligned with the Pacific times listed above due to Daylight Savings. Navajo Nation, you are still aligned with Mountain times above.

Topics
1. Prenatal exposure to alcohol permanently alters a developing brain, leading to lifelong learning and behavioral challenges.
2. Working with the developmental age of students with FASD is the foundation for developing positive behavioral outcomes.
3. Strategies to improve academic outcomes and behavioral success for students with FASD.

Registration
This presentation is open to everyone and no registration is required. Simply follow the instructions under “Connection Information” on the day of the presentation to be connected. There is no cost or travel required. There will be NO CREDITS for this webinar.

Presenter Bio
Deb Evensen, MA, an outspoken advocate for those living with FASD, is a master teacher and behavior specialist with more than 40 years’ experience teaching children, adolescents and adults. She has been a pioneer in discovering practical solutions that work for individuals with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. She brings the unique perspective of one who has spent thousands of hours helping to find solutions within schools and communities across North America facing FASD.

Connection Information
Go to: http://ihs.adobeconnect.com/fasd
Select the “Enter as a Guest” option
Enter your name, first and last, with designation in the box designated
Enter the passcode: fasd
Click on the “Enter Room” button

To view video tutorials on how to connect, audio options, and other Adobe Connect features, click here.

Adobe Connect First Time Users
If you have never attended an Adobe Connect meeting before, please test your connection before the session. http://ihs.adobeconnect.com/…/h…/en/support/meeting_test.htm

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What it's like to live with someone who has FASD

Considering adopting a child with FASD? Or just want to know what it's like living with someone who has this type of brain damage? This article explains it perfectly.

My favorite quote from this article: "These are not bad kids. Often they are working heroically to overcome their learning disabilities and to participate in the world wherever they are able".

https://www.bcadoption.com/resources/articles/what-it-live-fetal-alcohol-spectrum-disorder

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Realistic Expectations for the First Year Home

If you're in your first year home with your newly adopted child, this is a must read! I found this great pdf earlier today about what to expect your first year home. It's over 50 pages of strategies and tips from adoption professionals.

This information can also be found in Adoption Parenting: Creating a Toolbox, Building Connections, a book that I've read last year during our first year home with Smalls. It's got great advice for your first year at home with your adopted child.

Adoptive Parenting Tip #3: Triggers

Last week was awful, to say the least. I think I'm still recovering from it and I'm pretty sure Smalls is, too.

Our beloved pet betta fish, Fluffy, went to betta heaven on Monday of last week. This posed lots of problems throughout the week for Smalls, like how to cope with death, can we get another one, why did he die, and the worst of all, feelings of abandonment.

Fish lovers please don't take offense to what I'm about to say. I apologize if you are severely attached to your fish. The following are my opinions about having a pet fish.

Fluffy lived with us for a little over a year. Fish are not the type of pets that you miss when they die. You can't snuggle with them. They can't purr or play fetch. They swim and that's about it. So, Fluffy died and in my mind Fluffy was easy to replace. Let's just go to the store and get a new one. But to Smalls, it was on a whole other level. Fluffy died. Fluffy is never coming back. I left Poland. I'm never going back. I was taken away from both of my former living arrangements and I never went back. I didn't get to say goodbye. Woah! What a huge leap from a fish to being left as a child!

Smalls didn't want to do school. She couldn't focus. She had major tantrums. She had a hard time sleeping. She was extremely emotional. She lost some of her English language and started pointing at things she wanted instead of using her words. We had to constantly supervise her on every task (brushing teeth, getting dressed, eating, etc). Major regression! It was tiresome. And that's the time when she needs us the most. Her former caretakers had abandoned her before and she had all of those feelings come back because her fish died. We had a lot of talks about her feelings of abandonment, because let's face it, if she doesn't deal with it right now it can only get worse as she gets older. We had to reaffirm to her over and over again that we will not leave her, ever. We are her mom and dad, forever, but can someone really understand that when they've had two other living arrangements that didn't work out before us? We are constantly working on building her trust with us and when something happens and it brings up those hard feelings, we have to work extra hard to make connections with our child. When she is feeling abandoned, that's when I drop everything else and hold her close to me.

Fluffy passing away was a trigger for Smalls' brain. It sent her brain into a storm and she couldn't calm that fear response. She was scared. As an adoptive parent, I need to be on the watch for other triggers that Smalls may have. Those triggers are the key to unlocking the trauma that she has experienced and letting her heal from it.

Some other triggers that I've noticed with Smalls are smells and music. For instance, we were at an elderly lady's house and her house had a distinct "elderly" smell to it-you know the smell I'm talking about, don't be ashamed. Smalls got really excited because that brought up good memories for her at the foster grandparent's house. She loved the foster grandparents because they were really nice to her. Or if a certain Lady Gaga song started playing she would get into a defensive mode because her older foster brother used to play it and he pinched her. Smalls didn't leave on good terms with him and so a Lady Gaga song might make her really aggressive if she hears it playing.

There is so much to learn about Smalls. I need to start recording it in a notebook, so I can keep up with it all.

Did we buy her a new fish?

No. We got a pet gerbil instead. His name is Mojo. He is Merlin's best friend. Merlin checks on Mojo about every hour to make sure he is still in his cage. Smalls got to pick Mojo out and name him. I really don't know where these names are coming from?? Smalls enjoys having a new friend to snuggle with and to be entertained by.

BFF

Monday, April 27, 2015

2nd Grade Language

Language is by far the hardest subject for Smalls. We are constantly learning vocabulary and proper grammar. Learning English has been somewhat challenging for her because of her lack of knowledge of Polish. She didn't learn proper Polish grammar and she tried to speak the same way in English as she spoke in Polish- two or three word sentences and poor sentence structure. Well, she gets a chance at rebuilding that part of her brain with us and we are constantly teaching her the correct ways of speaking and writing. I'm hoping for this coming up year that she will grow dramatically in her language skills.

We are using Flashkids Complete Curriculum as a guide on what materials to learn in 2nd grade.

Week 1
Complete Curriculum pages 390-402
Nouns:
http://www.k5learning.com/free-grammar-worksheets/nouns
https://www.superteacherworksheets.com/nouns.html
http://www.kidslearningstation.com/reading/names/ 
Play Noun Town

Week 2
Complete Curriculum pages 403-406
Pronouns:
https://www.superteacherworksheets.com/pronoun.html
http://www.k12reader.com/subject/grammar/parts-of-speech/pronouns/

Week 3
Complete Curriculum pages 407-416
Verbs:
https://www.superteacherworksheets.com/actionverbs/action-verbs.pdf
http://www.k12reader.com/subject/grammar/parts-of-speech/verb-worksheets/
http://www.k12reader.com/worksheet/helping-verbs/
http://www.k12reader.com/worksheet/verb-tense/
Play Pot O' Gold

Week 4
Complete Curriculum pages 417-429
Irregular Verbs:
http://www.k12reader.com/worksheet/regular-and-irregular-verbs/
http://www.education.com/worksheet/article/great-grammar-irregular-verbs/
Play Pot O' Gold

Week 5
Complete Curriculum pages 430-433
Adjectives:
http://www.k5learning.com/free-grammar-worksheets/adjectives
http://www.havefunteaching.com/worksheets/english-worksheets/adjective-worksheets
Play Adjective Detective online game (click adjective game at the bottom right corner)

Week 6
Complete Curriculum pages 434-435
Use a couple of previous worksheets from the last 6 weeks to review. 

Week 7
Complete Curriculum pages 436-439
Sentences:
http://www.k12reader.com/worksheet/complete-sentences-missing-subjects/
http://www.k12reader.com/worksheet/complete-sentences-missing-verbs/
http://www.k12reader.com/worksheet/find-the-sentence/
http://www.k12reader.com/worksheet/make-a-sentence/

Week 8
Complete Curriculum pages 440-441
Action Part of a Sentence:
http://www.education.com/worksheet/article/beginning-grammar-parts-sentence/
http://www.superteacherworksheets.com/subjectpredicate.html
Sentence Word Order:
http://www.education.com/worksheet/article/sentence-scramble/
https://www.superteacherworksheets.com/punctuation/punctuation-unscramble.pdf
http://www.jumpstart.com/common/trapping-the-robbers-scrambled-sentences-view
http://www.education.com/worksheet/article/scrambled-sentences-fruit-fun/

Week 9
Complete Curriculum pages 442-444
Telling vs. Asking:
Cool Cat Sentence Game (I made this into a file folder game)
http://www.tlsbooks.com/pdf/punctuation3.pdf

Week 10
Complete Curriculum pages 445-448
Joining Sentences:
http://www.superteacherworksheets.com/conjunctions/combining-sentences_ANDA.pdf
http://www.tlsbooks.com/combiningsentences.html

Week 11
Complete Curriculum pages 449-451
Play Cool Cat Sentence Game
Sentence Song
Punctuation Video

Week 12
Play Cool Cat Sentence Game
Sentence Song
Punctuation Video
Use a couple of previous worksheets from the last 6 weeks to review.

Week 13
Complete Curriculum pages 452-456
Names:
http://www.kidslearningstation.com/reading/names/

Week 14
Complete Curriculum pages 457-461

Week 15
Complete Curriculum pages 462-465
Punctuation Video
Question Marks and Periods:
http://www.k12reader.com/worksheet/question-marks-and-periods/
http://www.k12reader.com/worksheet/periods-and-capitalization/

Week 16
Complete Curriculum pages 466-467
Apostrophe:
http://www.k12reader.com/worksheet/apostrophe-practice/
http://www.k12reader.com/worksheet/apostrophes-and-possession/
Contractions:
Contraction Game
http://www.schoolexpress.com/fws/worksheet.php?id=53056
http://www.schoolexpress.com/fws/worksheet.php?id=53051

Week 17
Complete Curriculum pages 468-470
Commas:
http://www.education.com/worksheet/article/perfect-punctuation-commas-dates-addresses/
https://www.superteacherworksheets.com/punctuation/writing-dates.pdf
Punctuation Game

Week 18
Punctuation Game
Contraction Game 
Use a couple of previous worksheets from the last 6 weeks to review.

Week 19
Complete Curriculum pages 471-472
Rhyming:
http://www.kidslearningstation.com/phonics/rhyming-worksheets.asp
Phonics Rap Song
Play Space Rhyming

Week 20
Complete Curriculum pages 473-475
Synonyms and Antonyms:
https://www.superteacherworksheets.com/synonyms-antonyms.htm
http://www.k12reader.com/worksheet/identify-the-synonym/
http://www.k12reader.com/worksheet/antonyms-are-opposites/
http://www.havefunteaching.com/worksheets/english-worksheets/antonym-worksheets/antonym-worksheet
Play Synonym Sam's Lab online game
Play Hopposites online game

Week 21
Complete Curriculum pages 476-480
Homophones:
https://www.superteacherworksheets.com/homophones.html
http://www.k12reader.com/worksheet/choose-the-correct-homophone/
Play the Homophones online game

Week 22
Complete Curriculum pages 481-482
Compound Words:
https://www.superteacherworksheets.com/compound.html
http://www.schoolexpress.com/fws/cat.php?id=2290
Play Snowman Compound Words

Week 23
Complete Curriculum pages 483-484
Prefixes and Suffixes:
http://www.k12reader.com/worksheet/add-a-prefix/
https://www.superteacherworksheets.com/prefix-suffix.html
http://www.schoolexpress.com/fws/worksheet.php?id=53574
http://www.schoolexpress.com/fws/worksheet.php?id=55534
http://www.schoolexpress.com/fws/worksheet.php?id=53573
Play Suffix game and Prefix game

Week 24
Review
Use a couple of previous worksheets from the last 6 weeks to review.

Week 25
Complete Curriculum pages485-488

Week 26
Complete Curriculum pages 489-491
Paragraphs:
http://www.wsd.k12.ca.us/websites/hp_images/808/D4392-Super%20Sentences%20and%20Perfect%20Paragraphs.pdf
Use pages 53, 61, 62, and 89,

Week 27
Complete Curriculum pages 492-496

Week 28
Complete Curriculum pages 497-501

Week 29
Complete Curriculum pages 502-505
Write a friendly letter to a friend. Be sure to address the envelope before you send it.

Week 30
Complete Curriculum pages 506-510

Week 31
Complete Curriculum pages 511-515

Week 32
Complete Curriculum pages 516-520

Week 33
Complete Curriculum pages 521-524
Fact or Fantasy:
http://members.abcteach.com/members/langarts/real-fantasy_a.pdf

Week 34
Review (use previous worksheets to help review)
Nouns
Verbs
Adjectives
Sentences
Joining Sentences
Asking vs. Telling

Week 35
Review (use previous worksheets to help review)
Titles
Punctuation
Contractions
Rhyming
Synonyms and Antonyms
Homophones
Prefixes and Suffixes

Week 36
Review (use previous worksheets to help review)
Paragraphs
Reality vs. Fantasy

Sunday, April 26, 2015

2nd Grade Math

We are using Flashkids Complete Curriculum as a guide on what materials to learn in 2nd grade. In addition to this book and these worksheets, we use Khan Academy to practice the concepts learned.


Week 1
Complete Curriculum pages 268-277
Counting:
http://www.mathworksheets4kids.com/number-charts.html
http://www.mathinenglish.com/worksheetview.php?id=90&stid=10005
Place value:
https://www.superteacherworksheets.com/place-value.html
Place value game

Week 2
Complete Curriculum pages 278-279
Greater than, Less than: 
http://www.mathworksheets4kids.com/greater-less-than.html
http://www.dadsworksheets.com/v1/Worksheets/Greater%20Than%20and%20Less%20Than.html
Greater than, Less than game

Week 3
Complete Curriculum pages 280-281
Ordering Numbers:
http://www.mathworksheets4kids.com/ordering-numbers.html
http://www.havefunteaching.com/worksheets/math-worksheets/ordering-numbers-worksheets
http://www.tlsbooks.com/aimsstrand1po13gr2orderingnumberse.pdf
Play Numerical Order online game

Week 4
Complete Curriculum pages 283-287
Skip Counting:
http://www.schoolsparks.com/kindergarten-worksheets/category/skip-counting-worksheets
http://www.superteacherworksheets.com/full-skip-counting.html

Week 5
Complete Curriculum pages 285
Even and Odd Numbers:
http://www.teach-nology.com/worksheets/math/even/
http://www.kidslearningstation.com/math/odd-even-numbers.asp
http://www.havefunteaching.com/worksheets/math-worksheets/even-and-odd-worksheets
http://www.tlsbooks.com/oddandevennumbers50to100.pdf
Play Even/Odd Game

Week 6
Complete Curriculum pages 286-289
Patterns: http://www.mathworksheets4kids.com/activities/2nd-grade.html
Before and After: http://www.kidslearningstation.com/before-after/before-worksheet-numbers.asp
Use a couple of previous worksheets from the last 6 weeks to review.

Week 7
Complete Curriculum pages 290-296
Adding sums to 10: http://www.tlsbooks.com/additionsumsto10.pdf
Adding sums to 18: http://www.tlsbooks.com/aimsappleadditionstrand1po3gr1.pdf

Week 8
Complete Curriculum pages 297
Graph:
http://www.superteacherworksheets.com/graphing.html
http://www.mathworksheets4kids.com/bar-graph.html

Week 9
Complete Curriculum pages 298-302
2-digit Addition:
http://www.mathworksheets4kids.com/two-digit-addition.html


Week 10
Complete Curriculum pages 303-304
3-digit Addition: 
http://www.mathworksheets4kids.com/three-digit-addition.html

https://www.superteacherworksheets.com/addition.html

Week 11
Complete Curriculum pages 305-311

Week 12

Complete Curriculum pages 312-313
Estimation:
http://www.mathworksheets4kids.com/estimation.html
Use a couple of previous worksheets from the last 6 weeks to review.

Week 13
Complete Curriculum pages 314-319
Subtraction:
https://www.superteacherworksheets.com/subtraction.html
http://www.kidslearningstation.com/math/subtraction-worksheets.asp

Week 14
Complete Curriculum page 320
Order Properties:
 http://www.kidslearningstation.com/math/subtraction/subtraction-worksheets.asp

Week 15
Complete Curriculum pages 321-323
Fact Families:
https://www.superteacherworksheets.com/number-families-add-subtract.html
http://www.tlsbooks.com/factfamiliesabcd1.html
http://www.greatschools.org/worksheets-activities/5447-addition-and-subtraction-fact-families.gs
http://www.2ndgradeworksheets.net/factfamilyworksheets.htm

Week 16
Complete Curriculum pages  324-330

Week 17
Complete Curriculum pages 331-337
Regrouping:
http://www.k5learning.com/free-math-worksheets/second-grade-2/subtraction
http://www.mathworksheets4kids.com/two-digit-addition.html

Week 18
Complete Curriculum pages  338-339
Use a couple of previous worksheets from the last 6 weeks to review.


Week 19
Complete Curriculum pages  340-345
Counting Money:
http://www.k5learning.com/free-math-worksheets/second-grade-2/counting-money
http://www.2ndgradeworksheets.net/countingcoinsworksheet.htm

Week 20
Complete Curriculum pages 346-348
Equivalent/Matching Money:
http://www.mathworksheets4kids.com/counting-money.html 
http://www.kidslearningstation.com/money/

Week 21
Complete Curriculum pages 349-350
How much: Toy Store Game
Pretend to have a grocery store and buy different food items that you have around the house. Make sure each item has a price.

Week 22
Complete Curriculum pages 351-352
Making Change: http://www.k12mathworksheets.com/worksheet/making-change-with-coins/
Virtual cash register game: http://www.funbrain.com/cashreg/

Week 23
Complete Curriculum page 353
Pick a game: Toy Store Game or Virtual Cash Register Game

Week 24
Complete Curriculum pages 354-355
Use a couple of previous worksheets from the last 6 weeks to review.
Pick a game: Toy Store Game or Virtual Cash Register Game

Week 25
Complete Curriculum pages 356-359

Week 26
Complete Curriculum pages 360-364

Week 27
Complete Curriculum pages 365-367
Telling Time:
http://www.k5learning.com/free-math-worksheets/second-grade-2/telling-time

Week 28
Complete Curriculum pages 368-372
Symmetry:
https://www.superteacherworksheets.com/symmetry.html
Congruent:
https://www.superteacherworksheets.com/congruent-similar.html

Week 29
Complete Curriculum pages 373-377

Week 30
Geometry Review:
http://www.mathworksheets4kids.com/shapes.html
https://www.superteacherworksheets.com/shapes-basic.html

Week 31
Complete Curriculum pages 378-381

Week 32
Measurements:
http://www.mathworksheets4kids.com/length.html
http://www.tlsbooks.com/second-grade-geometry-measurement.htm
Activity: Measurement Game: How many inches is your sofa, table, or tv? How many centimeters is your school book, pencil, or cup? Find items around your house to measure and record on a piece of paper for records.

Week 33
Complete Curriculum pages 382-383
Cups, Pints, & Quarts:
https://www.superteacherworksheets.com/measurement-capacity.html
Video
http://www.mathworksheets4kids.com/capacity.html
Activity #1: Play the Measurement Game: Find cups, bowls, or pots and measure how many cups, pints, or quarts it takes to fill them. Record your findings on a piece of paper to keep for records.
Activity #2: Bake a cake using the measurements learned from this week.

Week 34
Complete Curriculum pages 384-387

Week 35
Review
(print out new worksheets from some of the links above to help review)
-Skip Counting and Greater than or Less than
-Addition with regrouping, 2 and 3 digit addition
-Subtraction with regrouping
-Money: value of coins, how much, and play toy store
-Telling Time

Week 36
Review
(print out new worksheets from some of the links above to help review)
-Shapes: Symmetry and Congruence
-Measurement: Inches and Centimeters
-Capacity: Cups, Pints, and Quarts (and Gallons)
-Any concepts that have been taught this year that the student hasn't grasped or is having trouble with.

Friday, April 24, 2015

What do those numbers on the eggs mean?

If you've ever been to Poland and have bought groceries, then you know what I'm talking about.

When we bought eggs at a local grocery store, I was at a lost at all of the egg choices (brown, white, refrigerated or non refrigerated, and others). And then add random numbers stamped onto the eggs. What was the purpose of all those little numbers? And why?

Well here's our answer: http://www.krakowpost.com/2015/04/healthy-living-what-do-those-numbers-on-my-eggs-mean/

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Did Somebody Say Chicken??



This is 20 packages of boneless, skinless chicken breast that's had no antibiotics ever, vegetarian fed, no hormones, and cage free, retail value $210. I paid $60.14 for all of it!!!

My local Winn Dixie had a BOGO sale on these chickens last week and apparently they didn't do too well during the sale. So this week they continued the BOGO sale, but marked the packages off 40%. SCORE!!!! I am now stocked up on chicken for a couple of months, no for real-I have zero freezer space left. If anyone in the New Orleans area would like to share their freezer space with me, I'd be willing to go back and get more packages. I would even pay you in chicken :).

Grocery shopping tip: If your local grocery store puts out their weekly ad on a particular day, go to the store that afternoon to find the discounted meat from last weeks ad.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Home Study Webinar TOMORROW

If you're interested in knowing what a home study is or what will happen during one, I encourage you to make plans to attend this webinar. It will calm your fears and/or misconceptions about what will take place when you have a home study done.

Click here for more information on the webinar.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Art Resources

Here are some great resources for art projects for kids. We've used these resources in the past to help with school. If you are not homeschooling, you could use these websites for craft ideas around the holidays or during the summer to keep kids busy.

Please post any resources that you may have for art.


Art Resources:
http://artroom104.blogspot.com/

http://www.kinderart.com/

http://www.howtodrawanimals.net/

http://artprojectsforkids.org/

http://www.mrsbrownart.com/

http://artwithmschiddo.weebly.com/


Art Curriculum:
Ancient Art

Early American Art

Art From Other Cultures

Modern Art

http://www.homeschoolingheartsandminds.com/2013/01/37-free-online-art-and-music-resources.html

Waiting

Waiting is a hard game to play in adoption. It feels like every step you take you have to wait 5 more weeks till the next one. It's hard and it sucks. Even after the adoption is finalized, you are still waiting. You are waiting for your child to heal, waiting for your state's birth certificate, waiting for your child to bond with you, etc.

I had the honor to write a guest post for my friend, Cathrine at www.lifeisalyric.com about the waiting game.

 Click here for the original post.

Where are you at in the waiting game? We're in the healing and bonding stage.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Americans Try To Pronounce Polish Cities

Now here's a fun video of some Americans trying to pronounce Polish cities!

If you are having trouble pronouncing a city, click here for a dummies guide to pronouncing Polish cities.


Saturday, April 18, 2015

What Are Some Good Games and Toys To Bring?

This question gets asked a lot. I had posted some ideas last year, and thought it would be a good idea to revise it. Click here for last year's post.

When you think about bringing games to play with your newly adopted child/children while in country, the phrase "keep it simple stupid" can go a long ways. There's 3 ideas that you need to abide by when bringing games: a) can it fit in your suitcase along with everything else, b) does it have simple directions because your kids obviously won't speak English, and c) what ages are you adopting. You don't want to bring a game that has a lot of directions like Monopoly or Risk, but a game that can be learned by doing or watching. One good idea, if you bring games, is to take them out of the boxes and put them in ziplock bags, so you won't take up a lot of suitcase space.

Now you don't, DON'T need to bring everything on this list. This list is just to give you some ideas for games to bring for your in country stay. The games with the asterisks next to them are great games for older children.

Games:
Elefun
Hungry Hippos
Matching games (doesn't have to be Frozen themed)
Trouble*
Don't Break the Ice
Twister*
Moustache Mash*
Let's Go Fishing
Kerplunk*
Candy Land
Hoot Owl Hoot
Jumping Jack
Go Fish
Barrel of Monkeys *
Airplane Game (prepares your child for the airplane ride)

Browse the game section in Target or Walmart, look for games that can easily be taken out of the boxes, put in ziplock bags, and/or can lay flat in your suitcase.

Toys:
Playdoh
Easter Eggs (doesn't matter if it's in season or not, everyone likes to hunt for treasures)
Jump Rope*
Army Men
Baby Dolls
Barbies
Legos*
Blow-up Beach Ball
Lincoln Logs*
Chalk
Toy Cars
Balloon punch ball

Check the dollar store for small, inexpensive toys that can fit in your suitcase.

Books
Hidden Pictures activity book
Dot to Dot (with numbers, not alphabet) activity book
Coloring Books
Easy Picture activity books
Children’s Books for reading (Dr. Seuss books, simple, short books with lots of color)
Other Ideas for Activities
How to Make A Paper Airplane book with construction paper*
Friendship Bracelet Kits
Jewelry making kit* (could be for boys and girls)
Water colors, Crayons, and Markers (click here for travel craft box idea)
Playdoh
Bubbles (Might be a suitcase risk. You can buy bubbles in Poland if you don’t want to chance it.)
Cookie Mixes* (bring sprinkles or other cookie decorations to decorate)

2nd Grade Curriculum

We try to homeschool for free as much as possible. Our budget will not allow us to spend lots of money on a particular curriculum and let's be honest, I do not want to spend lots of money on a curriculum just to find out that Smalls hates going through it or is having trouble with learning the concepts because it's at a faster pace than she is willing to learn.

Homeschooling an adopted child with past trauma is hard. There are days where we are on fire and are great at school. And then there are some days that are absolutely terrible, hide under the sheets and don't come out. On the days that we are great at school we do as much as possible, and on the days that aren't so much fun, we take a notebook and go on a nature walk at a nearby park, watch educational videos, or research a topic on the internet (adult supervised) and write or draw about it. Kids from the hard places don't always pick the most convenient times to deal with their feelings of their past, so as an adoptive mom and teacher, I need to be sensitive to those issues.

Here's our curriculum for 2nd Grade:

Writing

Reading

Earth Science
-Amazon Rainforest Video (day 4)

Ancient Art 

Ancient History  

PE/Health (on Tuesdays)

Ancient Music

Bible OT

Character Study (click on lessons)

Math 

Language

Spelling

Wow! That's a lot of subjects. Keep in mind that we won't do each subject everyday and some of the subjects go together in one big lesson. They are short lessons-great for short attention spans because we are not able to stay on one subject very long.

2nd Grade Reading

Here's our resources for 2nd Grade Reading.

Flashkids 2nd Grade Complete Curriculum (Reading pages 8-127)

Flashkids Reading Comprehension Grade 2

Various reading aloud books (level 2). At the end of the year, we will have read 91 books!

Week 1
Complete Curriculum pages 8-11
Comprehension pages 4-5
Read aloud 2 books of your choice

Week 2
Complete Curriculum pages 12-15
Comprehension pages 6-7
Read aloud 2 books of your choice

Week 3
Complete Curriculum pages16-19
Comprehension pages 8-9
Read aloud 2 books of your choice

Week 4
Complete Curriculum pages 20-23
Comprehension pages 10-11
Read aloud 2 books of your choice

Week 5
Complete Curriculum pages 24-25
Comprehension pages 12-13
Read aloud 3 books of your choice

Week 6
Complete Curriculum pages 26-27
Comprehension pages  14-15
Read aloud 3 books of your choice

Week 7
Complete Curriculum pages 28-31
Comprehension pages 16-17
Read aloud 2 books of your choice

Week 8
Complete Curriculum pages 32-35
Read aloud 3 books of your choice

Week 9
Complete Curriculum pages 36-39
Comprehension pages 18-19
Read aloud 2 books of your choice

Week 10
Complete Curriculum pages 40-41
Comprehension pages 20-21
Read aloud 3 books of your choice

Week 11
Complete Curriculum pages 42-43
Comprehension pages 22-23
Read aloud 3 books of your choice

Week 12
Complete Curriculum pages 44-47
Comprehension pages 24-25
Read aloud 2 books of your choice

Week 13
Complete Curriculum pages 48-51
Comprehension pages 26-27
Read aloud 2 books of your choice

Week 14
Complete Curriculum pages 52-55
Comprehension pages  28-29
Read aloud 2 books of your choice

Week 15
Complete Curriculum pages 56-59
Comprehension pages 30-31
Read aloud 2 books of your choice

Week 16
Complete Curriculum pages 60-63
Comprehension pages 32-33
Read aloud 2 books of your choice

Week 17
Complete Curriculum pages 64-65
Comprehension pages 34-35
Read aloud 3 books of your choice

Week 18
Complete Curriculum pages 66-67
Comprehension pages 36-37
Read aloud 3 books of your choice

Week 19
Complete Curriculum pages 68-71
Comprehension pages 38-39
Read aloud 2 books of your choice

Week 20
Complete Curriculum pages 72-75
Comprehension pages 40-41
Read aloud 2 books of your choice

Week 21
Complete Curriculum pages 76-79
Comprehension pages 42-43
Read aloud 2 books of your choice

Week 22
Complete Curriculum pages 80-83
Comprehension pages 44-45
Read aloud 2 books of your choice

Week 23
Complete Curriculum pages 84-85
Comprehension pages 46-47
Read aloud 3 books of your choice

Week 24
Complete Curriculum pages 86-87
Comprehension pages 48-49
Read aloud 3 books of your choice

Week 25
Complete Curriculum pages 88-91
Comprehension pages 50-51
Read aloud 2 books of your choice

Week 26
Complete Curriculum pages 92-95
Comprehension pages 52-53
Read aloud 2 books of your choice

Week 27
Complete Curriculum pages 96-99
Comprehension pages 54-55
Read aloud 2 books of your choice

Week 28
Complete Curriculum pages 100-103
Comprehension pages 56-57
Read aloud 2 books of your choice

Week 29
Complete Curriculum pages 104-105
Comprehension pages 58-59
Read aloud 3 books of your choice

Week 30
Complete Curriculum pages 106-107
Comprehension pages 60-61
Read aloud 3 books of your choice

Week 31
Complete Curriculum pages 108-111
Read aloud 3 books of your choice

Week 32
Complete Curriculum pages 112-115

Read aloud 3 books of your choice

Week 33
Complete Curriculum pages 116-119
Read aloud 3 books of your choice

Week 34
Complete Curriculum pages 120-123
Read aloud 3 books of your choice

Week 35
Complete Curriculum pages 124-125
Read aloud 4 books of your choice

Week 36
Complete Curriculum pages 126-127
Read aloud 4 books of your choice


2nd Grade Writing

Ok, get ready for all of my homeschool posts!

We try to homeschool for free as much as possible. Our budget will not allow us to spend lots of money on a particular curriculum and let's be honest, I do not want to spend lots of money on a curriculum just to find out that Smalls hates going through it or is having trouble with learning the concepts because it's at a faster pace than she is willing to learn.

I am kind of piecing together curriculum for 2nd grade, something I tried to do for first grade but as a newbie homeschool mom, I struggled. So I'm back at it again, learning from my mistakes from last year. For 2nd Grade, I bought Flashkids 2nd Grade Complete Curriculum book at Barnes and Noble for $20. I am using this book as inspiration on what topics Smalls needs to learn in 2nd grade.

Each week, we will learn a different topic in Writing. These topics are in the book that I've mentioned above. I've also found some worksheets based on these topics to help reinforce the ideas. I've included the page numbers that we will complete each week throughout the school year.

Unit 1
Week 1
Writing a sentence about a picture:
http://www.kidzone.ws/creative-writing/book-picture.htm
http://homeschoolroundup.com/draw-a-picture-write-a-sentence-worksheet/
pages 526-527

Week 2
Using details to find the main idea:
http://www.k12reader.com/subject/reading-skills/main-idea-worksheets/
page 528

Week 3
Using exact words:
https://msjones6-ela.wikispaces.com/file/view/WordChoice.pdf
http://www.k12reader.com/subject/grammar/word-usage/word-choice/
page 529

Week 4
Proofreading and practice writing:
https://www.superteacherworksheets.com/proofreading.html
http://www.studenthandouts.com/English/Free-Handwriting-Printable-Writing-Practice-Sheets.html
pages 530-534

Week 5
Practice writing:
http://www.studenthandouts.com/English/Free-Handwriting-Printable-Writing-Practice-Sheets.html
pages 535-539

Week 6
Practice writing:
http://www.studenthandouts.com/English/Free-Handwriting-Printable-Writing-Practice-Sheets.html
pages 540-543

Unit 2
Week 7
Putting stories in order:
http://www.havefunteaching.com/worksheets/reading-worksheets/sequencing-worksheets
page 544

Week 8
Personal Stories:
http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/top-teaching/2014/03/graphic-organizers-personal-narratives
pages 545-546

Week 9
Synonyms:
http://www.k12reader.com/subject/vocabulary/synonyms-antonyms/
(Some of these are labeled for 4th and 5th graders, but we are trying to expand Smalls' vocabulary so I felt confident enough that she could complete some of these.)
https://www.superteacherworksheets.com/synonyms-antonyms.html
page 547

Week 10
pages 548-552

Week 11
pages 553-557

Week 12
pages 558-562

Unit 3 
Week 13
Parts of a friendly letter:
http://www.trcabc.com/blogs/teacher-resources/8571419-friendly-letter-template-and-lesson-plan
(Use this sheet to write letters to grandparents or friends)
pages 563-564

Week 14
Picturing events:
https://www.superteacherworksheets.com/writing-storypics.html
pages 565-566

Week 15
Joining sentences:
http://www.superteacherworksheets.com/conjunctions/combining-sentences_ANDA.pdf
http://www.tlsbooks.com/combiningsentences.html
https://www.superteacherworksheets.com/sentences.html (compound sentence #1)
page 567

Week 16
pages 568-572

Week 17
pages 573-577

Week 18
pages 578-581

Unit 4
Week 19
pages 582-586

Week 20
pages 587-591

Week 21
pages 592-595

Week 22
pages 596-599

Week 23
pages 600-602

Week 24
pages 603-605

Unit 5
Week 25
pages 606-609

Week 26
pages 610-613

Week 27
pages 614-617

Week 28
pages 618-620

Week 29
pages 621-623

Week 30
pages 624-625

Unit 6
Week 31
pages 626-629

Week 32
pages 630-633

Week 33
pages 634-637

Week 34
pages 638-641

Week 35
pages 642-645

Week 36
End of the year project: Write a 2 or 3 paragraph story. Each paragraph should have at least 4 sentences. When you have completed the project, read aloud to your family your story.

What If Your Adopted Child Sexually Acts Out?

I feel like this subject is not talked about enough with parents who are in foster care or who have adopted. I think it's one of those things that we don't want to think about or bring up because it is a difficult issue. And let's be honest, this issue is a really hard one to deal with that takes patience and a lot of supervising-a lot.

What do we do as a parent of a child who acts out sexually? We don't want to shame them for their inappropriate behaviors, because there could be a deeper issue. But we also want to correct/redirect the behavior to an appropriate one. How do we do that effectively?

Well, I found a great resource the other day for those of us who are struggling with parenting a child who acts out inappropriately. The author gives wonderful strategies for helping your child with this issue.

http://www.abcofohio.net/parentinghealingsexuallyactingoutadoptee.pdf

http://www.arletajames.com/articles/sexualsafety.pdf

http://empoweredtoconnect.org/helping-a-child-with-sexualized-behaviors/

Please post any resources that you have found to be helpful on this topic.

Friday, April 17, 2015

I'm That Krazy......

COUPON AND CAT LADY!!!!

Not pictured 3 more boxes of cat litter.




















Oh my, how many cats do you have? Just one.

Where do you put it in your small apartment? I get creative and make space for stuff that we need and get for cheap.

Why do you have all of that litter? Because I got it for cheap, like really, really cheap.

I have a total of 11 boxes of cat litter, enough to last me well over a year. The best part about it is that I only paid $10 (including tax) for all of it!! Each container is worth about $10 retail (that's $110 for 11 boxes).

Out of all of the things in my stockpile, cat litter is one of my most prized because very rarely do you have a great sale and a great coupon to go with it.

This makes for one happy kitty!




Thursday, April 16, 2015

Famous Poles and People of Polish roots

Here is a fun video of famous people who are of Polish ancestry. Enjoy!
 

Storytime Boxes

We try to homeschool Smalls for free or close to free as much as possible. One way that we are able to achieve this is by utilizing our local library. We love the library. There's no need to buy lots of expensive books on one subject when the library literally has thousands.

One resource the library has, that we absolutely love, are storytime boxes. Storytime boxes are boxes filled with books and activities. Each storytime box has a theme. If you live in Jefferson parish, here is the link to our library's storytime boxes. If you are trying to teach a subject and want to emphasize it a little more, try finding a story box at your library. I plan on using the story boxes throughout the summer to help reinforce subjects that we learned in school.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

45 Interesting Facts About Poland

We've been having some sleep issues with Smalls lately, so my
biological clock is backwards. During the day I feel like a walking
zombie and at night I'm an owl, wide awake. Well since I can't sleep
during the night, I research about Poland, adoption, and money-my 3
passions in life. I might as well study and keep up with the current
research, right?

I found this youtube video on one of
the many websites I subscribe to. It will only take 5 minutes of your
time and you will have gained much more knowledge about Poland.


Polish City Pronunciations For Dummies

We all know that Polish is one of the hardest languages to learn in the world. They have so many consonants and so few vowels. And then add on top of that the different pronunciations Polish has for letters that are in our alphabet. Well, here is a dummies guide to pronouncing the cities in Poland. I found this little gem on reddit the other day. 


 http://i.imgur.com/TfQO1w6.jpg



Click here for the link source.


Smalls is from Szczecin. What city is your little one from? 


FASD Webinar: What You Need To Know When Someone With FASD Is Arrested

There's another great webinar on FASD today.

What you need to know when someone with FASD is arrested.
Click here for more information and to register.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Silver Lining in Healing

We attended the Empowered to Connect conference via simulcast this past weekend at a local church. I am still processing all of the great information that was presented. We learned a lot of strategies to deal with Smalls' behavior. I definitely recommend attending one of the conferences. The next one is April 8-9, 2016.

This past Saturday we were eating breakfast and getting ready to go to the conference and Smalls made an out of the blue statement to Wes. She said "I feel loved with (by) my mommy and daddy". Wait...What? Was she referring to us? And no one made her say that?

To those who've just started following out journey and want to know why we are so shocked that our daughter said that, here's a recap. We adopted an older girl from Poland who essential thought we "stole" her away, which we didn't we went through the proper channels. The foster parents told Smalls that they were her biological parents. And as if that isn't enough, they didn't properly inform her of the adoption that was going to take place. The foster parents told Smalls that she is going on a vacation with some new friends. We had to do the dirty work and tell Smalls the truth about her situation. And it was hard!

Well, sure enough, Smalls was talking about us. She said that statement all on her own. She felt loved by us. This little girl who was completely lost a year ago could finally verbalize her healing. This is so encouraging to hear after all we had been through together. That's powerful.

One thing that Dr. Karyn Purvis said during the conference that stuck out to me the most is "it's a miracle because of the persistence of the parents". That's truly the secret to traumatized children healing from their past. This past year was far from easy for our family, but we were persistent with Smalls.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Occupational Therapy (OT)

You've probably noticed that my blog is getting a bit of a face lift. I am trying to update and keep this blog as resource to me and others who are adopting.

I found a great website for occupational therapy the other day and I wanted to share it with you all. This website has ideas for sensory and processing disorders. It also has worksheets and practice ideas for OT. Occupational therapy can really eat at your pocket book if your kid has lots of needs and this website might be able to provide you some additional help with your child without charging extra! She has lots of great ideas that I can't wait to implement for Smalls.

Click here for the website: http://mamaot.com/

Also if you are looking for speech therapy, click here.

Adoptive Parenting Tip for New Parents #2: Grieve

Wow, this is a hard post to write.

What does grieving have to do with adoption?

Adoption is a happy time when a family expands. You are giving hope to a child or a sibling group who didn't have any hope. You are giving a child a family who will always love him or her. There isn't a place for being sad in adoption. No one should grieve because it's supposed to be a joyful occasion, almost like giving birth.

Why grieve?

At what point in the adoption process does one grieve?

When a child comes into your care on day one, you grieve with them. That child is probably not coming from a happy place or situation. They are moving to a new house with unfamiliar faces, new smells, sights and sounds. They lost their familiarity, their family, their toys, and keep filling in the blank with whatever is important to your child. When you've lost something very important, you grieve.

We typically envision a happy first meeting with our child when he or she comes into our care. We dream of smiles and happy faces, but that can be far from reality. We should grieve with them. They lost a familiar world. They lost a caregiver. It hurts.

I envisioned long ago of a beautiful family, a husband, wife (me), kids, and lots of furbabies. It was perfect. We are happy. But God had other plans, we adopted to start our family. It was a happy time filling out all of the paperwork, buying toys, and decorating my daughter's room. We had butterflies imagining what our life will be like with a little girl in our family. We came home with our daughter and it was unlike anything I had envisioned. It was hard. Smalls was in so much pain. Our life felt like a tornado came and destroyed everything. We felt lost. My happy family that I had dreamed of went out the window. I cried for days if not weeks.

A couple of months ago, I wrote about P-A-D-S. I believe, not officially diagnosed, that I had this because I lost my happy family that I had dreamed of before we adopted. I didn't make time to grieve for my loss of my ideal family and I got depressed. It's ok to grieve the loss of your dream of having a happy family.

And here comes the comments from the non-adoption section of the audience. "Our kids aren't always happy". "We cry too, ya know". "I lost the dream of fill in the blank". I understand that even the best of families have hard days. Some adopted kids have a real hard time functioning in a family because they have never lived in one before. Adoption is hard work with loving someone who doesn't necessarily want to be loved. No one person is always happy or has it going for them all of the time, but having a dream come crashing down is hard.

When your child starts asking who their biological family is, or what they look like, grieve. They are searching for answers that may or may not be there. Your child is trying to put a puzzle together with missing pieces and that is so terribly frustrating. They feel displaced or even lost in this bog world.

It's your child's birthday, a big day full of presents and cake, but they don;t want to participate. They are angry. They become a terror by popping balloons and knocking down decorations. Birthday parties are hard for our children and can bring up a lot of painful memories. How many birthdays did your child have without presents and cake? They can also wonder about their birth and why their biological mom didn't want them. We should grieve.

Here's a more personal example with Smalls. She absolutely hates being frustrated in school. She hates it because it brings back a memory of her birth mom. Her birth mom did not take care of her body while pregnant with Smalls and she consumed alcohol. Smalls relives the pain of why did my birth mom hurt me every time she gets stuck on a problem in school. Instead of getting mad at her for not concentrating, I grieve with her.

I can keep going on and on about all of the times to grieve in an adoption. And some of those times are specific to each child. Be mindful of your child. They have gone through a lot of hurts. You are their mentor or coach. Grieve with them so they can heal from their past.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Adoptive Parenting Tips for New Parents: #1

I am no expert. I am not a professional. I don't have a doctorate or have taken any fancy certifications that qualify me to talk about how to parent adoptive children. One thing I do have is experience and unfortunately Smalls gave us a lot of it. She had a lot of issues that are common with adoption and some that are not common and have troubled our social workers. We have seen first hand how trauma effects Smalls' brain. We have learned strategies after strategies to help her heal from the past. It has been a hard road for us. It's been lonely. I wish I could go back a year and half and coach my former self with the knowledge that we have gained from living these experiences. How close are we to time travel? I'm ready to fix my mistakes! Well, since we can't travel back in time any time soon, I will write about it for the next adoption and maybe even for you if you are just bringing home your child.

Tip #1: Make Your Child Feel Safe

No matter what, this is your number one priority. Make them feel safe. Do whatever it takes, well almost whatever. Smalls didn't sleep at night. I should have slept next to her bed or in her room for a couple of weeks in her room in Poland and again in her room in the U.S. She was scared and didn't want to go to sleep, so she did other inappropriate things, which she got into trouble for. She needed me to be close to feel safe, even though I was essentially a stranger then. Smalls was scared of the bathroom. She needed me in there when she needed to do her business. She was terrified of the bath. She needed me to be in there with her. I could keep going on and on about how we tried to make Smalls feel safe and how we also had failed at making her feel safe. This is the hardest part of adoption. It wears you out. you are physically and emotional tired. And you feel like you can't take a break. But keep at it. It is worth it. Your child will feel more comfortable with you if they know that you won't hurt them or let someone else hurt them. Now here is a tiny disclaimer: I'm not saying do not discipline them. Kids need discipline. They need boundaries around them. It makes them feel safe to know that you, the parent, is in control when their world gets out of control.

Making your child feel safe is one of the hardest tasks I've ever had. It's exhausting when your child is afraid of almost everything because they are in a new environment, they don't know what tomorrow will bring, and they have no clue to who you are. Keep at it. They need the persistence of someone loving them everyday, which they never got before they came into your care.

Sometimes we have to get creative in making our child feel safe. When Smalls first came into our care, she kept asking us if her eye was red. We said no and kept reassuring her that it wasn't but she struggled. A very not nice person told her that she would turn into a vampire if her eye turned red, sounds silly I know, but to her this was a fact. We told her that could not ever happen and gave her a small mirror to put in her pocket so she could check whenever she wanted. She stopped using the mirror about a month after us being patient with her phobia. It's all about making her feel safe to trust us to meet her needs.

And because making them feel safe is so exhausting, don't forget about yourself. You will go bonkers crazy if you don't get any respite care. You need time to recharge your batteries.

Do you have a story of where you had to get creative to make your child feel safe? Please share because I am always looking for ideas!

Home Study Webinar

Preparing for our first ever home study was a little stressful. I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know what papers I should have ready for him/her. I was told that it wasn't a white glove inspection, but let's be honest, I scrubbed my entire house and made sure all of our cleaning supplies were locked away. I was the first person in my circle to have a home study done, so I couldn't ask a friend what it was like or what were some of the questions they ask. If you are like me and are stressed at the home study process, Adoptive Families Circle will have a webinar on 4/22/15 at 1pm Eastern (12pm Central) on how to prepare for your home study and what to expect during your home study.

If you are planning on having a home study done in the near future, this will be a great webinar to help ease your mind during the home study process. And you will be able to ask questions after the seminar is over to the presenter, which is really helpful!

Click here for more details and to register for this webinar.