Homeschool Curriculum & Supplements: Hints, Tips, Tricks…

Category: Funny Stuff

Merry Christmas from Timberdoodle! (Best of 2010 Bloopers)

From all of us at Timberdoodle, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! (And we hope you enjoy our best of 2010 Bloopers!)

Krissy’s Perfect Day, Her Social Story Movie – A Special Edition Vodcast

Let’s Make A Movie
Krissy loved videos of any sort, but was particularly fascinated with ones of herself. She could easily repeat phrases and replay scenes from movies, which we initially saw as a huge negative because we were spending hours trying to get her to quit obsessing with the movies long enough to focus on the tasks at hand. Eventually though, we decided to attempt to use this power for good – and that is where My Perfect Day comes in. (The video you see here is roughly a third of the original movie, which also included multiplication facts, etc.) We had seen a little bit on video social stories for children with autism, but not a lot. After this I would not hesitate to use this approach again!

Ground Rules
We only wanted to capture the very best of Krissy’s day, and to play it back as a standard for her to hold herself to. For instance at the time we were working on eating like a lady, so whenever we caught her doing a good job, we emphasized that. If Krissy was not doing as told, was engaging in a stim or was otherwise not at her best, we would simply turn of the camera and she would be instantly motivated to do better. We would often turn the LCD viewfinder towards her so she could see what we were filming, and getting that shut off was disappointing for her.

A Side Benefit
I determined to work with Krissy as much as possible on the production of the “movie” so that she could get an inside glimpse of how movies are made. I hoped that would demystify some of her favorite movies and their visual tricks. In fact, she selected her opening scene by trying to position the blankets as curtains. Once we understood what she was trying to do, we helped her implement it, and it turned out to be a very nice intro. She also looked at different effects with me before adamantly choosing the heart transition for the logo at the beginning!

Sound Effects
Krissy did her own music for the beginning and end of the movie, and we had her read a script to be overdubbed with the video. She did really well with this and it was very nice to see how far her reading had come!

Like many children with autism, Krissy benefited greatly from a morning exercise program, and had a chart she could check off as she ran laps. We were working with her on not loitering or whining, so emphasized that here. 🙂

Family Devotions
We really wanted Krissy to be a part of our family devotions in the morning, and she learned to sit quietly. (This was also an additional opportunity to work on a much-needed church skill!) After devotions, which often included watching a portion of a sermon on video, we would then each draw a name from our family prayer bucket and pray for that individual. Krissy was just learning the routine of passing out tags to each person when we filmed this portion of the movie, and she did an awesome job – totally showing off for the camera!

Lists and Timers
As soon as Krissy began to read, we found that the written word was often the best way to communicate effectively. Her auditory processing was just not as good as her visual processing, so it made sense to do what we could to play off her strengths. Hope developed a great morning list for her that allowed her to know what the expectations were, how much time she had to do each, and what her reward was at the end. In this case her reward was a break with her toys, and if she failed to get things done in time, she lost a minute of break. This worked very well for her, and we hoped would be instrumental in helping her gain a level of independence in these things.

Krissy was very messy, and we thought that one way to make her aware of the mess she was making was to have her be responsible to clean it up. Of course, she was not doing a spotless job, but it was a good start, and we used the movie to emphasis thoroughness and speed!

On the one hand there was nothing special about putting her clothes away. However, every minute she spent doing something productive was a minute not spent stimming or getting into trouble. We worked at keeping her busy, and jobs like this helped her be a productive member of the family.

Making Lunch
Krissy (obviously!) was not on the GFCF diet any more, and making her own meals was another step towards independence and being a helper. You may wonder at the odd menu – we wanted Krissy to eat a balanced meal, but didn’t want every meal to be a battle either. Our solution was to make up a chart with cards that showed all her options for protein, all her options for dairy, for grains… She was instructed to pick one item from each category at each meal. Once she had a particular item (bacon, for instance) that card was flipped over until the next day, leaving her to choose from the other options. That really worked well for us.

This portion of the movie was completely staged. Krissy was interested in other people and wanted to know their names, but had no idea how to ask. We thought introducing the script in video form (in the longer version we went through more of her favorite animals) would help her cement the concepts.

Bible Story Book
I read The Big Picture Story Bible with Krissy and loved it. The Big Picture Bible is so God-centered I felt I was learning too! Since Krissy was also into voice recordings, she and I would record it as we went. I would read much of it leaving words or phrases for her to read as we went. That was a neat project.

One of Krissy’s rewards for work well done was the possibility of earning money. She had lots of things she wanted and at this point was just starting to get the idea of purchasing items. Going to the bakery was a huge treat, and we were very happy with how well she did!

Watering The Plants
A necessary chore in the summer, and a great way to use up some excess energy! She was learning to water thoroughly and not miss plants.

Krissy was initially terrified of water, but grew to love it. Her swimming skills were great and she really could swim across the lake with us, not just along the shore as seen here.

Dinner Time
Another opportunity to emphasise table etiquette!

Krissy often had a hard time falling asleep, though melatonin really helped most nights. It was pretty awesome when she graduated from nights locked into her room for her own safety to being able to sleep on her mattress in the girls’ bedroom.

As with most children I’ve met with autism, Krissy was captivated with credits and if this was to be a real movie, it needed to have specific credits in it!

The Best Baby Gift? Crazy-Eyed Bird Rattle – Timberdoodle Homeschool Vodcast #0030

We fell in love with Tolo’s Crazy-Eyed Bird Rattle the first time we saw it; but it has been amazing to see how much babies actually enjoy and benefit from this rattle/teether/squeaker toy. From the 4-month-old featured in this video to the toddler we regularly care for, our Tolo Crazy-Eyed Bird gets a lot of loving!

Tolo Crazy-Eyed Bird

From Timberdoodle’s Online Store:
“Partially for baby, partially for you, the Crazy-Eyed Bird is a terrific toy appealing to a wide range of ages! Its lightweight, easy-to-grip body makes a perfect first rattle and its pliable tail is just what a teething baby craves…” Buy the Crazy-Eyed Bird online here, only $7.75 at the time of this post!
Also available as part of Timberdoodle’s Complete Core Curriculum for Babies!

CitiBlocs – Timberdoodle’s Homeschool Vodcast Special Edition

We’ve already demonstrated that Citiblocs are a terrifically simple construction set, but have you considered all the possibilities for deconstruction as well? In this video you’ll see that part of our warehouse team had a lot of fun demonstrating how Hot Rocketz can be used to knock down Citibloc towers! (Hint: This is a great family reunion or large group activity.) We apologize for the technical difficulties this week; thanks for bearing with us!

CitiBlocs Snake

From Our Store:

“If you agree with the sentiments of Albert Einstein, that “Everything should be made as simple as possible,” and you long to fill your home with uncomplicated toys that require no batteries and make no noise, other than the ear pleasing clatter of wood against wood, then you’re in for a treat…” Buy CitiBlocs Now Here!

#0014 – Mashoonga Swords

Foam swords? Really? We were skeptical too, until we saw them in use. Mashoongas are amazing foam sabers built around sturdy polycarbonate core tubes that are both lightweight and flexible. Not merely a fast-paced high-energy contest of attack and self-defense moves, Mashoonga’s game rules give it structure, differentiating it from mere horseplay. Mashoonga is a sport that will strengthen your child’s tactical skills, their eye-hand coordination, and build their stamina. When the rules are faithfully enforced Mashoonga is a friendly, safe, yet competitive contact game of ancient combat skills.

Ready to buy? Shop

Behind The Scenes

  • Talk about funny; shooting this video was absolutely hilarious. Some of us laughed ’til we cried!
  • Until we replayed the footage, no one could agree who’d won the first few rounds. Daniel did, but only by 1/2 a second.
  • The interviews were almost as fun as the contest. We now talk about Look of Death around the office.

Mashoonga Swords

From Our Store:

“Our Mashoonga Sabers Set, surprisingly enough, has been one of our hottest sellers at homeschool conferences. Is this indicative of the stress homeschooling parents feel or the pleasure they anticipate seeing their children off the couch and outside engaged in vigorous play? Or maybe it was because, as one fellow vendor remarked, “I’m tired of getting hit in the knees with a wooden sword…” Buy Mashoonga Now!

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