Book Review|The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

Book Review | The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

by Alan Bradley

“As I stood outside in Cow Lane, it occurred to me that Heaven must be a place where the library is open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

No … eight days a week.”

Unusually precocious eleven-year-old Flavia is the youngest of three sisters and entertains herself by pursing her passion, Chemistry. Her specially is poisons.

“If there is a thing I truly despise, it is being addressed as “dearie.” When I write my magnum opus, A Treatise Upon All Poison, and come to “Cyanide,” I am going to put under “Uses” the phrase “Particularly efficacious in the cure of those who call one ‘Dearie.” 

Set in the English countryside, 1950, the story plunges us into mystery, murder, that is.

Flavia is not one to ignore an interesting possibility. A dead Jacksnipe is found at the kitchen door, apparently a secret message to her father.  On a following day, in pre-dawn hours, Flavia goes down to the garden and finds a body amongst the cucumber plants. Before expiring, the victim whispers vale. Latin for goodbye.

“I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.” 

And so begins Flavia’s quest to pursue the solution to this mystery that has been dropped at her doorstep, so to speak. Twists, turns and raising of stakes propel us along with Flavia as she searches for answers and takes it upon herself to save the day and her father, who has been charged with murder.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is a delightful read. Clever Flavia is thoroughly entertaining. Not a deep, thought provoking read, but excellent light-hearted fun.

Flavia does occasionally express herself with colorful language.

Recommended.

I listened to the audio book version read by Jayne Entwistle and I believe her performance may have added a bit to my enjoyment. She’s a very good reader.

Grownups Need Coasters

My son has been nudging me, poking at me with his behavior and mess.

Every day he leaves a greasy frying pan full of egg bits, knowing he’s breaking the rules. Dirty dishes and clutter on the counter. When he walks through my house he doesn’t walk, he tromps. Almost yelling, he talks too loud. Way too loud. He is getting on my last nerve.

I know what he’s doing. You can count on one hand the weeks he has left in his mother’s house.

It was exciting, buying his own home. Three bedrooms, two baths, and property lines marked by barbed wire. There are woods. He has already found the perfect spot for a someday fort. Not the usual first home.

He has stayed here, at my place, to help with things out of necessity. Meantime, he has saved his money, for the most part. As a momma I confess, anytime saving is brought up I tell him he could save more. He can.

It bewilders him that he can easily afford this home he has signed on.

He decided early what he wanted in a house and this one is it. It’s funny. The location is highly desired, the property in demand, and yet there it sat for six months. Waiting on him. I used to go to Bible study at that house. I told him, “That’s a good house. Plenty of praying’s been going on there for years.”

Everything worked out perfectly. Inspections, papers, appraisal, homeowner checklists, maintenance charts, budget. All that is left is the waiting.

Now he follows me into my room and sits in the chair across from mine, his form settling down into it with an odd deflation.

“It’s a big house,” he says.

“Yes, it is.”

He sighs.

He looks at me with those eyes. They are a bit too shiny. I do not tear up. Mother’s hearts are elastic and hold in things that are of no use at the time. I can mull this over later, take this emotion out of its gilded locked-tight box and hold it close.

quote I do not tear up. Mother's hearts are elastic and hold in things that are of no use at the time.  from Grownups Need Coasters Donna Stone

I lift my head and firm my chin. In my packet of mother wisdom, I rummage around, searching for the words he needs to hear on this last leg of our present journey.

The heater kicks on, the warm air whooshing quiet dryness into the space between us.

“You know, your siblings will probably stay with you quite a bit.”

He nods.

I know this is not the same.

He sighs again. It will have to do. His spine bones straighten a bit, taller in the chair.

“I was online reading a list of what I need to buy,” he says, ”and it says I need coasters.” He frowns, “I’m not sure I need coasters.”

By seven months of age he had commandeered my coasters. They ended up in his mouth, gummed, sloppy with baby drool. In his hands, my coasters did more harm to tabletops than good. A favorite thing he liked to do was use them to scrape back and forth on the varnished wood. He would bang, bang, bang them against the furniture. The lovely sound made him pause, cocking his head to one side and crowing before he began again, a wonderful endless game.

A blink later, coasters were mini Frisbees, flying through the living room. You could put an eye out with one of those missiles. Too busy trying to keep him off the counter tops, I had little time to worry about the damage small rings of water could do. The coasters went into a drawer somewhere a long time ago.

We generally use bits of junk mail or magazines that are lying about, maybe a potholder. More than a few times, a clean sock from the laundry pile conveniently located on the couch. Strange how family habits take over and proper niceties are forgotten.

“Yes.” I affirm. “Grownups need coasters.”

“I’ll use a towels,” he says.

I grunt. “You don’t have any towels, either.”

“Yes I do,” he protests, pouting. “I have two.”

I laugh, missing him already, and take today.

We’ll think about coasters tomorrow.

In my packet of mother wisdom, I rummage around, searching for the words he needs to hear on this last leg of our present journey.

 

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Dealing with Change 3 Rs

barefoot on rocksChange is part of life.

Not all change is bad, but sometimes unwelcomed, unwanted change comes. Things shift. The ground beneath, once solid and firm, suddenly gives, swept away by strong wind. Off balance, we right ourselves only to find the need to re-position footholds again, stability lost in the effort to move ahead.

I don’t like that kind of change. Maybe deep inside pretension deludes me into thinking I finally got it all together this time. I’ve got this life thing figured out. That feeling rarely lasts very long because life has a way of providing reality checks.

As large as grief unexpected and last-straw small as a broken coffee cup, my steps can be shaken if enough change is thrust upon me at once. Floundering is an uncomfortable activity.

And hard adjustments to large losses can leave me weak-kneed and searching for a handhold.

Realign to God’s Word

In this place of uncertainty, solid footing can be found in His Word. His promises are many and always available, even in the smallest of small faith moments. I realign myself to the truth He speaks over me and I know that this too is part of a great plan, regardless of what limited human vision discerns in the moment. Comfort and peace are found here, in the quietness of seeking Him through the whispers of turning pages that contain life giving words.

Recenter in Jesus

I need to find my center, and my center needs to be Him. Centered in Christ, very little can move me. If I know what He says, and I know who I am, it’s a lot easier to do life. When distractions come, and most assuredly they do on a daily basis, I am too easily beset by worldly cares. Easily knocked off center. When that happens, balance is lost and at the very least I stumble. It happens. Time to recenter again. And again. Bigger troubles are sure to come and the practice of remaining in His presence is necessary if I am to hold onto the peace He offers.

Centered in Christ, little can move me. If I know what He says, and I know who I am, it’s a lot easier to do life. (Tweet This)

Rest in Him

Painful upheaval makes it difficult to maintain balance, much less rest. And yet there is a place to find true rest, even on the hardest shadowed days.

I am not alone. When darkness creeps up, and I cling to the very edge of the precipice with my toes, He is present.

I am not alone. When darkness creeps up, and I cling to the very edge of the precipice with my toes, He is present. (Tweet This)
When the fear of falling overtakes, I need to remember Who it is that catches me.

Realign.

Recenter.

Rest.

Proverbs 16:9, Romans 8, Matthew 6, Psalm 138

 

 

Kaylene Yoder

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Homeschooling and Afterschooling High Functioning Kids on the Spectrum: Resources Part Two

Homeschooling and Afterschooling High Functioning Kids on the SpectrumIn part one I touched on parenting tips, behavioral issues, life skills and what I found to be the most useful character based curriculum for teaching my kids.

Support Groups for Parents of Kids with ASD

An invaluable resource, one you cannot do without, is asperger or autism support groups. Parents can provide you with much wisdom, insight, and encouragement. You may find various groups geared towards raising and teaching kids on the spectrum online and locally. I recommend finding both a local group that has meetings and an online group to take advantage of the wide variety of input. Most, if not all, local groups also have an online presence or an email group.

In regards to online groups, some prefer email groups to Facebook groups for privacy reasons. I have made use of both types of online groups. Parents who have been in the trenches can help you in more ways than you can imagine. Adults on the spectrum, especially adults who are now raising and teaching their own children with ASD, can give a unique perspective and provide effective problem solving strategies that may not typically be obvious to others.

I do not know how I would have navigated the difficult and confusing seasons without the wonderful moms and dads who were willing to share their knowledge and support. There is a reason I put this first here. You will need people. Don’t neglect to find your tribe.

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You will need people. Don’t neglect to find your tribe. (Tweet This)

*If home educating, you may also wish to take advantage of your local homeschool support groups and activities. These can be found by doing internet searches or asking local home educating families.

Brain Training

There are a plethora of different products and services out there that fall under the category of Brain Training. Some people say these work, and others say save your money. The very first brain training program I ever heard of was Audiblox  when I first began home schooling.

Beware of companies that offer brain training after they give you reduced cost testing. If the tests are not accepted by assistive agencies as legitimate, you may not be receiving an accurate assessment. Pay careful attention to the wording of the test descriptions and do your homework. Cheap, ineffective testing isn’t worth anything in the long run. It may do more harm than good, masking problems or misdirecting from the real issues and proper treatment.

We used a computer game called Earobics for auditory discrimination. One of my sons said it really helped him. This was the first edition computer software for older kids and adults I found many, many years ago. The company now makes more products in the line used in schools in addition to home versions.  You can get Earobics here.

Occupational Therapy-Sensory Integration Therapy

A program called Learning Breakthrough that seemed to have good results for my child who used it. We could not use the ball included due to latex allergy, but found an alternative. We used a plastic whiffle ball covered with a sock hung from a string! This program was easy to use and required no teacher prep. It is a structured occupational therapy program for sensory integration advertised as being useful for people and children with asperger’s, high functioning autism, ADD and learning difficulties.

The DVD speaks directly to the person using the program. The activities are actually quite fun and enjoyable. In my opinion, the product is quite sturdy and the instructions given on the DVD are clear and easy to understand. You can watch a video sample here.

Take A Swing Therapeutic Swing Sets

Here are some pretty cool swing sets for kids and adult sized people that are portable! These can be packed in your car trunk and can be used indoors.

TakeASwing

I hope some of these resources will be of use to you, helping you teach your asperger’s or high functioning child with autism.

What about you? What have you found that worked for you?

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Goal Setting: What Does God Require?

Goal Setting What Does God RequireI love a good to do list. I actually make goals at a set aside time twice a year. Goals are good and necessary. Without a plan it is virtually impossible to succeed at any large task. But inevitably all my planning leads to more planning.

My eyes are bigger than my planner, and my pencil too fat to scribble in everything I try to fit into those neat little lines. There is no way to squeeze in everything I think I should or could be doing.  There is always a lack, a big hole in my life where I am failing. As soon as I get one area of my life under control I notice, or remember, something else that needs to be done. I am only scattered when I try to do too much. Somehow the idea of a fresh start deludes me into thinking that I am suddenly a woman of limitless energy and the amount of time contained in a day has become infinite.

to do list

Usually by the end of the first week of January my stress level is pretty high. I know I should be organized, scheduled, and have an exercise plan for the new year like everyone else. The truth is, I rarely even have the new calendar printed out yet.

 

 

I know I should be organized, scheduled, and have an exercise plan for the new year like everyone else. The truth is, I rarely even have the new calendar printed out yet. (Tweet This)

I think a great deal of my over planning and unrealistic goals comes from my fear of being inadequate. The tendency to compare my life, my goals, and my abilities to other people’s is a trap I regularly fall into. You would think I would have learned to avoid such a pitfall by now, but the prize looks so shiny. You know, all those filled in little checkboxes that are written proof I have done a good job. This may make me feel accomplished, but in truth all those activities can make me lose sight of what should be the priority.

Years ago God gave me a verse and I wrote this verse on my very first serious planner.

And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

When I become overwhelmed, which is quite often, these words anchor me. All the various goals I made for myself are not necessarily what God has required of me. His requirements are simple. They are not easy. They are infinitely practical. Every day, whether planned out or not, I can be sure that I will be given plenty of opportunities to fulfill my Lord’s requirements for the way I should conduct my life.

I really don’t need to go looking for other accomplishments to try and succeed at. This one verse, Micah 6:8, is a pretty tall order all on its own. I don’t need to over fill calendars, lists or organizers until I feel like I measure up to a self-imposed standard. I only need to stay yielded to the Holy Spirit and remember what is primary.

Keeping my eyes on three things: to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God gives me the focus I need to succeed in reaching the goal that God has for my life.

 Three things: to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God gives me the focus I need to succeed. (Tweet This)

Nothing else required.

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Celebrate: My Word for 2015

My word for this year is CELEBRATE.

Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! Psalm 150: 1-6 ESV

I’m fixing to get loud up in here.

I will celebrate the Lord’s goodness to me. His faithfulness and constant love. I will celebrate the results of pruning and pushing, until I can celebrate the actual thorn, keeping trust that He is faithful to work it out. One way or another. Knowing that He will provide me the faith to believe even when I don’t feel it at all and I say, “I just can’t even” not even able to complete articulating what it is I can’t.

Before, I have always earnestly chosen high sounding words that smacked of self-improvement. An action certainly commendable and always sorely needed in my case, but I do believe it is time for me to take a moment or a year to simply be. A time to celebrate.

butterflies-513825

I will celebrate my existence on this earth, and the fact of my well-earned age. Healthy indulgences will not be denied. Naps will be taken. Songs will be sung. Loudly.

Citing the rights endowed me by experience of years; I will try to not let protocol keep me from expressing what I think. Already I sometimes say things that I am not sure I really meant to. They pop out of my mouth, thoughts leaping out of my cranial cavity to dance across my tongue before they gleefully escape into the open to cavort. And get this; they are words that only mildly surprise me. Did I say that out loud?  And instead of being embarrassed, I laugh.

I have become more fully me and this I will celebrate with extreme stubbornness.

I will celebrate milestones reached and hurdles overcome. There’s been a bunch. There’s more ahead. Might as well practice celebrating now.

I will not ignore or deny the hard and terrible days that pound against flesh and crease the soul, leaving worn places, but in the midst I will search out and celebrate things no one else notices. Things that those blinded by high clouds think are inconsequential. I will turn the glass around and upside down to get a clearer view of truth. The smallest hill is a mountain when you have to crawl on your hands and knees. Every step forward deserves recognition.

On the darkest of days and nights, I will determine to remember and celebrate that He celebrates me, imparting life where there was none, reviving and restoring what was lost.

And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate. Luke 15:23-24 ESV

I will celebrate all these gifts and more.

RedHatDonna

What about you? What will you celebrate?

 

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Pray for Me

I have been thinking a great deal about what direction I want to go with my writing, my ministry, my life. Words to me are a necessary as breath. When my hands don’t work I speak, and when I can’t speak or move, songs run themselves through my mind. Lyrics and melody of the original kind.

Surely this is my life calling.

It is who I am. A writer.

Now I am asking myself why I write and who am I writing for?

I write because we hurt. I write for you.

In my very first adult writing class my teacher told me, “You should write for troubled youth.” I didn’t know what to do with that. I didn’t think I was really cut out for teen ministry. Not any specific ministry, really.  Mostly I encourage people without considering their outsides or position. Everybody’s been through stuff. I’ve been through stuff.

My heart’s desire has been to give shelter, a safe place, and to have that for myself as well. I need to nurture, to encourage and lift up even while I am nothing but a cripple, cobbled by my own bondage, never quite able to permanently shed the constricting cords of the past.

I pray. Give hugs. Write prayers for people. Pen bad poetry and better stories to point the way. Sing. Try to tell the truth. Share sorrow.

Life has concentrated me until this is all I can do. What will He fashion from this frailty? What will He do with me, a broken girl?

I have written a book. Some will not see what is meant only for the heart it was intended for. The message is gentle, because the girl it is written for will not be harshly led. She is one of the fragile souls. I have wrapped truth in a story for her, only her.

Now to find a way to set the words out, hoping they find home, the place where they were always meant to rest. The heart of every girl who needs to hear these specific words of comfort.

Pray for me.

You Are Beloved

It was getting close to bedtime and I prayed with my teen daughter. I asked God to bless her and thanked Him for her. Then I stopped talking and gave the presence of the Holy Spirit room.

When the word came it was fresh even though the words on my lips were as constant and familiar to her as breath.

I cupped her face with both my hands, looking her in the eye. I held her there for a heartbeat before I spoke.

You are His Beloved.

There are things we know to be true with our whole being, but over time we lose clarity. Like the view through a recently cleaned pane of glass on a sunny blue sky day, all of a sudden, we are made newly aware of what we knew to be there all the time. There are words, and then there are Words. Truth comes in a rush and we are once again amazed.

You are His Beloved.

All day, every day, feedback and half-truths tell us what we should be. It is a constant assault. This is not a thing only the young among us struggle against. Knowing we are less-than, we recognize our lack. Faced with this reality, we strive to escape our faulty standing, and forget the larger truth of who we are. Who He says we are.

You are worth everything He paid for you.
heartandcross

You are worth everything He paid for you. (Tweet This)

The messed up, less than, never to be perfect mess that you are. Even now, when you have failed, failed,failed. Even then, before you knew Him, you were worth everything He paid for you. You still are. Now and then, forever.

You are His Beloved.

My arm around her, I began to sing.

I am His and He is mine
A forever love outlasting time
Jesus loves me He’s my destiny
Jesus loves me He is my destiny

I stopped and asked her, “Do you remember this song?”

It was her baptism song. The song I wrote after she made her profession of faith. Then we sang the song together, she and I. Because it is my song, too.

And the song of all who choose to sing.

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Giving Thanks: Searching the Storm Clouds for Silver

This week I have had several conversations with friends about going through hard seasons. We all have our share. I hesitated to spill words here, for fear of being misunderstood, named melancholy. That is not where I am. I write these words to bring honesty and an attempted measure of comfort. At times it is good to speak of our oh-so-common pain and poorly hidden struggles.

There are times when darkness overwhelms.
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Even though we assuredly know we are blessed, untangling threads of silver from the storm clouds remains elusive. (Tweet This)

I used to say that times are hard but at least . . . and would then consider those things and events that were not, as if comparing tragedy to tragedy would lighten the load.

I still do this and there is a coping value in such a habit, but today I choose to face head on the things here and now. The pain that demands to be felt and not only touched but gripped. There is much to be thankful for in the midst of the human condition we so often find ourselves.

When everything moves off center, regaining a sure footing is a dance too clumsy to perform well. There is a profound lack of grace in the middle of stumbling over a thing so large its impact has shifted your entire world. When this happens, and it will, it is impossible to catch yourself. The ground is hard and strewn with half-forgotten discards that make for a rocky landing. We bruise. We bleed.

But we cannot catch ourselves, even when we realize the hard fall is coming.

I am thankful for the God Who Catches Me.

Today I am thankful for not knowing. For the should have, could have, would haves, the guilt and horrible realization that seizes me as I gape at the depth of my inadequacy. Facing our own lack is a rude and exquisitely singular pain. But I believe in a God who reveals.

The revelation here is that I will never truly be enough or do enough. What arrogance to think I was ever intended to be.

I give thanks for the God Who is Enough.

I am thankful for the desert places. I have been to the place where I have given and given, expecting a return. It did not come. There was a time I would become upset with those who did not respond in kind, not understanding that people cannot give what they do not possess and no amount of striving on my part will cause my need for reciprocity to be fulfilled. That yesterday seems so long ago from the here and now moment my feet are entrenched in today.

I have learned what it is to dwell in desert places, to have someone hold my heart in their hand without even an inkling of understanding what that means. Yes, there is sorrow in the knowledge that this love will not be returned, but there is an unfathomable greatness in knowing that without requital I would walk, with no hesitation, through fire for this one.
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It is in the act of giving, not receiving, that love comes to rest in its true purpose. (Tweet This)

Today I am thankful for the power of love that comes only from God. It pours itself out, watering this desert, and life blooms.

I am thankful for the God Who Fits His Vessels.

I have tried to be thankful through physical pain. This is one of my large failures. I detest measuring my time and energy in small, careful steps when my nature wants to run and dance headlong into adventure. But here I am, creeping along, sweating in a most unladylike manner and uttering words that are equally unladylike. I do not like this weakness, this dependency, this failure. I am not the owner of an angelic countenance and no gentle speech regarding my body’s suffering flows from my lips. My days are filled with physical pain and I bite against the restriction.

Any advice on what the grand meaning of this thorn may be will not be welcomed as long as I remain in this frame of mind. I much prefer being ministered to with soft, encouraging words accompanied by something chocolate and gooey delivered to my door. Yet I am thankful for today’s small victories.There will be an end to difficult times, of this I am sure. My thoughts skip over all the in-betweens.

I am profoundly thankful for the faith and hope that provides me courage to continue on.

I am thankful for the God Who is My God.

Flower with Quote Thankful for the Power

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This post is part of the Thankful for God’s Gifts Blog Hop. Please be sure to stop by the other participants listed below.

11/17/14 Loving Christ Ministries: Thankful In Grief www.lovingchristministries.com
11/18/14 Keeper Ministries: The Barren Woman a Joyful Mother – God’s Perfect Gift www.KeeperMinistries.com
11/19/14 Teena Myers Blog: A Greater Gift http://teenalmyers.com/blog/
11/20/14 Live, Love, Laugh, Post: 7 Reasons I Am Thankful For God http://livelaughlovepost.com
11/21/14 The Green Tomato Experience: To Serve and Capture http://www.thegreentomatoexperience.com/
11/22/14 Donna Stone Blog, Giving Thanks: Searching the Storm Clouds for Silver http://donnastone.me/
11/24/14 Sister We Thrive: Sister, given any thought to being thankful? Well, I have. http://www.lindsyb.com/#!blog/c17x6
11/25/14 Completely Committed Blog: One Grateful Mom http://completelycommittedgirl.blogspot.ca
11/26/14 The Kangacoo Blog Grateful People Share, Daily Bread is Enough www.kangacoo.com/kanga-blog

godsgiftsbloghop

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Homeschooling and Afterschooling High Functioning Kids on the Spectrum: My Short List of Resources Part One

There is no one size fits all approach to teaching high functioning kids on the spectrum, but I can tell you what has worked for us. Every curriculum needs adjusting, and every child has his or her own set of gifts, talents and needs. Add in the parent teacher’s preferred teaching style, belief system and materials available and every situation will be unique. I am listing a few resources I feel are of benefit to every parent teacher who has students on the high functioning end of the spectrum. Many of these apply in general to child rearing and training as well.

I am limiting my suggestions here, but keep in mind the best teachers are the ones who never stop searching for answers. It’s kind of mandatory, this flexible parenting thing. Kids have a way of changing on us as soon as we think we have stuff figured out.

How Can I Teach Them if I Can’t Even Control Their Behavior?

Parent and caregivers often spend a great deal of energy trying to control unwanted behavior. A better path, in my way of thinking, is to attempt changing the behavior by addressing the heart and motivation.

When there is a struggle, my first suggestion in teaching any child is to examine your current course of action. Is there another, better way to get the desired result? You could try Lori Petro’s Teach Through Love Teachable Moments youtube videos as a quick jumpstart. I have not deeply examined every single concept she has presented, but I have found that I agree with her general approach. She is a parent with Asperger’s raising a child with Asperger’s. These videos give some wonderful insights that can be applied by any parent or caregiver in their efforts to guide children.

The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children by Ross W. Greene PhD is an often recommended book. If you have difficulty in understanding or managing meltdowns or angry behavior, the ideas in this book may help.

different

Considering the way your child with AS reasons out problems and approaches life can go a long way towards reaching them. If you can’t reach them, you can’t teach them. (Tweet This)

What About Life Skills?

Another great common sense resource is the book How to Teach Life Skills to Kids with Autism or Asperger’s by Jennifer Mcllwee Myers. This is an easy to read book that I have found to be immensely practical and straight forward. The author of this book is on the spectrum and brings valuable perspective to the subject at hand.

What is the Best Curriculum?

It depends. There are simply too many variables. There is no such thing as a one size fits all program for any student. Each child has their own preferred learning style, capabilities, needs, and strengths. I have not used every curriculum out there on the market, even if it seems like I must have from the amount of materials collected and tried over the years!

What Worked Best for You?

My all-time favorite and most effective curriculum for our specific needs was KONOS. I used the original KONOS three volume set designed for K-8th and these are the books I am referring to. There are other KONOS products but I have not reviewed them so I am sticking to what I know here. We did not do every unit in every book. KONOS is a Christian homeschool unit study program.

Why KONOS? For us, the repetition of a unit organized around a character trait was exactly what was needed. Honestly, I muddled through at the beginning but quickly came to love the results. It truly did feel like a gift from heaven. KONOS integrates character training and academics in a hands-on structured way. I have used and perused a lot of curriculum in 20 plus years. KONOS is the only one that unified the wide variety of issues, academics, and skills I wanted to address.

We studied units that contained practical skills, speech making, literature, poetry, emotions, cooking, cooperative projects and much, much more all based around a specific character trait as a spring board. I started with Courage and we completed the entire unit, then moved on to Determination, Cooperation, and Self-Control. After we’d gotten through these, I did not do another entire BIG unit. Instead we would pick and choose from smaller units within the main category. We used KONOS for three consecutive years, including summers, and occasionally after that.

KONOS is a bit of work to implement for the teacher, but there are supports. KONOS covers all academic subjects except math. You may use the units as stand-alone units of study, adjusting them as you see fit. KONOS is also used for many co-ops. Although intended for use with two or more children, you can use it for an only child but will need to tweak the curriculum. This curriculum is very adjustable and can be used for a lighter or a more in-depth study.

KONOS is effective because it is a structured hands-on curriculum that repeats a core value for the length of the unit using various methods of teaching. It is NOT a social skills curriculum or a curriculum specifically designed for kids on the spectrum, but it sure did work well for us. Your child will need additional repetition for life skills and certain issues.

This is not THE ONE curriculum; it is only my personal favorite. It is not my favorite to prepare, but it is my favorite to actually teach and do.

KONOS has been around a lot longer than I’ve been homeschooling. That’s a long time, mommas.

You can find more information on the specifics of this curriculum at KONOS.com.

Today’s Parting Word on Teaching High Functioning Kids with ASD

Do not try to make every moment a serious teaching lesson.

Yes, some kids need every.single.thing taught to them in excruciating detail with grueling repetition, but they also need you, just you. Spend down time with them. (Tweet This)
Do the fun or interesting things that they are into. Talk to them. Your child needs to know you respect and enjoy him or her as a person. And you need to take joy in being mom to an awesome kid.

Do you have a favorite resource or bit of wisdom to share? Please comment!