Category Archives: special needs

Everything is Possible by Jen Bricker with Sheryl Berk (Baker Books, 2016)

Book Review – Everything is Possible by Jen Bricker {plus giveaway!}

Everything is Possible by Jen Bricker with Sheryl Berk (Baker Books, 2016)

About the book (from the publisher):

Everything is Possible: Finding the Faith and Courage to Follow Your Dreams by Jen Bricker with Sheryl Berk (Baker Books, 2016)

Jen Bricker was born without legs. Shocked and uncertain they could care for her, her biological parents gave her up for adoption. In her loving adoptive home, there was just one simple rule: “Never say ‘can’t.'” And pretty soon, there was nothing this small but mighty powerhouse set her sights on that she couldn’t conquer: roller-skating, volleyball, power tumbling, and spinning from silk ribbons thirty feet in the air.

Everything Is Possible is her incredible story–a story of God working out his plan for her life from before day one. Readers follow Jen from the challenges of growing up different to holding captive audiences numbering in the tens of thousands. Everything Is Possible shows readers what they can accomplish when they remove the words coincidence and limitation from their vocabulary. Filled with heart and spirit, as well as Jen’s wit, wisdom, and no-holds-barred honesty, this inspiring true story points the way to purpose and joy. Foreword by Nick Vujicic.

My thoughts:

This book will encourage its readers. As a mother of a child with multiple special needs, I was particularly interested in reading it.

Each chapter includes the author describing something about herself or recalling an aspect of her life or an obstacle she overcome. Within each chapter, she features a brief note from someone important in her life who offers another perspective on Jen’s personality. The chapters wrap up with a summary of the message the author hopes to convey to the reader.

The writing is simple, which makes it a fast, easy read. Quite a few cliches make appearances (like “cool as a cucumber” or “Energizer bunny”) and, though this is a memoir, the writing tone sometimes seems a touch too self-praising, particularly in the early chapters. But, I think the intention is more to let Jen’s energy and positive outlook bust through each page rather than be bragging. This book isn’t meant to offer deep theological truths, but instead to share a story that might boost others.

“…the little choices we make–the small, the mundane, the minuscule ones–make the big ones possible.” – p. 170

Her story shines of courage and perseverance, and she attests to the power positive attitude and growing faith has in everyone’s life, especially in the special needs world.

Book Giveaway!

I have one copy of Everything is Possible to give away to one of you! Fill out the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win a copy of Jen Bricker’s book. (US residents only; sorry!)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms of giveaway: This giveaway is open to US residents only and will end at the end of the day (Eastern) October 2, 2016. All entrants must be 18 years old or older. Enter through the Rafflecopter widget above. Incomplete entries will be deleted. Once a winner is selected, I will contact them via email. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, I will select another winner.

What is one of your favorite verses to lean on during struggles?

Want to try new books each month? Check out Book of the Month club:

Book of the Month

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

I am an affiliate for Amazon Associates. If you click on an Amazon link and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family! For Book of the Month, if you click my referral link and join, I receive a small bonus.

This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

God and Special Needs

Where is God in Special Needs?

Where is God in special needs?

You know the answer already: He’s here. Always.

But sometimes it’s hard to see that, no matter what your challenges in life are. Click over to Do Not Depart today to read about ways our family has learned to see God all the more because of our special needs journey.

God and Special Needs

While you’re there, check out the rest of the “Where is God?” series at Do Not Depart this month.

 

Jesus Calling for Little Ones

Three Favorite Family Bible Study Items

We’ve been testing out a few options for family Bible study to see what works for our kids as unique learners and us as a family. I’ve loved many resources we’ve been able to review or come across over the years. Some we’re saving for when the kids are older. But here are three we’re using right now and absolutely love:

1. GrapeVine Studies – We love the simplicity and interactive components of GrapeVine Bible studies! We’ve particularly used the traceable formats for our preschoolers, and they’re wonderful for young kids working on fine motor skills. The lessons are short enough for young attention spans, and also work well to spread a unit out over several weeks (with two or three days per week). I’ve reviewed some of the GrapeVine traceables studies on my blog in the past and included ways we adapt the lessons for our child with special needs. GrapeVine also offers studies for older students and multi-level studies for families to complete together.

Grapevine Summer Studies

Keep a watch with GrapeVine. Starting July 15th, they’re having a mega bundle sale!

2. Jesus Storybook Bible – I know I’ve mentioned this one quite a bit, but it’s just so wonderful. The poetic, yet age-appropriate and energetic, way Sally Lloyd-Jones writes this Bible offers a wonderful read aloud. Plus, every story, no matter whether it’s Old Testament or New Testament, focuses on God’s love and telling that story of love through His people and through Christ.

Jesus Storybook Bible

3. Jesus Calling for Little Ones – My daughter is in love with this book. I enjoyed the original version of Jesus Calling for adults and this board book version for young kids picks out some wonderful statements and verses. Each page spread has a sweet and colorful illustration, one focus verse, and 4-5 sentences in the trademark Jesus Calling style of God speaking to the reader.

For example of the style, one page reads: “If you look to the heavens, I am there. If you look to the bottom of the ocean, I am there. I am everywhere! You can be sure I am always with you.”

Jesus Calling for Little Ones

With a good mix of Old Testament and New Testament verses, this little book covers several themes: trusting through fear, prayer, gratitude, trusting God’s plans, joy, forgiveness, worry, God’s presence, and more. There are thirteen total spreads/stanzas.

My daughter loves reading each stanza aloud and talking about the illustrations. My favorite aspect of this format is that one page spread has just enough to allow preschoolers to hear the heart behind a verse and allows us to discuss it as a family and what it means in our daily lives. This board book is great for around ages 1-6, and for older siblings to read and “teach” to younger siblings.

Upcoming: In the next year, I’m very excited to try out the K-3 version of the PictureSmart Bible. I’ve read many good things about this program and was able to check it out in person at our homeschool convention this year, and I think it’ll be wonderful to combine a new tactile component with book overviews!

What are your family’s current favorite Bible study resources? Have you used one of the above resources? Share your experiences in the comments!

Disclosure: I received a free copy of Jesus Calling for Little Ones from the publisher as a part of the BookLook blogger program in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

I am an affiliate for Amazon Associates and GrapeVine Studies. If you click on an Amazon link or a GrapeVine Studies link and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Small Talk by Amy Julia Becker

Listening and Learning {Book Review – Small Talk by Amy Julia Becker}

Ever since my son was 1 or 2 years old, I’ve said that I’ve learned much more from being parent than I ever did in the years in was a public school teacher. And that statement keeps growing in truth.

Small Talk by Amy Julia Becker

Amy Julia Becker shares numerous examples of this growth in her book Small Talk: Learning from My Children About What Matters Most (Zondervan, 2014). This memoir-style book follows Amy Julia’s journey through several years of parenting two, then three, children, including one of whom has Down Syndrome. This series of stories encourages readers and highlights how we can see grace in the small moments of our lives.

“In the midst of snow days and sickness, in the midst of yelling and tears, grace enters in.” – p. 12, Small Talk

Amy Julia tells the story in present tense with some past tense reflections to draw readers in. She lets the reader know in the introduction that this is not a how-to book. She utilizes a lot of “I think” and “I wonder” and “I understand” sentences to show her own thought processes and conclusions on what she’s learning as she grows along with her children.

My favorite components of these stories are the family conversations. The dialogues between children (child-to-child and child-to-parent) are so realistic and so pure. Any parent can identify, and, as a parent of a child with multiple special needs, I especially relate to many of those conversations and specific fears. She doesn’t present herself as perfect, and these thoughtful stories help spur reflections of the reader’s own family and circumstances.

She covers holding on to certain things, letting go of others. Her children help her realize the importance of forgiveness, understanding, growth. She recounts stories of waiting, of tragedy, of community, of understanding dependence, of marriage. All while exploring God’s presence in all of it.

The reader won’t leave this book with all the answers, and the reader might not even agree with all of the author’s conclusions. But the book will allow readers to marvel in the insightfulness of children and the ability to reflect and grow, no matter one’s situation.

“…But the reminder of God’s promises quiets my soul. A gentle encouragement to trust. This Christian life of ours if messy and mysterious and beautiful. Like water, running down and spilling over.” – p. 219, Small Talk

What have you learned most from your children?

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher (through the BookLook bloggers program) in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Disclosure: I am an affiliate for Signing Time and Amazon Associates. If you click on a Signing Time link or Amazon and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

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This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Finding Special Needs Resources at CurrClick {plus a limited time freebie and a giveaway!}

Special Needs Homeschool Resources from CurrClick {plus a freebie!}

I first learned about CurrClick a couple of years ago from other homeschool bloggers. Then, I was able to meet some of the folks who work behind the scenes with CurrClick at a conference. Over the past couple of years, I’ve been able to find several great resources through CurrClick’s vendors. We’ve used seasonal printables, preschool packets, freebies, and more.

Finding Special Needs Resources at CurrClick {plus a limited time freebie and a giveaway!}

Original photo credit

Finding Special Needs Resources on CurrClick

CurrClick offers downloadable files, lapbooks, classes, videos, and more. CurrClick also runs regular promotions and many vendors offer quality freebies to supplement your homeschool activities. I’m constantly surprised by the affordable prices on CurrClick, too.

One thing I love about CurrClick’s search feature is the filter function. I’m able to narrow my search to age groups or particular needs, both of which are helpful for our family. I found these resources by looking at “preschool” and “Christmas” or “preschool” and “special needs.” Within special needs, there are several subcategories, like “fine motor considerations,” “speech,” and more. Here are just a few of the activities we’ve tried or recently downloaded for our preschooler with special needs (and his typical-developing sister).

Christmas Resources

12 Days of Christmas, Copywork, Activity Book, and Sheet Music – This packet offers copywork, preschool/early elementary learning activities, faith-based information, and actual sheet music of the 12 Days of Christmas song.

Christmas Sprit: Coloring Pages and Activities (a freebie!) – My preschoolers are going to love this packet! We’re using this one from now until Christmas. It offers coloring sheets, dot-to-dots, word searches, and sight word activities. Themed activities often motivate my son to practice handwriting skills. And, right now, it’s a freebie!

Seasonal and Topical Resources

Five Senses Lapbook – I’ve had this on my CurrClick wish list for a while. It’s a full unit download (114 pages) about the five senses with activities that can be modified for various special needs.

Autumn Leaves Lapbook – This lapbook turns leaves exploration in a hands-on learning experience even when reviewing information/facts.

And God Saw that It was Good – This particular download was created for a child with special needs, so it includes a multisensory approach with activities that can be modified for other needs.

Printable Packs that focus on a variety of fine motor skills

I particularly like printable packs that offer a variety of activities for fine motor skills (scissor, handwriting, crafts, etc.), reading, reading comprehension, spelling, and more. CurrClick is full of resources like these! Here are just a couple we’ve used or recently purchased.

African Safari Junior Printable Pack – Animals are always fun, and this printable pack offers information plus hands-on, fine motor practice.

Winter Junior Printable Pack – This pack has multiple kinds of activities, including matching, literacy, math, puzzles, sequencing, cutting practice and more.

All About Me student-created book – We’ve used this book with our preschoolers, both typical-developing and special needs. It’s a great one for self-awareness and fine motor practice.

A CurrClick Freebie!

CurrClick is offering a new freebie each day during this 12 Days of Christmas Homeschool Freebies and Resources promotion!

Today, CurrClick is offering this “Jack and Jill Rhyme Activity Packet” from Notebooking Nook for free! Preschool and elementary ages will love this packet. This freebie is available from December 8-10, 2014, so don’t delay. Add the product to your CurrClick cart, then include the code “CC12days8” at checkout to get this rhyme activity packet for free!

Jack and Jill rhyme activity packet freebie from CurrClick!

Follow allow with the rest of the 12 Days of Christmas Freebies and Resources blog series to get more freebies and check out more great resources other homeschool families are using from CurrClick!

12 Days of Christmas CurrClick Giveaway

12 Days of Christmas Homeschool Freebies and Resources from CurrClick

Enter to win a $20 gift certificate to CurrClick.com to get your own great curriculum supplements for your homeschool! They’ll draw 12 names for a $20 gift certificate each!

The giveaway runs through December 16th, 2014 at 10pm.

Enter below!

CurrClick

 

Disclosure: I am an affiliate for CurrClick, so if you click on a CurrClick link and then purchase a product, I will receive a small commission fee. This does not affect your cost. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family! I also received a few free CurrClick downloads to use and review as a participant in the 12 days blog tour.