O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles. Psalms 43:3

And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith. D&C 88:118

The kids

The kids

Friday, June 6, 2014

12 Hours constitutes Summer Reading

Oh my. The library system youth reading program is 12 hours! For each 12 hours, the kids can turn in a new card and enter again into a drawing for a galaxy tablet, but 12 hours is the minimum? Really? I told the librarian that Tiger does that in less than a week. She shrugged. That was Monday. Thursday, Tiger returned with summer reading program card in hand and the librarian looked at him in disbelief. “We didn’t expect anyone to finish that fast. We won’t be ready until later next week.” In the last 4 days, both Tiger and Marin have read multiple books. Tiger has been reading Laddie, A Single Shard, The Sign of the Beaver, and a few other fun books. He also wrote his essay for his Harry Potter class, practiced piano, and did his math daily. Butterfly has read The Horse and His Boy, The Princess and the Goblin, and Where the Mountain Meets the Moon this week. Even Pumpkin Pie has completed half of the program for children- 500 minutes. Thankfully, they read because they love it and the reading program is just a bonus.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Kinder Cottage Publishing- Schoolhouse Review

Kinder Cottage Review

I was offered the chance to review two books out of a series that has recently been republished by Kinder Cottage Publishing. The books I got to review are Peter Rabbit at the Farm and How Peter Rabbit Went to Sea. Each hardback book is costs $4. They are appropriate for children 3-7.

Kinder Cottage Review
Originally written by Duff Graham in 1917 for the Henry Altemus company, Kinder Cottage has reprinted these stories in full color and edited the text to reflect more modern words. For example, the word velocipede was changed to bicycle. There are 10 stories in all.
Kinder Cottage ReviewPeter Rabbit at the Farm is about an adventurous rabbit named Peter who goes for a walk through the farm of Mr. McGregor. As he does, he meets many farm animals as well as Mr. McGregor’s hired man. Sometimes he helps the animals he finds out of trouble, but more often, he causes his own trouble. Finally, lost, Peter cunningly takes a ride hanging from the legs of Old Jim Crow until he can get his bearings and run home. There, he laughs as he tells his family of his adventures, is scolded for running away, eats his dinner, and falls asleep.
Kinder Cottage ReviewHow Peter Rabbit Went to Sea starts out with Peter running an errand for Mother Rabbit to bring home cabbage from Mr. McGregor’s garden. On his way home, he sees some apples on the ground and he decides to eat them. As he does, he forgets all about the cabbage, gets sick, and runs home. Because he has forgotten the cabbage, he is spanked and then cries while his sisters watch. The next day while Mother Rabbit goes out, she cautions the children not to go near the brook. The children look for some stored popcorn (which was hidden for Halloween) to play store until Peter suggests popping it and eating it up. They build a fire and eat most of the corn. Then Peter suggests they go on an adventure. While Peter’s sisters, who were “good little girl rabbits,” suggest playing robber in a cave, Peter, who was a “bad little boy rabbit” wants to build a boat and play pirate. Peter builds his boat then pushes it into the brook to sail away. Pretty soon he finds himself in the ocean where he gets scared of a shark and capsizes on a rock, which is actually the back of a whale. The whale blows him back into his boat, but before he can get in his boat, he meets more unpleasant sea creatures and nearly tips out again when a bird lands on his boat. Finally the bird is so shocked to see a rabbit in the ocean that he determines to take Peter home to show his children and flies off with him. Through some cunning, Peter gets free and runs home where he begs his mother to put him to bed.
The binding on these books is really nice and they are also available at a great price. I also like the size of the books. They are 5x7 and easy to hold.  My children and I didn’t enjoy the stories though. Some of the language doesn’t have the right feel about it. For example, Peter talks back and says things like, “Don’t believe it.” and “Will too.” Additionally, I did not like the “good girl” and “bad boy” descriptions. It seemed to me that it was not a “good” thing to go hunting for the hidden popcorn mother was saving for a special occasion and eat it up. “Good” children would have cautioned against such behavior. I also struggled with the rambling nature of the story line. I was glad that while I found the stories to be lacking in good relationships, Peter does run into trouble as a result of his disregard for others. It is also through some careful thinking that Peter frees himself from trouble.
Be sure to check out the other reviews. While I may not personally have enjoyed the stories, others surely did. Additionally, there are 8 other stories in the series.
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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Learning Breakthrough- Schoolhouse Review

Learning Breakthrough Program Review
I have always been interested in modalities which might assist a person to learn better. I find the idea that conditions like dyslexia or other learning disabilities can only be accommodated  preposterous. I believe the brain is amazing and if you tap into the right pathway anything is possible. I love reading about research related to this concept. Recently I was given the opportunity to review A Life in Balance published by Learning Breakthrough Program. Available in paperback, it retails for $16.94.
Learning Breakthrough Program ReviewWritten, by his son, Eric Belgau, A Life in Balance is the story of how Frank Belgau spent years in the classroom researching, modifying, and perfecting methods to help children overcome learning disabilities and reach their potential. It is the story of a man who wouldn’t take no for an answer and despite many setbacks and lack of science and neurological degrees. It is also a manual on how to implement some of his discoveries in your home. These tools have helped children suffering from ADD, dyslexia, poor coordination, as well as those children who don’t seem to have any learning or other disabilities.
In the 1960s, children with learning disabilities were called minimally brain-injured and were not expected to learn much. Mr. Belgau, through his life experiences did not believe that these children were destined to sit at the desk with their heads down covered in paper so as not to distract the other students. He believed they had potential and it just needed to be unlocked. Starting in Frank Belgau’s early life, this story highlights transformational events which shaped his hypothesis and experiments. It also is a wonderful story of mentors and great teaching as well as not giving up when “failure” seems present. No matter what “failure” was presented, Mr. Belgau seemed to take it like Thomas Edison took his failed light bulbs. Nothing was a failure- all was a learning opportunity. Using the measuring stick of “immediate, observable improvement in reading” as the determination if a therapy worked or not, Mr. Belgau developed exercises, activities, and games which did work. Over time, he integrated ideas and help from medical, neurological, and educational professionals to arrive at what he calls his Learning Breakthrough System.
I found the book engaging and interesting. I loved to read about the different things that were tried, his logic as to why he chose new things, and how the experiments worked. It was fascinating to me to see how the right people seemed to be placed in Belgau’s path at the right times and how his program evolved. As I read, I began to think about the little kids I teach in karate. I started thinking about how various exercises we do in karate can help the children I teach learn better both in and out of the dojo. I also started thinking about how I can help my children, who don’t have learning disabilities, learn better. Thankfully, the last several chapters of the book outline several exercises so we can begin to use some of the tools that Mr. Belgau has discovered. These exercises include various body-in-space awareness drills. They don’t require a bunch of equipment and can be used right away.
This is a great book for anyone who works with children in any capacity. The brain is a marvelous wonder. New pathways can be established and everyone has potential just waiting to be realized. As I was reading this book, I was recommending it to various people asking about how to help their struggling children.
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