Monday, October 21, 2013

Review: God's World News

For our seventh grade year, we've been putting more of a focus on current events with Mackenzie.  She's been digging through the news paper each week trying to find articles that she could understand and give a report about. However, the pickings have been slim. Either they have been over her head or, in my opinion, very one sided. Either way. It wasn't working for us. So we were quite pleased to be giving the opportunity to review Gods World News, Top Story Edition for middle schoolers.

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About God's World News

God's World News strives to provide news and interesting information to children at their level, and from a biblical standpoint. They use todays current events and cover subjects such as science, social studies, religion, geography, and more. There is something for every area of your curriculum. With magazines for pre-k through adult, there is also something for every student.

And you get more than just a news magazine. Their online content is extensive and filled with things that would make great supplements to your student's learning.  With our Top Story subscription, we had access to biographies, quizzes to test comprehension, fun lessons to compliment the current issue, and a website just for the students that further extends the learning.

Our Experience

We received a full year subscription to the Top Story Middle School edition.  The subscription includes 10 full color issues with one issue every month except December and May. Each issue is 32 pages long and is printed in full color. Each issue contains age appropriate articles, editorials, news graphics that explain difficult concepts, puzzles, Map It activities, editorial cartoons, and more. We also received a huge 20" x 30" world map that corresponds with the locator maps inside the magazine. I receive an email every week, with answer keys to the quizzes and puzzles along with easy access to the web content.

We have been primarily been using the magazine as her source for Mackenzie's current event assignments and it has been working beautifully!!!  The articles are short, informative, and age appropriate. The content is varied. She's done reports on everything from government data collection to border patrol to Syria to robots.  And she is really enjoying them.  The articles have been very straight forward making it easy for her to outline them and write her report. She's actually enjoying her current event assignments now.  No more stress!  You can read a sample issue HERE.

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The list of online biographies is quite extensive and I've been able to utilize those to supplement our science and history studies, as well. She's read about the Egyptian Pharaohs, Gregor Mendel, and Isaac Newton. I'm currently going through the list of biographies and matching them up with our scope and sequence. Many of them will find their way into our future lessons.  Check out a sample HERE.

I am also finding that the articles and biographies make wonderful source texts for our writing curriculum.  This has been very helpful when she needs extra practice on certain writing techniques. And now I don't have to go digging for appropriate material. It's all at my finger tips.

Each issue also comes with at least two, sometimes more, additional lessons that you can access online. Again the topics are varied, every thing from mummies to cancer to baseball to life in other countries. The lessons include an informative article, puzzles, quizzes, and fun assignments. You can see a sample  HERE.

And guess what else you get with your subscription? Online access to all levels. Including back issues. This is very handy if you have a family member who tends to toss things into the trash, like current GWN issues, without looking at them first. (You know who you are!! lol)

I hate reading on the computer but I don't mind it on the iPad. (Weird, right? lol)  So I was very happy to see that they loaded easily onto my  iBooks app to make my life easier. And there's even an app for the adult version of God's World News.  And it's free with your subscription.

I am so pleased with this product. All I was expecting was a news magazine that would help us with our current events studies and we got so much more. We are really enjoying this magazine and all of it's extras. This is something I plan on continuing to subscribe to in the future. In fact, I'm planning on subscribing to the kindergarten issue for my little one.  We just love this magazine!!!!



Age Range: preschool through adult

Pricing: $28 for a 10 month subscription



Saturday, October 12, 2013

What are Ketones....

and why do us Type 1 Parents (T1Ps) freak out about them?

If you've ever read my blog or Facebook page, you might have noticed that I am less than happy when I find out that one of my girls is spilling ketones.  And chances are, unless you're a T1P yourself, you probably have no clue what I'm talking about.

Never fear, today I'm going to fill you in.

What Are Ketones???

When a body is unable to burn glucose it burns fat and this produces a chemical called ketones. Ketones are generally produced when too little insulin is produced for the amount of glucose in the body. So your body burns fat to create energy instead, thus producing the acid ketones.

Why is This Bad?

Burning fat sounds awesome right??? Well in a diabetic it can lead to Diabetic Ketoacidois (DKA) and that is one of the two big emergencies that type 1 diabetics face. (The other is hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar.)

DKA occurs when ketones build up due to a lack of insulin. The ketones will start spilling into the
urine and if the body still doesn't get enough insulin that it needs then it can lead to a diabetic coma or death.

What are the Symptoms of DKA?

*Usually  high blood sugars. 

Usually. Kayleigh is more prone to spill ketones      than Mackenzie and her blood  sugar is usually   within a normal (for her) range when this happens.

That's diabetes for you. It's never predictable. You can certainly make educated and informed decisions regarding D-Care but you have to be prepared to be wrong. Because diabetes does not care about the "rules". It can be something different every single day and for every single person with diabetes.

*Extreme thirst and frequent urination.

Caused, of course, by the high blood sugars.

*Higher Levels of Ketones in the Urine.

You can check this using a urine test or blood test. The blood test is more accurate because it's up-to-date information. The urine test is a couple of hours behind. Usually if the ketones are 1 mmol/L or less it's pretty easy to treat by pushing water and upping their insulin a bit. But it's a balancing because if they're blood sugars are within range or low you cannot safely give more insulin because you'll drop them low and that's a different kind of diabetes scare.

All of those symptoms can lead to...

*Stomach pain, vomiting, nausea, irritability, fruity smelling breath. 

My girls have also complained of blurry vision and headaches. Usually the time you hit this symptoms your ketone levels are moderate, somewhere between 1 & 3 mmol/L.

Treatment here definitely requires a big insulin push. If they're blood sugar is high enough, that is. If not you can try to give them food or drink to raise their sugar so you can give them the insulin.

Once you hit the 3 mmol/L mark you spilling high ketones, and this is when you might see...

*Labored breathing

*Extreme weakness/exhaustion

*Eventually unconsciousness.

Now you've reached DKA territory and it's mostly likely time to get them to the doctor for treatment.

Ketones in our World

I've, unfortunately, experienced my fair share of ketones. Both girls tend to develop them when they're not feeling well. It's not uncommon for ketones to develop when there's illness involved.

Mackenzie's ketones were 2.6 at diagnosis. Her extreme weight loss in the months prior were a big clue to that. She's so fortunate that she wasn't DKA with as long as she went undiagnosed. God was watching over her.

Kayleigh tends to spill them quite easily and she does it with her blood sugar in range which makes
treating them very difficult. She's had many random and unexplained periods where she vomits for 24 hours and her ketones shoot up. She never has any other symptoms of illness, just the vomiting, and perfect blood sugars. You can imagine that treating the ketones with insulin is next impossible when you can't give her food to raise her glucose because she can't hold anything down.

So far the trick has been to get her to sleep and get her to drink some juice while she's sleeping or suck on a lollipop. Eventually the blood sugar goes up enough where I can give insulin and that seems to knock the ketones down quite quickly.

Still, she gave us quite a scare once with 3.3 ketones. Thankfully I was able to give her insulin at the point and they dropped quickly. We were packing up her bag to take her to the hospital so she got lucky.

Type 1 Awareness

You might have noticed that a lot of the symptoms of DKA are also the symptoms that you might have type 1 diabetes. That's because a lot of the time people are near, if not in, DKA when they are diagnosed. Why?

Because there is not remotely enough awareness about type 1 diabetes out there. More people die from complications from diabetes (type 1 and 2) than from breast cancer and aids combined but still nobody is aware of the symptoms.

I go to my annual physical and get a breast examine every single time. But never once did our pediatrician check my girls for diabetes. Even though Mackenzie had the symptoms for over a year. It didn't even occur to the doctor to check because, even in the medical field, there isn't enough awareness about type 1 diabetes. A simple, in-office, finger prick at every child's physical could go a long way to saving a child's life.

Next month is American Diabetes Month and, until my girls were diagnosed, I'd never heard anything about it. Even now, I only hear about it from other people affected by diabetes. It is my my prayer that this is the year that I see 1/3 of the amount of diabetes ribbons as I do for cancer. Just 1/3 of the amount would go a long way to saving a lot of lives. Once day I hope to see just as many because the awareness is desperately need.


Other posts of interest...

S is for Symptoms - The symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes
U is for Understand - The differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Review: Fundanoodle

 photo fundanoodlelogo_zps4636896c.pngWe're knee deep in kindergarten around here. And part of kindergarten is learning to write, much to Kayleigh's dismay. She's not doing a bad job with her capital letters, but the lowercase letters have been given her a run for her money.

When the chance to review I Can Build Lower Case Letters by Fundanoodle arrived, I was super excited.

About Fundanoodle

Fundanoodle strives to help parents and teachers achieve educational readiness for their children. They offer a variety of fun learning systems to aid your students in motor coordination, eye/hand coordination, problem solving, and more.

Our Experience

We received the I Can Build Lower Case Letters learning system. The system included a magnetic white board with dry erase marker, set of 17 Magnastix magnetic pieces, six gross motor cards, six-sided die, and the I Can Write Lower Case! writing tablet.

I cannot speak highly enough about the quality of these products. Every last item was sturdy and extremely well made. They will last for years. These items might just be the sturdiest product for children that I've ever owned. I'm am not the slightest bit concerned that the board will come apart or the magnets will peel off the backing anytime soon. They are phenomenally made.

The company recommends starting the lessons with a gross motor activity to help prepare the student for writing. Kayleigh has a grand old time playing a game with the gross motor cards. Each card is numbered and has a different animal for the student to act like.  Kayleigh rolls the dice and that acts out the card with the corresponding number. With only six cards it can get repetitive.  I wouldn't mind seeing the company expand the cards to include more. But you can even make additional cards with your computer if your student doesn't like that much repetition. Lots of fun!

Next Kayleigh and I would work on forming the letters with the Magnastix on the white board. The top and the bottom of the white board are painted green and red, respectively.  The green is a reminder to "Go" for letters that start at the top of the green line. The red means "Stop" since most letters will stop at the red line.

We followed the order set forth in the writing tablet, which are sequenced according to a child's development of visual and motor skills. I'd first build the letter on the board for her, using the instructions from the writing tablet, then I'd have Kayleigh build it herself.  Max the Monkey has specific terminology on how to form each letter. Things like: zip (straight line) down/across/up, zoom (diagonal) up/down/in, buzz (curve) up/around, etc. These instructions were really fun for Kayleigh to learn and they really helped her remember how to form the letters.

After working on the white board, we'd work in the writing tablet.  The writing tablet features the characters Max and Alphie who demonstrate and encourage the student to write the letters correctly. Each page offers the "Go/Stop" visual cues and a spot to put a reward sticker upon completion. My only issue with the writing tablet is that it is a lot of writing on each page, five lines worth, which can intimidate young learners. It did overwhelm Kayleigh.

I tried to have Kayleigh just work on one line per day but she really wanted that sticker ASAP so she insisted on doing the whole thing at once. I also told her she only needed to complete two lines to earn the sticker but she then insisted on doing them all anyway because she didn't want to "cheat." lol I guess those stickers are doing a great job at motivating her.

All-in-all Kayleigh really likes it. On days when we didn't do handwriting, she would ask about it. That rarely happens with Kayleigh so that is high praise. It's definitely a quality product and fun way to learn to write letters.



Age Range: K-1st

Price: $29.99



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