Thursday, October 29, 2009

Your Baby Can Read - A Review: 1st installment


Hey everyone. I've never done this before, but there has been some buzz about a certain product, and I wanted to chime in.

I am going to review (1st of a series) the video learning series Your Baby Can Read. This is a video series that claims that after watching (and using the supplemental materials), your baby will be able to read. Now, they don't make any specific claims (that I know of) that say that by a certain age, or after a specific amount of time, that your baby will be able to read.

The product comes with 5 volumes. Each volume comes with a 30 minute video, a flip book, the really cool flashcards with pictures that slide in and out, a slide book with words from each of the videos, and some other flash cards.

One of the claims that has not proven true AT ALL is that they say that the video can keep your kids attention for hours. Um...not in my house. I mean, both of my kids will stop watching attentively after like 10-15 minutes, depending on if they are tired or not. I usually pause the video if they stop watching, and turn it back on later if they are interested.

One of the "tips" that they give is that you should cut out all other TV from your kids lives. No cartoons, no baby einstien, no movies, etc.

Your kids watch each video 2 times a day for about a month or two (depending on the video).

They tell you on the videos that children take a long time to learn the first 20 words, but after they know about 50, they will start to actually be picking up the phonics and the letter patterns which enable them to actually read, and not just recognize words.

Ok, our experience: We have BoyD (3yrs 10 mo.) and GirlM (1yr 9 mo.)
We have been using the materials for like 6 weeks. We have gone through the first video and are watching the second. (they are actually watching it right now so that I can type this!) We don't watch TV during the week anyway, but we still let BoyD watch cartoons on Saturday morning, and we eat dinner on Sat. night in front of a movie. (this Saturday it will be Cinderella)
So, we have not followed that suggestion.

The videos have cute songs and poems that my kids love. My kids (especially GirlM) really participate in the videos. They watch them, follow along, say all the words that are printed and spoken, dance with the music, and do the directed actions. For example: the video will have written the word "nose," it says "nose," and then shows a little kid touching their nose. It will then tell the kids to "touch your nose". That part is great.

Now that we have moved on to the second video, we will occasionally watch the first video as a "review." It gives a little bit of a variety, which helps my sanity!

We also don't watch it twice a day every day. We probably do twice a day for BoyD maybe 4 days a week, and for GirlM like 2-3 days a week. Mostly they watch it while I am preparing lunch and dinner. GirlM watches less of it than BoyD, but when she watches it, she interacts with it more. Maybe that is a girl/boy thing, or maybe it is an age thing.

The other materials (that go along with the video) are FANTASTIC! I mean, I love them. The kids love to look at the flip books. The have the word printed on the page, and then you either flip it up or down (I wish that if flipped sideways) to show the image of the corresponding word. It also gives little things to do with the picture like "touch the dog's nose" or something. The sliding flash cards are fun as well. It gives the word, and then you slide out a tab and it shows the image. The kids think it is fun to play with those.

We probably look at 1-2 of those materials every day. I think that using those things really enhances what the videos show.

Our results (so far):
GirlM does not seem to recognize any of the words.
BoyD recognizes most of the words from the first video, and a couple of the words from the second. I am actually amazed! He really can look at these words, only printed, in any order, and tell me what it says. He recognizes the following words:
elephant, dog, cat, mouth, eyes, nose, gorilla, arms, arms up, hi, wave, and a few others that I can't remember. He also will put his hand over the "se" in "nose" and tell me it says "no." This was with out prompting from me. He does the same with eyes and the word yes. At this point he isn't reading per se, but he is recognizing the words w/o seeing any pictures. I think that is pretty cool!

I don't know how long it will take for him to get to that 50 word mark, but with very little effort, he is picking up words.

My current conclusion (this could change as we continue the process)
-This is a good program that seems to be working well, at least for our 3 yr old.
-Because the AAP recommends that children under the age of 2 should not watch any TV, and because BoyD is picking this up SO MUCH FASTER than GirlM, I don't think that the new baby due in Jan will be watching this until they are at least 2.
-It probably does "work" in that babies younger than my children could eventually do what BoyD is doing, but since it takes so long, and actually reading to your babies is probably better suited to them, I don't see recommending this product for 3 month old babies, like the info-mercial suggests.
-I will be using the cards/books and other materials that came with the program with the new baby, because I don't see how it can hurt!

Ok...I know that is a ton of info, but I hope it helps! GirlM will continue to watch the videos with her brother, and I will post another update in another month or two to note her progress.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Interesting day

GirlM got stung by a bee this morning. It was floating in the dog's water bowl, and she just reached in and grabbed it.

She came running into the house crying forcefully. When I saw her, I saw that she had something on her hand, and I though that she had picked up a piece of dog poop. Nope. It was a bee stuck to her thumb. I flicked it off right away, but the stinger was still in her. Brandon came out of his office with his trusty pocket knife and scraped the stinger off.

After some meat tenderizer, tried and failed crushed papaya extract, and finally a compress of chewed up pipe tobacco (thanks Brandon...you are a great father), she was as good as new! In just a couple of hours, the swelling had gone down and she was using her hand like normal.

Then this evening, a couple of Guatemalan kids who shine our shoes and wash our cars on Sundays came by. They told us that they couldn't find a bus to their town (about 45 min. away) and asked if they could stay here. Um. No. No, they can't stay here.

We called Gladys (the lady who works for us) and asked. Turns out the last bus was not for another hour and a half, so we gave them bus money and sent them on their way. We should have given them some food, but we didn't think about it until it was too late.

I made southern cornbread for lunch. With the bee sting episode, it wasn't ready until 1:45, so we ate it for supper. But in one cast iron skillet, there was 1/2 cup of butter. That is 90 grams of fat, just in the butter. That doesn't include the 1/8 cup of oil that greased the bottom of the skillet. Needless to say, it was really good cornbread.

So we had that for dinner with some black beans and some queso fresco (fresh cheese). Yum! And then, for dessert (for the kids only...so sad), I fried a piece of cornbread in a skillet with a pad of butter until it was crispy, and then we layered it with some cookie ice-cream. We are trying to fatten up GirlM, and BoyD could use the fat as well. I tasted it. It was to die for. A great way to use up left over cornbread.

Ok...that is about it for the day. Oh, and BoyD, after dinner, said his tummy was hurting. Maybe we over did it with the butter.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Last Saturday:

Last Saturday:
This is how the day started: Normally, I am the one to go and get her up, so she was excited to see her daddy! (This video is really for the grandmothers)
video
(You can see the bumper that I made for the rail of her crib b/c there are bite marks all long the top. I need to add some straps and make another one for the other side, but it seems to be working)

Then, after a good bout of cartoons, we got all dressed and ready and headed out:

Poor GirlM doesn't have any Texas Tech gear, so she commandeered BoyD's hat.
We went to a place called "el vaul" which is a city park located on the top of a large hill (or small mountain). It has a view of the entire Xela valley, and these really large, really cool concrete slides built into the side of the mountain. They did have some smaller ones that the kids can use by themselves.




This picture was not posed. These are the amazing men in my life! Aren't the handsome?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Introducing...

BabyK (check our newsletter for the full name...if you are not receiving our newsletter and want to, put your e-mail address in a comment here, and we'll send you on)

The little baby that is being knitted together in my tummy is a BOY!!!

BoyD and GirlM will have a baby brother on or around January 20th.

(Quick photo of me and the kids...you can't see BabyK very well, he's in there!)

BoyD is thrilled, Brandon is thrilled...we're all thrilled!

Now I must clean out BoyD's closet to make room for another kid, we must buy/build a bunk bed for BoyD's room, I need to make some boy bassinet bedding for our room. That is just to begin the list! And we are only in the states for another 7-8 weeks! Augh!

Praise God with us for this miracle. In the ultrasound, we got to see him open and close his mouth, we got to see him push up on his tippy toes, and we saw his little face so well. We also watched as his stomach and bladder filled and emptied! It was absolutely magical.

I had a hard time being on my back towards the end of it, as I am getting quite large, so I had to keep pausing the sonogram to sit up. We made it though, and it was worth it!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

New Women's Study

I've been wanting to post this for quite a while, but I'm a little occupied right now. I am forsaking some study prep time to get this blog out.

Today will be the second meeting of the new study that I am teaching: How to study the Bible. It is based on the book "Living by the Book" by Dr. Howard Hendricks and on the Precepts inductive Bible study method. I am having to adjust the material somewhat to fit the culture.

Last week we had 12 women come! It was fantastic! We had 8 women from our new church, 2 missionary wives, and Gladys (the lady who works for us) and Gladys' daughter. I am really curious to see how many of those women come back this week. They had homework, and everything! It is interesting, because at our last church (it was huge), I had on several occasions invited women from our Sunday school class to the women's Bible study in our home. Not one of them ever came. At our new church, (very small) I put out one invitation, and 8 women came! It was unreal!

I really enjoyed teaching it. I mean, teaching in Spanish is a little difficult...well...it can be very difficult where there is something that I want to say, and I'm just not sure how to say it, but the two American women are a huge help on so many levels.

Please pray for us! Please pray that I can be a good steward of the resources as I translate and adapt the material for Guatemala. Please pray that I would be humble and teachable. Sadly, my unintentional tendancy is to have an attitude of superiority. Not necessarily that I am superior to them, but that my methods, my education, my techniques, are the best, and the poor Guatemalans need to be enlightened. That is so incredibly foolish, and if you would please pray that the Lord would keep me from such arrogance as I teach this study.

Finally, pray that this would multiply. A goal of ours is that after this study, one (or more) of these women would have a desire to then teach this material to other women! It would be wonderful if I could just be a help to the next "set" of women who are teaching this.

Check back later today...we have some news to share with you!

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Day in The Life Of...

I get a lot of questions regarding what we do here. Specifically, what I do, as the wife of a missionary. I wanted to briefly post my schedule for today, just in case you were interested.

5:15am - BoyD wakes b/c his pull up leaked and his shirt and pants are wet.
5:17 alarm goes off
5:45 - I pull myself out of bed, head downstairs with a load of laundry.
- I put in the load of laundry. Thank the Lord for a washing machine.
- I make a cup of decaf coffee and head upstairs for a little alone time.
6:00am - BoyD is waiting at the top of the stairs for me, ready to wake up.
- I end up reading Mark 14 to him and Jeremiah chapter 3. (Not a very toddler friendly passage)
6:30 am - BabyM is "talking" in her crib. We go and get her up. The kids and I play with BoyD's dinosaurs, I get their clothes for the day picked out, and get my bag ready to go swim.
7:25am - Brandon is showered and ready and the fam heads downstairs for breakfast. Brandon makes oatmeal, I eat a quick bowl of cornflakes (sharing bites with the kids while the oatmeal cooks)
7:50 - I head out the door to go to the public sports complex. I swim for around 30 minutes and head back home.
8:50 - I get home, Brandon has dressed the kids, fed them breakfast, and cleaned up the kitchen. I have a super husband!
- I shower and get ready.
9:30 - The kids and I pick up the upstairs. We head downstairs and I hang the laundry on the line. I make the menu for next week and the grocery list.
10:30 - The kids and I go to the grocery store and to a big lots type place that is having a 40% off entire inventory sale. (I find crayola color wonder finger paints!!!! and Rite-aid pull ups!!!!)
12:20pm - we get home and I make lunch: corn tortillas, refried black beans, scrambles eggs.
1:30 - I put the kiddos down for their naps.
1:45 - I head back out to the Market (fresh fruits and veggies...open air market) to barter for our veggies, etc. I find BabyM a pair of knock-off hot pink converse for less $4
3:00 - I arrive at home, clean the kitchen of lunch dishes. (Too bad we don't have a dishwasher!) And begin the arduous process of washing the fruits and veggies. This consists of scrubbing each thing with a soapy brush, rinsing, placing in a large tub of bleach water, letting it sit for 25 minutes, and then rinsing with filtered water before laying it out to dry.
3:40 - The kiddos are up (I had to wake up BoyD, while BabyM had been laughing in her crib since 3:20!)
4:00 - The kiddos and I head downstairs, them to play in the sandbox, me to work more on the veggies.
4:30 - Brandon finishes with work a little early, helps me in the kitchen, and gets the kids ready to head back out. I pull in the clothes from the line.
5:00 - The whole family heads back to the big lots type store so that the kids can look at the toys (we didn't have time earlier, and I wanted Brandon to see what all they had) We purchased a plastic wisk - ours was broken - a bug collecting kit for BoyD, and 2 caramel KitKat bars - for movie night, all for less than $4.
6:00 - we get home and make a quick dinner of left overs. The kids eat great (even BabyM).
- we clean the kitchen while BoyD tries to find bugs in the house and BabyM pours her milk onto her cookie on the table.
6:45 - everybody heads upstairs to start bed time (little you tube video, take baths, pick up toys, read books, sing songs, say prayers, etc)
8:00 - I blog...sit down for the first time today, Brandon picks out a movie, makes popcorn.

Busy day! Good night everyone!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Just in case...

Just in case you like looking at my kids:

A little video of us getting ready to go to out. I pulled out the camera because they were just chatting away about what we were going to go do. Then, the camera comes out, and they get quiet! They are so funny.
video

Oh, and to explain, BoyD is calling me "dad" because he is pretending that I am the dad triceratops and he is Cera from The Land Before Time.



BabyM is wearing a shirt that my grandmother made for me when I was her age.

Yesterday was a pretty afternoon (meaning it wasn't raining which is a little rare) so I took the kiddos to the park that is inside the walls of our neighborhood. So, I took some pictures. 150 pictures actually! The following are a few of my favorites.


BabyM "smelling" the flowers.

BoyD just exploring and being BoyD.

My kids loving on each other. What isn't in the photo, is the hug that they were giving each other that ended on the grass like this. Look at BoyD's content face in that second photo. You also can't hear BabyM fussing while he is just so happy. It was really cute.

BabyM had a great time, and was sad when it was time to leave!