Sunday, February 21, 2016

Drawings on Words - Teaching the Dyslexic Child Sight Words

4 year ago, my Apple Macbook Pro just died on me.  It was a really great laptop I've had, sadly, he has to go.  It had that NVidia problem and was supposed to be covered by an Apple recall but when I brought it in one of the distributor's of Apple, they said that it was a logic board problem. Bummer! If I brought it earlier before it had the same symptoms of the NVidia issue it showed prior to completely dying out, it would have been replaced.  Fast forward to 2016, I got my old Macbook Pro's files and the 2GB memory to run my son's Macbook 1! Yeah!

As I checked with all my files, I saw several videos of the twins, our old house, our beloved dog and just way too many memories that I didn't know existed.  Then, I came upon this video of my then, 5 year old son. I recorded it using my Nokia E63 (which is btw, still alive and kicking today - I use it as my wireless landline).  So, it's one of those videos on how I taught my Dyslexic son how to read sight words.

The twins can easily process using a whole word approach (meaning, no extra visual aids needed to know a word).  The difference with a normal reader is that they can recall a word even by just looking at it in a glance - but not my Dyslexic son.  So, I've tried making up simple drawings (I am not even good with drawing) on the word, give it a sentence with the actual word on it and have my son read it. Here is the video and I hope you get ideas on how to make for yourself.

I'll be posting a blog on my DIY sight word cards which you can also do for personal use.  I made it thick enough so you can also make some drawings on it if you need to.  This also works for spelling, btw.

I am happy to say that my son was extremely Dyslexic when he was assessed at age 6. He is now 11 and is 2 grade levels up in reading. Woohoo! Indeed, early intervention is best. So, don't be in denial and delay assessment or intervention when you see that your child shows some signs of being different than his peers.  I have embraced the fact that these uniqueness are what makes my child - my own.  There is nothing wrong with being unique, they just think differently.  Some family members may or may not be supportive, but then, who cares? Only you can. Look beyond the child and remind yourself that you are the only person who can help him propel his uniqueness for his future.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Untangling That Crazy Doll Hair

My twins have Barbie dolls since they were 1. But, they weren't that interested yet until now that they are almost turning 6 next month.

Since, these dolls haven't been played with properly for 5 years, their hair has been impossibly tangled and unruly. I don't know why, but these Barbie dolls now, have thinner hair and it gets easily tangled unlike the ones I had as a kid.

Anyway, here are what these dolls' hair looked like before they had their "reconditioning treatment"

I wasn't able to take a photo of 3 other dolls, Belle, a Barbie and Rapunzel which had a major case of tangled bedhead of 5 years! Felt like, a gum just got stuck on its scalp.

I did some Pinteresting, but all I found was using Downy. I don't know, but, since my kids will be the one doing this to their own dolls. I wouldn't want their hands play around with fabric softener. So, I did My real life naturally curly hair remedy for tangles and what I normally do to clean/wash my makeup brushes. So, here's the stuff I used.

Excuse the (doll) hair on the brush and comb, I wasn't able to remove it yet. 😄

I've tried using other conditioner, but this brand works perfectly fine. I've actually a Type C curly hair and these tools work perfect for my hair tangles. I was actually amazed at how easily the tangles glide off as I brush them than any other brand. You just need a pea sized amount of this per Barbie doll.

So, here's how it went...

1) Comb the doll's hair with the wide toothed comb. Focus on the tips and the back of the hair.
2) Wet the hair of the doll (do it, while the doll is upside down).
3)Add a pea sized amount of conditioner on the hair, making sure there's more on the ends of the strands.
4) Start combing with the wide toothed, then change it to the narrower comb. Making sure that tangles are combed thru. Try not to pull out too much. Do it by section if the dolls's hair is quite long (Likr a Rapunzel doll).
5) Once all the tangles are gone and the comb glides thru, rinse the hair well. Do not take too long as you don't want to leave too much residue inside the head of the doll.
6) Dry with a towel.
7) comb the hair again and dry with a blower (no heat). As you dry, you can give the doll a couple of "headbang" to remove water.
8) Once dry, comb thru with a thin toothed comb and add a tiny bit of oil on the tips of the hair.

***Just remember, the secret is to comb with a wide toothed comb before and during washing. Follow with a thin toothed comb while the hair still has conditioner then, again, after drying the hair up.***

Now, be amazed and watch the difference. My kids went crazy when they saw their dolls. :)

See the difference:

Tada! Share if you were able to do it too. :)

Monday, November 2, 2015

Our Kitchen Makeover Reveal! - Home Foodie / San Miguel Pure Foods Company, Inc.

It's been a great year for us!  Finally! The kitchen makeover is now done! You can see the transformation below and you will see that this is such a huge blessing by Home Foodie / San Miguel Pure Foods Company, Inc.

Weeks after I've submitted my Moist Ube Quezo Muffin video entry to Home Foodie's My Great Food Kitchen Makeover Contest, I thought it was nearly impossible for me to win as there are a lot of other great entries that were submitted. I've nearly forgotten about it - just crossed my finger and hoped that perhaps, they would choose my entry. Then one day, someone from Instagram commented on my entry and congratulated me. I didn't understand why she was congratulating me, until I saw my name on Facebook! I still couldn't believe that I've won. I thought, I was just dreaming.

The following day, I got a confirmation email from Nuffnang, and that was the beginning of one of the best days I've had for winning a kitchen makeover contest. 
Seeing this posted was really exciting!
My heart was already set to give it as a gift to my Mother-in-law when I joined the contest and should I ever win it. I know she needed it more than I do.  Even if I would want to have my kitchen made over too.  But, I just want to bless my in-laws with a beautiful kitchen makeover.  It is just a small token of telling her (from both me and my husband) that we appreciate her. I have submitted her kitchen photos to other make over contest/magazines in recent years but none has responded. But, this time, HER KITCHEN IS GOING TO MAKE A MAKEOVER by Home Foodie.  This was indeed, a timely answered prayer!

My Mom-in-Law is a wonderful home cook. I usually see her in the kitchen, cooking something up for the family. My husband would tell me, that they rarely go out to eat because his mom could replicate dishes from some restaurants and cook that for the family. I've witnessed it myself, ever since we were dating back in college, we would just eat in their home than eat somewhere else. But, as years go by, my mom-in-laws very hardworking kitchen has become overly used and cluttered. She makes great stuff here (she was even the one who made "by hand", the major ingredient I used for my Moist Ube Muffin - the UBE halaya itself!)

My friends and family were raving when I shared the news about it. When it was already set and final, I asked my husband to tell her mom and surprise her that we want to give the makeover prize to her.  She was so excited that she immediately cleared her kitchen the next day we told her.  She waited for 2 more weeks before the actual work started.

Here is the progress from the drawing board to the actual finished kitchen makeover by Home Foodie / San Miguel Pure Foods Company, Inc.

The kitchen - BEFORE
The kitchen is cluttered and disorganized.  The cabinets are way too high, my MIL cannot even reach for the other high shelves. There are mismatched chairs, handwritten labels were posted using tapes. 

A few days after the announcement, the team from Home Foodie, designers and contractors went to check on the kitchen that will have a make over.  They inspected and measured the area.  The only contribution I made during this process was to collaborate with what my in-laws needs are in their kitchen (which were all applied on the design and layout), and of course, to send inspiration with the design I'd like for the kitchen. :) My in-laws don't really mind me deciding that for them.

After a week, and after carefully choosing the design, feel, and style (which is French Modern Country) and collaboratively working for the kitchen makeover by designers, Miah Gomez and Arch. Chino Carlos, they sent me their proposed design of the kitchen.

Design proposal stage:

Who wouldn't love this! It was all that was needed for the kitchen, bright, timeless, elegant yet modern.

Construction progress:
Construction started with the dirty kitchen. Ceiling and cabinets were all revamped.
 Yes! We are seeing some white (not dark) paint!

A few weeks after, the kitchen is starting to take shape.

A new cabinet was installed in the dirty kitchen.  New shelves were installed also.
Then, after 4 weeks, the showcase kitchen construction continues.

Ceiling were changed and updated.  New light fixtures and black granite kitchen top were installed. 

After the dirty kitchen, everything was now on remodeling the showcase kitchen. Subway tiles were installed and this made the kitchen - hip and modern.  Better lighting was also installed which made this kitchen look a lot roomy and fresh.

A total of almost 2 months, finally... the kitchen is finally done! My Mom-in-Law loooooove her new kitchen! We also love it and it was the best area of the house, too!

Here is the final kitchen reveal and look at the difference of the old and drab one to the new one now!

My daughter proudly showing the new kitchen!

We love this nook!

This is the area going to the dirty kitchen which was also made over!

Clean and white!

Here are before and after transformation of the kitchen:

Whenever we show this picture to anyone who come by the kitchen, they find it unbelievable that this kitchen was once like that.

Isn't that amazing? That was one great transformation!

My kids' having their snacks in the breakfast nook.  The chairs were also custom-made and done by Carlos + Gomez Interior Design.  I am entirely blessed for them as well and making it less stressful for my in-laws during the design and construction phase. :)

Thank you so much, Home Foodie / San Miguel Pure Foods Company, Inc.   You have made our year one of the best years we've had!

Monday, July 13, 2015

DIY Math Manipulatives

My kids easily grasp and learn a concept by using manipulatives. I could just grab a box of pencils and that would instantly becomes a way to teach Math concepts.

I like Singapore Math because it teaches concepts but I also like Kumon for mastery and rote teaching. Mixing both ideas worked well for my kids.

Sharing some of my math manipulatives to you which you can easily do as well.

We learned addition with this. This has greatly helped my 5 year old math-challenged kid to understand the basic concepts of addition.

We call this our Addition Machine. Pompom balls are placed on each cup and it will sum up as it falls in the basket.

I also introduced number bonds thru our number links. I have a 5, 10 and 20 links for my kids level.

The pipe cleaners and beads are placed on each link. They will come up with different addends to come up with that number.

This gave my Kindergarteners a quick idea of the concept. Now, they  are much faster and I can soon introduce worksheets once they can fully grasp the idea.

Manipulatives can be just everyday household materials. But, if you want to buy your own, you can buy them at Hobbes & Landes, Toys R Us, Toy Kingdom, National Bookstore or Office Warehouse.

Pipe cleaners, pompom balls can be bought at Office Warehouse, Little Town Bookstore, or at Daiso.

Happy Math day!

Expect excellence with your children

I posted this on a Homeschooler's group and was surprised on the number of likes it got. My purpose, was just to share an incident and yet I felt that the message was relevant and was particularly striking for most parents, homeschoolers or not. I do not see it as my own, but I feel that it is what the Lord is trying to convey to families that we should value excellence with our children.

Sharing this on my blog and I hope that this becomes a goal for our children. To take excellence as a way of life.


I was a terror teacher today. I had my 10 year old narrate a chapter of his reading, Doctor Dolittle, by making a drawing of a scene. He made a drawing straight to a notebook and started drawing to no more than a minute and said "I'm done!!". Quite alarmed by the manner that he has finished it, I knew there was a lesson that I had to teach right that very instant - Excellence.

I told him excellence is not perfection. Excellence is putting your heart into something and making sure that it is the best that you could do on the task given to you. I asked him, "Is this your most excellent work?" He said, "no".

He was very upset when I told him that his work is not acceptable and I cannot ask him to use it for his narration. I had to literally tell him to drop all his other tasks for the day and make an EXCELLENT (not perfect) narration of the topic. Quite emotional but still focused on his work, he proudly showed me the other picture after an hour. Nothing too fancy really, but I was impressed as to how he added elements such as aluminum foil, construction paper and how excited he was when he showed me what he did. He was very proud of his own work as well.

I guess as homeschoolers, we can sometimes feel that we just have to go thru the day and tick off the things we need to finish for that day disregarding this precious value. But, if we value excellence and not mediocrity, we can see this reflected in our child as they grow. They will reflect the heart of our Father in heaven, for He is excellent in all His creation. So, yes - being a loving "terror" teacher could sometimes be necessary. #sorrylongpost #justsharing

By the way, this conversation with my 10 year old also made an impression with his 5 year old younger sisters who heard about it.  My preschoolers were doing a copywork material which they despise. But, after they heard the lesson I spoke about with their big brother, their copywork were surprisingly excellent too!

Seeing this, I would rather prioritise and focus on good values over advancing leaps of academic advancement.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Teaching addition to 5 year olds and below

It was a sleepy start today. Callista was just way too sleepy to start school. We started by 930am and happily finished by exactly 12:30pm. For days like these, I know manipulatives will be the best way to liven up this day.

I started with Bible, my 4th grader joined in when we discussed Abraham and Lot story using Legos.

After that, I read a short story from Lion Storyteller book (about 3 pages). Then, we played a bean toss game. Where I got an old sock, filled it with beans and tied it with a string. I was thinking of sewing it but, I didn't have the time so I just tied it really tightly with a string. The twins loved the game where they would shoot the bean sock into the hamper basket for several times.

We had a short break, did our calendar review, a few pages of Handwriting Without Tears and some cut/pasting of LA activity sheet from our K Readers Schedule.

Now, here's my main topic about our math practice today. I was surprised that one of my little 5 year old daughter who used to dislike math (because, her concept of math is just counting by rote and nothing more when she was in school) now understands the concept of addition.

Today, I prepared a worksheet for them for  Math, but I don't think they will want to do too much worksheets for the day. So, I made them do this acitivity.

Addition Plates Game

Concept introduced: To understand Number Bonds. Ex. 5+5 is the same as 6+4 and 7+3. Here are our materials:

Small whiteboard
Whiteboard pens/eraser
3 or 4 cups/play doh lids
Beans/blocks/buttons etc

Place 3 cups/lids on top of the whiteboard. Write square for the addends and sum on the the whiteboard.

Now, add some beans on the 1st cup/lid then add some on the 2nd lid (introduce zeroes first, then move on to 1-5 or how much a child can understand the concept. 

Ask them to count the beans on the 1st and 2nd cup/lid and write that nunber on the box with a marker. Then combine the beans from the 1st and 2nd cup/lid to the 3rd lid and count.

Then, write the actual number of the sum on the line.

You can use a "counting plate" so it will be easier for them to count the pieces.

Do this exercise for 5+5, 6+4, 2+8, 0+10, 1+9 and so on, so they will grasp the concept. For younger tots, you can just make use of the cups/lids without asking them to write (or you can print numbers on a board and let them put the numbers on the boxes).

For more advance learners, you can do higher numbers.

This activity is a good fine motor activity and math/logic. Just make sure you remind them the steps one by one.

1) "Can you Count the beans on the 1st lid?"
2) "Write/choose the number on the box"
3) "Now, Count the beans on the 2nd lid"
4) "write/choose the number on the box"
5) "Pour the beans from the 1st lid/lid color to the 3rd lid then the 2nd lid/lid color to the 3rd lid/color and count them"
6) Ask "Now, how many beans make up ___+___?"
7)"Now, what is the sum? How many beans are there? Can you write it on the line?"

I hope this activity would help your child understand basic addition as it did mine. You can use jelly beans or M&Ms so they can eat them as a reward. :)

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Our 1st Grade Curriculum

I will be listing my chosen curriculum for my 1st graders:

36-week curriculum Charlotte Mason - thru Ambleside Online
Audio literature books thru Lit2Go
Supplementing with the following:

Handwriting - Handwriting without Tears - 1st Grade Book
  • Supplementing with Kumon books
Science - Sonlight Science P4/5

Art - Meet the Masters

Click here for my bookmarks bar on Charlotte Mason Links from Ambleside Online's Curriculum Guide

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Teaching Adjectives!

A simple and fun activity from a book we follow that even 10 year old can join in.

"The Doctor's Cat"

My kids had a lot of fun thinking of some creative adjectives about the Doctor's Cat!  I gently introduced Nouns and Adjectives to my 5 year old and I am quite sure that my 10 year old will never forget that Adjectives describe a Noun.

How do you start?

  • Whiteboard and Markers (A notebook and a pen is okay) - to list the adjectives the kids could think of.

    For creatively sketching the Doctor's Cat:
  • Drawing paper
  • Coloring tools (crayons, colored pens, etc)
  1. Just do the sample activity from the book, Language and Thinking for Young Children - The Doctor's Cat.  Or, you can try out a sample of the activity on the photo above.
  2. Start listing the adjectives on the board (for my 10 year old, I asked a more challenging task for him by memorizing all the adjectives that we have listed, or just let them read each list as written).  You can begin with some funny words, my kids laughed at "cranky, silly, chubby, fatty, banana-eating" (my 5 year old invented that word).  Just keep the ball rolling and guide them by asking your reluctant child what she thinks of the hair, color of the fur, etc.  Encourage creative thinking and be silly as well.
  3. After coming up with a list, dictate it to them and ask them to imagine what this cat looks like.  Then, give them some paper and color to draw the cat.
  4. Share your drawings to each other and let them explain their drawing.
  5. Laugh to your hear't content.

Encourage them to draw the Cat based on the list of adjectives

Let them share their work!

There are so many ideas here and it is by itself a complete curriculum for pre-schoolers and you can even tailor fit it to older kids which I just did so on this activity.
Some of our school room rules: Clean as you go.
Always make a rule on your school room - Clean as you go.  Teach your child to clean up their own tables, by themselves.  For my kids, I assign one child to be a checker of the week/month  That child is responsible to check that all items are on the proper places, chairs neatly in place,  all trash in the trash bin, lights and fans are off.

A new name to our adventures!

My blog started when I was pregnant with my twins. All I wanted was to make a journal of my twin pregnancy.

But, the Lord inspired me to share his blessings to me by sharing stories of my life from a once full time working mom to a now, homeschooling and work at home mom.

My kids are now 10 and an incoming 4th grader and my twins girls are now 5.5.  I have been home educating my kids when my twins were born. We started with Tot School and now they are going to 1st grade.

I changed my blog's name to Learn In Grace because it has always been my prayer and every parent's prayer for their children, whether they are homeschooled or not, is that they will forever learn in Grace.

Allow me to share my heart (and occasionally some downloadable freebies)!