Test Prep – K-12:Getting Ahead!

This Little Parent Stayed Home recently reviewed Testingmom.com. Testing mom is a web site for test prep for K-12 kids. (If you haven’t listened This Little Parent Stayed Home is great!)

Personally I have at least one child that just doesn’t test well.  He can know the material inside out, but put a test in front of him and yikes! I blame it partly on being a perfectionist.  He has to go over every part a million times and if he doesn’t know the correct answer for sure, he will not take an educated guess.  He finally sat in on a training session for the ACT and ended up raising his score the 1 point he needed to go from no scholarship qualification to yes, you are at the qualification.

Another son can go in cold, forget his calculator accidentally and  score and amazing high score without even preparing ahead.  They are both great students, but they have crazy different ways of dealing with tests.

I already see my youngest getting ready to have issues with tests.  His very literal translation of everything we say is going to make homework and test taking almost impossible.  I can already see the “Why did the Chicken Cross the Road?” – Well I have to have more information!  They don’t say what was on the other side of the road.  Was their chicken food?  Was a wolf chasing him on the other side?  I also have these issues with my hubby and he somehow finished and got a PhD, so I’m sure my youngest will finish school – it just may take an advocate in the new educational environment.

The site testingmom.com is a site that offers test prep to help kids excel at testing.  Testing anymore determines where kids place, what groups they are included in, what services they qualify for, and even whether they can be included in a standard classroom.  This site is worth checking out if your child needs a little help with testing or even just wants to get ahead.

The founder started the site because her son was told that he would never function in a normal classroom! He now is has a degree from NYU.

Karen first became interested in testing when she noticed that her son, Sam, wasn’t developing as quickly as her daughter had. A doctor diagnosed a hearing problem that could be fixed via surgery and (after giving Sam an IQ test where he scored in the 37th percentile) pronounced that Sam would never function in a regular classroom. Luckily, Karen’s mother was a PhD in Early Childhood Development. She showed Karen how to work with Sam and get him ready for both testing and a regular classroom. Karen worked diligently with Sam for about 30 minutes every day doing activities that would build the abilities he needed for school and testing. A year later, Sam scored in the 94th percentile on an IQ test. He was admitted to a competitive private school in Manhattan and was placed in honors classes.

Karen went on to co-found a consulting business helping families get their kids into NYC’s best public and private schools. There, she taught parents how to work with their children to get them ready for testing just as she had worked with Sam. A few years later, she left the company and wrote The Ivy Chronicles, a humorous novel about the experience of working in the competitive school admissions world of NYC. Karen wrote a total of four novels (two of which have been optioned as movies) before going back to the book she says she was “meant to write” – Testing For Kindergarten. In 2010, Karen co-founded TestingMom.com with Michael McCurdy, a site that offers test prep and a full array of top premium educational websites as part of their membership package. Karen lives with her husband, Mark, in San Diego. Her daughter, Schuyler, is a working actor in NYC. As for her son, Sam, who was never supposed to function in a regular classroom? He just graduated from NYU.


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Getting Stronger in the Pool

(Guest Post by Allie Gleason from EducatorLabs)

Bilateral breathing when swimming

Via Flickr – by Simply Swim UK



If someone were to ask me why I love swimming so much, I would tell them about how much it has boosted my confidence. And that’s a big deal coming from me. As a kid, my Asperger’s made it difficult for me to make friends. I was very self-conscious but often didn’t know what I needed to do to fit in with my peers.

And then came swimming. My parents put me in swimming lessons as more of a safety precaution than anything else. But it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with it. Eventually, it was hard to keep me out of the water.

There are many reasons swimming has given me such a confidence boost, but one major reason is that it has made me stronger—physically and mentally–which has improved my overall wellbeing.

There’s certainly no reason other young people with Asperger’s can’t experience the benefits I’ve had from swimming. Here are a few ways I’ve used my time in the pool to get stronger and in turn get a big boost to my confidence.


Swimming laps. I swam regularly throughout middle school, but when I entered high school, I joined my school’s swim team. Going to regular swim practices has really helped me build muscle strength in my arms, legs, and core. And as this article on aquatic therapy for kids with autism reports, a study found that swim training helped improve “hand grip [and] upper and lower extremity muscle strength” in kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder.


Toning exercises. I love to swim. I would swim laps for hours if my body could handle it. But sometimes even I need a break. My swim coach recommended doing water aerobic-style exercises whenever I’m burnout on doing laps. One of my teammates from the swim team and I found these toning exercises and decided to try them out one Saturday at the pool. We turned on some music and went through the whole workout. It was a lot of fun. And the great thing about it is it includes videos. I’m a visual learner so that made it a lot easier for me to understand what movement I was supposed to be doing and to ensure I was doing it correctly.


Stretches. The act of swimming strengthens and lengthens your muscles but that doesn’t mean you should skip stretching. This article on getting fit in the water from Portland, Oregon’s Parks & Recreation Department offers a side stretch and a full body stretch. When I first started swimming, I was not big on stretching. As a result, my muscles were always really sore. My swim coach taught me the importance of properly stretching after any exercise. So, if you’re a young person who’s just starting out with your swim routine, don’t forget to stretch!


Relaxation exercises. One of the most unexpected and gratifying benefits of being in the water has been the calming effect it has on me. And it is yet another reason I think swimming, specifically, is so great for kids and teens with Asperger’s and autism. A day at school for a young person on the autism spectrum can be stressful and sometimes disheartening. For me, especially on those bad days, being in the water is an escape from the stress of my day. Honestly, I think simply floating around does the trick, but if you’re looking for more structured water relaxation exercises, GoodRelaxation.com has some great suggestions.


            Swimming has improved my overall wellbeing significantly. And now that I feel better physically, I feel better about myself, too. Having more confidence has made it easier for me to make friends and to not be so hard on myself when I’m having trouble relating to my peers.


# # #


Allie Gleason, a teen with Asperger’s Syndrome, attends high school student and in her free time works as a volunteer-intern-extraordinaire at EducatorLabs. She is a cheerleader for all those affected by ASD.

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Minecraft anyone? Yeah or Nay!

Minecraft is pretty popular around our house…. from the 6 year old to the 18 year old.  I do have to admit I encourage it.  There are several sites that review it… (here’s one)  For those of you that don’t know what minecraft is, It’s basically an online ‘world’ that allows you to wonder around interacting with the environment.   It’s very blocky and kids can build anything that they can imagine (including recreating architecture in the real world) Although there is no blood and gore, you do have to fight off monsters and hunt animals to survive. – There is a creative mode that prevents dying also.

One of my favorite things though is that there are a million and one things out there now to use minecraft educationally! (besides all the other products) You can learn to program minecraft – starting at 7 or 8 years old.  Modify it to be the way you want!  There are classes, books, and more all on this subject.

For younger kids there are chapter books and workbooks, math, science, and curriculum; all geared around learning and using the subject of minecraft.  Simple searches come up with anythign you might need!



An article with Math Worksheet Links

Minecraft Maze Printables

Minecraft activity and printables on Pinterest (a board to follow)

Minecraft Handwriting

Minecraft addition and subtraction

Minecraft Multiplication and Division


Please share anymore you find.  My son loves these!


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Facebook Cloning… Is that friend request really You????

Facebook cloning involves someone making a copy of your facebook account and then sending friend requests to your friends. For someone with a devious purpose in mind – whether it’s to bully your children, or spam your friends, it’s a really quick and easy way for identity theft to happen.

To help prevent cloning of your account, there are a few things you can do. By making your account more private it will be harder for others to make copies of your account and take your place in the world!

One important thing to remember (and remind your kids) is not to approve friend request of strangers. I set all my privacy that I don’t want to share with the world to friends only (you can never be sure who your friends share with, so friends of friends is a little too iffy).

priv10Set your privacy using the symbol in the top right corner. – Using the privacy settings you can determine who can see what things in your account.   I also have my account set up so that I can be tagged and have anything appear on my timeline (and to my friends) until I approve it.

Privacy can also be set on your friend list to “Only Me” or “Friends Only”.  To set privacy on your friend list, using the little pencil at the top right of the friend list box on your personal profile page.

If you receive a friend request from a friend that you think you are already friends with, verify that it is your friend.  That can be the first sign that it’s a cloned account.  The account will look just like the real account making it difficult to find the fake account after you have approved both accounts.

Facebook doesn’t currently have a lot of methods in place to deal with a cloned account.














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Facebook Groups (Part One)

If you are looking for a community of like minded people, advice, a place to sell things, a place to buy things, or so much more – facebook groups has the place for you!

Some of my favorite groups include:
1. A local coupon group
2. A free speech group ( secret group)
3. A boutique sellers advice group
4. A genealogy group
5. A group for parents of kid’s with autism
6. A blogging group
7. A free books group

And there are SO many more!

There are three types of groups: Open, Closed, and Secret. Open can be found and joined by anyone – and anything you post in them is open for anyone to see. Closed can be found and joined by anyone, but anything you post can only be seen by the members. Secret can’t be found and are only able to be joined by invite by a current member. Anything posted in a secret group stays in the group unless shared by a member of the group.

Anyone can create their own group too. While your group is small you can change the type of group around (and the name), but once your group gets bigger you are limited. You can only make the group more restrictive.

When joining a group, most groups require you to ‘request’ to join and be approved by the admin. The admins try to cut down on spam this way within the groups. Members can also be blocked and banned if rules are broken to ‘protect’ the group.

Groups though allow members to have a more personal conversation. Some groups are even made up of members that already know each other (my son’s school has a group of parents for the PTA). Questions can be posted in the groups and answers come up quickly.

There are groups for just about anything you can imagine, everything from homeschooling to helping a family that lost everything in a fire.

On the side of the screen – you get a list of other groups that migroup2ght be of interest to you.  They usually are in the same interest area as the group you are currently looking at.  I was in a homeschool group at the time of taking the screenshot (The Homeschool for misfits) and got these suggestions….  If you then want to join a group you can click the group name to find out more or just click join to request to be approved for the group.  None of these are secret groups since secret groups require an invite from a current member.

I belong to several groups, but this isn’t one of them.  I can request to join if I would like to pargroup1participate.   I do belong to several groups and most don’t allow screen shots from the groups so that the information is kept confidential.


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