Wednesday, June 20, 2012

No Child Left Behind?

I remember several years hearing the words “No Child Left Behind” in relation to education, and thought to myself, what a wonderful thing. To give each child and opportunity to grow and learn at a pace that’s proper for them, and not get LOST IN THE SYSTEM.
Perhaps I misunderstood the concept. Or perhaps certain schools simply don’t abide by the concept. To me the concept was clear—every child would get the one-on-one instruction needed to excel in learning. If that was indeed the concept, I can testify it isn’t working. If the concept was simply to pass the children they were tired of dealing with, well then perhaps no child is being left behind in going up the ranks.

We recently had both the joy and pain of taking our grandson who is presently four and will turn five in July. The change occurred right before the end of preschool and we were able to meet with his teachers and talk with them.  The horror stories we heard were disheartening at best, and terrifying at worst. Our grandson was riddled with problems such as possible ADH; perhaps a learning disorder, and maybe even severe health problems.

Our first question was, if it’s that bad then why was he passed on to Kindergarten? Is it mandatory to pass a child from preschool to kindergarten even if they’re not ready for it?  Especially since it isn’t mandatory at his present age for him to attend kindergarten this year.

We went to work.  First a full medical exam including tests for juvenile diabetes. Thank God, he’s healthy. We enrolled him in a structured daycare program that was a reinforcement of preschool learning. We had him monitored for ADH and learning disabilities. He is not ADH, and he has no learning disabilities.

So what happened to our grandson? Truthfully, he got lost in the system.  He had little backup at home for instruction and learning and his preschool was nothing more than a daycare and playground. He could sing his ABC’s – but he couldn’t recognize them or write them. He could count from 1 to 10, but had no idea what the numbers looked like.

Teaching children the ABC song isn’t going to help them read if they have no clue what the letters look like, or how they sound, or that it’s those letters that make the words that help us read.

We’ve had our grandson almost two months now. He came to us unable to recognize more than 1 or 2 letters, with a teacher diagnosis of AHD and learning disabilities.  He can now write his name, sound out most of the alphabet, recognize 12 out of 26 letters and write them, as well as count to 32, working his way up to 100 – sometimes with errors and sometimes without.  He seems to miss his fives, so we’ve been working on that.

Who do I attribute this to?  Well, yes, we work with him at home, but the majority of it I attribute to a wonderful teacher called Ms. Leah. She will also be his preschool teacher in the fall as she recommended and we agreed that he was not ready for public kindergarten and would have a horrible time keeping up with the other children and once again get lost in the system. With the progress we’ve seen in just 3 short weeks of her working with him, we expect that with a full year of preschool instruction he will excel in all areas. His self-esteem is growing. His pride in being able to do what the other four years olds are doing is growing. We enrolled him in basketball, and I truly believe we may be looking at a future UK Wildcat.  The kid is good.  We also enrolled him in swimming classes and after only 2 lessons he can swim half-way across the pool.  SWIM halfway across the pool.  He can go on our computers, find the internet and youtube and Tom and Jerry—without us helping him.  He picks up after himself (most of the time); and has learned to say please; thank you; yes ma’am; no ma’am and he smiles a lot.

This from a child they wanted to diagnose (at school of course, no professional diagnosis) as ADH and learning disabled and start on medication. All he needed was the proper teacher, loving firmness and a little extra work at home. Structure and stability.

No child should be left behind, and if you feel your child is not learning at the appropriate age level, then find out why. For our grandson it was merely a need for a stronger teacher who used loving firmness and positive reinforcement which we reinforced at home. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

$.99 Special - Romance at it's best

Desperate Bachelor

Ben Danvers was about to lose everything―unless he found a woman willing to become his wife. The terms of his grandfather's will were outrageous, but they were ironclad. Just when Ben was about to give up all hope, the last woman he ever expected to wed made a startling proposal.

Bargaining Bride

Chelsea Carson offered Ben a deal he couldn't refuse. He could keep the family fruit orchard if he would make her one and only dream come true. But there were to be no strings attached, no messy emotions when it was over. Their makeshift marriage would be perfect―unless Chelsea allowed love to bungle the plan.



I picked this book up when it was free and honestly forgot about it. Why, I put off this book I'll never know because its was such a great and inspiring read. Chelsea and Ben were such great characters to read about. Watching them grow and fall in love was a joy. After suffering emotional abuse as a child, Chelsea shut herself off completely from forming lasting relationships with anyone. All she wanted was a baby to love and for someone to love her back. Ben just couldn't understand why his grandfather had put the clause in his will that he had to marry by a certain date. Did he want to be married and have a family? Yes, but right now his sole focus was the orchard.

Again, I couldn't get enough of watching Ben and Chelsea fall in love with each other. Also, having Ben teach Chelsea the art of lovemaking and watching her bloom into her own was a joy, too. Don't worry, its not smutty but beautifully written. I can not highly recommend His Wife for a While to anyone that wants to read a beautifully written story about two people that deserve to be loved and to love someone else.



I'm pretty sure that I read this story when it was originally released by Harlequin. Though it still reads like a Harlequin of old (love scenes behind closed doors, relatively short novel) Fasano's updates for this Kindle edition keep the story from being dated.

The angst in the story comes from Chelsea's feelings of being unloved as a child. When the story begins, she offers to enter into a temporary, mutually beneficial marriage with Ben because she wants a child but doesn't believe that she will ever find love. Her feelings stem from an abusive childhood that she is slow to reveal to Ben because she's both ashamed and afraid of being hurt. His patience and kindness toward her result, of course, in her falling in love with him.

The sweetness in the story comes from Ben's gentle handling of Chelsea. When she first suggests the temporary marriage arrangement, Ben thinks that Chelsea is cold and unfeeling, and she does nothing to dispel that idea. Although she wants him to give her a baby, he insists that they get to know each other first. His compassion and caring make him a rather likable guy. One of the things I appreciated about the story is that Chelsea is attracted to him, but it's not about his perfect looks and killer body; it's about who he is and how he treats her.

Fasano's writing is smooth and polished.

Sample Monday - Callie's Grave

I think all authors like to test their ability to step out of the comfort zone and try something different.  Callie's Grave is intended to be a Romantic Suspense. We'll see if I can carry that off without killing anyone - because truthfully we start with the dead. This is a first draft so bear with me if you see grammatical errors as it has not been through my trusted Beta Readers or Editor at the moment.

Hopefully coming soon....



Faith Hollister stood at the edge of the small yard in front of the old cabin, her eyes adjusting to the light as dusk faded into a velvety blackness surrounding her. She'd had these dreams all her life, but this one was different. This time she could feel not only the light breeze on her face, but the cool damp grass beneath her feet. And she could smell the muskiness of the forest that lay just behind the old cabin. Her senses were primed and wide open.
Her vision adjusted to the darkness and she watched as the figure approached from the forest his body not yet fully manifested. Sadness enveloped her, squeezing at her heart. He wasn't a child, but although the features weren't clear, he wasn't an adult either. Perhaps that's why the dream was different. The emotions of the young were always more intense, stronger in their passion to reach her. And more painful for her to bear.
He motioned for her to follow him, and she moved across the yard, pushing aside the first tree branches and entering the forest. She wanted to ask him questions, but knew from past experience he wouldn't give her any answers. She would simply have to follow where he led.
The darkness of the forest closed around her, the night sounds sharp and distinct as birds squawked at their passage. How could the birds know she was here? She wasn't really here, was she?
They walked for what seemed to be miles, traveling an overgrown path through the forest to a small clearing. A huge oak tree stood in the center of a perfect circle. A body hung from the first limb, gently swaying in the breeze. Faith glanced at her companion. "Is this what you wanted me to see?"
He nodded, his lips set in a grim line.
"And this is what you want me to paint?"
He shook his head and pointed to the hanging figure.
Faith stepped into the clearing, approaching the tree slowly. If this wasn't what he wanted her to paint, then why was here?
She circled the tree, studying the body as she would any subject before painting. He was young, perhaps between thirteen and fifteen. Tanned from the sun his body glistened in the moonlight as muscled legs twitched.
Faith glanced back at her companion only to find him gone. The body turned and she gasped as a strong breeze blew the shoulder length brown hair away from the bloated blue face. A once handsome young man, he was now distorted beyond recognition by hours without oxygen, eyes red and bulging. The eyes blinked, and the swollen tongue disappeared for just a moment as tortured lips opened and a raspy voice filled her ears. Fairfax, Connecticut. We must all pay for our sins.