Yesterday was the big day! My parents picked up Katie and Noah around 9:15 and we headed down to Cobb Galleria. We got there in time to find the room for our first workshop and to go down one aisle of the show. The first row was mostly colleges (weird to see Shorter College as Shorter University now, my alma mater) but we found one very cool thing that is on my "to buy when we have the $ list." It is called the Picture Smart Bible. It goes through the main points of each book of the Bible in a scripted form that leads you through drawing a one page full drawing highlighting the main points. Different aspects of the picture show the main themes and also how it fits into the continuity of the story of Redemption and Jesus visible in every book, even the Old Testament. It is hard to explain, so go to their website here and check out the short video explaining it better than me.
By the time we finished looking at that booth, it was time for our first workshop.
I got kind of antsy waiting on the workshop to begin. Here is the description:
ADHD, Learning Disabilities, Dyslexia, Autism – The Brain Balance Approach to Addressing Learning and Behavioral Symptoms (Dr. Peter Scire/Brain Balance Achievement Centers) – Brain Balance is a unique, non medical, program based on the principles of Hemispheric Integration. At this workshop you will learn the science behind the Brain Balance Program as well as why this program can produce measurable, permanent results in a short period of time. You will also learn what the underlying cause of these symptoms is.
I was nervous about what it would be and if it would truly be something that could help us. We have been suspecting that Katie has ADD for a while now. We've done some different supplements and dietary changes, but with the content of her schoolwork getting more difficult, it has become more of a challenge to appropriately deal with.
I was completely blown away. First of all, it most DEFINITELY confirmed to us that Katie is 100% ADD. The parts where he talked about ADD and the tendencies, well... they could have been written about Katie...and some of the things we have seen since she has been born (sensitivity to sounds, low muscle tone) and other things (allergies, food aversions like she is with acid reflux). Some of those are not necessarily symptoms of ADD, but of a left brain deficit which seem to relate to ADD and a few other neurological disorders, the degree of the deficit affecting the seriousness of the "condition."
The end of the seminar was directed toward telling what their centers do for treating these conditions, so it was a bit of a promo for that, but there was a ton of research shared with new ideas of what the cause of these things could be. It made so much sense to us.
This is the book that the centers are kind of based on. The idea is that research has shown different amounts of brain activity on the right or left side, front or back of the brain in children with ADD, Autism, etc. And that figuring out what the "deficit" is and then "rehabilitating" those parts of the brain can make the dendrites grow, connect, and then those skills lacking will become completely "there" again or at least tons better than they were before, depending on the severity of the problem.
For example..kids with a reading learning disorder have three parts of the brain that have to work at the same time, in time together. The cerebellum is that lower base part of the brain that powers timing. If the cerebellum is not working properly, then the other parts cannot be in time together. So, doing gross motor physical activity will workout the cerebellum and improve that timing mechanism in the brain. This might be caused by lack of gross motor exercise on a regular basis.
This book, which we bought, includes a complete inventory to figure out exactly what deficits your child has and then ideas for how to start rehabilitating at home and in their daily routine. Since Katie is already in the best case scenario for academics and for being able to do all of this ourselves, in addition to not being an extreme case, we feel that doing the things in the book will be all we need to help her and perhaps get away from this altogether.
OKAY then. After that workshop we were so completely blown away and encouraged that we will be able to combat what's going on with Katie, with NO drugs and not tons of supplements either. It was time to get back to browsing the booths....
I have heard of Writing Strands from online groups and other people before, but never actually looked through it. This is also now on my "to buy" list but I will be purchasing it very soon since it can be found used for very reasonable prices (even though new it is only $20). I needed some good creative writing/composition ideas to balance out the heavy (but great) grammar from Abeka that we already use. This is a super neat program. It is so cool to go to a homeschool expo because the guy who told us about this was a college student working the booth with his mom, and he had used this writing program through his school years. Anyway, if you are interested in a writing program you should check this one out!
My next purchase was a set of four charts from Doorposts.
I had only intended to buy two of their charts, but they had another one I liked too and the show special was all four of their basic charts for just $2 more, so I got the full set. I also got to see a local friend who was working the booth. I am excited about using the blessings chart to balance out our regular discipline plan.
And, one more purchase rounded out the day. We were ready for a regular form of writing paper, narrow rule from Handwriting Without Tears. I just realized that this photo I got is not the same as the paper I actually got.
I also ordered two cursive handwriting workbooks since they were out of stock at the show, but I got them for no shipping costs, so that was great!
This is just a small taste of all the cool stuff we saw. We ran into two other local friends and browsed through some neat new products and got ideas for next year on social studies and science.
When we finished walking around we decided to go ahead and leave for lunch. I was super excited about eating at Maggiano's at Cumberland Mall across the road.
It was very good! The stuffed mushrooms appetizer was incredible. I made a mistake by not reading the fine print and ended up with a salad instead of pasta with my entree. Yeah, who does that?? Apparently my entree came with my choice of pasta, salad, or soup. WHAT?! Yeah, so I had chicken picatta with NO pasta! :( frown! But, on the bright side, I wasn't nearly as miserable as I usually am when I leave an italian restaurant, ha ha. It was probably way healthier for me. Corey had a giant plate of pasta that he couldn't finish but I couldn't have any of his because he had a shrimp/lobster dish.
After lunch we went to see the new movie, "Dinner for Schmucks."
DON'T waste your money!!!!!! It was not great. The clips are funny, but that's really the only stuff that is, and we had already seen them a million times. Oh, and we were surrounded by very annoying movie watchers. One guy was saying all the funny lines right before they were said in the movie (from all the clips I guess) and the couple right in front of us were laughing SOOOOO loud at EVERY SINGLE THING that happened...even stuff that wasn't very funny. And it wasn't just us thinking that...the people in front of THEM actually MOVED about 15 minutes into the movie! ha ha!
After the movie there was an Old Navy next door with 50% off clearance so I had to check it out. We got the kids a couple of things.
Then closer to home we stopped at Folks for a quick cheap dinner.
We ended up actually leaving before we ever ordered and just paid for our drinks. There was a HUGE table of very um...excited? (obnoxious) sorority sisters who were....loud, taking photos, videoing each other, making toasts...and generally just....annoying.
That was the end of our date day. I wasn't terribly hungry so we just came home for a snack dinner instead.
I am very grateful to have been able to go to the homeschool expo and especially for us being able to sit in on that workshop. I feel encouraged and enthusiastic about the rest of our school year!