Saturday, November 10, 2012

Free Resources, Did I Say Free?

I don't do give-aways on this blog, but I do offer links to free resources that I love. In the past, I have shared my favorite free resources (Librivox, Best Web Buys, Paperbackswap, and Audacity audio editor) and here are a few more: (1) the new Ambleside Online forum, (2) a free seminar for families raising autism spectrum kids, and (3) a radio podcast with a scientific bent.

This fall, AmblesideOnline opened another free resource for homeschoolers and school teachers who follow a Charlotte Mason paradigm. They have created a well-organized forum, an online message board like no other. If you find slogging through yahoo message digests tiresome and struggle with finding the right search terms to find a thread of interest to you, the AO forum might be an answer to prayer. They offer:
  • a welcome center to help forum newbies to get started,
  • a curriculum help center set up by form (i.e., grade level) and other categories (family dynamics, international, etc.),
  • a study hall for specific subjects and for discussions on Charlotte Mason's series, Parents' Review articles, exams, and Charlotte Mason schools
  • a private area to which you can subscribe if you have specific needs that may require some level of discretion: special needs, gifted, AO alumni, etc., and
  • an amble ramble for all sorts of random topics.

Every section of the forum is moderated by people who have expertise in that area and/or have a passion for the topic. Many of my close friends that I have actually met in real life are sharing their wisdom and experience: Amy Tuttle, Leslie Laurio, Melanie Malone, Jennifer Gagnon, Megan Hoyt, Laurie Bestvater, and Nancy Kelly. I bet you can guess what I moderate (Mathematics and LD/Special Needs) plus the red-headed stepchild of the Charlotte Mason's series, Formation of Character. Volume 5 is wonderful for special needs families because the children sound so familiar to those of us dealing with distracted children and major meltdowns. My belief that this treasure is the most neglected book of the six is proving true. So far, we are lacking in visitors.

Next month, a group of like-minded experts at Pro-Active Development are offering a free seminar to empower parents of children in the autism spectrum. They are focusing on new understandings of noninvasive therapy options such as Relationship Development Intervention, Brain-Body Connection, Magutova Sensory Motor Reflex Integration (MNRI), Cranio-Sacral Therapy , Eating and Feeding Issues, and more. Since Amy Cameron, the RDI consultant who refined our ability to guide Pamela, is interviewing me as part of the seminar, homeschooling is a topic I plan to discuss.

From December 3-7, 2012, the hosts will chat with ten different people about their experience in the world of developmental disabilities. If you want to participate in the free seminar, all you need to do is register. The discussions will begin at noon and 6pm CST. They aim to offer ideas to
  • Improve overall quality of life for your family.
  • Explore how you can make easy lifeshifts for optimal developmental change.
  • Unlock your child's potential through innovative noninvasive techniques.
  • Discover the importance of body-brain relationship, and so much more.

One of my Charlotte Mason study group friends turned me on to a podcast called Radiolab. One in particular affirmed a notion that mindful moms of children in autism spectrum have known for years: the brain and the gut are connected. What is the gut? The podcaster explained so concisely, "It's the interior space that runs down from your nut to your butt and it's called the gut." In fact, most conversations between parents like myself eventually end up on the conversation of *ahem* what comes out of the body. The second segment of the show appropriately called Guts validated what we have been doing for years! They interviewed Carl Zimmer, author of Microcosm, about the couple thousand of species of one-celled critters that live in your gut and weigh about three pounds. Professor of Neuroscience John Cryan described findings about how the yogurt-making bacteria lactobacillus acidophilus alter physical reactions to stress. Namely, probiotic-fed mice have lower levels of stress hormones and higher levels of GABA (the calming chemicals that our children in a meltdown lack).

And, if you think what we have been doing since 1995 "crazy talk," read on! Finally, some validation for this mindful mom (the term I prefer instead of warrior mom).

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Feast for the Eyes

Many gentle readers have been following Pamela's growth as a watercolor artist, but, in case you have not, clicking this link will catch you up. For two years in a row, Pamela has attended Lake Marion Artisan's annual open house, where her work is featured among the student display. Pamela takes classes there once a week with her wonderful teacher, Carrie Detwiler, pictured with Pamela below.

As always, we offered a "before" versus an "after" example of how far Pamela has come.

Before (Spring 2010)

After (Beginning of 2012)

Christmas Gift for Oma and Opa

Christmas Gift for Grandma and Grandpa

More Paintings from the Past Couple of Months