Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tornadoes - Being prepared

The weather sure has been brutal lately. We do not live all that far from Joplin and we are so torn up about the tragedy that struck there. We have been volunteering at our local collection center to get supplies to those in need, but I sure wish I could do more. Then yesterday we were in KC for Gess' annual ENT checkup. Right after we got in to see the doctor the tornado sirens went off and we were shuffled (along with everyone else there) into the stairwell. We spent over an hour waiting it out and thankfully we were spared, though Sedalia got hit shortly thereafter and several people were injured.

With all this in mind I think it is a good time to remind you of some resources I had found to help teach Gess what to do during a tornado. You will also find these on my blog, Tornadoes and Hailstorms that I wrote a couple of years ago. It certainly has helped Gess. In fact, when we had to leave the doctor's office because of the tornado she quoted the first video and asked me, "take cover now?" She did a great job, not only taking cover, but staying calm which is something else the video says to do. She even took some deep breaths just like they showed!

Here are the resources I found. The first video is our favorite and Gess watches it a lot. Feel free to share some resources you have found too. You can never be too prepared! And please, continue to remember those affected by these storms in your prayers.

A printable coloring book called Bill and Maria Learn About Tornado Safety provided by the NOAA National Severe Storm Laboratory.

A couple of videos geared towards teaching kids about tornadoes and safety.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Explaining Baptism to Kids

Gess is 9 now and often asks questions in church. Lately we have had some people come forward for baptism. Gess now wants to get baptized too because others are doing it. She just really wants to be involved in everything we do. However, we are Baptist and believe that the bible teaches only those who are saved should be baptized or partake in the Lord's Supper. It is hard to explain to a child why they can't do these things.

Then I had someone else who told me they had an 8 year old girl ask about baptism because she had seen someone get baptized at her church. Being surprised by the question they were not quite sure how to answer and asked if I could write something up to help explain it. I thought, what perfect timing. This is something I want to share with Gess too, so I did more than just write up a paper. I wrote a small booklet made specifically for young kids to help explain baptism.

This booklet is meant to explain what baptism is and in doing that it touches on how one must be saved. It does not, however, encourage a child to make that decision. It merely explains it and hopefully in terms that are easy to understand.

Kids with special needs like Gess will probably still struggle with grasping some of the information as symbolism in general is a concept that does not come easy. I still hope that this will be a useful resource for them and any child who wants to know more about baptism. Gess did seem to enjoy reading the booklet.

I am making this booklet available to all of you who might also like a tool to help explain baptism to young children. My pastor added some clip art to ours and it really helped to brighten it up and make it more appealing. However, since he has paid for permission for in-church use, I did not want to do anything that might be out of the bounds of his agreement. Therefore this copy does not have any graphics. Feel free to share this booklet with other people and/or your church.

Creative Commons License
Baptism for Kids is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

When you print a PDF file you have an option to print it as a booklet. To do this go to File and click Print. On the print menu, under the Page Handling section you will see an option that reads Page Scaling. In that menu there is an option called Booklet Printing. It will give you directions to follow to print on the front and back pages. It's really handy, saves paper and makes it a nice booklet for children to hold. (I never knew this until my pastor pointed this out to me!)

(Please note: I am making this available because I always share resources I think other people might find handy. As I stated above, this booklet was written from the perspective of our beliefs on what the Scripture teaches. I am not trying to offend those who disagree or start an argument about the doctrine of baptism. There is a time and place for that sort of discussion, but my homeschool blog is not that place. Thanks for being gracious about it!)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Kitchen Classroom - Lessons while cooking

Woodbine House has come out with a book called The Kitchen Classroom and I was lucky enough to win one during a Facebook giveaway!

The Kitchen Classroom is visually appealing for a child to use. It has color photos of each recipe in the book and it comes with a CD that has full color photos and easy read step by step instructions. For instance you not only read that you need to stir the ingredients to mix them together, but you see a full page color picture of a child stirring. Since I didn't want to print the recipe, we kept the lap top on the table and had my daughter follow the instructions as we cooked.

The first recipe we did was Funny Face Toast. Each recipe tells you what level of difficulty they are. This was one of the easiest ones so I figured it was a good place to start.

The book focuses on many skill areas and each part of the recipe has a symbol to let you know what area that focuses on. The skills they cover are Math, Science, Literacy, Communication/Language, Social Skills, Sensory, Fine Motor and Gross Motor. This particular recipe had some instruction for every one of these except Science.

We then started by washing our hands (there is even photo instruction of that as well). Next you read the recipe. We then chose and cut the fruit to make the face on our toast.

Then we added some butter and peanut butter. Spreading is one skill Gess is still working on and this was some good practice for her.

It is probably here that I should mention that this is a gluten-free cookbook. I was actually reluctant to buy it because we do not follow that diet so I was glad I won it to try it out. Now I know that I would not have been disappointed had I purchased it. The author has a chapter on the gluten-free diet and explains how you are free to follow it or not. If you do not use that diet you simply substitute what you would personally use. For this recipe, we chose to use Peanut Butter instead of Nut Butter because that's what we normally use.

Then it was time to add the fruit to make the faces. This is a good time to talk about feelings and what kind of face you might make. Gess really enjoyed this part. Here are the faces she made.

And then of course you get to eat the final result. It was delicious and Gess ate every bite!

There is much about this book that any creative parent can do on their own. We often think about the skills we work on while cooking. What is nice about the book is that it has the visual, easy to read and follow instructions for the child. We have been trying to do one recipe a week and Gess always looks forward to picking out which one she wants using the color photos in the book. Then she writes her own grocery list and we go shopping. That's yet another way I tied more lessons into it. While all kids enjoy cooking, this book really helps kids with special needs have more independence in the process by supplying the visual aids for them to follow. And for those who do follow the gluten-free diet, it offers some variety and fun to it.


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