Thursday, July 30, 2015

Parenting from the Inside Out

Parenting from the Inside Out by Dr. Dan Siegel and Mary Hartzell

This is a great book on how your attachment style can affect your parenting or your child's attachment style to you. Understanding yourself and your past can help you to have a better relationship with your child. This book will change how you think about parenting. Dr. Dan and Mary give great insight on how to be an effective parent. I find it fascinating that the way that I grew up and my life experiences can and does affect my child's.

If you're looking into becoming a better, more in-tuned parent, then this is a great read!

Homeschool Mental Health Days

It's inevitable. Everyone has bad days. Homeschooling an adopted child who's experienced trauma is no different. Sometimes I feel like we have more than our fair share of bad days because of it. Smalls can consciously or sub-consciously remember her trauma and when she does, she can be a basket case full of emotions. Trying to perform in school will be an added stressor that will send her over the edge.

What do you do when your child is having a bad day? Cancel school? Wouldn't that reinforce the wrong idea?

I have been thinking all summer about this dilemma because I know it's going to happen. Smalls will get in a funk and not be able to participate in traditional school or the plans I have for the day. I've scoured the internet and asked several facebook groups that I'm apart of to find other options for us to do. I will call this our plan b.

Here's a list of ideas that we can do instead of traditional school:
Virtual Field Trip
Nature Walk Crafts
Nature Walk Scavenger Hunt
Nature Walk Scavenger Hunt #2
Watch Educational Videos
Pick a topic. Research it and write 1 paragraph about it. Add a drawing or art about the topic (if it applies).
Read aloud a book
Put on a play with stuffed animals
Create Lego art. Build something crazy!
Paint a self portrait
Learn to Cook
Try to replicate a famous artist's artwork
Use playdoh and sculpt a famous statue
Make a card for a family member or friend. Don't forget to mail it to them!
Pick a science project or a experiment
Watch a science video
Learn how to draw
Make slime
or make something from this list
Make a passport and pick a country to "travel". Learn about their culture, food, and way of life.
Play a game
See who can catch the most popcorn or cheeseballs in their mouth (adult supervision required because it could be a choking hazard)
Bean bag toss (this can work on their hand-eye coordination)

What could you add to this list?

Homemade Pierogi

I miss, really miss the fruit filled pierogi we would buy in Poland. Sure I can buy the frozen ones at Walmart that have potato and cheese, but not the fruit filled. I had a major craving a couple of months ago for a fruit filled pierogi, so I had to make my own.

I had to make my own quark, because none of my stores had it. I have heard that Whole Foods will carry it, but not mine. Click here on how to make a quark substitute.

Then I made the dough using this recipe. I used a glass jar to cut circles in the dough.

I used Polish jelly that I found at Big Lots a couple of months ago.

Then, I spooned a little of the quark and jelly onto the cut out dough.

Folded the dough like a taco and pressed a fork along the edges to seal the pierogi.

Now we are ready to boil them. When the pierogi starts floating, that's when you know that they are ready to take out.

 I sprinkled a little powder sugar on top and it was delicious!

Have you ever made pierogi? Do you have a recipe that you're willing to share?

2nd Grade Homeschool Planner

I am using a similar one that I used last year for 1st grade. I started making our 2nd grade lesson planner last year while we were still in 1st grade and before I found this awesome printable version. I will print this out for next year and make our 3rd grade lesson planner from it. I absolutely love to use sticky notes with an unpredictable child. I can make plans, great plans, but if Smalls is not feeling it for the day, everything goes out the window!

So, here's our 2nd grade lesson planner:

You'll notice that I've added additional tabs to this lesson planner than last years. I've divided the 36 weeks of school into 6, 6 weeks. At the end of each 6 weeks, I have a major review to see how much Smalls has learned and what topics we need extra practice in. In the back of this planner (not pictured), I've included a couple of pages to document summer work that we will complete next summer, a place for grades or completion check marks, and a list of books and resources that we've used for this year. My goal is to keep this planner so I don't have to plan 2nd grade again.

I absolutely love this planner! I can't recommend it enough!

I also have fun-shaped sticky notes that I can put over my original plans if Smalls is having a rough day or an activity didn't work out as planned. I want to be able to keep a detailed plan for the next child (maybe?) or if the state of Louisiana ever wants to know exactly what we are doing.

What are you using this year to plan? Do you make your own or do you buy one pre-made?

Engineering for Kids

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Trauma and Sensory Integration

Emotional Intelligience Activities for Kids

Teaching Social and Emotional Skills Website

This is my new favorite blog! This lady has tons of resources on her website for teaching social and emotional skills to children.

Teaching The Size of Your Feelings Printable

26 Tools To Manage A Meltdown

Calming Activities

Teach your Child Not To Interupt In One Simple Step

What To Do When Your Child Is Defiant

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Burnout leaves it's mark on the Brain

Parenting a child from the hard places. I can definitely attest to burnout. I need to make a conscious effort to de-stress and spend sometime recovering. Here's a great article about how burnout can affect our brains:

3 Tips on How To Connect To Your Child

I copied these great tips from:

(1) Children need a minimum of 8 touches during a day to feel connected to a parent. 
If they’re going through a particularly challenging time, it’s a minimum of 12 a day.  This doesn’t have to be a big deal–it could be the straightening of a collar, a pat on the shoulder, or a simple hug.

(2) Each day, children need one meaningful eye-to-eye conversation with a parent. 
It is especially important for babies to have that eye contact, but children of all ages need us to slow down and look them in the eyes.

(3) There are nine minutes during the day that can have the greatest impact on a child.
  • the first three minutes–right after they wake up
  • the three minutes after they come home from school, and
  • the last three minutes of the day–before they go to bed.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

School Assignment Checklist

During the school day, Smalls always wants to know what we are doing and how many more items she needs to complete after each task. She has to (physically) count how many items left, every single time, we complete a task. It's a compulsive need to be in control of her environment. And it drives me nuts. She spends more time counting how many things she needs to do rather than just doing the work and getting finished at a faster pace.

Having this checklist has saved my sanity. When she is done with an item, she puts a check mark by it. She no longer has to ask me how many more or what we are doing next. She can look on the list and pick a subject out that she wants to work on.

For those of you who struggle with their children on what they need to do during the school day, this checklist can be a life saver or sanity saver! I know it says homework checklist at the top, but disregard that, us homeschoolers don't have homework!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Friday, July 10, 2015

How Childhood Biography Can Shape Adult Biology

Is it ADHD or FASD?

Trauma Doesn't Tell Time

The Importance of Addressing Complex Trauma in Schools: Implementing TBRI in Elementary Schools

Feelings Sign

This is my new favorite sign in our house. Smalls has a hard time verbally telling me her emotions. She would rather use her behavior to express her feelings, which doesn't usually go over to well. I found this little chart at a school supply store on the Gulf coast to help her identify her feelings.

Whenever Smalls gets out of sorts, I can direct her to this chart to help pick out her feelings and then we can investigate on the "whys" of feeling a certain feeling.

Amazon has a wonderful selection of feelings charts.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Polish Food Glossary

You can print this list with you before you travel, so you won't fret about what you're really ordering at restauracje!

10 Facts About Lodz

The Whole Brain Child

Another great book by Dr. Dan Siegel!

The Whole Brain Child by Dr. Dan Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson

This is a great book that gives 12 strategies for nurturing your child. It is a very practical book, whether you've adopted or not.

Forget giving diapers or baby toys to new parents. I'm starting to give my expectant friends a copy of this book. I think every parent should read this book. He talks about the upstairs brain and how it effects the choices our kids make. This would be the greatest gift for any new (and old) parent.

A lot of our trauma kids have a hard time engaging the logical side of their brain because they are stuck on the emotional side due to their trauma history. Dr. Dan gives practical advice for helping them to reach the logical side of their brain so they can make wise choices. It has helped me to parent Smalls by using his 12 strategies. My favorite one is "engage, not enrage". It is so catchy and whenever I'm about to "get into it" with Smalls I remember this saying to help calm my stressed brain.

Have you read this book? What do you think? How have you applied Dr. Siegel's principles in your parenting?

9 Ways to Enhance Attachment with Your School Aged Child

Educating Students with an FASD Diagnosis

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Disciplining Tough Kids in School: Is there a better way?

Books for Children Who've Lost a Loved One

Here's a great pdf that list a lot of children's books dealing with loss. I hope I never have to need this list of books for Smalls. But if your child is going through a loss these might be helpful for you to talk with your child about the loss.

The Importance of Parental Attachment Style in Adoption

Creating a Family is hosting a FREE webinar on July 28 at 6:30pm.

Dr. Dan Siegel will be the special guest and he will speak on how our (parents) attachment style affects how we parent our kids. It's something I first learned about at the Empowered to Connect Conference this past April.

Click here for more information:

Anyone in the New Orleans area want to get together and listen to this webinar?

The Boy Who Was Raised As a Dog

The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog by Dr. Bruce Perry and Maia Szalavitz.

I just finished reading this book. Wow, just wow. What a wonderful book that has opened my eyes to what trauma can do to our bodies and most importantly, how we can respond to it. I couldn't put this book down. I just wanted to keep reading story after story and see how Dr. Perry handled each situation.

Dr. Perry gives real case stories about how trauma has affected his patients. It has opened my eyes to see how trauma has affected Smalls. As I was reading each story, I found a piece of Smalls in each one. I am encouraged that our TBRI training will eventually pay off later, when Smalls is older and has experienced nurturing care by us repeatedly.

However, there is one con to this book. He gives real life stories and unfortunately, he did not make up the details of the trauma that these children experience. These children have endured so much trauma that I couldn't imagine dealing with it as an adult, much less a child going through it. It made me sad to think that someone in this world would actually cause harm to a child. With all of the training and reading that I've done, I've learned that the abused becomes the abuser if not had nurture and healing from their own trauma. Anyways, this book is heavy on trauma. You may need to take a break after reading each story because it is hard to imagine that a person would hurt a helpless child. This con is not really a con, but it what makes the book. After all, the book is about stories from a child psychiatrist.

I am now a big fan of Dr. Bruce Perry and his neurosequential program and it is similar to TBRI. Dr. Perry adds music and exercise to his program to help strengthen different parts of the brain that have low development. His program is about strengthening the brain where it's the weakest-makes sense!

I know I say this about every book I read and post about on my blog, but seriously, you need to read this if you have a child from the hard places this book will help you to figure out how trauma has affected your child.

13 Ways To Encourage Attachment with Your Toddler

Trauma is Contagious

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Trauma Informed Approach to Behaviors in the Classroom

This comes with a free download that you can print and give to your child's teacher. What a great resource!

Trauma Informed Parenting

Into the Lives of Children Living with FASD Video

Jurassic Poland: Polish Dinosaurs Uncovered

The One Thing You Should Say to An Adoptive Family

Teaching Emotion Regulation Skills To Kids

The Letter Your Teenager Can't Write To You

This can easily translate to "The Letter Your Traumatized Child Can't Write To You".