Friday, 9 October 2015

Sudoku Training Kit for Children {FREE Download}

Sudoku is one of those critical thinking games that I just assumed was far too difficult for me to learn.  It looked complicated to me. A year ago while on holiday my friend encouraged me to give it a go.  She explained the rules and lets just say that was the beginning of a very enjoyable holiday past time for me.

I was at a friends house and she had this really neat wooden Sudoku board on her coffee table and we got chatting about it.  She had designed a really neat children's set and was in the process of teaching her five and seven year old how to work through the thinking stages of Sudoku.  She graciously printed off her training pack and gave me permission to share it with you my readers!

Download your FREE  Sudoku Training Kit for Children here.

Teaching children to play Sudoku is a matter of patient practice and coaching.  In the printable you will find a number of boards to use.

Begin by printing page 9 and 10.  Once you have printed these two pages cut out the Sudoku training boards and laminate them for durability.

Begin with the two by two square board.
From your kit of tactile number blocks gather together four blocks numbered 1 to 4.
Explain to your student that you can only use each number once.
Set up the board with the three suggested numbers and ask your child to add in the final number.

Follow this exercise with using Rows to practice.  Use the same deduction technique.
Now use the column list and redo the same exercise.

From this your student can see that the process is the same in a square, a column and a row.

One your student grasps this concept it is time to practice using six tiles and the six tile 'square' which is found on page 6.

As your student gains confidence follow up with the graded practice working your way up through the different levels adding in more numbers.

Making your own Training Sudoku tiles.

  • One Sheet of half inch square tiles. You will need a total of 91 squares.
  • A permanent marker.
  • Optional—glaze to seal the tiles
Write a single number on each tile. Be sure to draw a line beneath the number six to prevent confusion between nine and six.

You will need nine tiles with the same digit for each numbers one through nine.
Set the tiles aside to allow the ink to set over night. I painted a glaze over mine to give them added protection. You now have enough tiles for a nine by nine square.

Download your FREE  Sudoku Training Kit for Children here.

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Today the homeschool Blogging Crew are sharing some new FREE printables for you to download.

  1. Free Printable Pumpkin Coloring Page for Fall by Amy at Homeschool Encouragement
  2. A Simple Formula to Create Your Own Juice Recipes by Marcy at Ben and Me
  3. Free Alice in Wonderland Mega Pack by Misty at Year Round Homeschooling
  4. Monster Preschool Math Worksheets by Monique at Living Life and Learning
  5. FREE Christopher Columbus Notebooking Pages. by Annette at In All You Do
  6. Creative Homeschooling with Nature Walks & Flowers (Free Notebooking Pages) by Kelli at Adventure Homeschool
  7. Printable Christmas Preschool Pack by Jennifer at Organized Home, Organized Homeschool
  8. Thanksgiving Lego Challenge by Tauna at Proverbial Homemaker
  9. Veteran's Day Unit Study by Tara at Embark on the Journey
  10. Celebrate Canada by Bonnie at Write Bonnie Rose
  11. Be an Encouraging Person {Growing in Godliness Series for Kids} by Anne Marie at Future Flying Saucers

Homeschool Blogging is hosting a weekly FREE Printable Friday each week.

 Do YOU have a FREEBIE to share ?  Join in the fun by linking up below!

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Day 1 - Melbourne to Broken Hill {Outback Adventure 2015}

L Dennis, Chareen & Nathaniel 
R Isaac, Derek & Daniel

The reason it's been so very quiet around here is that I have been on the trip of a lifetime into the Outback of Australia.  I do confess that I now have a deeper appreciation for the sheer magnitude of size of Australia.  In the last 22 days I have traveled 6,982 km ( 4,338.5 miles) and I am in awe of the beauty that is Australia. The Outback is the local colloquial term for the isolated rural area of Australia.

Nathaniel and I traveled with my Dad in his Terracan  which is affectionately known as 'Dingo'. It's a Hyundai diesel Terracan 2007 CRDi (King of the Offroad) which has a few modifications for driving in remote areas. My Dad blogs over at Dingo Den's Travels about his travel adventures.

My brother Derek and his two sons Daniel and Isaac traveled together in his 2003 (MY04) NP GLX DiD Pajero. This car is affectionately known as Grunter and you can read about his the modifications he has made to his car in preparation for this journey here: Grunter's Mods.

Happy Birthday Derek!  Cake made by my sister

Over the years the family have developed the tradition of meeting together for a super early breakfast at Mc Donalds before we embark on an adventure.  Seeing that my brother would be celebrating his birthday on our trip my sister baked him a surprise cake!  You can see some of the spectacular cakes she makes over on Facebook and Instagram.

My Dad driving and the beautiful sky as we commenced our adventure.

We were on the road by 6:30 am as we had over 800 km to drive on day one.  Our destination was Broken Hill.  I have wanted to visit here for many years because my maternal grandmother was born here.

'Grunter' trail blazing before us in the early morning.

 We decided to take a slightly different route to Broken Hill via Bendigo.  Bendigo is a beautiful city located in regional Victoria and was birthed during the gold rush. I hope to one day return and explore this beautiful city's architecture and history. An interesting fact about Bendigo is that it is located very closely to the geographical center of the state of Victoria in Australia.

Beautiful fountains along one of the main streets in Bendigo.

One of the glorious cathedrals we passed by.
One of the traditions that my beautiful Mother started with our family whenever we traveled was to stop for morning tea along with her beautiful basket loaded with glass cups, flask, tea and coffee.  At 10 am we arrived in Charlton. We stopped at Travellers Rest to enjoy tea and chocolate muffins. Travellers Rest is located along the Avoca River Walking Track.

Travellers Rest in Charlton.

This fish intrigued me and upon closer inspection I realised it was one of the decorations from Melbourne from the 2006 Commonwealth Games.  It represented Kenya and is a Broadbill Swordfish Xiphias gladius.

This 'key' was made by a volunteer that came to Charlton to help with the clean-up after the devastating floods of January 2011. It represents the spirit of volunteerism in a situation of adversity.

As we drove north it became noticeably warmer and you could see spring being announced in nature all along the road sides.  There was a lot of spring growth upon the trees and there were constant surprises of wild flowers along the roads.

Next stop was Merbein where we enjoyed a beautiful packed lunch that was most satisfying thank you Mom!

About half an hour later we crossed the Murray River over the Abbotsford Bridge.  This bridge is a liftspan bridge. This bridge is a steel Allan truss-type bridge spanning the Murray River between Curlwaa NSW and Yelta Victoria. The Murray River is Australia's longest river at 2,508 km (1,558 miles).

 Australia is a land of contrasts.  One moment you are driving through lush vegetation, the next scrub fields and a moment later dry land.  It is ever changing and never twice the same.  Here are a couple of photo's of the landscape within one hours driving!

We arrived in Broken Hill at 5 pm and spent the night in a cabin at Broken Hill Tourist Park.  Although Broken Hill is in New South Wales it operates on South Australia time which was rather confusing to start with.

Plenty of mining evidence all over Broken Hill

Broken Hill Tourist Park

Lovely cabin in Broken Hill

A beautiful sunset after a wonderful start to our first day on the road.

Stats for our first day on the road

  • Distance 844 km 
  • Average speed 78.8 km/h 
  • Total time 10:43

The children decided it was warm and wanted to swim. It was so funny to see their reactions to the cold water in the pool!

A photo posted by Chareen (@chareenr) on

And all of a sudden I was surrounded by the sound of silence and this is what I saw ...

A photo posted by Chareen (@chareenr) on

My Dad will be sharing his thoughts on our Journey over at Dingo Den's Travels and my brother has shared his thoughts over at Grunter's Blog Day 1


Tuesday, 6 October 2015

ASD Reading {Review}

Teaching students to read, write and comprehend can sometimes be a rather anxiety producing journey especially when it seems like it's taking your student a long time to learn a particular skill.  Through in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) into the mix and it becomes a whole new ball game.

Nathaniel was diagnosed with ASD last year and to be honest it was kind of a relief to know because now we are able to source resources to assist him better on his journey to reading and writing well.   In the arena of reading, writing and comprehension Nathaniel is a competent reader and he has a great comprehension but encoding has been a struggle.  Recently we were  asked by Reading Kingdom Kingdom to trial their ASD Reading online program.

"ASD Reading is based on the groundbreaking work of Dr. Marion Blank, a world-renowned literacy and language expert who developed and served as Co-Director of the Columbia University Developmental Neuropsychiatry Program for Autism and Related Disorders."
What we received
  • One year of access to the online ASD Reading (Autism Spectrum Disorder Reading) Program
ASD Reading teaches your children in the following six areas:
  1. Phonics (Sounds)
  2. Sequencing
  3. Writing
  4. Meaning
  5. Grammar
  6. Comprehension

How we used it
Signing up to ASD Reading was a really easy smooth process. I received an email from support welcoming us to the program.  This email had a some helpful links and advice on how to use the program along with a link to a tutorial on how to use the program effectively at home. You are also encouraged to contact support any time you have questions or concerns.

You can use your user name or your email to log in.  As the parent you have the option of creating a user name and password for your student to use to log in OR you can log in and click on the student name in order for them to use the program.

When the student page opens you can see their name at the top followed by a summary of how many times a week the student is using the program.  It is recommended that the student use the program once a day five days a week.  This facilitates long term memory retention of the skills learned.

As the student progresses through the program they are able to see at a glance how far through the level they are through the bar progress chart.  To do their days work they click on the dinosaur.

ASD students are highly visual.  On the home page both you the parent and the student can see at a glance what they are working on and the level of proficiency the student has via the icons in each area.

For example the thumbs up means completed, The hour glass means that this level is currently in progress, a tick means it is not required and the cup means Excellent Performance.

One of the main requirements is that the parent NOT help the student. This makes the students learning more effective as the program adjusts to their speed.  The goal is long term memory retention through regular small lessons.

Here is a sample of one of the pages.  The hanger has the sound we are focusing on.  The little boys in the pockets are each holding a word.  The coach is asking for the word bird.  The student is required to click on the correct word. The top right of the page shows the number of points scored so far for the entire program.

The lessons teach the word, the spelling of the word and the sound of the word.  Each lesson uses multiple disciplines to reinforce the new word learned.  The student has to select items representing the word, memorize and then type the word being learned, next they are shown multiple possible words with missing letters to form the word in which they need to select the correct one for the word and then type in the word to complete it.

The ASD Reading website says that each level should take 10-15 weeks to complete, but when you break it down, that’s about two weeks per book. In Level One you learn 36 new words, however, you don’t only learn the words, you learn many variants of that word as well.
For example, a child might learn the word “park”, but then he will also learn the variants “parks”, “parking” and “parked”. So in reality Nathaniel will be learning a lot more than 36 words in Level One.

Type in the word being learned.
Nathaniel likes earning points in order to open his passport and receive stamps.

Cost of ASD Reading
Recommended Age Range
  • ASD Reading is aimed at students in the age bracket of 4 to 10 years old.

Connect with ASD Reading

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For more information on ASD Reading be sure to look at:

Children on the spectrum tend to like the security of 'sameness' and ASD Reading is consistent and does not change things up which in turn enables the student to confidently use the program as they know what is going to happen and how it is going to happen.  Nathaniel appreciated the fact that this reading program gives precise and clear instructions. He is able to use ASD Reading without my help.

I appreciate the encouraging feedback he receives as well as the points scored for working through the program which are very motivating for my son. The lessons have colorful pictures that are fun and engaging. Often times he calls out to me "hey Mom look at these cute ..."

Overall, I am very happy with ASD Reading and would encourage students who are on the spectrum and struggling to learn to read and write to try ASD Reading.


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