Students At Home

For Everyone who Learns at Home

Disaster Falls: a review

cover95323-mini

What a touching book about love and loss. I couldn’t put this book down! My heart was in my throat the entire time, and I constantly felt ready to cry, hoping I never experience the same situation!

During a family vacation, the Gerson family loses their son Owen while white water rafting at Disaster Falls. Father Stephane spends the next months writing all hours of the day and night because he had “no words.” Meanwhile, Owen’s mother coped with the loss by moving constantly, expending the energy she would have put into parenting her son. Owen’s brother Julian sometimes made demeaning comments about Owen to preserve his authentic self instead of seeing him as a hero.

This book touched me as a mother. I cannot and do not want to imagine the pain of losing a child! But if I did, I would write about it, too.

Here are the most touching thoughts from the book.

When he was still alive, Owen thought his dad was a wuss because he was scared. Stephane wondered if an 8-year-old can understand the dangers of the world. “Can they grasp the burden of responsibility? Someone has to look after kids. Someone, I told myself, had to be scared a lot.””

Stephane questioned if he would have made a different decision on the rapids if he had learned as a child to trust his instinct, asset himself and say no when necessary. I question the same for myself and am doing the hard work of finding my voice so I can speak out when necessary.

 

he family vowed to stick together no matter what. Would we have strength to do the same? It’s too easy to blame, withdraw and handle grief alone rather than reaching out to your loved ones.

 

While listing likes and dislikes about Owen, Stephane sometimes learned toward strife because it is easier to mourn a difficult or tortured child than one who enjoyed all facets of life. I can totally understand this! We need to make sense of loss, even if we use irrational or false means.

 

The sadness kept surfacing without warning, but the sorrow evolved, the pain morphed and the body adapted. A grieving parent has the right to curl up and cry but cannot allow the grief to consume you. How would I do this?

While the last part of the book was a bit tedious with details of a lawsuit, I highly recommend this book and would definitely read it again.

Leave a comment »

Are You Speaking Your Spouse’s Love Language?

love

Several times a week, I send “thank you” texts to my husband. Sometimes, I thank him for something special he did for me or the kids or I’ll share something I like about him. I know he won’t text back – even though he reads all the texts I send, he’s too busy working to answer – but I still send him regular texts.

As I sent him yet another text today thanking him for working so hard for us, I realized I’m NOT speaking his love language. I’m speaking MY love language!

love-languages

My love language is words of affirmation. If he’d send me all the texts I send him, I’d be in love heaven!

However, his love language is quality time and acts of service. He feels loved when I make his breakfast without complaining, sighing or rolling my eyes, and he appreciates when I sit and watch TV with him at night instead of working on my computer.

I am challenged today to take another look at my actions. Am I truly showing my husband that I love him? If not, what can I do to change? Sometimes, small tweaks to our actions can make a big difference to our spouse!

As we celebrate Valentine’s Day and true love this month, may we give our spouse’s what THEY need rather than what we need.

John 15:12-13: “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”

 

Leave a comment »

DIY Made Easy

One of the bloggers I follow wrote an interesting post today. She introduced Kathy Ceceri, a DIY professional. Check out the post and learn about some fun, creative projects you can do with your kids!

I Want You To Meet Kathy Ceceri

Leave a comment »

Are We Really So Different?

As a business owner and copywriter, I follow several business bloggers. Seth Godin is one of the people whose writings often teach me something new. Today, he blogged about differences. His words hit a chord, and God used them to remind me to change my perspective.

Are we really so different?

What would life be like if we looked for commonalities?

Read the article here and let me know what you think.

Leave a comment »

Zones of Regulation: A Behavior Breakthrough

It’s a yellow/blue kind of day. I woke up feeling blah, and I’m not sure why.

Maybe it’s because I didn’t sleep well. Maybe it’s the donut I ate for breakfast. Maybe it’s the busy day I had yesterday at the pool.

Whatever the reason, I’m glad to be able to use the Zones of Regulation. They help me acknowledge how I feel and give me actionable steps to fix my day and prevent me from going into the angry zone.

I discovered the Zones of Regulation a few years ago. My son’s speech, occupational and behavior therapists encouraged us to use the Zones as part of our behavior toolbox. With the Zones, my son can figure out how he’s feeling. That’s the first step to regulating his behavior and helping him stay on an even keel so that he can learn.

Over the years, I’ve adopted the Zones, too. After all, I have emotions like my kids do. Plus, I can’t parent well if I’m not taking care of myself. Especially in the past few months, I’ve been using the Zones to keep in touch with my emotions and process my feelings.

What are the Zones of Regulation?

According to the Zones of Regulation website, the Zones is a “systematic, cognitive behavior approach used to teach self-regulation by categorizing all the different ways we feel and states of alertness we experience into four concrete zones.  The Zones curriculum provides strategies to teach students to become more aware of, and independent in controlling their emotions and impulses, managing their sensory needs, and improving their ability to problem solve conflicts.”

In a nutshell, the Zones help us figure out how we’re feeling. They also give us tools to help us manage and regulate our emotions. It’s a tool many therapists use, and it’s been a beneficial tool in our home.

zones-of-regulation

 

Think of the Zones as Traffic Signals

In an ideal world, everyone would be in the Green Zone all the time. As we all know, though, emotions change. Sometimes, we can go from Green to Yellow in a matter of seconds. Don’t believe me? Try saying no to a toddler and watch them change from cooperative to obstinate in a hurry!

That’s where the Zone traffic signals come into play. Like traffic signals tell you how to drive on the road, we use traffic signals to identify our Zones.

2268095

Green means you’re good to go. In the Green Zone, run errands, clean the house and play games without worrying that someone will be overwhelmed, throw a fit or object to the activity.

Yellow cautions you to be aware. Slow down and take a few minutes to identify how you’re feeling. Then take steps to address the anxiety, get out the wiggles or deal with nervousness so that you can move forward.

Blue gives you an opportunity to rest or re-energize. Take it easy, rest and relax.

Red means stop. Make sure everyone is safe and step back. Don’t push, prod, nag or move forward until you have calmed down and are out of Red.

What Zone are you In?

The Zones of Regulation are a constant part of my family’s daily routine. We often ask each other, “What Zone are you in?” It helps us figure out where we’re at emotionally. Depending on the Zone we’re in, we can change our schedule or use other coping strategies like exercise or games to help us calm down, rest or feel better.

The Zones help my family, and they can help your family, too. Take a look at these resources for more information.

zonesofregulation.com

socialthinking.com

Leave a comment »

What’s on Your Reading List?

my bookshelf

I spent the majority of my childhood with my nose buried in a book. My bus ride was always 30-45 minutes long, and I read almost the whole time. Plus, I often read at home. I remember an uncle teasing me for sitting in the corner with my nose in a book instead of socializing at a family gathering, and one night I dared to stay awake all night to read a mystery! I still fondly recall the hours I spent as a child with the horses of Walter Farley’s Black Stallion series, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s family, Jim Kjelgaard and his dogs and Janette Oke’s courageous, strong and resilient pioneers.

It’s no surprise that one of my favorite things to do is visit the library. Every summer, I pick a shelf and grab all the books that look interesting. While my kids swim, when i need a break from my web content writing job or before bed, I read my way through the pile.

Another way I pick books is by selecting interesting titles from my handwritten list. Whenever friends and family members would recommend a good book, I’d write it on my list.  I also saved newspaper clippings that listed interesting books.When I needed a book to read, I’d log onto the library’s website, search the catalog and request the book. It would be waiting for me in a day or two, and I could stop by and feed my inner book lover.

My book search joined the technology age when I discovered Goodreads. It makes adding books to my “to read” list easy. I simply enter the title in the search bar and click “Want to Read.” When I’m ready to order books from the library, I browse my Goodreads list and pick something that sounds good. After I read the book, I can mark it as “Read” and even leave a rating – how fun is that?

Today, I found even more books to add to my list! Daphne Gray-Grant compiles a list twice a year of books she recommends. Check out her summer post on her blog.

I know some of the books on her list are going on my summer reading list. What’s on your reading list this summer? Post your recommendations in the comments or friend me on Goodreads.

Leave a comment »

Summer Literacy Ideas

1800144857_8f9277b0e9_o

Summer has officially started in my house. That means we get to sleep in, go to the pool and start reading. Every year, our local library hosts a summer reading program, and the kids earn rewards for reading.This year, they can earn an ice cream cone, comic book, admission to the local ice skating rink and bowling.

While my daughter eagerly embraces the challenge, my son is not so enthusiastic. He does not enjoy opening a book and discovering its treasures.

I found this list of alternative reading options for him at http://childhood101.com/2015/10/10-things-to-read-with-kids/

*Magazines
*Closed captioning
*Menus
*Cereal boxes
*Comics
*Seed packets
*Billboards

What else would you recommend?

Leave a comment »

“Beautiful Boy” And A Thought On Parenting

IMG000013“Our children live and die with or without us.”

I cringed when I first read David Sheff’s quote in “Beautiful Boy.” I mean, why else do I make my kids eat broccoli, go to therapy and introduce me to their friends?

Because I think I can somehow save my children.

Now, I know they’re still young, and I have parental responsibility. I have an obligation and desire to guide my children in a path that’s healthy and whole. Mr. Sheff knows that, too. However, there comes a time when we have to let our kids go.

Personally, I don’t think I’ll ever be ready.

But that’s in the future. My children are still young, and right now, I plan to do everything I can to help them be godly, honest and balanced kids who grow up to be productive adult contributors to society.

Ultimately, I know my kids will have to make decisions and choices for themselves. They will also have to deal with the good and bad consequences that come with their decisions.

David Sheff’s son chose a drug addiction to meth and other substances.I hope and pray my kids don’t go that route. I pray they make different choices.

Until then, I’m here walking with them every step of the way. And until we’re separated by death, I pray they know that their mama loves them always and forever no matter what.

Leave a comment »

My Favorite Book of the Summer

How often does the front page of a book grab your attention and suck you in?

That’s what happened when I saw “Making Rounds With Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat” on the Lebanon County Library shelf. I’m a cat lover, so naturally the cat on the cover caught my eye. But I also appreciate the topic: can a cat predict when a person is going to die?

I won’t spoil the ending, but I did give this book 5 stars on Goodreads. It was a quick read and very personable. I also appreciated the inside look into an end-of-life Alzheimer’s home.

If you have a chance, check it out for yourself! And please share your favorite book of the summer. I’m always looking for new suggestions!

Leave a comment »