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Kellie's Son and Abbie's Daughter, 'Sputnik Moment' Video

By Heather Idoni

Added Thursday, July 23, 2009

                The Homeschooler's Notebook
     Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
   Vol. 10 No 53                           July 23, 2009
                      ISSN: 1536-2035                              
   Copyright (c) 2009 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net

  Welcome to the Homeschooler's Notebook!

  If you like this newsletter, please recommend it to a friend!
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  Notes from Heather
  -- Homeschooling with Dyslexia
  Helpful Tip
  -- Sputnik and U.S. Education
  Winning Website
  -- Unlimited Math Practice
  Reader Question
  -- Help for Abbie's Oldest Girl
  Additional Notes
  -- Newsletter Archives
  -- Sponsorship Information
  -- Reprint Information
  -- Subscriber Information

       Notes from Heather

  Practical Help for Kellie -- Mom of a Dyslexic Son Just Beginning
  to Homeschool...


  Our HomeschoolingBOYS Yahoo Group is such a wonderful resource
  for parents of boys to connect!  Recently on the email group a
  mom wrote in asking about the transition from public school to
  homeschooling with a dyslexic son.  Hopefully Kathy's answer to
  her will help other parent's struggling with a similar situation!
  And if you are homeschooling a boy or two, you may want to check
  out the helpful resources at http://www.HomeschoolingBOYS.com --
  Blessings! -- Heather


  "I am so excited to be here and apart of this support group!  My
  name is Kellie and I have two boys who are 10 and 8 years old.  I
  am very nervous about homeschooling this year, it being my first
  time EVER! :-)  My oldest son, Tyler, has a reading challenge...
  he suffers from dyslexia.  Being from Mississippi (a state that
  doesn't view dyslexia as a disability), Tyler has sadly been passed
  through the school system with little to no help.  So that's where
  I come in!  If anyone knows of a great language program for dyslexia,
  I would greatly appreciate the info.  Also, I would like to get some
  feedback to see how your children have adapted to the homeschooling
  environment versus a regular school atmosphere.  Thank you so much!"


  Kathy's Help for Kellie:

  "We have 3 boys -- 9 1/2, 7, and 4.  They all have dyslexia (the
  4 year old is a little young to be diagnosed, but he's showing
  every single warning sign) as well as Auditory Processing Disorder.
  Our oldest started in a school as well and was doing horribly with
  no help.  We switched to homeschooling 4 years ago, and WOW, what
  changes we've seen!  To be perfectly honest, it usually ends up
  bugging me when family notices how well our oldest is doing.  They
  typically finish by saying something like, 'See, he didn't have
  that bad of a problem after all.'  Oh, yeah -- the hours we've spent
  toiling over the last 4 years didn't have anything to do with that!
  Oh man, don't get me started there either. ;)

  There are GREAT programs out there designed for dyslexic kids.  We
  use Barton Reading and Spelling -- http:/www.bartonreading.com -- it's
  considered the 'Gold Standard' of programs for dyslexics.  I'd highly
  recommend starting at that website and read everything you can on it.
  Her other site, which is fantastic, is http://www.brightsolutions.us .
  Her program is expensive, but many people buy it one level at a time
  then sell it to pay for the next level.  The resale value on these
  is almost what you pay for it new.  You don't get that very often!
  We've seen incredible progress over the last year with both our oldest,
  as well as our middle child.  Another very, very good program is
  Wilson Reading -- www.wilsonlanguage.com (Go to the store section,
  click on curriculum, you would choose the Wilson reading system that
  has steps 1-12.)  This program is much like Barton, but the customer
  service is not there like it is over at Barton.  Honestly, this is
  what swayed us in the end to go with the Barton program.  She will
  bend over backward to help you with whatever questions you have as
  quickly as she can.  Wilson doesn't.  Once you buy their program,
  you're basically on your own, and the training to do their program
  is minimal.  Barton's is exceptional.  Other programs that I hear are
  good are the S.P.I.R.E. program sold at EPS books (www.epsbooks.com),
  and ABeCeDarian (www.abcdrp.com).  I know little about these to give
  any guidance.  The important thing to look for in a program is that
  it is heavily based in the Orton-Gillingham style -- this is the only
  method that has been proven to work with dyslexics.

  A great book to read, if you haven't seen it, is Sally Shaywitz's
  book 'Overcoming Dyslexia'.

  It explains the in's and out's of the disorder, which is helpful
  when trying to understand.  And, without question, if you can get
  your hands on a DVD called 'F.A.T. City Workshop:  How Difficult Can
  This Be?', do it!!!  Without a doubt, it's the best thing out there
  to watch when you're trying to understand what's going on inside
  your child's head (try the library for this one - it is a PBS video).

  A wonderful Yahoo group you should look into is called 'Heart of
.  The lady that created it is the woman that does our reading
  testing.  It's a fantastic group of very, very knowledgeable ladies
  who are going through, or have gone through the very same things we
  are right now.  The information and moral support on there is priceless!

  Finally, how have we adapted to homeschooling after 'regular schooling'?
  LOVE IT!!!  I can't see us EVER going back.  My kids have really taken
  off.  They're confident now, they can explore things that interest
  them, they have time to just 'be kids' instead of using up their whole
  evening trying to play catch-up from the school day.  You are giving
  your children a major gift by homeschooling.  In fact, our Audiologist,
  Speech Therapist, Occupational Therapist, and Educational Psychologist
  ALL have told us that the very best thing for a dyslexic child is to be
  homeschooled.  Nothing else compares.  One thing I'd highly recommend
  before you 'officially' begin is to take a month or two (or more if
  needed) to just learn some fun things slooowly - no textbooks allowed. ;)
  Take a field trip to an aquarium if your son is into ocean creatures,
  or a history museum if he's into a specific time period, etc. 

  I've become quite passionate about helping these kids and helping them
  to see that they are so much more than their weaknesses!  Good luck in
  your first year of homeschooling!" -- Kathy D.


  Do you have comments to share?  Please do!
  Send your emails to:  mailto:heather@familyclassroom.net


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      Helpful Tip

  The Sputnik Moment -- The Year America Changed its Schools


  "This is an hour long video that I enjoyed watching and thought
  others might also."

  Do you have an idea, experience, or tip to share?  Please write!
  Send to:  mailto:HN-ideas@familyclassroom.net

      Winning Website

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  "MathScore is a no-nonsense, non-fluffy system that enables students
  to learn and practice traditional math concepts efficiently and
  easily.  Developed by MIT graduates, MathScore is proven to increase
  test scores, and is used by a wide variety of homeschoolers and K-12
  public and private schools.  MathScore fully supports 2nd grade
  through Algebra I."

  Free trial available!  Go to THIS LINK for more info.

      Last Issue's Reader Question

  "I am a mother of 4 (ages 1, 2, 5, and 8 ), I currently am finishing
  up 2nd grade and kindergarten.  My oldest, a girl, does not like to
  be left to do her worksheets because she wants to do the 'fun' things
  her brother is doing in kindergarten.  I have explained that she did
  these activities and I don't mind her doing them again - IF she
  completes her work also. However, when it comes time to focus on her
  work, she begins to act as though she were never taught the lesson.
  An example of this:  She completed a book exam and was ready for the
  next math book.  The first two lessons of the next book are nothing
  but review of the previous book.  Seat work that should have taken
  10 to 20 minutes to complete took nearly an hour and a half.  The
  concepts were so simple that my frustration mounted at each missed
  question.  No matter how I presented the material (10 + 4 = 14), she
  just sat and guessed every number around the right answer.  How do
  you get past days like this?  It's not just math -- it's all subjects.
  Needless to say, I cannot spend every moment with her.  The other
  child must be educated and the babies have needs also.  Suggestions?"
  -- Abbie

      Our Readers' Responses 

  "Abbie -- I have countered this problem by changing my schedule.  I
  do all the 'fun', hands-on activities in the morning, allowing any
  of my children to join in who want to (including my 11 year old!),
  and then, while my younger children are asleep in the afternoon, I
  do the 'sit-down' work with my 1st grader after she rests for a bit,
  as well as meet with my older children to do any one-on-one teaching
  necessary, and to correct their independent work.  This way she is
  not anxious to be doing what the others are doing, because it's
  already been done!  She also really likes this alone time with Mom,
  and she works much faster and puts out higher quality work than if
  I'm trying to get her to do it on the side while I'm working on other
  things.  My older children work fine independently, but my 1st grader
  still needs Mom." -- Mindy


  "Dear Abbie -- I also have 4 kiddos (14, 8, 5, and 3) and one of the
  most important lessons I have learned is to be flexible.  Your oldest
  may be needing some extra one-on-one time with you.  Maybe you could
  include her in, or even let her lead, some of the activities for the
  younger children -- and save her seat-work for a time when you can
  sit with her.  Even though she is your oldest, she is still just 8.
  I have to remind myself of this often.  I have scheduled our day
  around one-on-one time with each child, even the 14 year old.  You
  would be amazed at what you can accomplish in 30-45 uninterrupted
  minutes!  Perhaps you could plan time for the 5 year old to entertain
  the younger ones quietly or work during their nap times.
  Regarding her 'regression' in abilities, it could be many things.  She
  may be acting out because she craves more attention, or maybe she is
  going through a growth spurt and really is having trouble recalling
  the information.  Either way, spending an hour and a half on one
  assignment won't help anyone's frustration level.  When frustration
  levels spike, put away the books and play a game.  Math bingo, Blurt,
  and Scrabble are favorites around here.  Remember, one of the greatest
  advantages to homeschooling is that you are in control!  You are not
  a slave to any one curriculum, schedule, or plan.  Relax and have fun
  with your little ones... all 4 of them!" -- Bonnie


  "When we started homeschooling our 4 children, our oldest daughter
  started having trouble staying focused on simple tasks.  I began
  setting a timer for 15 minute intervals and told her she needed to
  finish an appropriate number of math problems, maybe 10 problems, in
  that amount of time.  I tried to find mostly positive rewards for
  finishing with accuracy, but occasionally there had to be a negative
  consequence.  It took awhile to practice this, but she finally began
  to internalize the ability to stay focused and motivated." -- Jody P.


  "Abbie -- It is tough trying to schedule school time with more than
  one child at home.  I too have experienced what you are talking about. 
  What works for me (which, if I were still using Calvert, wouldn't work)
  is having a shared History and Science.  They are on the same level,
  so we read the same things to both, but they might have different
  projects and expectations.  Then, with Reading and Math, I do the
  one-on-one time.  So I have that special time with them and the other
  child is doing work on the computer, such as Rosetta Stone Spanish or
  Click N Read phonics.

  This has really helped me out; they don't focus so much on each other's
  work -- they are separated -- and using headphones helps this out even
  Now if my oldest did a good job and has finished schooling, he can sit
  with the younger one and actually do some of the teaching.  The older
  one likes to feel important (they know it because they have already
  done this work before) and the younger one gets a different viewpoint
  from my own.  I do have to sit in or around them just to keep things
  running smoothly." -- Heather B.


  "I have a baby, two toddlers, and a Kindergartener to be, as well as
  older boys, and my older boys do not like to work (excepting my almost
  12 year old) when I am not at least up and rotating between them and
  the little ones.  Some kids just need Mom to be there while they're
  working, and won't get past that until they mature some more.  Just
  accept it as something that your daughter needs and, if you can, come
  by to check on her every few problems and put checks by what she's done
  correctly so that she gets some positive feedback.  Then go back to the
  little ones.  That's one suggestion.  Another might be to try a unit
  study approach or something like that where you can include all your
  children together for instruction.  Yet another idea might be that you
  can offer to devote your time to her during part of the completion of
  her worksheets if she, in return, will do some of the preschool teaching
  herself.  There are so many different solutions to this; figure out what
  works for you!" -- Shelly S.

     Answer our NEW Question

  "I am homeschooling my soon-to-be 17 year old and he will be in
  the 11th grade this year.  I am looking for some art for him and
  I don't know where to start online.  A DVD would be fine, too.
  I would be most thankful for any help with this!" -- Mary H.


  Do you have high school art program ideas for Mary?  (Replies will
  be featured in our special HIGH SCHOOL issue of 7/27.)

  Please send your answer to:  mailto:HN-answers@familyclassroom.net

     Ask YOUR Question

  Do you have a question you would like our readers to answer?

  Send it to mailto:HN-questions@familyclassroom.net and we'll see
  if we can help you out in a future issue!

     Need Immediate Help?

  Visit our Homeschool Encouragement Center!  This is a live 24/7
  'chat' area where you can talk with our homeschool counselors
  by typing in a box.  When you get there, just introduce yourself
  and let them know that Heather sent you!

  This ultra-safe chat is supervised by experienced moms who are
  there to serve and share their wisdom... or just offer a listening
  ear and encouragement.


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