Sunday, August 31, 2014

Schools Help ADHD

A recent thought: undiagnosed ADHD kids can learn skills to make it through school and college and life by early regimentation through public school. By doing what schools do for 13 years, by the the time they hit adult life and potential college or higher education they have learned, by rote, the skills needed to make it in those worlds.

And those who have ADHD doing an alternative education may miss out on years of regimentation that may put them behind the eight ball. An alternative education does not necessarily lead to what it takes to function in a regimented way in the school or  college world.

Just a thought.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Attended Teacher Meet and Greet

Today my fourteen year old and I attended his new private school's Meet and Greet the Teachers event.

The last time I mentioned that I was putting my younger son into private school for high school two of my blog subscribers left. If someone thinks I am a homeschooling failure and can no longer represent homeschooling, that's their problem not mine.

I feel that my younger son benefited by being raised by me not by daycare or nannies from the day he was born.

He thrived in natural learning and unschooling in the preschool years, which included him begging to learn more about reading when he hit a wall with teaching himself at age three and him using penmanship workbooks at age two. He wanted them. That is unschooling.

Homeschooling for elementary and middle school was a good thing. Yes, there were times that my high ideals were not achieved but that is about my own too high expectations than a failure on the part of my son. The transition to moving long distance was made easier for him thanks to homeschooling. He did slack some in grades seven and eight but I take responsibility for not always being as on top of the situation as I should have been due to handling other more serious issues happening in our family. Worst case scenario I thought he could repeat one grade in high school, but I found out after two days in grade eight public school that he was not behind at all, and when in fact after testing the private school projects he may do high school in three years instead of four.

So we attended the meet and greet open house. I met all but one of my son's teachers. They were friendly and seemed normal. They had a low enrollment for grade nine so grade nine and ten have been combined. The class is the largest ever for the high school years at twelve. It felt very homeschool co-op-ish to me.

We picked up his uniform which is a logo t-shirt and a dress shirt of a polo shirt. He gets to wear cargo shorts or any kind of non-sport shorts, and whatever shoes he wants.

The elementary school is larger, a lot of kids switch for high school as they want to access the extra-curriculars and the big sports at the high school. That is a non-issue for my son since he does a varsity sport in the community already.

Construction has begun on the new building so it's a bit chaotic but growth is a good thing.

We are both excited. And the use of private high school does not mean I am against homeschooling or think it was a mistake. I am in my seventeenth year of full-time mothering and homeschooling and having deatt with my child's medical issues and learning disabilities and the emotional and learning issues related to gifted kids who are twice exceptional has exhausted me and I know my limits given also the community resources I have access to in my new geographic location. I think it is time to let go and use high school for my younger son.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Absent for Older Son's First Day of School

I was 2100 miles away when my older son had his first day of homeschool, a senior this year,  with an online class. Not all my prep recommendations I gave on three separate occasions before I left were done and there was panic the night before. I was 1800 miles away having a relaxing morning when he woke himself up, drove himself to community college, found the class, attended class, bought the required texts in the bookstore, got himself lunch there, attended the online classes from the college campus, returned home, and then drove his little brother to sports practice. (My husband was supervising the kids but he did attend work during the daytime.)

Later in the day I logged into Facebook to find that my son had posted to my wall, a photo of himself driving to his first class of the fall semester as proof he got himself up and out all alone.

This year I am not doing anything to wake my older son up in the morning. He has an alarm clock and an iPhone. If he misses his classes he will have to live with the consequences.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Dumplings All Day Wong Cookbook Review

5.0 out of 5 starsInspiring and Also So Well Explained with Photos, August 27, 2014
By ChristineMM (Houston Texas USA)

This review is from: Dumplings All Day Wong: A Cookbook of Asian Delights From a Top Chef (Paperback)

Vine Customer Review of Free Product 

This is a really inspiring cookbook because every recipe has a full color one page photo of the finished dish with artistic background, high quality photographs. Equally important is the techniques for making dough from scratch and the different folds are shown in full color step by step photographs.

The book starts off with tools and techniques and dough-how, which tells everything a newbie needs to know. The only thing you must have is the curiosity and drive to want to tackle learning a new thing. I am an experienced home cook and home baker but I knew nothing about dumplings. I have no fear and nothing but confidence now that I have this book in my hands.

The condiment chapter has recipes to make these from scratch. Chapter 13 explains how to stock and what items are commonly in an Asian pantry.

I am grateful that I have access to an Asian grocery store less than an hour away so I can get every ingredient needed. Many dumplings can be made with common grocery store and/or health food grocery items plus a few specialty spices or flours which can be ordered via Internet (even via Amazon).

I rate this book 5 stars = I Love It.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Avanti Greenwood Ivory Towel Set Product Review

Customer review of free product for the Vine program.

4 stars out of 5 = I Like It

Very Attractive Dense Towels - Should Have Had the Ribbon Stitched at the Bottom

These high quality embellished towels are dense in weave and made of 100% cotton. These are not as thick as some on the market in the same price range.

The fabric is made in Canada and the embellishment is added in USA. Avanti is listed as being a New Jersey company.

The embroidery is of varying shades of green that gently change in tone. There is a strip of ribbon sewn on three sides (the dark green color) then a lighter color green ribbon is sewn on top of that. These decorated elements are lovely. An issue I have is the bottom edge of the ribbon is not sewn on and after washing and drying it buckles and wrinkles up. They will never look as nice as new (as seen in the photo). I am disappointed that they skimped on labor time by now sewing the bottom edge on.

This is a four piece set, with finger towel being the fourth extra piece.

This is of course fine for daily use but some would say it's fancier than they need. Some would prefer that one set of these be used in a bathroom which seldom is used or if guests use a full bath as a powder room, in the case of a downstairs full bath being used as a guest powder room without the bathtub and towel rack being used (so the racks are not standing empty).

I rate this 4 stars because I paid the same price for towels two months ago which are thicker and of high quality and because the ribbon on the bottom ripples and buckles up, thus requiring ironing to get it to lay flat.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Belkin Car Charge and Navigation Mount for iPhone 5/5s Product Review

4.0 out of 5 starsSolves Two Problems - Charging and Viewing - But Check Your Vehicle's Cigarette Lighter Location Before Purchasing., August 9, 2014
By ChristineMM (Houston Texas USA)

This review is from: Belkin Car Charge and Navigation Mount for iPhone 5/5s (Electronics)

Vine Customer Review of Free Product 
This Belkin solves two problems with using a smart phone for navigation and its design is superior to other mounting devices. The first issue is that using a smart phone for navigation uses the battery quickly so for long drives or when trying to preserve the battery to last the full day, it is best to keep it plugged into the vehicle's cigarette lighter for charing, but the second problem still exists. The second problem is that the smart phone needs to be visible to the driver, up and easily seen. However some other units sold to hold it up for easy viewing need a mounting surface, and not all vehicles have a flat surface in the right place. It's no fault of the designer, it's an issue with the vehicle.

By using this Belkin product it is a two in one problem solver. It plugs into the cigarette lighter and the arm holds the smart phone up so it can be viewed while driving. I like that the holding device is a movable grip which will fit different sized phones or can handle the different sized cases that are on the iPhone 5/5s which Belkin says this is sized to fit.

It can change orientations to view the screen in a vertical or horizontal direction.

There are two complaints I have which bring this down to 4 stars = I Like It instead of 5 stars. One is that the charger plug is wide and it requires either a special phone case with the all open bottom or you must remove your phone from its case before attaching. (Of the six cases we own in our family only one has that type of opening and I am having trouble finding another to purchase.)

The second problem is the arm is about eight inches long which is good enough or not good enough depending on the design of your vehicle. For example in my minivan the height would be too low to view, it would be at the level of the top of the seat I am sitting on. Although I could swivel it to view so the screen is perpendicular to the roof of my car, it is not the same as a viewing surface that is up at steering wheel vehicle or on top of the dashboard. The VW car we own has its charger inside the console which would not work at all.

Update: I just used this while driving 1500 miles on highways and cities in a rental car, over a week's span, on roads I am unfamiliar with, and through Boston of all places, what a challenge. The rental car's charger was next to the stick type shift in between the seats. The phone was able to be swiveled to an almost flat position and it was about five inches above my leg. The swilvel abiliity is great to move it out of the way to use the shift and to get the phone out of glare areas from the sun. Although I feel that a dashboard location more near the natural eye level is safest, easiest and fastest to see, I was able to adjust to using it just fine.

Before purchasing this figure out if eight inches up from your charger puts this at a correct viewing height, in order to decide if a flexible charger cord with a dashboard mount is better than this for you.

A friend and the guy at the car rental facility who saw it in action said they are buying one now. People love it.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Belkin Apple MFi Certified Car Charger with Lightning Connector for iPhone 5 / 5S Product Review

Customer Review of Free Product for Vine program

5 stars out of 5 = I Love It

Lightning Cable with 4 Foot Long Cord Works Great

This car charger with lightning connector has two main benefits: it strong enough to be able to charge an iPad4 and Mini and it has a 4 foot long cable so you can use the device while in the car. Passengers will be able to use their iPad and the iPhone can be used as a GPS navigation tool at dashboard level.

Another nice benefit is the charger sits flush to the car's surface so there is no jutting out thing to catch or snag when moving things around (where I put my purse while driving snags on protruding chargers).

I rate this 5 stars = I Love It.