Color My Conversation: My Review

We have been blessed to receive for the purpose of this review a new to me program. It is called Color My Conversation, and it comes from the company Northern Speech Services.

I have four children who each have their own unique special needs, but all four of the boys struggle with conversation in one way or another. My eldest “The Batman” who is developmentally delayed due to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, came to us at the age of two. He has a lot of trouble with “getting” social cues when it comes to conversing, and tends to as a result, trap people into a conversation that they are too kind to walk away from. The same thing is true with “The Artist,” who came to us full-time at the age of six. Our twins, “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler”, who we came to us when they were age eight, both have severe trauma, and have trouble with carrying on a proper conversation as well.

You can see in the picture above that this box came with a WEALTH of product, absolutely everything that is needed to use this program! We were just thrilled to see everything included, and I did not have to purchase a single thing! We already own a bicycle pump to inflate the ball (four boys, after all!) Once the ball was inflated of course, it couldn’t be kept in the box anymore, so I have had it up on a shelf. When we took it down to use though, “The Batman’s” therapy dog, Shiloh, thought it was for him, and followed along to where we were going, lol!

Color My Conversation is meant to help when teaching people (not just children, as evidenced in my home) the language skills needed for face-to-face conversations. Using a multi-sensory teaching approach to help guide children (or special needs adults) through the conversation flow, by helping them learn to make their way through a conversation starting at a basic greeting and working toward the most complex conversation that the person is capable of having. This could be vastly different from child to child, to special needs adults.

Using a multi-sensory, holistic approach becomes a fun, engaging way to aid in the  development of social awareness, self-regulation, executive function, and other skills. The complete (again, EVERYTHING is included in the box when you receive it) program includes a lot of fun, interactive activities that help the participants learn how to  start,  maintain and end a conversation properly.

This program is set up to work with the student/students who are working through it by using learning without error in order to keep stress low and outcomes positive. This is important to me, as my boys will stress out to the max if they feel they are making a mistake, most especially “The Batman” and “The Puzzler.”

Because this program comes complete with a comprehensive manual on CD and online lesson support videos, I was able understand how to implement this program to really help my kids be successful thus far.

Color My World can be easily adapted to any room or group size or use with an individual student and over the period of time that works best.

Some of the things Color My World uses in their multi-sensory approach are listed below:

  • visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic strategies to teach social language and conversational concepts
  • movement, song, rhyme, color coding, signing/gestures, bead-work, artwork, pictures/photographs, line drawings, worksheets, role plays, interactive game activities, and field assignments

Some groups that this program would be great for include:

  • high-functioning autism
  • Asperger Syndrome
  • language delayed
  • ADHD
  • children with mild intellectual disabilities
  • children within the general population

The Beginner Level, ages 5 to 12 years, uses a kinesthetic, or hands on approach by using:

  • “Conversation Path” floor pads. Students will physically step on as they walk through the conversation, and the pads can be written on with the included dry erasable markers
  • The inflated ball will be tossed (we also handed it to each other) back and forth to represent turn taking as well as to aid in the  establishment of eye contact. Ribbon will also be used.
  • Students will learn simple greetings & farewells (including body language/nonverbal communication), short and long conversations which include topics, comments, questions and topic changers.
  • A Wall Display will start to be built to aid in representing the Conversation Path, and should remain up as a visual support for the children.

Throughout the program, adaptions are given for use with those who have intellectual disabilities.

In the Intermediate Level, ages 5 through 12, students will continue using the skills learned in the Beginner Level while adding and practicing the new conversational features being introduced:

  • Learning about earn about “WH” questions, Interrogative Reversal questions (i.e. Yes! No! Maybe So!), making comments count, how to become a topic changer pro, and how to speak loud and clear.
  • Worksheets, crafts, artwork, drill work and game activities are included for each lesson.
  • Students will grow in confidence as they practice their use of the conversational features being presented and have an increased ability to have conversations on even more topics.

In the Advanced Level, ages 8 through 12, your student/s will be introduced to the multi-activity Color My Conversation Game  when they will either actively play or observe and comment on those who are playing it. The purpose of this activity is to focus on improving a child’s ability to begin, continue, or close topics using appropriate topic transitions and turn taking strategies using the 2-sided multi-activity Color My conversation Game Board. The students will also practice taking the role of the main listener or  main speaker.

Finally, we have the Expert Level, which is for variable ages, including adult. It is intended for ALL ages, because it is intended to identify the conversational skills that each person is capable of using, and then support the transfer of those skills from the practice room to a real world setting.

By practicing conversations in the “real world, you, the instructor, can also steer students into conversations that have not been addressed or have a need for more skill development.

There is even a special lesson for those with special needs! Targeting the same goals as the Beginner Level, adaptations are provided to meet the needs of children who have intellectual disabilities. Some of what can be done is listed below:

  • Conversation Path stones can be used with no writing, and may  show drawings or symbols instead.
  • Verbal instructions may be limited,  using more exaggerated gestures instead.
  • A more limited amount of topics,  but using a higher level of repetition for each topic.
  • Sentence strips can be used to support grammar and sentence structure.
  • Goals for conversation features will be adjusted and repetitive in nature.
  • The Beading Activity will be used to provide a visual support for continuation of the conversations being taught.
  • Enhanced use of the highly motivating and appreciated Color My conversation Songs.

There are sample pages available if you scroll down on this page.

This is a complete, in the box program. As I said I didn’t need to purchase a single thing to get started. at the price of $149.00, I think it’s well worth it when it comes to helping those who need it in learning how to better communicate. I think it is helping my kids, and will continue to do so!

To read 39 other fair and honest reviews from the Homeschool review Crew about Color My Conversation from Northern Speech Services, please click on the banner below!

Color My Conversation {Northern Speech Services Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

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CompuScholar, Inc. My Review

Solid computer skills are so important in this modern age of technology and so I really wanted to review the new Digital Savvy course from CompuScholar, Inc. for myself. This course is providing me as the student, excellent instruction in fundamental computing topics.

I chose to review Digital Savvy using myself as the student because even though I have been using  a computer for some time, there are a lot of things I just have not learned how to do. The technological side I tend to leave to my techy husband, but I really feel that I have needed for some time to learn how to use the different programs available to me. Why, I have never even learned how to make and use a spreadsheet, for example!

With Digital
Savvy, the lessons begin more with the actual hardware systems, which as I said, I pretty much leave to my husband, so the first section of lessons are not what I was looking for at all. They may very well be what YOU or your student need, however!

Topics which are covered include:

  • Hardware, software, and operating systems
  • Managing files and folders
  • Basic networking
  • Online safety and computer security
  • Using Word processors, spreadsheets, and presentation programs
  • Creating simple databases
  • Image editing
  • Using social media and email communications
  • Introductory website design
  • Simple computer programming concepts
  • Exploration of computing careers

There is a link on the main Digital Savvy  web page which you may click on to see the complete syllabus for this course.

This course is the sort that I really enjoy, it is pretty much open and go, as opposed to a teacher needing to do pre-prep. While there are teacher areas, since I am the student on this one, I’m doing it on my own.

It’s fairly easy to navigate Digital Savvy, too. When I log in, I can select the chapter I want to work in, the options for that lesson will be shown for me to choose. There is a lesson video in a pop up screen for me to watch, and then I can do the associated quiz for that lesson. There is also lesson text which can be used along with the video, or even to refer to later if needed to help understand something from the video.

At the end of each chapter, the student has an activity and an exam. So far, I’m weak in this area, but hoping to improve with time.

As I told you above, the technical lessons bog me down, a lot, so I am anxious to get to the part for which I REALLY wanted this terrific online course, the lessons on various software and such. I most especially want to learn about image editing, so that I can create my own images for this blog in the future! 🙂

To read 99 additional fair and honest reviews about Digital Savvy, Web Design & Java Programming from CompuScholar, Inc., please click on the banner below . . .

Digital Savvy, Web Design & Java Programming {CompuScholar,Inc Reviews}

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Shepherd, Potter, Spy and the Star Namer . . . My Review

As an avid reader, I was very happy to receive for purpose of this review the book Shepherd, Potter, Spy–and the Star Namer from Peggy Consolver – Author.

I love reading great stories, especially those which bring history to life for me and for my kids. This book fits the bill. The story takes place during the last two years of the Israelites wandering in the desert before entering Canaan.

This IS a fictional book, because obviously one cannot go back in time and speak to, or live with the people from the time period being written about. It is however, based strongly on the aforementioned Biblical period, focusing on the lives of the Gibeonites and the Hebrews. Much of what is described in the story is documented in the Bible books of Joshua and Exodus.

As an author, Peggy Consolver was writing historical fiction about the ” Gibeonites of Joshua 9 and 10 from the point of view of a young shepherd boy and his family of potters. Struggling with describing the historical and geographical setting one day, I quipped to my husband, “If I really write this story, maybe I should go there.”  So, she did!

Being able to work in the pottery tent at the dig, brought these ancient people to life for this author, and to write about the lives of these people with much less struggle! It is her wish to bring her reader closer to God, by writing about HIStory. That is what history ultimately is you know, it is HIS story.

This story focuses at the beginning on a young shepherd boy named Keshub, a thirteen year old Canaanite boy who is a descendant of Ham. As do boys from every era though, Keshub wishes for adventure, which he gets, but really, at too young of an age. Keshub’s family was made up of shepherds and potters, and the potter’s son’s spy on the Hebrews from the cliffs above Jericho, watch them cross the Jordan, and witness the fall of Jericho! Of course, we’ve read about these events in our Bibles, but this story really makes them come alive, and makes me feel as though I am actually there!

One of the hardest things to read about was the worship of Molech, which was also dealt with in a play my kids did during Vacation Bible School several years ago at our church back where we used to live in Michigan, which was about the life of Ruth, a Moabite woman, so they did understand what was happening, and how horrible it was. 😦

You can read more about Peggy Consolver – Author by going to her website. You will read about the author herself, and her own history leading up to where she is now in her life. You will also see several short endorsements on this page, and be able to sign up for her newsletter!

If you want to “dig deeper” and learn even more using your novel, the author has also written an excellent study guide, available for purchase here. You may even download a sample of the study guide to check it out before buying it, if you wish!

I have found Shepherd, Potter, Spy–and the Star Namer by Peggy Consolver – Author to be a fascinating read, one which makes me think even more about the stories we read in the Bible. This book makes these particular events come to life in a wonderful way!

To read 79 more fair and honest reviews, please click on the banner below:

Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer {Peggy Consolver Reviews}Crew DisclaimerAs always, I would just love it if you would join me in all of “My Journeys Through Life.” Just go to the subscription box at the top of the blog and enter your email information. After that, you will always know when there is something new happening. I hope to see you here very soon! -)

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Iliad & Odyssey Set . . . My Review

“The Artist” very much loves reading about Greek Mythology, etc, so when the opportunity came up to review the Iliad & Odyssey Complete Set  from Memoria Press, he really just about begged me to ask for it, even thou I was leaning more toward a different set which was also offered. So I did!

Memoria Press was generous enough to send us the following:

  • Iliad
  • Iliad Student Guide
  • Iliad Teacher Guide
  • Iliad DVDs
  • Odyssey
  • Odyssey Student Guide
  • Odyssey Teacher Guide
  • Odyssey DVDs

If you were to purchase each set separately, they would be $75.00 each. However, by purchasing the Complete Set, you would have a savings of $15.00 as the Complete Set is sold here at the cost of $150.00. I think that in the end, since the two stories actually tell a whole tale, it is worth it to get the complete set and save a little bit over buying them separately.

As I said above, “The Artist’ REALLY wanted me to go for this one. This is what happened when the box arrived at our house. The second we had it opened, he had it out of my hands and well, you can see what he thought!

I was nowhere NEAR ready to begin just yet, and he was already reading on his own. SCORE!

The Iliad comes first in the story, as it is the period during the Trojan War, whereas the Odyssey is the story about the journey home from the Trojan War. I’ll be completely honest here and tell you that I did not know this at all. I had never read either book.

By getting the Complete Set, we now have enough material for a full year Language Arts course, which (bonus!) is based on a period of history which fascinates “The Artist”.

So, I bet you want to know how this set works, don’t you? Well, I think when you read all of the reviews, you will find that there are different ways to make this work in your family. For our family, this time around I’m just using it with “The Artist.”

Both The Iliad and The Odyssey are divided up into “books” as opposed to chapters. After the Preface, The Iliad has a wonderful section with three pages of charts giving “The Friends and Foes of Homer’s Iliad,” “Greeks: Major Characters,” and “Trojans: Major Characters.” The Student Guide is a consumable book, meant to be written in and used by just one person. We read one “book,” then watch the DVD covering that book, then go to the Student Guide to read and answer the questions. Of course, then the Teacher Guide allows me to check the answers and grade them. The DVDs are really not all that long, about a half an hour or so each. They are helpful with giving us the correct pronunciations for many things and people in the stories, and explaining questions that made going through the Student Guide somewhat easier.

Both The Iliad & The Odyssey sets are formatted the same, so once having completed The Iliad, we will be used to it and able to just continue right along with The Odyssey

Even though the Iliad & Odyssey Complete Set  from Memoria Press were not MY first choice, I am glad I put it down as first choice, because “The Artist” is truly enjoying it! He even enjoys reading the books just for free time reading, which I think is great!

                       To read 99 more fair and honest reviews about

Iliad & Odyssey Complete Set

First Form Greek Complete Set

The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & the Great Republic Set

and

200 Questions About American History Set

please click on the banner below. Happy reading! 🙂

First Form Greek, Iliad/Odyssey and American History {Memoria Press Reviews}

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Mr. Loquacious’s New, Ginormous Sneakers!

IMG_20170315_113732

 

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Bessie’s Pillow . . . My Review

 

I have always been an avid reader, and my Dad was quite a history lover who taught me a lot about history. As a result, I was thrilled to be chosen as one of the lucky reviewers to receive a copy of Bessie’s Pillow, a book written about a very brave eighteen year old young woman who emigrated to the United States in 1906.

 

Linda Bress Silbert and her husband Al are the owners of Strong Learning, Inc. which is a well known tutoring company in the New York area. They have authored a number of educational games and books. Bessie’s Pillow though, is Linda Bress Silbert’s first novel.

 

Written by Linda Bress Silbert, Bessie’s granddaughter, this book is a fascinating read, particularly during this present time in our history when there are so many divisions around the topic of immigration.

While Bessie’s Pillow IS a novel, it is based upon the true life of Linda Bress Silbert’s grandmother Bessie, who started out as Boshka Markman. It is also written in the first person, from Bessie’s point of view and in her voice, which made it that much more real to me. Like so very many who emigrated here during that time, officials changed her name to Elizabeth. She chooses to go by Bessie, as it sounds more Jewish.

Bessie is an Orthodox Jew from Lithuania, and her parents send her off to America to escape the pograms and murder where they live. It was very brave of her, as she would never see them again.

Bessie was fortunate that her parents were able to sacrifice and send her first class on the ship. They were very afraid of having her go in steerage, and given her descriptions of what she saw, I feel that she might have never made it otherwise, regardless of the fact that she was a very strong young woman.

When Bessie is leaving on the train to go to the ship, she is given a special pillow by a lady and asked to please bring it to the lady’s son, already in America, if Bessie can find him. The pillow does play a big part in Bessie’s story, even during the time before she goes looking for it’s owner. It becomes a source of comfort for her, I think.

Reading this account of Bessie’s life, you will learn so much about the history of the time, about the differences in immigration procedures (for example, before even getting on the ship, Bessie had to be physically examined for illness, etc, and  the immigrants had to be stripped, totally cleaned, clothing cleaned, etc.) Then, as mentioned above, if one’s name was too foreign sounding, then the officials on Ellis Island changed their names!

Once she arrives here, Bessie’s story chronicles her life through 1936, as she begins to find her footing, is rejected by those she thought would be there for her, goes out on her own to make her way. She finds work, good work, eventually, and goes on to be the strong woman we could see that she would be. We see her build her life and family for many years, and helping others in many ways.

There are numerous online resources which will aid you in making this book into an actual unit study. Here, there are a number of links to things such as:

European Immigration

Famous People

Food and Recipes

Health

Housework

Movies

Music and Dancing

News

U.S. Presidents

Radio

There is also a pdf Teachers guide to help you.

This is a greatly enjoyable book, even more so because it is a true story!

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Bessie's Pillow {Strong Learning, Inc. Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

As always, I would just love it if you would join me in all of “My Journeys Through Life.” Just go to the subscription box at the top of the blog and enter your email information. After that, you will always know when there is something new happening. I hope to see you here very soon! -)

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Spring Nails!

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As always, I would just love it if you would join me in all of “My Journeys Through Life.” Just go to the subscription box at the top of the blog and enter your email information. After that, you will always know when there is something new happening. I hope to see you here very soon! -)

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