Wednesday, April 3, 2013

April is "Autism Awareness" month

Here is a copy of what I posted on Facebook regarding autism awareness:

I wouldn't consider reading a cute little "autism awareness" slogan as truly being aware. There's so much more to it than knowing that these kids have language delays, social delays, and sensory issues.

Are you aware that having a child with autism means that I sometimes lie awake at night, my stomach in knots, wondering how things are going to be for my son when he's grown? He's 11...I only have a few more years before he's legally an adult. Will I be able to teach him enough, will he be able to *learn* enough, to function successfully on his own?

Are you aware that my heart breaks when I see little boys hanging out together, knowing that even though my son is as friendly as they come, he doesn't have the joy, the closeness, the comradery that comes along with having a best friend?

Are you aware that it tears me up to realize that maybe he would be doing even better if only I had been trying harder? My worst nightmare is to let him down, to fail him.

Are you aware that I am beyond thrilled that he still holds my hand in public? He has no idea that its not cool to hold your mom's hand and I love it! I love that I still get to give him hugs and kisses any time I want!

Are you aware that my heart just about bursts with pride when I hear my sweet boy say, "I did it, Mommy! I tried a bite of new food and I liked it!" (Even though he refuses to eat any more of it.) The little accomplishments feel so huge.

Are you aware that I love my son more than life itself?

He may have autism, but he is not autism. He is special, he is beautiful, he is Cade.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Mosaic Reviews--We Choose Virtues

I had the awesome opportunity to review a product called We Choose Virtues. You know what virtues are, right?  A virtue is "moral excellence and righteousness; goodness."  Honesty, patience, obedience, forgiveness, diligence, contentment, perseverance, etc.  Those good character qualities that we all need.  That's right...all of us, not just our children!

This is the idea behind WCV: 
Let's be honest, instilling virtues in kids is hard work! 
But can it be fun too?  We think so. In fact, there's no better way to learn. 
So We Choose Virtues brings memorable catchphrases, endearing characters, and just plain fun to 

Simply Inspire Character that Lasts. 
I was sent a set of Virtue Flash Cards, a Parent Card, a Family Character Assessment,  a Teacher's Handbook (PDF), Butterfly Award (PDF), and Coloring Book (PDF).  *Now here is where I'd like to let you know that this is not my first time hearing of WCV.  I've bought from them in the past. :-)  As a matter of fact, I currently own, and have hanging on a wall in my dining room, the Kids Virtue Poster.  This poster has been invaluable!  I love being able to direct my children over to the wall and have them look up the virtue that they're needing "help" with at the moment!  I also own the Virtue Clues cards--these are absolutely perfect for carrying in my purse and pulling out as needed!

The Family Character Assessment lists all 12 virtues and allows your children to rate themselves (you can rate them, as well--it's interesting to compare the results!) The Teacher's Handbooks includes 4 simple steps to teaching virtues.  The Butterfly Award can be printed as often as needed and is to honor your child when you feel they have been succeeding at a particular virtue.  To be honest, we haven't used this award.  Yet!  I've been reinforcing virtues and encouraging them daily.  I think this award will make them feel accomplished and have pride in their efforts.

I decided to start with "I am Forgiving" since that is the parent card I received.  Each parent card has a cute little "virtue kid" on the front along with a positive statement and a positive "I am not" statement.  It also has a scripture listed (you can choose from NIV or KJ).  Side note--you can also choose to receive cards without scripture if you want to use these in a secular setting.  The back of the card is jam packed with great stuff...a virtue user challenge, what to say after "I'm sorry," teachable moments ideas.  It also has a short story about the virtue kid.  While I was reading the story to my kids, they were able to color the corresponding coloring sheet that I printed out for them.  This kept them busy but focused as we discussed the virtue and talked about how it relates to us in our day to day life.
The Virtue Flash Cards are similar to the Parent Cards.  They don't have all the extra stuff that the parent cards have on the back, but they have the basics...the positive statements and the scripture.  There are game ideas that can help with memorizing these.  

We Choose Virtues has several kits available for purchase, including a classroom kit, home school kit, church kit, family kit and others.  You can also purchase each item individually.  Prices range from free (Yes, free!  Memory Verses, Bible Heroes and Truths; Family Character Assessment) to $244.99 (Classroom Deluxe Kit).

I highly recommend this curriculum, not only to homeschoolers, but to anyone with kids.  Like I said, character development is something that we all need to work on.  We Choose Virtues makes it fun and meaningful!  As an added bonus, I have a couple of coupon codes for you!  (They cannot be combined.)

VIRTUE15 is good for 15% off any order and is a lifetime code that does not expire.

HOME20 is for the Homeschool Kit and is good until the end of April 2013.