Tag Archives: adoption

Fundanoodle . . . Putting the FUN into Writing! A T.O.S. Review

Often, when we receive review opportunities from the Schoolhouse Review Crew, we get things which really add some fun to the day. Fundanoodle, another product that I had never heard of, was just one instance of that sort of thing!

We received two books . . . I Can Write Lower Case!

and I Can Write My Own Stories!

Both of these tablets are suggested for ages 5 – 6, or K – 1st grade. Because of their developmental delays, along with other special needs, these were the tablets I chose when asked which products I would like to review.

“Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” were adopted four years ago at the age of 8, and could not read or write much at all, something we’ve very slowly been working on, along with other things that had to be made priorities. Now, though, they have progressed to the point that they can sit and do this, so we wanted to give this product a try.

With cute characters such as Max the Monkey and Alphie the Adventurer, Fundanoodle has been putting the “fun” back into writing practice around here. 🙂

“Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” our twins, have been working with these two books during the review period. What I have chosen to do is have them work together on the same page, by alternating lines, as you can see below . . .

“Mr. Loquacious”

“The Puzzler”

The Fundanoodle Handwriting Program was actually developed by two pediatric occupational therapists, Michelle Yoder, OTR/L, CIMI, and Amy Bumgarner, MS, OTR/L. Between the two of them, they have over twenty years of experience, with therapy specialty areas such as:

– sensory processing disorders
– autism and
– therapeutic listening
– the interactive metronome method
– TAMO and
– the SOS feeding approach

BOTH “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” have sensory processing issues, and “The Puzzler” is on the autism spectrum, which definitely caused this product to be of interest to me, when I read that the specialty areas of the developers of these products included both of these disorders, something I didn’t realize until I fully explored the Fundanoodle website.

We really liked the special instructions at the top of each page in the I Can Write Lower Case Tablet, words like “Zip” (make a straight line), “Zoom” ( make a diagonal line), “Buzz” (make a curved line), “hop” (hop on the page), “Bump” (curve the line down), and “Dot” (make a dot). These illustrations words really helped “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” to “see” what they needed to do when they are making different letters.

The letters are taught in a logical progression, having been sequenced according to a child’s development of visual and motor skills, with letters grouped according to the way they are formed. For example, l, I, & t all have similar movements, and so they would be taught in order before moving on to letters such as o, c, & a. There are also extra practice pages in the back of the tablet, along with a page on the website where you may download extra practice pages by entering the numbers from the upc code on the back of the tablet.

In the tablet I Can Write My Own Stories, “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” are practicing handwriting and writing concepts, including creative writing, sentence completion, story sequencing and more.

Story sequencing is a big thing for them to work on, so I really like that aspect of this tablet. In the very first story, they were given four pictures that told the story, and had to place a number within a smaller square on each picture to show which order the pictures belonged. After that, they were to write out what Alphie was doing, in order, to tell the story.

On a different page, they had to write a number next to the pre-written sentences to show what order they belonged in, and then draw a picture of what the story was about.

One of the things my boys most enjoyed, of course, was that for each completed page, there is a corresponding “I did it!” sticker to place at the bottom of the page. Since “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” are doing these tablets together, they are taking turns applying the stickers as well. Here is “The Puzzler” attaching the “I did it!” sticker to a page from the I Can Write My Own Stories! tablet . . .


These are spiral bound tablets, and in my opinion, one of the really nice things is that they are top bound, making them both left and right-hand friendly. I have an older child who is left-handed, and this would have benefitted him greatly when he was at the stage of learning to form letters.

Another great thing about Fundanoodle is that it takes very little time to do a page, so (at least in the case of MY boys), this product is beneficial when your kids have a very short attention span. Anything that takes “too long” becomes a battle around here.

I Can Write Lower Case! (52 sheets + sticker page) can be purchased here for $5.99, and I Can Write My Own Stories! (50 sheets + sticker pages) can be purchased here, also for $5.99.

I think “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” are both enjoying I Can Write Lower Case! and I Can Write My Own Stories!, which makes them worth the price to me. I’m fairly sure that we will continue using these tablets as a fun addition to our educational time, probably twice a week, unless they ask for it more often.

To read what the other Schoolhouse Review Crew members thought of the various products from Fundanoodle, please click the graphic below!


As always, I would LOVE it if you would join me on all of “My Journeys Through Life! Just go to the “sign me up” button at the top of the page and follow directions. Never miss an update again! 🙂


Filed under adoption, education, Fundanoodle, home education, homeschool products, homeschooling, Kids, Schoolhouse Review Crew Post, special needs education, TOS Review

Understanding Child Brain Development: Family Hope Center . . . A T.O.S. Review

As the parent of multiple children with special needs, I was interested in reviewing the DVD “Understanding Child Brain Development” from Family Hope Center by Matthew and Carol Newell, for the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

This DVD runs about two hours, and is a LOT to go through in one sitting, but you can watch it in sections by using the chapter menu, thereby managing to take breaks without needing to leave your DVD player on pause for any length of time.

This DVD is a recording of a live presentation given by Matthew and Carol Newell. I had some issues with the sound quality ( I needed to turn the sound up quite a bit on the TV in order to hear it clearly ), and was unable to read the visual aids they used, but with the DVD you’ll receive a link for an e-book with all of the slides in it for use while following along.

The Family Hope Center’s purpose (and their belief in the possibility) is to help special needs children and their parents to overcome and “correct” brain dysfunctions and disabilities. Both Matthew and Carol Newell are certified in Craniosacral and Myofascial Release Therapy. They have been trained to work with special needs children, and they also used these theories with their own daughter.

The first part of the program gives a TON of really good information about child brain development, and how different things affect it. Things like getting more time to crawl around, instead of being put mostly into walkers, bouncers, car seats, and cribs. They also talked about how much better it is for the development of the brain for babies to be put to sleep on their stomachs, which surprised me, as I’ve been hearing the phrase “BACK to sleep” for years now, referring to the need to put babies on their backs when putting them to bed. We are told on the DVD that sleeping on their stomachs helps the baby’s digestion, and also aids the baby in learning to creep and crawl, which, as I mentioned above, is important in aiding the brain development.

While I found all of the information on child brain development to be fascinating, and am in complete agreement with the idea of limiting TV, electronic games, etc . . ., and that children should spend much more time playing, eating more nutritious foods and drinking a whole lot more water than they generally do (the water thing is a constant battle with our kids!), I did have issues with some of the things recommended to help and treat children with developmental disabilities.

I felt that this was yet one more time of being criticized if, as parents, we have chosen to allow our children to be put on medications. I do believe that for many children, medications are definitely called for, and that their disabilities cannot simply be treated and cured with alternative methods. There were things that I have heard before, such as not using microwave ovens, not allowing the use of cell phones, etc . . . that I, personally, have never seen any real proof of their scientific value. Admittedly, I have a bias when it comes to cell phones, as our income comes from my husband’s job with a major cell phone company, but truly, I don’t believe the theories that cell phone use causes medical problems to have been even close to proven. Nonetheless, our children don’t have them. Not because we believe these theories, but because we don’t believe children need to HAVE cell phones! 🙂

I will say that my oldest child, who has fetal alcohol syndrome, was the main reason I was interested in reviewing this DVD. He was adopted at age two, and is developmentally delayed. He also has some mental retardation and is on the autism spectrum. I got the impression from the Family Hope Center that developmental disabilities can be “cured” with their treatments, and I simply don’t believe it to be true. I do believe that they give a lot of good information that parents can do on their own to help their child, in fact, a lot of the ideas were things we did way back when “The Batman” was much younger. I agree whole-heartedly that we should be working with our children to help them be all that they can be, and to progress as far as they can, however, at the same time, I know that even as my son has progressed much further than the “experts” told us he would when we adopted him, he is very unlikely to progress past a certain point, which is why we have been given legal guardianship over him that will never expire now that he is over the age of 18.

Even though I do have more trust in medical science than I do in alternative medical advice, I know many people who absolutely swear by alternative healthcare, even some who will ONLY use alternative methods. If you fall into that category, then I think this DVD may be something you will want, if you have a child with special needs. In fact, if you don’t have a child with special needs, and even if, like me, you don’t believe quite so firmly in alternative methods of healthcare, I think you’ll find all of the information on child brain development to be very informative and interesting.

If you would like to view the DVD “Understanding Child Brain Development”, you may order it by calling (610)397-1737, or you can order directly from the Institute for Excellence in Writing, for the cost of $19.00

Other Schoolhouse Review Crew Members also watched and reviewed this DVD. To read what they thought, please click the graphic below


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Filed under adoption, Family Hope Center, home education, homeschool products, Kids, Schoolhouse Review Crew Post, Understanding Child Brain Development

“L” Is For . . .

Love . . . first, the biggest and best love, the love that God had for me, that He would send His only begotten Son, to sacrifice Himself to cover my sin. It just amazes me, that God would do that. For me. It’s so hard for me to understand how there can still be any people who would reject that love, that gift . . .

Love . . . that I feel for my husband of nearly 23 years. It hasn’t always been perfect, but I love my husband, and I’m so glad he’s still here, that he survived his surgeries, and is still here with me and our children.

Love . . . that I feel for each one of my children . . . I did not conceive or give birth to any of the four of them, but I could not love them any more if I had done so.

My life would be empty without these loves in it . . . I’m so very glad they ARE in it!

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A Follow Up To An Earlier Post . . .

Today I am updating a post I made a few weeks back . . .

In today’s edition of the ABQJournal, columnist Joline Gutierrez-Krueger published this column.

The third portion of this column is written about a family that we in OUR family hold dear. We have, and would again, trust these parents with the lives of our own children.

We, like them, are raising a child adopted from foster care who, as a result of reactive attachment disorder along with other things, has harmed himself, at least one sibling, and me, his mother, during the first two and a half years he was with us. He is a different child now, but during that time, he repeatedly, if he did not get his way, deliberately harmed himself, while saying he would then go tell others that we had done it. We were lucky in that we had a number of mandatory reporters as part of our circle of family and friends who had witnessed this behavior, or we would have been in the same boat as the Kuckartz family.

They do NOT deserve what is being done to them! They did every single thing asked of them by CYFD. Their children were returned to them long ago. It is my understanding that some CYFD workers involved in the case have even come and apologized for what they put the family through.

They are now stalked and harassed by strangers. They have had horrible things painted on their vehicle while it was in a parking area during errands. They are losing their home as a result of mounting legal bills. And they are facing 18 years of prison, because a DA wants to build a reputation on the backs of people who have taken on children who have serious problems that were created by the true abusers, their birth parents.

I implore you to check out the articles, and facebook.com/seekingjusticenow, and please, help this family. Sign the petition. Pray for their protection from this “prosecutorial vindictiveness”, which is exactly what it is. Stop this DA from continuing to harass and terrorize this family.

I said this in my previous post, and I will say it again . . .

this needs to stop . . . NOW!

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Justice Needed For a Loving Family . . .

When someone has already been cleared of child abuse charges by their state’s child protection agency (here in NM, that would be CYFD, or Children, Youth & Family Department), and all of the criminal charges dropped, I believe it is an abuse of power to do what the Prosecuting attorney in a specific case here is doing.

A journalist for the ABQ Journal has now written and published two columns about this family and this case . . . the links to both columns are below.



Here is the Kuckartz family . . .

Do these children look unhappy or abused?

It is my opinion that when given the facts that CYFD has closed the case, returned the children, and from what I understand, some of the CYFD workers involved in the case have even apologized to the family for what they have put them through, the judge ruled the children should return to the family, and both the judge and CYFD have ruled that the child’s injury was accidental, that this should be over and done with. Further, as Ms. Krueger points out in her second column, all criminal charges were dropped.

I believe that it is absolutely prosecutorial vindictiveness for District Attorney Lemuel Martinez to take the cases before a Sandoval County grand jury within the next month to seek indictments on these parents — again, as Ms. Krueger has stated in her second column.

These parents have done every single thing required of them by CYFD. Their children have been returned to them, quite some time ago.

I believe, as has been stated on the following website:


that what this prosecutor is doing is not seeking justice for children. No, I believe what he is doing is trying to make a name for himself on the backs of this family.

It’s time to stop. It’s time to stop holding this family hostage. It’s time to stop terrorizing these children with the threat of taking their parents away and destroying their family. They have been financially and emotionally devastated by all of this, and now are being stalked and threatened by complete strangers to the point that it is difficult to even go out grocery shopping with the children, as they then are recognized, followed and threatened. It’s time to stop.

Whatever your beliefs are regarding corporal punishment, or (as in the case of some people I know) any form of punishment at all, the facts are that these parents have been legally cleared of child abuse. It is wrong for the prosecutor to do what he is doing. It is time to stop, and leave this family alone. I would even go so far as to say it is time for the prosecutor to apologize to this entire family, especially the children, for what has been done to them even after they’ve fully complied with everything required of them by CYFD, and after the children have been returned and all the criminal charges have been dropped. It is time for this to end.

I ask you to pray for all who are involved in this case, this family, in which the children are so loved and cared for, the grand jury, that they will see this for what it is, and the prosecutor, to just stop, and leave them alone. This is a good, loving family.
It’s time for this to stop.


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Loving friends & family……..

When I went to the 6 hour orientation, and also when I read the book we were required to purchase and read, the question of how to handle those who would say I am taking the easy way out was addressed.  I admit, this is something I did fret about, having had people comment that they had their children “the hard way”, as if adoption was the “easy way out”.  I’m so happy that this has not happened so far.  I’ve told just about everyone who is important to me, and received wonderful support from each one so far. You never know how good your friends are, or your family either, until you need to count on them for support ad non-judgement.  I’m luckier than I realized.

Just a little discouraged though, which I’ll address in another post……..

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