Tag Archives: things we love

Interactive Notebooking

Notebooking is an activity I have discovered this year and have fallen in love with. It’s easy, it’s meaningful, and the boys love it. In our homeschool, we use two different styles of notebooking. There is traditional notebooking (which I will blog and link to at a later date) and there are interactive notebooks 65569073_406008366680192_8918714222544683008_nwhich I came across more recently and love! These are hands-on activities put out by Carson Dellosa Education and come in a variety of subjects including math, science, words study, language arts and seasonal. The idea is to have the children complete an interactive activity on one notebook page and then use the next page to show their learning and skill mastery. I have included a few examples of the pages my boys have completed. Why do interactive notebooks work for us? First, my boys love it! When I tell them we are notebooking I get “yays!” instead of the typical moaning about school time (we are still working on this). The activities are fairly quick and easily show me if they have mastered a skill or need more practice. Monkey loves “cutting” and it’s an excellent way to sneak in some extra fine motor practice for Mr. Man. I also love that, after an activity is completed, there is an opportunity for the kids to tap into their own understanding, personalize their work, and become active participants in their own learning. This is also a great way to engage them and get them ready for a more traditional style of notebooking. One of my favorite things about the interactive notebooks is that I can use them with both boys and differentiate the activity to fit their individual needs.

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On this particular day, we were learning about the five senses. I was easily able to alter the activity so one child could focus on labeling the picture and the other on simply identifying the parts.

 

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I would not use these books as my sole curriculum for a given topic for the year, as I do not think the subjects are complete enough to cover an entire course of study, but they are definitely a wonderful add on to other curriculums you may be using. I find them wonderful for the days when plans get changed, mom hasn’t prepared as well as she needed to, or the boys are just extra squirrely and sitting still isn’t an option.

 

65287722_2599907006694184_7786422102990520320_nThis page I loved because I didn’t even know he could read number words! I wrote the numbers, gave him the words and was shocked when he did this independently. What a great skill assessment!

 

 

(This post contains affiliate links, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. However, I never recommend an item unless we use it and love it!)

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Things We Love…

Okay, Autism Mama’s, let’s be real…. life is crazy! I wanted to take a few moments to share a few items we have found that have made our lives just a little bit easier. Because, anything that can make a struggle a little easier is GOLD!

Noise

Mr. Man struggles with loud noises. Public restrooms are torture. Movie theaters are too loud. A classroom of 30 talking   kids, overwhelming. A screaming younger brother- the worst! Someone suggested we try noise canceling headphones. We got these sport earmuffs and they have been a lifesaver! He now reminds us to bring them and knows to get them from his pack independently when he is getting overwhelmed. They helped him tune out the kids chatter and focus on his teacher’s voice. We can’t go to a movie without them. I have a different pair that folded smaller for portability, but the process to unfold was too complicated and took away his ability to be independent while using them. We love this set!

 

Water Bottles

Water bottles have been a constant struggle for us. We live in Arizona, he needs to bring a water bottle to all activities. However, motor delays make opening most water bottles an issue. If he CAN open the bottles there was always the issue of them breaking with one drop. We drop water bottles… a lot. I needed a more durable material. Water bottles are pricey and I was over them breaking the first time we used them. The other issue was that I had to be able to clean it. If i need to disassemble 20 pieces and use some type of Swiss Army cleaning tool…forget it! I don’t have that kind of time. I look for 4 things when buying water bottles.

  • Durability
  • Mr. Man’s ability to operate it independently
  • Price
  • Ease of cleaning

I came across Contigo Kids Trekker water bottles and love them! They meet all my criteria and both boys love them. My only complaint is that I wish they were a little larger.

 

Bento Style Lunch Boxes

When Mr. Man was in Preschool, I had a problem which I have heard many parents struggle with. I would pack a lunch with a variety of food and I find out teachers were deciding what was appropriate to eat first, last, etc. and would only open (because he wasn’t independent in this skill) certain items. This frustrated him and irritated me. I didn’t pack junk and anything I packed, I wanted him to be able to access. I needed to find a way to give him access and independence. After some searching, I came across the Yumbox. These boxes are great. With the flip of one latch he can access everything I pack. No more overly opinionated teachers dictating his lunch and he no longer depends on others to open all of his food. This became even better when he started Elementary school and he didn’t need to ask for help with his lunch. The boxes are fun and appealing, too. They are also truly leakproof. Yogurt and applesauce…no problem! The containers come apart into 2 pieces for easy cleaning. Note: The outer shell (with silicone for sealing) is NOT dishwasher safe- this will destroy the leakproof seal. I found it best to simply hand wash these with a soft cloth.

 

Pencils

Mr. Man struggles with handwriting. He has a strong grip and pushes hard. We prefer mechanical pencils because pencil sharpeners are either loud or difficult to use. However, his grip is so hard, using a regular mechanical pencil is pretty much impossible. They break more than he is able to write. Then, I found these Handwriting Pencils by PaperMate. The lead is 1.3mm, so it holds up to his intense grip without breaking. Its triangular shape has been wonderful in reminding him how he is to hold a pencil (also, amazing for Monkey who is just learning to write and his hold is awful!) I am so impressed by the improvement in their handwriting since we found these.

 

As you can see, we strive for independence. I can’t always be there to help him and we cannot expect the world to change for him. So, we strive to get him the tools that allow him to be successful and independent. Hopefully, some of the things we love will help make your day just a little bit smoother. Goodness knows, we could all use smoother days!

 

(This post contains affiliate links, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. However, I never recommend an item unless we use it and love it! Any items linked are items that I have been recommending to friends and family long before this blog!)

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