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Teaching kids to touch type

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If there’s one thing I am grateful for from my public school education in the 70s, it’s that I was able to take classes to learn how to touch type. I can still type about 93-102 words per minute (WPM), and believe me, it’s come in handy when writing books, blogging, and writing research papers! (Thanks, Mr. Geesik!) (I can still hear and see him wiggling his fingers and sing-song saying, “Type, type, type!”)

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Since I have special needs children, and taught many special needs kids in my cottage school, I was always on the lookout for unique ways to teach life skills. One of the coolest tools I discovered  were these ingenious typing gloves from a company called Touchtypers.

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From the website: “Touchtypers is a system that uses specially developed lettered gloves and simple exercises to make it easy for students to learn to touch-type on computer keyboards, using any typing system or word processing software.”

The gloves come with an instruction booklet, but I also used old-fashioned typing books to help my students practice.

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These gloves worked great! I like anything that helps children self-direct and teach themselves. The only thing you have to do is supervise a bit to make sure they’re actually using the correct fingers and not “cheating.”

I hope you like these gloves as much as I do/did. I don’t get any kind of kickback or anything from this company. But when I experience a great product, I want to tell everyone about it.

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Oh, and when you order the gloves, err on the smaller side because they stretch. Let me know how you like them!

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Meet me in Iowa!

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Hi, Friends!

Just a wee update to let you know that I’ll be speaking at the Homeschool Iowa Conference next week!

Here are the topics I’ll be covering:

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Technology and Your Homeschool

Is technology really all that important? How should you use it in your homeschool? When should you not use it? Learn some creative ways to integrate technology in your homeschool and have your eyes opened about dangerous technological advances you and your family needs to know about.

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Homeschooling Children with Autism

Has God called you to teach your child with autism at home? Do you wonder what the most important skills are to teach? Get practical tips on coping with tantrums, learning social skills, and leading your child to God. As children with autism grow up, what life skills are important to teach them? What can a parent do about aggressive, oppositional behavior? Learn how Karla taught her own sons with autism. What were the most valuable lessons of all? Handouts include practical tips for parents, therapists and teachers.

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Homeschooling Typical Children and Children with Special Needs Using the Same Curriculum

Do you ever feel as if you’re in over your head? Worried that you aren’t qualified to teach your special needs child? Learn why you’re the expert on your child and their condition. Get practical tips on helping them succeed through finding the right resources, building a supportive network, and accessing the right therapies. Learn what therapies worked and didn’t when Karla taught her own children with autism, ADHD, intellectual disabilities, speech disabilities and dyslexia. Handouts include practical tips for parents, therapists and teachers.

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Creative Writing in the Homeschool

Have a gifted writer in the family? Learn from published author, Karla Akins, how to foster that gift with practical tips and creative writing ideas. She will also share the climate of publishing today, and a brief introduction to self-publishing in today’s market.

I can’t wait to meet you!

By the way I’m giving away goodies in a drawing while there, too!

  • O Canada Her Story (print) — Autographed
  • Sacagawea (ebook) – Autographed coupon
  • Jacques Cartier (ebook) – Autographed coupon
  • What Really Happened in the Middle Ages (print) — Autographed
  • What Really Happened in Colonial Times (print)– Autographed
  • Scented wax warmer
  • The Pastor’s Wife Wears Biker Boots (print) — Autographed

And those are the just the goodies I’m giving away in the overall conference. My table will also have a beautiful gift package drawing you can enter, too.

See you in Iowa!

If I were coming to your state, what would you like me to speak on?  Check here for a list of topics! And let me know in the comments below!

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Time management: a new way of doing things around here

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Let’s see, it’s already January 19 and I’m just now getting around to mapping out my year.

But in my defense, it’s only because I had to finish up a three-credit-hour course in Science methods which I did in two weeks. Talk about noodle brain! But I did it, and now I can move on to other things! Yay! (God is so good to help me! The glory goes to Him!)

This is our college mascot. His name is Sage. Isn't he cute? He sends me a note whenever I pass a course. Love it!

This is our college mascot. His name is Sage. Isn’t he cute? He sends me a note whenever I pass a course. Love it!

Anyway, I thought I’d share a bit about what I’m doing in terms of compartmentalizing my life. From what I read, I work more like a guy than a gal. I’m very compartmentalized. Guys can do that better than gals. Gals tend to keep a lot of their mental compartments open all at the same time. I think that’s because they have to when rearing children. They have to be able to nurse the baby, make supper, fish the toddler out of the toilet, call the plumber and switch the laundry all at once. If they compartmentalized everything, something would go wrong. Supper would get burnt while switching laundry and the baby would end up in the toilet and the toddler in the oven or some such thing.

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Now, I’ll admit, I had to do a lot of the many-things-at-once sort of thing when my kids were small, but I was never very good at it. A lot of suppers got burnt. I’ve always been someone who likes needs to focus on one thing at a time. And I think that’s why I get so much done. It doesn’t seem like one would, but it works for me. Always has.

This is how compartmentalizing works.

-There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven---Ecclesiastes 3-1, NASB (2)

 

Picture your brain with a lot of drawers. You only open one drawer at a time. For example, when I’m working on my novel, I only open the novel drawer. I do not allow myself to open any other drawers because to do so means my focus is split. I don’t crack open those drawers even a little bitty bit. This is easier for me than it is for a lot of my female friends. But it works for me. (I also shop like a guy. Grab it. Bag it. Boom. I’m out of there. My husband, on the other hand? Total opposite!)

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Recent scan of Mr. Himself’s brain

 

(Naturally, I’m speaking in general terms, here. I do not mean to imply that all guys and all gals shop or focus the same all the time. Well, actually, I am, but thought I’d put that disclaimer out there to keep the trolls off my back. Seriously, though, Mr. Himself and I are clearly examples that generalizations don’t always apply.)

Here’s one way I’m trying to compartmentalize this month. If it works, I’m going to do it all year.

Sundays/Mondays: Read an entire book cover to cover. I start it on Sunday afternoon (or Saturday evening if I can) and finish it on Monday. It’s a priority. I have a mile-long stack of books I haven’t read that I’m dying to read. Not to mention the hundreds on my Kindle. Some are for research. Others are fiction authors I want to study. Yes, thankfully, I’m usually a fast reader (depending on interruptions).

Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore-–Henry Ward Beecher (2)

Tuesdays: Update the blog for the week (I’m glad I can pre-schedule my blog posts), create info-graphics for social media, etc. Write four hours (this includes editing time).

Wednesdays: Focus on my grandchildren and working at the church. I teach an evening class for children and I create my own hands-on lessons. I also pick my granddaughters up from school and taxi them back and forth from dance class and give one of my granddaughters a piano lesson.

Can you believe I get to spend every Wednesday afternoon with these beauties?? (Here they are with their Dad, my son, Jesse)

Can you believe I get to spend every Wednesday afternoon with these beauties?? (Here they are with their Dad, my son, Jesse)

Thursdays: Heavy writing days/college study time/church work study time

Fridays: Heavy writing days/college study time/church work study time. Date night!

Saturdays: Church work/laundry/other manual labor chores

Sundays: Church, rest, read

Now, I don’t know how well this will work. I’m going to give it 30 days. So far so good.

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In the midst of all of it, mind you, I’m still taking care of things at home, fielding interruptions (which are constant), exercising, taking my vitamins and showering. (Showering is important.) I also substitute teach when I can, but usually on Thursdays and Fridays unless there’s an urgent need another day of the week. I’d rather not have to, but feeding the family is important, too. For some reason they show up hungry at regularly scheduled times.

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I think the fact that I’m constantly interrupted (due to living with Autism and Alzheimer’s) is why compartmentalizing works for me. I get so mentally distracted, it’s easier for me to get re-focused if I’m only focusing on that one thing for the day. I also use the timer on kanbanflow (where I keep track of my tasks). It helps me stay on task, keeps me off social media, and helps me track my interruptions and time spent working. I just wish I would remember to start the timer each time!

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Please tweet: How do you keep track of time? How do you focus? Weigh in!

So what do you think? Am I nuts? How do you get it all done? I need ideas, so please share with me!

Let’s hear it for special education teachers!

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Breakfast!

I’m subbing for a special education teacher this week. She’s a first year teacher and do you know what my first clue was?

The only break she has all day is 30 minutes for lunch.

So the next time someone tells me that teachers only work 6 hours a day and that they are overpaid, I want you to walk in this woman’s shoes. She is on the run from the time that first bell rings. If she’s not teaching she’s running from one class to another all over this building.

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Special education teachers are often overworked. Their hearts are big and they put the needs of kids first. Today several children have arrived hungry. One of my students is eating crackers and milk in my room right now. It’s hard to learn on an empty stomach.

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A few of the children aren’t bathed. Their hair isn’t combed. It’s heartbreaking. There has been no nurturing for these sweet kids. They live hard lives.

I love filling in for this teacher for three days but I’m worried that she’s not getting enough time to recharge. Special Ed teachers want to fix things. But we can only do so much. That frustration alone is weighty.

Battery Recharger 1Do you think public school teachers have it too easy? Have you thanked your child’s teacher today?

If you’re a homeschool mom reading this, give yourself some encouragement and take some time to be refreshed. When I was homeschooling my kids, I took one hour each day to myself. I relished that hour. I trained my children to sit on their beds and read if they didn’t want to nap. They were not to disturb me unless it was blood or fire. I’d love to have that hour today!

Even Jesus took time to himself. And last time I checked, none of us are perfect like He is. If He needed it, we do, too.

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Hey, Strong Girl, how much are you worth?

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“But I was lonely, and he was there, so one thing led to another and…”

Just because you’re lonely doesn’t mean you aren’t still a Strong Girl. Everyone gets lonely. I imagine Jesus did, too.

But no one, absolutely NO ONE has a right to your body just because they ask.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says:

Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own, You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body. (Amplified Bible.)

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God loves your body so much that He bought it with the blood of His Son, Jesus. Really. Jesus died on the cross for YOU. If you were the only person in the world, He’d do that for YOU. You are that precious to Him.

Now, maybe nobody’s ever told you before that you’re that precious. But every single hair of your head is numbered by God. That’s in the Bible, too in Luke 12:7. Jesus was telling His disciples not to worry about money and clothes because if God loves the little sparrows and watches them, then He watches, people even closer.

And He knows how many hairs are on our head!

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Do you know how many hairs you have? Does your Mother? Father? Anyone?

Nope. But God does. Now, if God knows how many hairs are on your head, imagine how He watches you ever so closely.

The God Who created everything — mountains, trees, seeds that grow into plants, little tadpoles and butterflies. That same amazing God loves you enough to count the hairs on your head.

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Next time you are tempted to give yourself away just because you’re lonely, think first about how lonely God is for you to say “hello” to Him. Start having conversations with Him everyday as you go to school, ride the bus, or whatever you’re doing. Develop a close relationship with Him and He will become more and more real to you with each passing day. He promises that if you look for Him, you will find Him.

If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. Jeremiah 29:13, NLT.

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So now that you know that God knows how many hairs your have on your head, how much are you worth, Strong Girl? Do you think you should give yourself away for free? Or do you think you’re worth the wait?

If you develop a relationship with God, does that mean you’ll never be lonely? Nope. You’ll still get lonely, dear daughter. But you will have the strength to overcome that loneliness by focusing on Him. And if you ask Him, He’ll show you how to get past that loneliness.

No one will ever love you like He does. No one. Not even your parents. And certainly not a sexual partner or boyfriend. That emptiness you’re trying to fill is a God space that can only be filled with Him.

Seek Him–the One that loves you most. You are priceless to Him. That’s how much you’re worth.

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