Monday, August 30, 2010

TOS Review: Peterson Directed Handwriting

Hypotonia is a state of low muscle tone (the amount of tension or resistance to movement in a muscle), often involving reduced muscle strength. (from Wikipedia)

Hypotonia was not something I had ever heard of before I had Music Man. It is something he has struggled with every single day of his life. From eating issues to walking and everything in between, Music Man has had to work at it. Hard. We have to train his muscles to do the things that most people take for granted. Handwriting is probably one of the most difficult challenges he faces.

If you know anything about Music Man, you know he loves to sing and dance - anything with rhythm gets him excited, hence his pseudonym. Any time I need him to really learn something (say my cell phone number, for instance) I put it to music. Sometime we make up a rhyme or a little chant. We have even added on to songs/chants/rhymes we already know.

Peterson Directed Handwriting seems to be written just for Music Man. There is rhythm. There is movement. There is repetition and routine - all things Music Man likes and thrives with. Peterson Directed Handwriting is a program much unlike any other handwriting program I have ever seen. It is unique in that it utilizes several senses at once incorporating hearing, moving, and speaking. It stresses mastery of basic strokes, a concept I have not found in other programs. The first day using it, just implementing a different way of holding the pencil and paper, made a huge difference in how Music Man made a basic stroke. Each basic stroke has a name and the name is what is chanted while actually making the stroke. We've all heard the cliche' it's just like riding a bike. Using multiple senses, the rhythm of this program trains the brain to do something (write) without having to think about forming the letters. He even chants the cute rhyme included to remind you how to hold the pencil.

Over and over you will see in the curriculum notes to the teacher NOT to allow the student to trace the letters with a pencil. In addition to the curriculum there are many items related to teaching handwriting on the website that are available free of charge to anyone who is interested. One I found particularly helpful was a presentation about why we as teachers should not allow children to trace letters with a pencil or crayon.

Peterson's 15-minutes-a-day philosophy also keeps my highly distracted ready to conquer the world and get on with it kids engaged just long enough they don't get bored. It is an easy program to implement once you understand the method for teaching. The entire program and lesson plans are even available online for viewing so you can see for yourself the benefits of the program!

There are several eBooks in the series available on the website as well as printed material. Materials are available for all ages ranges including Pre-K and Kindergarten, First Grade, Second Grade, Third Grade and Fourth Grade and Up. There are many additional resources available including online training sessions, pencils, wall charts, fonts and complete Homeschool Handwriting Kits! We specifically used the Grade One Print eBook which retails for $19.99 and allows you to print indefinitely from your computer.

I thoroughly enjoyed this review and plan to continue using Peterson as our curriculum this year. Music Man has made some great progress over the last month and I am confident he will continue to!

As a member of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew, I received this product free of charge  for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Bathtime with the Daddy-Long-Legs

Pholcus phalangioides (Daddy Long Legs)

Farm Boy: There's a spider!!! A Daddy-Long-Legs!
Music Man: That's okay, (Farm Boy) Daddy will get it.
Farm Boy: No, it is a Granddaddy-Long-Legs!
Music Man: Well, then Granddaddy can get it!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

RECIPE: Dawn's Very Best Buttermilk Waffles Recipe

When we moved to Georgia in February 2009, one of the traditions we picked up while staying with Jason's parents was Saturday morning waffles. They made them every Saturday morning while we were there and my boys loved them! After we got into our house, we were saddened that the tradition was ending since we did not have a waffle iron. After hearing the boys lament about not having waffles anymore (oh yes, it was that bad,) Jason's dad presented us with a waffle iron he had gotten off eBay and never used. The boys started jumping up and down and screaming - how had I deprived them for so long ..... lol! We went home that very night and made waffles and the boys were so excited! They wanted them "evvvvv-er-y day."

Then enters the cook in me.

I like waffles and enjoyed eating them with my family, but not to the extent that my boys did. Maybe it was because I grew up on Buttermilk Eggos and these just weren't them (not that I would eat them now since we don't eat processed foods with artificial flavors, colors and preservatives in them.) So began my hunt for the perfect waffle recipe. After a full year of hunting and experimenting, I finally came up with one we all LOVE!!! And it is better than Eggo® in my opinion! Serve up these babies with some pure maple syrup or my recipe for a simple frugal version and you are in business!!!

PS For those of you wishing you had a waffle iron so you could try them out, try Craigslist, Freecycle, yard sales and thrift stores. People sell them cheap!! I had stuff taking up room in my kitchen, but a waffle iron is just one of those appliances I will always make room for (at least as long as we carry out the Saturday morning waffle tradition!)

Dawn's Very Best Buttermilk Waffles


    • 1 1/2 cups flour
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla sugar
    • 3 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 dash cinnamon (I use Penzey's!)
    • 2 eggs , separated
    • 1/2 cup oil
    • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk (I use 1-1/2 c whole milk with a splash of white vinegar.)


  1. Whisk dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Separate the eggs, add the yolks to the dry and placing the whites in a small mixing bowl.
  3. Beat egg whites until moderately stiff, set aside. (This makes very fluffy waffles! Do not skip this step!)
  4. Add milk and oil to mixed dry ingredients and blend.
  5. Pour stiff egg whites into mixture and fold gently.
  6. Ladle mixture into hot waffle iron as directed by your model and bake.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Couch for Sale $50-SOLD!

Yes, you read that right. I really am selling my couch. I figured this is as good as an outlet as Craigslist and Facebook (which are both hosting my ads as well!) It is cute and looks great with those hot pink pillows!!! I have found something else I like better but have to get rid of this one to make room. (And I'm hoping this one goes before the one I want gets sold!)
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